So it turns out it's really really important for powerful people to be able to lie to us with impunity, you guys. I know this because an actual, literal spy told me that that's what I'm meant to believe in an article published by Newsweek yesterday.
If you were wondering how long it would take the imperial propagandists to ramp up their efforts to explain to us why it is good for the Trump administration to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after we learned that sealed charges have been brought against him by the United States government, the answer is eight days. If you were wondering which of those propagandists would step forward and aggressively attempt to do so, the answer is Naveed Jamali.
To be clear, I do not use the word "propagandist" to refer to a mass media employee whose reliable track record of establishment sycophancy has propelled him to the upper echelons of influence within platforms owned by plutocrats who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, as I often mean when I use that word. When I say that Jamali is a propagandist, I mean he is a current member of the United States intelligence community telling Newsweek's readers that it is to society's benefit for the US government to pursue a longstanding agenda of the US intelligence community in imprisoning Julian Assange.
Jamali is currently a reserve intelligence officer for the United States Navy, and is a former FBI asset and double agent. He is also like many intelligence community insiders an MSNBC contributor, and is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think tank which has featured many prominent neoconservative war whores like Donald and Frederick Kagan, Max Boot, and James Woolsey. Any think tank with the words "foreign policy" in its title is nothing other than a group of intellectuals who are paid by plutocrats to come up with the best possible arguments for why it would be very good and smart to do things that are very evil and stupid, and Naveed Jamali sits comfortably there.
His Newsweek article, titled "Prosecuting Assange is Essential for Restoring Our National Security", begins with the sentence "Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Julian Assange or Wikileaks," and doesn't get any better from there. The article consists of two arguments, the first being that since Assange is "not a journalist" he is not protected by the First Amendment from prosecution by the US government. This argument is bunk because (A) this is a made-up nonsense talking point since neither the US Constitution nor the Supreme Court have made any distinction between journalists or any other kind of publisher in press freedom protections, and (B) WikiLeaks has won many awards for journalism. The second argument is that it is very important for the US government to be able to hide any kind of secrets it wants from the American people.
And really that's the only thing these paid manipulators are ever telling you when they smear Assange or argue for his prosecution: powerful people need to be able to lie to you and hide information from you without being inconvenienced or embarrassed by WikiLeaks. If they say it often enough and in a sufficiently confident tone, some trusting, well-intentioned people will overlook the fact that this is an intensely moronic thing for anyone to believe.
Contrary to what US intelligence operatives would have you believe, the prosecution of Julian Assange by the United States government would indeed be disastrous for press freedoms around the world. A good recent essay by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone titled "Why You Should Care About the Julian Assange Case" breaks down exactly why everyone should oppose this administration's aggressive pursuit of Assange, even if they hate him and everything he stands for. In terms of speech protection there is nothing that legally distinguishes an outlet from WikiLeaks from outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of whom have published secret documents and information which was taken through illegal means. If Assange is successfully prosecuted for doing the same thing other mainstream publications do to hold power to account, there will be little stopping the US government from going after those types of outlets all around the world for publishing its secrets.
After Taibbi published his article, he spent a couple hours on Twitter explaining to Democratic Party loyalists over and over and over and over again that the charges Assange is facing almost certainly have nothing to do with the 2016 WikiLeaks publications, and rather relate to much earlier publications of a far more classified nature than a few Democrats' emails. He had to do this because Russiagate conspiracy theorists have been shrieking that it's #MuellerTime ever since news broke about the sealed charges, and now you've got the strange scene of liberals everywhere cheering on a Trump administration agenda which threatens to cripple the free press they claim to be protecting from the very administration that they are cheering for. The concept that the prosecution of someone they've been trained to hate has nothing to do with the thing they hate him for is inconceivable from within the walls of the binary narrative matrix that these people have become trapped in by establishment manipulators like Jamali.
Taibbi's essay wraps up with the words, "Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again."
He's right. They don't grasp it. Here's hoping they do before it's too late.
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