Carte Blanche: The Arrest Of Julian Assange

Victoria Jones/PA Wire via AP Images

Victoria Jones/PA Wire via AP Images

After spending seven years within two rooms of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested on Thursday, April 11. Allegedly, Assange skipped bail from the UK in 2012 and was granted asylum by the embassy to avoid arrest. He was finally arrested on the UK charge and a US extradition when the embassy withdrew asylum due to supposed bad behavior. The supposed skipped bail from 2012 is based on charges in Sweden that have since been dropped, while the US extradition is based on work with WikiLeaks. The US Department of Justice has indicted Assange on the charge of conspiring to steal military secrets with Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst. WikiLeaks has operated for over ten years now, releasing secrets of the deep-state and gaining support and hatred from various politicians. His arrest became popular in the media and faded away instantly, as Assange is not considered a journalist by many members of the elite class of the mainstream media. A British judge has since sentenced Assange to fifty weeks in jail. He will face a trial in the US and is essentially a political prisoner of the West in the meantime.

Julian Assange has been the editor-in-chief and spokesperson of WikiLeaks since it was founded in 2006. The website is a non-profit that obtains and publishes sensitive information from anonymous sources. WikiLeaks has moved through various important events during the last decade. In November of 2010, hundreds of thousands of documents were released with secrets regarding the Afganistan and Iraq wars from an inside source, including tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq. The sources are claimed to have originated from Chelsea Manning, with the US now building the case that Assange conspired with Manning to obtain these documents.

Over time, WikiLeaks has released more classified documents than the rest of the world’s media combined at more than 10 million. Julian Assange wrote a series of essays before WikiLeaks explaining his political philosophy, which involves a war against the secrecy of authoritarian governments. He describes these regimes as the United States and its western allies. Also in 2010, WikiLeaks released classified cables received from a multitude of embassies around the world known as Cablegate. During the 2016 presidential election, it released emails and other documents from the DNC and Hillary Clinton. This has led to many threats and lawsuits against Assange, on top of the case built by US authorities.

During the last decade of US politics, the view of Assange and WikiLeaks is entirely political and hypocritical. If it leaks classified documents that expose the opposition party he is a hero, while if it exposes the “good” party he threatens national security. Most recently, leaks involving the Russians and DNC emails have manufactured hatred of whistleblowing from both parties. In the past, Democrats have been in great support of WikiLeaks when it posted a hack of Sarah Palin’s email account in the 2008 presidential campaign. That has completely flipped today with the damage to Clinton’s potential election with the DNC emails, where establishment Democrats enthusiastic of the arrest, flipping their phony narrative of “press freedom”. Neoconservatives, along with many in mainstream politics, have branded Assange a criminal for exposing the US military secrets in Iraq and Afganistan. Trump has made contradictory comments about WikiLeaks over time, saying that “there should be a death penalty or something” and later, “WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks”, and a supposed indifferent view now.

The nature of the arrest is very bizarre and full of unproven allegations. Assange originally retreated to the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden in 2012 where he was facing allegations of sexual assault. As Assange explains himself in an interview that the so-called victim if this incident admitted the accusations were false and all of the charges were dropped. Yet, Assange was still sentenced for jumping bail in the UK for a case in which there are no longer charges, and mainstream media outlets are explaining the arrest with “sexual assault” at the forefront of issues. In addition, the US Department of Justice has been building up the case against Assange for years to arrest and extradite him the United States. It was accidentally revealed last year that a secret court filing was being built against him. The likely outcome will be a long case with charges stacked against Assange in the US.

On a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show (episode 1385), a commentator on WikiLeaks and friend of Julian Assange, Cassandra Fairbanks, joins the show to explain the truth about the recent arrest. She describes scheduled visits with Assange in January and March of this year with dramatically increased surveillance of their meetings. Fairbanks describes an argument between Assange and the embassy security and ambassador, where he accused them of being “agents of the US government”. He supposedly voluntarily exiled himself to the embassy seeking asylum, however, she describes the embassy as feeling more like a prison over time. In order to meet with Assange, Fairbanks describes how they forced the journalist to participate in a full body scan along with his lawyer and would not allow private conversations between the two. What is more shocking is how she explains Assange’s anger at the meeting over equipment missing from the embassy, that would have prevented spying from foreign governments, which had been removed by the Ecuadorian ambassador. Sure enough, WikiLeaks was later extorted with this exact information from inside the embassy! During the rest of the podcast, Fairbanks describes more bizarre and frightening conduct within the embassy leading up to the arrest. The mainstream media is leading with the claim that the embassy ended asylum because of misconduct by Assange with no evidence to show. She states that these claims, like the popular story of Assange spreading feces on the embassy walls, are outright lies and smear campaigns that have been killing public support for Assange in the previous few years.

The most prestigious media outlets have degraded Julian Assange since his arrest, in their gated community of journalism. Kathleen Parker writes for the Washington Post that “Julian Assange isn't a journalist or a Daniel Ellsberg. He’s just a ‘cypherpunk’”. The New York Times reported that Assange committed “an indisputable crime”. Journalists taking this stance are writing exactly what politicians want to hear. One of the biggest advocates of Julian Assange, Caitlin Johnstone writes, “Everyone from President Donald Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ranking House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff to Democratic members of the US Senate have made public statements clearly indicating that there is a US government interest in getting Assange out of the shelter of political asylum and into prison”.

So how can journalists stand by and allow the arrest of a fellow journalist for releasing information that is inconvenient for governments? Is the protection of press freedom not enforced with abuses exactly like this in mind? The easy answer is that mainstream media outlets act as an arm of the state, and if they manage to brand Assange a “non-journalist”, the government cannot be violating freedom of the press. The US government is also not making the case that Assange violated the Espionage Act, because that would make the case appear to be a First Amendment violation to the public. Furthermore, Supreme Court cases have shown in the past that the Constitution protects the republication of illegally gained information provided the publishers do not violate the law acquiring it. However, all of this does not change the real political reasons that governments want to silence Assange.

At this point, all the facts of the arrest cannot be known for sure, however, average Americans should beware of the power of mainstream narrative. The simple fact that WikiLeaks is an inconvenience to the corruption of the deep state can explain the motivation to build charges against Assange. It should also be known that any narrative that paints a negative picture of Assange’s behavior is suspiciously convenient to the case of Western governments. If Cassandra Fairbanks’ story about her visit to the embassy is true, why would the Ecuadorian ambassador have the need to perform a full body scan of Assange before communicating with outsiders as well as remove anti-spying devices, if the reason they withdrew asylum is simple “bad behavior”? Caitlin Johnstone made the excellent point that before the US makes the bold move of charging a journalist, they will absolutely need the support of the people, and so far, they are doing a pretty good job.  American citizens should also remember the important role that whistleblowing plays in a free society to increase transparency and disincentivize corruption. In the end, it is not devices like WikiLeaks that create negative secrets in governments, because without WikiLeaks those secrets would still exist, only without the knowledge of the individual that is involuntarily financing them.

For a final remark, Ron Paul boldly explains the fact that Western governments do indeed keep political prisoners, as shown by this event. He writes for the Ron Paul Institute, “As long as Julian Assange is in prison, we are all in prison. When the government has the power to tell us what we allowed to see, hear, and know, we no longer live in a free society. Julian Assange will be extradited to the US and he will have dozens of charges piled on. They want him to disappear so that the next Assange will think twice before informing us of our government’s crimes. Are we going to let them steal our freedom?”