It is politically inconvenient at this time for the screaming corporate news to remind our entire citizenry what exactly WikiLeaks has done for us. So you won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves…
A supporter of Julian Assange blocks a road in front of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, site of Assange’s extradition hearing, on May 2. (Frank Augstein / AP)
Julian Assange is a dick. It’s important you understand that.
Assange and WikiLeaks revealed the American military’s war crimes, the American government’s corruption and the American corporate media’s pathetic servile flattery to the power elite. So, if you’re a member of our ruling class, you would view those as textbook examples of dickery.
In a moment I’m going to list all the ways Julian Assange changed the world by being a dick.
In an evolved and fully realized society, the oligarchy would see Assange as a dangerous criminal (which they do), and the average working men and women would view him as justice personified (which they don’t). We would celebrate him even as the mass media told us to hope for his downfall—like a Batman or a Robin Hood or an Ozzy Osbourne (the early years, not the cleaning-dog-turds-off-his-carpet years).
But we are not evolved and this is not Gotham City and average Americans don’t root for the truth. Many Americans cheer for Assange’s imprisonment. They believe the corporate plutocratic talking points and yearn for the days when we no longer have to hear about our country’s crimes against humanity or our bankers’ crimes against the economy. Subconsciously they must believe that a life in which we’re tirelessly exploited by rich villains and know all about it thanks to the exhaustive efforts of an eccentric Australian is worse than one in which we’re tirelessly exploited by rich villains yet know nothing about it.
“Ignorance is bliss” is the meditative mantra of the United States of America.
Julian Assange has been arrested and is now locked away in British custody. The U.S. government wants to extradite him, regardless of the official version, for the crime of revealing our government’s crimes. Nearly every government on our third rock from the sun despises the man for bringing transparency to the process of ruling the unwashed masses. (The level of wash has, however, increased thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns from a variety of shampoo brands.)
It is politically inconvenient at this time for the screaming corporate news to remind our entire citizenry what exactly WikiLeaks has done for us. So you won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves—in the same way the mainstream media did not begin every report about Chelsea Manning’s trial with a rundown of the war crimes she helped reveal.
And Chelsea Manning’s most famous leak is arguably also WikiLeaks’ most famous leak, so it’ll top this list:
1) That would be the notorious Collateral Murder video, showing U.S. air crew gunning down unarmed Iraqi civilians with an enthusiasm that couldn’t be matched by an eight year-old winning a five-foot-tall stuffed animal at the country fair. They murdered between 12 and 18 innocent people, two of them Reuters journalists.
Zero people have been arrested for the collateral murders. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing them.
2) WikiLeaks brought us the Guantanamo Bay “Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures”—showing that many of the prisoners held on the U.S. military detention facility were completely innocent, and that some were hidden from Red Cross officials. (Because when you’re torturing innocent people, you kinda want to do that in peace and quiet, away from prying eyes. It’s very easy to get distracted, and then you lose your place and have to start all over again.)
None of the soldiers torturing innocent people at Gitmo have been arrested for it. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing it.
3) Not content with revealing only war crimes, WikiLeaks in 2008 came out with the secret bibles of Scientology, which showed that aliens, um, run the world or … aliens are inside all of us or … aliens give us indigestion. I can’t really remember.
But no one has ever been arrested for perpetrating that nutbag cult. Yet Julian Assange has for revealing it.
Many people believe WikiLeaks has unveiled only crimes of the American government, but that’s completely false. The U.S. corporate media doesn’t want average Americans to understand that WikiLeaks has upped the level of transparency around the world.
4–9) WikiLeaks posted videos of Tibetan dissidents in China fighting back, videos which were not allowed to be viewed in China. They revealed the Peru oil scandal, and that Russia was spying on its citizens’ cell phones, and the Minton Report on toxic dumping in Africa, and the Syria Files—showing the inner workings of the Syrian government. And WikiLeaks displayed to the global audience a secret Australian supreme court gag order that stopped the Australian press from reporting on a huge bribery scandal that involved the central bank and international leaders.
