Chris Hedges Justice Original

Hedges: The Execution of Julian Assange

He committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. And empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds.
Original illustration by Mr. Fish, “Mind Games.”

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. Boris Johnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis, Clair Dobbin and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK Security Service or MI5.

Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The ten years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress.  “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancé Stella Morris said of the stroke. 

His steady physical and psychological deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work. Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.  

Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. Rome’s long persecution of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, forcing him in the end to commit suicide, and the razing of Carthage repeats itself in epic after epic. Crazy Horse. Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm X. Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sukarno. Ngo Dinh Diem. Fred Hampton. Salvador Allende. If you cannot be bought off, if you will not be intimidated into silence, you will be killed. The obsessive CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, which because none succeeded have a Keystone Cop incompetence to them, included contracting Momo Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone’s successor in Chicago, along with Miami mobster Santo Trafficante to kill the Cuban leader, attempting to poison Castro’s cigars with a botulinum toxin, providing Castro with a tubercle bacilli-infected scuba-diving suit, booby-trapping a conch shell on the sea floor where he often dived, slipping botulism-toxin pills in one of Castro’s drinks and using a pen outfitted with a hypodermic needle to poison him. 

The current cabal of assassins hide behind a judicial burlesque overseen in London by portly judges in gowns and white horse-hair wigs mouthing legal Alice-in-Wonderland absurdities. It is a dark reprise of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado with the Lord High Executioner drawing up lists of people “who would not be missed.”

I watched the latest installment of the Assange show trial via video link on Friday. I listened to the reading of the ruling granting the appeal by the United States to extradite Assange. Assange’s lawyers have two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court, which they are expected to do. I am not optimistic. 

Friday’s ruling was devoid of legal analysis. It fully accepted the conclusions of the lower court judge about increased risk of suicide and inhumane prison conditions in the United States. But the ruling argued that US Diplomatic Note no. 74, given to the court on February 5, 2021, which offered “assurances” that Assange would be well treated, overrode the lower court’s conclusions. It was a remarkable legal non sequitur. The ruling would not have gotten a passing grade in a first-semester law school course. But legal erudition is not the point. The judicial railroading of Assange, which has eviscerated one legal norm after another, has turned, as Franz Kafka wrote, “lying into a universal principle.” 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. Should Australia, which has marched in lockstep with the US in the persecution of their citizen not agree to his transfer, he will remain for the rest of his life in a US prison. But so what. If Australia does not request a transfer it “cannot be a cause for criticism of the USA, or a reason for regarding the assurances as inadequate to meet the judge’s concerns,” the ruling read. And even if that were not the case, it would take Assange ten to fifteen years to appeal his sentence up to the Supreme Court, more than enough time for the state assassins to finish him off. I am not sure how to respond to assurance number four, stating that Assange will not be held pre-trial in the ADX in Florence. No one is held pre-trail in ADX Florence. But it sounds reassuring, so I guess those in the Biden DOJ who crafted the diplomatic note added it. ADX Florence, of course, is not the only supermax prison in the United States that might house Assange. Assange can be shipped out to one of our other Guantanamo-like facilities. Daniel Hale, the former US Air Force intelligence analyst currently imprisoned for releasing top-secret documents that exposed widespread civilian casualties caused by US drone strikes, has been held at USP Marion, a federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) since October. CMUs are highly restrictive units that replicate the near total isolation imposed by SAMs. 

The High Court ruling ironically came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced at the virtual Summit for Democracy that the Biden administration will provide new funding to protect reporters targeted because of their work and support independent international journalism. Blinken’s “assurances” that the Biden administration will defend a free press, at the very moment the administration was demanding Assange’s extradition, is a glaring example of the rank hypocrisy and mendacity that makes the Democrats, as Glen Ford used to say, “not the lesser evil, but the more effective evil.” 

Assange is charged in the US under 17 counts of the Espionage Act and one count of hacking into a government computer. The charges could see him sentenced to 175 years in prison, even though he is not a US citizen and WikiLeaks is not a US-based publication. If found guilty it will effectively criminalize the investigative work of all journalists and publishers, anywhere in the world and of any nationality, who possess classified documents to shine a light on the inner workings of power. This mortal assault on the press will have been orchestrated, we must not forget, by a Democratic administration. It will set a legal precedent that will delight other totalitarian regimes and autocrats who, emboldened by the United States, will gleefully seize journalists and publishers, no matter where they are located, who publish inconvenient truths. 

