You wouldn’t know it from any western mass media reporting as of this writing, but musician Roger Waters is about to perform the iconic Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” in front of the office of British Home Secretary Priti Patel in order to draw attention to the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Earlier this year, billionaire Richard Branson staged a “Live Aid”-stye concert in Colombia near the Venezuela border with the purported goal of helping the Venezuelan people. In reality the stunt was nothing other than a ploy to advance the entirely false narratives that President Maduro was blockading bridges and turning away all foreign aid, and the funds raised ended up being embezzled by the Trump-backed regime change opposition group led by US puppet Juan Guaido. The British mass media, however, went absolutely bananas over the story. Each word in this sentence is hyperlinked to a different story about the concert from mass media outlets in the UK alone. And that was a concert on the other side of the planet, while the Assange event is happening right in London, in front of the office of a prominent British official, featuring one of the greatest British rock musicians of all time.

This discrepancy tells you everything you need to know about the so-called “free press” in western society, and indeed about western society itself.

A society is only as free as its most troublesome political dissident, which today means that you are only as free as Julian Assange. As long as you live in a society which can give rise to a coordinated multi-governmental campaign to lock up a journalist for the rest of his life based on bogus charges because he exposed US war crimes, you are not free, and you should not agree to pretend that you are.

The old saying “actions speak louder than words” resonates with people because words can lie while actions cannot. And while the millionaire pundits of the billionaire media continually assure us with their words that we live in a free society, the actions of the people who wield official and unofficial power over us tell us that we actually live in a society which tortures and imprisons dissident journalists for telling inconvenient truths.

The persecution of Julian Assange tells us so much more about our society than the authorized narratives we’re sold:

The persecution of Julian Assange tells us about the real function of the mass media. The discrepancy between the news media coverage of the Assange benefit event and Richard Branson’s regime change propaganda party are just one of many, many examples we could discuss about the way those outlets reliably slant their coverage in favor of agendas which just so happen to align with the interests of the CIA and the US State Department. Every time Assange’s plight makes headlines, social media lights up with ambitious blue-checkmarked media aspirants posting snarky quips about him in an attempt to show the operators of the billionaire media just how far they’ll go to defend the status quo. We are told with words that the mass media are here to tell us the truth about what’s going on in the world, but we are told with actions the exact opposite.

The persecution of Julian Assange tells us about the mechanics of empire. Assange was pried out of the embassy and imprisoned by an extremely obvious collaboration between the US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador, and Australia, yet they each pretended that they were acting as separate, sovereign nations completely independently of one another. Sweden pretended it was deeply concerned about rape allegations, the UK pretended it was deeply concerned about a bail violation, Ecuador pretended it was deeply concerned about skateboarding and embassy cat hygiene, the US pretended it was deeply concerned about the particulars of the way Assange helped Chelsea Manning cover her tracks, Australia pretended it was too deeply concerned about honoring the sovereign affairs of these other countries to intervene on behalf of its citizen, and it all converged in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for publishing facts. You see this same dynamic constantly, whether it’s with military interventions, trade deals, or narrative-shaping campaigns against non-aligned governments.

The persecution of Julian Assange tells us about the kind of society we actually live in. We are inundated from early childhood with feel-good slogans about freedom and democracy, which we are told must be spread to everyone on earth as forcefully as necessary even if we have to kill every last one of them. In reality we live in a society made of lies and led by liars, who violently persecute anyone who exposes the truth. These people are your oppressors. These people are your prison wardens. Their sneering faces tell you that you are free from behind prison bars, and that they’ll end you if you disagree.

This is going to have to change.


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. 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. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

43 responses to “A Society Is Only As Free As Its Most Troublesome Political Dissident”


    Posthumanism is a philosophical perspective of how change is enacted in the world.
    As a conceptualization and historicization of both agency and the “human,” it is different
    from those conceived through humanism.

  2. Great quote on mass media of our time being that of the “millionaire pundits of billionaire media”.

  3. As long as we have sociopaths for leaders, nothing will change. It’s an ugly truth — disheartening, discouraging, and discomforting. But it is the truth, and until we face it, we will remain the slave class in their system. We will work for their money, we will service their desires, we will grow their food, and we will fight and die in their wars.

  4. When I click to try to share on FB, this is what comes up immediately:
    “Sorry, something went wrong.
    We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.”
    However, when I copy and pasted the url for this post (another great one, Caitlin!), it does seem to post.

    1. Thank you to Roger Waters for his initiative.

      But where are other artists?

      Where is Bono? Where is Paul McCartney? Where is Cliff Richard and where are all the others?

      Notice that I like the above guys as singers but I should like them to be more engaged on that subject.

      And I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus, which return according to many prophecies could be any day now.

      1. Bono, at least, is the exact opposite of Roger Waters. He’s been a pro-empire shill for decades now. Never met a neo-colonial project in Africa he didn’t like.

  5. Probably one of the most serious article I have read so far.

    We have to pray the Holy Rosary with great fervor because it seems that God Himself have seen enough:

    We seem to be in very serious trouble. The world cannot operates continually in lies. No doubt the Second Coming of Jesus is very near.