Assange is hated by governments around the world. As much as they may like transparency, when it comes to other countries (specifically the United States), they don’t want their own particular pile of shit on full display. It’s kinda like when most people laugh heartily after an up-skirt photo of a celebrity is published in the tabloids, but at the same time, none of us want up-skirt photos of us all over the web. (I know I don’t because I haven’t shaved up there since Carter was in office.)
As far as I know, none of the political figures involved in these scandals have gone to prison for participating in them. Yet Julian Assange has for revealing them.
10) Let’s not forget the Iraq War logs—hundreds of thousands of documents relating to America’s illegal invasion of Iraq, which we called a “war,” but I think a war needs to have two sides. Iraq’s elite Republican guard turned out to be three guys and a donkey … and the donkey didn’t even have good aim.
So far as I can tell, no one committing the war crimes evidenced in the Iraq War logs has been locked up for them. Yet Julian Assange has for revealing them.
11) WikiLeaks showed us the highly secretive Bilderberg Group meeting reports. The Bilderberg Group is made up of incredibly powerful men and women who get together and decide how to rule over all of us street people, all the while sitting on thrones made from the bones of the babies of nonbelievers. They’re often accused of being lizard people, but really they’re just regular ol’ sociopaths with lizard skin they purchased from a plastic surgeon in Malibu for half a million dollars.
I don’t think anyone from the Bilderberg Group is being tortured in solitary confinement right now. Yet Julian Assange is for revealing who they are.
12) The Barclays Bank tax avoidance scheme netted Barclays one billion pounds a year.
While it was ordered to pay 500 million pounds in lost taxes, no one was arrested for that theft from citizens. Yet Julian Assange was for revealing it.
13) The Afghan War Diaries consisted of 92,000 documents related to our destruction of Afghanistan. They detailed friendly fire incidents and civilian casualties. According to WikiLeaks, the diaries showed that “When reporting their own activities U.S. Units are inclined to classify civilian kills as insurgent kills, downplay the number of people killed or otherwise make excuses for themselves.”
It’s tough to read this without being floored at the comedy routine that our military actions have become. I picture this scenario happening every day in Afghanistan:
U.S. Soldier #1: This guy we just killed was an insurgent.
U.S. Soldier #2: How do you know?
U.S. Soldier #1: Because we killed him.
U.S. Soldier #2: Why’d we kill him?
U.S. Soldier #1: Because he’s an insurgent.
U.S. Soldier #2: How do you know?
U.S. Soldier #1: Because we killed him.
(Repeat until lightheaded.)
I am unaware of anyone locked away for these war crimes. Yet Julian Assange is locked away—for revealing them.
14) WikiLeaks also unveiled hundreds of thousands of U.S. State Department cables that showed more clearly than ever how our secretive government rules its empire with little to no input from the American people. Among many other things, the cables revealed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on French, British, Russian and Chinese delegations at the U.N. Security Council. It also showed that Arab nations urged the U.S. to strike Iran, and much more.
Our ruling elite of course view this as a massive breach of national security. That’s understandable. But that world view comes into play only if you think the elites are the only ones who should know how our nation is run. To answer this question for yourself, do the following experiment. Pull up a photo of Donald Trump—a really close-up image of his blister-colored, bulbous face. Now, look at it intensely for five minutes. … After you’ve done that, tell me you want the ruling elite to be the only ones who know what the fuck is going on. Go ahead and try it—I’ll wait.
Ostensibly, the concept of our government was that the ruling class would be accountable to us, the average Americans. To you and me. To the workers and the number crunchers. To the single moms and the cashiers and the street sweepers and the fluffers on the porn sets. We’re supposed to vote based on our knowledge of how our government is functioning. But if the entirety of our representatives’ criminal behavior is labeled top secret for national security purposes, then we aren’t really an informed populace, are we?
