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Assange silenced

Image: gnuckx, Flickr, CC0

LONDON (Opinion) — This morning, the London-based branch of Empire made good on its threat and boldly moved to begin dismantling the vestiges of democracy and press freedom that still remain, vestiges that have allowed people throughout the Western world to pretend that their government and politicians still respect their rights and the rule of law.

Julian Assange, the man who has helped expose a litany of crimes and the in-your-face corruption of the world’s most powerful people and governments, was pulled from the embassy of the country where he not only holds citizenship but had been granted asylum. The dangerous precedents Assange’s arrest has set — not just for journalism, but also for national sovereignty and international law — are staggering.

With Assange now in U.K. custody, his fate will mirror our own, as Assange’s fate and that of journalists around the world, as well as the public itself, are increasingly intertwined. After all, those who are after Assange and seek to rob him of his freedom — the U.S. Empire, the “deep state,” the shadow government, the global elite, etc. — are after our freedom as well.

If we remain silent as they jail, extradite, torture or even kill this man, we may expect a similar fate for ourselves. It will not come tomorrow. It will not come next week. It could be years away. But make no mistake, the global empire, whose core is the U.S. government, will now be empowered to charge and imprison anyone it deems a threat to its operations.

Those operations, including those that Assange helped to expose, often involve the mass murder of innocent civilians — untold numbers of children among them — in order to loot the resources of other sovereign nations. They also often involve the installation of puppet governments by either covert (e.g., election “meddling”) or overt (e.g., regime-change wars) means.

Those responsible for the most egregious violations of international law, for war crimes, for the slaughter of innocent life, are not imprisoned, degraded or tortured — they are rewarded and promoted. As we have seen today — and in recent weeks, particularly following Chelsea Manning’s imprisonment — those who seek to expose these crimes are the ones who are threatened, tortured and punished.

Like it or not, we are all already a part of this war

The world has known for years that Assange would meet this fate. Little was done. Now, the turning point is here. Will we continue to escape into the false realities of television, cinema, video games, and whatever we use to distract us and numb our pain while the actual world in which we live devolves into a technocratic, imperial dictatorship? Will we continue to ignore the obvious threats to our lives and our children’s lives because confronting these threats is uncomfortable and often difficult?

Will we wait until they come for us because our homes are built atop resources they wish to plunder, because we shared information online they found objectionable, because we dared to question why madmen are in control of our country and much of the world?

Such an eventuality may seem laughable to some, but those days are not far away and are already here for many people around the world, even in the West. Assange’s arrest is the first shot of a war to which all of us, like it or not, have already been drafted because it is a war for the very world in which we live — a war for our society, our planet, our livelihood, our right to self-determination. You can try to escape to the ends of the Earth, thousands of miles away from “the West” (as I myself did), only to find that there is no country anywhere in the world that is not currently under siege.

Never before in history has the global oligarchy been more powerful. The concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few is unprecedented, worse even than in the final days of the Roman Empire. These people do not plan to cede any of this power to you. They do not want you to have control over your own lives. To them, we are already slaves. And those who are silent, especially now, are sending a signal to the elites that they embrace that servitude.

The revolution will not be televised and the war will not be won on social media

For too long, actions in defense of Assange, and more broadly in protest of Empire, have been focused in the virtual realm — that is, on the internet and social media. While the internet and social media are important tools for sharing information, their use for that end is being suppressed like never before and it will not be long before social media is entirely censored and devoid of dissent. If we wait until that day comes, and put all our eggs in the social media basket, we will have shot ourselves in the foot and it could well be a fatal blow.

We can no longer run from the world, escape into our remaining comforts — particularly those online — while the world burns. Assange may be the first journalist to be arrested and extradited under these circumstances, but he will not be the last. What we do now will determine how far they go.

The U.S. and its allies are prepping for several wars, many of them against countries much larger than Iraq, and such wars could make Iraq and Afghanistan look like skirmishes by comparison. The people behind Assange’s arrest and perpetual imperial wars do not care about your tweets or Facebook posts. They want your focus to remain on the virtual world and away from the real one over which they are consolidating their control.

Now is the time to resist. Now is the time to insist. Now is the time to take to the streets, to talk to your neighbors, family and co-workers of the dangers facing us all. Your voice and your actions matter. The longer we wait, the worse things will become. The turning point is here. Don’t let them win.


Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.