HomeArticleAssange Is Doing His Most Important Work Yet

Assange Is Doing His Most Important Work Yet

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British Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorized the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to be tried under the Espionage Act in a case which seeks to set a legal precedent for the prosecution of any publisher or journalist, anywhere in the world, who reports inconvenient truths about the US empire.

Assange’s legal team will appeal the decision, reportedly with arguments that will include the fact that the CIA spied on him and plotted his assassination.

“It will likely be a few days before the (14-day appeal) deadline and the appeal will include new information that we weren’t able to bring before the courts previously. Information on how Julian lawyers were spied on, and how there were plots to kidnap and kill Julian from within the CIA,” Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton told Reuters on Friday.

And thank goodness. Assange’s willingness to resist Washington’s extradition attempts benefit us all, from his taking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 until British police forcibly dragged him out in 2019, to his fighting US prosecutors in the courtroom tooth and claw during his incarceration in Belmarsh Prison.

Assange’s fight against US extradition benefits us not just because the empire’s war against truth harms our entire species and not just because he cannot receive a fair trial under the Espionage Act, but because his refusal to bow down and submit forces the empire to overextend itself into the light and show us all what it’s really made of.

Washington, London and Canberra are colluding to imprison a journalist for telling the truth: the first with its active extradition attempts, the second with its loyal facilitation of those attempts, and the third with its silent complicity in allowing an Australian journalist to be locked up and persecuted for engaging in the practice of journalism. By refusing to lie down and forcing them to come after him, Assange has exposed some harsh realities of which the public has largely been kept unaware.

The fact that London and Canberra are complying so obsequiously with Washington’s agendas, even while their own mainstream media outlets decry the extradition and even while all major human rights and press freedom watchdog groups in the western world say Assange must go free, shows that these are not separate sovereign nations but member states of a single globe-spanning empire centralized around the US government. Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more attention is being brought to this reality.

By standing his ground and fighting them, Assange has also exposed the lie that the so-called free democracies of the western world support the free press and defend human rights. The US, UK and Australia are colluding to extradite a journalist for exposing the truth even as they claim to oppose tyranny and autocracy, even as they claim to support world press freedoms, and even as they loudly decry the dangers of government-sponsored disinformation.

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, it will always reek of hypocrisy when US presidents like Joe Biden say things like, “The free press is not the enemy of the people — far from it. At your best, you’re guardians of the truth.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, people will always know British prime ministers like Boris Johnson are lying when they say things like, “Media organisations should feel free to bring important facts into the public domain.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more of us will understand that they are being deceived and manipulated when Australian prime ministers like Anthony Albanese say things like “We need to protect press freedom in law and ensure every Australian can have their voice heard,” and “Don’t prosecute journalists for just doing their jobs.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, US secretaries of state like Antony Blinken will have a much harder time selling their schtick when they say things like “On World Press Freedom Day, the United States continues to advocate for press freedom, the safety of journalists worldwide, and access to information on and offline. A free and independent press ensures the public has access to information. Knowledge is power.”

Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, UK home secretaries like Priti Patel will be seen for the frauds they are when they say things like “The safety of journalists is fundamental to our democracy.”

Extraditing a foreign journalist for exposing your war crimes is as tyrannical an agenda as you could possibly come up with. The US, UK and Australia colluding toward this end shows us that these are member states of a single empire whose only values are domination and control, and that all its posturing about human rights is pure facade. Assange keeps exposing the true face of power.

There is in fact a strong argument to be made that even all these years after the 2010 leaks for which he is currently being prosecuted, Assange is doing his most important work yet. As important as his WikiLeaks publications were and are, none of them exposed the depravity of the empire as much as forcing them to look us in the eye and tell us they’ll extradite a journalist for telling the truth.

Assange accomplished this by planting his feet and saying “No,” even when every other possible option would have been easier and more pleasant. Even when it was hard. Even when it was terrifying. Even when it meant being locked away, silenced, smeared, hated, unable to fight back against his detractors, unable to live a normal life, unable to hold his children, unable even to feel sunlight on his face.

His very life casts light on all the areas where it is most sorely needed. We all owe this man a tremendous debt. The least we can do is try our best to get him free.

