Why Julian Assange Is So Important
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 6 May 2019
2 May 2019 – Julian Assange has been arrested, imprisoned threatened with extradition to the US where he could face solitary confinement or death. It seems he is considered to be extremely dangerous by the US and its allies. Why? Because he has exposed the weakness of the culture of war – its secrecy and lies.
As we have analyzed previously, there has been so much advance in both democracy and anti-war consciousness over the past few centuries that the state has found it increasingly difficult to get popular support for its wars, overt and covert, and its threats of war. People no longer will vote for this. To get around this problem and to continue its culture of war, the state has increasingly resorted to secret war, secret threats, and outright lies in order to justify its overt warfare. The war against Vietnam was justified by an invented attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. The war against Iraq was justified by the invented “weapons of mass destruction.”
The control of information has become a crucial means for the culture of war – without this control it cannot be sustained.
In the past, only a few of the secrets and lies of the US and its allies were revealed, such as the Gulf of Tonkin and the “weapons of mass destruction.” But thanks to Julian Assange and his organization WikiLeaks, we have learned about many more secrets and lies in the past few years.
How do governments react? They certainly do not apologize and promise to tell the truth! Instead they try to control the media. As described in CPNN this month, freedom of the press is under attack. And government lying has become so commonplace that the current US president tells obvious lies almost every day and has surrounded himself with advisors that will do the same. In fact, the repeated lying by the US president and his advisors is one of the few conclusions of the long-awaited “Mueller report” in the US. But go one step further. Is the Mueller report telling the truth? Although the commercial media seems to think so, there are some independent observers who think that the Mueller report, like the Warren report after the assssination of Kennedy, may turn out to be an elaborate coverup. Given the current plethora of government lies, we should remain skeptical.
And how do the commercial media react? They criticize governments on many issues, but when it comes to questions of war and peace they repeat the governments’ lies without question. A case in point is the media coverage of events in Venezuela over the past few months. As we have shown recently in CPNN, it is almost impossible to learn from the commercial media what is really happening in Venezuela. And most recently, the US government lies about the coup attempt were headlined without question, not only by Fox News, but by the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, BBC, etc.
This is not sustainable. As famously expressed by Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
People no longer believe in their governmens. One of the effects is their increasingly erratic voting patterns. People are now voting for the most anti-establishment candidates such as Trump and Bolsonaro. Consequent to this, the government policies that result have become increasingly erratic, upsetting the traditional balances and structures of international relations.
Now people are starting to disbelieve the mass media as well. What will be the effect of this?
One thing we can say for certain. These trends are not sustainable!
And they come at a time when there are other trends that cannot be sustained: the increasing gap between rich and poor, the destruction of the environment, the changing of the climate, the structure of global finance based on debt and speculation that far exceeds actual production, burgeoning military production and sales, and the nuclear arms race increasingly out of control.
Analyzing the accumulation of such unsustainable contradictions in the Soviet Union in 1980, Johan Galtung predicted the collapse of the Soviet Empire by 1990. He was correct. And analyzing the accumulation of such unsustainable contradictions in the American empire, he has predicted its collapse by 2020. Yes, next year !
And speaking of the collapse of empire, we must consider the key role of confidence and lack of confidence of the people in their government and media.
I saw this living from time to time in the Soviet Union in the years before its collapse. People no longer believed their government or their media. As they said, you find no truth in Pravda and no true information in Izvestia. President Gorbachev tried to correct this with his “glasnost and perestroika” but it was too little and too late. When the Soviet economy crashed, the people did not come onto the streets to support their government or reconstruct it. Instead, they washed their hands of it, saying in effect, “let it crash, it is not worth saving.”
If the global ecoomy crashes (next year?), who will come into the streets to save it?
When the global economy and national governments crashed in the 1930’s, what happened? We fell back on the culture of war in its extreme form, fascism. And eventually, world war.
Let us not allow this to happen again ! Let us prepare, instead, for a transition to the culture of peace.
In previous blogs we have explored the various trends that could potentially contribute to such a transition:
- a global student movement
- a “rural-urban continuum” based on solar energy and electric vehicles
- the preparation for a United Nations run by direct representatives of the people instead of by nation-states.
We don’t need a Chinese proverb to tell us that a crisis is an opportunity as well as a danger.
Let us not be distracted by the lies of governments and their media supporters, but keep on working positively on these and other potential “opportunities” that can emerge from the present crisis.
Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace. Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.
Tags: Activism, Assange, Democracy, Journalism, Justice, Media, Military, NATO, Nonviolence, Surveillance, UK, USA, Violence, War, Whistleblowing, social justice, wikileaks
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