By Dr Leon Tressell
1) Julian Assange has committed no crime. He received classified information from a source and then published it. Assange and the WikiLeaks team always go to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information they receive. Mainstream journalists do this all the time.
Assange’s source, Chelsea Manning, admitted at her own trial that she acted on her own volition to download classified documents for which she had security clearance to do so. Manning made it clear that she did not receive assistance from Julian Assange to obtain the Iraq War logs and other classified documents as his assistance was not required.In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to two journalists this year the chairwoman of the awarding committee stated: “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda.’’
Julian Assange has done more than any other journalist to expose corruption, lies and war crimes. Hence his persecution by the government of the most powerful nation on the planet.
2) Julian Assange published the Collateral Murder video which shocked the world as it revealed a US helicopter gunship carrying out a massacre in Iraq. A dozen people were murdered, including two Reuters journalists, in a Baghdad suburb on 5thy April 2010. This video graphically brought home to many people the murderous nature of the US-led occupation of Iraq.
3) The Iraq War Logs opened up a Pandora’s box of revelations regarding Washington’s occupation of Iraq which caused great embarrassment for the US and its partners in these crimes in Europe. Key revelations include the widespread use of torture by Iraqi forces, executions by US troops of civilians at checkpoints and examples of indiscriminate slaughter of civilians by American helicopter gunships Besides this, the Iraq War Logs revealed the huge number of civilian deaths between 2004 and 2009 which amounted to over 90,000 people. Civilian casualties were being massively downplayed by the US and its allies.
4) The Afghan War Diaries shattered the myth of the ‘good war’ being fought to allegedly protect women rights, defeat terrorism and defend democracy that was propagated by both the ‘liberal’ media and the US government and its partners. This ‘good war’ was contrasted with the ‘bad war’ being fought in Iraq. The 91,000 War Logs were described by Julian Assange at the time of their publication in July 2010 as “the most comprehensive history of a war ever to be published, during the course of the war.” He added: “The most dangerous men are those who are in charge of war. And they need to be stopped.”
The documents revealed thousands of war crimes which included indiscriminate shootings of civilians by occupation forces and extrajudicial executions of alleged ‘insurgents’. Alongside this, they exposed how widespread was the opposition from the people of Afghanistan to the US-led occupation of their country.
5) The Gitmo Files published on 25 April 2010 exposed how the US prison, in the occupied piece of Cuban territory known to the world as Guantanamo Bay, treated alleged ‘terrorists’. The US military prison which opened on 11th January 2002 and remains open to this day is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
The Gitmo Files reveal that the overwhelming majority of the prisoners were completely innocent of the so called crimes of terrorism. They also reveal the systematic mistreatment of prisoners at the prison where torture was routinely used.
6) On 28th November 2010, WikiLeaks published the Cablegate files. This trove of over 250,000 documents details US foreign policy primarily from 2000 onwards. They reveal how the US used its embassies to spy on public figures across the world, including the UN leadership. Other revelations include how the US had a secret agreement with Yemeni dictator Saleh to use American planes to bomb alleged Al Qaeda targets in his country. The huge impact of these diplomatic cables is summed up by the following assessment from WikiLeaks:
“Over the year of its release Cablegate had a huge effect all over the world, being widely acknowledged as a key factor in igniting the Arab Spring and altering United States diplomatic relations across the globe after the activities of the US, its component corporations, its allies and its enemies, became public.’’
7) On the 22nd July 2016, WikiLeaks released 19,000 hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. This release, probably more than any other, explains the intense hatred felt by the Democratic Party towards Julian Assange and is a major factor in the continued persecution of the award-winning journalist.
The DNC email release has fuelled the Russiagate Conspiracy in the US with Assange being blamed to this day for Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.
The DNC email release revealed how the party bureaucracy waged a systematic campaign to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
I could go on. A comprehensive list of all WikiLeaks revelations from 2006-2016 can be found here.
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has repeatedly stated that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have revealed more important stories of note than the rest of the establishment media outlets put together.
If Julian Assange is extradited to the United States he faces certain a lifetime in prison with no prospect of parole. If you are free this Saturday and live in the UK come along to the demonstration which will demand that Assange is released from prison. Investigative journalism is not a crime.
Leon Tressell is a geo-political historian who has written extensively about the new Cold War between the US and Russia/China as well as the persecution of whistle blowers such as Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.
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