Why Bringing Assange Home Would Be The Best Possible Thing For Australia

Well I'll be damned, it's about time.

According to a new report by the Sydney Morning Herald, officials from Australia's High Commission have just been spotted leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, accompanied by Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Robinson confirmed that a meeting had taken place, but declined to say what it was about "given the delicate diplomatic situation."

So, forgive me if I squee a bit. I am aware how subservient Australia has historically been to US interests, I am aware that those US interests entail the arrest of Assange and the destruction of WikiLeaks, and I am aware that things don't often work out against the interests of the US-centralized empire. But there is a glimmer of hope now, coming from a direction we've never seen before. A certain southerly direction.

If the Australian government stepped in to protect one of its own journalists from being persecuted by the powerful empire that has dragged us into war after war and turned us into an asset of the US war/intelligence machine... well, as an Australian it makes me tear up just thinking about it. It has been absolutely humiliating watching my beloved country being degraded and exploited by the sociopathic agendas of America's ruling elites, up to and including the imprisonment and isolation of one of our own, all because he helped share authentic, truthful documents exposing the depraved behaviors of those same ruling elites. I have had very few reasons to feel anything remotely resembling patriotism lately. If Australia brought Assange home, this would change.

We Australians do not have a very clear sense of ourselves; if we did we would never have stood for Assange's persecution in the first place. We tend to form our national identity in terms of negatives, by the fact that we are not British and are not American, without any clear image about what we are. A bunch of white prisoners got thrown onto a gigantic island rich with ancient indigenous culture, we killed most of the continent's inhabitants and degraded and exploited the survivors, and now we're just kind of standing around drinking tea as the dust settles saying, "Hmm... well, we're not stuck-up like the Brits, and we're not entitled like the Yanks."

That's pretty much our entire nation right now. A beautiful continent where the Aboriginal Dreamtime has been paved over with suburbs and shopping centers. We are a warm and charitable people, we value family and community, but we've got no sense of who we are and what it means to be Australian.

We try sometimes; there are attempts to uplift Australian art and culture which we call Australiana. I remember going to "bush dances" as a kid where old-timey settler music was played and everyone pretended to have some kind of connection with it. We like meat pies. The footy's great. But our sense of ourselves has never really taken root.

Which is ultimately why attempts to assert our sovereignty, to leave the British commonwealth and stop having that ugly old woman's face on our money have fallen short. It is also why we had no problem subjugating ourselves as a functional vassal state of the US as it emerged as a dominant superpower following the world wars. If we'd had a clear image of ourselves, what we stand for, and what our best interests are, this never would have happened. But because of our background we've been like the home schooled teenager going to high school for the first time and instantly being absorbed into a bad crowd because she didn't understand the social dynamics.

I went to a community theater with my family the other day to see Spring Awakening, an English-language musical set in Germany. For no apparent reason, the actors on the stage spoke in American accents. They were Australians playing Germans, not Americans; there was no reason whatsoever for that to happen. But that sort of thing is so commonplace here the only person who pointed it out was my American husband. It seemed perfectly normal to me.

But it isn't normal. It isn't normal for a nation of people to be so neurotic and ashamed of their own nationality that they put on a foreign accent rather than their own for no reason. It isn't normal that we have such a head-down, subservient society that most of our homegrown talent leaves Australia forever because we've got a weird slave-culture habit of cutting down the "tall poppies" whenever anyone is perceived to have risen above their station. It isn't normal that we feel so ashamed of standing tall and shining bright in the world.

Nowadays the closest non-Aboriginal thing you ever see to a display of Australian identity typically involves Southern Cross tattoos, thuggishness, Islamophobia, and a desire to continue the cruel warehousing of human beings on Manus Island. That is plainly gross, and the Aboriginal people now hold their culture secret and close to their chests for completely understandable reasons, so what else is there? What else could there be that could begin to unite us as a people so we can begin to develop a little collective pride and cease allowing ourselves to be used as a tool of sociopathic imperialists?

