Above are parts 1 and 2 of a recent interview of Julian Assange by Megan Kelly of Fox News. In part 2, Assange responds briefly to the accusation recent Wikileaks releases have harmed innocent people in Saudi Arabia.
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
The supporters of this blog have consistently taken a strong position in support of Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. Six years ago we were engaged in a series of internal discussions to determine how to deal with the accusations of sexual abuse and rape that were being directed at Assange in light of our commitment to taking any and all accusations of rape and abuse of women very seriously.
We decided that under no conditions could we support handing Assange over to any institution of global capitalism in particular the US bourgeois, many of whom have called and are still calling for his murder or assassination or death through a drone attack. Even among women and feminist groups there was contentious debate about this issue. Our position six years ago we believe was correct. Read more on Assange and our position on the rape accusation here.
Now new accusations have arisen in an article written by two writers, Raphael Satter and Maggie Michael who work for the capitalist mass media outlet, the Associated Press. The AP as it is called is a "non profit" organization owned and run by major US newspapers, television and media outlets. In other words, it is capitalist media organization. See the table of its directors below. We first saw the article in the Times of Israel which we assume got it from AP though it has also been published in Slate Magazine and perhaps other sources. This time Wikileaks has been accused of releasing information that has harmed people, in particular, women and gay people in Saudi Arabia. Apparently thousands of pieces of information have been published and the two journalists in their article give two or three examples with quotes from some of the people who could be harmed by this information if the quotes are accurate.
The UK gay publication Pink News also picked up the story and wrote: "Among the thousands of documents, the data includes personal information identifying at least one man with a gay sex conviction – as well as a number of rape victims and people living with HIV." If true, these details could be very harmful to people living in Saudi Arabia, one of the most barbaric and ruthless US allies in the region.
As we were 6 years ago, we are extremely suspicious when the US mass media, and the global capitalist press attacks Wikileaks and Assange. The organization faced a similar assault when it published the video Collateral Murder that the whistleblower Chelsea Manning released, and for which she is serving 35 years being subjected to torture and inhumane treatment. As Assange points out in the interview above, even the US government admits that no US personnel have been harmed due to that publication. It is the US government that places the sons and daughters of the US working class in unnecessary danger. We have reason to believe that Wikileaks does its very best to ensure what it releases does not contain information that would harm innocent people and we reject accusations in the media that this all about Assange's personality.
We do not know for certain if these accusations are true or not. We contacted Wikileaks and were told they are not. Assange says little about the accusations in the Fox News interview above other than it is a "nonsense Story." that has arisen in the aftermath of the release of thousands of cables detailing the dirty goings on and e mails of Hillary Clinton.
So Facts For Working People is not going to join a witch hunt against Wikileaks and Julian Assange based on this recent information. It is also suspicious that a significant follow up is absent form the Wall Street Journal this week; this journal of the 1% detests Wikileaks. And again, we are suspicious of the source.
It is not ruled out that Wikileaks could make a mistake and release material that would harm innocent people. The global bourgeois are at war with Wikileaks and would like to destroy it and murder its co-founder. The group is under tremendous pressure and needs money as well. But we cannot see why they would do such a thing intentionally if they did it at all. And there is nothing to indicate the group or Assange is hostile to gays. After all, they have stood by Manning. They never "outed" her as the source of the collateral Murder video.
So Facts For Working People starts from the following understanding of the objective situation in which these events arise. Lets look at what Wikileaks does. This organization has basically uncovered and published the dirty, dishonest communications that take place between the ruthless and violent characters, the war criminals, that rule the world. In particular, they have embarrassed the world's most powerful ruling class, the US bourgeois. We all know that these people are murderers and thieves and that their diplomacy is phony, but when we read their notes to each other that confirm that as far back as 2006 the US ambassador to Syria urged the US government join with the Saudis and the notorious Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to destabilize Syria that led to the current crisis for example. Or that they cover up the most violent crimes committed in our name, that they spy on each other and are architects of wars and death all for profit and personal gain. This makes it social fact, it pulls the mask from their phony diplomacy, this is one major reason they want Assange's death and an end to Wikileaks. Capitalism cannot exist without its secrets and lies; its capitalist diplomacy.
We cannot underestimate the crisis that Wikileaks has caused within the US ruling class in its panic to keep its secrets from the American people and the world. In the introduction to the The Wikileaks Files, Julian Assange points out that the US State Department is like a state within a state. Its role is to put a "friendly face" on one of the most ruthless and efficient killing machines in history. Each working day 71,000 people "representing twenty seven different US government agencies" go to work at the 169 embassies and other US missions abroad while as of 2014 there are more than 5.1 million Americans with active security clearances. This is "big government" that does us no service. Given today's technology and the vast numbers involved, the potential for leaks is immense. It is inconceivable that there aren't thousands of potential Edward Snowdens and Chelsea Mannings out there.
For potential whislteblowers, the heroic people who cannot with good conscience keep quiet any longer, it is the fear of the all powerful state, the possibility of death or life in prison at the hands of torturers honed in their art through years of practice on the mentally ill, the incarcerated in the US that capitalism has abandoned and the victims of imperialist aggression in Guantanamo or various CIA prisons in throughout the world. Chelsea Manning's treatment and her 35 year sentence was a warning to them all to keep their mouths shut especially those in the military.
The existence and in particular success, of Wikileaks in protecting its sources as it did Manning and providing a hub, a publishing house through which the truth can be disseminated to the rest of us is correctly seen as a serious threat to the stability of US capitalism and the capitalist world order. It will encourage more people, Americans and others, to bring to light information that the public should see knowing there is a secure outlet with a long record of protecting sources. It is capitalism's worse nightmare. Without doubt, there is panic among the US bourgeois as they cannot safely talk to each other behind closed doors.
This is the context, these are the conditions under which these these attacks are taking place on this information agency. And recognizing this must be the starting point when workers, socialists and all of those fighting to build a better world decide where we stand.
Board of Directors of the Associated Press: (source: Wikepedia)
|Mary Junck (Chairman)||Lee Enterprises, Inc.|
|Donna J. Barrett||Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.|
|Richard A Boehne||The E.W. Scripps Company|
|Elizabeth Brenner||The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|
|Journal Communications, Inc.|
|Robert Brown||Swift Communications|
|William Stacey Cowles||The Spokesman-Review|
|Cowles Publishing Co.|
|Kirk Davis||GatehouseMedia, LLC|
|New Media Investment Group|
|Michael Golden||The New York Times Co.|
|Bill Hoffman||Cox Media Group|
|Terry J. Kroeger||BH Media Group|
|The Omaha World-Herald|
|Isaac Lee||Univision Communications, Inc.|
|Robin McKinney Martin||The Santa Fe New Mexican and The Taos News|
|Gracia C. Martore||Gannett Co., Inc.|
|Jim M. Moroney III||A. H. Belo Corporation|
|William O. Nutting||The Ogden Newspapers Inc.|
|David M. Paxton||Paxton Media Group|
|Steven R. Swartz||Hearst Corporation|
|Patrick J. Talamantes||The McClatchy Company|
|Paul C. Tash||Times Publishing Company|