- Governments' (monstrous and criminal) behavior should not be secret.
People should know what their government is doing, and what a powerful
foreign government is doing to their own countries. The actual results
of the work of WikiLeaks have been hugely beneficial.
- If U.S. courts were to get busy prosecuting the crimes exposed by
WikiLeaks, rather than trying to turn the act of revealing them into
some sort of crime, they would simply not have time for the latter.
- Prosecutions should not be arbitrary political choices. A Justice
Department wrongly under the thumb of Obama decided against prosecuting
Assange. A Justice Department wrongly under the thumb of Trump decided
to prosecute, based on exactly the same information but different
politics. When Trump was celebrating WikiLeaks three years ago it was
for acts of journalism he is not prosecuting; instead he is prosecuting
just the journalism that he opposes.
- The choice to prosecute these particular acts is driven by the
military industrial complex, but also by Russiagate. The U.S. media and
top politicians have long sought to depict Julian Assange as something
other than a journalist on the fictional grounds that he is in the
employ of or collaborating with an enemy government. If Assange had
exposed the peccadilloes of the peace movement, or if he had not figured
in the Russiagate myth, he would be free. They'd let him be. Breathing
air like you and me.
- Nobody on either side of the debate right now has knowledge of or is
focused on the details of the allegation that Assange did something
unjournalistic by attempting unsuccessfully to hack into a computer in
order to protect a source. This trial by media is no more about that
than the Monica Lewinsky scandal was about lying under oath. And the
trial by jury is likely to resemble the trial by media, if previous
trials, such as Jeffrey Sterling's, in the Virginia court of choice for
patriotic railroaders are any guide.
- The details of that unjournalistic allegation are likely very weak,
because the indictment throws in various other allegations that are
purely journalistic: encouraging a source, protecting a source. To an
ignorant, all-white, militarized-community jury impressed by important
national figures saying the word "conspiracy" a lot, these other
allegations will loom large.
- If the United States charges Assange with violating horribly
anti-democratic U.S. secrecy laws, and denounces him on TV as a
"traitor," despite Assange not being a U.S. citizen, other countries may
begin to find the nerve to charge U.S. journalists with violating their
secrecy laws. The next Washington Post reporter hacked to death by Saudi Arabia may get a trial first.
- If Assange is brought to the United States and not convicted, or is
convicted and serves out a sentence, one can expect the U.S. government,
legally or otherwise, to further prosecute or simply imprison him
indefinitely. In the propaganda that surrounds this drama it is not a
legal proceeding, but a war. If Trump gets away with the numerous crimes
and outrages he has thus far gotten away with, he or his successor will
have little difficulty devising a way to further "protect" us from
- If Assange is prosecuted, many U.S. journalists will deliver a
self-inflicted blow to their institution dwarfing what the U.S.
government delivers. They will declare it fit and proper for a single
head of a secretive government to sadistically punish disapproved of
journalists. They will pledge their loyalty not to truth or public
knowledge, but to the Empire.
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...