HomeArticleWhy Your Hatred Of Assange Is Completely Irrelevant

Why Your Hatred Of Assange Is Completely Irrelevant

By the time I publish this we’ll be at or around the 24-hour mark since WikiLeaks announced that two high level Ecuadorian government insiders had told them that Julian Assange faces eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy within days, which seems to have been further confirmed by the Foreign Minister of Ecuador now tweeting that states have the right to revoke political asylum at any time. Activists are mobilizing everywhere, a round-the-clock presence has been set up outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and a #Unity4J emergency broadcast is currently underway full of many respected dissident voices coming together in defense of the legendary leak publisher.

And, as we should all have come to expect by now, the establishment narrative management patrol has been going out of its way to inform us all that this is a good thing and no cause for alarm. Whenever you voice concerns about the persecution of Julian Assange on any public forum, you will with remarkable predictability encounter empire loyalists calling Assange a stinky Nazi rapist Putin puppet Trump supporter who deserves to be in prison forever.

What’s striking about these responses, which by now are as familiar to me as the keyboard I type these words on, is how extremely emotional they always are. If you talk about economic policy or foreign policy, for example, you might get a few angry troglodytes who take internet arguments far too seriously, but you’ll also typically get people calmly explaining why they believe you’re wrong and laying out ostensibly fact-based arguments for why this is so.

This is literally never the case with people who want to see Assange imprisoned, in my extensive experience. There’s never, ever any calm, fact-based rationale for why the benefits of prosecuting and imprisoning him for his publications outweigh the risks and costs of doing so. It’s always vitriolic, hyperbolic, frequently profanity-riddled arguments from pure emotion, usually something to the effect of “He collaborated with Russia/helped Trump win the election, therefore and I want him punished because I hate him.” Which is just another way of saying, “I want Assange imprisoned because of the way my feelings feel.”

Now, aside from the established fact that the US government’s agenda to prosecute Assange has nothing to do with the 2016 election but with the exposure of US war crimes six years earlier, this is also a completely fallacious argument from top to bottom. Claiming that something ought to happen because of how your feelings feel is very obviously a logical fallacy, but this kind of argument comprises the entirety of support for Assange’s imprisonment that Assange defenders encounter on a regular basis.

This happens because the smear campaign that has been used by the western political/media class to manufacture support for Assange’s silencing and imprisonment has its foundation not in fact, but in emotion. Smear campaigns are by their nature emotional at their core, because they are intended to elicit public disgust, disdain and hatred for their target. That’s why you’ll see so many mainstream news media articles claiming that Assange smells bad, for example, despite that having nothing whatsoever to do with the legitimacy or illegitimacy of Assange’s work. The goal is not to present a factual case for why it would be more helpful than harmful to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder, the goal is to make people feel disgust for him, and, by extension, disgust for his work as well.

So naturally, because they are constantly being inundated with establishment propaganda about Assange consisting of nothing other than appeals to emotion, mainstream liberals are going to believe that spewing vitriol about how their feelings feel is a perfectly legitimate response to his name coming up in political discourse. This is all they have had modeled for them in responding to Assange’s plight. It’s been normalized for them.

Yes, the mainstream liberal political conversation really has gotten that crazy and stupid. Their emotions really are that insanely coddled, and facts really have become that marginalized. That is why you can’t defend Assange in public without getting a bunch of brainwashed MSM-swilling liberals falling all over themselves to show you how emotional they feel about the subject at hand.

Another reason the Assange smears focus on emotion rather than facts is because the facts are very contrary to the interests of the smear merchants. The facts are that prosecuting Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for exposing US war crimes, as the Trump administration is attempting to do, would strike a devastating blow to press freedoms around the world. This is because there are no legal distinctions in place separating an outlet like WikiLeaks from outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Guardian, meaning that a precedent would be set allowing for the prosecution of those outlets on the same grounds, who also publish anonymous government leaks. Which is why the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian have all warned sternly of this precedent, which has also been recognized by the Obama administration.

These are facts.

These are facts regardless of how your feelings feel about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

These are facts regardless of how your feelings feel about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

These are facts regardless of how your feelings feel about Russia and Vladimir Putin.

These are facts regardless of how assertively and authoritatively Rachel Maddow speaks.

These are facts regardless of how much of a stinky, stinky stink man the news media claims Assange is.