_______________

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Latest comments

  • It is totally counter-intuitive to me to believe that after effectively muzzling Assange for so long, the US will now provide him with a public trial, a grand forum to expose US criminality and its total abandonment of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech and press, not only for its own citizens but for any journalist in the world.

    In my opinion, Assange’s extradition is nothing more or less than a death sentence, not unlike Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The only difference will be the degree of sophistication by which it is carried out. The message will not be Assange’s, it will be the US declaration of what real journalists anywhere in the world can expect from the conscientious exercise of their profession.

  • On a positive note, at least the Chinese now have a high visibility precedent for when it starts to become necessary for them to control foreign media.

    They must be thankful, they play a longer game than the Brits.

  • Very lucid commentary on Assange and the value he is bringing to the world.

    As an aside, interesting comment by Blinken that the press provides access to information — but knowledge is power. The press doesn’t provide information, it provides access (i.e., the gatekeeper). But information is not knowledge, and the people having information is not the same as the powerful having knowledge.

  • History is full of people who sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Such people are looked kindly upon by historians. In the grand scheme however they make little difference. A few have some transitory impact but most not even that. These people have great personal purpose. It is their life’s work. They throw aside personal survival and ultimately pay the price for their actions. They run headlong toward destruction as humanity watches and admires them. They are a brief spark in the dull canvas of humanity.

    • ” In the grand scheme however they make little difference.” You mean like Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King? Sorry, looks like you missed the message.

  • While the Saudis get rid of unflattering journalists real quick, chop! chop! the Americans like best to drag out the suffering they inflict on their critics for many many years.

    • I always thought there was some merit to executing criminals right after the trial. Nice and tidy, low overhead. For everyone else hard labor without parole if jail time was imposed. Sure cuts down on repeat offenders.

      • OK, now I get it – journalists are criminals, suitable for speedy, “Nice and tidy” execution. Well at least you’ve allowed for a trial, a formality that Assange has been denied for the last three years. Less “overhead”, right?

  • Did I miss in this article the cowardly Austrialian government’s lack of defending one of its citizens?

    • Agree. Let’s hear some criticism of the Australian Government for doing NOTHING to support its Citizen Julian Assange.
      Is there not ONE single politician in Australia fighting for him?

      • What about “The US, UK and Australia are colluding”, “The fact that London and Canberra are complying so obsequiously with Washington’s agendas…”?
        Isn’t that a criticism of the Australian government?
        But as she wrote in another piece, Australia is just an American base with kangaroos. Politicians there don’t have any agency. “That fellow down under”, as Biden calls Scott Morrison, could shout “Free Assange” till he was blue in the face, it wouldn’t change a thing.
        He probably wouldn’t anyway or he wouldn’t be where he is, given that Australia has already had at least one US-backed regime change.
        But that’s irrelevant. The fact is that Assange is imprisoned in London and wanted in Washington.

        • I was not aware that Caitlin was running for office….

  • @John Knox: Hey, Jimmy Dore is talking to you!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVwRKGi33nA
    Ain’t that nice?

    • Does your husband know you’re following guys around on the internet?

      • See? That’s what vodka does to you. It’s terribly treacherous and provokes irreversible brain damage.

  • As Caitlin so often does, she’s provide an original and logical take on world events. This IS Assange’s most important work. Keep pounding home this point. Now getting more “mainstream” journalists to recognize this and then expound on these arguments might be a challenge.

  • Star Trek coined resistance is futile. Do you remember free Leonard Peltier? Imprisoning dissident heroes is a strategy to deflate resistance. It’s likely that Assange is going in the hole and soon the memory hole while history grinds along.

    • Star Trek TNG coined “resistance is futile”, Star Trek coined “I don’t believe in the no win scenario”. And with the internet nothing ever goes entirely down the memory hole, indeed the truth keeps accumulating. The cockroaches need to hurry up and scuttle while the shadows last.

  • You’re right up there with Greenwald.

    Assuming the UK stays the boot licking course it will be interesting to watch this shitstorm blow into America. I’ve long thought the US government’s real Achilles heel is that it’s so fucking stupid. They’re starting to give fiascos a bad name.

  • Truer words have never been spoken nor in a more moving way.

