In Defense of Julian Assange
An essay by:
“There are few nudities as objectionable as the Naked Truth.” –Agnes Repplier
Somewhere in the cramped Ecuadorian Embassy in London sits the future of Journalism and Free Speech. Trapped in that room like the isolated exile he is, Julian Assange is a wanted man. An outlaw. After Cablegate, his name was slandered and bogus sexual assault chargers were laid against him to strip him of any credibility. In the firestorm that has followed, his assets have been liquidated, his movements restricted, and American Political pundits have called for his assassination. The only truth I’ve found in this whole debacle has been this;
Julian Assange is a goddamned freedom fighter.
Freedom of Speech has been paid a lot of lip service, but continues to be critically ignored in our Post-9/11 society. After the Tragedy in New York, Americans experienced a severe clampdown on their Civil Liberties. On an unwritten, societal level, if you spoke ill of the Government, the country, or their policies you were either unpatriotic, a domestic terrorist, or an unpatriotic domestic terrorist. When it came to policy and written laws, there was an unprecedented strangulation of liberty within the Land of the Free.
These authoritarian policies have led to a cutthroat and obscene political climate over the last decade. The ridiculous façade that we are in a country that respects a citizen’s right to privacy, freedom of speech, the system of due process, or international law. The bedrock and foundation of this country is being shaken to its core, and some of our biggest and most vocal patriots have been silenced. The false prophets and demagogues are talking about Purple Mountains and Fruited Plains, speaking about a City on a Hill, and a place where everyone gets their fair share.
It’s a damned shame when someone from outside this nation is able to show us the best of our values and our philosophy better than anyone standing on two leg s in America. He has been on the side of rebels and revolutionaries across the globe, living in the countries and the cities he is affecting. Not hiding behind a desk thousands of miles away. We could learn a lesson from Julian Assange. A lesson on convictions and thorough reporting. A lesson on the value of the Naked Truth.
We live in a world where the President is free to decide whether or not a person will receive a trail in the federal courts or in a military tribunal. The problem with military tribunals in that there isn’t a goddamned shred of due process protection in the whole proceedings. We now have J. Edgar Hoover levels of Privacy Invasion. Not only is the Fourth Amendment being trampled, (legally!) but no one seems to notice or care on a level that brings national attention. Organization can be forced to relinquish information on your social circles, all your communications, and your financial records. Now, under President Obama the government can check your library records. If the government doesn’t like your reading list, you can be held indefinitely for questioning. No probable cause, no evidence needed, and certainly no notification to the person under investigation. You know who else operates like that? Pakistan.
Assange has been fighting for the release of information like this since 2006, when WikiLeaks was launched, only on a global scale. The reason his name has become famous… or rather infamous comes from an incident in November 2010. The incident. WikiLeaks released 250, 000 classified documents or “cables” to the world. These bits of information came from 150 separate, pissed off countries. That tidal wave of information is credited with sparking the Arab Spring, which is the single best example of democracy in action anywhere in the past 20 years. Revolutions began in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria all because of the Naked truths exposed by guerilla reporting around the globe and distributed by Assange.
Later, a young American serviceman named Bradley Manning would leak similar cables from Military Intelligence in Iraq to Wikileaks, exposing madness and misconduct in the desert.
Shit. That doesn’t sound like an international cyber-terrorist to me! That sounds like someone interested arming one’s self with knowledge. Someone interested in the cause of freedom and truth. In fact…
“From the glory days of American radicalism, which was the American Revolution, I think that Madison’s view on government is still unequaled…That people determined to be in a democracy, to be their own governments, must have the power that knowledge will bring – because knowledge will always rule ignorance. You can either be informed and your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you. The question is where has the United States betrayed Madison and Jefferson, betrayed these basic values on how you keep a democracy? I think that the U.S. military-industrial complex and the majority of politicians in Congress have betrayed those values.” – Julian Assange in his “Rolling Stone” interview from January 2012.
Would you look at that! Is that the rhetoric of any terrorists you know?? That sounds like a well informed, red-blooded…Australian?? No offense to the brothers Down Under, but Damnit people. Why is the only American figure speaking like this a publicly ridiculed, 76 year old, thrice failed Presidential Candidate from Texas?! It burns my guts to think that here in this country we can’t even recognize how far we’ve strayed from our own ideals. We are smack in the middle of an election between two men who’ve sworn to fight tooth and nail to defend freedoms and rights that they couldn’t give a rat’s ass about. Those slimy curs, those miserable, cankerous bastards.
It isn’t enough that our neo conservative or neo-liberal leadership is interchangeable at this point. It isn’t enough that distractions like tax returns, birth certificates, and who’s screwing who are keeping average Americans from the information effecting them directly. No. They have to keep the old guard no matter what. No matter what or who gets trampled along the way.
“Perhaps we should beef up our security so we aren’t so easily hacked…”
“Nahh, keep the old guard.”
“Then maybe we should change how we do business in our foreign affairs. Murdering civilians doesn’t seem too kosher.”
“Nahh, keep the old guard.”
“Um… What about listening to reasonable criticism like the Founders intended? Recognizing when mistakes are made and being a government for the people, by the people?”
“Eat shit and die, Hippie.”
Well, I suppose that won’t work; but you know how the old saying goes, the truth goes through three stages. First, it will be ridiculed, and then as it gains ground it will be violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as being self-evident. But how long will it be before we enter that third stage?
There is a howling beast deep in the heart of the American power system. One with an unquenchable thirst for corruption and the powerfully seductive desire to see its Kingdom expanded beyond the horizon, even at the expense of our Constitution. The Beast sits on its scarlet throne, blood dripping from its horrible jaws and adorned with trophies from fallen patriots who got in its way. Ears, tits, balls, fingers and toes… terrible shit.
One of the last stalwarts is the still-democratized Internet. Assange himself has taken up arms against corruption and lies around the world, spreading knowledge to those who seek it out and putting the Naked Truth and raw facts on display for the world to see. Part of Manning’s arsenal was the Collateral Murder video, which depicted American soldiers murdering civilians and two journalists from a Helicopter. This footage was being sat on by multiple news outlets across the United States and the world. That same code of silence exists in the highest levels of the American government. This is why we need men like Assange, to expose the truth and to force the hands of idle men, for in the words of James Madison, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The only way to kill this Beast is to arm ourselves with knowledge and meet it on level ground. Julian Assange was at the tip of the spear, but he now sits isolated as a refugee in London in the fight of his life. As goes Assange, so goes the fight for Freedom of Speech. If we allow him to be silenced, if we allow his struggle to pass beneath the radar, it will be a long long time before anyone picks up the sword he wielded against tyranny and ignorance.
So I ask of you, look past the ignorant jackasses and demagogues like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee calling out for the man to be assassinated. Look past his former allies, the New York Times and The Guardian who now slander his name as a sexual deviant and rancorous social pariah. Look at the man through his works, and think to yourself,
“When’s the last time I could trust a story coming from the big media machine?”