Suzanne Breen forcefully backs Julian Assange whose transgression has been to lift the lid on US war crimes

The image of Julian Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by police was truly shocking. And if you’re not outraged by it, you should be.

I’ve read a lot of negative things about the WikiLeaks founder over the past three days. Apparently, he’s unhygienic. He doesn’t shower regularly or brush his teeth. He sometimes uses his fingers when he’s eating rather than cutlery.

It strikes me as a concerted campaign of character assassination, a desire to paint him as an animal, rather than a human being.

Historically, we are no stranger to black propaganda in this part of the world. But even if every word against Assange is true, it doesn’t matter a jot to me. Because whether he licks his plates. or leaves soiled underpants in the bathroom, or doesn’t clean up after his cat is irrelevant.

He was not arrested, and is not facing extradition, over any of this. The pursuit of Julian Assange is about the information he published exposing US war crimes.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published video footage from an Apache helicopter showing the killing in Baghdad of a dozen civilians, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

At the time of the shooting three years earlier, the US military had claimed it was a combat operation against a hostile force.

The material leaked to Assange by American soldier Chelsea Manning nailed that lie and showed some aircrew members laughing at the dead. The ‘Collateral Murder’ video was WikiLeaks most famous scoop but it certainly wasn’t the only one.

A mass of other documents were released revealing how hundreds of civilians had died in unreported killings by NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Files from Iraq showed that 66,000 civilians had been killed there and that prisoners had been tortured. Other leaks exposed unethical practices in Guantanamo Bay.

Was any of this material fabricated or untrue? Did WikiLeaks get anything wrong?

A rarity among publishing outfits, it has never had to retract a story and it boasts a 100% record of accuracy due to diligent checking. It has never lost a lawsuit.

Nobody, but nobody, is disputing the truth of what Assange and Chelsea Manning revealed. And, for me, that is all that matters.

Assange is painted as a madman for skateboarding and playing football in the corridors of the Ecuadorian embassy. Imagine doing that when confined to a tiny indoors space for so long?

Reports ridicule his unkempt beard and pallid complexion. His dishevelled state is compared to the dapper figure he cut before entering the embassy. As if that is surprising when you’ve been living for seven years without freedom.

Would those who mock him sacrifice a single day for their principles? Because whether or not we like him, Julian Assange has walked the walk.

He has published stories of far greater importance and impact than most of us in the media can ever dream of. And he is paying the price.

The National Union of Journalists is supporting him. But Pulitzer Prize winning writer Glenn Greenwald has noted that many in the media establishment - so outraged at Donald Trump’s mean tweets about reporters - are silent on this grave threat against journalism.

And that’s the crux of it. Whether or not Julian Assange is a narcissist, or looks like a tramp, is neither here nor there.

We should instinctively side with those who have shone a light on injustice, and not with those who seek to punish them.



This article originally appeared in Sunday Life on 14 April 2019

Julian Assange – Which Side Are You On?


Suzanne Breen forcefully backs Julian Assange whose transgression has been to lift the lid on US war crimes

The image of Julian Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by police was truly shocking. And if you’re not outraged by it, you should be.

I’ve read a lot of negative things about the WikiLeaks founder over the past three days. Apparently, he’s unhygienic. He doesn’t shower regularly or brush his teeth. He sometimes uses his fingers when he’s eating rather than cutlery.

It strikes me as a concerted campaign of character assassination, a desire to paint him as an animal, rather than a human being.

Historically, we are no stranger to black propaganda in this part of the world. But even if every word against Assange is true, it doesn’t matter a jot to me. Because whether he licks his plates. or leaves soiled underpants in the bathroom, or doesn’t clean up after his cat is irrelevant.

He was not arrested, and is not facing extradition, over any of this. The pursuit of Julian Assange is about the information he published exposing US war crimes.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published video footage from an Apache helicopter showing the killing in Baghdad of a dozen civilians, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

At the time of the shooting three years earlier, the US military had claimed it was a combat operation against a hostile force.

The material leaked to Assange by American soldier Chelsea Manning nailed that lie and showed some aircrew members laughing at the dead. The ‘Collateral Murder’ video was WikiLeaks most famous scoop but it certainly wasn’t the only one.

A mass of other documents were released revealing how hundreds of civilians had died in unreported killings by NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Files from Iraq showed that 66,000 civilians had been killed there and that prisoners had been tortured. Other leaks exposed unethical practices in Guantanamo Bay.

