two birthdays

Happy Birthday, Julian Assange! The man is 50 years old today, sitting in Belmarsh prison. Let this be the day he goes finally free.

It is unimaginable that Assange’s imprisonment carries on even as the case built against him, always specious and never on solid ground, completely crumbles to bits. The main witness in that “case” recently confessed that it was simply lies he told about Assange (Stundin 6_26_21). But perhaps you haven’t seen that information, because, surprise, mainstream media won’t carry it.

This weekend, here in the US, we are observing another sort of birthday, Independence Day, celebrating all things freedom with flags waving everywhere. This, while Julian Assange is imprisoned and tortured for the crime of revealing truth. This, while Edward Snowden remains unable to return home, for the same crime. This, while Daniel Hale faces 50 years in prison. This, while Reality Winner tries to reassemble her life.

And, very sadly, it seems we are not learning the lessons of the truths so revealed or the terrible consequences government is prepared to wield against those who stand for uncomfortable truths.

This is not just about Julian Assange. This is very much about YOU. It’s about your kids and theirs. It’s about freedom and justice, truth and peace, all around the world.

FREE ASSANGE.

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mirage of freedom

If you are one who writes, or speaks, or thinks, or yet has the ability to feel your compassion, the continued imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange should send shivers down your spine. 

Assange’s ongoing persecution should trouble everyone who thinks freedom of the press, freedom of information, and free speech actually matter. Assange is in the vanguard of those protecting these precious rights. These are things that have been disappearing before our eyes, with terrifying implications, and yet we remain docile and somnambulant. 

That journalists do not rise up as a body against this injustice speaks volumes about the extent to which these freedoms are already lost. That they demur makes another reason to support indie journalists doing the actual work even as various platforms ban them, carrying water for this curtailment of freedoms.

It is long overdue that the US drop the charges against Assange, and the UK halts his extradition. This man, an Australian citizen, should be freed to go home to his family, and thanked and honored for his brave work.

Then, who knows, we might turn our attention to the actual crimes, and hold our government leaders to account for once. But, oh, I forgot, “nothing will fundamentally change,” will it? 

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accountability

Of course there’s next to no press coverage of it, but a United States court of law yesterday found that the National Security Agency acted illegally in its mass surveillance of US citizens’ telephone data and lying about it. As reported by Reuters, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared it may have been unconstitutional as well.

The government’s assertion that the warrantless surveillance program of its own citizens served to fight domestic extremism also fell flat in the courtroom as the court ruled that the records did not support such claims.

This is a WIN for the American people. This is a WIN for the American Civil Liberties Union that helped bring the suit. It is also a WIN for courageous whistleblower Edward Snowden who disclosed the crime in 2013, and who remains in exile under threat of the US government’s use of the Espionage Act against him for said truth-telling.

It is wonderful to see a victory in the category of what’s right, but, somehow, and sadly, I do not think that this will reassure Snowden that it might be safe to come home to the country for which he so bravely stood up at such great personal cost.

It’s way past time that we recognize folks like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange as the heroes they are. It is despicable that the powers that be continue to malign them, hunt them down, imprison them, torture them, and more using the empowerment and funding of the people these heroes sought to protect. It is way past time that we demand that those entities serve their people legally and constitutionally, with transparency and accountability.

As usual, folks, the responsibility is ours to raise our voices and seek what’s right.