Well, there's Julian Assange. He's something positive that we can all fight for, a clear force of good in the world that we can unify around as we begin a slow, sloppy, completely necessary divorce from the cancer of empire.

Assange confuses Americans in the same way Mountain Dew confuses me. Americans don't have any cultural hook-ups for the kind of creature he is. In the same way that Mountain Dew looks, tastes, smells and feels like poison to me, they can't tell if he's right wing or left, if he's a hero or a villain, or what motivates him. They don't trust him because they don't know what they're looking at. As someone who grew up around the same time, in the same area, and in similar social circles to him, it seems very obvious to me what he is. And what he is is very Australian.

Every country has its flavor. In my country, we grew up valuing innovation. Most people my age can reel off a list of Australian inventions, from the Hills Hoist to the postage stamp to the bionic ear to wifi. I did not even have to go and google that just now, that's how much a part of our national conversation and our education is our pride in our use of insight for practical problem-solving.

There are some fundamental values that we grew up with as seventies children in Australia. There was the value of "do the right thing," the value of "giving everyone a fair go", and the value of "keeping the bastards honest." These were key and oft-repeated phrases in my childhood during the seventies and eighties. Remember, we were small when there was a CIA/MI6 coup in our country and our parents were implored by the ousted Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to "maintain the rage" at the unforgivable attack on our democratic sovereignty. That's in my living memory. When Julian and I were small, anti-establishment sentiment was at its loudest.

We have an inbuilt distrust of authority and a deep hatred of empire which probably stems from our convict roots, and then from the ongoing waves of refugees who were running from famine, wars and despotism. Aside from the indigenous population, we are a country full of people who were forced by empire to come here in one way or another. So we don't like authority much and we instinctively cut people down before they get too powerful. This is why the unions are still strong and social programs are such a natural fit for us. We like things to be fair. We like everyone to have a say.

Julian Assange's work is an embodiment of all those values. The initial innovative use of technology to create WikiLeaks, the belief in openness and transparency, the desire to democratize information for the good of the whole, and the joy in keeping the bastards honest -- all of that is very Australian. Very child of a strong Mum and brought up in Melbourne. Very me. My seed took root in similar soil. He seems obvious to me.

His work is extraordinary. Never has a single innovation brought power to its knees in such a short amount of time. In an inverted totalitarian system where the ability to suck resources from the people is hidden under a veil of propaganda, the ability to rip through the veil of spin and government opacity is a powerful tool indeed. In just a little over a decade he has managed to make himself the most wanted man alive by the most powerful people on earth. That's how effective WikiLeaks has been in bringing truth to power.

And those in power don't like him, and of course they use their propaganda machine to obfuscate who he is and what he is doing, but his actions tell his story even through the fog of the spin machine. His relentless drive to publish the truth no matter which side of the aisle it's about, whichever powerful faction it is going to piss off, and how that's going to impact his own living situation says everything you need to know about Julian Assange. He keeps publishing even when it's clearly to his own personal detriment. He cares less about himself than he does about the truth getting out there. That tells me everything I need to know.

And every day of his detention proves his theory correct. He is keeping the bastards honest and because they aren't honest, they don't like it one bit.

Bringing Julian Assange home could be the first step to giving ourselves a bright, shining image of who we are and what we stand for. At the moment, Australia is a lifeless vassal state hooked up to the US power establishment with our every orifice and resource being used to feed the corporatist empire. Anesthetized to the eyeballs and in a state of total submission, the return of Julian might just be the little spark we need to get the old ticker pumping for itself again. Finally standing up for ourselves, for what's right, and for the things that Julian stands for might just be the very thing we need as a nation to discover who we really are.

Bring him home. It's time.

I'll be at the solidarity vigil for Julian Assange in Melbourne on June 19th. Please come join me if you are able. Click here for more info.


