We are all Julian Assange

Friday, April 12, 2019
By Paul Martin

John Wight
12 Apr, 2019

The arrest of journalist and whistleblower Julian Assange by the Met Police in London marks a shameful day in the annals of British justice.

Ecuador terminated Assange’s asylum, allowing the Metropolitan Police to enter its embassy in London to effect the arrest and removal of the Australian whistleblower, bringing an end to seven long, soul-destroying years of confinement in one small room of the tiny embassy. This has now brought into view the grim prospect of his extradition to the US and his disappearance into the void of the American prison system, which is notoriously cruel and callous.

For the army of smug liberals, many of them leading columnists in newspapers such as the Guardian in the UK, which exploited Assange when he first came to prominence before ruthlessly turning on and abandoning him, that noise they hear right now is the death rattle of their moral conscience. For such people, ideological footsoldiers of a machine that wears the cloak of democracy while practicing tyranny, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are agents of truth in a time of untruth.

Their courage and fidelity stands out in bold belief in a lilliputian mainstream media landscape, populated by moral and ethical midgets more concerned with making it to their next hot yoga class or shopping in Knightsbridge in London, location of the Ecuadorian Embassy, than agitating and protesting the cause of someone who’s done more to reveal the war crimes, high crimes and base savagery carried out in the name not of Western democracy but Western hegemony than any of them ever have, or would.

If their plight teaches us anything, it is that there exists a considerable gulf between ‘believing’ you live in a free and democratic society and ‘behaving’ as if you do. Assange, Manning, and Snowden dared to behave as if they lived in such a society, and in so doing crossed the invisible, but nonetheless rigid, parameters of acceptable challenge to the powers that be.

If speaking the truth to power comes at a cost, remaining silent in the face of the crimes committed in the name of power is akin to the annihilation of the human spirit. The difference between following the path of courage or cowardice when forced to make the choice is encapsulated powerfully in the timeless words of William Shakespeare: “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.”

Only the most wretched opportunist and example of the former could possibly argue that Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden do not conform to the latter in Shakespeare’s formulation.

The importance of Assange in particular, a man whose demonization stretched to being hit with concocted allegations of sexual assault by the Swedish authorities, subsequently dropped in 2017, cannot be overstated. And neither can the fact that without WikiLeaks the public mind, particularly in the West, would today still be wallowing in the infantile illusion that a world fashioned on the basis of ‘might is right’ really is the best of all possible worlds, rather than a perverse distortion of the human condition, antithetical to our dignity and intelligence.

Moreover, in the US, millions would still be laboring under the erroneous belief that Hillary Clinton is a beacon of hope and progress, the answer to America’s ills, instead of the epitome of liberal exceptionalism and unprinciple, both of which have been responsible for upending more countries and lives at home and across the world than any number of natural disasters ever could.

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