This is an excerpt from the beginning of the upcoming mega-article “Debunking All The Assange Smears”, which is still under construction. I’m putting together a comprehensive list of all the major smears and disinfo that’s being circulated about Julian Assange, and refuting those arguments with the help of information brought to me by my readers and social media followers. Keep a lookout for the full article; it should be out in a few days, and it’s gonna be good. If you have any articles, tweets or short videos you’ve found which do a good job of refuting any Assange smears, please send them to me at, along with any smears you”d like to have more help addressing.


Before we get into refuting the specific points of disinformation, I’d like to share a few tips which I’ve found useful in my own experience with engaging people online who are circulating smears against Julian Assange.

1 – Be clear that your goal is to fight against a disinformation campaign, not to “win” or to change the mind of the person you’re arguing with.

If our interest is in advancing the cause of truth, we’re not trying to get into arguments with people for egoic gratification, nor are we trying to change the mind of the smearer. Our first and foremost goal is to spread the truth to the people who are witnessing the interaction, who are always the target audience for the smear. Doesn’t matter if it’s an argument at the Thanksgiving dinner table or a Twitter thread witnessed by thousands: your goal is to disinfect the smear with truth and solid argumentation so everyone witnessing is inoculated from infection.

So perform for that audience like a lawyer for the jury. When the smearer refuses to respond to your challenges, when they share false information, when they use a logical fallacy, when they are intellectually dishonest, call it out and draw attention to what they’re doing. When it comes to other subjects there are a wide range of opinions that may be considered right or wrong depending on how you look at them, but when it comes to the Assange case you can feel confident that you’ll always have truth on your side. So use facts and good argumentation to make the smearer look worse than they’re trying to make Assange look, thereby letting everyone know that this person isn’t an honest and trustworthy source of information.

2 – Remember that whoever you’re debating probably doesn’t really know much about the claim they’re making.

Last night I had a guy confidently assuring me that Assange and Chelsea Manning had teamed up to get Donald Trump elected in 2016. Most people just bleat whatever they’ve heard people they trust and people around them saying; when they make a claim about Assange, it’s not usually because they’ve done a ton of research on the subject and examined possible counter-arguments, it’s because it’s an established doctrine within their echo chamber and it may never have even occurred to them that someone might question it.

For a perfect example of this, check out the New York Times‘ Bari Weiss experiencing an existential meltdown on The Joe Rogan Experience when the host simply asked her to substantiate her claim that Tulsi Gabbard is an “Assad toadie”. Weiss only ever operates within a tight establishment echo chamber, so when challenged on a claim she’d clearly only picked up secondhand from other people, she turned into a sputtering mess.

Most people you’ll encounter who smear Assange online are pulling a Bari Weiss to some extent, so point out the obvious gaps in their knowledge for the audience when they make nonsensical claims, and make it clear to everyone that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

3 – Remember that they’re only ever running from their own cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is the psychological discomfort we experience when we try to hold two strongly contradictory ideas as true at the same time, like the idea that we live in a free liberal democracy and the idea that a journalist is being imprisoned for publishing facts about the US government right in front of us.

Rank-and-file citizens generally help the mass media propagandists smear Assange not to help protect the world from the influence of a dangerous individual, but to protect themselves from cognitive dissonance. People find themselves eager to believe smears about Assange because the raw facts revealed by WikiLeaks publications punch giant holes in the stories about the kind of world, nation and society that most people have been taught to believe they live in since school age. These kinds of beliefs are interwoven with people’s entire egoic structures, with their sense of self and who they are as a person, so narratives which threaten to tear them apart can feel the same as a personal attack. This is why you’ll hear ordinary citizens talking about Assange with extreme emotion as though he’d attacked them personally; all he did was publish facts about the powerful, but since those facts conflict with tightly held identity constructs, the cognitive dissonance that was caused to them can be interpreted as feeling like he’d slapped them in the face.

Ordinary citizens often find themselves eager to believe the smear campaigns against Assange because it’s easier than believing that their government would participate in the deliberate silencing and imprisoning of a journalist for publishing facts. The fact that Assange’s persecution is now exposing the ugly face of imperial tyranny presents them with even more to defend.

It might look like they’re playing offense, but they’re playing defense. They’re attacking Assange because they feel the need to defend themselves from cognitive dissonance.

