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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/29/19

My Volte-Face On Julian Assange

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I didn't know what to feel last month seeing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange being hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London like a recalcitrant child misbehaving at a county fair.

After all, this is the guy who, despite his altruistic fervor about journalistic freedom and uncovering the unvarnished truth behind the establishment veneer, ultimately assisted the Trump campaign in 2016 by publishing nearly 20,000 leak ed Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails hours after the Access Hollywood footage of Donald Trump admitting sexual assault broke on television.

Not to mention, Donald Trump Jr. exchanged direct messages with the WikiLeaks Twitter account two months before Election Day.

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Let's not forget former Trump political adviser Roger Stone admitted communicating with Assange, hailing him a "hero," suggesting Assange "could theoretically drop a tranche of documents" before each of the Clinton-Trump presidential debates.

Trump, on multiple occasions, extolled Wikileaks on the campaign trail (before claiming "I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing" last month in the wake of the Mueller Report.)

Although not the only culprit, like it or not, Assange's Wikileaks bears some culpability for Trump's current occupancy of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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However, this is the same Julian Assange who published the "Collateral Murder video," footage of a U.S. military helicopter opening fire on civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

This is the same Assange who exposed the Afghan and Iraq war logs that documented myriad mass killing operations in which the American military was engaging.

This is the same Assange who publicized news of the secretive kill-capture task forces, prisoner torture, and the U.S.'s intent to "Iraqicize" forces so they would comply with U.S. occupation objectives to divide up Iraq.

He and other whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Daniel Everett Hale, James Risen, Reality Winner, and Edward Snowden are vital to press freedom because they exposed the festering rot behind U.S. foreign and domestic policy the complicit corporate media serves to keep us "patriotic;" i.e., ignorant.

Assange's 18 indictment charges under the Espionage Act are the blatant assault on the First Amendment the administration he helped install is making its stock and trade.

We must not be so shortsighted as to accept Assange's fate as an aberration.

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If Trump can get away with coming for him, any leader can get away with prosecuting anyone who speaks out against his or her government's abuses.

Once that happens, it's all over. We can kiss the free press and freedom of speech good-bye.

Even here.

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Ted Millar is poet and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Liberal America and Liberal Nation (more...)
 

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David Pear

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(Member since Nov 29, 2014), 46 fans, 73 articles, 312 quicklinks, 3313 comments
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I know exactly what to feel about Assange being hauled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy: Outrage.

With all due respect your reasons to feel conflicted are irrelevant, especially when compared to the Bill of Rights. Personal feelings about Assange, Trump, Putin, Roger Stone, etc. are a horrendous reason to dump everybody's right to freedom of the press.

Freedom of the press is an activity, not a profession such as journalism. You may not like what Assange publishes, you may not like his (assumed) biases, you may not like his politics, etc., but none of those are reason to throw someone in jail for 175 years.

As for the other side of your confliction and support of Assange, I agree 100%

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 8:51:40 PM

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Brenda Schouten-Beckett

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The only "culpability" about having Orange Mussolini in the White house lies directly at the smarmy feet of the DNC for shoving a filthy criminal at us in lieu of a real candidate who could have tap danced all over his comb over. I agree with David Pear that your focus should be instead to defend our basic right to freedom of the press and not to focus on personalities.

Any of the damaging "leaks" about crimes perpetrated by the Uterus of Wall Street were the TRUTH and the fact that she disgusted so many people they were ready to put in a reality show buffoon in her stead has nothing to do with Julian Assange.


Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 9:30:33 AM

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Jim Glover

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I agree and am worried about Julian's health now from a report he is hospitalized and worse.

But it seems I am right that he has a political defense in Sweden against extradition to the US. but if he dies or become incapacitated that won't matter.

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"In short, there are (to quote Jimmy Cliff) many rivers to cross before Assange finds himself standing trial in a U.S. courtroom. Not least, Assange will need to emerge from his London hideout to face the music in Sweden."

I also believe if he is tried somehow in the US he will be found Not Guilty.

Jim

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 7:13:52 PM

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Emily S

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You left off Democratic Candidate Tulsi Gabbard - who has said she would pardon Assange, Manning and Snowden.

Submitted on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 3:33:26 AM

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