The Guardian has published an editorial titled “The Guardian view on extraditing Julian Assange: don’t do it”, subtitled “The US case against the WikiLeaks founder is an assault on press freedom and the public’s right to know”. The publication’s editorial board argues that since the Swedish investigation has once again been dropped, the time is now to oppose US extradition for the WikiLeaks founder.

“Sweden’s decision to drop an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange has both illuminated the situation of the WikiLeaks founder and made it more pressing,” the editorial board writes.

Oh okay, now the issue is illuminated and pressing. Not two months ago, when Assange’s ridiculous bail sentence ended and he was still kept in prison explicitly and exclusively because of the US extradition request. Not six months ago, when the US government slammed Assange with 17 charges under the Espionage Act for publishing the Chelsea Manning leaks. Not seven months ago, when Assange was forcibly pried from the Ecuadorian embassy and slapped with the US extradition request. Not any time between his April arrest and his taking political asylum seven years ago, which the Ecuadorian government explicitly granted him because it believed there was a credible threat of US extradition. Not nine years ago when WikiLeaks was warning that the US government was scheming to extradite Assange and prosecute him under the Espionage Act.

Nope, no, any of those times would have been far too early for The Guardian to begin opposing US extradition for Assange with any degree of lucidity. They had to wait until Assange was already locked up in Belmarsh Prison and limping into extradition hearings supervised by looming US government officials. They had to wait until years and years of virulent mass media smear campaigns had killed off public support for Assange so he could be extradited with little or no grassroots backlash. And they had to wait until they themselves had finished participating in those smear campaigns.

This is after all the same Guardian which published the transparently ridiculous and completely invalidated report that Trump lackey Paul Manafort had met secretly with Assange at the embassy, not once but multiple times. Not one shred of evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this claim despite the embassy being one of the most heavily surveilled buildings on the planet at the time, and the Robert Mueller investigation, whose expansive scope would obviously have included such meetings, reported absolutely nothing to corroborate it. It was a bogus story which all accused parties have forcefully denied.

This is the same Guardian which ran an article last year titled “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride”, arguing that Assange looked ridiculous for remaining in the embassy because “The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US”. The article was authored by the odious James Ball, who deleted a tweet not long ago complaining about the existence of UN special rapporteurs after one of them concluded that Assange is a victim of psychological torture. Ball’s article begins, “According to Debrett’s, the arbiters of etiquette since 1769: ‘Visitors, like fish, stink in three days.’ Given this, it’s difficult to imagine what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like, more than five-and-a-half years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the small flat in Knightsbridge, just across the road from Harrods.”

This is the same Guardian which published an article titled “Definition of paranoia: supporters of Julian Assange”, arguing that Assange defenders are crazy conspiracy theorists for believing the US would try to extradite Assange because “Britain has a notoriously lax extradition treaty with the United States”, because “why would they bother to imprison him when he is making such a good job of discrediting himself?”, and “because there is no extradition request.”

This is the same Guardian which published a ludicrous report about Assange potentially receiving documents as part of a strange Nigel Farage/Donald Trump/Russia conspiracy, a claim based primarily on vague analysis by a single anonymous source described as a “highly placed contact with links to US intelligence”. The same Guardian which just flushed standard journalistic protocol down the toilet by reporting on Assange’s “ties to the Kremlin” (not a thing) without even bothering to use the word “alleged”, not once, but twice. The same Guardian which has been advancing many more virulent smears as documented in this article by The Canary titled “Guilty by innuendo: the Guardian campaign against Julian Assange that breaks all the rules”.

You can see, then, how ridiculous it is for an outlet like The Guardian to now attempt to wash its hands of Assange’s plight with a self-righteous denunciation of the Trump administration’s extradition request from its editorial board. This outlet has actively and forcefully paved the road to the situation in which Assange now finds himself by manufacturing consent for an agenda which the public would otherwise have found appalling and ferociously objectionable. Guardian editors don’t get to pretend that they are in some way separate from what’s being done to Assange. They created what’s being done to Assange.

You see this dynamic at play all too often from outlets, organizations and individuals who portray themselves as liberal, progressive, or in some way oppositional to authoritarianism. They happily advance propaganda narratives against governments and individuals targeted by establishment power structures, whether that’s Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, Maduro, Morales, Assange or whomever, but when it comes time for that establishment to actually implement the evil agenda it’s been pushing for, they wash their hands of it and decry what’s being done as though they’ve always opposed it.

But they haven’t opposed it. They’ve actively facilitated it. If you help promote smears and propaganda against a target of the empire, then you’re just as culpable for what happens to that target as the empire itself. Because you actively participated in making it happen.

The deployment of a bomb or missile doesn’t begin when a pilot pushes a button, it begins when propaganda narratives used to promote those operations start circulating in public attention. If you help circulate war propaganda, you’re as complicit as the one who pushes the button. The imprisonment of a journalist for exposing US war crimes doesn’t begin when the Trump administration extradites him to America, it begins when propagandistic smear campaigns begin circulating to kill public opposition to his imprisonment. If you helped promote that smear campaign, you’re just as responsible for what happens to him as the goon squad in Trump’s Department of Justice.

Before they launch missiles, they launch narratives. Before they drop bombs, they drop ideas. Before they invade, they propagandize. Before the killing, there is manipulation. Narrative control is the front line of all imperialist agendas, and it is therefore the front line of all anti-imperialist efforts. When you forcefully oppose these agendas, that matters, because you’re keeping the public from being propagandized into consenting to them. When you forcefully facilitate those agendas, that matters, because you’re actively paving the way for them.

Claiming you oppose an imperialist agenda while helping to advance its propaganda and smear campaigns in any way is a nonsensical and contradictory position. You cannot facilitate imperialism and simultaneously claim to oppose it.

They work so hard to manufacture our consent because they need that consent. If they operate without the consent of the governed, the public will quickly lose trust in their institutions, and at that point it’s not long before revolution begins to simmer. So don’t give them your consent. And for God’s sake don’t do anything that helps manufacture it in others.

Words matter. Work with them responsibly.


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44 responses to “Advancing Propaganda For Evil Agendas Is The Same As Perpetrating Them Yourself”

  1. Hey Caitlin, good writing, but one thing I want to say.

    […]Words matter. Work with them responsibly.[…]

    […]And for God’s sake don’t do anything that helps manufacture it in others.[…]

    Maybe you should pay more attention to your “own” words. Such phrases “for God’s sake” are common and slip out quickly to someone who doesn’t pay attention to them, but especially you shouldn’t find it so difficult to control them. Unless you are following an intention.

    Have a nice one!


  2. The “free press” is totally enslaved. The narrative controllers own the mainstream media, so this enslavement is to be expected. Yet somehow the vast majority of humanity still thinks they are not being played by media deception. Thankfully, Caitlin Johnstone paints humanity a clear picture here that makes it obvious. Unfortunately, the vast majority of humanity has yet to get the message. But thanks to Caitlin, and many of her readers, there is hope that this can change. Spread the word that there is critical knowledge here that is badly needed!

  3. What a brilliant insightful essay. I have seen the dynamic work on on some of the biggest so called liberal sites who were pushing the worst absolute propaganda about Syria/Russia but then claim Trump luanching missiles at them is wrong. These people don’t t understand that their pushing of propaganda gives imperialists the moral and intellectual backing for their regime wars. “Hey, see everybody thinks Assad was evil so okay to bomb the Syrian people”. It is like telling Joe that Mark has been saying horrid things about Joe’s mother. Joe then starts a fight with Mark and the person pushing the slander is just surprised that Joe would start a fight with Mark. This is why the liberal establishment hates Tulsi–she refuses to go along with these narratives which I believe she knows leads to the second step of justifying war. Article really articulated for me this dynamic.

  4. Peter in Seattle Avatar
    Peter in Seattle

    The Guardian is probably my main source of news and opinion … for opposition research on the Five Eyes. It’s a birdcage-liner, and I don’t have a bird.

    I’m glad Caitlin gave a shout-out to the Canary. Back in 2017, the Canary linked me to this great collection of Guardian headlines smearing Jeremy Corbyn:

    That’s Britain’s “left of center” newspaper of record, for ya– the paper that was founded in response to the Peterloo Massacre and that today would probably admonish the demonstrators for being unrealistic and petulant. When I checked out the Guardian’s board of directors several years ago, it was heavily dominated by City of London bankers and captains of industry. I think they’ve rejiggered the board since then to make it a little less obvious who’s calling the shots, but the paper’s editorial policy doesn’t seem to have changed. (Plus, although I can’t prove it, the Guardian appears to be in bed with GCHQ, and not wearing pajamas.)