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Another great post caitlin

Based on your eulogy of Assange I've not only come to understand his and your work better, but also one of the journalists I've most admired ever since 16 year-old coming-of-age me started getting interested in the topics you are here writing about (empire, power, war, exploitation, etc.) and that is... You guessed it.

The unforgettable John Pilger.

Around 16 as the child of two Americans living abroad (I never lived in the US) I started having an identity crisis, because as I became aware of certain things my parents may have never explained to me in a coherent way (can't really blame them, it's a bummer of a conversation and their decision to leave and raise me elsewhere kind of reflects the fact that they didn't really want to deal with any of it or have their kids be brought up in it)...

My parents always raised me to be critical of authority, even their own; which made me public enemy of 80% of my teachers at school but also made me a functioning and rational thinker, much like yourself (albeit I still have a way to go before I can hold the bastard's asses as close to the fire as you do!)

But for me, John Pilger played a critical role in crystallizing all of my discontentment and resentment towards the supposed culture and power that I had always felt I heralded from.

I think it played a huge role in me deciding to go live in China rather than the US to get started in life. Why I chose Beijing instead of New York or LA.

It's part of the reason why even though I've matured out of so many of my neurotic victimhood resentments and self-harming behaviors, all misguided but deeply rooted beliefs about the society I was supposedly most influenced by and therefore where a lot of my dark-side seemed to emanate from: I too share this powerful skepticism and disdain for anything that comes out of the mainstream socially-engineered NWO power-structure; no matter which branch or which facet of this power-structure it is....

I'm deeply, deeply skeptical and committed to a life-long resistance to it.

So, even though I've always thought of Assange as a common-hero, and not-at-all as a villain type, I'm glad you were able to explain to me why from this perspective...

Really great article.

Resteemed.

My mother is from Adelaide and her entire family lives there still. I've been there many times. I absolutely love it there, despite developing a life long crippling bird phobia, due to the swarms of seagulls at Victor Harbor. America the beautiful was not played in my house growing up, but Waltzing Matilda was. I personally believe Ozzies are the best people on earth.

All the best independent journalists are coming out of Australia. The only reason the Australian government is speaking to Julian Assange is because of pressure from the Australian public and journalists like you, Elizabeth Lea Vos, and Suzie Dawson.

Let's hope Julian is allowed to finally go home.

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I agree. There is something that is creating the most fierce independent journalists and thinkers in Australia and New Zealand. Besides those already mentioned, there is also The Australia Institute, which I have also been following for quite some time, and wondering why similar Canadian institutions don't exist. But I know why. Our msm has been bought and paid for long ago. We just elected an overt Trump supporter right wing premier of our largest province, mostly by vote splitting on the left. We have the same problems as Aussies when it comes to identity. But reading our msm the sense one gets now is that the pursuit of money, wealth, luxury, hedonism and total self indulgence is a 'culture', but really it's just whatever working class values we used to have are being erased in the race to the bottom, the race for the best paying mining and oil jobs for a few while the rest work at multinational corporations, forced to wear idiotic uniforms and serve toxic processed foods, just like their US counterparts who allowed themselves to be sucked into the fantasy of living like the rich and famous. Thinking about it last night, I am pretty sure that much of the working people of the world are traumatized by the last 30 years. But we have to keep going, we can't give in to despair, but it is going to take work in the right direction. Something like the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, but internationally. I hope that Australians check this movement out and start one there. We need to start a Democracy in the Americas movement too. We need international awareness of the issues because the power elites, the 2700 billionaires and their lackeys, are scooping elections because they know how to manipulate the average voter, they know how to operate the First Past The Post system so that parties with 35% of the vote can take a majority of seats, and until the average person understands that apathy is part of the calculations they make in their wins, we are all royally bleeped. It's time for an international democracy movement. Maybe Caitlin you and your husband can look into a Democracy in Australia Movement. And maybe, if Assange survives the next months, he can work for that too. He is already on the Advisory Panel for the Democracy in Europe Movement (Diem25.org). I hope he can return home, but I don't see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the fight for real democracy, and I don't trust any governments. He might have to remain in hiding for some time. Like Edward Snowden.
I travelled Australia by thumb in 1986 and I love it. I wish I had never returned to the (emotionally) frozen north. I may just return for another visit to feel the spirit of resistance that is creating such great truth tellers.