If people are acting strangely emotional and triggered when it comes to the issue of imprisoning Assange, it’s got very little to do with facts and everything to do with the dynamics of psychological identity structures. There’s not necessarily any benefit in pointing this out during a debate, but it helps to understand where people are coming from and why they’re acting that way. Keep pointing out that people’s feelings have no bearing on the threats that are posed to all of us by Assange’s prosecution.

4 – Remember that the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.

“Prove your claim.” Use this phrase early and often. It’s amazing how often I see people blurting out assertions about Assange that I know for a fact they have no way of proving; that he’s a Russian agent, that he’s a rapist, that he’s a CIA asset, etc, which ties in with Point B above. The burden of proof is always on the party making the claim, so if they refuse to do this you can publicly dismiss their argument. If someone comes in making a specific claim about Assange, make them present the specific information they’re basing their claim on so that you can refute it. If they refuse, call them out on it publicly. Never let them get away with the fallacious tactic of shifting the burden of proof onto you, and remember that anything which has been asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence.

5 – Never let them trick you into expending more energy than they’re expending.

This one’s important. The internet is full of genuinely trollish individuals who spend their time acting out their inner pain by trying to suck the life out of other people, and political discussion is certainly no exception to this. A common tactic is to use short phrases, half-thoughts, or word salads which don’t contain any facts or actual arguments, but contain just enough of a jab to suck you into wasting energy making thorough, well-sourced arguments while they just lean back and continue making weak, low-energy responses to keep you going. This enables them to waste your time and frustrate you while expending little energy themselves, while also not having to reveal the fact that they don’t know much about the subject at hand and don’t really have an argument.

Don’t let them lean back. Force them to lean in. If someone makes an unsubstantiated assertion, a brief quip, or a vague insinuation, tell them “Make an actual argument using complete thoughts or go away.” If they throw an unintelligible word salad at you (a tactic that is also common in abusers with narcissistic personality disorder because it tricks the abusee into falling all over themselves to guess what’s being communicated, thereby giving the abuser power), tell them “That’s gibberish. Articulate yourself using clear arguments or go away.”

This often enrages them, partly because they’ve generally been getting away with this tactic their entire lives so they feel entitled to demand compliance with it from you, and partly because you’re forcing a very unconscious and unattractive part of themselves into attention and consciousness. But if they’re interested in having a real and intellectually honest debate they’ll do it; if they’re not they won’t. If they refuse to provide you with lucid, complete arguments that meet their burden of proof, make a show of dismissing them for their refusal to do so, and say you’re doing it because they’re too dishonest to have a real debate.

Never chase them. Make them chase you. Force them to either extend themselves into the light where their arguments can be properly scrutinized, or to disqualify themselves by refusing to.

6 – When attacking disinformation on Twitter, use this tactic:

If you see a high-profile Twitter account sharing disinformation about Assange, debunk their disinfo as clearly and concisely as possible, then retweet your response to your followers. Your followers will like and retweet your response, sending it further up the thread so that casual viewers of the disinfo tweet will often also see your response debunking it. If your response is text-only, include the URL of the tweet you’re responding to before retweeting your response so that your followers can see the awful post you’re responding to. It comes out looking like this:

This serves the dual function of offsetting the damage done by their smear and alerting your followers to come and help fight the disinfo.

7 – Point out at every opportunity that they are advancing a smear.

Never miss an opportunity to point out to everyone witnessing the exchange that the other party is advancing a smear that is being promulgated by the mass media to manufacture consent for the imprisonment of a journalist who exposed US war crimes. Keep the conversation in context for everyone: this isn’t just two people having a difference of opinion, this is one person circulating disinformation which facilitates the agendas of the most powerful people in the world (including the Trump administration, which you should always point out repeatedly if you know they hate Trump), and another person trying to stop the flow of disinfo. Every time you expose a hole in one of their arguments, add in the fact that this is a dishonest smear designed to benefit the powerful, and that they are helping to advance it.

8 – Make it about Assange’s imprisonment and extradition.

One of the very few advantages to Assange being behind bars in the UK’s version of Guantanamo Bay instead of holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy is that the arguments are so much clearer and more honest now. You can no longer get away with claiming that Assange is just a coward hiding from justice who can “leave whenever he wants” and present yourself as merely a casual observer who just happens to want to share his opinion that the WikiLeaks founder is a fascist Russian spy rapist who smells bad and mistreats his cat, because you will always be entering a discussion involving the fact that Assange is in prison awaiting extradition to the United States. You are therefore always necessarily either supporting the extradition or distracting from the conversation about it.

