National security & imperial presidency: What book Julian Assange was reading during his arrest

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11-04-19 08:44:00,

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy by British police, he emerged clutching a single book: Gore Vidal’s ‘The History of the National Security State.’

Later, as he sat in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court, Assange silently read through the book, before he was found guilty of skipping bail in 2012 and remanded in custody.

On brand to the very end, Julian Assange was holding a copy of Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State as he was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy. pic.twitter.com/tq8Uytw6o9

— Will Martin (@willmartin19) April 11, 2019

Was Assange trying to send a message? Through a collection of interviews with Vidal, the book covers themes dear to Assange and WikiLeaks, tracing the historical events that gave rise to the military-industrial-security complex, as well as the expansion of executive powers that led to what the author calls “the imperial presidency.”

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“The people have no voice because they have no information,” Vidal warned in the book. Speaking to RT on Thursday, former MI5 agent Annie Machon hailed Assange for trying to do something about this.

“We’ve seen time and time again how easy it is for the mainstream media to be controlled and manipulated from behind the scenes by the intelligence agencies and by governments,” Machon said. “And that is precisely the model that Julian Assange tried to break. And he did it courageously and he did it knowing full well what he’d be facing.”

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Assange began publishing classified materials, some detailing alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, during the George W. Bush administration, and avoided US persecution under Barack Obama. In his book, Vidal heaped scorn on both parties for working together to ratchet up ‘homeland security’ in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Now we have a dictatorial system,

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