Why US hates Assange

Why US hates Assange


The US craves global dominance. Don’t take my word for it. As defence secretary in the1990s, Dick Cheney said the US wanted to rule the world. WikiLeaks’ cables and the US National Strategy for Counter-terrorism show that some 60,000 US special forces operate in 75 countries across the globe.Factor in the hundreds of US military bases on foreign soil, and you don’t need to refer to an old Dick Cheney quote to get the point.

To achieve compliance, military and economic power obviously matter, but ideology matters too, particularly in an era of social media, the internet and 24/7 news channels. In the modern age, for the US to secure hearts and minds, it has become vital that its point of view has to be the only point of view, or at least the most credible one, in the eyes of its own population and even the international audience.

During the last few years, though, a new force has emerged to challenge US official versions of events and its world view. By exposing lies and misinformation, WikiLeaks has become a threat to US propaganda, and the US has been doing its damnedest to neutralise it. US attorney general Eric Holder is on record as saying that the release of sensitive diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks had put the US and its citizens at risk. He subsequently authorised a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange. Many officials in the US regard Assange as a criminal, even a terrorist, who indeed should be put on trial.

The noose seems to be tightening around Assange. He appears to have lost his battle over extradition from the UK to Sweden to face charges of sexual misconduct. Counsel Geoffrey Robertson, Assange’s lawyer, claims the allegations are politically motivated and that Assange will not receive a fair trial in Sweden. Assange himself denies the allegations and also believes they are part of a plan to eventually extradite him to the US to face espionage charges and for the US to finally silence him.

The US state-corporate machine has done everything in its power thus far to curtail WikeLeaks’ influence. Most debilitating of all has been the shutting down of  WikiLeaks’ access to finance, notably via PayPal, MasterCard, the Swiss bank PostFinance, Moneybookers, Bank of America and Visa Inc.

Bank of America has been especially strident in attempting to discredit and shut down WikiLeaks with various dirty tricks, including backing a smear campaign that involved the use of false documents, disinformation, and sabotage.

Assange recently said the financial blockade had destroyed 95 per cent of WikiLeaks’ revenues and announced that it was suspending publishing operations in order to focus on fighting the blockade and raising new funds. WikiLeaks and its members have also reportedly been victims of ongoing harassment and surveillance by law enforcement and intelligence organisations, including extended detention, seizure of computers and veiled threats.

Little surprise

Unfortunately, though, such actions come as little surprise. Successive US administrations have shown a strong dislike of democracy, whether at home or abroad, and have done everything to stifle it. As long as a foreign government, no matter how dirty, corrupt and repressive, acts in the US’ interests, the US has backed it. From the backing of death squads in Latin America and the overthrow of democratically elected governments, such as the Allende one in Chile in 1973, to supporting murderous regimes like Suharto’s in Indonesia, for decades US administrations have killed, oppressed and slaughtered innocent people, either directly or indirectly.

James Stockwell, former CIA official, argues that, by the 1980s, the US and CIA had been responsible for six million deaths through its ‘third world war’ – its war on the ‘third world’.

Assange’s stated aim has been to hold power to account by providing the masses with information that is kept from the public. By implication, the public can then hold its leaders to account. That’s democracy. And that’s what frightens the US. The people most ignorant of how US democracy functions are US citizens themselves. And that’s how the administration likes it to be. Assange has different ideas. He and WikiLeaks have shed light on political back room deals, deals that most often go against the rights of individuals and especially common folk, deals that make war and profits for the corporations and the rich elites.  

In exposing state-corporate secrets and challenging powerful institutions, Assange has made many enemies in high places. From Wall Street to the heart of US government (and possibly the Indian government too, given the information he claims to have on India’s black money in foreign accounts), they fear him. And they fear what else he was about to expose, especially the names of crooked individuals who were responsible for the 2008 economic meltdown. For the time being, however, the financial blockade has all but silenced WikiLeaks.    

Eric Holder says Assange put the lives of US citizens at risk by leaking diplomatic cables. But it has been successive US administrations that have been responsible for so many deaths abroad and thereby for polarising opinion across the world on the US. If anyone has placed US lives at risk, it’s not Assange. Holder should look much closer to home, within the US oligarchy of billionaire financiers, industrialists and corporate backed politicians who, as Julian Assange now knows too well, despise transparency, dislike democracy and will do anything to prevent themselves from being held to genuine account.