So make that clear to everyone watching. Make them own it. They either support the imprisonment and extradition of Assange for his role in the Manning leaks, or they’re interrupting grown-ups who are trying to have an adult conversation about it. If they support Assange’s imprisonment and extradition to the United States, that clarifies your line of argumentation, and it makes them look like the bootlicking empire sycophants they are. Keep the fact that they support the extradition and imprisonment of a journalist for publishing facts on the front burner of the conversation, and keep making them own it.

9 – Familiarize yourself with common logical fallacies.

It’s fascinating how often people resort to fallacious debate tactics when arguing about Assange. One of the most interesting things to me right now is how the unconscious behaviors of our civilization is mirrored in the unconsciousness of the individuals who support those behaviors. Those who support Assange’s persecution are generally very adverse to an intellectually honest relationship with their own position, and with the arguments against their position that they encounter.

So get familiar with basic fallacious debate tactics like straw man arguments (claiming that you have a position that is different from the one you’ve actually put forth and then attacking that fake position they invented), red herrings (bringing up an unrelated point because it’s easier to debate than the current point of contention), and appeals to emotion (using emotionally charged statements as a substitute for facts and reason). These will give you a conceptual framework for those situations where it feels like the person you’re arguing with is being squirmy and disingenuous, but you can’t really put your finger on how.

10 – Rely as much on fact and as little on opinion as possible.

Don’t get sucked into emotional exchanges about opinions. Facts are what matter here, and, as you will see throughout the rest of this article, the facts are on your side. Make sure you’re familiar with them.


To be continued! Keep a lookout for the full mega-article, “Debunking All The Assange Smears”, which I’m working on furiously and which will be out in a few days.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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60 responses to “Ten Tips For Arguing Against Assange Smears”

  1. After 30 years of research and court activism, we are quite confident of the following points (summarized briefly, to save space):

    (1) “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is not a Proper Party; it incorporated twice in Delaware but the Delaware Secretary of State revoked both corporate charters;

    (2) U.S. Attorneys have no powers of attorney legally to represent Delaware corporations, even if they are in good standing; all the more so do they lack powers of attorney legally to represent revoked Delaware corporations;

    (3) “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” has replaced “United States” evidently to circumvent Article III in the U.S. Constitution which requires “United States” to be a Proper Party for the Judicial Power to arise;

    (4) U.S. Attorneys who lack credentials may not conduct Grand Jury hearings, and also they may not sign Grand Jury “indictments”: see Rules 6 and 7 in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure;

    (5) on a more fundamental level, the Acts of June 25, 1948, attempted to give the Supreme Court power to change jurisdictional statutes retroactively by means of amendments to Rules of Court; however, rules of court may not expand or restrict original jurisdiction already conferred by prior Acts of Congress;

    (6) the Acts of June 25, 1948, were demonstrably unconstitutional for fraudulently attempting a “Sea Change” from constitutional courts to legislative tribunals; in the latter, Fundamental Rights have become “options” and not longer mandates, very similar to the difference between mandatory judicial notice and discretionary judicial notice under the Federal Rules of Evidence;

    (7) U.S. District Courts are legislative tribunals which lack all criminal jurisdiction whatsoever, due to the unconstitutional Abrogation Clause hidden in the Act of June 25, 1948 revising, codifying and enacting Title 18 into positive law;

    (8) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right is a major Treaty which mandates courts of competent jurisdiction and qualified executive and judicial officers; however, the Senate appended a “Declaration” to its ratification which attempted to render that Treaty “not self-executing”;

    (9) however, such a Declaration violates the Petition Clause in the First Amendment, and the Bicameralism Clause in the U.S. Constitution: the U.S. House of Representatives never voted on that Declaration and, hence, it cannot have domestic legal effect without approval by that House;

    (10) all the above are a subset of reasons why Julian Assange cannot lawfully be extradited to a U.S. District.

    1. EDIT:
      Julian Assange cannot lawfully be extradited to a U.S. District
      Julian Assange cannot lawfully be extradited to a U.S. District Court.
      (sorry for the typo)

  2. Great stuff, wonderfully clearly explained.
    Just a small carp about the 10 Commandments above:
    It’s “Thou shalt”, if we’re going to use Biblical language:

    I shall,
    Thou shalt,
    He/she/it shall.
    We shall,
    Ye shall,
    They shall

    So, it’s only the Thou that is different.

  3. Start a campaign. Get millions of signatures to free Assange and stop this criminal activity. If the Brits deport him to US it will make me ashamed to be a Brit.

