"What happens to Julian Assange
and to Chelsea Manning
is meant to intimidate us,
to frighten us into silence.
By defending Julian Assange,
we defend our most sacred rights.
Speak up now
or wake up one morning
to the silence of
a new kind of tyranny.
The choice is ours"...
All of us are in danger.
In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global...
Take Julian Assange, for example.
Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks - a website that published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources - was arrested on April 11, 2019, on charges of helping U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning access and leak more than 700,000 classified military documents that portray the U.S. government and its military as reckless, irresponsible and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths...
Included among the leaked Manning material were,
The Collateral Murder leak included gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters (below video) engaged in a series of air-to-ground attacks while air crew laughed at some of the casualties:
Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists.
The driver's two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries.
This is morally wrong...
It shouldn't matter which nation is responsible for these atrocities:
In true Orwellian fashion, however, the government would have us believe that it is Assange and Manning who are the real 'criminals' for daring to expose the war machine's seedy underbelly.
Since his April 2019 arrest, Assange has been locked up in a maximum-security British prison - in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day - pending extradition to the U.S., where if convicted, he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.
Whatever is being done to Assange behind those prison walls - psychological torture, forced drugging, prolonged isolation, intimidation, surveillance - it's wearing him down.
In court appearances, the 48-year-old Assange appears disoriented, haggard and zombie-like.
It's not just Assange who is being made to suffer, however.
Manning, who was jailed for seven years from 2010 to 2017 for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, was arrested in March 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury about Assange, placed in solitary confinement for almost a month, and then sentenced to remain in jail either until she agrees to testify or until the grand jury's 18-month term expires.
Federal judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia also fined Manning $500 for every day she remained in custody after 30 days, and $1,000 for every day she remains in custody after 60 days, a chilling - and financially crippling - example of the government's heavy-handed efforts to weaponize fines and jail terms as a means of forcing dissidents to fall in line.
This is how the police state deals with those who challenge its chokehold on power.
Make no mistake: the government is waging war on journalists and whistleblowers for disclosing information relating to government misconduct that is within the public's right to know.
Yet while this targeted campaign - aided, abetted and advanced by the Deep State's international alliances - is unfolding during President Trump's watch, it began with the Obama Administration's decision to revive the antiquated, hundred-year-old Espionage Act, which was intended to punish government spies, and instead use it to prosecute government whistleblowers.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has not merely continued the Obama Administration's attack on whistleblowers. It has injected this war on truth-tellers and truth-seekers with steroids and let it loose on the First Amendment.
In May 2019, Trump's Justice Department issued a sweeping new "superseding" secret indictment of Assange - hinged on the Espionage Act - that empowers the government to determine what counts as legitimate journalism and criminalize the rest, not to mention giving,
Noting that the indictment signaled grave dangers for freedom of the press in general, media lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., warned,
We desperately need greater scrutiny and transparency, not less.
Indeed, transparency is one of those things the shadow government fears the most.
Why? Because it might arouse the distracted American populace to actually exercise their rights and resist the tyranny that is inexorably asphyxiating their freedoms.
This need to shed light on government actions - to make the obscure, least transparent reaches of government accessible and accountable - was a common theme for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who famously coined the phrase,
Writing in January 1884, Brandeis explained:
Of course, transparency is futile without a populace that is informed, engaged and prepared to hold the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law.
For this reason, it is vital that citizens have the right to criticize the government without fear.
After all, we're citizens, not subjects. For those who don't fully understand the distinction between the two and why transparency is so vital to a healthy constitutional government, Manning explains it well:
Manning goes on to suggest that the U.S.,
Technically, we've already got such legislation on the books: the First Amendment.
The First Amendment gives the citizenry the right to speak freely, protest peacefully, expose government wrongdoing, and criticize the government without fear of arrest, isolation or any of the other punishments that have been meted out to whistleblowers such as Edwards Snowden, Assange and Manning.
The challenge is holding the government accountable to obeying the law.
Almost 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in United States v. Washington Post Co. to block the Nixon Administration's attempts to use claims of national security to prevent The Washington Post and The New York Times from publishing secret Pentagon papers on how America went to war in Vietnam.
As Justice William O. Douglas remarked on the ruling,
Almost 50 years later, with Assange being cast as the poster boy for treason, we're witnessing yet another showdown, which pits the people's right to know about government misconduct against the might of the military industrial complex.
Yet this isn't merely about whether whistleblowers and journalists are part of a protected class under the Constitution. It's a debate over how long "we the people" will remain a protected class under the Constitution.
Following the current downward trajectory, it won't be long before anyone who believes in holding the government accountable is labeled an "extremist," is relegated to an underclass that doesn't fit in, must be watched all the time, and is rounded up when the government deems it necessary.
Eventually, we will all be potential suspects, terrorists and lawbreakers in the eyes of the government.
Partisan politics have no place in this debate: Americans of all stripes would do well to remember that those who question the motives of government provide a necessary counterpoint to those who would blindly follow where politicians choose to lead.
We don't have to agree with every criticism of the government, but we must defend the rights of all individuals to speak freely without fear of punishment or threat of banishment.
Never forget: what the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don't talk back, don't challenge government authority, don't speak out against government misconduct, and don't step out of line.
What the First Amendment protects - and a healthy constitutional republic requires - are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power.
As I make clear in Battlefield America - The War on the American People, the right to speak out against government wrongdoing is the quintessential freedom.
Be warned: this quintessential freedom won't be much good to anyone if the government makes good on its promise to make an example of Assange as a warning to other journalists intent on helping whistleblowers disclose government corruption.
Once again, we find ourselves reliving George Orwell's 1984, which portrayed in chilling detail how totalitarian governments employ the power of language to manipulate the masses.
In Orwell's dystopian vision of the future, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thought-crimes."
Much like today's social media censors and pre-crime police departments, Orwell's Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the other government agencies peddle in,
Orwell's Big Brother relies on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary.
Where we stand now is at the juncture of,
The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.
This is the final link in the police state chain.
Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry,
...our backs are to the walls.
From this point on, we have only two options: go down fighting, or capitulate and betray our loved ones, our friends and ourselves by insisting that, as a brainwashed Winston Smith does at the end of Orwell's 1984, yes, 2+2 does equal 5.
As George Orwell recognized,