Sunday, April 29, 2018

All I need to know about Julien Assange and WikiLeaks

There's been a renewed attempt (by both of America's political parties) to discredit Wikileaks.  Why?

What was Wikileaks' crime?  Exposing the truth about America's wars.

All I need to know about WikiLeaks is that if it wasn't for WikiLeaks, we would never have known about the US military attempt to hide an incident in which civilians (including two journalists) were machine-gunned from helicopters while the gunners laughed.  That attack occurred three years before WikiLeaks released the "Collatoral Murder" video.  For three years it remained hidden.   There was absolutely no possibility that it would eventually have been revealed if not for the courage of Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks. 

If not for WikiLeaks, that airstrike would have been completely covered up.  In true Orwellian fashion, it simply would never have happened.  It would have ceased to exist as a truth. Because the government would have decided that it was a truth we were best kept from knowing.  Given their way, reality or history will always become what they choose it to be, and nothing more.  They will determine reality for us.  

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past"
George Orwell, 1984

If not for the brave people who have risked everything to bring truth to light, we would never have known about the 2009 Granai Airstrike in which as many as 140 civilians (mostly children) were killed, we would never have known about Abu Ghraib, the waterboarding of detainees, the secret prisons in which people are held indefinitely without legal recourse, the program of secret renditions, Guantanamo Bay.  Hell, go further back ... we would never have know about the massacre at My Lai in 1968.

Sometimes willful ignorance is not a suitable choice.  And it is never an honorable one.  Should it really require a major act of courage simply to accept the truth and to deal with it?  Something is terribly wrong in a society that prefers lies to the truth. Vast stockpiles of WMD, anyone? 

Why has the United States government tried so hard to discredit WikiLeaks?  To prevent more embarrassing releases?  Yes, of course. Protect corporate secrets?  Yes.  Frighten truth-tellers into silence?  Yes.  All of these things, yes; but mostly the US government wants to preserve its control over our access to the truth.  They want the power to make the truth whatever they choose it to be.  They want to control reality (or our perception of it, which is the same thing).  Does that sound sinister?  Paranoid?  Then so be it.  Because it's also the truth.

If the U.S. government is successful in silencing WikiLeaks; they will have struck a blow at truth.  Ultimately, though, they want to strike a blow, not at those who would publish truth ... but at those who would read it.  People like you and me.  They want you to choose ignorance.  Ultimately, their target is a public that is empowered and informed by the truth.  That's why they are dead serious about assaulting your right to know.  What about you?  How serious are you about defending it?

All I need to know about WikiLeaks is that we need it.  We need it badly. Because choosing to live by lies is shameful.

Courage is contagious.  And that's all I need to know.