There is no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, a foreign national, under the Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuador Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers. This fact alone invalidates any future trial. Assange, who after seven years in a cramped room without sunlight in the embassy, has been held for nearly three years in a high-security prison in London so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the unrelenting abuse and torture it knows will lead to his psychological and physical disintegration. The persecution of Assange is designed to send a message to anyone who might consider exposing the corruption, dishonesty and depravity that defines the black heart of our global elites. 

Dean Yates can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. He was the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad on the morning of July 12, 2007 when his Iraqi colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed, along with nine other men, by US Army Apache gunships. Two children were seriously wounded. The US government spent three years lying to Yates, Reuters and the rest of the world about the killings, although the army had video evidence of the massacre taken by the Apaches during the attack. The video, known as the Collateral Murder video, was leaked in 2010 by Chelsea Manning to Assange. It, for the first time, proved that those killed were not engaged, as the army had repeatedly insisted, in a firefight. It exposed the lies spun by the US that it could not locate the video footage and had never attempted to cover up the killings. 

[Watch the full interview I did with Yates:]

The Spanish courts can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. Spain was given an assurance that David Mendoza Herrarte, if extradited to the US to face trial for drug trafficking charges, could serve his prison sentence in Spain. But for six years the Department of Justice repeatedly refused Spanish transfer requests, only relenting when the Spanish Supreme Court intervened.

The people in Afghanistan can tell you what U.S “assurances” are worth. US military, intelligence and diplomatic officials knew for 18 years that the war in Afghanistan was a quagmire yet publicly stated, over and over, that the military intervention was making steady progress.  

The people in Iraq can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. They were invaded and subject to a brutal war based on fabricated evidence about weapons of mass destruction. 

The people of Iran can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. The United States, in the 1981 Algiers Accords, promised not to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs and then funded and backed The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), a terrorist group, based in Iraq and dedicated to overthrowing the Iranian regime.

The thousands of people tortured in US global black sites can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. CIA officers, when questioned about the widespread use of torture by the Senate Intelligence Committee, secretly destroyed videotapes of torture interrogations while insisting there was no “destruction of evidence.” 

The numbers of treaties, agreements, deals, promises and “assurances” made by the US around the globe and violated are too numerous to list. Hundreds of treaties signed with Native American tribes, alone, were ignored by the US government. 

Assange, at tremendous personal cost, warned us. He gave us the truth. The ruling class is crucifying him for this truth. With his crucifixion, the dim lights of our democracy go dark.  


Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for ScheerPost. Click here to sign up for email alerts.

Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.  Author Link

Copyright 2021 Chris Hedges

86 comments

  1. One thing is clear to me. The world is run by certified psychopaths, sociopaths, evil beings who prefer secrecy over truth, lies over truth, deception over honesty, and destruction of the First Amendment and the entire US Constitution. These people are the ones who should be condemned to prison for the Crimes against Humanity that they have engaged in. The world cannot put up with any more of this Draconian nonsense. Control is clearly what they are after, and fear is their weapon. We need not live in fear, as we do not die. Once you realize this, freedom is in your hands.

    1. What an extraordinarily wise comment. Thank you, Mr. Hedges for your courage and your service to humanity. Please keep writing about Julian Assange.

      1. Yes, we need to know whats happening to Julian and my heart goes out to his fiance and two gorgeous boys, deprived of their Dad…..for what?

  2. Wonderful indictment. I’m sure there is a slew of other executioners too numerous to mention. But I think Secretary Blinkin deserves to be named! Also that Stratfor jerk (sorry I can’t remember his name) who in 2012 said something like “drown him in a Guantanamo toilet” among such other niceties.

  3. Thank you for the passionate defense, and story. It is terrible, and we must keep praying. It is probably not unnoticed that there are still people like you and other excellent journalists, as well as lawyers trying to secure his safety. Perhaps a miracle will occur and the needed protections for house arrest will be put in place. I continue to pray for that miracle.

    1. Nonsense. If you stay away from powerful people (as Stanly Kubrick famously recommended), you can live to a ripe old age and enjoy everything live has to offer — provided you have the spondulicks, of course. And live in a country the US does not decide to invade (admittedly, these are getting increasingly rare).

