Revisiting “Collateral Murder”. Released by Wikileaks in 2010

In watching the grotesque arrest of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuador Embassy, it occurred to me that this ‘show’ in broad daylight was a deliberate attempt to intimidate and convey a message of omnipotent power and control.

Instead, it was the memory of the Collateral Murder video that Wikileaks released in 2010 that came to mind. In 2007, two US Apache helicopters using 30 mm cannon fire attacked a group of civilians outside Baghdad which included two Reuters reporters.   The horror of that video brought the Iraq war in a most graphic manner to include the images of a carefree group unaware that hell on earth was about to descend upon them creating a surreal experience as the helicopter crew dialogue was detached from any emotional reality of what they were about to do.   The two Reuters reporters were holding cameras which were mistakenly identified as AK47s.

Reuters demanded an investigation and later filed an FOIA to obtain a video from one of the helicopters. The US military was unresponsive. Washington Post reporter and MSM member in good standing David Sanger was on board but failed to ever report on the attack.

The video is re-significant since it was originally provided to Julian Assange from intelligence analyst PFC Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning  who was charged and imprisoned for releasing classified data.  Manning was sentenced to 35 years and ultimately pardoned by President Barack Obama who chose not to prosecute Wikileaks as a publisher which might set an inconvenient constitutional conundrum involving some of the establishment’s  favorite media friends.

Instead of treason and espionage charges, which would be difficult to prove since Assange is an Australian, the Assange indictment has, for the time being, focused on Assange and Manning conspiring to crack the DOD password in order to download classified records.  Just days prior to Assange’s arrest, Manning was re-arrested and is now being held for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigation of Wikileaks.

It took six hefty men to forcibly remove this one frail, vulnerable man whose arrest the entire world watched and who has now garnered worldwide support. The entire pathetic scene was further evidence that the Deep State, the government, whatever we call those evildoers with hands on all the levers of power, are terrified they have lost control of the narrative.  The public scene of Assange’s removal was a sign of desperation to assure themselves they are still power to be reckoned with.   It was a wave-the-flag type event confirming to the world that the American Empire is indeed in the deep throes of collapse.

Adding to their self imposed wound, the government action was immediately assailed by the newly-empowered voice of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi) who is a candidate for President and the strong voice of Fox News Tucker Carlson – both immediately became outliers in their respective fields.   The only other candidate to speak out was former Sen. Mike Gravel who will, hopefully, upset the equilibrium of an otherwise tedious gaggle of establishmentarian candidates at the debate in June.  No other Presidential candidate dared raise their voice, meek and inconsequential though it may be – even those self important rising stars Andrew Yang who plans to use 3D holograms for remote campaigning or Peter Buttigieg who found a way to endear himself to the rank and file by debating vice president Pence on being gay – both were intimidated into silence by Assange’s arrest.

Gabbard, who recently qualified to be on the stage in June for the first debate, said the arrest was “meant to intimidate Americans, to be quiet, behave, toe the line or you will pay the price.” She is sure to be surrounded in June by a slew of faint-hearted candidates as she can take that stage with a straightened backbone. Since qualifying, there is a new invigorated energy about her as if she has earned a level of respect and legitimacy.

Fox News commentator Carlson, who is the only pro-peace voice on commercial tv news, is still reviled by the righteous Obama liberals who support war, Russiagate and the Assange arrest. While obviously a Republican, he defies a neat idological box with a guest list whose faces will never be seen on Maddow or Lemon:  Ralph Nader, Stephen Cohen, Jill Stein, Glenn Greenwald, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Patrick Kennedy, John Kiriakou and Gabbard among others although Gravel’s 16 year old campaign managers recently denied Carlson’s invitation in the name of ideological purity.

Carlson offered a litany of reasoning for the arrest that Assange “embarrassed everyone official in Washington, he humiliated HRC showing that the primaries were rigged”, “he made them look like buffoons” and “is now disowned“ by the journalist class.  With his final dart, Carlson added, “Assange’s  real sin was preventing HRC from becoming president” asking ‘Who hurts this country more and it is not him.”

The prosecution of Assange and Manning has provided an opportunity to replay the Collateral Murder video ad nauseum to remind the public exactly what these indictments are really about so that we never forget.  War incites humanity’s evil urges, the goal is always to kill and keep killing until there are no more to kill…war is never quick or easy or neat, war is always malicious and dirty and destroys families, children, homes and entire countries.

Since there is an entire generation of teens coming of voting age and millennials who have only a vague sense of what Julian Assange is about, there needs to be a national campaign to show Collateral Murder everywhere and anywhere.  It should be required viewing in every high school and college in the country.   With a court date in May to consider extradition, the arrest and prosecution of Assange and Manning will provide critical opportunity to discuss merits of the First Amendment and the evils of war – until they are both acquitted.


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Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

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