These are facts regardless of how much your emotions have been coddled by your favorite pundits, your university professors, your political cliques and your echo chamber.

These are facts. It does not matter how your feelings feel. Your feelings are irrelevant to this conversation. Only facts matter here. And the facts say that everyone, regardless of how they feel about Assange, must defend him against the US government’s attempts to prosecute him for publishing inconvenient truths. Not because it’s the right thing to do, not because anyone expects you to behave in a moral way, but out of sheer, garden variety self-interest. We all need the ability to hold power to account, and the prosecution of Assange will necessarily cripple our ability to do that. This is a fact. Regardless of how your feelings feel.

______________________

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Latest comments

  • Fu*k to all this ghhhhghhjjjrrddhh7ko !

  • Here is the lowest form of journalism, sliding totally into hyperbolic propaganda:, as Johnstone calls people like me “….empire loyalists calling Assange a stinky Nazi rapist Putin puppet Trump supporter who deserves to be in prison forever.”

    I am an anti-Empire builder, an anarchist, and once admired Assange as he gained power for exposing secrets. I have lost all respect for him when he joined the Trump campaign, with direct contacts seeking co-ordination with Trump Jr, and using Fox news as his media outlet, where he admitting that he would be publishing the material on Clinton BUT NOT TRUMP.
    This transformation of an objective journalist (who once promised Wikileaks would focus on Russia and China) into a party hack is the reason he is called a Trump supporter, as he made his hatred for Clinton clear and then crushed her with 3 Wikileaks dumps release at critical moments (one was 1 hr after the “pussy-grabbing” scandal broke. The Wikileaks dumps caused the Clinton lead of 15 points to fall to 8.

    He supported Trump, served as a conduit for the Russian emails, which even Trump said Russia had hacked (“As for the hacking, I think Russia did it.”) and is still keeping secret the material on Trump, which he revealed to Fox’s Kelly.

    He gained power by exposing secrets, used that power (as he imagined in an interview he could) to be a kingmaker, and thus has falled victim to the oldest truth in politics: power corrupts.to

    I remain anti-Empire, pro-transparency (release the Trump material…I suspect he is holding onto to it as insurance agains going “prison forever” under the Trump rgime), and refuse to honor a man who sold his soul to help defeat Clinton, whom he clearly despises, as a journalist. He is a party hack, a traitor to the Wikileaks mission, and those defending him must resort to inflammatory rhetoric as a substitute for dealing with the facts of his betrayal, exposing themselves as propagandists, not journalists.

    • A true “anarchist” doesn’t’ give a rat’s ass about Blue/Red, liberal/conservative, Clinton/Trump… you’re so lost in the puppet-show paradigm that you fail to realize the hand attached to all of these finger puppet beliefs and personalities. As was said, let the dead bury their dead.

    • I think you are missing a very important piece of information. Ms. Clinton made it very clear, very early on that if she got into the White House, she would do everything in her power to get Assange. All he was doing, if anything at all, was self defense. That is still a concept understood and supported by most of the World!

    • While you push this popular narrative, Dale, I am eager to hear more. What exactly has Trump done? And, we billions who don’t go along with your childishness are really tired of the name calling and the 5 year-old responses like, “He’s mean. He’s a racist. He’s whatever he/she called him.” Think for yourself and give us some examples of bad behavior. Now, if you are going to continue to quote his embarrassing tape then you will fail. You see many people voted for Trump because he was the only one left who could stop Hilary and her deep state friends. Hilary, who lied about her relationship to the banks. Hilary, who used the DNC to oust Bernie. Hilary, who shut down the witnesses to her husband’s sexual predation. Hilary, who stands above so many criminal allegations that once she loses power the trials will feature in Ripley’s Believe it or not… And, Trump is the problem?

    • Hi Dale

      If you believe that why are you here on this site? I think people come to this site to read interesting and nuanced articles. That way they can make up your own mind on what’s likely to be true.
      Either you have a lot of information that is not generally known or you’re making shit up (badly) You could possibly spend their time elsewhere, the local comedy store?

    • Hi Dale, if it is true that he is a hack for Trump as you say, kindly explain why is Trump turning on him and going to throw him in the dungeon soon?

  • You summed up my feelings far better than I can, it’s kind of sad

  • Just a random thought: is the timing of the Equadorian action because a Brexit with no deal will mean Assange can’t be extradited as easily to Sweden?

