Assange and WikiLeaks allowed us to see the inner workings of empire — the most important role of a press — and for this they became empire’s prey, writes Chris Hedges of Truthdig.
The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.
Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy — diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory — to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States?
I am sure government attorneys are skillfully doing what has become de rigueur for the corporate state, using specious legal arguments to eviscerate enshrined rights by judicial fiat. This is how we have the right to privacy with no privacy. This is how we have “free” elections funded by corporate money, covered by a compliant corporate media and under iron corporate control. This is how we have a legislative process in which corporate lobbyists write the legislation and corporate-indentured politicians vote it into law. This is how we have the right to due process with no due process. This is how we have a government — whose fundamental responsibility is to protect citizens — that orders and carries out the assassination of its own citizens such as the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son. This is how we have a press legally permitted to publish classified information and a publisher sitting in jail in Britain awaiting extradition to the United States and a whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, in a jail cell in the United States.
Britain will use as its legal cover for the arrest the extradition request from Washington based on conspiracy charges. This legal argument, in a functioning judiciary, would be thrown out of court. Unfortunately, we no longer have a functioning judiciary. We will soon know if Britain as well lacks one.
Refusing Safe Passage
Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped. Assange and his lawyers always argued that if he was put in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. Once he was granted asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship the British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to the London airport, trapping him in the embassy for seven years as his health steadily deteriorated.
The Trump administration will seek to try Assange on charges that he conspired with Manning in 2010 to steal the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs obtained by WikiLeaks. The half a million internal documents leaked by Manning from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of U.S. helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, provided copious evidence of the hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence, and routine use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation by the U.S. government in its foreign relations and wars in the Middle East. Assange and WikiLeaks allowed us to see the inner workings of empire—the most important role of a press—and for this they became empire’s prey.
U.S. government lawyers will attempt to separate WikiLeaks and Assange from The New York Times and the British newspaper The Guardian, both of which also published the leaked material from Manning, by implicating Assange in the theft of the documents. Manning was repeatedly and often brutally pressured during her detention and trial to implicate Assange in the seizure of the material, something she steadfastly refused to do. She is currently in jail because of her refusal to testify, without her lawyer, in front of the grand jury assembled for the Assange case. President Barack Obama granted Manning, who was given a 35-year sentence, clemency after she served seven years in a military prison.
Once the documents and videos provided by Manning to Assange and WikiLeaks were published and disseminated by news organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian, the press callously, and foolishly, turned on Assange. News organizations that had run WikiLeaks material over several days soon served as conduits in a black propaganda campaign to discredit Assange andWikiLeaks. This coordinated smear campaign was detailed in a leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch and dated March 8, 2008. The document called on the U.S. to eradicate the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and destroy Assange’s reputation.
Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton Foundation. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clinton’s repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements. It exposed the Clinton campaign’s efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Trump was the Republican nominee. It exposed Clinton’s advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate. It exposed Clinton as the primary architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. Journalists can argue that this information, like the war logs, should have remained hidden, but they can’t then call themselves journalists.
The Democratic leadership, intent on blaming Russia for its election loss, charges that the Podesta emails were obtained by Russian government hackers, although James Comey, the former FBI director, has conceded that the emails were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by “state actors.”
WikiLeaks has done more to expose the abuses of power and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. In addition to the war logs and the Podesta emails, it made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections. It disclosed the internal conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. It intervened to save Edward Snowden, who made public the wholesale surveillance of the American public by our intelligence agencies, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed that Assange was on a U.S. “manhunt target list.”
A haggard-looking Assange, as he was dragged out of the embassy by British police, shook his finger and shouted: “The U.K. must resist this attempt by the Trump administration. … The U.K. must resist!”
We all must resist. We must, in every way possible, put pressure on the British government to halt the judicial lynching of Assange. If Assange is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Trump repeatedly has called “the enemy of the people,” to hold power accountable. The crimes of war and finance, the persecution of dissidents, minorities and immigrants, the pillaging by corporations of the nation and the ecosystem and the ruthless impoverishment of working men and women to swell the bank accounts of the rich and consolidate the global oligarchs’ total grip on power will not only expand, but will no longer be part of public debate. First Assange. Then us.
This article was originally published on Truthdig and is republished with permission.
Chris Hedges is a Truthdig columnist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a New York Times best-selling author, a professor in the college degree program offered to New Jersey state prisoners by Rutgers University, and an ordained Presbyterian minister. Read more about him here. This column first appeared in Truthdig.
Julian Assange, is being held without the ability to see his lawyers, or his family. Physical abuse may have already happened to him.
Habeas corpus motion is necessary to keep Julian Assange visible, so that US proclivities toward disappearance and torture don’t
correction to “Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials.”
William Binney, formerly NSA’s expert, reported that download time proved that this information could not have been hacked, but had to have been downloaded. Mueller has this wrong.
Betrayed by all our governments
Not just Julian and Chelsea but all of us.
When our leaders are the criminals it is time for REVOLUTION.
I totally agree with Chris and hope this is available everywhere so people can open there eyes and make a better decisions when they cast there vote, by voting with there brain, and not fallow to the main stream media propaganda.
Julian is the greatest real life hero of the 20th and 21st Century…holding truth to power. He will be known downstream in futurehistory to be the turning point where light conquers dark for all time. All those with two neurons left in their head celebralate Julian as the greatest leader/prophet/hero since the fictional Jesus.
