This is absolutely incredible and for those who actually do investigative journalism, this is going to be source material for possibly years to come. As co-founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange was arrested and dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, he stated the files would be dumped, and unlike the state controlled media, you could bank on him following through with what he said.
Assange had made it known this was coming as a result of his arrest. Now, once again, he’s made good on his word in the face of the US government’s threats to criminalize him for something that other press and publishers do all the time.
Harper’s reminds us:
Since Assange has already published the leaks in question, he obviously cannot be stopped from publishing them now; all the government can do is prosecute him criminally for obtaining or publishing the leaks in the first place. To date, there never has been a criminal prosecution for this type of behavior. Obama’s Justice Department ultimately concluded that a prosecution of Assange would damage the First Amendment. Their decision effectively meant that Assange was entitled to the same constitutional protections given reporters. (A Washington Post story about this decision quoted Obama officials who referred to the “New York Times problem”—i.e., the fact that any precedent set with respect to Assange could be applied to traditional journalistic entities.)
Trump’s Justice Department has reversed course on this decision. When Jeff Sessions first came into office as attorney general, he said that one of his top priorities would be going after Assange. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—then the director of the CIA—said, “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state, hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
James C. Goodale actually presents a good case for why Julian Assange deserves First Amendment protections. He is a journalist who publishes documents so that the truth will come out. People should appreciate that, including state-controlled useful idiots who oppose what he does. Yet, he is a publisher.
Given the threat the Justice Department’s actions against Assange pose to the First Amendment, why haven’t more journalists, press organizations, and editorial boards jumped in to support him? Principally it is because journalists dislike what he is doing; they don’t believe he is a “real” journalist and therefore do not see him as entitled to the same protections they enjoy.
Writing in U.S. News and World Report, for example, Susan Milligan says, “[Journalism] requires research, balance and most of all judgment. . . . Dumping documents—some of them classified—onto a website does not make anyone a journalist.” Add to this my own experience of when I was attacked several years ago by a howling mob of A-list journalists led by the late Morley Safer at a party (for my own book) where I said Assange, as a reporter, was entitled to First Amendment rights. “He is just a data dumper,” I was told—and most everyone there agreed.
But he’s not just a data dumper. He edited the Manning leaks initially, holding back some material. He may have done the same thing with his other leaks, including the Vault 7 releases. For better or for worse he seeks out information to be published on his website the way other journalists do for their publications. He is a publisher and is entitled to the same First Amendment protections as any other. Nonetheless, in the eyes of establishment journalists he remains a dumper, as well as a rapist, a liar, a thief, and a Russian agent.
One wonders whether the real reason journalists will not support Assange is that they simply don’t get it. They don’t understand how a successful prosecution of Assange would threaten their ability to report. I would suggest that the focus of the mainstream press should not be on whether Assange meets the usual definition of a journalist or whether they approve of what he does. That’s not the point. The point is that he carries out the functions of a journalist, has First Amendment protections (as they do), and should not be prosecuted for what he does. If he is, we are all worse off for it.
This is exactly right.
Additionally, as Matt Agorist reported on the book that Assange was holding when arrested and why it is important.
Vidal was one of the first public figures to question the motives and wisdom of Lincoln—and he was lambasted for it. Despite bipartisan attacks on all fronts for his critical skepticism of the United States, Vidal’s six-volume “American Chronicle” series of historical novels about the United States became best sellers.
As the years went on, Vidal became outspoken about the rise of the military industrial complex and predicted the very situation we find ourselves in today.
“USA Belongs To A Handful Of Men Who Also Control The Media. Look At General Electric. It Produces Nuclear Weapons For The Pentagon And Also Owns The NBC News Cable Channel, Which Is A Very Sophisticated Censure Apparatus, Intrinsic To The System. It’s Genius. It’s Like An Electronic Cage Around The Nation Which Blocks Information From Getting Through.” ~ Gore Vidal
In the book Assange was pictured holding, Vidal explained how the United States established the “massive military-industrial-security complex” and the “political culture that gave us the ‘Imperial Presidency.’”
The book was written by Vidal and The Real News Network senior editor Paul Jay. In it, the two dissected the apparatus that would eventually facilitate Assange’s arrest. Through propaganda and manipulation, the establishment has tricked the masses into accepting their corrupt order as the norm. Both Vidal and Assange knew this.
“It Doesn’t Actually Make Any Difference Whether The President Is Republican Or Democrat. The Genius Of The American Ruling Class Is That It Has Been Able To Make The People Think That They Have Had Something To Do With The Electing Of Presidents For 200 Years When They’ve Had Absolutely Nothing To Say About The Candidates Or The Policies Or The Way The Country Is Run.” ~ Gore Vidal
In the book, Vidal explains the false history of the US and how this false history is used to manipulate people into supporting mass murder and corruption.
“I think everybody should take a sober look at the world about us, remember that practically everything that you’re told about other countries is untrue, what we’re told about ourselves and our great strength and how much we are loved – forget it,” wrote Vidal.
“Our strength is there, but it’s the kind of strength that blows off your hand while you hold up the renade; it’s a suicidal strength as well as a murderous one.”
Although Vidal died before realizing the plight of Julian Assange and the attack on the freedom of the press that it represents, he saw it coming decades in advance.
Many of these documents that Wikileaks has dumped have exposed the crimes of our own government, individuals inside it and other governments as well.
If the people could only see the tyranny they are under, they would recognize that he has provided gifts of truth that could be used to topple the criminals in DC.
As Assange reminded people, “If wars can be started by lies, they can be stopped with the truth.”
Sadly, they are too wrapped up in political idolatry to demand that their team’s jersey wearer do the right thing and start prosecuting the actual criminals in our government rather than the messenger who has exposed them.
UPDATE: Some have said that these are old files and not the document dump promised. I have been unable to confirm this as of yet. However, there’s no doubt that much of this clearly implicates a lot of corruption not only in the US, but the world.
Note: https://t.co/q9lDUo7sSn is not a release, insurance dump, or response to Assange’s arrest. It is the page where published documents are available for bulk download so that people can create mirrors, access publications offline, or use the raw data. It has existed for years.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 13, 2019
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