    1. Petition? How’s that Brexit going? Because it will never ever be allowed. Ever

  4. Paul Craig Roberts had an excellent post about the problems with the arrest of Julian Assange, explaining how the idea of charging him with a conspiracy to commit a crime is an illegitimate tactic of a government that has lost the main argument. The article was just posted yesterday on his website

  5. What is the New York Times doing spreading itself to Australia. It has founded an office in Sydney and welcoming new subscribers.

  6. Odd that the New York Times has expanded into our Australia. I am uncomfortable with this. What are they doing here? There must be a reason.

  7. It is really a shame that ” The World Court ” is so powerless that it can not even bring ” war criminal charges ” never mind prosecution and conviction to the many ” governments ” throughout this planet that constantly murder human beings!! I guess we will have to wait for some outer space beings to come to planet earth and finally prosecute all these governments that commit murder to their hearts content every single day and night!!!

  8. There may be some useful material here:
    The article is a reasoned argument, citing much evidence, that the First Amendment’s idea of the press as consistently view of the courts, applies to everyone and anyone who distributes information and opinion by any means of publication.

    Unfortunately, being reasoned, it will not appeal to many of the people inside the bourgeois professional castes or out on the street with the proles. However, it may serve as grit for argument-grinding with some of them, if you can get them to engage at all.

  9. “When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.”

  10. Yeah Roger, I’m ashamed to be a North Americaner, too. There’s plenty of shame to go around the entire globe in not defending Julian.

  11. Wake up American people! Julian Assange is working for us, not against us!

  12. When will people wake up and protect our prophets and truth tellers?? The Borg live in darkness, and cannot stand the light bearers. They are doing all they can to extinguish the light of truth.

  13. Don’t know if ya’ll have seen this, so… I’ll post a link. It’s about Julian and worth watching. Damn near made me spew my coffee…

      1. Reminds me of a favorite play – Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People”. A tale about the fate of a teller of uncomfortable truths.

      2. Yes, and that too… Thank you.
        Since we’ve seen nothing today from Caitlin’s normally prolific pen, I imagine she’s beavering away on the mega Julian smear debunking article. And, while I consider her effort important, and welcome it, I’d like to extend my comments from yesterday (below) regarding the importance of taking the offense…
        Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again, each time expecting a different outcome.
        There are two names I’d like to mention: George Seldes and Noam Chomsky. While the later’s is (hopefully) instantly recognizable, the former is, perhaps, a bit obscure. Caitlin’s name ought be honorably mentioned with both, for they all made a livelihood by exposing the hypocrisy, propaganda and lies of empire.
        Seldes was a muckraker (a term I much prefer to investigative journalist) who founded, published and edited a little magazine (1940s and 50s) he called “In Fact” after leaving the newspaper business because of censorship. Along with his wife, Dorothy, he committed himself to exposing and correcting the lies and propaganda the media of his day published.
        But, other than making accurate information public (which, I reiterate again, is a critical and important function), what effect did George and Noam’s efforts have? Were they able to keep the empire from toppling yet another government? Stop an invasion or war? End the abuses they documented?
        Did they significantly alter the trajectory of our history?
        Based on circumstances facing us today, I contend they did not. No matter how important their informational and documentary roles, they were not even a speed bump to the empire. And, if this conclusion is accurate, which I believe it to be, where do we go from here?
        Below, Mike K asked: “So you want us to be more forceful and direct? How? Bombs?”
        Metaphorically speaking, my answer is yes, we need to lob a bomb directly into the heart of the empire. The critical questions are: How do we build that bomb? Then, how do we throw it?
        As it turns out, these questions, and answers, are intimately interwoven with the foundations of western democracy…
        All the western “democracies” share a common foundation myth — all legitimate political power resides in the people. The “democracies” practice self-rule by the people over themselves — there is no hereditary nobility nor divine ordination of a king, the people are sovereign. Thus, the only legitimate government is that which derives its mandate to govern directly from the people, as delegated through the people’s elected representatives. These representatives serve the people, at their pleasure, and can be removed from office for any (or no) reason.
        The selection of the people’s representatives, and delegation of their sovereign political power to them, occurs during elections. Without this formal delegation of political power from the people to their duly elected representatives, a legitimate government cannot be formed.
        Since this is the logical basis underlying all the western democracies, we need only ask their citizens one question:
        If this is a democratic republic, wherein all legitimate political power flows from its citizens and is delegated to their chosen representatives in an election, what happens when (a plurality or majority of) its citizens withdraw their consent to be governed by deliberately tendering blank ballots in that election?
        Here is your bomb, Mike K…

        1. If everyone registered Independent to vote, the parties, which set policy, would not have enough constituents to make it on the ballot. Let us return to the first principles of the constitution, before we degenerated into political parties controlling what the US stands for and does all over the world.