    The ridiculous vendetta of the Empire of Lies has turned Julian Assange from a whistle-blower – that, honestly, not many people cared about because not many care about the fuckeries of the PTB, wrapped as they are in a blanket judgement that them politicos are all sons of bitches, liars and profiteers anyway – into a Christlike figure (beautiful photo by the way).

    It’s surprising because politicians are generally reluctant to give crowds a martyr and will go to great lengths to avoid it. Plus, communities are generally inclined to resent the kid who denounces the pedophile priest more than the priest himself for whom they promptly find excuses (if you start kicking authority figures down their pedestals, what’s the world coming to?), so Julian Assange was doomed to remain a minor annoyance whose influence could have been further reduced through the standard operating procedures we see at work nowadays with a lot of outlets and citizens.

    But Attila Pompeo wouldn’t have even this. We must bear in mind here that a missile will fetch in the hundreds of Kbucks depending on its level of sophistication and this drips straight into the campaigns funds bucket. Can’t mess with that…

    As a result of this unhinged governmental torture, many people now, like in the last scene of Braveheart, would cry mercy for this modern William Wallace.

    A bridge too far is the traditional image but what the Us vs Them of the UKG – recently nabbed by the Yes, Prime Minister style unmasked scandals – are really showing the world is the ugly portrait of Dorian Gray after he sold his soul as they have.

    Of course, we can only feel unspeakably sorry for the excruciating pain of this crucifixion but it must also be acknowledged, on the bright side, that Amnesty International, who had shamelessly become the State Department’s tool providing human rights excuses to invade long targeted oil rich countries like Libya and Syria, kinda redeemed themselves a little by keeping Julian in the news day after day through ads asking for all charges to be dropped instead of throwing him under the bus as a lot of presstitutes did, which shows there’s a limit to extravagance.

    It’s unlikely to save him though. The bastards know that their whipping-boy having survived the Orwellian insanity they’ve put him through, all hell would break loose if he was released now.

    Pompeo, being the shameless lying, cheating and stealing motherfucker that we all know, didn’t realize the pickle he was putting his country in, considering that even a captured British judge, at the end of a kangaroo trial, concluded that if they sent the defendant to a US prison, he was as good as dead.

    Priti Patel, how do you sleep at night?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoJQAyrUHhA

  • What difference will it have made if “democracy” had been successfully subverted (or not) by Trump, if Biden’s negation of press freedom is a fait accompli?

    What is the meaning of elections held by an uninformed electorate?

    Why not have candidates for the highest office wear black bags over their heads if their true identity is not relevant to the people? How can a person stand for election while expecting to be hidden from a free press.

    The absence of freedom of the press is the freedom of the government to boldly lie, and is a crime itself against a free people.

    Without a free press government is merely a perverted American kabuki.

    I will not believe that decisions made by one president cannot be undone by another. That excuse will not fly and, if used, will be proof of unfitness for office.

    • “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Impeach Biden.

  • The most repulsive villains in the story of Julian Assange are all the people that pretend to be journalists that continue to collect paychecks from outlets that don’t support his freedom.

    I’ve often thought about the fact that Julian’s release would have been a good pr move for the empire but his imprisonment is so damning.

    And, we should never forget that Assange would have been released if he had been willing to give up his sources. He is truly fighting this case of his own free will because he is a fucking hero!

    • Well said, Brad,
      I well remember the nit-picking of our ABC and Peter Greste over Assange ‘not really being a journo’. They are truly lowlifes.
      There was an era when the Times and the BBC would not employ journalists as they lacked verisimilitude. ‘Gentlemen’ reported on world affairs – reporters being rather grubby people.

      I know what a journalist is and they, the MSM can shove their awards as far up themselves as they can. Assange IS a journalist and sets a standard far higher than most of the pretenders on the ABC, Fox, Murdoch can ever aspire to.

      cheers, mate.

  • Assange is a hero, and his heroism continues today. Thanks for so clearly reminding us. Let’s all do our part by reminding others of Julian’s courage and integrity.

  • yes, Assange’s struggle testifies the nature of the neoliberal globalism and zionism (they are the same, i know): domination and exploitation by tyranny and terror.

    the rest of us live on the fruits, called justice, peace, freedom, and democracy, of the tree that grows on blood and sweat of the martyrs before and around us. knowing is nothing without courage to act on it.

