Julian Assange: a profile in courage

The United States and British governments treat Julian Assange like the ultimate terrorist threat.

police. ecuadorian-embassyMembers of the London Metropolitan Police, wearing Kevlar vests, surround the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange has taken refuge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  They occupy the front steps and entrances, they occupy street corners nearby, one police officer occupies a room in a building adjoining Assange’s room.  Chris Hedges, a journalist and former war correspondent, said the Metropolitan Police spent the equivalent of $4.5 million in surveillance of Julian Assange just through January 31.

Behind the United Kingdom government is the power of the U.S. government.  A dozen government agencies are working on the Julian Assange case.  They have waged economic warfare and cyberwarfare to try to shut down Assange’s WikiLeaks operation.  They interrogate and try to recruit WikiLeaks supporters every time they pass through a U.S.-controlled airport.  Assange’s lawyers believe that Bradley Manning, who leaked confidential government information to WikiLeaks, could plea bargain for a reduced sentence by testifying that Assange solicited the information.

A secret grand jury in Arlington, Va., reportedly has handed down a sealed indictment of Assange.  Hedges reported that the Department of Justice is mounting a major effort on this.  It spent $2 million this year alone for a computer system to handle Assange prosecution documents.  The U.S. Congress in 1989 authorized the federal government to seize anyone, anywhere in the world, who is accused of a crime under U.S. law, even if this is done in violation of international law or the law of the country concerned.

I read a lot about the partisan divisions in the U.S. government, but Democrats and Republicans, the so-called liberals and the so-called conservatives, are united in their desire for the U.S. government to capture Julian Assange.   If this happens, Julian Assange can look forward to spending the rest of his life in the equivalent of the Soviet Gulag.

jul650What is Julian Assange’s crime?  What makes him such a threat?  What he has done is to break the wall of secrecy which makes possible the “disposition matrix,” “signature strikes,” “extraordinary renditions,” “enhanced interrogation” and all the other secret Orwellian activities of government.  If he is guilty of revealing secret information to the enemy under the Espionage Act, it is only if the U.S. government regards the American people as its enemy.

The remarkable thing is that, with all this power arrayed against him, Julian Assange is not afraid.   The powers-that-be are afraid of him.  He is not afraid of them.  Trapped in a corner, he continues his work, to make known what the world’s governments want to hide.  To the extent that freedom and democracy survive the next few decades, he will be regarded as one of our era’s greatest heroes.

Click on The Death of Truth: Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange for Hedges’ full report and links to the interview.

One part of the interview I especially like was Assange’s comment on how the press emphasizes the fact that Bradley Manning is gay and comes from a broken home, implying that only an abnormal person would be outraged at cruelty and lies.

What do we know about Bradley Manning? We know that he won three science fairs. We know the guy is bright. We know that he was interested in politics early on.  We know he’s very articulate and outspoken. We know he didn’t like lies.  We know he was interested in politics. We know he was skilled at his job of being an intelligence analyst.  If the media was looking for an explanation they could point to this combination of his abilities and motivations.  They could point to his talents and virtues.

They should not point to him being gay, or from a broken home, except perhaps in passing.  Ten percent of the U.S. military is gay.  Well over 50 percent are from broken homes.  Take those two factors together. That gets you down to, say, 5 percent—5 percent on the outside.  There are 5 million people with active security clearances, so now you’re down to 250,000 people.  You still have to get from 250,000 to one.

You can only explain Bradley Manning by his virtues. Virtues others can learn from.

Bradley Manning is another hero whose name will be remembered if freedom and democracy survive.

Click on The Julian Assange File for background on Assange and WikiLeaks.

Click on This Day in WikiLeaks for updates.  This link is also on my Resources page.

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sinthesis.courage.fear

Hat tip to The Original Sinthesis for the motto.

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One Response to “Julian Assange: a profile in courage”

  1. lawyersalert Says:

    Reblogged this on Lawyers Alert and commented:
    Yet the nations demonising Assange preach transparency and openness, same reasons they want to put Assange away for

    Like

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