Compelling article. Highly disturbing
I no longer use the term “ruling elite” when I can say “predatory class”. The corporo-fascist state goes from strength to depressing strength. Have a gander at how the closed family courts flourish in Britain, as record numbers of babies are removed from their parents and placed with adopters.
“If Assange is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Trump repeatedly has called ‘the enemy of the people,’ to hold power accountable. ”
But as our journalistic institutions prove by their ready assent to Assange’s legal lynching, they have already become “enemies of the truth,” which amounts to the same thing.
The moral collapse always precedes the legal, which simply ratifies it.
>But as our journalistic institutions prove by their ready assent to Assange’s legal lynching, they have already become “enemies of the truth,” which amounts to the same thing.
The moral collapse always precedes the legal, which simply ratifies it.<
Right. I always think in terms of what a great job the American press did in bringing out the truth of the JFK assassination 55 yrs. ago. Then Martin King, Robt. Kennedy, etc.
Eric32 – I assume your comment concerning journalists getting it right on the JFK, RFK, MLK assassinations in the ’60s was sarcasm? Either that or huh? It is good to question in regards to your other posts. It is not good to view the collateral murder video and just NOT GET IT. That helicopter gunship was a mile away and under no threat from those innocents murdered.
In other words, you can’t even understand plain English in context. Here: I think the press obviously failed in bringing the truth to light in the assassinations.
You also can’t understand that the helicopters were covering a ground unit that they thought was going to be attacked.
It is you who doesn’t get it. The audio on the vid clearly tells anybody with an ounce of sense that they did think the 15 or so people were deploying to attack the ground unit.
When the attack was done, they wanted the ground unit personnel to go to the kill zone and report back – that does not indicate they thought these were innocents.
From the day that Nazi financier Prescott Bush’s son moved the CIA directly into the Oval Office the road to a Teutonic-style state has been as straight as an arrow. Please don’t give me the “we’re not like Germany having lost a massive war and requiring a wheelbarrow full of bills to buy a bread.” I’ve researched Germany in the Thirties for a book and we are standing in the same spot of about 1937 with merely superficial differences, although their fears of Russia were real whereas the American ones today are weapons of fantasy.
Prime differences are the planetary dangers and the atomic dangers. The people, the egomania, the social collapse, the castration of the opposition are identical. We may be persecuting a different group(s), but the goals are the same: world dominance, wealth, total control of the public, the industries, the institutions, and the resources. All of the dictionaries refer to that ensemble of qualities as defining fascism.
Then as soon as we had knocked them down we propped them back up, because they were us, and now everyone except General de Gaulle understood who was boss.
The only person I see who stands outside of the clown car and really grasps what’s going on in the world – both foreign and domestic – is Tulsi Gabbard and the same person who has finally squelched Assange and Chelsea will never let Gabbard be heard, because Gabbard left the DNC to back Sanders instead of the loser. That’s why the mainstream press hardly mentions Gabbard. Like it or not, Hillary Clinton and her minions still own the DNC.
The only candidate the Democrats can put forth, barring miraculous change, is someone that the Deep State controllers know that they can buy or bully out. So a free press and even the hints of democracy we enjoyed are gliding further into a black hole a few million light years away. Some societies have survived the ride, some have not. But on a personal basis, I certainly wish Julian well.
> the 2007 video of U.S. helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, provided copious evidence of the hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence, and routine use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation by the U.S. government in its foreign relations and wars in the Middle East. Assange and WikiLeaks allowed us to see the inner workings of empire—the most important role of a press—and for this they became empire’s prey. <
I've heard this attack referred to over and over as a war crime in various places. The author basically recounts it as the same. I'm wondering if it isn't the kind of hideous mistake that is fairly common in war zones.
There is nothing new about soldiers being mistakenly killed by their own side, or civilian journalists being mistakenly killed.
I ask the author, do you know of any info that indicates the Apache helicopter officers knew these were innocents? If so, that would be murder, and a war crime.
All the dialog in the video's audio indicates they thought these were insurgents setting up to attack a nearby US Army ground unit, a lot of that had been occurring, and the Apaches were on station to protect ground units from further losses.
From the audio, they believed the people they attacked had weapons (camera equipment can easily be mistaken for weapons, especially rocket launchers) and were setting up to attack the ground unit – a lot of that had been occurring and the optics resolution on the video isn't good.
When the attack was done, they wanted the ground unit personnel to go to the kill zone and report back – that does not indicate they thought these were innocents.
Something similar occurred when US armored forces entered Baghdad in the initial invasion in 2003. Some journalists in a high rise hotel were in a balcony with camera equipment that looked like soldiers with anti-tank weapons on their shoulders and were fired upon by a tanker below them, from hundreds of yards away.
The top side of a tank is lightly armored, firing from above is a good method, and frankly the journalists should have known the kind of mis-identification risk they were taking.
In any case, if there anything that indicates the 2007 attack was intentional murder of innocents, it should be made public and demands for justice made.
Eric, if it’s a simple “collateral damage” episode, then why was it a crime to reveal it? The facts were originally brazenly lied about by officials. If you watched it, it was no mistake – they were chortling over killing innocent civilians, including children. There’s a reason the truth needs to be kept from those who assume if it’s our military, they are innocents. As Trump himself remarked, “You don’t think we have our own killers?”
It wasnt a crime to reveal it. It was already revealed before by other altmedia but then got no attention by the msm=Wikileaks partners. If it was a crime they would have gone after the original.