  4. Chris Hedges’ eloquence in defending whistle blower Julian Assange is undeniable. But, Assanges’s executioners will never be moved to stop the execution by such eloquence because to do so would require them to admit all their complicity in illegally detaining and torturing a journalist for 11+ years for publishing the facts of US War crimes. Instead of hacking him to death like Khosoghi in one afternoon they are killing him slowly over the last decade.

  5. Jesus was executed by the evil Roman Empire, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Claus von Stauffenberg were executed by the evil Nazi Empire and Julian Assange is being executed by the evil American Empire.

  6. thankyou so much for writing this piece of honest journalism which speaks to the heart of this abomination toward humanity…. represented by the life that remains of Julian Assange slowly but surely dying in the British Jail. My heart and soul bleeds and especially when so many have added their voice to the outcry against this persecution of Julian …when an eloquent writer of your stature explains this total dark Injustice as you have …and yet it continues?
    I despair🙏

  7. Black people in the US and more specifically, Targeted Individuals (whose testimonies are included in the Wikileaks docs) can also attest to how useless
    legal assurances given by the US govt are.
    Not only is the US govt/Military illegally using people (disproportionately black and other people of color, which is the US govt’s m.o.) as involuntary human
    guinea pigs to test the efficacy of DoD/Military directed energy/electromagnetic frequency weapons, Voice to Skull, brain-to-computer interface, remote neural monitoring, nanotechnologies/nanobots/hydrogel, constant surveillance and monitoring, as well as employment blocking–all of this basically equate to a virtual Gitmo. Though we know Assange is being railroaded for revealing the truth of the barbarity of the global organized criminal network posing as legit governments, TIs are never publicly or formally accused of, let alone indicted or charged with any crimes. Yet some of us have been subjected to these organized state abuses (that also enlist foreign govts) for decades on end. All hiding in plain sight.

  8. The people must realize that what is being done here is NOT in their best interest. It is an assault on them, and the Truth. If we as a civilization and species are to expect advancement of our species, we all will need unfettered access to the truth. What is being done here is no different that what the NAZI’s did to people who spoke out against them. Of course we welcomed that. These people was a controlled closed society where we are not told the truth, and are kept ignorant of what heinous crimes the government is committing until it is far too late to do anything. This is what Evil is and what Evil does. It is contrary to a civil existence. Yet we sit back and watch the show as if it could not happen to us, when in fact it is happening right now to us. Wake up people. Do something. Say something, speak your mind before you are not allowed to do so.

    1. Do something in addition to reading and commenting on this article. Let this article inspire you to Do something that makes you feel a little scared for yourself and your family. Then you’ll know that action is worth your time.

  9. Chris Hedges litany of martyrs most glaringly omitted John Brown.

    Despite all the politician enlightenment blather, the US has always been a Krieg Stadt. Ergo, damaging the national security state is the supreme capital crime, functional equivalent of treason. Assange being one of us makes the pathos palpable and excruciating; but, countless millions over its 3 & 1/2 centuries have fallen beneath the fateful lightening of the nation’s terrible swift sword, and the “goons” honored thereafter for heroes.

    We’ve long known all this. The only thing worthy discoursing now is “What is to be Done? “

    1. > Chris Hedges litany of martyrs
      > most glaringly omitted John Brown.

      And weirdly included Guevara and almost-martyr Castro. Not exactly friends to mankind.

      I notice that Hedges tends to suffer from the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” fallacy.

  10. The Evil which is the United States, Great Britain and Israel and all Nations that support this insanity must now more than ever be exposed, and every whistleblower in the world who knows of some corruption must expose it, for the people must reassert their control over Government. Either we control the government or it controls us. It’s your choice, make it stick. You want your kids to grow up in a Fascist Authoritative world? then support the government. Its lie is that it has your backs.

    1. You can “expose, expose, expose” like a two-bit hooker, people really don’t care. Most people are quite happy to have somebody else in charge of their lives, and why would you risk an ignominious demise like Assange’s as long as you can eat, drink and make merry?

      1. Johnny Hellfire,

        As usual, you have nothing to say worth reading when it comes to Assange, but here you are inserting your toxic two cents in for the upteenth time. Useless troll. You aren’t one tenth the man he is.

  11. Assange exposed U.S. war crimes and Democratic Party cheating Bernie Sanders out of the 2016 presidential nomination, and for that he will be punished!