  5. Candles4Assange
    – NZ Wellingtn 15:30
    – AU Sydney 14:30
    – AU Alice Springs 14:30
    – AU Brisbane Parliam’t 18:30
    – AU Adelaide Parliam’t 17:00
    – DE BrandenburgTor 18:00
    – AU Melbourne @Library_Vic 18:30
    – UK TrafalgarSq
    – AU Melbourne 14:30
    – US #HappyBdayChelsea
    24FEB 2020
    – UK Belmarsh 09:30 @DEAcampaign

    1. Good images with quotes to share:
      Truth – Julian Assange
      Truth – Julian Assange – Chris Hedges
      Truth – Julian Assange – This is about you

  6. The international intelligence community apparently provides for official and approved media biases. The Guardian as herein discussed may easily be categorized as wearing the same genital lock box in this respect as (say, for instance) our friends at CNN. As devil’s advocate, however, I might suggest that if Mr. J.A. were to be simply released from what can easily be imagined as “protective custody”, there are truly evil forces at large which would happily do him harm if given the chance to do so. If so, speculation would run rampant on the one hand while the world is awaiting the full release of whatever “insurance policy” Mr. J.A. was intelligent enough to stash away. That said, if he checks into the same federal facility as Mr. J.E. did… all bets are off. “Some pray, others prey”

  7. Brilliant takedown of this odious rag, thank you.
    Again refer to Operation Mockingbird, or refer to Udo Ulfkotte and his revelations that German Intelligence wrote numerous stories published in his name, and that other stories (from the Iraq – Iran War for example) were faked.
    Perhaps you could do a takedown of the Sydney Morning Herald and the fully fledged presstitute Nick Miller in his revolting ‘Assange Hasn’t Been Vindicated’ hit peice a couple days ago.
    I have no idea why I’m surprised by any of this. I read ‘Manufacturing Consent’ over 20 years ago, I know about Iraq WMD, as we all do, many other examples.
    Perhaps its because they’re being so In Your Face blatant about their service to the Empire. And that a lot of people actually believe these bastards.

  8. Defendents at the post-WW2 Nuremberg Trials considering the crimes of the Nazi’s included at least 2 who’s crime was to “promote the evil propaganda” of that regime.
    -Julius Streicher, publisher of “Der Sturmer”
    -Hans Fritzsche, described as “Goebbels’ velvet-voiced radio mouthpiece”
    And that’s only in the first trial of the bigwigs that I could easily find. I believe there were other trials beyond this first group of 21 war criminals.
    There has thus been prosecutions for advancing the propaganda for an evil agenda.

  9. Another outstanding piece by Caitlin. I try not to clutter the comments by posting “another outstanding piece” every time, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve missed any in the past two years or so, and there’s not a loser in the bunch.

    My response to the new Guardian piece was sputtering indignation. I truly envy Caitlin’s brain, that she can remember or keep track of so many facts and their links, and explain them every time in a logical and clear way, immediately when something needs a response, when I imagine she’s as upset as I am or more.

  10. The Guardian likely determined that it’s late enough in the game that Julian WILL be extradited regardless of what they publish, and thereby safe for them to sanctify their image.

  11. The Guardian became a servant of Empire and lost all credibility long ago. They can’t hope to reclaim it with this pitiful ploy. The people who work there today are all Judas, selling their souls for 30 pieces of silver.

    The real journalists are people like Caitlin who see through the propaganda and speak truth to power on a daily basis. Day by day this matters more and more, because people are waking up. We need a sea-change in human consciousness if humanity is to survive. Turn off the TV, don’t feed the beast, and keep fightin’!

    1. Caitlin is the best, Skip. I’ll be reading her here from now on as CN has become as arrogant as the Guardian and has allowed me no input for weeks, not even the courtesy of a moderation–just straight to the spam file, I guess. You know, I like it even less when “my side” acts badly, than when the “bad guys” do so. Let them know they’re blowing it by clearly suppressing articulate reasoned opinion and analysis. The evidence is that comments are now down to a fraction of what they once were over there. I don’t get it.

      1. Peter in Seattle Avatar
        Peter in Seattle

        @Realist: Are you referring to Consortium News? I’ve had a couple/few comments spiked there, too, and I couldn’t figure out why. My best guess is that they weren’t narrowly enough “on topic,” although they were always relevant. Another possibility is that they were too long, which is kind of a double bind: Consortium News officially rejects comments containing allegations/statements unsupported by fact, but if you provide citations, examples, and reasoning for everything you say, your comments quickly become unmanageably long. A final explanation is that they simply want to limit the total number of comments per article — whether for technical reasons or to avoid dilution by “lower-quality comments,” I don’t know. So far, I haven’t inferred an overtly imperious and arbitrary policy from the few times I’ve been spiked, but I’ll be paying attention.