  • But Assange isn’t telling the truth. He is disseminating/normalizing half-baked, pseudo-radical political outlooks that inherently support authoritarian statism as long as it isn’t ‘American’ or ‘Western”. To be against Empire is to be against all personality cults, all dogmatic ideologies, all nation-states and their elites: socialist and capitalist elites, socialist and capitalist authoritarians, socialist and capitalist systems of power, socialist and capitalist personality cults, etc. If Assange or his champions tend to be critical of Obama, Macron, etc., but supporters of Assad, Maduro, Putin, etc., then they miss the mark by at least half.

      • Actually nearly everyone that I have encountered who is an Assange champion believes that all of the negative/critical takes on the Putins, Assads, Maduros, etc of the world amount to disseminating CIA propaganda. The premise isn’t idiotic and bogus, it’s based on encountering hundreds of WikiLeaks and Assange supporters who are against American Imperialism and Western geopolitical strategies/tactics, but defend the heinous regimes of multiple strongmen and dictators solely on the basis of their being enemies or targets of Western ruling classes. Either we are against all ruling classes or not, against all bourgeoisie – statist and market, or not, etc. WikiLeaks supporters and Assange supporters are the ones who typically believe that the enemy of my enemy must be my friend.

        • The enemy of my enemy is simply my enemy. We have an enemy in common, but that does not makes us friends, or even allies.

          I am not against a ruling class, since with no rules we are simply anarchists. And anarchists make lousy farmers and car drivers. I am against an inbred, short-sighted, egotistical, sadistic and ignorant ruling class – which is why I am glad politicians have to face regular elections.

          • I find it interesting that you think farmers and cab drivers cannot be anarchists. I disagree, but the root problem between us may be that we are using two definitions of the term ‘anarchst.’

            My definition of an anarchist is someone who believes human relationships should be voluntary, not forced, and that there are no masters and no slaves.

            I see no connection between anyone’s occupation and their ideological belief system, so in my world, anarchists can be farmers or cab drivers, or vice versa.

    • Human. You are conflating two different issues.

      Anyone who is not constructively critical of the system they live in is like someone who doesn’t check the fuel level before they set out. A good system has numerous checks and balances. As we have seen in most countries criminal types try to subvert the system, constant vigilance is required.

      One of the things it is right to object to is the country of which we are citizens (subject in my case) bombing and starving other countries that are not a threat to us. This is illegal under International Law. Curiously the reason that we give for these wars is the the regimes in question are breaking International Law.

      Objecting to Western countries underming, sanctioning, bombing other countries is in support of our “superior” society. Not objecting reduces you to the criminal you think the “enemy” is.

      • Dogtrotter All I am saying is that I have noticed that Assange supporters tend to be unaware that the way to help people in Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Lybia, Afghanistan…isn’t merely by attacking/exposing secretive/obscene US foreign policy and imperial interventionism, but by joining them in their struggle against their own dictators, authoritarian regimes, wealthy, incompetent elites, etc. And what I have noticed is that Assange and Wikileaks supporters seem to think/believe that all of those regimes would be fine if it were not for American imperial interventions-which is superficial and non-radical thinking. Whether or not there are sanctions in Venezuela or North Korea, the regimes there do not represent popular will, are not competent and are not democratic in any sense. Saying this does not justify in any way US intervention/sabotage/assassinations/bombings. It just means that some of us want to get at the root of the problem: capitalism, centralized political authority, elites, strongmen in power, One Party Dictatorships, etc.

        • Dear Human

          I think anyone who protects supports repressive regimes is wrong. I guess I don’t believe JA is supporting repressive regimes, attacking one regime doesn’t automatically mean supporting another.
          Thank you for your thoughtful comment, I hope we are working for a better outcome.

        • When a lion is running wild in your midst, you best focus on the lion and not its fleas.

          • Good one

      • Great response.

  • “The American people as a whole are well
    informed and seriously engaged in the political discourse.”

    Dude, put down the pipe.

    65 percent can’t name one Supreme Court justice. 30 percent can’t name the vice president, 35 percent can’t put the American Revolution in the right century, etc, etc, etc.

    • Being able to name certain government wankers is irrelevant to how people view government actions against them. If, as some suggest, government is nothing more than an organized and militant gang of thieves and murderers, then one can judge that same government by its collective actions, not by who he is, or who she is. Who cares? People are smarter than you are alleging.