    All large countries are evil and problematic, but WE’RE NUMBER ONE in this. All hail the mighty U.S. empire, very soon to be in major decline. The sooner the U.S. empire is off the planet, the better.

    1. I regretfully agree. With one possible exception(*), the United States are the worst thing ever to happen to the rest of the world.

      (*) Fukushima, liable to wipe out all life on Earth. All. Not just humankind.

      1. @Johny Hellfire
        How does that disagree with anything I said?

        I hate nukes and wish they’d never been discovered. Fukushima is the end result of extreme human folly, and it’s unconscionable what it’s doing to the ocean and everyone who lives there (non-humans are not “somethings”) and what it may do to the rest of the planet. But consider this: if not for the U.S., it’s likely that nuclear weapons and nuclear power wouldn’t exist.

  12. I’m getting sick and tired of all of this sermonizing. Hedges and Scheerpost in general are great at pointing a finger at the monsters but NEVER have an answer about what to do about them! Why?? Because there is no answer to controlling these types that forever manage to claw their way to the top of the food chain.

    1. There is no answer; there is no solution. The powerful do whatever the heck they want. Focus on your loved ones; eat, drink, dance, sing, make love, read, smell the morning air; give something to charity if you can spare it. You have only one life, don’t waste it on impossible battles. And don’t have kids!

      1. No one has an answer and there most certainly is no solution. I’ve been hearing this same shit since the 60’s, and when I ask “what are you going to do about the monsters?” they look at me like a deer caught in the headlights. Hedges said something to the effect “Wishful thinking without a workable plan of action is just a fantasy”. And while I commend him and Scheerpost for their efforts, without a workable plan that will not be co-opted by the monsters it’s all just fantasy. 😉

    2. @Chris Wolf
      If you’re sick &tired of what they write, why do you read it? You’re sick & tired of reading the truth?

      The solution is that humans as a whole need to evolve mentally and spiritually so that the kind of people that Assange pissed off become a very small minority without any support, and the large majority strongly oppose empire materialism.

      1. You’re dreaming in technicolor. The best that Hedges and Scheerpost have come up with so far is our future is going to be either an oligarchy or an autocracy, which is to say we are fucked either way. The monsters have been controlling this planet since we crawled out of the cave and no amount of sermonizing is going to change this fact.

    3. Hi Chris,

      Contrary to all the doom and gloom, we are in the process of fixing things. Remember, evolution takes time and there are no quick fixes. Although it may not look like progress, we are moving forward in our collective education. Right now we are in the ‘Planet of Pain’ chapter. Once we have had enough, assuming we find someway to survive our changing climate and avoid nuclear destruction, we’ll move on. Wanting class to end early doesn’t make it so. Class ends for us only when we fully comprehend the content and pass the test.

      In terms of practical steps though, I can only suggest you demonstrate a different way of being as much as possible in your daily life. Julian, is demonstrating this different way now.

      1. Hi Tip.

        Thank you for your comment and optimism. Most people want a world free of the horrors we have seen throughout history. However my point is you will NEVER get to the Holy Grail so long as there are a group of very smart, ultra powerful, super ambitious, sociopathic people who will stand in your way. And if you want to read your history you will see that these “monsters” come in all flavors. All of them had an idealist vision for the world even if they had to kill you to see it realized.

        There’s a series on Netflix called “Blacklist”. In one scene the lead character is taking with the director of America’s top alphabet agency and says, “The problem with you is that you think like a FBI agent with all of your rules, regulations, protocols and does and don’ts. I think like a criminal. That’s the difference between us.”

        So, what are you going to do about the monsters who forever claw their way to the top of the food chain?”

        There is no answer and there is no solution unless it is possible to edit these characteristics out of the human DNA. But then who decides that? And on what criteria? And until that is done the world continues a well defined cycle with the usual suspects leading the way. The only realistic appraisal of the future is what we have seen before, not some wishful thinking without a workable plan of action. So, to be clear to you and anyone else reading this, all I am doing is playing the odds on what has come before in its various flavors. Right now I see that at around 10 to 1 in favor.

    4. @Chris Wolf
      Humans didn’t crawl out of cages. Humans began in the tropical savanna of Africa. Where we went wrong was agriculture instead of hunting & gathering. Agriculture allowed or caused hierarchies, which created your monsters.

