If you’ve been following the travails of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange recently, you’ll know that moves are afoot by the US and Ecuadorian governments to try and draw a line under this eight year standoff. What’s essential to know about this situation is the very point which our bought-and-paid-for corrupt mainstream media industry are not telling us – that Assange is caught at a crossroads in the history, holding the line for real press freedom. Whichever way this story goes will be a defining moment for the concept of the Fourth Estate.
Rather disingenuously, US officials are repeatedly referring to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service” (as if saying it enough times will make it real). Like most statements coming out of the mouth of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, this too is a bold-faced lie. US officials, along with their legion of constitutional lawyers, know very well that Wikileaks is in fact a publisher, which means the organization falls squarely under basic press freedom protections. What the corrupt wing of US Establishment and its syndicate partners are cynically attempting to do is to rewrite the law, effectively amputating a key provision of their own constitution. To allow such an affront to America’s founding principles to stand unchallenged will surely hasten the demise of the United States as a Constitutional Republic, and aid it steadily along the path of an embryonic fascist technocracy were any dissent or challenge to the authority of the state is no longer allowed, much less protected by prima facie law.
It’s beyond ironic that WikiLeaks’ former fan Donald Trump could now be weapons-free to prosecute Julian Assange for exposing among other things, US war crimes in Iraq. Naturally, the media are aloof to this development. Based on their own laissez-faire treatment of this important issue, it would appear that CNN and other apologists at the New York Times and the Washington Post, are more than happy to nudge America and Europe further down this dystopian path. Anyone with a hint of sobriety on this issue will have already noticed how the increasingly cozy ‘working relationship’ between media corporations and the state (and deep state) are indicative of the res publica embodied in the orthodox definition of fascism as corporatism as first illustrated at Mussolini’s concept of “corporativismo,” a syndicate of corporate monopolies facilitating the merger of state and corporate interests, each working in unison towards mutual corporate outcomes, and at the expense of the public interest. In this way, the US media are the real fascist enablers in today’s America.
Besides the obvious issue of the freedom of the press to publish, it all comes down to this fundamental question asking by US State Dept. whistleblower Peter Van Buren this past summer:
[A]t what point does the right of the people to know outweigh the right of the government to keep information from view?
There’s another important realpolitik point to consider here. It would appear that Julian Assange also holds key to the infamous DNC email scandal, which is a foundational pillar propping-up the Establishment’s disjointed #Russiagate narrative. Assange has openly stated that the DNC emails were in fact leaked and not ‘hacked by the Russians’ as the mainstream pundits dutifully repeat ad nauseam. His testimony might help prove that the DNC was not ‘hacked by the Russians and given to Assange’ as the US media incessantly repeat as an a priori assumption. For this reason, the vaunted Mueller investigation has purposely not asked either Assange nor his associate Craig Murray who has made no secret of this, to speak or provide an affidavit regarding this important detail in the story. To do so would likely upend the entire two-year charade of the “Special Counsel” in search of that unicorn called Russian Collusion. More than that, it could effectively delegitimize and collapse a large section of the US political and media power structure, although this seems to already be happening as their house of cards continues to fold under the cumulative weight of decades of lies and malfeasance.
Meanwhile, dubious mainstream media outlets like CNN are seizing every opportunity to virtue signal about the ‘free press under attack,’ supposedly via Trump’s ongoing spat with CNN’s self-promoting reporter Jim Acosta, and Trump’s comments that dishonest media outlets are an “enemy of the people.” Trump’s bombast aside, CNN and their ilk should know that when a news organization promotes fake dossiers as articles of fact, or is trafficking politically-motivated lies and suppositions on a daily basis, misinforming the public, obfuscating hard facts on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iran in order to promote illegal wars – then their wing of the “free press” no longer serves the interests of the public, and therefore can rightly be regarded as malignant. We can contrast this with WikiLeaks who has provided nothing less than hard facts and data for over a decade. The irony for the legacy media is, by denying and covering for their own corrupt nature and institutional malaise, they are only hastening their own inevitable demise. Any thinking person gets it, and yet it’s almost comical to watch media operatives pretend as if they are selfless champions of free speech and expression. The idea of it is simply beyond the pale now.
Through all the milieux, the media have conveniently omitted Assange’s grave plight from their news cycles, and are instead running a long campaign to demonize and criminalize him, apparently in revenge to their belief that Assange and Wikileaks are responsible for the failing presidential run of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump’s surprise victory over their pre-annointed candidate. This aspect alone speaks volumes of the petty and myopic mindset which dominates the western corporate media at present. It’s pretty clear that CNN and others members of the media syndicate either have no concept of the what the Fourth Estate really means in constitutional terms, or they do know this perfectly well and are still choosing to side with mutual interests of state and corporation. Either way, it’s a very disturbing state of affairs.
Onlookers should be under no illusion as to what is at stake. It is not out of the realm of possibility then to speculate that the US Establishment or its allies, would lay a scheme to remove Assange from the equation. Last week, Julian’s mother, Christine Assange, issued the following warning and plea for help for her son who is being arbitrarily detained for 7 years now in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Listen:
Despite the willful ignorance and obfuscation of this story by CNN and the mainstream gaggle, there are some mainline publications are at least beginning to acknowledge the gravity of his exigent predicament, although it’s still far from adequate considering the severity of the situation.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking. But it looks as if the Trump administration really is going after WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, the self-styled transparency campaigner who runs it from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been holed up for five years evading extradition to Sweden to face a rape allegation.
As a candidate, Donald Trump said he loved WikiLeaks for helping his campaign by publishing embarrassing e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, hacked by the Russians. Now he is in the White House, he views leaks less indulgently. On April 20th the attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, declared that the arrest of Mr Assange had become “a priority”. He added: “We are going to step up our efforts, and are already stepping up our efforts, on all leaks.” The Department of Justice is said to be preparing charges against Mr Assange.
In a speech made a few days before Mr Sessions’s announcement, the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, excoriated WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”. Mr Pompeo’s wrath had been incurred after the release by Mr Assange’s outfit of information about some of the CIA’s surveillance tools. Mr Pompeo, like his boss, had previously been a WikiLeaks fan, regularly tweeting its revelations last summer to attack Hillary Clinton…
All of this leads us back to the initial categorical imperative. It is right to allow the US Establishment use the Assange case in order to rewrite freedom of the press laws in the West? It’s possible that they may not have to, as they will simply achieve this by fiat, under a regime of state intimidation which will effectively hang over the Assange narrative should they achieve their goal of incarcerating him in an US federal penitentiary, or God forbid any tragic outcome which might befall him by way of his current predicament.
Know that anyone could be (and have in the past been) Julian Assange; any publisher, any journalist, any writer, any poet, any professor, any artist, or any citizen. In that sense, we are all Julian Assange.
For these reasons, we should all be concerned with the plight of Julian Assange, and should speak out now in support of his own human rights. In doing so, you’ll also be advancing the right to free speech and press freedom.
That is, the right to publish and be damned.
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Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting in the Middle East including work in Syria and Iraq.
Featured image is from 21st CW.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.