By World BEYOND War, October 8, 2019
The fourth annual conference of World BEYOND War, which was held on October 4th and 5th in Limerick, Ireland, produced this letter, which is being delivered to Julian Assange.We are grateful to you for the work you have done exposing criminal activities and abuses of power by militaries and governments. We believe that governments’ (monstrous and criminal) behavior should not be secret. People should know what their government is doing, and what a powerful foreign government is doing to their own countries. The actual results of the work of WikiLeaks have been hugely beneficial.
It is outrageous that you are behind bars for exposing actions far more serious than a recent phone call between Donald Trump and the President of Ukraine, which has political opponents of Trump suddenly claiming to support whistleblowers.
We are concerned for your well being and believe you should be immediately freed.
The collateral murder video and all the many cables and reports you have brought to light have informed the people being misrepresented by secretive so-called democracies. Exposing the bad behavior of a political party is a service to its country, not an attack thereon. The response should be gratitude, not nonsensical accusations of “treason.”
We believe that if U.S. courts were to get busy prosecuting the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks, rather than trying to turn the act of revealing them into some sort of crime, they would simply not have time for the latter.
We believe that prosecutions should not be arbitrary political choices. A Justice Department wrongly under the thumb of then-President Barack Obama decided against prosecuting you. A Justice Department wrongly under the thumb of Trump decided to prosecute, based on exactly the same information but different politics. When Trump was celebrating WikiLeaks three years ago it was for acts of journalism he is not prosecuting; instead he is prosecuting just the journalism that he opposes.
The choice to prosecute these particular acts is driven by the military industrial complex, but also by Russiagate. The U.S. media and top politicians have long sought to depict you as something other than a publisher or journalist. If you had exposed the peccadilloes of the peace movement, or if you had not figured in the Russiagate mythology, you would be free.
The political debate and potential judicial proceedings are not focused on, and would not be focused on, the allegation that you did something unjournalistic by attempting unsuccessfully to hack into a computer in order to protect a source. The current trial by media is no more about that than the Monica Lewinsky scandal was about lying under oath. And a U.S. trial by jury would be likely to resemble the trial by media, if previous trials, such as Jeffrey Sterling’s, in the Virginia court of choice for patriotic railroaders are any guide.
The details of that allegation of being unjournalistic are likely very weak, because the indictment includes various other allegations that are purely journalistic: encouraging a source, and protecting a source. To an ignorant, all-white, militarized-community jury impressed by important national figures saying the word “conspiracy” a lot, these other allegations would loom large.
If the United States can denounce you as a “traitor,” despite your not being a U.S. citizen, then other countries could begin to charge U.S. journalists with violating their secrecy laws. The next Washington Post reporter hacked to death by Saudi Arabia could get a trial first.
If you are brought to the United States and not convicted, or if you are convicted and serve out a sentence, there is reason to fear that the U.S. government, legally or otherwise, will further prosecute or simply imprison you indefinitely. In the propaganda that surrounds this drama it is not a legal proceeding, but a war. If Trump gets away with the numerous crimes and outrages he has thus far gotten away with, he or his successor will have little difficulty devising a way to further “protect” us from you.
If you are prosecuted, many U.S. journalists will deliver a self-inflicted blow to their institution, dwarfing what the U.S. government delivers. They will declare it fit and proper for a single head of a secretive government to sadistically punish disapproved of journalists. They will pledge their loyalty not to truth or public knowledge, but to the Empire.
This would be a major step backwards and away from the progress toward transparency and democracy provided by WikiLeaks.
Know that we support you and will do what we can to resist all efforts to prosecute you for the crime of having reported the news better than the major news corporations.
Participants in #NoWar2019
(David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.)