          1. Hi Marie, wish I could agree with you, but…
            People have been free to “return to the first principles of the constitution” at every election. Yet they have not done so — why?
            I’m not advocating a political party, nor candidates, nor even voting per se.
            Rather, my argument is that when people are fed up enough with the political shitshow the rich are running in our name, they can monkey-wrench the process and, in doing so, call the legitimacy of our governance into question.
            If the government resists, which it will, it simply highlights the fact that it does not represent the people. From a political perspective this results in a win-win for the people because it reveals the true nature of our governance, much the same way Trump’s election has clarified the true nature of the MSM. (Love or hate him, he certainly has awakened more people to this problem than anyone else I know.)
            My chief concerns are these: First, the empire must be ended so that we can “return to the first principles of the constitution” and; Second, that in calling the legitimacy of the current government into question, we can avoid as much bloodshed as possible in accomplishing the first goal.

  14. We can’t handle the truth, because it is too uncomfortable. We live in a matrix of lies intended to make us comfortable with what is destroying us and actually ruining any chance for real, deep comfort which only a life lived on the basis of truth can deliver. Only if we have the courage and good sense to uncover the unpleasant truth all our socially constructed lies are trying to hide, will we have the opportunity to correct our situation and be at last truly comfortable in a world free of lies.

    This is the same situation individuals undergoing psychotherapy encounter. Those things in us and in our situation that we refuse to look at and acknowledge are making us sick. This is the inner worm that destroys the victims of hubris, and it operates culturally as well as in individuals. Only the whole truth and nothing but the truth can make us free.

    Forcing people into psychotherapy does not work, they either refuse to go, or they go but refuse to do the work. How to get those who deny they need therapy to wake up and do the work of uncovering the truth about themselves and their culture is the huge problem we have not solved.

    Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie” is very helpful in understanding our psychospiritual impasse.

    1. Taking the red pill of truth is bitter in the beginning, but becomes incredibly sweet over time.

  15. Caitlin,
    ‘His arrest has nothing to do with this Russia nonsense you’ve been shrieking about, you horrible, disgusting woman’.
    Go for the ball, not the player – or Number 1 on the logic list.

    1. We all blow it emotionally sometimes in this deadly game we are involved in. Notice it, and move on….

  16. What I haven’t come across is a book which sets out in one place all of Wikileaks’ disclosures and the ramifications of the secret and dirty dealings which were made public, and whether anything changed as a result. Info about Wikileaks’ revelations is to be found all over the place, but what I think is needed is everything in one place with background and context and explanations of relevance. A mammoth undertaking, I know.

  17. Here is a relatively NEW video released by Julian Assange, it is taken by a gunship in Iraq, murdering more than a dozen innocent civilians, which includes 2 war photographers, and 2 children serverly injured in attempting a rescue! This is clearly murder, as a US tank is called to the area and deliberately runs over an injured person!

  18. It was 1971 when I first was introduced to Festinger’s concept of “cognitive dissonance.” Finally I had a phrase that seemed to offer an explanation why so many attitudes were hard to change, regardless of supporting facts for the change.

    Then the Adlerian “Hierarchy of Needs” made sense, if we assumed that the most important need to be met is one of being comfortable. Cognitive dissonance makes people uncomfortable; and because it is actually internal dissonance, people can’t run away from it. So they solve it by accepting the thinking of their peers, and ignoring anything that makes for discomfort.

    I can see no way of changing an attitude that results from an individual’s attempt to ease cognitive dissonance, except to keep chipping away without breaking any of the commandments of logic.

  19. Hello,
    I think responding to the people who are smearing Assange is a waste of your energy, I would delete those imbecile’s comments.

    What I have noticed is that no one is taking on the governments people. In Australia the leaders of all parties are and have been the door mat for all American hegemony. They are great cowards.
    I would like to see people speak loudly and publicly. I want to see great efforts made to address those who gave Assange all the material he has published because he is the messenger while those who provided the information are sitting scared and have become cowards now who only care of themselves and do not want to see the truth come out because they will loose their positions. These must be gathered and they must speak ou against the US/UK?Australia degenerate leaders.
    I would also make it clear that IF not for the truth in the material that came out, Hillary would have already taken this planet to a World war 3. Thanks to Assange for his moral courage, and this global holocaust was stopped.