  6. “If wars can be started by lies,
    peace can be started by truth.”
    — Julian Assange

  7. check out, get inspired, and share it with everyone!

  8. Will the people of these United States ever demand that the biggest ” false flag event in history ” be made public knowledge? I doubt it. People that where there when it happened know that the whole thing was a planned demolition of major proportions; but they are labelled crazy. The public remains in a coma:

    1. I also doubt it because since 9/11 they have been faithfully voting for mainstream billionaires establishment political parties which, I think, is not a very good thing for their eternal salvation.

      The thing to do would have been to do not vote at all or, if you vote, vote for independent candidates without any affiliation to known establishment political parties.

      I am totally fed up. We are in the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus which could be any day now.

      We have to be ready by praying the Rosary.

  9. The third tool of discipline or technique of dealing with the pain of problem-solving, which must continually be employed if our lives are to be healthy and our spirits are to grow, is dedication to the truth. Superficially, this should be obvious. For truth is reality. That which is false is unreal. The more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world — the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misconceptions and illusions — the less able we will be to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions. Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost.– M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled [1978]

  10. Our political and financial elites will soon celebrate (september 11th) the 18th anniversary of their great success story (9/11).

    It tells a lot about the society in which we are living, a society where when the elites tell us that there were wreckages of airplanes in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on 9/11, even if there were none at all to be seen, everybody has to believe it.

    We can say this of Roger Waters: from music star to sainthood.

    Being an Englishman, Waters follows the example of his fellow countryman Thomas More in his own times.

    Fortunately, many prophecies are telling us that the Second Coming of Jesus can be any day now and I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus because I am fed up and I have really really seen enough bullshit.

  11. Beautiful slice of truth Caitlin. You are the best.

  12. Twitter link is kaput – I can’t retweet your pieces.

    Or is that because you blocked me for getting bored with just one of your pieces?

  13. Funny that Fascistbook won’t let me share this.

  14. Is interrogation a part of Assange’s imprisonment? I’ve seen no mention of it, and I pay as close attention as possible. His visible physical deterioration recalls Winston Smith. Nils Melzer says he’s tortured. John Pilger says he’s medicated. Gabriel (his brother) says he’s lost his smile. “Maximum security” couldn’t keep Jeffrey Epstein alive. I’m afraid Julian is going to die in HMP Belmarsh. Imagine the glee of everyone who demanded reverence for John McCain, George H.W. Bush, and David Koch; while in the same breath acknowledging their crimes against humanity.

  15. I’m sure if we vote in a Democrat for president next time all will be well. Jeffery Dahmer only killed seventeen people, and he ate what he killed.

  16. Here’s an interesting piece of the jigsaw – Origins of the Five Eyes and Fake News

  17. Excellent Caitlin! One of your best. It is clarion calls like this that are vitally necessary to wake up people before we all sleepwalk into military/police dictatorships and a third, and final, World War fought with nuclear weapons. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are class war political prisoners, victims of utterly ruthless US imperialists, and their venal lackeys.

    But all those interested in stopping militarism, dictatorship, and the ever-increasing power and wealth of the tiny fraction of the world’s population that holds sway over the vast majority, must ally themselves with the working class, the only force on earth that can stop the plutocracy in its tracks.

    The struggle to build Revolutionary Socialist Parties, based upon the working class, is the most important struggle of all. A credible, cogent, and Socialist alternative must be posed to the brutality, barbarism, and corruption of the capitalist order to mobilise the masses in support of a Socialist transformation of society.

    This is the only way to stop the rise of the far-right and fascism, and to protect humanity from the extinction that awaits if the lunatics who have taken over the asylum – Trump, Bolton, Pompeo, Johnson et al – are not stopped by mass uprisings of the kind seen in France and in Hong Kong. The critical component which is missing in these mass uprisings is a Revolutionary Socialist Party of the Bolshevik type to lead the struggle to victory.

    The creation of such Parties in every country is the key task of our epoch.

  18. “This must change” Well indeed, it will change, just not yet, unfortunately. I believe only a major upheaval will have the effect we need. The planet needs it. Humans are now too committed to continuous destruction, only prompt upheaval will leave enough for a restart. The longer it lingers the more likely we are to totally crash with total chaos. just about everywhere.

  19. Apart from the good ole we are armed to the teeth hunt you down harvest your organs for pâté .
    We are just addicted to our ! There data usage welcome to the another form of slavery
    And we all know what they do with troublesome runaway slaves

  20. I need to send you information of an unusual type. No biggy here. No rush (many months). Nothing more!


  21. And this is why we need populist Movements, not faux populist politicians.

    The Yellow Vests also get no coverage (in USA, anyway).

  22. BDS!
    stop participating in the evil system, as long as it doesn’t kill you, as much as you can afford to.

  23. I don’t have a Twitter account, but when I go to look at Waters’ or Pilger’s tweets, it says I have blocked them.

    I can view other accounts without that message.

  24. The media run the intelligence agencies and not vice versa.The Imperial Press Union(now the Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust) established in 1909 and The Pilgrim Society are the control mechanisms of the globalists.Michael McKiibbon and Douglas Gabriel(American Intelligence Media) in their recent broadcast “British Lies and British Spies” present world shattering evidence on the origin of The Five Eyes and Fake News and more.