Since WL is a psyop in collusion with the elites it pretends to fight, the elites wont necessarily tell us precisely what in the document dumps that caused concern. Perhaps a mistake in the filtering. And as WL was already exposed by some altmedia for the controlled opposition/psyop that it is Assange’s handlers may have decided to save the project by making a martyr out of him.
Update yourself to this analysis from 2010 (here republished 2017)
>Eric, if it’s a simple “collateral damage” episode, then why was it a crime to reveal it? If you watched it, it was no mistake – they were chortling over killing innocent civilians, including children<
Not true. That's not how they were talking. You didn't get from what they said, you got that from what you wanted to believe.
They thought they had shot up a bunch of jihadis moving in to attack a US ground unit. These guys have seen shot up US troops, and Iraqi civilian victims of marketplace bombing attacks.
If they thought they were innocents the last thing they wanted, was to have a ground unit with separate reporting chain of command to go over and determine that, and then report it up the chain.
As for the children, no one made light of the two wounded children, they were quickly tended to and evacuated to a hospital.
What was said over the radio: "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids to a battle". Obviously, they still thought these adult people were combatants. Clearly, they still weren't aware that these people were non-combatants. It's not uncommon for the jihadis to keep kids around, it gives them cover.
What they did see was a sizable group of males moving behind a building toward a US Army ground unit located on the other side. Some of this group had equipment slung over their shoulders. And, a common tactic is to have weapons previously stored that can picked up and used.
This is the kind of hideous stuff that happens in war that people in the US get shocked at. During WW2, there hundreds of thousands of civilian women, children, aged people who were INTENTIONALLY targeted in bombing urban bombing raids. Are all those aircrews war criminal monsters, too?
What’s not clear from what I wrote above, is that the two children were in a van and were wounded when the vans were shot up.
The aircrew couldn’t see them, when the ground troops inspected the scene, they found them in a van.
That does not answer her question “if it’s a simple “collateral damage” episode, then why was it a crime to reveal it?” Nor does it exonerate the US for deliberately starting a disastrous war that killed hundreds of thousands for nothing, on the basis of lies by the known zionists Perl, Wurmser and Feith installed in NSA, CIA, and DIA by the known zionist Wolfowitz. See Bamford’s Pretext for War for details.
The video exposes the criminality of those acts, the criminality of the secret agencies, the zionists, and the war cult created by the criminal US mass media. They are not excused by circumstances of an aggressive war that they started for personal or tribal gain. Covering up the murders is an attempt to whitewash these crimes, which are at the heart of the destruction of democracy and humanity in the US.
I see what you mean – clever and all encompassing.
But these soldiers were only responsible for killing, what 15 people?
Why not go after … Hillary? She’s got Libya, Syria, (maybe 500,000 each?). And, of course, there are those conspiracy theorists talking about the bodies associated with the Mena, AK drug trade thing.
The investigation will be tough – I mean even Seth Rich’s murder seems unsolvable.
Alas, I’m moved to ask – who did you vote for in 2016?
Wow, you’re completely delusional. Of course they were chortling over their kills. Apologizing for the Satan hiding in your bedroom doesn’t absolve you from evil. I don’t like propagandists.
Clearly, somebody is delusional. The trolls are out.
The Lets Hate Trump Syndrome is affecting everyone. Facts don’t matter, everything is words now.
There’s no Trump’s DoJ. Few weeks ago the same “Trump’s DoJ” was trying to impeach him. CH conveniently doesn’t mention that.
The damaging Obama’s Administration is completely forgotten. Assange didn’t hide from Trump.
The press is the enemy of the people. How many men, women and children have to die arround the world until CH realizes that.
I’m far away from defending Trump, but I’m not sure what he can do right now. Can you imagine what would happen if he lets Assange go. It will be another Anti Trump hysteria all over again.
The crowd is always wrong, and CH is part of the crowd now.
The mainstream of a river is where most of the water is. The mainstream of politics is where most of the people are. The people don’t have a media organization. The corporations have several media organizations thanks to the congress that gave them frequency monopolies.
If the people had the means of voting on the issue they would designate Wikileaks as their mainstream media. Wikileaks has exposed the crimes and wrong doing of governments the world over.
People the world over want the truth about what their government is doing. Lies are of no use to them. Wikileaks is the inchoate mainstream media of the people. Assange is the publisher. Manning and all the whistleblowers are the reporters. I believe there are some corporate reporters contributing to the cause of free speech and to Wikileaks. There will be more Wikileaks. Bank on it.
Great piece Chris
“I believe there are some corporate reporters contributing to the cause of free speech and to Wikileaks.”
I need hard evidence, otherwise I don’t believe it. The corporate hierarchy determines what is to be said and those who want to stay employed take the scripts handed them and perform them.
Thanks for Publishing Hedges’ piece here! One small complaint, though. Why is Chris Hedges name all in caps and not JULIAN ASSANGE’s name? Our focus should be on Assange, shouldn’t it?
If Trump doesn’t pardon this man AND give him a medal, I may just sit out the 2020 election. There would be absolutely no use in voting in a world where Liberty has died. The election will be a total sham!!! Bad things are coming because bad people are in charge. The only election we should hold is one that quantifies the confidence and trust Americans have in “their” government. I’ll bet you dimes to donuts that the result would be a huge thumbs down. Then what? A Convention of States would have to take place and a new government would be formed (or maybe not). I wonder what it would be like to live in a place with 48 contiguous countries. I think Texas would do just fine. Can’t really speak for any place else. Anyway, Julian Assange is not a criminal. He is a hero. How many of us have the testicular fortitude to put everything on the line so that the rest of us could see what the “F” they are doing to this country? I can think of a few; James O’Keefe being one of them. He deserves our support.
