Julian Assange's release a victory for those fighting for truth, against war

July 3, 2024
WikiLeaks: Collateral Murder (Iraq, 2007). Screenshot from Collateralmurder.com

The release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a victory for every movement fighting for truth and against war.

As Assange once famously said: “Populations don’t like wars. They have to be lied into it. That means we can be ‘truthed’ into peace. This is a great cause for hope.”

We live in the era of unending wars — each and every one supposedly waged in the name of defending freedom and democracy.

Yet not one of these wars enjoys the popular support of the people of the rich and powerful nations that are waging them.

These nations claim to be democratic, but their governments deny their populations the right to vote on launching wars.

The Labor government has even rejected a push to compel it to put the decision to go to war to a parliamentary vote.

Assange and WikiLeaks exposed the lies that governments use to sell war and repression in a way and on a scale that had never been done before by any investigative journalist or media organisation.

And this infuriated the imperial governments of the United States and its allies.

Assange should never have been jailed for more than five years in Belmarsh Prison — also known “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay” — for helping Chelsea Manning expose US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, most spectacularly through leaking the video of the brutal US helicopter gunship murders of Iraqi civilians and journalists, that has come to be known as Collateral Murder.

These brave truth-tellers smashed the US’ attempts to hide its war crimes and, for this, they were persecuted.

Today we see more horrific war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank, with the connivance of the US and Australia.

The more the crimes of the rich and powerful are exposed, the harder they try to silence and criminalise the truth-tellers, as we see with the persecution of David McBride and Richard Boyle.

But if they think these attempts to silence whistleblowers and journalists is working, they should think again.

The millions of people mobilising in the streets for months in the global movement for Palestine’s freedom is powerful proof of this.

And, thanks in part to Manning, Assange and WikiLeaks, imperialist war crimes cannot be covered up or justified like they once were in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Assange’s freedom is a symbol of the failure to silence dissent and sell war.

However, the battle is not over, as Stella Assange explained. “Julian Assange is free from prison but the fight for his freedom (and ours!) continues.

“The actions against him do not just have a chilling effect — they have a freezing effect. We will continue to work to secure greater freedom for Julian and justice for the many abuses against him that chill others.”

Green Left believes that whistleblowers and journalists who expose the hypocrisy, double standards and crimes of the powerful must be protected and supported.

The so-called mainstream media have always been hesitant and inconsistent in their support for Assange and other whistleblowers.

Some even have the temerity to question whether Assange is a “real journalist”.

This is disgusting, and it reveals the mainstream media’s own failure to live up to the challenge of providing citizens with information they can use to check government power.

This important role of independent journalism has been traded in for infotainment and the uncritical parroting of the lies and spin from the rich and powerful.

As the late John Pilger, one of Assange’s more high-profile supporters, said: “It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it.”

If you agree with this, you should celebrate Assange’s freedom and help build the independent and dissenting media by becoming a Green Left supporter.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.