  • This is one of the most inspiring articles I have ever read about Julian Assange. Thank you Caitlin Johnstone!

    • Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.
      Thanks Caitlin Johnstone

  • Sad but true, just as Nelson Mandela brought to light the apartheid cruelty around the globe, something which garnered world opinion against the regime, Assange’s case exposes the centuries long hypocrisy of western so-called democracies to us all. Many former colonized communities know too well the oppression that the world is now being exposed to today. The West has never been anything but the bastion of atrocious oppression and a flagrant denial of fundamental human rights. Putin is right about these deluded self-appointed saviors of mankind who are nothing but wolves in sheep skins.

  • I know no one else who sees the big picture so clearly, and is able to paint that picture in words with such accuracy and clarity, as you do Caitlin. Thank you.✊

  • I’m on the edge of my seat wondering if the New York time will be arrested too.

    • Times

      • Freakin’ vodka.

        • So that’s what it was all along!
          Anyway, you’re vaccinated, that’s what counts :o)

          • That’s your big take on Assange? So much for all that “freedom” bullshit.

            • Reply up there for space

  • Julian is a hero of Australia and an Australian hero to the world.

  • Because he keeps standing up to them he exposed the fairy tale, that courtrooms bring justice.
    Who seriously believes these days, that “noone is above the law” and that judges are independent and that the same laws apply to everyone?
    How can there even be any legal fees in trials that aren’t about money?
    How is this not rigged to prevent non-rich people from ever taking matters that far?

    FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!

  • Anyone who is either British,American or Australian as well as others in the western world have much to be ashamed of, perhaps now those who still possess a intact mind can see what their countries truly are .

  • Good human beings can just be found in mythology and eventually in Museums of Natural History side by side with dinosaurs. It seems all criminals are in power being elected by criminal citizens perpetuating that infamous inverted silver lining”protecting our way of living” free from the truth.

  • By publishing the very papers these criminals and war criminals authored, Julian Assange used their own words against them. They were the ones who committed the crimes. Assange only published their self-incriminating words.

    How is that a crime on Julian Assange’s part…??? He only published their words!!!

    This is analogous to publishing the Pentagon Papers when Alaska’s Senator Mike Gravel put them into the Congressional Record and Beacon Press published the Pentagon Papers in book form. See Gravel talking about how the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record in this very funny video from July 2, 2007:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ks8hz5Ulg (ignore the first thirteen seconds talking about the previous part of the show). He mentions the SCOTUS decision toward the end (which one could apply to the case against Assange now).

  • “Without a Free Press, there can be No Democracy”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • surviving is resistance

  • While the US Empire and its satellited do not want any of its dirty deeds to be shown on youtube, they use any means they can buy for the fiat money to spy on their own citizens.
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/04/25/how-democracies-spy-on-their-citizens

  • Not sure how it can even be legal to punish Assange for revealing the truth.
    Seems we have illegal laws.
    The purpose of the laws is to protect the bad guys.
    No amount of propaganda can hide that Biden and Johnson are idiots and that’s why they were put into their offices.

    • the worst criminals float to the top and write the laws, in the capitalist-imperialist-zionist (pardon redundancy) system.

  • We should suggest to Mr. Putin to offer a few of the US and UK mercenaries as a trade for Julian, that would present the “West” with real problem.

    • Especially since Russia is now home to Edward Snowden (and wife and son)…, and Biden’s handlers and the military-industrial complex corporations are in a proxy war in Ukraine with Russia.

      Cold war enthusiasts and Hot War promoters (including ignorant Nuclear War promoters) have a problem when they have to admit publishers and journalists and whistleblowers have more freedom in Russia than in the US.

      • Damned right.

    • Ha!

    • Russia has nothing to do with the persecution or defense or work of Julian. The moment VP took his side, Assange would be accused of being a Russian asset–just like they’ve accused Snowden. This case needs to be about press freedom, war crimes, inhumanity of the western empire, lies of empire and nothing else.

      • … and truth. And exactly at what point does the truth threaten national security and at what point does national security become an excuse for smothering the truth to cover up state crimes unwittingly funded by the voters/taxpayers to whom statesmen are constitutionally accountable? This is crucial.

        • Truth can only threaten national insecurity.
          As in “insecure empire of lies”.

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