Thank you Chris Hedges for an excellent article. I agree with your observations and conclusion. I would only add that Bill Binney and other VIPS have examined the forensics of the DNC emails which they show to be a leak (Seth Rich?) and not a Russian hack. I think it is reasonable to trust their expertise in this area. Your show on RT – On Contact- is outstanding. Keep up the good work. Power concedes nothing without a demand.
I’m going to withhold judgement or interpretation until things play out a little further. In the meantime I will indulge in some Joseph Farrell type “high octane speculation.”
There are a number of MAGA bloggers who posit that JA’s eviction was done in order to bring him in out of the cold, that the time is right to bring what he knows out into the light of public knowledge, which will be the start of the really big things that have been promised (“You would be in jail”) and greatly anticipated.
Another point brought out is that you just can’t take anything as presented by the MSM at face value. I would offer up the vile representation of JA’s residency in the embassy by those MSM propagandists as the reason for his forced expulsion.
So as for my high octane speculation, I could see how there would be a time for JA’s testimony, a testimony that the criminal elite (HRC etal.) would do anything to deter, and that in his usual manner of downplaying events, obfuscation, and deception, Trump would decide that while now is the time it wouldn’t serve his purposes to telegraph the true course of events to the enemy. So he feigns ignorance and nonchalance. JA’s life may have been in grave danger, the criminals have already wondered publicly why “we just don’t take him out.” And since this move out of the embassy could hardly be done in secret, it would require not just a cover story, but a certain level of security in order to prevent a Jack Ruby/LHO type assassination.
The whole public spectacle of the removal seemed to me to be a little too dramatic, too scripted. There’s JA, surrounded by his captors, putting up a valiant tussle, and pretty much totally obscured from sight, staying real low, until he is placed into the van…where he smiles and gives a thumbs up!
It was said at about the time this was happening that “we have the source.” This may be the moment a lot of us have been waiting for.
Wishful thinking, I fear
I can not pay because of the sanctions but I agree with all that i read
I think the Consortium is free for International visitors. To be sure being declared by the USA a Sanctioned Nation has now become a badge of honor. Welcome.
“If the US can prosecute a non-US journalist for revealing its secrets, why can’t Russia prosecute an American journalist in Washington revealing secrets about Moscow? Why can’t Saudi Arabia prosecute a journalist for revealing secrets about the murder of a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi?”
Read the whole article….
“If Assange is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Trump repeatedly has called “the enemy of the people,” to hold power accountable. ”
That is another dump on Trump statement since in his criticism of the media supports the author’s own criticisms of the media. That he might use the same label for legitimate journalism may be true but irrelevant. We all can think of legitimate reasons, such as his decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to question his actions but this one doesn’t fit.
It is distressing to watch and listen to criticisms of Assange by the media, or their silence on the issue of freedom of the press. Distressing is the behavior of the entertainment industry. The most recent example Michael Keaton dressing as Assange and making a lame comparison between Wikileaks and using the bathroom. Sick. Sick. Sick.
Tnx CN4 running Chris… Shocking2 realize DEATH of AMERICA not just Bumper Sticker
… Done in OURNAME … from Minority Vote
As many here will know already, Julian Assange was holding a copy of Gore Vidal’s “History of the National Security State” when he was dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
The book is based on a seven-part interview that Paul Jay, of The Real News Network (TRNN) conducted with Gore Vidal on July 31, 2007 and August 01, 2007.
In fact, that interview is currently available at TRNN and is well worth wayching.
Earlier today I went to that site to observe a “Panel Discussion” between Jeff Cohen, Jacqueline Lugman, and TRNN’s regular, Marc Steiner.
Cohen and Lugman are considered to be journalists as is Steiner.
Cohen said that he regarded Chelsea Manning as heroic but had reservations about Assange who he said had “helped Trump” win the 2016 election, while offering no proof of any sort to bolster that contention, but presumably he was referring to the emails of Clinton and Podesta which revealed a number of very unflattering, even damning, facts about Clinton, all of which are covered in Hedges piece and other stellar recountings of the contents of those emails.
Lugman seems to be laboring under the belief that the rape charges in Sweden (allegedly about a broken condum), are still active, and that Assange must expect to be taken to Sweden to answer those charges. My understanding is that the charges were finally, after being resurrected, dropped entirely in 2017.
Steiner did not ask Cohen what he meant or what proof of “help” he was specifically alluding to, nor did Steiner seem to realize, or correct, Lugman’s clear lack of substantive research regarding the current status of charges against Assange in Sweden.
I offer this exchange, which I hope others might observe, merely to provide example of what even “alternative” sites may be offering their viewers, apparently little realizing the short-sighted and essentially prejudicial aspects of what such site may consider to be “news” or “commentary”.
I hope that TRNN might seek to provide far more nuanced and far less biased or unprepared persoectives and history in future.
Frankly, I consider that we have a much propagandized US public who, as Gore Vidal points out, are provided very little real information and can therefore have little idea of the actual truth of things.
Perhaps it is that a majority of the US public have had their awareness and capacity to engage critical thought so marginalized that many are now, effectively, become little more than virtue signaling lemmings who are, as someone once observed, “on the precipice, but always willing to move forward.”
