Assange's Case #FREEASSANGE
grarpamp at gmail.com
Sun May 1 16:54:46 PDT 2022
Answer: Julian Assange
Who Is The Hero? Albright Vs. Assange
Our image of a hero has two aspects. The first consists of generic,
stereotypical traits: bravery, determination in the face of adversity,
achievement against heavy odds — the kind of person who saves the day.
The second aspect is more culturally specific, describing and
contextualizing the circumstances of bravery and determination, and
the nature of achievement in terms that are narrowly defined. In other
words, cultural descriptions of bravery are most often expressed in
terms compatible with the social and political conditions of the
Pro-Assange protester in London’s Parliament Square, July 3, 2021, via Flickr.
Heroes are ubiquitous. For instance, there are American heroes,
Russian heroes, Israeli heroes, Arab heroes, Ukrainian heroes, and so
on. Where does good and bad come into it? Well, that too becomes a
cultural judgment. Below are two examples of “heroes.” I will leave it
to the reader to decide who is good and who is bad.
Albright —From Outside the Establishment
Madeleine Albright was the first woman to serve as American secretary
of state (1997-2001). She served in this capacity under President Bill
Clinton during his second term. As such, she must be seen as a loyal
promoter of her president’s foreign policy — a policy she may have
helped create — regardless of any moral or ethical considerations. In
other words, she is a “company” point person.
Whether this requires bravery is questionable. As we will see, it will
require a persistence toward a single end defined in societal or
national terms. This does indicate determination and achievement in
the face of an alleged foe.
When Madeleine Albright died in 2022, the following “achievements”
were critically cited in the obituaries written by those outside the
establishment and thus critical of Albright:
Russia was “her obsession” and this led to her being the U.S.
government’s point person on the expansion of NATO eastward into what
had been the Soviet sphere of influence. This was done in violation of
guarantees given to Russia in 1989 that NATO would not go further than
the border of the newly united Germany — an act that helped prepare
the ground for the present war in Ukraine.
In 1997-1998, acting as secretary of state, she threatened Iraq
with aerial bombardment if its government did not allow for weapons
inspections at designated sites. The Iraqis eventually complied but
got bombed anyway.
She also made sure draconian sanctions were applied (including
banning many medicines) to Iraq for an extended period of time. The
result was the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including
500,000 Iraqi children. When asked by the journalist Lesley Stahl on
the TV show 60 Minutes whether the draconian sanctions were worth the
price of the deaths of approximately a half-million Iraqi children,
she replied, “we think this was a very hard choice, but the price—we
think the price is worth it.”
This led one critic of the U.S. government to judge Albright’s career
“It is the ultimate moral crime to target for misery, pain and
death those least responsible for the offenses of their tyrannical
rulers. Yet this is the very policy Madeleine Albright, made “Standard
Operating Procedure for US diplomacy.”
Albright — From Inside the Establishment
>From inside the establishment, that is, from inside the U.S.
government and foreign policy establishment as well as an allied
media, she was lauded as a dedicated, talented and energetic leader.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright in 2015, in a panel on the
future of religion and politics, image via State Department.
One member of the House of Representatives said upon her death,
“Our nation lost a hero today. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright was the face of US foreign policy throughout some of the most
difficult times for our nation and the world. … She brought nations
together to expand NATO and defend the very pillars of democracy
across the world. … She taught us that we can solve some of the
world’s most difficult issues by bringing people together and having
tough, uncomfortable conversations.”
According to the eulogistic obituary published by The New York Times,
“Her performance as secretary of state won high marks from career
diplomats abroad and ordinary Americans at home. Admirers said she had
a star quality, radiating practicality, versatility and a refreshingly
What can we conclude from these contrasting views? We quickly come to
realize that inside the establishment one rarely, if ever, hears any
reference to such things as the human cost of a policy, the end of
which is defined in terms of national interest. In the case of
Madelene Albright, national interest trumped human interest. Still,
she was held a hero nonetheless.
Assange & Manning
Julian Assange is an Australian computer specialist who founded
WikiLeaks in 2006. It is a website dedicated to providing “primary
source materials” to journalists and the public alike.
WikiLeaks eventually released “thousands of internal or classified
documents from an assortment of government and business entities.” The
site raised immediate hostility from many governments and
corporations, which decried the “lack of ethics” of Assange and his
fellows — who were exposing the often unethical, and sometimes
murderous, behavior of those now attacking the website.
