2010-12-08 01:52:31 UTC
Ben Hillier 04 December 2010
The US establishment is on a war footing and Julian Assange is the target.
The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused him of launching "attack
on America's foreign policy interests [and].an attack on the international
Assange has not stolen anything or concocted anything. He has not killed
anyone or conspired to do so. His crime is simply that he has published the
comments and thoughts of others. He is wanted, because those others happen
to be the agents and mouthpieces of the most powerful military industrial
complex in the world. Their words are an unedited memoir of power that was
never to be published.
Power doesn't want people knowing what it thinks. It doesn't want people
knowing what it secretly says. Truth is a private matter for power; it is
not public interest material. The public wouldn't know how to interpret it.
We don't have the ability to contextualise it or understand it. We are the
naïve young lawyer with the Colonel in the dock, infuriated, exasperated. We
cannot cope with it, cannot handle it.
Yet the publishing of the first instalment of over 250,000 leaked United
States embassy cables is a bombshell not simply because of what the
documents contain. The awful reality of the nature of capitalist power is in
fact most starkly illustrated by the response.
The establishment and their defenders have had a schizophrenic reaction to
the revelations. On the one hand they have tried to down play the
significance of leaked documents. The Washington Post labelled the documents
"embarrassing.but otherwise harmless." The Post's evaluation was echoed by
editorialists across the country and around the world.
They are partly right. Is it news to anyone for example that the US
establishment involves itself in secret wars and lies about it? The real
surprise is that the media establishment - which is often found uncritically
promoting the lies of the White House, which routinely attacks the
credibility of the US's enemies and which promotes itself as a pivotal
institution upholding freedom and democracy - can admit with indifference
that the so-called democratic establishment it fawns over is simply full of
The Financial Times calmly explained that "Much of the new information is
unsurprising. US diplomats, like their counterparts, spy as well as lie."
The LA Times reassured its readers that "Few of the disclosures would
surprise anyone who followed the practice of foreign diplomacy, in which
private conversations are often at odds with public pronouncements."
Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post op-ed columnist, was bluntest of all:
The problem is not that the purloined cables exposed US hypocrisy or
double-dealing. Good God, that's the essence of diplomacy. That's what we
do; that's what everyone does.
"That's what we do." What sort of a system is this where those whose job it
is supposed to be to hold those in power to account can be so blasé in the
face of rank corruption of the highest order, at the highest levels? On what
other planet could such forthright, frank assessment be useful propaganda?
"Lies, assassinations, rank hypocrisy? Never mind, it has always been like
this don't you know?"
Worse, there is an open defence of concealment. The Financial Times
editorialised: "In order for states to conduct their affairs
effectively.some secrets must remain." In an op-ed piece in the New York
Times, Paul W. Schroeder insisted that "secrecy is nowhere more essential
than in foreign relations". Part of his argument is that without their
secrecy being protected, those in power become more secretive. How utterly
degenerated is the institution of capitalist media that it can casually
admit that our rulers are on one hand unworthy of trust, on the other
deserving of more secrecy.
The scale of indifference of the editorialists is matched only by the
intensity of the hysteria being shown by the political class and their
attack dogs against Assange the messenger. He is, according to President
Obama, an international criminal.
Republican Pete King, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security
Committee, has called on Clinton to declare Wikileaks a foreign terrorist
organisation. "By doing that," he told radio presenter Kyle McMorrow, "we
will be able to.go after anyone who provides them help or contributions or
assistance whatsoever". Krauthammer, who believes that "the leaks have done
major damage", opined about precedents and repercussions:
Franklin Roosevelt had German saboteurs tried by military tribunal and
executed. Assange has done more damage to the United States than all six of
those Germans combined. Find him. Let the world see a man who can't sleep in
the same bed on consecutive nights, who fears the long arm of American
Veiled calls for execution and moves to undermine free speech and democratic
rights even further: this is American democracy in the twenty-first century.
Emaciated, paranoid, unpredictable, vengeful; intent on punishing any who
even repeat the private utterances of power.