I think, in the days (daze) ahead, that those who understand must engage in a massive educational outreach, wrapped in patience and compassion if the loss of our republic is not to become a free fall into abject depravity and vicious tyranny which will, most assuredly, be fully bipartisan, backed by the sticks of big money and wholesale state violence.
Perhaps we cannot win.
But, just maybe, we can do the right, just, and principled things.
What do you think?
DW- My opinion is Cohen, Steiner and Lugman are not journalists, otherwise they would not have the facts wrong. For example, Cohen is joined at the hip with Norman Soloman. Need I say more? They are part of the TDS.
Eric Zuesse is interesting with speculations on public response to Assange including since April 11 and his arrest:
Zuesse indicates what seems to be happening is that Assange as Russian stooge is counterweighed for the Right by his publishing the Podesta emails to expose Clinton. Assange is therefore a hero (hence Tucker Carlson defending him) for the same people now cheering Mueller for clearing Trump—Trump’s fan base in particular. They also are suggesting what is very unlikely–that Assange could assist Trump further in exposing Clinton and the Democrat Swamp Machine. Possibly this unexpected swing toward support of Assange from the Right indicates why Trump has gone so silent and neutral on the matter. If he swings toward favoring Assange he may lose support of the billionaire elites “which hate Assange”; if he stands with the persecution he may lose support of his own people. Therefore, despite chortling and “loving” Wikileaks in 2016, at this time Assange is “not his thing.”
Lovely to see this again here and to read it again. Hedges accomplishes a statement that is current, but will stand to history.
We in the States now have rule of fiat, not of law. We now have candidates and officials placed by fiat, not by electoral process.
It is our move. I don’t think this means an immediate and violent revolution for all sorts of reasons, but it cannot mean business as usual, and the networks of mass nonviolent resistance such as we have known it are relatively unformed to be facing a government largely of shadow figures, whose professional involvement for decades has been the derailing of popular movements and assembly for self-determination.
We may be entering a period of direct disobedience. If so, we need to find a way to keep that largely principled and to establish enough communications to grant a sense of principle and of a larger movement.
I suppose such a path remains mostly to be discovered.
…… And by and large each point got minimal coverage in the MSM and likely affected the outcome of the election not at all …. because democratic voters had been fiercely taught to disregard the critics and naysayers and “haters” — wonder where Trump got his rhetoric?
Gross misrepresentation here Jill … where is the evidence to support your claim that Hedges was an Obama apologist?
there is plenty of evidence to the contrary…..
here’s a video from 2010… entitled why Obama is a disaster…..
…. and that’s just one of many ….. You are either willfully ignorant , or deliberately malign!!!
My comment which you are responding to has been removed by CN. It was there, then taken off, then put back on and finally, removed again. This is silencing me because no one is able to read what I wrote.
I appreciate your response but until my silencing is reversed by CN, I will not answer because it is unfair to me to respond when I can’t even read my own comment, nor can other person.
I have written CN several times about why they take down my posts and the posts of others which don’t seem to violate their comment policy in any way. I have never gotten a response.
Jill read carefully your comment has NOT been removed, its there below, scroll down i can see it, the first sentence is
“I am grateful to both you and Dan Ellsberg for standing on behalf of Julian Assange. Your stature will help his case greatly. Where I have a problem with both of you is, that you were, at one time, much like those who now attack Assange for stating the plain truth.”
The Brave New World in which we live, people sucking on the Soma teats of Fox News and MSNBC, hardly allows room for anyone to speak with clarity. Clear voices simply are not heard by the masses due to the noise of the Trump and Clinton machines.
Accordingly, We the People must take it upon ourselves to amplify the sound of sanity:
This event “….marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.” Indeed it does. And your closing with the prescient phrase reminiscent of “…first they came for the Jews and Gypsies, but I wasn’t one of them…”, now we have “First Assange. Then us.”
Chris is a truth teller with a moral conviction that is to be admired.
“The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives”
Thank you, Chris Hedges, a profound observation.
I do really fear that it will define our lives.
American imperialism can end only through almost revolutionary changes inside America.
Changes to end plutocratic dominance, which would include things like the wealthy paying fair taxes and gigantic monopolies being broken up, changes to end America’s bought-and-sold election practices, changes to end the terrible influences of powerful lobbies over national policy, changes to end the reign of the psychopaths at CIA, changes to cut drastically the grotesque size and waste of the Pentagon, and new laws to protect ordinary citizens from the unhealthy workings of all those forces.
Not one of those changes is even remotely possible for the foreseeable future.
So, with no engine inside the US to drive those changes, there can be no change in the polluted “environment” that they now generate.
Unless of course, we have a world economic catastrophe or a war. Each of those are revolutionary situations bringing sudden and unpredictable change.
Both of those are unfortunately real possibilities given the way the US establishment is furiously lashing out and stirring things up everywhere in its new drive to dominate by force where it cannot hope to peacefully compete.
John Chuckman, thanks for your thoughts on needed changes. Better than the usual scattershot critiques of the rich and powerful. Each one could be addressed by policy and legal actions.
John you are right. None of the internal changes you describe are possible. The change will come only through the collapse of the US$. Trump has done a great job of forcing the world to re-think the dollar as reserve currency, and the congress has done there part by adding their own sanctions left, right, and center.
Russia, China, Iran, India, the rest of the BRICS have built their own SWIFT system. The EU has just put in place another non-dollar trading system to work with Iran. Venezuela has launched a crypto based system for oil trading. The Chinese OBOR initiative is underway. Physical Gold backing for these efforts is substantial. The role of the US$ in world trade is declining rapidly, and for that we can thank Trump and the nitwits surrounding him.
