Julian Assange: Secrets, Sedition and the State

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When, conspicuously shortly after the breaking of the “Collateral Murder” and ‘Cablegate’ scandals, senior US security state officials hijacked the micromanagement of PR for Assange, it became their duty as Machiavellian imperialists to suppress the rising star of Wikileaks, a pacifist research institute with a record for 100% accuracy.

This they did with bitter, belligerent rigour, heinously spreading the rumour that Assange was a cyberterrorist-cum-rapist. By that gesture, which quickly turned Assange into a pariah on the justice warrior left, the national security state only reinforced its reputation for aspiring for total social control and world domination governed from the Washington power nexus. The rape smear was an ignominious lie, puritanical, messianic propaganda that seemed to have the media and wider public under its spell.

Researching Assange’s life recently, for the purpose of backing up a dispassionate, objective analysis of his contributions to politics and diplomacy, I discovered that there are myriad myths about him, the lies of the media their own effluence, in dire need of an enema. As a socially conscientious hacker, Assange’s most proud contribution to society was actually his Rubberhose encryption software, which predates Wikileaks but shares its mission to inaugurate the presence of ethical software. Nobody in politics, their realpolitik worldviews and perceptions conditioned in the corridors of Ivy League universities and then neoliberal think tanks, actually understands Assange. He has been turned into a one-dimensional, useful symbol of villainy, with the public capitulating totally to the narrative of elites.

Once the preserve and exclusive class privilege of national security elites with classified access to special diplomatic data, state secrets, many of which are embarrassing to governments, are now exchanged in public, thanks to Wikileaks. Equally as important as the liberation of information is the revolutionary atmosphere it produces, with citizen pioneers commanding an internet through which elites retaliate by censoring revolutionaries and treating it as a realm for their exclusive use. Vast swathes of masses, especially youth coming of age, were radicalised by Wikileaks, which turned them into anti-imperial renegades. Then comes the backlash, a piece of Machiavellian theatre redolent of the tsars. Last, we find the tormented, emaciated figure of Assange, subject to calculated, premeditated torture and physical neglect.

On this last act in the tragic saga of Assange appears the historical spectre of Nelson Mandela, he too a formidable evangelist for justice who harnessed the power of thunder. It definitively, without doubt, demonstrates the empire’s longstanding, ongoing compulsion to harass, imprison and silence critics of an iniquitous regime. Meanwhile, other activist voices who share Wikileaks’ mission are industrially being killed off. Fascism is within sight of liberal democracies that write critics off with nefarious, gruesome endings, making free and fair debate an anachronism.

Assange is a political artefact, coveted either for romance or the electric chair. Whilst his morals are not for sell (he tells the truth because it paid not to put one’s soul up for trade) he was traded by the new neoliberal Ecuadorian government for IMF and Goldman Sachs bailouts, at best a politically dishonest triumvirate that sold Ecuador’s human rights standards down the river, at worst the purposeful brutal evisceration of an anti imperial activist through strategic countermeasures.

At various points throughout his reign of publicity – notably in a very well received Ted talk but also on his popular, now deplatformed Twitter – Assange gave us an account of his motives. With fathomless moral fortitude he instanced a conviction that transparency is the method and justice the goal; his love for technology as a liberating force, and his commitment to coding democracy; and his desire to advance the cause of humanity against technocratic fascism. He seeks to defend history from whitewashing and facts from obliteration.

As someone who was brought up to be sceptical of – distinctly reactionary – mainstream media, which represents the unified class interests of the 1%, I made the decision right away to pledge my solidarity to Assange. His commitment stoked my own, a powerful reinforcement of mission and philosophy. Approached, studied with care, Assange’s legacy, beginning in his teenage hacker days and ending in his imprisonment, could have multiplying benefits for democracy. He is the master of the raw material of data, at one with the rhythms of cyberspace, and the enemy to mechanized murder machines with their governance steeped deep in technology.

It appears to be an open question if the weight of civil liberties will overpower the tendency of the US prosecutors towards tyranny, because the conflict is still ongoing. But time will be an assistance to Assange, not a hindrance. He himself knows that illusions aren’t as powerful as pretended, that the exigencies of truth triumph over lies. Ultimately the persecution of Assange is the degradation of US public morality, not the degradation of himself.


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Articles by: Megan Sherman

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