      Either humans evolve majorly mentally and spiritually or we continue to destroy life on the planet, including our own. Making cynical comments like yours doesn’t help matters. As the saying goes, either help or get out of the way.

      1. Agriculture “The worst mistake in the history of the human race”. Interesting theory and certainly has some merit.

        As for what you interpret as my cynicism, what do you specifically find objectionable? I am simply stating an undeniable historical fact about the species having a litany of evil overlords responsible for deaths in the hundreds of millions. In fact this trend is so repetitive it can be viewed in cycles. Listen to Edward Case in the first comment on this post. Sounds like monsters to me, or do you disagree with him too? And while your comments about humans needing to evolve majorly mentally and spiritually or we will destroy all life is a very fine and moral statement that seriously lacks a workable plan of action. If you are expecting some sort of enlightenment to suddenly manifest itself throughout society how exactly is that going to happen? Meanwhile, what are you going to do about the monster? 😉

      2. @Chris Wolf
        The attitude that comes across from what you wrote is that there’s nothing we can do, so why bother trying? It’s good to understand reality and have realistic expectations — mine are about as low as it gets — but it’s quite another to give up hope or be cynical, and do nothing. Whether it’s doing nothing is caused by a cop out or despair, it’s the wrong reaction. If nothing else, when you die you’ll know that you did what you could if you keep fighting for what you believe.

        As to how to get people to evolve mentally & spiritually: When I studied eastern religions and mysticism decades ago, I often got frustrated with people who were not at least making an effort to improve themselves and their behavior by trying to expand their consciousness somehow. In response to this frustration, I was taught that “they will come when they are ready.” Of course you can’t make people evolve, but the proper education might be a good kick start for a lot of people to get them on the right path. I’ve never found anyone who has a solution for this except for education and talking to people, but we have to do SOMETHING. Again, you just do what you can, that’s all that you can do. But doing what you can doesn’t mean throwing up your hands and complaining when someone presents truths and facts like this essay does.

      3. This comments section is missing a reply to your last comment so I have to put my response here.

        I’m still waiting for a workable plan of action that works for EVERYONE. What I am hearing is we need to “evolve mentally & spiritually” and we need “proper education” to direct us along the “right path”. That’s no plan, but rather expressing your temperament and the way you FEEL about things. You are basically trying to intellectualize your emotions. Try to keep in mind that your values are not shared by everyone and those others also see the need to “keep fighting for what you believe”.

        Sermonizing has been going on for thousands of years. Hedges and Scheerpost in general are great at pointing out the shit show, but they have no real answers to solving what is going wrong. The best they can do is try to rally a group of people who are emotionally geared to a liberal philosophy, which in of itself is divisive, but they are of the opinion that they are in the right and if they don’t do SOMETHING the type of monsters they see with opposing ideologies will eat them alive! And there’s your classic vicious circle. Moreover, lectures from the Holy Grail of Moral Righteousness don’t work on a psychopath, much less anyone else who is less than righteous for their own self interests or just doesn’t give a shit.

        What’s coming is another cycle best described as The Death of Money, and if the monsters (whatever flavor) get their wish this time around we are in for a world of hurt.

      4. @Chris Wolf
        Assuming that I agree for the sake of argument that all that Hedges and this site do is present the problems and that they don’t offer solutions: Someone has to first present the problems before any solutions can be proposed. Presenting the problems is a good thing, and the reasons for your objection to doing so seem totally cynical. Everyone can’t do everything, no reason to be down on Hedges or this site for what they can’t do.

      5. “I’m still waiting for a workable plan of action that works for EVERYONE.”

        Consumer boycott, e.g. air travel, until charges dropped and Assange freed & compensated.

    5. Hi Chris,

      I would have replied to your reply below, but it won’t let me so I’m replying here instead.

      On the micro-level, I completely agree with you, but at the macro-level, I see all this ‘bad’ stuff as part of our collective education, which can’t be sided-stepped despite what you, I and others might want. We will only see our collective humanity when we are ready to do so and not before. If that means we need to experience greater pain for many years or centuries to come, so be it.

      The difficulty all the previous idealistic leaders had, as well as all the current ‘leaders’ (private or public) was/is that they were/are motivated by ego. Ego, as you know only cares about one thing, survival. And when acting in survival mode, we are capable of committing and justifying absolutely anything.