So for all that was unveiled in the State Department cables, no one has been locked up. But Julian Assange has been for revealing them.
15) The Stratfor emails—this was millions of emails that showed how a private intelligence agency was used by its U.S. corporate and government clients to target activists and protesters.
No one at Stratfor is currently locked away. But Julian Assange is for revealing the truth.
16) Then there’s the trade deals. TPP, TISA and TTIP—all three amount to one of the largest attempts at corporate takeover ever conceived. All three were more secretive than Donald Trump’s taxes. Government officials and corporate lawyers and lobbyists wrote every word in private. Not even Congress saw the Trans-Pacific Partnership until very late in the process. The only organization to show the American citizens (and European citizens) some of those documents before they were made into law? WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks made us aware of the corporate restraints that were about to be placed on us, and that’s what allowed activists to pressure Trump to pull out of the TPP.
None of those secretive corporate titans are imprisoned for their attempted power grab, but Julian Assange is for revealing it.
17) The DNC emails. I’ll explain for those of you who have been living in a cave that is itself inside a yellow-and-blue-makes-green sealed Tupperware container. The Democratic National Committee’s emails gave us proof concerning just how rigged the Democratic primaries really are. They proved the media was in bed with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They even showed that Obama’s entire first-term cabinet was selected by Citibank. Yes, Citibank. (I would find it less offensive if his cabinet had been decided by a rabid raccoon, or the pus oozing out of Darth Vader’s face or Vince McMahon’s concussed frontal lobe.)
Whatever election integrity movement exists right now, it owes a lot to these revelations by WikiLeaks. After being sued over this matter, the DNC’s lawyers admitted in court that the DNC has no obligation to have a fair primary election. It’s their right to rig it.
But don’t try to get angry about this, because if you do, the CIA has a myriad ways to fuck up your life.
18) In 2017 WikiLeaks posted a trove of CIA documents called “Vault 7.” It detailed their capabilities, including remotely taking over cars, smart TVs, web browsers and smartphones.
After I found out about that, for a solid two weeks I thought, “Screw it. I’m going full Amish. One hundred percent. Let’s see the CIA hack my butter churn. Are they going to use backdoor software to get inside my rustic wooden bow-saw? Even if they could, what are they going to listen to—my conversation about how mee bobblin fraa redd up for rutschin’ ’round. Say no more! Schmunzla wunderbar!”
So is anybody at the CIA chained up for violating our privacy in every way possible? No, but Julian Assange is for revealing it.
By thrusting the truth upon the people of earth, WikiLeaks helped create movements worldwide like the Arab Spring and Occupy. And don’t forget, at first WikiLeaks and Assange were celebrated for their amazing work. In 2011 even Amnesty International hailed WikiLeaks as one of the Arab Spring catalysts. The Guardian said: “The year 2010 may well be remembered as a watershed year when activists and journalists used new technology to speak truth to power and, in so doing, pushed for greater respect for human rights. … It is also the year when repressive governments faced the real possibility that their days were numbered.”
So why have so many outlets and people turned against Assange and WikiLeaks? Because it turned out he wasn’t revealing only repressive Arab regimes. He also revealed U.S.-backed coups and war crimes around the world. He exposed the criminality and villainy of the American ruling elite.
Nothing published on WikiLeaks has ever been proven untrue. Compare that record to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News or any mainstream outlet. Assange has been nominated for multiple Nobel Peace Prizes, and nearly every respected media outlet has used source material from WikiLeaks in their reporting. Yet after all this and after seven years in captivity, the man who laid bare our criminal leaders and showed each one of us our chains is not receiving parades and accolades. He and those who helped him reveal the truth are the only ones endlessly punished.
We are all Julian Assange. As long as he’s imprisoned, we can never be free.
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This column is based on a monologue Lee Camp wrote and performed on his TV show “Redacted Tonight.”