I wrote my last post for this blog all the way back in May 2017, before Julian Assange was booted out of sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Since then, he has been convicted of skipping bail, indicted under the US Espionage Act, and begun fighting extradition to the US from his current residence of Belmarsh Prison in the UK.
For the past nearly six years, visitors to this blog might understandably have been led to believe I am not sympathetic to Assange. My last post certainly was not.
But before I turn to other topics, let me disabuse any readers suffering the misimpression that I’m anti-Assange. I have never been in favor of Assange’s being brought to the US to face trial for his part in uncovering the atrocities of the Iraq war. I think WikiLeaks provided a great service in making the world aware of the realities behind that war, and they made several other important contributions toward shedding sunlight on the corruption behind the curtains of world power centers, as well. People need this kind of service to help us see our “leaders” for the imperfect, corruptible weaklings so many of them are.
However, one thing ought to be clear to anyone who has followed Assange’s career since 2011: He’s not so perfect a human himself, but, like the world leaders he has exposed, is all too human. His behavior around the Seth Rich bullshit is just one example of what I view as a self-dramatization fetish that has led Assange to make numerous blunders that have only made his situation worse than it had to be.
But I really don’t want to pile any more crap on the poor guy. His suffering (some of which he brought on himself) has gone on far too long. Biden should pardon him and let him go home to his family, who have also suffered for his sake beyond their fair share.
There’s a simple answer to the question posed in the title to this post. Either he did or he didn’t. The question was raised directly to Julian Assange last summer by a Dutch TV interviewer, and it has become “relevant” (as far as relevancy goes these days) again because of a sputtering non-story that broke on Fox News this week that nevertheless lit a fire under conspiracy theorists on left and right. Continue reading →
Julian Assange chats (sometimes pointedly) with leaders prominent members of the #Occupy movement from New York and London, including David Graeber, Alexa O’Brien of US Day of Rage and Aaron Peters. Does Assange get Occupy? Not fully, which leads to some interesting exchanges, particularly around the subject of force and violence from without and within the movement. These are amazingly intelligent people all around, which makes for occasionally abstruse dialogue. But it’s very much worth sticking with to the end. Uncommon television. Lots and lots of food for thought.
PS: I want to point out a startling (on first hearing, but not on second thought) revelation from David Graeber during the discussion in the video’s late portion about how #occupy deals with disruptors that the NYPD “allegedly” sent newly released prisoners by the busload to Zuccotti Park last fall, telling them that there was free food and shelter available. As Graeber says earlier in the program, the United States (and its hired goons) do not act well to the threat of democracy breaking out all over.