So while we sit on our arses and fiddle with our fingers a brave son of Australia is about to be thrown to the wolves.
It would pay us well to read, and reflect upon, the following transcript between the President of the United States, his National Security Adviser, and his Attorney General.
The background to the transcript is that a journalist had just published an article in The New York Times. The article was the first installment of seven thousand pages of highly classified documents that exposed the decision-making process that had led the United States into an interminably long and destructive war.
Earlier, on the same day that the transcript was recorded, June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court, citing the First Amendment, ruled 6-3 that the Times had the right to publish the stolen documents.
The journalist who published the article stated that “It was just an exquisite moment of vindication for the freedom of the press in this country and how important it is.”
The President, on that very same day ordered his Attorney General to discredit the source of the documents, a man who had just been indicted by a federal grand jury under the questionable strictures of the Espionage Act of 1917. Sound familiar?
The redactions in the transcript are mine.
President: Don’t you agree that we have to pursue the … (redacted) case?
Attorney General: No question about it. No question about it. This is the one sanction we have, is to get at the individuals …
President: Let’s get the son of a bitch into jail.
National Security Advisor: We’ve got to get him, we’ve got to get him …
President: Don’t worry about his trial. Just get everything out. Try him in the press. Try him in the press. Everything, … (redacted), that there is on the investigation, get it out, leak it out. We want to destroy him in the press. Is that clear?
Attorney General: Yes.
So even though the highest Court in America ruled that the release of the documents was both lawful, and in the public interest, the President and his administration sought to go after, jail, and demolish those who were involved in the leaking of the documents.
And so Julian Assange sits rotting in a British jail while a case is concocted against him. And so our Australian Government sits on its arse and does not have the fortitude to confront Trump and his administration, and so the majority of our Quiet Australians (those perennial supplicants at the altar of the Big Lie) sit on their arses, while a brave son of Australia is thrown to the wolves.
There are some here in Australia who have had the courage to speak up, but far too many more of either political persuasion have not had the moral courage to speak up.
I don’t know what books Julian Assange has access to in his jail cell, but if he has access to the one I have just read, I don’t doubt that he would be reflecting upon the depth of betrayal, and the rankness of the betrayal, that has been sent his way by his own people, his own Australian people. Let alone what his thoughts also might be about the Americans at the highest level of power who are going for his jugular.
We all like to think that the ability of those in power to suppress truth and to threaten the journalists who publish that truth is diminished by a long societal memory of previously exposed scandals, and by the very vigilance of an informed and concerned populace. Well, that is simply not so. We live in an era where truth is far more strongly suppressed than it ever was, where the populace is apathetic and supportive of political populism, and where the journalists who expose that suppression of truth are pursued with the full force of the State.
Those of you with a knowledge of history might well ask what parallel is there between the cases of Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange, between the release of The Pentagon Papers and the Wikileaks Documents? For that is the question that I have unfolded above for you to think about. The transcript quoted above was recorded in 1971 and Daniel Ellsberg was the target. The transcripts concerning Julian Assange are being recorded right now.
I think you are intelligent enough to work out the multiple parallels between both cases for yourselves.
The transcript participants (recorded on June 30, 1971): President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, John Mitchell.
The transcript and other relevant information quoted from the book: The Vietnam War – An Intimate History, by Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns, 2018.
The documents: The Pentagon Papers.
One source/author of the documents (target of the transcript): Daniel Ellsberg.
Here in Australia some of our journalists and others are currently being pursued by the full force of a middle-ranking state because of the disclosure of secrets that our government wished to keep quiet about – think East Timor and Afghanistan. Internationally, one of our journalists, for that is what he is, is being pursued by the full force of the American State because he published material, damning material, that the American State wished to keep quiet.
The stitch-up of Julian Assange is well underway. But it will be many decades before the transcript of the tapes of White House manoeuvring to indict him are released for public reading.
We, the people of Australia, need to step in right now and stop the tapes. We need to bring Julian Assange home to freedom.
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