Back in the early 1960s, us kids could not wait to get home from school to catch another TV episode of The Adventures of Superman. Back then TV was all black and white, and so was our view on the world. I’ll never forget the intro to the show and the part that told of the strange visitor from another planet who “fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.” As I sit here typing this story, only Superman can save the modern Daily Planet publisher Julian Assange.
Death to Mild Mannered Reporters
Reading and watching news about WikiLeaks whistle-blower Julian Assange these last weeks since his arrest, I’ve come to the conclusion humanity is on its last legs. Forget about oil for money. Don’t even worry about global warming. None of us are going to survive past Phase 2 of the Julian Assange crucifixion, the rolling back of press freedoms and the public’s right to information. The weight and might of the same denizens Superman, aka Clark Kent, fought against in the 50s and 60s, it’s being leveled onto the man who is closest kin to the editor in chief of the mythical Daily Planet, Perry White.
Yes, it’s going to take the “man of steel” streaking across the sky and landing on the White House lawn to get the people to pay attention to the trials of Julian Assange. A certification that Assange is being subjected to torture by United Nations special rapporteur on torture and ill-treatment, Nils Melzer hardly stirred the planet. Federal Judge John Koeltl’s dismissal of a ludicrous Democratic National Committee (DNC) case against the WikiLeaks publisher because their accusations were “boundless” has had no tangible effect. People, the organisms Assange has been in self-exile to protect for most of a decade, they just don’t seem to care about his fate. It’s not only sad, it bears a foreboding.
Assange is the central figure in a much larger case involving the fate of all humanity. Maybe this is why a superhero may be his only hope. From my perspective as an analyst and reporter on Mr. Assange’s activities, I cannot even fathom how the man is being left to wither away psychologically and physically in Belmarsh Prison. The situation with Assange is intolerable, the UN’s Melzer added in his recent statement, he had:
“…never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”
Free Speech Kryptonite
The aforementioned Federal Judge Koeltl even brought to bear the central argument for Julian Assange, the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, and the precedent that bears most fervently on Julian Assange’s innocence. The judge told reporters on the dismissal of the DNC case:
“In New York Times Co. v. United States, the landmark ‘Pentagon Papers’ case, the Supreme Court upheld the press’s right to publish information of public concern obtained from documents stolen by a third party.”
Let me square something here. I do not even know Julian Assange. What I do know of his personality and past makes me dislike him at face value. He seems typically arrogant, flippant, a self-important smartass if you ask me. But no matter what first impressions may tell us about the WikiLeaks founder, he’s a brave man who did humanity an incalculable service. Few who are reading this will recall Assange’s history as one of the world’s most notable hackers.
Assange started “blowing the whistle” on the NSA and other entities way back in 1999 when he cautioned the world about the security agency’s patents on eavesdropping technology. Later, in the intro to his book Cypherpunks (2012), Assange summarized:
“The Internet, our greatest tool for emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen”
The list of WikiLeaks revelations which the world would know nothing about without Julian Assange is too lengthy to even speak of here. Of all the revelations we’ve been privy to, the gun camera footage of the airstrike of 12 July 2007 in Baghdad, showing the deaths of journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh by a US helicopter is the most poignant. The dastardly conduct of United States servicemen in this raw video rival the Mai Lai debacle from the Vietnam War once you realize it was no isolated incident.
If you are an America, I hope your senses force you to ask the question; “How can we have peace in the world by ordering murder in the Middle East or elsewhere?” And the citizen of Atlanta or Des Moines wonders where terrorists come from. For a wider perspective on just who is out to get Julian Assange, the following from a Newsweek report on Assange’s strange meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt back in 2011 reveals a comic book level conspiracy at work. The Assange/Schmidt conversation boiled down to this:
“For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with U.S. foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to Western companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.”
Now my constant references to the technocrats and their role in the liberal world order become more pertinent. This is “who” is out to annihilate Assange and anyone who stands in their way.
Superman No Show
Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, us kids were introduced to Perry White, who headed the newspaper Superman (Clark Kent) worked for. He was a character who maintained very high ethical and journalistic standards. He was the archetype for the journalistic hero, someone who would not bend no matter what pressure was applied. Perry, like Assange, won many awards for leading the charge for truth and justice. Assange reminds me of him for several reasons, but mostly because the forces arrayed against him are evil on an epic scale. I would ask the reader to consider this.
How is it that Julian Assange has won countless awards for his journalism and publishing, and he’s sought for crucifixion in the country that is supposed to represent such freedoms? The United States government wants to drain the blood out of a man who’s won the Sam Adams Award, the Le Monde readers’ choice award for person of the year, the Time readers’ choice award for person of the year, the Walkley Award for “Most outstanding contribution to journalism”, the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, the Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal for Peace with Justice, the Amnesty International UK Media Award, and many more accolades.
Are you feeling the need to point overhead and chanting “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s Superman?” Assange is the Nelson Mandela of press freedom and the public’s right to truth, and he’s being mentally waterboarded in a Brit prison. If you’re the U.S. president and you want to be remembered, grow a set and pardon Julian Assange before he is even put on trial. Trump can throw off the bonds of being the world’s biggest blowhard by taking up for Assange. And no, I am not the only one who would applaud his intervention.
Unfortunately for Julian Assange and free speech, Superman seems to be long dead and gone. There’s no one to rescue Julian Assange. The poor man does not even have a Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen to visit him in Belmarsh Prison. Just lawyers, interrogators, and Baywatch starlet Pamela Anderson. Hey, maybe Pam can reach Superman or the people of Metropolis one?
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”