      Right now, the right-wing and the vast majority on the left are utterly committed to eradicating the ‘evil’ other out of fear. Until we learn to drop these counterproductive thoughts and beliefs, until we learn life is not a high school football game, we will perpetuate this cycle pain. It’s really that simple.

      People complain that their elected leaders don’t represent them. I say that’s total bunk. The leaders we put in power are a direct reflection of our values. We many not like to acknowledge that, but if we don’t value it, why vote for it?

      The only way out of this is to stop participating in the thinking which is driving it. People can not be forced to change any more then you can force them to get vaccinated. Sure, we can make people’s lives really difficult, but this will not engender true change because the motivator is external. True personal change can only arise when people buy-into an idea and internalize it. You don’t get internalized change through force, you only get resistance.

      1. Hi Tip,

        What you are asking for is a change in basic human nature. As far as I can see basic human nature hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. All that has changed is our technological capacity to make it easier to kill each other. And what proof do I have to make such a statement – The History Of The Twentieth Century, which ranks as the most violent century in human history. So, not a lot of progress. How far back do I have to go to further prove my point to the naysayers? Rome? The Peloponnesian wars? How about the Vikings, the Crusades or the Mongol hordes? It NEVER ends and the culprits are plain to see. So, I don’t know if centuries more or greater pain will actually make any difference. Nice thought if it actually does.

        I can fully appreciate how depressing all of this must be for many people. Hedges has reached such a point of despair that he is now endorsing oligarchy over an autocracy. Classic pick your poison and I can’t fault his logic. But the fight must go on as it always does, even if the odds are 10 to 1 against.

        For those who want to find some understanding and comfort in this whole mess, perhaps view it as all having some purpose. Maybe it’s as simple as a cosmic kindergarten because we sure as hell haven’t progressed passed that stage of development, yet. 🙂

  13. Considering that Wikileaks has performed such valuable service as reporting the ‘Manning video’ of a U.S. war crime, trying Assange may end up as ‘having a tiger-by-the-tail’. It would be Biden’s electoral undoing, and in fact might be the catalyst for the final unraveling of the U.S. Empire. Fascism, feudalism, total war and environmental collapse may be inevitable–but why initiate in such a demented and blatantly wrong-headed action?

    1. > trying Assange may end up as
      > ‘having a tiger-by-the-tail’.
      > It would be Biden’s electoral undoing

      I respectfully disagree. Biden’s undoing will be the simple fact that the Republicans have a clear message that appeals to the rubes: “Things are getting increasingly dangerous. That’s all THEIR fault. Vote for us and we will get rid of THEM, so we can return to the mythical past, where all was well.”

      This is the universal right-wing populist message and it NEVER fails.

      If the Democrats were a little better at pretending to give a shit (they really don’t), they might stand a change of winning the next midterms and presidential elections. But they won’t. America is doomed. I’m still not sure how to feel about that.

      1. I think you are looking at Democrats and republicans from a 1980s trope. Hedges (or rather Glen Ford) makes as excellent point:
        “Blinken’s “assurances” that the Biden administration will defend a free press, at the very moment the administration was demanding Assange’s extradition, is a glaring example of the rank hypocrisy and mendacity that makes the Democrats, as Glen Ford used to say, “not the lesser evil, but the more effective evil.”
        In short, the Power has shifted across the UniParty after Bush (now rehabilitated by the Democrats) to Obama in 2009, where it has remained (Trump was a bump, an ineffective, loud Outsider fool). Biden has things EXACTLY where the Democrats and Oligarchs desire.

    2. “It …might be the catalyst for the final unraveling of the U.S. Empire. Fascism, feudalism, total war and environmental collapse may be inevitable.”

      Don’t be deceived by the American penchant for euphemisms. “Fascism, feudalism, total war and environmental” rapacity are the structural dynamics -there at the beginning- that created The Empire.

  14. I think there should be a campaign to make Assange/Manning the write-in candidacy of 2024.

    considering it looks like a rerun of 2020, at this point, there are going to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, looking for a protest vote. They want to make him an example, not a martyr.
    Think of the slogans; They looked the Beast in the eye and didn’t blink.
    They can drink the hemlock, get nailed to the cross, burned at the stake, tortured, shot, thrown in jail for life, but history doesn’t forget those who stood up for what is right.
    Pictures of Assange, Trump and Biden; Who would you trust with your children’s future?
    Picture of Assange and Pompeo; who is the Jedi and who is the storm trooper?
    Laugh or cry. Don’t let them get to you.