Every time our own governments increase surveillance over our lives or hand
more powers to intelligence officers or policing agencies, we are told: "If
you've done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about." Now the
shoe is on the other foot, and the double standard is exposed. The utter
corruption of the institutions of capitalist power is on display for all to
see, yet the terrible realities at the heart of the system are footnotes to
the intrigue in the embassies.
The war machine continues its brutality in the Middle East, but the biggest
threat to the "international community" comes from those who jeopardise the
image of the killers. Millions are being thrown out of their homes, having
their futures shredded by the financial establishment, but the scandal lies
in the disclosure of the discussions.
Assange is an Australian citizen who is now being hounded by a terrorist
state, leading political figures in which have called for him to be hunted
down like al-Qaeda. He should be given protection from the deranged zealots
who run US capitalism. Instead the Australian government is backing the US
administration all down the line. But Assange and Wikileaks have done
nothing wrong. In fact they are providing a service to democracy the world
The establishment is moving quickly to try to shut down his operations. If
Assange hasn't done anything illegal, they will change the game to indict
him. Already, Democrat senator Joseph Lieberman has introduced legislation
to amend a section of the Espionage Act in order to criminalise the
publishing of information "concerning the identity of a classified source or
informant of an element of the intelligence community of the United States,
[or]concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any
foreign government". What an abuse of democracy.
Assange is facing sexual assault charges in Sweden and is now being pursued
vigorously by Interpol. Whether or not the claims are true, he is being
targeted because of his political actions, not his personal affairs. His
lawyers have said that they will fight extradition orders against him, which
they are right to do - he is unlikely to receive a fair trial.
Showing absolute contempt for democratic principles, Attorney-General Robert
McClelland has not only promised to support and assist the US in its pursuit
of Assange, but has ordered the federal police to investigate him as well.
Writing in the British Guardian, Assange responded to this despicable
This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian citizen -
does that mean anything at all? Or are we all to be treated like David Hicks
at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and
diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties?
Not one Labor MP has spoken out about this vilification and political
targeting of an Australian citizen. This is deplorable. Assange is to be
commended and defended for his defiance. He, the others involved in
Wikileaks, and those who risk their careers and their lives to leak the
documents show a commitment to the cause of democracy greater than any
elected representative in the Australian parliaments.
Assange is particularly uncompromising, and clearly has a genuine hatred for
those who abuse their power - a characteristic missing from pretty much
every respectable political current described as an "alternative" in the
world today. He recently commented in an interview with Germany's Der
[T]hose who commit abuses against humanity or against the law find abusing
legitimate secrecy to conceal their abuse all too easy. People of good
conscience have always revealed abuses by ignoring abusive strictures. It is
not Wikileaks that decides to reveal something. It is a whistleblower or a
dissident who decides to reveal it. Our job is to make sure that these
individuals are protected, the public is informed and the historical record
is not denied.
We all only live once. So we are obligated to make good use of the time that
we have and to do something that is meaningful and satisfying. This is
something that I find meaningful and satisfying. I enjoy helping people who
are vulnerable. And I enjoy crushing bastards.
The world needs more people with this sort of conviction, people who are
prepared to put their money where their mouths are.
PROTEST TO DEFEND JULIAN ASSANGE AND WIKILEAKS, AND STOP THE SUPPRESSION OF
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
THURSDAY DECEMBER 9
BRISBANE: 5.30pm, Brisbane Square, Top of Queen St Mall, Brisbane
Click 'Attending' on FACEBOOK and invite all of your friends
FRIDAY DECEMBER 10
4.30pm, State Library as part of the World Human Rights Day rally
Click 'Attending' on FACEBOOK and invite all of your friends
1pm, Sydney Town Hall.Speakers include Antony Lowenstein, the Pirate Party &
The Human Rights Day speak-out on Friday December 10, 5.30pm at Sydney Town
Hall has taken on a new urgency. Please help spread the word.