Saturday, December 25, 2010

Julian Assange: Hero or Villain?

Julian Assange: Hero or villain?
By Hameed Abdul Karim
'Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable ...' George Orwell
Here's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, is to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. And the bad news is that I am joking. But jokes aside, Julian Assange really deserves the Pulitzer Prize like nobody else for his exposure of the US army's killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Among the dead were Reuter reporter Shaeed Chamgh and his driver Nameer Noor - Eldeen who were 'armed' with cameras.

The 'brave hearts' in the helicopter described them as 'hostile' but just a cursory glance at the video tells another story. They were out to do their jobs and walking around in a relaxed manner when they were shot dead in cold blood.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
For the American soldiers in the heli it was just another video game and going by the communication that went to and fro it seems like they were out on a picnic having the time of their lives. Why, when the survivors of the brutal assault went about trying to put the injured in a van, the Americans fired again killing more civilians.

There was no sign of any action on the part of the group of civilians that might suggest that they harboured hostile intent. And yet the Americans went on firing like as if human life meant nothing to them. This was demonstrated when a voice in the heli said 'look at those dead bastards' and you can clearly hear another US soldier laughing in the background at the 'joke'. More laughter followed when an American tank ran over a dead body! Human beings - were they?

In any civilsed society you would expect the authorities to fling all those involved in this grisly mass murder behind bars. But no, they are roaming about today like as if they had done no wrong. Later in life they'll be called 'War Vets'. But wait a minute. There's one American soldier in jail. And that's Private Bradley Manning. He's the guy who is alleged to have passed the information to Wikileaks! In a normal country he would be hailed as a hero. But in the 'land of the free' he's in the slammer somewhere in Kuwait, awaiting trial for speaking up for humanity.
In the meantime the patriotic Western media goes about its daily business of covering up for the Empire like as if nothing has happened. Indeed Private Manning and Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange are being portrayed like as if they were traitors to the cause of the ruling elite of the Empire. While on the other hand the usual plant stories are published with nary a thought to objectivity that you had come to believe was a cardinal rule of journalism.
Only a few days ago the highly respected Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, published a story that said that Turkish and Iranian officials had agreed to a deal by which Turkey would supply arms to Hezbollah via Syria. A few days later the equally esteemed Financial Times of London claimed that Barack Obama had personally warned Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that unless Ankara reversed its position on Israel and Iran the US would not supply arms to Turkey. Turkey denied the Corriere della Sera story and the US denied the Financial Times' story. Obviously these two papers were acting at the behest of Israel which is doing all it can to strain US-Turkish relations. There was no apology from either of the famed newspapers. The more you think of it the more the Western media resemble the 'Thought Police' that George Orwell describes in his book 'Nineteen Eighty Four' .

In Orwellian terms Julian Assange is the 'Enemy of the People'. The US has got one its 'wanted men' in Private Manning under 'lock and key' and is on the hunt for Julian Assange. To give him the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism? I am only joking. But I wouldn't blame you if you are not laughing. Be that as it may, in my book Julian Assange is a hero and I salute him, Private Manning and all at Wikileaks for standing up for humanity and against the Empire and its nasty scoundrels in the ruling elite.

(The writer is the Vice President of the Sri Lanka-Palestine Solidarity Movement)

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