Summarized from a sermon by Chris Hedges. The original can be found here.
The American Empire does not forgive those who make public its sordid and immoral inner workings. The Empire, damaged and humiliated by troves of internal documents published by WikiLeaks, will, for this reason, persecute Julian for the rest of his life.
The battle for Julian’s liberty is a battle for press freedom. The loss of this battle is devastating, not just for Julian but for us. The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law.
Legal basis for persecution
Julian’s extradition hearing was a judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act.
Spied on while talking to his lawyers
The C.I.A. spied on Julian in the embassy through the company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers. This fact alone invalidated the hearing.
Julian is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the former U.N. special rapporteur on torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological, if not physical disintegration.
The U.S. government directed London barrister James Lewis. Lewis presented these directives to Judge Baraitser. Baraitser adopted them as her legal decision. It was a judicial pantomime. Lewis and the judge insisted they were not attempting to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press while they busily set up the legal framework to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press.
Speak the truth you are banished
The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their courtiers in the media, are illegitimate. Say this simple truth and you are banished to the margins of the media landscape.
Prove the truth and you are hunted and persecuted
Prove this truth, as Julian, Manning, Hammond and Snowden have done by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.
“Those, such as Julian, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence.”
Gunning down journalists
WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs. The War Logs documented numerous U.S. war crimes — including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the “Collateral Murder” video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians who approached too closely to U.S. checkpoints.
~Julian exposed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. representatives from China, France, Russia and the U.K., spying that included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and personal passwords (part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance that included the eavesdropping on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003);
2009 Military Coup
~Julian exposed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the C.I.A. backed the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya, replacing him with a murderous and corrupt military regime;
Iraq war crimes
~Julian exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and General David Petraeus prosecuted a war in Iraq that under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime; that they authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of U.S. citizens in Yemen, and that they secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians;
~Julian exposed the contents of the speeches Hillary Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs for which she was paid $675,000, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately assured corporate leaders she would do their bidding while promising the public financial regulation and reform;
~Julian exposed how the hacking tools used by the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency permits the wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smart phones and anti-virus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images and private text messages, even from encrypted apps.
Exposed the truth
~Julian exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling class. And for these truths they came after Julian, as they have come after all who dared rip back the veil on power.
We have undergone a corporate coup, where poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where we, as citizens, are nothing more than commodities to corporate systems of power, ones to be used, fleeced and discarded.
The criminal ruling class has all of us locked in its death grip. It cannot be reformed. It has abolished the rule of law. It obscures and falsifies the truth. It seeks the consolidation of its obscene wealth and power. But to do this, we must, as Julian has done, as all prophets have done, pick up the cross and bear its awful weight on our back.
“Hope has two beautiful daughters,” Augustine writes. “Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
Summarized from a sermon given by Chris hedges and published in Consortium News
Chris Hedges: Crucifying Julian Assange
August 23, 2023