When the Saudi’s finally give in to China’s demand that they sell oil in yuan, the game will be over and the dollar will rapidly start to devalue. Imagine what a dollar decline of 50% over a couple years would do to the US. Chaos.
Great article. In these desperate times Wikileaks must take desperate measures. It’s time that they make an exception to not revealing their sources and, if it doesn’t endanger their source, reveal who it was that provided the DNC emails. My guess is that it was Seth Rich and that revelation will create a hornets nest of activity.
“it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Trump repeatedly has called “the enemy of the people,” to hold power accountable.”
While I am not a big supporter of Trump, let’s be clear he was referring to the MSM that was promoting 24/7 the nonsense of Russiagate to the American people and essentially supporting/promoting a soft coup by the intelligence community. In that sense the media WAS and still is the enemy of the people.
And it would make the so-called “random” murder of Seth Rich that much more implausible.
The sense in which Trump used “enemy of the people” was clear: when they distort, fabricate, and cater to false narratives and histories against the better interests of our electorate—as is often and generally the case. And now the irony is that the very same people who then cried that Trump was against freedom of the press are now on the side of persecuting Assange which is truly an attack on the Constitution. Traitors.
Although it will probably not ever happen a pleasant image is one of Assange sitting on the witness stand being prodded by the prosecutor when suddenly Julian yells out ‘they killed Seth Rich for his leaking to me DNC skullduggery against the Bernie Sanders Campaign’…. and then I wake up. Just wanted to share this with you Chet. Joe
Excellent, concise article.
I understand that the DNC down load by Seth Rich and the Phished Podesta emails as two separate occurrences.
There is much to what you say. The only thing that I can hope is that… The USSR tried the same thing. As someone on another comment thread here at CN said, Pravda on the Hudson and Izvestia on the Potomac. In the end, it didn’t work out for them.
That is a potentially powerful analogy of NYT and WaPo: “Pravda on the Hudson and Izvestia on the Potomac.” Perhaps someone can remind us of the details of the Pravda and Izvestia roles, translations, and locations, and trace the analogies to the extent possible.
I am grateful to both you and Dan Ellsberg for standing on behalf of Julian Assange. Your stature will help his case greatly. Where I have a problem with both of you is, that you were, at one time, much like those who now attack Assange for stating the plain truth.
What is happening to Assange is not the beginning, it is a midpoint, even possibly an endpoint. Like Assange, those of us who spoke the truth about the crimes of the powerful, in our case, about Obama, were treated shamefully by leading liberals such as yourself and Ellsberg. You often told us we were racists and should shut up so that Obama could get his second term war criminal status. You have persecuted truth tellers yourself.
I am asking you to consider writing about why you engaged in silencing truth tellers w/smears of racism and demands that we shut up when we were only speaking the truth. If you would have the courage to examine and write about what you were thinking when you silenced us, maybe it would help current Assange hating liberals re-examine their own thinking and behavior.
The suppression of justice has taken a long time to come to fruition in the US. In part, that suppression came from liberals who lied to themselves about the injustice of Obama’s policies against our people and the people of other nations. Similarly, many conservatives lied about Bush, a man whose policies are absolutely antithetical to conservative values. These conservative self-lies continue about Trump, a man who is a neocon (or coward who is run by them).
There is something powerful going on which is causing the people of our nation to destroy truth tellers, whether they be famous individuals such as Assange or ordinary people trying to preserve justice. If we can understand this, perhaps we can find a way to counter it and start honoring those who speak up instead of trying to crush them.
Hedges as Obama Shill … complete bollocks, a crock of shite…
as demonstrated in this 2010 interview …
I looked at your videos and I agree that I was wrong. Therefore I owe Chris an apology.
I am very sorry that I included you in the group of leading “liberal” thinkers who attacked people for speaking truthfully about Obama. It is clear that you did not do so. Further, you fully stood up against the wrongdoings of Obama to include filing suit against him concerning the completely illegal NDAA. I apologize for my mistake and feel badly about having made that mistake.
hi Jill a late response , props to You it takes courage and humility to admit one was wrong , if only the corporate Media , and Political class showed some of the same humility…. the Planet could begin its life/death transformation.. that isone of the reasons they so hate Assange , wikileaks has shown the utter contempt both the “Media” and the ruling elites have for ordinary people ,the contempt that comes through in those ambassadorial/diplomatic cables when referring to the global south is very very disturbing ..
The raw leaks are a tough read , and sadly that is part of the problem people just dont understand the magnitude of the myriad revelations.
Jill – My complaint is that now the people writing and speaking and showing favor towards Julian were too quiet and hesitant speaking out for him prior to this arrest mess. That would have surely helped him and also given pause to the traitor’s plans. A slight pause, granted, perhaps given it the proper attention it deserved. Now it is even tougher for us to help him. It doesn’t mean it’s over, though.
Many Democrats, “liberals” and “progressives” will not even read Chris Hedges because, they say, “He is too depressing”. Or, the claim is made that he has “lost it”. Even that Hedges is crazy.
Much the same is said about Noam Chomsky.
Howard Zinn’s books are slandered and the assault on “A People’s History” has intensified.
Today, the character assassination of Julian Assange is clearly a most bipartisan undertaking.
Yet, oddly enough, many Trump supporters side with Assange.
Just as many who support the Greens or have left the Democrats do as well.
