Saturday 25, August, 2012
STANDING UP FOR ASSANGE
Hameed Abdul Karim
Joshua E. Keating’s piece titled ‘How WikiLeaks Blew Itline’ in ‘Ceylon Today’(Wednesday 22 August 2012) was a sophisticated assault on Julian Assange and his fearless work in informing the world what really happens behind the scenes when the empire speaks of ‘making the world safe for democracy’.. Thanks to Julian Assange virtually the whole world now knows the lies and deceit the US Empire indulges in when it postulates about human rights and human dignity when in reality what it actually wants is to perpetuate its hegemony on the entire world so that it can live off the fat of the land, like all empires that came before. All empires have perished and it is certain that the US Empire will suffer the same fate sooner or later.
Joshua Keating’s right wing views stand exposed when he critiques Assange for interviewing Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah in a ‘soft ball interview’ claiming that the show didn’t help Assange’s credibility because it was aired on RT. (Incidentally, RT (Russia Today) is available to Sri Lankan audiences on LBN cable TV as is Iran’s Press TV). With whom is his credibility is at stake anyway? Evidently Mr. Keating is talking about the miniscule right wing groups who wouldn’t want to acknowledge Assange the same way the devil wouldn’t want to acknowledge the existence of God, even though he knows He exists. Besides, credibility is not the issue here because Assange has not said anything of his own. What he had done is to expose the disgraceful secrets of the evil empire that existed behind the façade of the ‘do-gooder’ image it had craftily created for itself. What’s more, if they were to acknowledge what Assange had exposed they would stand to lose their enormous wealth, status and power. As far as I am concerned, Assange’s credibility with me, along with millions of others in the world, is quite safe and sound. Thank you, Mr. Keating.
Would Assange’s credibility be spiked if he had that interview on right wing channels like Fox News or CNN? And then what were the chances that the Western media would have televised Hassan Nasrallah, speaking with such charm and humour, on topics like the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a part of Lebanon that the West considers taboo? Everybody has a right to know both sides of the story and really RT should be lauded for airing the opposite narrative as presented by Hassan Nasrallah via Julian Assange. And narratives are the issues. Up until now we have had a heavy dose of one sided pro Western narratives on world affairs, all biased in favour of the Empire and its client states like Israel and the UK and the EU. Hilary Clinton was flabbergasted when she found out there were other TV networks operated by the ‘others’ and all she could do was blurt out ‘we (the empire) are losing the information war with (untouchable?) new channels like RT, Al-Jazeera and Press TV entering the field of mass media once dominated by ‘us’, or words to that effect.
It is true that RT is owned by the Russian government and the fact that Mr. Keating points it out rather ostentatiously, with a view to discredit the channel as ‘government owned’, no doubt, exposes his right wing credentials even further. The mainstream media in the US is also ‘government owned’ by other means. It is a fact that the US media, the US military, the US banks and the US regime form a single cohesive ruling elite, all depending on one another to perpetuate their interests and their interests alone as is clearly demonstrated in the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US. The Pentagon’s alliance with Hollywood (which is the US’s no.1 PR industry, as Arundathi Roy points out) was exposed by Marwan Bishara on Al-Jazeera’s ‘Empire’ programme. So there you are. What are the chances that CNN or Fox News will carry a programme like that with such telling effect?
If you carefully observe the irrelevant details of Mr. Keating’s article, like the one the where Manning is supposed to have referred to Assange as the ‘crazy white haired Aussie’ or the one where he says Assange doesn’t flush toilets, you will realise that the idea behind the article is to discredit Assange and prop up the empire and also to trivialise the contribution that Assange has made to world affairs. A clear case of the author trying to shoot the messenger, but only succeeding in shooting himself in the foot! If Assange’s exposures are not that serious why then would President Obama say ‘he had broken the law’? Who’s law, by the way?
The clever aspect of the article was that it was confined within the parameters of what Prof. Noam Chomsky describes as ‘permissible discourse’. Such articles are devised to ‘incarcerate’ your thoughts so that you will be restricted to a set thought pattern crafted by the empire. But we have to break the chains that enslave our minds. And there is a way to do that. Think differently. Imagine, for example, if Julian Assange was a Russian or Iranian and if he had spilled the beans on his country, don’t you think he will be given a warm and an open arm hero’s welcome into the United States as a politically hounded activist? Why he would be hailed for his ‘unwavering’ commitment to ‘truth, world peace and humanity’ and possibly the empire would have arranged for a Nobel Peace Prize just to show it appreciates their hero’s commitment to ‘human values’. We’ve all heard of Chinese dissident Chen Guancheng and how he was given political asylum in the US in next to no time. Apparently, the same morals or rules don’t apply to Julian Assange.
It’s true, of course, that RT and Al-Jazeera and Press TV have their own agendas, but which media doesn’t. And it’s also true that RT and Press TV are rather too overt when it comes to the Western powers especially the US. But then so are CNN and Fox News and CBC when it comes to Russia and Iran.
So here we are, news consumers around the world, getting both sides of the stories that make world headlines, much to the chagrin of that grumpy US Secretary of State Ms. Hilary Clinton. By the way, she looks rather perplexed these days, poor thing.
Here we have Julian Assange’s mother trotting from Australia to London to Quito to ensure that her son is safe and sound from the tentacles of the empire. Instead of compassion for her, what we have is vengeance. Why, there was this top guy on America’s CBC News Networks, answering to the name of Prof. Tom Flanagan of the University of Calgary, no less mind you, calling on the CIA to assassinate the ‘S.O.B’ by drone or by any other ‘convenient’ means. And this from an US educationist or intellectual! Hey, anyone out there looking for a terrorist state?
All the while Christine Assange, Julian’s mother, was watching. Did Prof. Flanagan expect her to jump up and cheer? No she’s fighting to keep her son alive. May God bless her and give her success in saving her son. Let me hear you say AMEN!