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The US attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a spiteful assault on civil freedoms conducted by an ailing superpower that is struggling to preserve its dominance, UK-based journalist John Pilger told RT.
One should not mistake what is happening to Assange for anything but the persecution of a man, who embarrassed the US by exposing to the public Washington’s brutality in the Middle East, award-winning British journalist John Pilger told RT’s Going Underground program.
“The United States has aroused the ire because what we are in the midst of is the world’s greatest superpower struggling to maintain its dominance. Its information dominance, its technological dominance, its cultural dominance. And WikiLeaks has presented an extreme hurdle to this,” he argued.
If we lose the Assanges – and there aren’t many of them, a handful maybe and certainly no one like him – if we lose the WikiLeaks, then we lose a whole stratum of freedom. We stop questioning.
Assange was arrested by the British authorities on Thursday after Ecuador revoked his political asylum and allowed the police to drag him out of the embassy in London. The US accuses the publisher of conspiring with WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning in her leaking of classified materials related to US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WikiLeaks publications based on the Manning leak, especially the so-called “collateral murder” video, dealt a massive blow to US attempts to cover up the “homicidal nature of its colonial wars,” Pilger said.
“Anybody watching that video really has to read very little else of the WikiLeaks revelations about the nature of the American wars, because there it is. There is some kind of consensual belief – I’m trying to figure for a polite term for ‘brainwashing,’ frankly – that we don’t do these kinds of things, we perpetually benign,” he explained.
On ‘our’ side, these things simply do not happen… They are only done by totalitarian states, the rogue states. In fact clearly the biggest rogue state of all is the United States.
Pilger says the attack on WikiLeaks is emblematic for the current state or journalism in the West, which has betrayed its mandate to be the public’s watchdog for the actions of their governments.
According to four-star General Wesley Clark, in a 1991 meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, then-under-secretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz seemed a little dismayed because he believed the U.S. should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm but failed to do so. Clark summarized what he says Wolfowitz said:
“‘But one thing we did learn. We learned that we can use our military in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets won’t stop us. We’ve got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes, Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.’” [emphasis added]
This was certainly the case in the years that followed, as the United States used the pretext of 9/11 to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq with little to no substantive resistance from the international community. This trend continued as the Obama administration heavily expanded its operations into Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and even the Philippines, to name a few, right up until the U.S. led a cohort of NATO countries to impose regime change in Libya in 2011.
At the time, Russia withheld its veto power at the U.N. Security Council because it had received assurances that the coalition would not pursue regime change. After NATO forces began bombing Muammar Gaddafi’s palaces directly, a furious Vladimir Putin questioned: “Who gave NATO the right to kill Gaddafi?”
Following Gaddafi’s public execution on the streets of Sirte, Putin’s criticism of NATO’s betrayal went even further. He stated:
“The whole world saw him being killed; all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos – who were not supposed to be there – brought in so-called opposition and militants and killed him without trial. I’m not saying that Gaddafi didn’t have to quit, but that should have been left up to the people of Libya to decide through the democratic process.”
No one appreciated it at the time,