It is clear that there are those who take umbrage at the “conflation” of Democrats and Progressives. What is less clear is whether it is the Democrats or the Progressives who are the offended and feel maligned.
For more than a decade, I have asked those who call themselves Progressives how they would define that term.
I have received exactly zero response.
Perhaps that might be because the term, “progressive” means whatever those who apply that term to themselves want it to mean? In a time when words are elastic, have no specific meaning or definition and may be stretched to encompass a passle of “Democrats” as “Progressive”, from Hillary Clinton (who wondered aloud, once upon a time, about why Julian Assange couldn’t simply be droned) to Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Tulsi Gabbard. Certainly, Barack Obama (who once defined himself as “a moderate Republican”) included the entire kit and kaboodle, from Joe Biden to Sanders, as Progressives,when he recently warned, during a speech in Berlin, that “purity” begets “circular firing squads” and reflects petty squabbling among birds presumably of the same feather.
One might hope that Trump supporters who reasonably support Assange and appreciate all that Wikileaks revealed, might question the president about joining with so very many lagoon creatures even if those supporters do consider the mainstream corporate media to be merely shallow shills. The mere fact that Assange is not such a shill ought be reason enough for Trump to be asked a number of hard questions even if some of his admirers are trying quite hard to convince Trump’s base that seeking to “break” a code (and failing, according to all accounts) to gain computer access wipes away the appalling evidence of crimes against humanity the Collateral Murder most graphically illustrated.
It is far more likely that Trump supporters will raise questions with Trump than will Democrats, of whatever stripe, dare raise questions with their party’s leadership, be those questions about war crimes or the behavior of the DNC during the election if 2016 or its role in promulgating the “Russia did it!” BS that has led to a reckless rekindling of the Cold War, an new McCarthy-like era of accusation, repression, censorship and, whether directly or indirectly, to the assault on Assange and Manning by creating an atmosphere of suspicion and an attitude which eggs Trump on to “Presudential Actions” such as bombing Syria twice, on the basis of no actual justified evidence for doing so.
Indeed, the lack of evidence has become characteristic of far too many assertions, be they accusations of “anti-Semitism”, of being “Russian dupes”, or of “spreading dissention” by pointing out things like racism or economic precarity.
Even questioning capitalism or young people despairing over obvious ecological destructions evoke the wrath of Democrats at the top of the “leadership”.
So, are all Democrats “Progressive”?
Or is that but a convenient label to wrap a candidate in, hoping that distinctions will be considered odious and that no good progressive would ever dare embrace what Assange and Manning did?
Other than Tulsi Gabbard, which Democrat, “liberal” or “progressive”, has dared (and that is the proper term) come out in support of Assange?
Has he the courage?
Or does he think war crimes should not be revealed?
What about Joe Biden?
This would be laughable were it not so serious.
All these tongue-tied politicians.
All these Resisters(TM) who will not even read what Chris Hedges writes because THAT is so depressing.
An unwillingness to know or to understand.
Now that, is truly depressing.
That is truly opting out.
The refusal to look at real evidence, like the video of a helicopter shooting down and killing people, including two Reuters journalists and then killing those who tried to come to their rescue while the US gunners laugh about it … I submit that THAT, and that too many “good” USians do not care to grasp what that means, what that behavior and ignoring it … says about the US and about us … is really depressing.
Those who will not read things their nation does because they consider it too depressing excuse themselves from examining both their own actions and beliefs as well as their own inaction and complicity in those crimes.
Such reticence does not paint a pretty picture.
“Progressive” could mean, “progressively worse.” Or, just whatever comes next in the hierarchy of time. It’s meaningless, akin to the corporate propaganda, “New and Improved!” for whatever they’re flogging today. There’s a sucker born every minute. That’s progress too.
We should have prosecuted the Bush Administration wayback a long time ago when the US invaded Iraq and no WMD was found to support the invasion on false pretenses. So Assange & Manning exposed rampant illegality in an already illegal war. So with that in mind Assange & Manning only showed how one war crime only leads to another. For this they should be praised.
Articles are claiming that the extradition of Assange could take a while. Over at moonofalabama b is writing about Assange being prosecuted by the CIA for exposing partial files of Vault 7. In other words now that Assange is in custody the US will pile on charges of espionage as if Assange were Ernst Stavro Blofeld of the James Bond fame.
Here is a link to the opening segment of SNL. Watch this skit and try and catch the nuances being used to portray Julian Assange as a diabolical nefarious nut case.
Federico Pieraccini quotes Robert Parry at the end of this article.
Pieraccini reports to how the CIA can propel a young journalists career. Opportunities abound for those who sell there journalistic souls. All of this only makes Julian Assange that more special.
The SNL skit was a badly drawn grotesque. Sickening really. Pieraccini’s write up is on the mark—and we can never quote Robert Parry too often:
“This perversion of principles – twisting information to fit a desired conclusion — became the modus vivendi of American politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending journalistic principles of skepticism and even-handedness were more shunned by our colleagues, to hostility that first emerged on the right and by neoconservatives but eventually sucked into the progressive world as well… The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process — and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly are together. The US media approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda.”
Obama was one of the worst things that could happen to our country. I say that as a one-time Dem supporter (no, I didn’t leave the party, the party left me). That is because everything illegal Bush the lesser had done, was given a bipartisan seal pf approval by Obama: warrantless spying on Americans, illegal drone killing, torture,….