Was any of this material fabricated or untrue? Did WikiLeaks get anything wrong?

A rarity among publishing outfits, it has never had to retract a story and it boasts a 100% record of accuracy due to diligent checking. It has never lost a lawsuit.

Nobody, but nobody, is disputing the truth of what Assange and Chelsea Manning revealed. And, for me, that is all that matters.

Assange is painted as a madman for skateboarding and playing football in the corridors of the Ecuadorian embassy. Imagine doing that when confined to a tiny indoors space for so long?

Reports ridicule his unkempt beard and pallid complexion. His dishevelled state is compared to the dapper figure he cut before entering the embassy. As if that is surprising when you’ve been living for seven years without freedom.

Would those who mock him sacrifice a single day for their principles? Because whether or not we like him, Julian Assange has walked the walk.

He has published stories of far greater importance and impact than most of us in the media can ever dream of. And he is paying the price.

The National Union of Journalists is supporting him. But Pulitzer Prize winning writer Glenn Greenwald has noted that many in the media establishment - so outraged at Donald Trump’s mean tweets about reporters - are silent on this grave threat against journalism.

And that’s the crux of it. Whether or not Julian Assange is a narcissist, or looks like a tramp, is neither here nor there.

We should instinctively side with those who have shone a light on injustice, and not with those who seek to punish them.



This article originally appeared in Sunday Life on 14 April 2019

11 comments:

  1. Assange deserves a place in heaven, a gold medal and freedom to every city on this rock for what he has put into the public domain. As Suzanne Breen points out the character assassination he has received just not over the past week but for a long time is nothing more than a feeble attempt to discredit him. I have read a few comments on TPQ by some posters doing the same with Assange, they like to attack the messenger instead of paying attention to the message..The school of thought by some people is The Donald actually wants Assange in the States, not to give him the Chelsea Manning but to pardon him and if (according to Goldman-Sachs he will) he gets re-elected in 2020..Hillary and others in the cabal will face a military tribunal of sorts..

    I don't fully understand First Look Media's CEO's (Michael Bloom) reasons for shutting down another equally important archive The Snowden files.

    First Look Media announced Wednesday that it was shutting down access to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s massive trove of leaked National Security Agency documents.

    “The Intercept is proud of its reporting on the Snowden archive, and we are thankful to Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald for making it available to us,” Bloom wrote.

    In a note to the First Look board of directors obtained by The Daily Beast, Poitras called on the board to review the decision to eliminate the archives, and criticized the company’s decision to keep her in the dark about their plans until this week.

    “This decision and the way it was handled would be a disservice to our source, the risks we’ve all taken, and most importantly, to the public for whom Edward Snowden blew the whistle,” she wrote.
    In a separate memo to Bloom that was sent to many of the company’s staffers, Poitras wrote that she was “sickened” by the decision to eliminate the research team and “shut down” the Snowden archive.


    As things stand today, there has been only around 10% of Snowden's files released...Guess I will have to down another rabbit hole..

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  2. No mention of the fact that Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid answering sexual assault chanrges in Sweden and of the monstering of the women complainants by his supporters. No menmtion of his collaboration with the notorious antisemite Israel Shamir which led to dissidents in Belarus being exposed. No mention of the lives of coalitions forces and Afghan interpreters by leaking of unredacted cables.

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  3. And I didn't mention the non-disclosure agreements he forced ex-Wikileaks staff to sign.

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  4. I think more to the point it's about whose got the dirtiest hands? The US or Assange?

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  5. Neither hands are clean but here is an example of antisemitic dirt on Assanger's paws

    https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/julian-assange-s-antisemitic-past-resurfaces-after-his-arrest-1.483145

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  6. Barry,

    Do you believe what wikileaks has put in the public domain is 100% fact checked and not made up?