      2. Peter in Seattle Avatar
        Peter in Seattle

        @Realist: A quick follow-up:
        Consortium News outsources its spam filtering to Askimet, which is a sister company to WordPress. I don’t know whether Askimet has added politically subjective filters the way Google has with its search-results rankings, but I am aware of at least one leftish dissident blog that WordPress took down without notice or justification. (I miss that particular blog for one reason: it was the only source for an extensive backgrounder on tactically self-reinvented “progressive” congressman Ro Khanna. And no, it didn’t get archived in the Wayback Machine: I checked. Khanna continues to pull the wool over progressives’ eyes to this day.)
        For smaller operations especially, dealing with spam and trolls in comments sections can be a huge, time-sucking burden, so it’s not surprising that some outsource their spam filtering or even their entire comments sections to big third-party outfits. The problem arises when those big third-party outfits start to censor comments for more than just spamming and trolling. At that point, I suppose the site should really find a more neutral third party to outsource to … but I expect the options are pretty limited and that it may be a case of jumping from one frying pan into another. I guess the most we can do as commenters is to try to intuit what hidden filters we are up against and do our best to frame what we say in a manner that doesn’t trigger them.

  12. International public protests and campaigns by journalistic unions and societies, as well as UN bodies, must demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.

    His principled, fearless journalism literally changed the world and how we understand it. Wikileaks and courageous whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden shone a critical light on the crimes committed by Washington and its NATO allies. Citizens all around the world have been empowered by the exposure of hypocrisy, deceit and corruption. Assange et al exposed the emperor with no clothes.

    This is much bigger than the individual fate of Julian Assange, as deadly serious as that may be. Independent journalism, freedom of expression, truth and justice for everyone is at stake.

    Peruse the entire article here:

  13. The ” Evil Empire ” has shills and lackeys all over the place kissing its rear end daily. How do these people look at themselves in a mirror and not vomit?

    1. Are you kidding? They see themselves as the beautiful enlightened people.

  14. As always, brilliant presentation of reality. How can you cope with having such a deep depressing understanding? Surely there is no answer to all this. The smart / greedy are not smart enough to see that the looming disaster is going to affect them too. The outcome of the French revolution: Emperor Napoleon and more mayhem. Sorry to be so depressing, thanks for keeping the candle of sanity burning….xx Karl M.

  15. they were great at one time…they lived off that for a long while…and then they broke themselves stupid

  16. Caitlin, thank you very much for this long overdue reckoning with this self-professed “progressive”” news outlet.
    I had to vomit after hearing Rusbridger in that ABC TV interview, what a creep.
    Thanks again, and cheers.

    1. I’ve been going there to see Brexit reports. As the Election gets underway, I’m convinced they are really Tory supporters. They manage to put Boris on the top of their page with everything he says, while usually ignoring Corbyn. They cover Corbyn’s big events, but they don’t follow him and report every word he says in every fake factory visit like they do with both Boris and Farange. But anyone who says they don’t like Corbyn and his For the Many, Not the Few campaigns is also feted and promoted to the top of the page.
      I view The Guardian as The Tony Blair News, so I take from this that the Blarite, For the Few faction of Labour actually prefers Boris as the PM for the next five years. Yeah, real progressive!

  17. Caitlin, everyone who followed the Assange case since it started in late 2011was aware that he always had the odds and the imperium against him. The Guardian’s distasteful “comment is free” comment is just a ridiculous effort to try to balance the reporting of the outlet. Even in the comment you mention at the top, there are plenty of disproven statements: e-mails hacked by Russians, rightful allegations by Swedish investigating authorities, etc.
    No, The Guardian is not worth any more eyeballs and truly disgusting.

    We must fight and pray for Assange!

  18. I love you, Caitlin. The Guardian has again proven itself to be an ass-kissing’ rag!

  19. At CO2 levels of 280ppm plant growth is significantly reduced.At CO2 levels of 180ppm expect an extinction event.The current level of 440ppm is driving catastrophic climate change to the point that now global warming is causing global cooling.The fraudulent AGW narrative is running out of “steam”.