Very inspiring, I'm not even Australian and I got teary-eyed!

I think it would be great if they just let him go home.

For the rest of your article, poor Caitlin and all her innocent Australians trying to absolved themselves of their own crimes against humanity, if their wasn't a air of snobbishness in that article I don't know what you'd call it then.

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I'd call it you missing key parts that say exactly the opposite such as:

A bunch of white prisoners got thrown onto a gigantic island rich with ancient indigenous culture, we killed most of the continent's inhabitants and degraded and exploited the survivors, and now we're just kind of standing around drinking tea as the dust settles saying, "Hmm... well, we're not stuck-up like the Brits, and we're not entitled like the Yanks."

That's pretty much our entire nation right now. A beautiful continent where the Aboriginal Dreamtime has been paved over with suburbs and shopping centers.

It isn't normal for a nation of people to be so neurotic and ashamed of their own nationality that they put on a foreign accent rather than their own for no reason. It isn't normal that we have such a head-down, subservient society that most of our homegrown talent leaves Australia forever because we've got a weird slave-culture habit of cutting down the "tall poppies" whenever anyone is perceived to have risen above their station. It isn't normal that we feel so ashamed of standing tall and shining bright in the world.

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I call it window dressing. Doesn't matter how you dress it up the fact remains that they did to those natives exactly what every country has done to other natives, doesn't matter how they got there it matters what they done afterwards and what they done is no less guilty then anybody else but since she writes, drives and thrives for a living on making every other country out of villainous occupying murders she has to first find a way to come to grips with their own guilt to absolve themselves. She should be ashamed to even try and use Assange as a image to absolve pass sins.

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She should not be ashamed of doing what she never did, and on top of that nobody is guilty of anyone else's sins and she never approved of or wrote anything for you to insinuate that, to continue once you've been pointed out to claim that she's not only "snobbish" but that she's guilty of such things when she's admitted to them outright and it's shown clearly that she didn't condone or approve of any act you try to flick at her and to think that she's Making countries Look like vilinous occupying murderers and she should be ashamed of the things you accuse her of trying to do is complete and utter bullshit and about as rank and contorted from what it actually is said in her article as it gets, completely lacking any kind of substance you try to flick vague crap that she's Snobish and now you flick crap that Impetiously Implies that said countries ain't villainous or she has gone out of her way of blaming people for things that they never did, like you blame her for "absolving pass sins". Go fuck yourself and try slandering someone else because that's all you're fucking doing isn't it with your unsubstantiated opinionated remark, you can call it compliments but it's clear what the fuck you're doing, spreading shit without a clue and accusing people of baffling nonsense, almost begs if you suffer from some reading comprehension problem but then again "you call it".

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You seem to be the one who has a reading comprehension issue, she said:

"A bunch of white prisoners got thrown onto a gigantic island rich with ancient indigenous culture, we killed most of the continent's inhabitants and degraded and exploited the survivors, and now we're just kind of standing around drinking tea as the dust settles saying, "Hmm... well, we're not stuck-up like the Brits, and we're not entitled like the Yanks."

That to me is a clear indication she is talking about Australians overall view after that very descriptive manslaughter she just described. If that doesn't reek of stuck up and entitlement I certainly don't know what would. They felt entitled to kill off the natives then have a bit of tea?...then proclaim a difference of "air" between themselves and those who have done exactly the same thing. If that's not snobbishness I quite frankly couldn't tell you what would be. When you make a statement like that you own it, fair and square. She used "we're" not "they", there's a huge difference, one is inclusive of every bodies attitude from past leading to current, the other is applied to those long gone. I could give two rips about how you feel over what I stated, I have a right to my opinion and you certainly won't intimidate me out of it.