    The last link you threw up, try harder. Using the Jewish Chronicle is simply silly. Kinda like using Snopes. If you bothered to get past the headline and manage put your prejudices to one side, you'd have discovered the piece was anti-Zionist not anti anything else. Do Zionists, some who are Jews control the UK media. Yes. And the banking industry is exactly the same Barry. That is not anti-Semitic simply fact. Whats the problem with Israel? Is it because he converted from Judaism to Greek Orthodox? Wants a one state solution? Is what some people call a traitor to the cause because after yrs of being in the IDF he opposes them? The other AP piece you mentioned, Raphael has loads to say about wiki and Assange. But if you google the piece and read it the, DNC leaks get mentioned more than others. No names mentioned but the party does get named dropped a few times. All I know about the sex allegations is what everyone else knows but if you want to know what his legal team think check out a few of Sunday Politics shows and listen to his lawyer. I know she was on Ridge on Sunday. Personally the only names that wiki should redact are the innocent. They have to be protected at all times. No one want to see gay Arabs being given the Marie Antoinette. It can't be a great feeling knowing you will be tortured and very possibly beheaded if found out. If the Cabal were really pissed of about the treatment Abduls friend is getting and LBGTQ+ right's they'd stop dealing arms with them. Maybe the naming of innocent people was an over sight (human error). In life sometimes shit happens for no reason other than it is 'your turn' to step in it.

    Barry, imagine for 30 seconds you are working in Kew Gardens, Public Records Office..., And you are listening to yesterdays Radio Ulster Talkback hosted by William Crawley and you listen (starts 47mins) to the emotion and hurt in Bernadette Devlin's voice as she explains how her 14 year old sister, Julie Livingstone was shot dead on the Stewartstown Road by a plastic baton round. And no one alive in Julies family will ever know the truth because her file is officially locked away until 2064.

    If you came across Julies files would you wikileaks them? I would.

    And as you listen to the interview you will find out how heads of Government think. You discover that shortly after Julies death the British MOD conducted tests on the weapons and found them to be even more indiscriminate than they imagined. And how in the early 80's scientist's from Porton Downs wrote to the MOD telling them to recall all weapons that fired plastic batons rounds. And the MOD gave Westminster some figures and Thatcher's Cabinet ruled in favour of “it is cheaper to pay compensation for injury or death by a plastic bullet than to recall the weapons and decommission them/ or to fix the flaw”

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  7. Frankie

    There is a world of difference between the injustice of Julie Livingstone's family not being able to access her file (which I would defend the leaking off) and the wanton exposure of the identities of Afghan interpreters and the brazen hacking into the DNC servers.

    Antizionism is a form of antisemtism as it denies the right of the State of Israel to exist. It is not antizionist, let alone antisemitic to condemn the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza blockade and to call Netananyu a crook who plays of racist dogwhistles to get elected.

    Once again you come out with the hoary old antisemitioc tropes about "Zionist control" of the media and banking. What empirical, peer-reviewed evidence have you to support these prejudices which you purport to be fact. And there is no point in uploading a videos about the Rothschilds either.

    And who are the Cabal?

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  8. Barry,

    As I have said, the only peoples manes that should have been redacted are the innocent. Everyone else's privacy is negotiable. I did say maybe the naming of interpretors was human error. I am not excusing their mistakes just saying there may not have been any malice behind some names being leaked. As for the leaking of the DNC servers. I will tell you what did happen Barry, after the exposure Hillary got in the leaks, The Clinton Foundation lost millions in donations. And she has been forced to do book tours to pay back some of the donors.

    What is your real problem with wikileaks, Snowden etc...What is wrong with world leaders being exposed as cunts? Why should they be allowed to cover up for their war crimes, why should the DNC be allowed to get away with doing to Bernie Saunders what they accused The Donald and Russia of doing?

    Once again you come out with the hoary old antisemitioc tropes about "Zionist control" of the media and banking. What empirical, peer-reviewed evidence have you to support these prejudices.

    I have reviewed the evidence and with out any prejudice. It wouldn't make any difference if I linked a 'peer review study' or not. You would still refute the evidence. So do your own research. Jews make up 0.5% of the UK population. That number is not reflected with the corridors of power, media, banking industries. I can provide sources for you to check yourself.

    And who are the Cabal?

    The Cabal are a group of Zionist bastards telling me what I should think, eat, watch...believe. Some of them are bankers others are military chiefs, there is also heads of state, religious leaders, royalty. They are simply a mirror image of the Mafia Commission Lucky Luciano set up in the 1930's. The only difference is the numbers. Both settle trade disputes, import the same raw drugs from the same sources, try to stop arguments becoming wars, exploit the working class and both the cabal and the commission bank with Jews. Why do you think Luciano banked with Meyer Lansky? And just like the American Mafia, the cabal have their own families only they are called the European Commission, OPEC, NATO, United Nations, WHO,WTO, IMF. And instead of calling the leaders capo's they give them titles like CEO, Presidents Prime Minster, Royal Highness. Each of the leaders are in charge of their own crew. But they aren't called crews but boards of directors, government cabinet officials, royal families..