Bradley (aka Chelsea) Manning was an Army intelligence specialist
assigned to a base near Baghdad during the Iraq War. Manning was
suffering from a gender identity crisis. He also had serious second
thoughts about the Iraq War.
Eventually, his growing opposition to the war led him to secretly send
Assange “750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military
and diplomatic documents.” Manning was later exposed and arrested,
court-martialed and eventually had his sentence commuted by President
>From Inside the Establishment
As the writer and therapist Steven Berglas observes,
“for as long as there have been moral canaries in our societal
coal mines they have been denigrated for being as corrupt, or more so,
than the miscreants they attack.”
Assange and Manning face just such charges.
The complaints were, if you will, weaponized in 2010 after WikiLeaks
released “half a million documents” relating to U.S. actions in Iraq
and Afghanistan, obtained from the then young, disillusioned Army
intelligence analyst Manning. This was followed by another release of
about a quarter-million U.S. diplomatic cables, many of which were
Assange was now deemed “a terrorist” by the government terrorists he
had exposed. Subsequently, these actions were deemed “a threat to U.S.
national security” by the U.S. government. As a result, Manning was
jailed and suffered court-martial while Assange, now living in
England, has been fighting extradition to the U.S. for years.
>From inside the establishment both Assange and Manning are criminals.
Both exposed secrets of governments and it is an established principle
that states cannot run without secrets. This is partially because all
states sometimes act in criminal ways. To expose these episodes is
deemed more criminal than criminal acts of the states. Why so? Because
governments say so and design their laws accordingly.
This rather arbitrary position taken by governments has been sold to
the citizenry as necessary for the security of their state, but as we
see, the consequences of WikiLeaks’mass release of classified
documents has not been shown to have endangered the nation in any
obvious way. Nonetheless, Assange and Manning are deemed criminals for
setting a precedent that threatens other potential criminals employed
by state and business.
>From Outside the Establishment
Outside the establishment the view is 180 degrees in the other
direction. Again, to quote Steven Berglas
“whistleblowers are rare, courageous birds that should be
considered national treasures not disgraces.… It is clear that most
snitches have more integrity–-and are infinitely more altruistic-than
their government or corporate counterparts.”
For instance, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald, Manning is “a
consummate hero, and deserves a medal and our collective gratitude,
not decades in prison.” At court-martial, Manning stated that the
leaked material to WikiLeaks was intended to...
“spark a domestic debate of the role of the military and foreign
policy in general… and cause society to reevaluate the need and even
desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations
that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every
A heroic act, but also perhaps a naive one.
The Issue of Ethics
Governmental leaders and their aides often reserve for themselves the
right to do illegal things such as
using sanctions that undermine opposition governments while
ignoring the negative consequences on the wellbeing of civilian
aiding and abetting coups that overthrow democratic and
undemocratic governments alike, depending on how, in each case,
Washington sees their economic and military stance; and
carrying out of illegal actions such as assassination, torture,
and illegal imprisonment. All of this is immoral and unethical while
being deemed necessary within the context of national interest.
Nonetheless the common citizen, who lives within what we shall call a
propaganda bubble spun by his/her own government and its cooperating
mainstream media, has a hard time understanding events except in
propaganda designed terms.
Madeleine Albright’s funeral buried her legacy of war-making and
The word "Iraq" was not mentioned once during the 3 hour
celebration of the imperial icon, writes @samhusseini
— The Grayzone (@TheGrayzoneNews) April 27, 2022
Most will pay no attention at all to the fate of whistleblowers, who
speak in opposition to the propaganda, because their actions do not
touch their lives, which are locally focused. For the small number who
find that there is something not quite right about negative media
reports of whistleblower revelation, there is often a sense of
helplessness and inertia that causes their momentary uneasiness to go
The unfortunate truth is that this phenomenon of mass indifference to
what the government does in the name of national interest and
security, backed up by seemingly blind support of the media, has
become one of the pillars of societal stability. That does not mean
that challenges such as those launched by Assange and Manning are not
worth the effort. They might lead to reforms (the Watergate scandal
and its consequences comes to mind), but under ordinary circumstances
the status quo will carry on.
So, who are the heroes? Is it those who promote state policies which,
regardless of their immorality, allegedly sustain state prestige,
security and stability? Or is it those who shine a momentary light
into dark places and reveal the immorality of state behavior — often
at the cost of the destruction of their careers and reputations? You
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