    I wish you strength and courage and ruffle as many feathers as you must.

  20. A notion from Consortium News …..
    A question to pose to the “lock him up” crowd….
    “If your country were committing War Crimes, Would you want to know?”

    1. They do know, and are culpable, along with the officials that caused them, therefore, they have no choice but to repeat the same swill over, and over. Really heart breaking to watch western civilization die right before our eyes.

  21. About Julian Assange, a good source is former British ambassador Craig Murray, one of the people who best knows what’s going on:

  22. Great stuff, as always, Caitlin. Looking forward to the definitive article, but would also appreciate a super-condensed “field guide” to engaging the smear mongers, applicable in all situations. It really boils down to

    (a) mastery of the basic facts,
    (b) paying attention, and
    (c) holding your antagonist accountable for staying on topic, making clear statements, and backing up their talking point with sound references and logic.

    I’ve found that (c) can be most effectively accomplished by a series of questions, much like the martial art of judo, where the opponent’s force is re-directed against them; first by clarifying their assertion(s), calling for factual support, and then extending them through basic logic to their inevitable, often obviously idiotic, conclusion. This takes practice, particularly in shedding personal attacks, which can be easily dismissed as totally off-topic if you keep a firm grip on (a) and (b).

    1. Stay calm and carry on.

  23. Andre Vltchek is one of my heroes on our planet. This short article says it all about Julian and what he stands for – all of us.

    1. Vltchek is one of my heroes, too. he’s the polar opposite to the cynical elitist.

      Julian has already planted the seed for radical change across the fertile ground of humanity. it may take time for it to bloom and for its pod to explode, but it’s a matter of time.

      let’s do our part, everyone of us. whatever we can do best is more than enough.

      1. Point of order – I can concur with much of Vitchek’s essay but I believe he misspoke when he said,
        “He penetrated databases which have been storing the evidence of the most atrocious crimes the West has been committing for years and decades.”
        Julian is not the one who penetrated the databases. That would have been Manning and she was convicted of doing so. Julian was merely the publisher.

  24. We want to help Assange- and at the same time prop up journalism under severe attack (again). Agree?

    Twittering may have value, or its use may be merely straws in the wind.

    How about a Petition defending Assange and Journalism?
    It should demand that he NOT be extradited, that thought of any indictment be immediately dropped and that a major part of the American constituency is watching and will react.

    It would be compiled and sent to every elected official in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government.

    What do you say?

    1. The number of petitioners might turn out to be rather small. That would only embolden Assange’s enemies.

      1. When was the last time a petition changed anything? If you look, they are usually used as a part of other organizing efforts. Very typically its fund-raising… ie the ones that say to sign the petition to support the cause, which leads into the fund-raising pitch to give money to support the cause. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a pitch for money. It can be for organizing, getting people together. Thus, if you think that starting a petition becomes a good way to talk to people and organize people and bring them together into a group that can then act, then go for it. But, I doubt anyone in your list would give a rodents hiney about a petition being delivered to their office.

        1. they don’t, especially those who pretend to be “progressive”. i know it from direct experience.

          everyone of us reaching the grassroot people as best as we can will yield much better results.

    2. Melinda McCracken Avatar
      Melinda McCracken

      A petition is fine, and I’ll give you the link, but it is highly unlikely that the British government is going to stop in the middle of its conspiracy with the US and Ecuador to extradite Assange to the US. We need to get the truth in front of people and counter the fallacious arguments his detractors are presenting, as Caity brilliantly outlined. We have to fight a public fight against the propaganda against him, and that’s where social media comes in. Julian’s only hope is that the US public will learn the truth and realize that their own freedom of speech and access to information is at stake.

