Here’s what you need to know about the United States: it’s a lie.
All of those things we say we believe in, like individual liberty, the Bill of Rights, capitalism….the vast majority support them conditionally, at best.
This haphazard adherence to basic civil liberties has been on full display recently as the Right and the Left seem to be in some kind of a race to see who can do the most damage to the First Amendment and principles of free speech.
But while the Left works to implement dystopian “disinformation boards” and the Right passes laws giving states the authority to govern content moderation practices, the most egregious infraction against free speech continues to be carried out mostly behind the scenes. And, there are those on both the Right and the Left who avidly support this injustice.
I’m talking about the case of Julian Assange. And it’s urgent we bring his story back to the surface given the fact that the UK, where he has spent the past couple of years as (at times) a political refugee and (at times) a political prisoner, just agreed to extradite him to the US. The US government has been working diligently for this result for some time. Once here, he would face 17 charges of espionage and 1 count of computer misuse.
For those who need a refresher on the case, and especially for those who may have received bad information on the merits of it, here’s a recap.
Julian Assange is a journalist of Australian descent. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006. In 2010, Assange was approached by a US Army Intelligence Analyst, Chelsea Manning, who was deflecting from her position in the military to blow the whistle on war crimes she had witnessed and/or uncovered in the Iraq war.
Assange worked with Manning to publish the material and bring it to the attention of the American people—precisely what a journalist should be doing, shining a light on the innerworkings of government and helping the people hold their representatives accountable.
In the leaks, he revealed things like the Baghdad airstrike “Collateral Murder” video, which documented US soldiers murdering civilians and journalists and laughing about it. He also released the Afghanistan War Logs and the Iraq War Logs, which provided more proof of our war crimes and of the prevailing internal knowledge that these wars were failing (despite the propaganda being fed to the US public).
Enemies of Assange will try to claim that he endangered our military and our operations overseas by releasing classified information. But this camp has not put forth a single shred of evidence that would back that up.
Rather, what Assange actually did was provide the public with the real information on their government’s activities and turned the sentiment of the American people against the endless War on Terror. And it is this latter fact that his enemies really cannot abide by, because war is their lifeblood.
What you need to know is that, no matter what politicians tell you, war is the common thread that binds them together behind the scenes in DC. They use war to pad their own pockets and the pockets of their friends, they use it to emotionally manipulate the American people into giving them more power, and they use it to override the Constitution in ways that wouldn’t fly under normal circumstances.
And, as a whole, the mainstream media is complicit in this scheme. They rarely provide actual investigative journalism into our numerous conflicts, they fail to keep the American people appraised of our overseas involvements, and at most, they typically trot out the talking points they got from politicians and their offices when they do have to cover war.
Julian Assange fired a powerful shot into the military industrial complex and they will never forgive him for it. That’s why to this day we are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and government resources trying to bring him here for a shoddy trial for the high crime of simply telling the truth.
These are the very actions our First Amendment is supposed to protect. That the government is not only going after someone for telling the truth, but going after a journalist and also attacking the freedom of the press in doing so is a gross violation of our constitution.
Julian Assange should be a free man, at the very least. If the world were sane he’d be a decorated celebrity praised for his courage and work to protect human rights. All Americans should be outraged at the treatment he has received, and concerned for his well-being should he be extradited to the US.
Our criminal justice system is a sham that’s overrun with corruption. There is no reason to think Assange would receive anything close to a fair trial in the US and every reason to believe his life will be in real danger should he end up here. It’s time for the American people to intervene and demand our government cease its persecution of Assange and actually adhere to the First Amendment.
No matter how you feel about Assange or the wars, supporting civil liberties means supporting them all the time—even for those you may dislike. Should you not, it will quickly be you on the chopping block in short order.