Mainstream Media darling - Julian Assange

A friend recently asked me what I thought of the wikileaks business. The person said that they were still a little idealistic, and perhaps there are still some "good guys" out there who can really make a difference. I wondered, in terms of the wikileaks documents, precisely what kind of change could be hoped for? After all, we are talking about documents that describe US military activity in Afghanistan, in all their gory and criminal details. I presumed then that the difference that so many are hoping that the wikileaks documents (and their purveyor, Julian Assange) will make, is nothing less than the halting of the American Empire's unholy crusade across the Middle East and S.E. Asia. Now that would be nice!

My friend correctly noted that we are talking about war crimes here - the exposure of the dirty details of the illegal US occupation of Afghanistan and the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Now that Assange had made it safely into the arms of the mainstream media, surely there is a chance that this evidence could effect a mass awakening among the world public who might yet stand up and take down the evil doers.

At this point I couldn't help but remind my friend that, over the past 10 years, and indeed, over the last few decades of last century, the mainstream media has regularly enough exposed crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity, lies, deception and skullduggery of all sorts on the part of the leading lights among the defenders of international freedom and democracy.

Remember Saddam and 9/11? What about the threat of the UK being obliterated in a mere 45 mins by WMDs, "sexing up" dossiers and "fixing the facts" around a pre-established policy? What about the recent and ongoing sub-prime mortgage banking scanda where trillions in public funds were looted by fat cat bankers and their political croniesl? What about BP? What about Judge Goldstone's report that war crimes were committed by Israel in Gaza last year in the form of 1400 murdered civilians, 30% of them children?

What about 'extraordinary rendition', where the CIA abducted innocent people off the streets of foreign nations and spirited them away to be tortured for 6 months or more? What about Guantanamo? You all know that the Bush government knew well that 90% of the tortured souls there are innocent, right? If you don't, then you haven't been reading the mainstream media. Isn't torturing 600 innocent people for 5 years a war crime? In fact, I believe it constitutes genocide given the ethnic origins of the inmates.


More to the point, what about My Lai in 68-69? Or Kissinger and Cambodia? I could go on, but you get the point. The hasn't exactly been a shortage of mainstream media coverage of the crimes of our leaders, even if they reported only a fraction of the totality of those crimes and, in the end, helped to cover them up. Throughout it all, the public remained largely caught in the head-lights, angry perhaps, but unable or unwilling to act.

So, for me personally, from this perspective alone, I couldn't bring myself to join in the excitement around the wikileaks documents. My apathy turned more towards cynicism however when I got wind of Assange's personal story. "On the run" moving location every two days to stay one step ahead of the hounds of hell that were assumed to be on his heels. Forced to mail his cell phone to another country, he finally makes it to a safe haven, in London of all places, and into a 'bunker' in the UK Guardian building where his story will be transformed into revolutionary news-bites by editors from the New York Times. Very intriguing. Heck, it could be made into a movie starring Matt Damon as 'Jason Bourne'. In fact, I think that's where this story really belongs. After all, in such movies, the hero can easily outwit the powers that be who want him dead. In real life however, if the organistations that supposedly have most to lose from the leaking of the Wikileaks documents wanted the anemic Assange dead, he would have expired, from natural causes of course, long ago.

But Mr. Assange is alive and well and living in London and talking to the media, and the media seem quite happy to not only talk to him but publish his secret documents, a major detail of which is the 'revelation' that Pakistan is helping the Taliban - that's PAKISTAN, and not, as has been reported, the CIA:
Persistent accounts of western forces in Afghanistan using their helicopters to ferry Taleban fighters, strongly denied by the military, is feeding mistrust of the forces that are supposed to be bringing order to the country.

One such tale came from a soldier from the 209th Shahin Corps of the Afghan National Army, fighting against the growing insurgency in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. Over several months, he had taken part in several pitched battles against the armed opposition.

"Just when the police and army managed to surround the Taleban in a village of Qala-e-Zaal district, we saw helicopters land with support teams," he said. "They managed to rescue their friends from our encirclement, and even to inflict defeat on the Afghan National Army."
The US government then is undoubtedly secretly pleased that Mr Assange has provided official documents to bolster the case for increasing the aerial bombardment of Pakistan, after all, in 2007 Obama made his attitude to Pakistan quite clear:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama yesterday attempted to refute claims that he was soft on national security by promising he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists - even without permission from that country's government.
Amazingly, just two weeks previously, the quintessentially evil Bill Kristol said exactly the same thing:
Neocon Bill Kristol expects Bush to attack Pakistan

Raw Story
July 12, 2007

A Fox host then cited a new report that "al Qaeda ... is running from Iraq, apparently to Pakistan" and asked "did this report come out on purpose so that we will have the right ... to go after Pakistan now?"

Kristol responded, "I think the president's going to have to take military action there over the next few weeks or months. ... Bush has to disrupt that sanctuary."

"I think, frankly, we won't even tell Musharraf," Kirstol continued. "We'll do what we have to do in Western Pakistan and Musharraf can say, 'Hey, they didn't tell me.'"
Every now and then, the people who make it their priority to keep their fingers on the pulse of public sentiment vis a vis the increasingly flagrant crimes of public officials, deem it necessary to introduce a faux people's hero. Someone who, apparently, has the balls and the gall to 'stick it to the man' and be the voice of the silent majority. The goal, and the effect, is to provide a vessel to suck up all that latent and growing public anger and outrage that is presumed to exist and disperse it in much the same way that Corexit was used to disperse the oil industry's mess in the Gulf of Mexico. I submit that Assange is just such a 'vessel', and I have to admit to wondering if this pallid and laconic man was chosen deliberately to represent the voice of the people - is that a true estimation by the powers that be of the potency of the potential threat from an irate population, or is that simply what they would like us to believe...

In any case, the point is this; now that Assange has taken up the cause for the rest of us, we can turn off, tune back in (to Lindsay Lohan etc) and drop out of the running that will determine if we still have a planet to live on this time next decade.