Yesterday I started a thread on Twitter lamenting the fact that support for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been eroded all across the political spectrum since 2016 by the establishment smear campaign.
I started the thread because I’d just been reflecting on how some of the first clumsy articles I ever wrote for this gig were basically just me marvelling at how support for Assange had united Berners, Trumpers, Greens, anarchists, libertarians and hackers against those who sought to silence him. Yet today I routinely see people from those factions smearing him because, at some point between then and now, an establishment propaganda narrative got through to them.
Sometimes all I can do is stare in awe at the power and efficiency of the imperial propaganda machine. When I first started this gig in 2016 Assange had way more support, from Berners, Greens, Trumpers, all across the spectrum. Now a large amount of that support has been eroded.
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) November 4, 2019
Almost immediately after I made the initial post, commenters started lining up to unintentionally prove me right. A Bernie supporter came in to proclaim that Assange is “a giant piece of shit”, and a liberal claimed Assange was “a de facto member of an election campaign to get a white nationalist elected president of the U.S.”
Multiple Trump supporters came forward arguing in support of their president’s persecution of Assange, arguing that his imprisonment and pending extradition is no big deal, claiming Assange is a CIA asset, saying Assange needs to be punished for publishing US military secrets, arguing that Trump is actually just trying to force Assange to give up his sources for the 2016 publications (as though a president coercing a journalist to give up a source with the threat of life in prison would be perfectly fine and constitutional), and claiming Assange’s persecution is coming exclusively from the UK and not the US (the US extradition request is the only reason for his continued imprisonment and US officials are openly giving instructions to British prosecutors in the courtroom).
These are all groups who once supported Assange,