      Interestingly enough, the government education system has focused on memorizing trivial details for well over a century. So, instead of being taught to ask questions or to research out the facts of a particular subject, students are taught to memorize data, value the group above the individual, and to follow orders issued to them. That would be the root problem in America. In my opinion.

  • Politics often moves in mysterious and paradoxical ways, under the direction of the Goddess of Unintended Consequences. I can imagine many ways in which stirring up the business of Mr. Assange could go seriously wrong for the wheezing old Empire, especially anything involving courts and trials (with kidnapping and assassination in the background). But as for why the people, generally speaking, do nothing: most of them don’t see any way they can benefit themselves or their families by standing in the way of the raging psychopaths of the state.

    • ……don’t see any way they can benefit themselves or their families by standing in the way of the raging psychopaths of the state.

      In a nutshell

  • Excellent article, Caitlyn, thank you so much. Important point here that applies to the treatment of #Maduro, #Assad , #Corbyn #Assange #Putin and anyone, in fact, who is targeted by the establishment to be demonised out of their human status until they’re perceived as exempt from humane unbiased justice. the so called Collateral Damage footage which outed the callous and pointless execution of two Reuters camera men needed to be shown.

  • Robyn. I find that a very believable statistic, the question is why? More time ought to be spent answering this question. Why do people think it’s better to stick their heads in the sand than investigate their problems?
    Do they feel secretly guilty for supporting shitty regimes (the US/UK Governments)(UK Government is committing suicide so maybe it doesn’t count)

    • “Why do people think it’s better to stick their heads in the sand than investigate their problems?”

      A very natural and logical question. I have given this a lot of thought, and my best guess is that most people – far from loving freedom – are actually downright terrified of it.

      If they are forced to acknowledge that “their” government has been systematically lying, committing ghastly crimes, and otherwise breaking the “social contract”, citizens would find themselves in a most awkward position. Those with any intelligence or moral feelings would see the need to do something about such an unacceptable state of affairs.

      But what? It would mean complaining, protesting, marching, perhaps even more forceful forms of political action. Which would entail being vilified, falsely accused, and perhaps even martyred like Assange and Chelsea Manning.

      Whereas what they want to do is to forget all that nasty stuff that doesn’t concern them, and get on with social media, shopping, watching movies and sports, eating junk food and generally being sheep.

      The great American journalist and critic Eric Hoffer expressed this unsurpassably:

      “Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.” It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?”

  • Caitlin you’re missing the whole point,” don’t let the facts spoil a good story” It’s an old one, but a good one…and has obviously been adopted en masse by a large section of commercial media.

    Here is wishing you some extra energy to help keep you writing.

  • Unfortunately most people here in these United States of America do not want to know the actual truth about the misdeeds of their government anywhere!!! The false images and the false pretenses must be maintained at all costs!! The myths and the delusions need to be maintained to keep the lies rolling along unabated!!
    Whistleblowing must never be tolerated; the masters must never be questioned; bowing and scraping is all that the populace is allowed to do!!! If the United States government gets their hands on Mr. Assange he will be sent to Gitmo in Cuba where he will be tortured 24/7 for the rest of his life!!!

  • Check first sentence.

  • More great work, Caitlin. Can’t wait to share this.

  • Obama should have been impeached in his first year of Presidency for his failure to pursue charges of war criminality against individuals in the Bush administration. Even later, for his own war crimes ( his kill list that even included a US citizen ).
    The same applies to “W” for not seeking prosecution of Bill Clinton’s administration … and Clinton for not going after H. W. Bush’s administration.

    Americans should plainly see what happens when feet are not held to the fire upon recognizing the first instance of disregarding law and international agreements pertaining to wars.

    Letting high political figures off the hook when it’s first recognized, just cascades down line to ignoring worse offenses.

    • Your post clearly displays the reasons why so much hate is directed at Assange. Americans do not like the TRUTH to be so publicly displayed as Assange has displayed it. Allowing the whole World to see the LIES, HYPOCRISY and CRIMINAL behaviour of the U.S. military, accepted and allowed, by the U.S. Government. The people of the World are supposed to swallow the Kool Aid, (MANUFACTURED LIES) emitted by the Government and their proxies instead of the TRUTH, and hide their CRIMES never to allow them to surface. At the same time, these successive U.S. Governments bleat about how they are supposed to be the shinning light for everyone to follow ?????????????? W.T.F. ?

