This discussion was quite interesting and passionate from the panel. I would advise you to watch it if you have not yet done so. It started very positively by focusing on the events so far, going through what’s next and discussing the pernicious consequences that may result from this situation. I agree that the global silence of the mainstream media about this case is due to Assange having exposed the mainstream journalists as an extension of the great power that is being used to spread a certain narrative; which favors the powers that be (powerful organizations and oligarchs). We must aim for higher standards. From his own words: “Transparency and accountability are moral issues that must be the essence of public life and journalism.”1 Assange practices real, unadulterated journalism that puts to shame the traditional mainstream media. It is also likely that those journalists are being pressured or overtly ordered not to cover the case, even though it is of utmost importance to them.
In practice Julian Assange faces trial for practicing journalism. However, this is not the accusation in court; he was originally accused of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in order to help Chelsea Manning gain access to privileged information. Realizing that the charges were not serious enough, on 23 May 2019 a grand jury added 17 espionage charges under the US Espionage Act of 1917.2 In the mainstream media and on the public’s view, Assange’s character is also on trial where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct, although he was never formally prosecuted for those. Indeed, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people start to believe it”. However, it is important to note that it is not the character of the man that is on trial, but rather the freedom of the press and our freedom of expression. These are the pillars on which all of our other freedoms are built and in case they crumble, eroded by this Kangaroo court, this would consequently severely damage the fabrics of our democratic societies. And the powers that be are hell-bent on making an example out of Assange to intimidate and coerce others. A nasty aspect of this is that they are presumably using psychological torture and keeping him in unsalutary conditions expecting that he succumbs to Covid or other illness. In any case, his health has visibly deteriorated. – There is no place in a modern society for such practices of human rights violations.
The conversation next derailed somewhat into parallel issues and not in the most positive way, according to me: there were unnecessary references and critical characterizations of other peoples’ character and (historical) situations that could have been avoided or better handled. I found that the content was dominated by leftist views and politically unbalanced. – A point that stood-out to me was the mention: “Some people still have the Trump sign up.” Well, I would too since I consider the opposition to be much worse in terms of imperialism – going to war, culling the media and removing/limiting our freedoms. – Are we forgetting that what lead to the defeat of Hillary Clinton was in great part due to WikiLeaks? Are we also forgetting that was the Obama administration which initiated the prosecution process against Assange?3 (The discussion should have been kept apolitical.) – The admission of guilt for colonialism is uncalled for. Yes, atrocities happened, but I am sure I did not do it. It is important to be aware of history and of its negative aspects; it is important to correct wrongdoings if that can bring about positive outcomes. However, feeling guilty by association, I find very negative and unproductive. Worse than predicting the rain is pointing at the wet ground! Let’s all try to do what is right and positive; – Start by recognizing the problems and what can be improved. – Do not focus on punishing and punish only those involved and to the extent that that is necessary for the improvement of the individual and/or of the society. – Preferably, make rehabilitation and healing the targets. Remember that you are still responsible even if you try to refuse responsibility by choosing to remain blissfully ignorant. Be informed and help prevent this kind of occurrence.
Educating children is very important. However, the main problem is that what we mostly have currently is indoctrination. –If you propose to teach your view, that makes you no better than the other side. –Teach children how to think for themselves and how to analyze situations. –Teach them not to readily accept whatever they are told without first listening to all sides and then making their own judgment. – Do that yourself; how many times it is very easy to check the truthfulness of a claim and you don’t do it because of lack of time or laziness. That may be acceptable, but do you think it is acceptable to then go and be a “parrot” by spreading the couple of sentences you have just quickly read or heard like it is the undisputed universally accepted truth? Yes, I know very well the rage from confronting my well thought out and informed opinion against some “parrot” that simply and incessantly repeats the same line over and over again. Everybody makes mistakes, I do too. However, that is not the same as being willfully ignorant and trying to pass the result of that behavior for the truth. And some of them are so proud of not knowing – I don’t get it! Moreover, the less they know the more adamant they are; these people check the validity of their claims by insisting almost “to the death”. – Why are you not willing to listen to both sides of the argument?
The question then arises: How do we distribute reliable information? How do we persuade them that what we say is the truth? It is quite ironic that in this “day and age of information” with all the technology and communication possibilities we are more lost than ever in a sea of (mis)information. We are constantly and so continuously bombarded by fake news that it is becoming almost impossible to recognize the truth and to identify sources of reliable information. This can happen due to mistakes, and I would be the one to know about that; but mostly the propaganda is spread by bad actors that have something to gain- in essence it is something inbuilt in the human nature. Greed and tribalism are two big problems. The first one dictates much in what direction the world moves while the latter is a sure vehicle to spread biases and unconfirmed information. Both come from our time as hunter-gatherers and, while they were very positive then, they are now leading us to our demise. In a world where resources are limited and your access to resources is also constrained (as was long ago), greed is an advantageous trait that allows you to have what you need to survive and prosper. In our developed society, where the overall resources are still limited but most people already have more than what they need, greed becomes a sin. In the same manner, when people organized themselves as tribes, tribalism was an advantage that connected you to your fellow tribal members – following the group was generally the safer option – the other group was the enemy or competition. Today in a globalized society, following the group is most often a big mistake, still safer for the individual in the short term but can be quite damaging both for the individual and for the society on the long-run while benefiting only a few. – Like some say: the individual is smart and the mobs are stupid. I don’t have the answer. The solution is not obvious, we all need to think about it and try to find the way.
Finally we are told: “Julian is spent, his job is done”. And, in this kind of environment where you cannot even pay for the mainstream media to publish the truth, it is up to us to follow through. We must do our best to fight this propaganda machine and defend our rights. First they come for him, next they will come for you. Are you going down without a fight? The freedom of the press and our freedom of speech are at risk. The main weapons that are being used against us are the restriction, adulteration and control of information.4 – Spread the word. Support the independent journalists that are trying to report the truth.
– Do not let them win.