If the government of Ecuador withdraws its protection of Julian Assange by its continued jamming of his internet and phone access or through the ending of his asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, it will not only harm the life of Julian Assange. It will have an impact on journalism of global proportions.
Julian Assange has always stood up for those who are attacked by overt and covert actions of government, the military industrial apparatus and the lies of the corporate press. From standing up to Twitter’s persecution of activists like Lauri Love, to exposing the war crimes of an entire nation-state apparatus via the publication of the Iraq War Logs and Collateral Murder, Julian Assange has consistently acted to protect the powerless from persecution.
Earlier today, News.com.au revealed that Assange’s internet access has not simply been cut, but is being actively, physically jammed by hand-held devices used by embassy staff. All this, against a citizen of Ecuador. Wikileaks and others have noted that this repression of Assange’s ability to speak out is contrary to the constitution of Ecuador. That this breach represents a transgression against Assange’s human rights is not in question.
The impact that his ongoing detention and isolation will have on the rest of the planet has not been sufficiently discussed by any media outlet thus far. A brilliant comment left in response to a previous Disobedient Media article reminded me of a Mr. Fish cartoon published in Harpers in 2011 (Harpers has since conveniently removed the image from its site – the cartoon was retrieved with the help of archive services.): The image reads: “WANTED. For peddling pornography of naked emperors banging the absolute hell out of Lady Justice.”
Though the days of faux-left-wing media’s praise of Assange and Wikileaks are long gone, Assange’s support for the public’s right to know, for transparency, and his efforts to shine a light on the corruption behind closed doors of governments have never wavered. As the list of powerful enemies of WikiLeaks has grown lengthy, the crowd of mainstream journalists willing to speak out on behalf of Julian Assange has become shorter by the year. This is in part thanks to the “whole-of-government” attempts to destroy WikiLeaks, both overtly and covertly, through tangible attacks and attacks on the character of WikiLeaks’ Editor-In-Chief.
For that reason, Ecuador’s support for Assange is more critical now than it has ever been. At the beginning of Julian’s stay in the embassy, he was visited by many well-known public figures who would stand for his life to be protected. That group has sadly been shortened, both through the propagation of false media narratives about him and by unfortunate, untimely deaths.
If Assange continues to be isolated from the outside world, or in the worst-case scenario loses asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the loss to investigative journalism will impact the entire planet. Corrupt politicians, warmongers, technocrats and intelligence agencies will breathe a loud sigh of relief. The light that WikiLeaks shines on the corrupt plutocracy will be irrevocably dimmed. Powers and interests behind the architecture of global war will operate in secret without fear of exposure.
Dangerously inept intelligence agencies, especially the CIA, would continue to operate outside the purview of public vision. We would have lost an important public voice warning us of the dangers of artificial intelligence. Whistleblowers may be less likely to turn to somewhere that their anonymity will be 100% secured and protected, as we have seen in WikiLeaks’ actions towards alleged sources such as Chelsea Manning. WikiLeaks’ protection and advocacy on behalf of its sources is absolutely unmatched.
One only need witness the repeated failures of outlets such as The Intercept to protect its sources, to understand the loss that would occur if WikiLeaks were to be unable to operate. While Assange’s arrest would not mean the end of WikiLeaks as an organization, the loss of his leadership would inevitably represent a massive blow to the publisher.
Wikileaks has not only armed independent media with the ability to criticize the establishment: it has become the vanguard of what is possible for journalism – constantly pushing the boundaries as ‘publisher of last resort’ so that others can follow in its wake. In sharp contrast, the entire legacy press establishment seems to have abdicated its role as watchdogs of government. Instead of critiquing government, media has become an extension of the state and the corporations whose interests the state serves.
Entire nations, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, are attacked by the United States’ war machine with impunity. Without WikiLeaks’ exposure of war crimes and in the absence of Assange, how many of these acts will take place with little danger of being publicized by the mainstream press? Corrupt charities and foundations mingle with politicians and powerful donors under the cover of darkness, or massacres go unnoticed? Sadistic psychopaths like Hillary Clinton would wear political crowns and mantles of virtue without question.
The previous President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, was extremely supportive of the asylum given to Julian Assange in the country’s embassy in London. Correa’s successor, Lenin Moreno, expressed support for Assange during his election campaign, and his government granted Assange Ecuadorian citizenship last December. Legacy media has attempted to portray Lenin’s support for Assange as tepid at best, even misconstruing his frustration at the ongoing detention of Assange in the embassy as anger directed at Julian personally.
Jimmy Dore recently covered the situation regarding not only Julian Assange’s lack of access to the internet, phone calls and visitors, but also the political hypocrisy that has enabled the interests of the Deep State to continually attack the publisher, sometimes with the consent, or apathy, of a public whose emotions are manipulated through the machinations of a hypocritical and corrupt media. Dore’s entire segment is available below: