While I’m no particular fan of rape-jokey Slavoj Žižek, this is well-written and well-argued; his take is fascinating and quite reasonable. I dunno if Assange and WikiLeaks would agree that they’re a ‘spying organization’, but nonetheless…allow me to borrow a good swath of it.
‘Assange works for the people – now we need to save him, Slavoj Žižek via RT April 20, 2018
“Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now.
Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?
They say Assange is paranoid? How could anyone who lives permanently in a flat which is bugged from above and below, a victim of constant surveillance organized by secret services, not be? As for him being a megalomaniac? When the (now ex-) head of the CIA says your arrest is his priority, does this not imply that you are a “big” threat to some, at least? And the trope where Assange behaves like the head of a spy organization? But WikiLeaks IS a spy organization, although one that serves the people, keeping them informed on what goes on behind the scenes.
Yet, they say Assange is a refugee from justice, hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy to escape judgment. But what kind of justice is this which threatens to have him arrested when the case has already been dropped?
So let’s move to the big question: why now? I think one name explains it all: Cambridge Analytica – a name which stands for all Assange is about, for what he fights against; the disclosure of the link between the great private corporations and government agencies.
Remember what a big topic and obsession the Russian meddling in the US elections was – now we know it was not Russian hackers (with Assange) who nudged the people towards Trump, but instead the West’s own data-processing agencies which joined forces with political forces. This doesn’t mean that Russia and its allies are innocent: they probably did try to influence the outcome in the same way that the US does in other countries (only in this case, it is labeled “democracy promotion“). But it means the big bad wolf who distorts our democracy is not in the Kremlin, but walking around the West itself – and this is what Assange was claiming all along.
But where, exactly, is this big bad wolf? To grasp the whole scope of this control and manipulation, one should move beyond the link between private corporations and political parties (as is the case with Cambridge Analytica), to the interpenetration of data processing companies like Google or Facebook and state security agencies.
We shouldn’t be shocked at China but at ourselves who accept the same regulation while believing that we retain our full freedom and that media just helps us to realize our goals (while in China people are fully aware that they are regulated). The overall image emerging from it, combined with what we also know about the link between the latest developments in biogenetics (wiring the human brain, etc.), provides an adequate and terrifying image of new forms of social control which make the good old 20th century “totalitarianism” seem a rather primitive and clumsy machine of domination.
The biggest achievement of the new cognitive-military complex is that direct and obvious oppression is no longer necessary: individuals are much better controlled and “nudged” in the desired direction when they continue to experience themselves as free and autonomous agents of their own lives. And this is another key lesson of WikiLeaks: our lack of freedom is most dangerous when it is experienced as the very manifestation of our freedom. Because what can be more free than the incessant flow of communications which allows every individual to popularize their opinions and forms virtual communities at the user’s own volition? This is why it is absolutely imperative to keep the digital network out of the control of private capital and state power, i.e., to render it totally accessible to public debate. Assange was right in his strangely ignored key book on Google (When Google Met WikiLeaks, 2014) in his understanding of how our lives are regulated today, and how this regulation is experienced as our freedom. Meaning, we have to focus on the shadowy relation between private corporations which control our commons and secret state agencies.”
As I’d remembered it, Assange had Tweeted that he either was going to testify, or hoped to testify…about Cambridge Analytical. I scoured his Twitter account, but couldn’t find the Tweet. Admittedly, at the time, I hadn’t much of a clue as to what the ‘organization’ was or did, so I hadn’t zeroed in on his message. But I did grab these related ones:
One of the WikiLeaks-related teams had also reTweeted this, which Inspector Clouseau might have considered ‘a Clue’:
On the other hand, also via RT: ‘John Pilger warns of war with Russia as West wages ‘propaganda’ battle (VIDEO)’, April 3
“Campaigning journalist John Pilger has warned that the current propaganda war being waged by the West against Russia and China could escalate into a “real” war if it continues.
The Australian journalist and filmmaker issued the warning during an interview with RT on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange having his internet access cut off by the Ecuadorian embassy, where he resides. The WikiLeaks editor has been unable to access the internet or receive visitors since criticizing Germany’s arrest of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
“This is about a war on freedom of speech. This man is being denied the most basic right – freedom of speech,” Pilger told RT. “It’s part of a wider war against known enemies, Russia is one of them and China is another, but at the moment [it’s] on the propaganda stage,” he added.”
But shucks, let’s stir in emptywheel’s April 1 ‘‘Did Ecuador Gag Julian Assange for Interference in Spain AND the US? [and far more interestingly prohibiting visitors, she notes]
“And while the gag closely followed Assange’s tweet, it also followed the detention and questioning of Trump advisor Ted Malloch when he arrived in Logan airport Tuesday. Among the questions the FBI asked Malloch, they asked about his contacts with Roger Stone and Wikileaks.
“The questions got more detailed about my involvement in the Trump campaign (which was informal and unpaid); whom I communicated with; whom I knew and how well — they had a long list of names,” Malloch said. “They seemed to then focus more attention on Roger Stone (whom I have met a grand total of three times and with groups of people); Jerome Corsi, a journalist who edited a memoir I had written some years ago; and about WikiLeaks, which I knew nothing.”
He said was asked specifically if he had visited the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up for nearly six years. He had not, he said.
The FBI let Malloch go, but not before seizing his phone and subpoenaing him to appear before Mueller’s grand jury on April 13.
That’s why I’m so interested that Ecuador has prohibited Assange visitors. The one time, in the past, they cut off his Internet access seemed to be a response to his release of emails designed to influence US politics, not Spanish politics. And his well-known use of mules to carry data to him would necessitate cutting off human visitors as well if Ecuador wanted to prevent his participation in foreign affairs.
In any case, if Mueller’s team ever provides solid evidence of more malign Assange involvement in the election, this is the kind of response I’d expect Ecuador to take.”
[as in: Ecuador knuckled to pressure from Mueller? srsly?]
In the end, quite a number of the 101 comments were from those who questioned her imaginings, and brutal retorts from her burly gatekeeper bmaz. But boy, do EW and bmaz loathe Assange, not particularly WikiLeaks. In general, their commentariat is very proud of their big D ‘Democratic’ brand.
This questioning may be the reason that WikiLeaks had Tweeted this yesterday:
‘Roger Stone: WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Me; The Anatomy of a Fake News Avalanche’, artvoice.com, April 3, 2018
May I say that I’m agnostic in ignorance as to Stone’s claims, and I haven’t a clue if there’s any real evidence that they’d met, but this list of #FakeNews publications I’ve seen in action:
“The fake news media is in overdrive. The constant torrent of disinformation and manipulative ‘reporting’ from fake news outlets like the Daily Beast, Salon, Slate, and Talking Points Memo is as predictable as it is hysterical.” Later he points readers to more ‘DMs leaked to the Atlantic’, and Stone reminds readers that Assange’s wifi had been cut off during that time. I won’t bring Craig Murray’s knowledge into the discussion as I don’t recall any of the timelines of the leaks.
You can donate to WikiLeaks here through the Wau Holland Foundation. Here is the ‘End Julian Assange’s isolation’ petition to Lenin Moreno that now has over 42,000 signatures. This is the ‘shop WikiLeaks’ page, including ‘1984 was not an instruction manual’ merchandise.