Friday, March 9, 2018

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We Refuse To Support Julian Assange At Our Own Peril

Mick Hall is backing Julian Assange.

The Guardian published an interesting piece about the two most famous whistleblowers in modern history Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden discussing Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, about Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the personal cost of what they did – and if they’d advise anybody to follow in their footsteps.

For me the most important part is when the two men discuss the fate of Julian Assange and what they say highlights the shameful way the liberal glitterati deserted Assange when he came under the most ferocious attack from the enemies of freedom.

While some deserted the field, others to their everlasting shame joined the howling pack who were determined to see Julian end up in a US prison cell.

Snowden and Ellsberg are made of stronger stuff as is shown in the following exchange:

Ewen MacAskill:

Is the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and fearful of extradition to the US, one of those at risk?

Edward Snowden:

Julian’s best defence, perhaps his only enduring defence, is that he is a publisher and has never even tried, as far as we are aware, to publish something untruthful. There are lots of criticisms, many of which are legitimate, to be said about his political views or his personal expressions or the way he put things or his agenda. But ultimately the truth speaks for itself.

Daniel Ellsberg:

Assange is in danger. There are those who say that Julian does not have to fear extradition if he came out of the embassy and served a brief sentence, if anything at all, for violating the rules. I think that is absurd. I think Britain would ship him over here [to the US] in a minute and we would never see or hear from him again … under Trump, he may well be the first journalist in this country to be indicted. We owe a great debt to these two men, and the other men and women who put their own lives on the line to ensure our freedom to know what is done by our government's in our name. Julian Assange also falls into this category and we refuse to support him at our own peril.

Ellsberg and Snowden both agreed when asked what motivated them to take the final step in becoming a whistleblower?


I would not have thought of doing what I did, which I knew would risk prison for life, without the public example of young Americans going to prison to make a strong statement that the Vietnam war was wrong and they would not participate, even at the cost of their own freedom. Without them, there would have been no Pentagon Papers. Courage is contagious. I have heard you say, Ed, that The Most Dangerous Man in America was a factor in encouraging you to do what you did.


That is absolutely true. While I was weighing up whether to come forward or not – and this was an agonising process because it was certainly life-changing – I watched that documentary. Dan’s example, hearing the arguments from someone who has lived through this, it helps prepare someone to make that jump themselves.

If Julian Assange is imprisoned for life within a US maximum security jail it's bound to demotivate future generations of whistleblowers.

Mick Hall blogs @ Organized Rage.

Follow Mick Hall on Twitter @organizedrage