    1. I remember when someone started an organization called because the world was hurtling towards that milestone and they wanted to try to organize against it. If that was a glass ceiling, there’s now a lot of broken glass.
      And the really bad news is, just pulling back on emissions a bit won’t fix it. Just stopping the growth requires getting back to a point of balance where what we put into the atmosphere matches what comes back out. Judging from the graph of rising CO2 measurements, humans passed that point a century or so ago.
      If we ever want to see us cool back down just to where we are today, we have to cut emissions so low that the rate that the gasses come out of the atmosphere exceeds what we put in.
      And this in a world which is becoming so hot and dry that fires burn up the vegetation and that both puts more CO2 into the air and decreases nature’s ability to remove it. As the philosopher Scooby would say …. “Rut-Rrro”

    2. You are kidding right. Dont you understand that the elites started up this climate change farce so everyone would stop caring about clean air and clean water. Those things cost them money. Now its climate change they can tax and make money. Anyone who has any sense will look back in history and realize we do not influence the climate unless we start dropping nuclear bombs. A good volcano easily surpasses man’s ability to emit CO2. Climate change enthusiasts have sucked in the propaganda and been diverted from true environmental causes.

      1. Surely these outmoded bots have been replaced by now?

      2. more horsecrap from fossil fuel industry shills.

  20. Support for Julian seems to be building.The Australian government aren’t prepared to defend their journalist son but a group of 11 politicians led by Andrew Wilkie MP have taken a stand .This is the statement the Presiding Officers approved when the group was formed.
    “The group will provide a forum for the members to meet and interact with each other and relevant stakeholders on matters relating to bringing Julian Assange home to Australia.”
    The group has its first meeting on Monday 25th November at which the work plan will be determined in more detail.

    1. Pleased to hear that the group still exists but it was at 11 members when I read about it a few weeks ago. As for their statement, ‘the group will provide a forum for the members to meet and interact …’ – oh dear, hackneyed formulaic say-nothing words which often precede do-nothing resolutions. Hope I’m wrong, time is running out for Julian if it hasn’t already.

  21. “US Intelligence” is an oxymoron.

    1. back before Holywood got all their scripts CIA-approved ….
      M.A.S.H – A Smattering of Intelligence

  22. Joe Van Steenbergen Avatar
    Joe Van Steenbergen

    No one can call out hypocrisy as well and eloquently as Caitlin; her work continues to be the only work I read diligently.

  23. I, for one, welcome The Guardian’s change of heart. I know how they participated in his incarceration, and it is true that they no longer can be considered a true news outlet…more a propaganda outlet. But if just one person reads this and changes their mind, It’s worth it. Truth struggles to be set free and so does Assange!

  24. Charles Andrew Robinson Avatar
    Charles Andrew Robinson

    Yeah, like the way too pervasive, chicken little, climate change hysterics have been festering. It’s the sun in my estimation. A mini- ice age or a real ice age is coming, me also thinks. So, an agroponics garden for when the growing season and the sunshine is less abundant seems to be a more prudent plan rather than finding higher ground. Get your arcs ready, tee hee.

    1. I tend to agree … therefore the desperation to take over the Middle East. Last time most of the US was under a couple of miles of ice.
      Don’t discount HAARP though … they’re doing weird stuff with that …

    2. speaking of festering, no thread is complete without some idiot or shill parroting the propaganda points the fossil fuel companies deny in public and pay for in private. in your estimation, sure, let’s just ignore the royal society and believe an anonymous commenter on the internet.

      1. Believe what you like … still a freedom we can enjoy. For a while anyway. But beware of consensus of those with a lot to gain and nothing to lose.

        1. “Believe what you like … still a freedom we can enjoy.”

          One should try and believe what one can sincerely say is, given thorough investigation, true. You can’t decide to believe, though you can wishfully think you believe something simply because you won’t do the hard work, and it plays into your fantasy life. And the temptation is especially strong, it seems, when the fantasy is one of escape from self-created real disaster.

          1. Teach someone a lie and it is near impossible to convince them of the truth. Facts dont matter just the propaganda they were taught to believe.

            1. you’ve swallowed the lies of the fossil fuel industry. the lies you regurgitate prove that

        2. i beware the consensus of shills that are spouting corporate propaganda, whether it’s from an ad campaign to claim tobacco is safe or the successor to that campaign, that science is a plot. one of the richest industries on earth indeed has a “lot to lose”.

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