Monday, May 22, 2023

Why US and Global Capitalism Wants Julian Assange Dead

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Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired


US capitalism is “merciless” when it comes to defending its profits.
German Industrialist.


The Collateral Murder Video that showed a US attack helicopter mowing down civilians, (See full video here)  including a Reuters reporter, in Iraq (and laughing about it) is not the only reason the US ruling class wants Julian Assange dead or why he has been incarcerated for so long. Wikileaks, Assange, Chelsea Manning, Bradley Manning at the time, the whistleblower who leaked the video, have been persecuted and tortured by the US government in its brutal efforts to silence free speech and independent journalism.  Edward Snowden is another US citizen wanted by the US regime for informing us and the world of the regime’s crimes and exposing so called diplomacy for what it is.


I bought the book, The Wikileaks Files when Verso first published it in 2015. Every activist and socially conscious person should have a copy as a reference source.


Here are a few comments from the book about Russia and Ukraine and more:

“…in the decade following the century’s turn, the US has pursued a policy of aggressive NATO expansion, challenging Russia’s regional hegemony within Eastern Europe and the former Soviet area and seeking to subvert nuclear treaties to maintain its strategic advantage. As the cables show, these efforts have not gone unnoticed by Russia and are recurring points of conflict….”


Another area of warfare is trade and agriculture. Ukraine, as we now know (some of us didn’t need a war to inform us) is the largest country in Europe and main exporter of grains, particularly wheat. I remember my father, who spoke some Russian, used to call it Europe’s bread basket. We now know it is very much the former colonial world’s bread basket.


Wikileaks released 1000 documents from the Cablegate cache related to the US government’s, “pushing (US) industrial manufactures on its allies” but beyond that, The files point out that US support of the biotech industry is aggressive in Europe and plays an even  “…bigger role……in assuring a place for genetically modified agricultural products (GMO’s) in a region that largely wanted nothing to do with them.” The US state representing Monsanto in this example.


Wikileaks and the leaked cables showed that the “…American campaign promoting biotech products was a worldwide effort. In all, some 1,000 documents from the Cablegate cache address this effort…..”

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But US biotech was not all that was being pushed on the global community. Along with the  release of cables between the US state department and its representatives abroad revealing their phony diplomacy, the publishing of When Google Met Wikileaks in 2014 by OR Books was the last straw for the US ruling elite. The book is an account of a meeting Assange had (at Google’s request) when he was under house arrest in Norfolk in 2011. In late 2010, Foreign Affairs,  a journal of the Council on Foreign Relations,   published a policy piece co-written by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google and Jared Cohen, who Assange initially describes as the “director of Google ideas” Assange later referred to Cohen as “Googles director of Regime Change”.  The article, Assange writes, praises the, “reformative potential of Silicon Valley technologies as an instrument of US foreign policy.”  and was the basis for a book published in 2013 titled, The New Digital Age.


In When Google Met Wikileaks Assange writes that, “The New Digital Age is a startingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the twenty first century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google and Mr. Cohen, a former advisor to Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.”  P53 *


He says of Google’s Eric Schmidt that he, “…fits exactly where he is: at the point where the centrist liberal and imperialist tendencies meet in American political life. By all appearances Google’s bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgement of the “benevolent superpower”.. They will tell you that open-mindness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of “don’t be evil”. They believe they are doing good. And that is the problem.” P35 (my added emphasis)


The advance of information technology epitomized by Google…., says Assange, “…. heralds the death of privacy for most people and shifts the world toward authoritarianism.” (P57 When Google Met Wikileaks). Through this meeting Assange draws the conclusion that Schmidt, the technocrat, and Jared Cohen, the foreign policy wonk, along with two others that accompanied them to the meeting comprised, a “…..delegation that was one part google three parts US foreign policy establishment.”


It’s important to remember that prior to the publishing of these books, the rape accusations against Assange and his house arrest on November 28th 2010, Wikileaks released US diplomatic cables (Tunileaks) between the US Embassy in Tunisia and the US State Department revealing what every Tunisian knew and felt; the corruption of the US supported regime. Less than an hour after WikiLeaks had published the diplomatic cables on its own site, they were published by the dissident Tunisian website Nawaat with whom Wikileaks had formed association. "The monopoly of state media in most authoritarian Arab regimes had been progressively undermined for several years as citizens sought alternative information from dissident bloggers and television.”, Yasmine Ryan wrote in Al Jazeera at the time, but “WikiLeaks……. offered the final blow, and, in fact, found partners in the Arab world in the alternative media.”


Wikileaks was gaining a following among dissidents, and news outlets (primarily bloggers) in corrupt despotic regimes the US either installed or supported.


In December, what we know as the Arab Spring took off as a Tunisian street vendor set fire to himself protesting the rotten corrupt regime of Ben Ali, the US supported head of state that ran Tunisia, as many Arab regimes do, like a family business. The revolts spread, assisted by social media and numerous heads of Arab gangster regimes were dislodged including Hosni Mubarak who Hilary Clinton described as a “family friend”and  who Joe Biden stressed was “not a dictator” and said he should not resign. Obama and Clinton only abandoned the torturer Mubarak when it was clear the Egyptian people were removing him.


Julian Assange, is presently incarcerated in Belmarsh prison in the UK. The US is aiming to get the UK government to extradite him where he will no doubt be tried and likely executed for “….obtaining classified information with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation.” Read more at the United States Department of Justice website. As of this writing, the information Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning released to the American people and the world has not caused harm to the working class of the United States or anywhere else.


Julian Assange is a friend of the working class. He has not revealed things to us that we don’t already know in the abstract, what he, Chelsea Manning and people like Edward Snowden have done, is make them social fact. This undermines the pretense that diplomacy is about honor, cooperation, democracy and principles.


Assange is imprisoned having had no trial, having been convicted of no crime.  Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson who claimed Assange asked him to hack in to government computers has since admitted he fabricated that story and instead was, “…recruited by US authorities in order to build a case against Assange, and misled them into believing he was a close associate of the Wikileaks founder. In reality, however, he had only “volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organisation” Key Witness Admits He Lied, US Media Ignores Exculpatory Revelations The Wire 7-7-21,


Assange is not a socialist to my knowledge. He does not appear to have any history of trade unionism or such activity and in When Google Met Wikileaks he doesn’t see the working class as a force for change. Why would he? But he is not an enemy of the working class or the workers who, with little other opportunity, end up in uniform being sent by those in power in to military ventures that are waged in the rapacious quest profits. As I write, Ukrainian and Russian workers are dying in a proxy war between two imperialist powers, one much more powerful than the other.


Working class people owe Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and others like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning a debt of gratitude. They are heroic figures and we must support them in some way. If you are in a union get your local to pass a resolution condemning the continued incarceration of Julian Assange. Speak out for Edward Snowden and others as well. It’s in our interests to do so.


In the book Assange points out that, “for us as an organization, we are in a. position where we have the full force of a superpower and its investigative organs, and the rest of NATO, operating against us, bribing people, monitoring communications, et cetera”.


I know that there are millions of US workers, if they were reading this (and I wish they were so share it) would agree. The most distrusting of the US rogue regime is the US working class. Look at how they treat us. But like any citizens of any nation, without a powerful force speaking for us, one we can join, participate in and build, one that has real power, the general approach is, “better the devil we know than the one we don’t”. I get that but unfortunately that road leads to hell too.


Free Julian Assange


*Google Ideas is now Jigsaw. Cohen was the CEO as of last year.

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