And as I have said elsewhere, labels like liberal/progressive/libeerturd don’t mean anything since many years. All I care about is what one does. So far, I believe, only Tulsi has expressed support for Assange.
Nathan you speak for many of us. Obama is truly an enigma whereas he always appeared as though he wanted to do the right thing but he couldn’t due to the system. Here you can tell I once supported Barack too. I liked his doing the JCPOA with Iran and in his final days his abstinence from voting on Israel’s takeover of the West Bank (so good but a little too late). Other than that Barry was a huge let down. I like how you phrased ‘the party left me’… now that’s true closure for a once reliable Democrat who has no where to go. Good one Nathan. Joe
War Crime invasion 900,000 dead.
One war crime sure does lead to another…great point. Obama should have put a stop to it. But “surprise”, he just kept upping the ante.
Gregory I agree but FOX Republicans damn Obama for his so called pull out of Iraq. You know the pull out that wasn’t a pull out but rather a call to arms for ISIS. Seeing Trump fold his cards over detente with Russia and his Cabinet picks such as Pompeo and Bolton only for more threats of war makes me wonder to how badly threaten these presidents of ours are. Obama taught me one thing and that is I will never again have hope when it comes to voting. Joe
The Iraq government insisted on sovereignty over USA stormtroopers so Brush signed treaty to leave.
Obomber did all he could to re-enter Iraq.
Not at all nuanced. Just plain stupid.
I think of these smug and self satisfied actors and comedians like those who facilely performed public propaganda on behalf of the regime during the Third Reich. The Triumph of the Weak-Willed.
Fran what you bring up is so true… that every court has it’s jesters. Joe
For me, April 11, 2019 is the next seminal date after 911. That is the day when the facade of the collective “west” came crashing down in a way that can never be repaired again. That collective includes every aspect of governance, media, institutions, intellectuals, and not to speak of the populace.
The signs of the rot have been visible for a long time now – for those who cared to observe and think. But now, only the brain dead, brainwashed, lobotomized in the “west” will fail to see the real nature of the collective “west”.
Thanks for your attempt in guarding our so called democracy against as you call it rightfully so, corporate state.
In 1981 and right after new regim in my birth country Iran I’ve immigrated to This country and became a political Asylee and later a citizen , made this country my own. I have learned democracy means tolerance in listening to the truth , even if different than yours. I escaped fenatism and fascism to live in democracy. I was wrong.
The way Assange was arrested and dragged from his place , reminded me of the way authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and the like countries are treating people who considered “ enemy of the state”, “of the country”.
Mr Assange arrest reminded me of my sister and her husband arrests and later on excecutions. My sister was one of few female attorneys.
We are very familiar to such sceneries, however pain is as much as if this is first time we are seeing such lawlessness and lack of due process of law and brutalities.
Assange and the like have their own special place in the history. History will remember.
Spectacular Journalism in every regard including the illustrations. Thank you all…
Here is why Russiagate should actually be Hillarygate.
Excellent statement of the meaning of the persecution of dissident journalists.
US citizens should contact Senators and Reps to protest the prosecution of Assange:
Chris Hedges on the complete corruption of our former justice system:
I believe the “rule of law” is now the rule of outlaws.
When Gangsters Are In Control
Government by gangsters is now “the rule of law”
And “justice” is in the hands of criminals and outlaws
The language is twisted and debased
To suit these evil demons of the “human race”…
[read more at link below]
The Rule of Law is fast becoming the Law of Ruin in Democracy’s around the world
I think this is the best and most complete article I’ve read since Julian’s arrest, and that’s saying a lot since there have been so many fine pieces of journalism. Thank you Chris Hedges!
“The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public.”
I’ve always thought a basic interpretive error in how leaks from the secret state are received is that while people take them as information about what the government is doing, their *primary* importance is that they tell us that we *don’t know* – and have no power over – what is being secretly done by the instruments of our “democratic” state.
Of course people should and do make the most of the little dribs of information that come to us through the courage and initiative of the likes of Manning and Assange, but the basic *political* heuristic to effect systemic change should use such revelations to focus not on what we *do* know, but on what we still *don’t* know.
The Church Committee hearings in the wake of the CIA “Family Jewels” and other leaks in the early 1970s were a tack in the right direction, but ultimately they crashed on the “national security” rocks, and their impact has been dissipating ever since.
Whether it is one unusually bright and conscientious PFC stationed in Iraq transmitting what became the Wikileaks bombshells, or some energetic young people breaking into a Pennsylvania FBI field office in 1971 to appropriate the files that exposed COINTELPRO – we are kidding ourselves if we think these random, rare flashes of light are doing much more than revealing just how vast is the official darkness that envelopes us.
But, maybe paradoxically, we need these flashes to at least perceive the darkness to be present. If the official silencers succeed in shutting down the trickle of information we have been getting through the wheezing remnants of liberty still embodied in a free press, then even those little points of positive energy will disappear, and we will be left with only the negative Dirac sea of official secrecy – omnipresent but invisible.
Praise the Lord and pass the legal ammunition. Militarism and authoritarianism are the weapons of the State, but truth is the instrument of justice and peace for all.
I’m always amused when people talk about the ability of the media to hold the ‘state’ to account and that Assange’s deportation to the US will set some kind of precedent. MSM everywhere these days, doesn’t want to hold their governments’ to account because they are an arm of the state and exist only to propagate their governments’ instructions. I dare say most of you could come up with a couple of hundred major events where the MSM has been unanimously on the side of the state where it should have been asking searching question. How about Syria for one?