    China is working hard to be the most oppressive each day as is technologically possible.
    The Chinese Empire (called “China”) and the Western Empire are going into massive conflict.
    The best outcome I can see is global economic (not just financial) collapse, resulting in the fall of both imperial power structures, and the restructuring of economy to be constructive to life, not destructive to life.
    I’m working on the details. You can, too.

    The Democratic Presidential candidates who have been the most backed by billionaires have not been doing well in the polling thus far, and this fact greatly disturbs the billionaires. They know that the Democratic nominee will be chosen in the final round of primaries, and they have always wanted Pete Buttigieg to be in that final round. Therefore, they have backed him more than any of the other candidates. But what worries them now is that his opponent in that round might turn out to be Bernie Sanders, whom they all consider to be their nemesis. They want to avoid this outcome, at all costs. And they might have found a way to do it: Elizabeth Warren.​..
    ​ Her record in the US Senate is consistently in support of US invasions, coups, and sanctions against countries that have never invaded nor even threatened to invade the US, such as Venezuela, Palestine, Syria, and Iran; she’s 100% a neocon (just like G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump were/are); and, to billionaires, that is even more important than her policy-record regarding Wall Street is, because the Military Industrial Complex, which she represents, is even more important to enforcing and spreading the US megacorporate empire than the investment-firms are.

  26. So, so you think you can tell
    Heaven from Hell
    Blue skies from pain
    Can you tell a green field
    From a cold steel rail
    A smile from a veil
    Do you think you can tell?

    Did they get you to trade
    Your heroes for ghosts
    Hot ashes for trees
    Hot air for a cool breeze
    Cold comfort for change
    Did you exchange
    A walk-on part in the war
    For a lead role in a cage?

    How I wish, how I wish you were here
    We’re just two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl
    Year after year
    Running over the same old ground
    What have we found?
    The same old fears
    Wish you were here

    –Roger Waters

    1. I think the physicists are right about time not really existing in the way we believe it does. A young Roger Waters, over half a century ago in time as we perceive it, wrote those words, that he will perform in London. And yet they read as if they were specifically written special for Julian and this day. Amazing!

      1. changes in human conditions have been superficial, for most of us, most of the time… same struggle, in different names. BDS!

    2. Thanks for that. Hooray for Roger Waters! The more I learn about him, the more impressed I get.

  27. The lessons of manipulation by mass media have been well learned, and heavily applied, for decades and generations now. Few describe the gigantic mess they’ve made of the world as succinctly as you do. Kudos.

  28. Assange, Witness K, Bernard Collaery, ABC raids, Minister Dutton’s tough ‘love’.
    Why are you all so hysterical?
    why are all so worried?
    Why are you concerned about such troublemakers?
    The Ministry of Love really, really, really, does know what’s best for YOU.
    # %$@#@!

  29. Charles Robinson Avatar
    Charles Robinson

    For those who may not have seen this interview of John Pilger on RT it is worth the watch for a reality check.

  30. Powerfully written, Caitlin. Roger Waters is a hero. How many of his fellow musicians and stars in other fields are standing up for world peace and world freedom. So few heros, so many criminals and collaborators.

  31. Impeachment Now
    Representative Pelosi’s hesitancy to declare impeachment proceedings has now come to an end. The events that she was waiting for to unify the House of Representatives have occurred. Two major news stories have been released. Yesterday, at 5pm. on the corner of 57 St. and Fifth Avenue the President of the United States drew a revolver and killed a 55-year-old street vendor. After shooting the Vendor, the President entered his vehicle and drove away. Apparently, there were no Police in sight, and none following his limo. Pedestrians in the area had nothing to say to reporters.
    Just this morning, cable news has reported that at approximately 8am. while walking in the Rose Garden, the President approached one of the garden staff. Lilly, age 19, was tending to the roses. As she was bending over to mulch a plant, the President grabbed her crotch. Lilly smiled and left the garden. A photographer was nearby and took a photo of the touching.
    Representative Pelosi has confirmed each of the events, and as such she has called for an emergency meeting of the House of Representatives to commence the call for Impeachment. Rep. Pelosi stated just several minutes ago, “We cannot ignore the callousness of the President. Impeachment proceedings will proceed.”
    tom golden, 2019

    1. cites and links, please…..Johnstone links her claims. please do likewise. I already looked, and found nada…..did not even find this on alternate sites

    2. Trump was nowhere near NY yesterday. He was playing golf at his VA luxury golf course. Of course, the most unbelievable part of this is where it says Pelosi will call for impeachment.

  32. The government is bad. The government and its army and it’s other army of agents is heavily armed. Turn in your personal weapons and the government and its agents will “keep you safe”. Free Assange.

  33. Wow! Powerful piece that feels like a punch to the gut as it lays bare our pathetic predicament vis-à-vis the 1 percent. It’s all bait and switch with then as they distract the masses. Like a giant orchestration to prevent revolt through hypnotic daily crises that overwhelm the senses of most of us.

Leave a Reply