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"A bunch of white prisoners snobby pirates got thrown onto a gigantic island rich with ancient indigenous culture, snobby murdering pirates! we killed most of the continent's inhabitantsentitled snobby murdering pirates!!! and degraded and exploited the survivors,entitled imperialst snobby murdering pirates!!! and now we're just kind of standing around drinking tea as the dust settles saying, "Hmm... well, we're not stuck-up like the Brits, and we're not entitled like the Yanks"

Stuck Up Entitled Snobby Imperialistic murdering pillaging raping pirates.

ok that was a nice exercise in your little theory, but if you notice the actual wording you'd clearly see that she indeed include herself, just not in the way and view you have at all, because her wording, the fact that she included herself and that when she talks about entitled, she's referring that they aren't entitled like the americans, read it again:

"Hmm... well, we're not stuck-up like the Brits, and we're not entitled like the Yanks.">

If it's not clear, that's not Sarcastic. And how did you come to blame her for anything like snobby when she's clearly not saying she's proud of any of that. So tell me the fuck "snobby" is, and how you come to flick that shit at her, you're accusing her of exactly what? Absolving pass sins while you blame her for them to the day because you lack any kind of comprehension of what is said and rallying completely against the message, your point is NOTHING but throwing shade, makes jerk off gesture throw shade on that.

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You won't get anywhere with her @baah
She's been fighting with me and others today as well and is impossible to reason with.

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Like they say what comes around goes around and she does it all the time when she incorporates the citizens of the US into the bastardly deeds of history, (don't make me waste my time going and looking for quotes directly pertaining to that because I will come back with them in my hand) just as her use of the word Yanks entailed every Yank.

You somehow think I don't like her, if I didn't like her I wouldn't follow her. I would consider her a learning curve on somethings but we are not always going to see eye to eye on everything. I absolutely will not stand by and let her explain away or distinguish any difference at all on crimes against humanity or use Assange to bring back the pride once lost to absolve anything, she wouldn't allow me to do it, not that I'd try, and I don't expect her to do.

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Yeah, all that well placed righteousness and blame and shame.

Certainly USrael's Tariff attempt to destroy the EU economy has to open up the the possibility of an Assange release, the only problem being that he's no longer in the EU, and instead in UKrael who will be subservient to USrael as long as the SelfServatives are in power and BREXIT divides them from EU common sense. Boris was just shoving his nose up The Porn Star President's arse saying he "Admires" The Porn Star President, so it's unlikely we'll see change till Corbyn takes over. Of course, the SelfServatives facing an almost assured loss may turn to a few low cost PR stunts to pretend they're re-aligning with The Public, as has already taken place, so Assange could be part of that, but they'll need USrael's approval first.

Thanks, Caitlin, for giving us this tangible, organic, unequivocally genuine feel for the experience of being an Australian of your and Julian's generation. Now I can easily understand your love for your country and its people.

What makes me hesitate about the Australian government's sudden interest in Julian is the sense that they do pretty much what the United States wants them to do. Think of the perks they'd receive if they were to take Julian into custody under guise of a release; think how grateful the American empire would be for their cooperation. And the anger/retribution they would receive if they protected him. The presence of his lawyer is the only bit of comfort in this scenario.

To the reasons you give for Julian being difficult for some to understand, I would add his adherence to a set of principles that are remarkably selfless. In an age of narcissistic self-revelation, this inner discipline -- really, nobility -- keeps him a closed book. So his powerful enemies use all the rhetorical prowess at their disposal to write their own descriptions of Julian and his motivations. Thus he garners scorn instead of much-deserved honor.

I hope he will receive true release into personal freedom and safety, but this move would need specific conditions, guarantees and exigency plans as it is carried out. I remain fearful. I don't trust the powerful.