The saga of Julian Assange seems to be drawing to a climax – one that will decide the fate of this historic whistleblower who, for years, has been a giant thorn in the side of governments everywhere.
His role in exposing the machinations of the US government over the years earned him the plaudits of liberals – until the Bush era ended, and he started exposing the crimes of the Obama administration and – most pointedly – the hypocrisy and venality of Hillary Clinton and her journalistic camarilla. Now we see right-wing figures like Sean Hannity and – yes! – Donald Trump praising and defending him, while the ostensible liberals take up the cry of the Clinton campaign that he’s a “pawn of the Kremlin” and a “rapist.” Even Glenn Greenwald, formerly a comrade-in-arms, who together with Assange helped Edward Snowden evade the not-so-loving arms of Uncle Sam, has lately sought to distance himself from the founder of WikiLeaks (over the value of “curation”). Nice timing, Glenn!
Funny how that works.
Now we see that the Ecuadorian government, which has provided sanctuary for Assange ever since the frame-up “rape” charges by the Swedes were brought, is succumbing to pressure from Washington to silence him. As Assange released the now famous Podesta emails, that – among other things – exposed the collusion of the media and the Clinton campaign in delicious detail, John Kerry demanded that the Ecuadorians cut off Assange’s Internet access – and they meekly complied. Of course, since leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has openly endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and openly abhors Trump, this is hardly surprising: this is how the left operates internationally, as well as in this country – if you stray from the party line it doesn’t take long before the knives come out, aimed directly at one’s back.
In any case, Correa’s betrayal seems to have been short-circuited by the ever-resourceful Assange, who is still releasing incriminating emails. This is someone with a Plan!
Coincident with all this is the culmination of the long “legal” process initiated by the Swedish government, which is falsely accusing Assange of “rape.” He was supposed to have met with Swedish prosecutors on Monday, but has put off the meeting until November 14 – after the US elections.
Given Sweden’s bizarre laws on the subject, and the provenance of his accusers, the smear campaign aimed at Assange has zero credibility. No one believes these charges (and remember, he has never been formally charged) aren’t motivated by Washington’s stated desire to get him extradited to the US on “espionage” charges – and there isn’t anyone who thinks that the British government (which has spent millions making sure he stays holed up in Ecuador’s embassy) wouldn’t do so given half a chance.
Is it a coincidence that the way the Establishment tries to destroy those who oppose it is by hurling sex charges at them? They did the same thing to Dan Ellsberg: it’s the oldest trick in the book.
Equally ridiculous are the accusations that Assange is a “Russian agent.” To begin with, despite the US government’s propaganda, there isn’t a lick of real evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC emails, or any of the other emails published by WikiLeaks It could just as easily have been an insider. The fact of the matter is that, although they try to project the illusion of their own omniscience , they just don’t know.
What’s instructive is that the liberal media, which is not even bothering to hide its support for Hillary Clinton, is echoing Washington’s campaign to discredit Assange as a Kremlin tool. And of course the neoconservatives, who are solidly in Clinton’s camp, have always hated Assange, and are glad to join the chorus.
Assange has done more than any single figure to expose the machinations of governments worldwide to murder and plunder the rest of us: as the declared enemy of the powerful, he is their principal target – and it behooves those of us who defend liberty and transparency to rally around the banner of Wikileaks.
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since August of 2012, with governments all over the world – and especially our government – determined to get him, smear him, and discredit him by any means necessary. Yet he continues to expose them, even in these straitened circumstances, without regard for his own health, happiness, or ultimate fate. He is a hero for our times – in an age when the heroic seems entirely absent. And he is now in more danger than ever before: what with the leftist Ecuadorian government, eager to curry favor with Hillary Clinton, wavering in his defense, and with Mrs. Clinton herself wondering “Can’t we just drone this guy?”
Assange’s fate, whatever it turns out to be, limns our own: if he goes down, then, in a sense, so do we all. Because what that means is that there’s no room for truth-tellers in our world, and no tolerance for heroes. And that’s not the kind of world I care to live in.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.