Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 2 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/24/11

Mixed-Media: Assange and Posada in the Propaganda System

By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson  Posted by Dave Lindorff (about the submitter)       (Page 2 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page. (View How Many People Read This)   1 comment
Author 63
Message Dave Lindorff

Julian Assange, by contrast, has not killed anybody, or so far even broken any law, and key U.S. military officials have denied claims that information released into the public realm via WikiLeaks has resulted in anybody's death.  In early August 2010, a Pentagon spokesman told the Washington Post that "We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the  documents," and as late as November 28, a different Pentagon official who "didn't want to be named because of the issue's sensitivity" told the McClatchy newspapers that the "military still has no evidence that the leaks have led to any deaths."  Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that though WikiLeaks has proven ''embarrassing" and "awkward," its "consequences for U.S. foreign policy [are] fairly modest.''


Assange is nominally under attack in Britain because of allegations against him in Sweden that led to a European arrest warrant being served on him in London for questioning in relation to "rape, sexual molestation and forceful coercion," and for which he now faces an extradition hearing on February 7.  But these charges increasingly appear to be a cover for a political assault on WikiLeaks, helped along by the now-pliable right-wing Swedish political establishment, and they have been convincingly exposed as such.  (See, e.g., Al Burke, "Sweden, Assange and the USA," Nordic News Network, December 28, 2010.)  Assange's real crime is the "exposure and embarrassment of the political class," as John Pilger put it.  That and the threat that WikiLeaks will keep doing this.   


Of course, classified information is leaked regularly by U.S. officials to engineer consent to policy.  But WikiLeaks has provided the public and foreign ministries and news media with information that the U.S. government wants to keep out of sight that might make policy management more difficult.  This is what journalists and an independent media are supposed to do anyway, so WikiLeaks in its short four-year existence has been serving a major international public good and enhancing democracy.  Also, as U.S. policy has involved aggressive warfare and illegal actions and has depended on institutionalized lies that almost nobody challenges, especially in the American media, WikiLeaks and Assange may well be contributing to the reduction of warfare and the saving of innocent lives.


One year ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushed about Internet freedom, about there being "more ways to spread more ideas to more people than at any moment in history," and that "even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable."  


Clinton at that time was advocating greater transparency in countries such as China and Iran.  But after WikiLeaks began to release some of its holdings of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic documents in late November 2010, Clinton did an about-face saying, in words that could have come out of a Chinese official's mouth, saying,  "It is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."  


So Assange quickly became, in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, a "high-tech terrorist"  and the U.S. government was urged by political figures to terminate him. As one-time Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said, the government should pursue him "with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaida and Taliban leaders."  


We must "strangle the viability of Assange's organization," Rep. Peter King, the new Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wrote to the Treasury Department on January 12, and "prohibit people and companies within U.S. jurisdiction from conducting business with WikiLeaks and Assange."  King was behind the curve. By the time he spoke, pressed by the US government, Visa Inc. and PayPal Inc. had already agreed to freeze WikiLeaks' sources of funds, while Amazon.com had agreed to stop supplying its cloud-computing service for WikiLeaks' content.  The result has been a concerted state and corporate attack on Assange and WikiLeaks--and, more broadly, on global Internet neutrality, freedom of speech, and democracy. 


Among the notable features of the treatment of Assange have been the speed and urgency with which U.S., British and Swedish officials have moved against him, the difficulty he has had in securing his pre-trial freedom, and the rush to extradite him to Sweden, a country that is believed to be more likely than the UK to remand him to the United States.  


Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Dave Lindorff Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact EditorContact Editor
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Israel's Gaza Atrocities Recall America's Atrocities in Vietnam

Looming climate catastrophe?: A Rapidly Warming Arctic Could Loose a Methane Climate Bomb Causing Extinction in 9 Years

Supreme Court Junket King Scalia Dies While Vacationing with Wealthy Patrons at Private West Texas Getaway

Something's happening here: Clinton's Crumbling, Bernie's Surging and a 'Political Revolution' May Be in the Offing

The Case for Impeachment of President Barack Obama

Barack Obama: Manchurian Candidate Version 2.0

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: