Why We Must Stand Up for Assange

Do you like Julian Assange? Wait, don’t answer because it has no fucking bearing on whether or not the concerted effort of the “powers that be” to bring him down and silence him should be allowed to continue. His personality, sexual proclivities, favorite color, or imagined role in preventing the coronation of Hillary Clinton in 2016 should be completely outside of the discussion. The “powers that be” and their media lackeys are beating the drum again for Assange’s extradition after an upcoming indictment of Assange by the US Gov’t was “accidentally” released. Even going so far as to try and tie him to the concrete galoshes of Paul Manafort. As Caitlin Johnstone has said many times, persecution of Assange and WikiLeaks is an effort to silence dissent, to make an example of anyone willing to stand up to the “powers that be”. Whistleblower persecution is a huge problem worldwide, and a bi-partisan problem in the US, with Obama prosecuting journalists and other whistleblowers under the terrible Espionage Act more times (8) than the sum of ALL similar prosecutions before Obama. Yeah, Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning on his way out of the door to reap his rewards, but Team Obama was always great at optics and empty gestures. Trump is similarly bullish on preventing a vibrant, inquisitive and free press, obviously. Fake news!

Let me digress to explain that the “powers that be” are the elites, the ultra-wealthy that own politicians, governments, and the armies that they command. Do you really think that Trump, or Obama for that matter, is calling the shots? Please. The “powers that be” are the shadowy, ruthless, influential people who get what they want, view that tribute as their right and loathe the public disclosure of their machinations. People who view the rest of us, the world entire, as their property to be exploited, milked, and toyed with. This is not to say that the “powers that be” are a global cabal of puppet-masters meeting to decide the fate of the world and dine on small refugee children while chortling evilly, rather they are individuals with their own axes to grind, goals, agendas and operate independently but with a net effect of increasing the influence of the elites and the repression of the masses. They are just looking out for Number One. Human nature writ large. What looks like coordinate effort is just individual greed. Think of the zombie towers in World War Z, with each zombie relentlessly trying to climb over the other to breach walls to get at the juicy living people inside. In their scrabbling they climb over each other and build zombie towers that give them the results they sought but without any coordinated plan or conspiracy. Such are our elites, who ravage the world in their scrabbling.

Whatever you may think of Julian Assange, his organization has been an incredibly potent weapon for transparency, for raising the specter of holding the “powers that be” accountable, for creating an outlet for exposing their dirty deeds. Assange and WikiLeaks scares the shit out of the “powers that be” simply because WikiLeaks allows anonymous, unredacted disclosure and the “powers that be” don’t want the people knowing what they are doing. Because what they are doing is bad, crimes against humanity bad, destroying the Earth bad. Everything they and their mouthpieces say publicly is a lie, and if enough people got wise they would oust the system and lackeys that enable them and the “powers that be” fear that ousting the most. Ousting means being held accountable, being removed from the teat at which they suckle, having the system that benefits the few rebuilt for the many, all of which is anathema to power.

Not that WikiLeaks has been solely a weapon for good. Their policy of unredacted release of massive amounts of data has likely hurt people,they’ve released names and personal information, outed agents, and otherwise led to collateral damage. The truth hurts sometimes, but the alternative as offered by cogs in the machine to let the “powers that be” operate blissfully unfettered by oversight or consequence is much worse. If the escalating war on privacy for the masses, on disclosure by whistleblowers, on the revelation of the true actions of those in power, on simple dissent is lost then what chance do we the people have of enacting the changes to our systems of government necessary to avert the coming climate crisis, halt the senseless “war” on terror, or even just improve quality of life for ourselves and our children? None. And that is why the “powers that be” are so keen to squash Snowden, Assange, and anyone else with the temerity to expose the truth. To cement their position at the top of the heap. We can’t let that happen.

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