Assange’s shameful treatment shows just how
the US exploits fear to silence dissent… as I
found out, too
By Tara Reade:
July 01, 2021 "Information
Clearing House" - -
As Julian Assange turns 50 in a UK prison cell,
it’s a stark reminder how America treats those
who legitimately question its activities. The
aim is to silence people – even those reporting
the crimes of established politicians.
There are a handful of political prisoners who
have really captured the attention of our
generation, and Julian Assange, the founder of
WikiLeaks, is among the most prominent. His
intentions have always been noble. “By
bringing out into the public domain how human
institutions actually behave, we can understand
frankly, to a degree, for the first time the
civilization that we actually have,” he has
Alongside others like Edward
Snowden and Chelsea Manning, Assange – an
Australian citizen – has been persecuted for
making known to the public things America wants
to keep quiet, such as details of war crimes and
the country’s surveillance state.
He will spend his 50th birthday, on July 3,
in prison in London – where he has been since
2019 when the asylum status he’d been granted by
Ecuador was revoked – facing the threat of being
prosecuted by the US under the Espionage Act.
The alleged violations of the Espionage Act
could mean imprisonment for life.
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Assange’s treatment has led to a serious
conversation of what will be left of freedom for
the media to expose state corruption. What is
democracy if it is not functioning from a place
of self-critical analysis to address corruption?
If democratic states only act in self-interest
to maintain authority and the status quo, is it
even democracy at all?
Have we as citizens all already lost the war
to keep our freedoms while we continue to delude
ourselves and fight smaller
As Glenn Greenwald points out, the very Western
journalists who would be impacted by the Assange
case maintain silence as if trepidatious of drawing
the attention and attracting the ire of the American
government. Fear is used as a vehicle to create an
atmosphere of measured silence.
Edward Snowden once said, “I would rather be
without a state than without a voice.” The
American empire uses different tactics to silence
the dissent. It is now somehow accepted that dissent
be criminalized and the individuals called traitors.
And this extends to even the reporting of
individual crimes of established American
politicians, as in my case. Joe Biden’s machine
counted on my fear to come forward. After I was
attacked in the media, they banked on my silence.
However, the ugly arrogance of Biden and his machine
overestimated his ability to silence me.
In larger cases of dissent, the silencing tactics
remain quite similar and more severe. The Western
media have vilified Assange and then ignored him, as
well as the human rights violations he suffers for
everyone to see. The American empire wanted to set
an example of what happens if you speak out.
Amazingly, US politicians, including Biden, pound
their chests at Russia and China, shouting about
human rights ‘violations’ and the lack of press
freedom, while stepping on the necks of their own
citizens to quash any voices that even dare to
question what’s going on.
Hypocrisy is a political art form in America.
The most recent round of public silencing has
been the shutting down of foreign media websites.
Last week, 33 sites critical of US policies in the
Middle East and supportive of Palestine were seized.
Richard Medhurst rightly called out the actions of
the Justice Department and the hypocrisy of the
American government around censorship.
It is no easy task to expose the crimes of the US
empire and colluding Western states, and there are
usually consequences. As Snowden remains in Russia
unable to come back to America, Assange is
imprisoned at Belmarsh in London under dire
conditions. He is in a cell for 23 hours a day, and
for one hour is taken to another for ‘exercise’.
According to Misty Winston, an American activist
and podcast host, the conditions are deplorable.
It is ghoulish to comprehend that we are watching
in real time the American empire overreach its
boundaries again by abusing its power to slowly
torture a publisher to death. Citizens of the world
are trying to push back against the corporate elites
and their war machines. Their protests are met with
silence or force.
As July 3 is Assange’s 50th birthday, the best
present we could give him and to ourselves is to
support him publicly and call for his release from
illegal imprisonment. How ironic it falls a day
before July 4, the celebration of America’s freedom,
as we collectively watch the US government allow our
freedom of speech and press to die a public,
political death on the world stage.
We need to honor the few heroes of our
generation, like Assange, who are trying to keep us
all truly informed and free.
author, poet, actor and former Senate aide, author
Out: When the Truth Doesn't Fit In. Follow her
on Twitter @readealexandra
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