Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It’s true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it’s true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it’s true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.
Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I’m going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.
A British judge has rejected a US request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to America, ruling that such a move would be “oppressive” by reason of his mental health.The 49-year-old Australian has been charged in the US under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables.”I have decided that extradition would be oppressive and I order his discharge,” judge Vanessa Baraitser said in her ruling Monday.Despite ruling that Assange would be afforded a “fair trial” in the event of extradition to the United States, the judge considered that the “special administrative measures” Assange would most likely be held in would have a severe, negative impact on his mental health.Baraitser said Assange had “remained either severely or moderately clinically depressed,” throughout his stay at London’s Belmarsh prison and that he was now considered a suicide risk.She also said that the increased isolation he would face in detention in the US would further increase that risk, adding that Assange had the intellect to circumvent anti-suicidal measures that would be put in place.In her full ruling, published online, Baraitser wrote: “I accept that oppression as a bar to extradition requires a high threshold … However, I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder.””I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” she added.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard has called on President Donald Trump to pardon National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before he’s set to leave office on January 20, 2021.
The Hawaii Democrat took to Twitter to highlight her own video message from October 6 and suggested that Trump use his presidential pardon power to grant clemency to the men, both of whom have been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917.
US corporate media have buried coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in the UK, despite its being the media “Trial of the Century” (FAIR.org, 9/25/20). But even in the scarce coverage that does exist of this unprecedented case with immense implications for freedom of expression, one would hardly get the impression that the US and British governments are involved in an illegal conspiracy—in violation of their own laws—to punish Assange for the “crime” of journalism.
Coverage before and at the start of the trial by establishment media outlets like the New York Times (9/7/20), Wall Street Journal (9/7/20), USA Today (9/6/20) and the Associated Press (9/6/20) largely omitted simple facts, like Assange displaying signs of abuse. Of these reports, only USA Today cited Nils Melzer, a UN special rapporteur on torture, who observed that when he visited him last year, Assange displayed symptoms of “psychological torture,” likely caused by extreme stress, chronic anxiety and isolation.
None of the Bush or Obama administration officials who planned or executed the illegal war, nor any of the field commanders or even rank-and-file troops connected with any of the crimes revealed in the logs, were ever seriously punished.
The whistleblowers, on the other hand, suffered tremendously for exposing the truth. Both Manning and Assange were charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. Manning was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison, although her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama just before he left office in January 2017.
Assange is today imprisoned in Britain’s notorious Belmarsh Prison as he awaits possible extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years behind bars, most likely in a supermax facility a former warden described as a “fate worse than death.”
Mr. Amash, Michigan Libertarian, announced on Twitter that he signed on to become a co-sponsor of separate, similar resolutions urging the government to drop the charges facing the two secret-spillers.
Both resolutions were introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, and had already gained slight bipartisan support before Mr. Amash — the only registered Libertarian in Congress — joined in.
Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and longtime confidant of Julian Assange, has been fastidiously reporting on the Australian publisher’s extradition hearing to the United States. Yet few people have been reading it. This, according to Murray, is because of a deliberate decision by online media giants to downplay or suppress discussion of the case. On his blog, Murray wrote that he usually receives around 50 percent of his readers from Twitter and 40 percent from Facebook links, but that has dropped to 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively during the hearing. While the February hearings sent around 200,000 readers to his site daily, now that figure is only 3,000.
To be plain that is very much less than my normal daily traffic from them just in ordinary times. It is the insidious nature of this censorship that is especially sinister – people believe they have successfully shared my articles on Twitter and Facebook, while those corporations hide from them that in fact it went into nobody’s timeline,” he added.
Asked about the situation by former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, Murray explained that
Anybody who is at all radical or takes any view of anything that is outwith the official establishment view gets used to occasional shadow banning, but I have never seen anything on this scale before.”
“90% of my traffic has just been cut off by what seems to be a general algorithm command of some kind to downplay Assange,” he added. “I think it is as simple as that.”