  • I read earlier today reference to a US poll which found that almost 50% of people in the US think Julian should be prosecuted.

    • Like I said, in my above post, Americans don’t like their dirty washing exposed in public, they’d rather the FALSE narrative be continually displayed. Further, have these people realised that Assange is NOT a U.S. citizen, therefore not obliged to abide by U.S. Law ? Since when, in what alternative universe are people from all over the World, OBLIGED to abide by U.S. law ?????????????????????????? Non Americans are not given the opportunity to have any say in any discussion/contemplation into the making of U.S. laws, neither do they have a representative who they can hold accountable for not looking after their interests, in fact Non U.S. citizens have no rights whatsoever in anything doing with U.S. Law, yet it appears despite that, they are expected to abide by U.S. Laws ??????????????????????????? Since When ???????????? and why were WE, (Citizens of the World) ever told ???????????????

  • Another non-fact (mentioned in passing by Caitlin) which still has currency is that Julian was charged with rape. Even Sputnik’s Loud and Clear podcast segment yesterday (5 April 2019) supporting Julian threw around the old canard of rape charges which couldn’t be substantiated and were therefore dropped. When people like the podcast hosts who, in every episode, show their vast knowledge of history and politics can get this wrong, I despair. And yes, I did email Sputnik in an effort to put them straight.

    • Assange was NEVER charged with rape ! Only in the minds of stupid people who swallowed the crap, the self interest MSM spouted day by day was this ever dreamed about. It amazes me, that people haven’t the brains to research the FACTS themselves, just blindly accept at face value what the CORRUPT and SELF SERVING M.S.M. spout to suit their agendas.

    • When you bring up “rape CHARGES” unconsciously you perpetuate that lie. Assange was NEVER charged with rape, Swedish authorities wanted to question him about allegations of rape.

      • He wasn’t even accused of rape by the supposed victims. The original complaint against him was that he refused to have an HIV test. It was the Swedish police and the prosecutor who decided that it “must be rape”.

  • Surely you don’t expect the average American to start thinking about important issues? Their whole education from kindergarten on has rendered them incapable of that. Trying to think might cause them so much discomfort that they would have to up their intake of booze or meds or porno or TV – anything that would reinstate their natural zombified brainwashed “normalcy”.

    • Whether you’re an intentional troll or not, this is exactly the dismissive attitude that the PTB wants all of us to have regarding our(my?) fellow citizens and it’s totally bogus. The American people as a whole are well
      informed and seriously engaged in the political discourse. That they disagree a lot and stand opposed to each other most of the time does not mean they aren’t paying attention and I resent the statement that my friends and people are incapacitated by your misrepresented “booze or meds or porno or TV” abnormalcy. Of course, some are.. but many more millions are not. Stop dividing and learn to appreciate your fellow citizens.

      • “The American people as a whole are well informed and seriously engaged in the political discourse”.

        If you are an American, I suppose I must take your word for it.

        But if what you say is true, why do they keep voting – election after election – for dishonest machine politicians who are bought and paid for by special interests?

        Why do sincere, honest candidates hardly ever get any votes?

        John Adams, the second president of the USA, declared, rightly, 200 years ago that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”.

        And that is why it has failed so disastrously.

  • Perfectly presented. This is about war crimes. You know, the same war crimes that the US is trying to prevent the International Criminal Court from investigating and prosecuting. Such interference is akin to confessing guilt.. The innocent would not be so afraid of the truth that ICC members are being sanctioned and Julian and Chelsea are being persecuted. We all must stand up to these war-mongering transgressors of justice and international law..

    • Spot on, Daniel. Most of us will remember the official response to anyone voicing objection to mass surveillance – ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’.

      • ‘Nothing to hide, nothing to fear’.

        I wonder why it is that your quotation reminds me so irresistibly of

        “Part of the ship, part of the crew”?

    • US authorities revoked International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s entry visa to the United States, her office and the US State Department confirmed Friday.
      ———————–
      A State Department spokesperson reiterated that the US would “take the necessary steps to protect its sovereignty and to protect our people from unjust investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/05/politics/icc-prosecutor-visa-revoked/index.html

      I am sure the US has nothing to hide but they do seem a bit nervous of one woman.

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