Julian Assange’s lawyers have been unable to contact him for three weeks. Not in person, not via video. This cat and mouse game, orchestrated by the US CIA and the UK government, stamps on the face of Western traditions of liberalism and light — and few seem to care.
Belmarsh is a dirty place, in so many ways. A Corona virus-related death in the prison has already been reported. The stage is set for Star Chamber judge Vanessa Baraitser and everything she represents to achieve a small victory through an ignominious and “blameless” death of a man whose vision of government and state corporatist transparency struck deep fear into the global ruling classes.
The time for masks will soon be over. Almost two decades ago, I challenged the status quo in my workplace, the politicized Pentagon, for creating urgency when there was none, publicizing lies when the truth did not support the political agenda. I spoke directly to investigative reporters with Knight Ridder (as portrayed in the film Shock and Awe); UK security analyst Katharine Gun took far greater risks in providing documentation, that if more people had been aware of sooner, would have saved millions of lives and trillions of dollars.
Films and popular media coverage of the truth took a decade to percolate. Had Wikileaks been available in 2001 and 2002, global awareness of government and corporate lies relating to the Iraq war alone would have saved lives, protected the environment, and slowed or stopped the new Cold Wars that still invigorate Western foreign policy. The truth is owned by all of us; those willing to step up and risk careers, reputations, and even their own lives to speak truth to power are a small, and sadly, expendable number. Julian Assange and his vision of simple transparency, for the people, with technical protection for witnesses to evil, has saved lives, improved governance, and elevated the concept of honesty everywhere. He is the very product of the Enlightenment, a shining knight of the best traditions of European and American values.
Just over a year ago, a famous Pentagon whistleblower passed away, at the ripe age of 92. Ernie Fitzgerald focused on budgetary, technological, and acquisition malfeasance, and his style was perhaps easier to swallow that that of a newer generation of truth-cherishing geniuses. Ernie didn’t die a shell of a man in a prison, doped up on CIA interrogatory and dissociative cocktails, mistreated, and surrounded by people who want him to just go away. He also wasn’t found in the trunk of his car, with his tongue cut out, like “workplace suicide” Steven Luke.
The times they are a’changing. Please say a prayer for Julian Assange tonight. And as masks come off, in coming months, let us renew the fight against the big lies and government evil where we find it, with a new kind of boldness, and our eyes wide open.
4:42 am on April 8, 2020 Email Karen Kwiatkowski