    Their job is to keep the money coming in because the first rule is 'the kick back'. They don't care how they make enough money to pay 'the kick back' be it through stealth taxes, having wars, increased living costs to saving money by paying compensation instead of recalling weapons that kill indiscriminately because it is 'cost effective..' Barry what is the difference between either the whole cabal or a part of it deciding to have a coup d'etat in South America or Africa because someone's face no longer fits, ..forcing a regime change in the middle east to the mafia commission voting to take out a capo or boss because their face no longer fits..?

    Why can watch the slaughter of innocent children, civilians and journalist's at the hands of US Military in Baghdad in 2007 on youtube with out the fear of the police knocking at my door. Yet If I viewed and linked the slaughter of children, civilians in massacres like Christchurch or any US town you care to mention, they be crashing my door down...

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  9. Frankie

    Your rantings make ideal raw material for reseearch into the nature of modern antisemitism camouflaged as antizionism and how it relate to paranoid, conspriacist styles mof politics as analysed by Seymour Martin Lipset.

    It makes for great entertainemt if nothing else.

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  10. Barry,

    Do you tape your fore skin back look in the mirror and wish you were a Jew? I am seriously at a loss as to your fascination on every thing Jewish. Have you ever been to Israel? Have you ever wiped away a tear standing at The Wall? Have you ever celebrated a happy Hanukkah or attended a boozey Bar Mitzvah? My guess is you haven't, have you. Why can't you or don't you talk about native Americans still getting a bad deal? Or why Aborigines's are getting an equally bad deal? With you it is all about the Jews. I know Jews who do not talk about the holocaust or anti Jewish abuse they have received as much as you do. In the space between my ears the racial abuse my daughter has received isn't any different to the brothers being racially abused or reflecting the times I was called whatever during the conflict. It is wrong on all levels but happens..

    Show me were I have said anything remotely anti Jewish on TPQ..We can both link loads of comments I have made against Zionism no matter what their religion. Zionism, Zionist's and Kazism is an article you should read Barry. It appeared in Jewish Voice for Labour. Michael Rosen does a great job in correcting Mike Katz chair of the JLM and explains that not all Zionists are Jews and how some Zionist's don't care if there is one or two state solution in Palestine/Israel.

    The two words you like to throw around. Here is the Cambridge dictionary's definition of anti here is their definition of Semitic ...Other dictionaries give the same meanings. Why do you and people who think like you want people like me to change the definition of words? Why when you mention Antisemitism do you not include Adbul's family. who are Semitic Arabs.?


    Why do you not like wikileaks exposing modern day war criminals within western governments? What is wrong with politicians being exposed as corrupt?

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  11. Frankie

    My position on things Jewish comes from an antiracist universalism; an antiracist that is not blind to the way in which antizionists on the far left (as well as Nick Griffin, David Duke etc on the far right) use antisemitic tropes. I joined JLM as an associate member as an act of solidarity with Jewish MPs and members who have received such vile and disgusting abuse from antizionist supporters of Corbyn who have no scruples about linking to white supremacist and Holocaust denial sites to bolster their narrativers. Jewish Voice for Labour are just useful idiots for Corbyn and his retinue.

    If I talk a lot about Jews on TPQ, it is because you continually bang on about the supposed power of the Rothschilds, "Zionist bastards" running the banks and media and call for the transportation of "European Zionists" back to Poland plus blaming Israelis for 9/11. Those are classic antisemitic tropes which in the czase of the BLP warrant expulsion; an act more honoured in the breach rather than the observance. I feel morally obliged to respond to your constant missives on Zionism because it is not such a long step away from the "Jews are child killers", "Hitler did not kill enough Jews" refrains from drinkers in the Bogside Inn uncovered this week.

    If you want to be pedantic about it, let's redefine antisemitism as antijewishness or Judeophobia. it does not alter my case that antizionism cannot be easily disentangled from classic hostility to Jews and Jewry as your constant barrage of antizionist falsehoods show.

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