  25. Like your work Caitlin and admire your passion. But you’re playing defense here, an important defense admittedly, but defense nonetheless — you’re responding to what has already happened and the propaganda effort rationalizing it.
    Point is, as long as we merely respond to the empire’s moves and propaganda, they retain control of the narrative… This is what makes Julian so dangerous, by revealing their secrets he plays offense, cracking the narrative’s facade and forcing a response to his actions.
    In one of his rare lucid and truthful moments, Shrub once commented (at least I think it was Shrub) that he (well, OK, Cheney) was creating realities on the ground to which everyone else was forced to respond. And, by the time everyone else found out about it and reacted to it, another action had already been taken creating yet another reality that had to be reacted to… That’s offense, which is exactly what Julian’s arrest is, an offensive action (pun intended) to which we are all now reacting defensively.
    You asked for ideas not too long ago, so here is mine: I propose going on offense — that we start making a reality to which the empire must respond.
    “People find themselves eager to believe smears about Assange because the raw facts revealed by WikiLeaks publications punch giant holes in the stories about the kind of world, nation and society that most people have been taught to believe they live in since school age. These kinds of beliefs are interwoven with people’s entire egoic structures, with their sense of self and who they are as a person, so narratives which threaten to tear them apart can feel the same as a personal attack.” — Caitlin
    We need to invert this — rather than question the validity of what the empire is doing to our people, we need our people questioning the validity of the empire itself. How? By using the empire’s foundation myths, those drilled into us in school and interwoven with our ego, against it.
    If we can elevate cognitive dissonance to an art form by “…punch[ing] giant holes in the stories about the kind of world, nation and society that most people have been taught to believe…” there might be a way the empire’s legitimacy can be called into question, both politically and legally. Further, by resisting a movement based upon its foundation myths, the empire itself calls its legitimacy into question.
    In essence, we have to ask the empire a question: If this is a democratic republic, and all political power flows from and is delegated by its citizens, what happens if its citizens formally withdraw their consent to be governed?

    1. Everything being done on this site and others is meant to directly question the Empire and it’s lack of adherence to it’s own professed values. So you want us to be more forceful and direct? How? Bombs? The quote you mentioned was Karl Rove –

      “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      He is basically bragging about the executive power of those in charge of our country. They feel free to act in any way they choose, regardless of the people’s complaints, demonstrations, or contrary ideas. He is a sadist trying to rub in his dominance over his victims, the public. Sadists and torturers delight in the powerlessness of their victims to prevent their abuse.

      1. Thought I might have mis-remembered (to use a Shrub-ism) who said that, thanks for pointing out it was actually Rove.
        What I’m asking, indirectly, is what is your plan? To simply keep on debunking their propaganda? As I point out above, that’s a defensive tactic which merely holds ground at best, but cannot gain it.
        To gain ground you must go on the offensive. And that requires a plan — a goal and strategy to achieve it. Sorry to use military terms, but this is a conflict and it is necessary to see it as such because your adversary (the empire, elite, TPTB, deep state — whatever you choose to call them) certainly does. They are now applying techniques developed and honed in the “third-world” to build their empire against their countrymen. Make no mistake, this is a fight.
        So what are your goals? What does a “win” look like? How do you plan to achieve it?
        My goal (please re-read the last two paras of my post above) is to end the empire and do so peacefully — altho it is my opinion that power will cede nothing without a fight.

  26. The ruling oligarchy of ANY age focuses its RAGE on anyone who dares to expose THEIR criminality to the masses (goyim).

    The more criminal they are, the more enraged they are at being “outed”.

    But the “goyim” must constantly be divided, “triangulated”, so that their collective hands are around EACH OTHER’S throats, thereby ensuring NOTHING changes.

    ALL the world’s revolutions have produced the SAME result…..power held by the few, for the benefit of the few, and the crushing of all opposition by WHATEVER means necessary.

    It is an age old story. It is THE history of mankind.

    It is our sickness, and our curse.

    1. And it is a sickness and curse we will all be destroyed by soon, unless we wake up and change it. Don’t be a fatalist about this.

      1. We are only condemned to repeat our sorry history if w agree to do so. “History is a nightmare, from which I am trying to awake.” (James Joyce) The vital thing is to try to awake and awaken others. That is what this site is about.

      2. No doubt many have already rolled over and have a very defeatist attitude which is also insane !

        Realize those that said none of the criminals will be prosecuted are now being proven quite wrong , yet they still stay in their defeatist crap and echo chamber ! Many Americans have become incredibly weak minded pussies, there I said it in public although not the first time to be sure ! These fools also need to be exposed for their dumb crap as well as the control freaks or nothing can or will change , ever ! Realize we are exactly what we THINK !

