Julian Assange,Takes Potshots at Islam, the ACLU
Glenn Greenwald makes a good point. As much as I hate to do it, give him his due:
“I think the key point here to understand is the way in which governments typically try and abridge core freedoms, because what they know is that if they target a group that is popular or a particular idea that people agree with, there will be an uprising against the attempt to abridge freedom. So what they always do, for example, when governments try and abridge freedom of speech, is they pick somebody who they know is hated in society or who expresses an idea that most people find repellent, and they try and abridge freedom of speech in that case, so that most people will let their hatred for the person being targeted override the principle involved, and they will sanction or at least acquiesce to the attack on freedom because they hate the person being attacked. But what happens is, the abridgment then gets institutionalized and entrenched. And that way, when the government goes to start to apply this abridgment to other people that you like more, it’s too late, because you’ve acquiesced in the first instance. And that’s why groups like the ACLU, when they want to defend civil liberties, are often—so often defending the most marginalized and hated groups, like neo-Nazis or white supremacists or the KKK, because that’s where the attacks happen.”
“This is what Mike Pompeo is strategizing to do now and what Jeff Sessions wants to do, as well, is they know WikiLeaks is hated on all sides of the political spectrum. The right has long hated WikiLeaks because of all the publications they did of Bush-era war crimes, and Democrats now despise WikiLeaks, probably more than anybody else that they hate, because of the role that Democrats believe WikiLeaks played in helping to defeat Hillary Clinton. And so, what Jeff Sessions is hoping, and probably with a good amount of validity, is that Democrats, who should be the resistance to these sorts of attacks, will actually cheer for the Trump administration while they prosecute WikiLeaks, because they hate WikiLeaks so much, and that U.S. media outlets, which also hate WikiLeaks, won’t raise much of a fuss. And that way, this very dangerous precedent of allowing the CIA and the Trump Justice Department to decide who is and who is not a journalist, what types of journalism are protected by the First Amendment and what types aren’t, will be entrenched as precedent. And that way, the next time there’s a leak that they hate in The New York Times or by NBC News, they will have this theory, that everybody signed on to, that said that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to certain people if you publish documents that are sensitive enough, or if you work enough with certain sources before the publication, that you’re deemed a collaborator. That’s what makes this moment so dangerous for core press freedoms.”
He’s right. I’ve thought of the same thing. While Democrats like us won’t shed any tears for Assange, we certainly would not want this to be an action with any precedence in terms of going after journalists.
“What’s interesting is, the Justice Department under President Obama experimented with this idea for a long time. They impaneled a grand jury to criminally investigate WikiLeaks and Assange. They wanted to prosecute them for publishing the trove of documents back in 2011 relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as the U.S. State Department diplomatic cables. And what they found, the Obama Justice Department found, was that it is impossible to prosecute WikiLeaks for publishing secret documents, without also prosecuting media organizations that regularly do the same thing. The New York Times, The Guardian, many other news organizations also published huge troves of the documents provided by Chelsea Manning. So it was too much of a threat to press freedom, even for the Obama administration, to try and create a theory under which WikiLeaks could be prosecuted.”
The trouble is would arresting Assange give the Trump WH the precedent to go after the NY Times and the Washington Post?
“Sessions won’t rule out prosecuting media outlets besides WikiLeaks.”
“The attorney general is leaving the door open for a major assault on press freedoms.”
Many Democrats might be ok going after Assange-as long as for the right reasons. For me, it must be legal and constitutional. For instance, Roger Stone claimed to speak to Assange about hacking HRC”s 30,000 emails-after Trump asked Russia to do that.
That’s interesting as Assange back in the early 90s was prosecuted in his late teens for some pretty serious hacking. Part of the agreement was that he’d never hack again. So if he did agree to Stone’s proposal this would put him in violation of the earlier court ruling and would make him subject to prosecution.
But let’s fact it-Sessions and Trump also want to go after the NY Times and Washington Post.
Greenwald does admit that this talk of going after Assange could just be theater:
“So then the question becomes: Do they have any plans to physically seize Julian by invading the Ecuadorean Embassy, something the U.K. government actually thought about doing early on? Do they—are they trying to do a deal with the new Ecuadorean government to provide them benefits, or threaten them, in exchange for handing Julian over and withdrawing the asylum? Or is this just theater? Is this just show? Is this just a way of the Trump administration showing that they’re trying to crack down on leaks? I don’t think we know the answer to that question. But the asylum that Julian has should prevent the U.S. government from apprehending him, even if they do decide to go ahead and indict WikiLeaks.”
“Here’s why this might just be theatrics on Trump’s part. Because Assange is such a shady character that we know so little about. By the way, this talk about arresting Assange recalls that time when we heard talk back in February of Russia handing over Snowden to Trump ‘as a present.’
Snowden claimed that this somehow vindicated that he was not a Russian spy as some suspect-after all, why did he seek asylum in Russia of all places? Assange had his hand in that one too.
But we never heard anything about this again. Evidently just a smokescreen.
As for Assange, he’s still not acting like someone who’s in great danger of being arrested by Donald Trump.
Here’s some of his tweets from yesterday-over 24 hours after the ‘Arresting Assange is a high priority’ talk.
This was his response to the ACLU. What does it say to me? That he is not a leftist though many on the Left have been taking in by him. He’s actually on the extreme Right. This is why he’s a buddy of Nigel Farage. He actually has been tight with UKIP for a long time.
In a recent interview The Intercept he said this:
“Assange said that if WikiLeaks had obtained a cache of RNC emails, it would have published those as well. “Just imagine if WikiLeaks had obtained information that it knew was true about the Democratic party and corruption of the primary process, and it decided that it was not going to publish that information, but suppress it — it would be completely unconscionable,” he said. “We specialize in really big scoops. You can’t go, ‘Oh, we have this massive scoop about corruption in the DNC. Now we need to balance this with a massive scoop about corruption in the RNC.’ These things come along once every few years.”
This is not plausible. For one thing, according to the US intelligence community, there was a hack of the RNC but the stolen data wasn’t used.
But it doesn’t square at all with Assange declaring in February, 2016 that ‘Hilary Clinton cannot be President.’
The endless war he seemed to have in mind was Syria. He’s been silent following Trump’s bombing of Assad and the bellicose talk of Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley.
Assange’s claim to just be an impartial whistleblower also doesn’t jibe with what he said a few years before the 2016 election.
In the wake of the WikiLeaks frenzy, Assange often tried to clarify where he stood politically. His simultaneous embrace of leftist icons such as Noam Chomsky and right-wing libertarians seemed to indicate that he was open to ideas from either end of the political spectrum, so long as they were directed against authoritarianism. Finally, in 2013, Assange proclaimed, “The only hope as far as electoral politics presently … is the libertarian section of the Republican Party.”
With all this background can you honestly believe he would have released RNC emails? In fact there were RNC emails and he chose not to release them.
Here are some other subsequent Assange tweets since Jeff Sessions talked about arresting him:
Considering that Donald Trump is the one-allegedly-threatening Assange with prison it surely is notable that Assange is still talking about Hillary Clinton five months after her defeat.
At this point if you still believe Assange is a impartial, nonpartisan whistleblower then I give up. It also isn’t what you’d expect someone afraid of the current Administration arresting him to be snarking this hard on the Administration’s beaten opponent.
It also shows that Assange continues to do his own active measures and fake news.
Remember his part in creating Pizzagate that nearly led to a murder.
At this point if Trump is really planning to arrest Assange is probably to give him a medal or maybe pardon him.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
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