  27. I just wanted to share a few words from a beautiful smear campaign post (“toxic people” – translate to Deep State Manipulators, “mentally unstable person” -> propaganda and war machine, “upstanding heroism” -> “Russia Gate hoax, rape hoax”, “smeared person” -> “Julian Assange”, etc):
    “When healthy people feel upset about something, they may get angry. But toxic people don’t just get mad – they seethe – and wage a devious smear campaign. One of the clearest indicators you’ve got a mentally unstable person on your hands is smear campaigning. Smear campaigners carefully and strategically use lies, exaggerations, suspicions and false accusations to try destroying your credibility. They hide behind a cloak of upstanding heroism and feigned innocence in an attempt to make as many people as possible think their efforts are based not on their vindictiveness, but on upstanding concern.”
    “As a smeared person, what you are most likely “guilty” of is saying no to someone who is, in some way, failing to respect your boundaries, refusing to follow the same rules as everyone else, or someone who is spreading toxicity and manipulating. Someone entitled. Someone sneaky and vindictive. Someone who is hurting you or taking too much.”
    1) Discredit & isolate the victim 2) Play the victim and/or hero 3) Lie-exaggerate-manipulate 4) Manufacture fear 5) Label the victim inferior 6)Hurt the victim for spite”

  28. Yo, I’m with you all the way here. Knowing facts, labels and names of sideways “arguments” and asking for evidence can’t hurt but these unwoke are lazy and afraid and believe the status quo because it makes them feel safer. They double down when challenged with facts. They ignore perfectly valid info. They need to be coaxed into having a positive emotional reaction to consider a new viewpoint… whudda I know but maybe an analogy: The company you work for tells you, If we work harder and smarter and make more profits, everyone will get a share … you see the managers get new cars, etc. The someone records a managers’ meeting or gets a copy of financial papers. You have been fooled. You are angry. You demand a raise or find a better job…

    1. Remember, the point is not to ‘win the argument’. If you leave them with something to think about after they walk away, then you’ve succeeded. What you describe is exactly correct in talking to people who’ve gotten a position from their screens. They double-down, and then react with anger to contrary arguments. Then they walk away. But, that of course is not the end. The key is to put the kernal of thought into their brains and let that grow after they’ve walked away. One key idea for us is that there is no magic bullet that will instantly change the world and win the battle. That’s the stuff of fiction, a hollywood movie. Instead, its a matter or organizing and convincing people retail, one person at a time. Over time, that will pay off. Plant that kernal in their minds and let it grow.

  29. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    For a long time I have concluded that you cannot change the mindset of those who reject truth in our days. Maybe in other times it was possible but this actual generation is stubborn out of norms.

    This fact seems to prove that we are really in the last days about which it is written people will be like the people in the days of Noah.

    Yes the end of this world is near and all we can do is pray, especially the Holy Rosary.

    1. By all means pray the rosary Michel, but it is not the only thing we can do. Just saying. Not telling you what to think. Do your own thing.

  30. What you have shared here Caitlin is really first rate ideas. I can’t wait to see your full article. My problem in discussing these issues with those less well informed, or more disinformed than I am, is that I get emotional, and this turns them off, and they criticize me for being “emotional”. I AM passionate about these issues of the life and death of my human culture! Their lack of feelings about the atrocities committed by our nation is one of the problems that allows those crimes to continue. Their demands that I censor my own legitimate feelings only riles me up, and eventually deeply disappoints me even more. What do you think, Caitlin. Should I suppress my feelings in interactions with others around these crucial issues?

    1. A poem I wrote:

      If you don’t hurt
      you may be sicker
      than you think

      If you don’t cry
      your heart
      may be frozen

      If you have not screamed yet
      your sanity
      has become a disease

    2. Mike K, I fully understand, I used to do that too, hard not to but it ended up with hurt and hostile feelings on both sides and I certainly didn’t make a dent in my ‘opponent’s’ view. Then I met someone who had an entirely different approach and I was wowed. If you spend a bit of time on the internet you’ll find a lot of info about how to win an argument, how to present yourself, how to engage the other person etc. and how to get your point across. It’s something I think all of us who are committed to tackling dis/misinformation should be familiar with.

    3. Showing emotion is what healthy humans do. Just don’t confuse showing emotion with making emotional arguments; we still have to use facts and logic, which is another thing healthy humans do.

  31. I think the most crucial point is to make sure you are in possession of the facts and, if possible, know how/why the other party has come to the belief they have.

    It is crucial to take the gentle approach. There is research suggesting that brow-beating or arguing can just make the other person cling more strongly to their erroneous belief. And it can lose you friends and, thus, the opportunity to put someone straight if you have the facts to show that they are barking up the wrong tree.

    1. The SNL cold open with Assange in prison was barbaric. Please push back on that.

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