    1. Star Wars analogies always make for a cogent argument… It’s a bunch of movies about space wizards, for crying out loud!

    2. @John Merryman
      What you described is chaos, not anarchy. “Anarchy” is taking greater personal responsibility in order to gain greater personal freedom, with the ultimate goal of eliminating government. Gangs and thugs are not anarchy, far from it.

  15. Thank you Mr. Hedges for reporting the real news! I really like the illustrations you include, along with the YouTube videos. Keep up the good fight. We are with you good Sir.

    Derek

  16. Please, please, get yourself onto NPR and PBS to tell this story. When I talk with people about it, no one has heard of Julian Assange. The public has a right to know what is going on with their government and the Empire. Mainstream media is killing him by their silence. When huge organizations like Amnesty International can’t even be heard, we are doomed.

    1. > When I talk with people about it,
      > no one has heard of Julian Assange.

      Exactly.

      > The public has a right to know what is going on

      The public doesn’t care, Dianne. Haven’t you heard the PlayStation 5 is out? And my sister’s neighbour’s hairdresser put some great videos of his poodle on TikTok!

    2. Please ! NPR and PBS have no interest in Julian Assange being sacrificed for exposing the US government actions – neither do most of the people watching or listening to these programs. For that reason “we are doomed.”

  17. I am another like Julian Assange. I have uncovered evidence of American involvement in corruption here in Mexico where I have been trapped for 7 years now after fleeing persecution in the United States. In September, I took possession of land iriginally stolen by Malcolm Neil Shroyer Schoen, a jewish American, in his capacity as director of API, the official, private port authority of Mexico.

    I was attacked and eventually illegally detained on my legal property by privately hired state police at the behest of the
    US State Department.

    Most of this is on my shadowbanned Youtube channel, diaryofawolf.

    I am hoping to find a journalist to stay with me and document what is going on. I am trying to figure out what to do.

    If you can, please come to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

      1. Wait till the cartels come to the US. People say we are going fascist, but the reality is anarchy. Warlords, oligarchs, gangs and militia are going to be fighting over a rapidly shrinking pie.

  18. sociologically the American character has worsened since Tocqueville wrote, “I know of no nation where there is no independence of mind nor any real freedom of debate except america”. After Geoffrey Gorer examined the media and curriculum in Soviet schools he described the censorship in US media and schools as “ludicrous”—he found the liberal media to be the worst. 2 years ago Georgi Derlugian wrote, “American academia is far more effectively censored than was Soviet academia”

  19. Hedges coverage of state crimes against Assange is inversely proportional to both his lack of attention and active collaboration with the biosecurity state’s crimes against humanity across the world.

    In this respect, there have been reports Assange has suffered a stroke. Perhaps as with so many others already, execution has been delivered Assange by neither judicial or intelligence (CIA) branches of the state but by its ‘public health’ fronts in the form of a ‘vaccine.’

    1. Easy money bet: the moment Hedges cautiously offers a friendly suggestion or two on the ‘best’ way to fight back , at least 80% of the people begging for / demanding a sure-fire set of advance operating instructions will immediately LASH out @ him for presuming they are unable to figure it out all by themselves !

      Good news is … it’s a reliably soothing , never-ending stream of busywork, ( mental featherbedding ? ) this rote task of constantly avoiding involvement in all the ‘useless battles’ .

      Nonetheless, when a neighbor asks if there might be a spare couch available to toss on an improvised barricade , a Hedges skeptic somewhere COULD rise for the occasion ?!

      – J.Joslin ( IBEW Local # 58 – Detroit , near Canadian border )

      1. These attacks on Hedges are either right wing trolls or ridiculous idiocy. Chris Hedges is one of the sages of our society in our time. Deeply spiritual with the courage of his convictions, if only all journalists and commentators were like this. Or even some of them.

  20. This reminds me of Tom Waits’ song “God’s Away on Business”. Look who He’s left in charge: killers, thieves and lawyers.

    Truer words were never spoken.

  21. We’ve had a parallel government apparatus since at least Eisenhower, and it has been more powerful than the presidency since at least JFK. They did to Trump what they did to Carter, sabotaging the democratic institutions and proving that the permanent security state rules with impunity.

    Asking for accountability now is tantamount to a change in government precisely because people are laboring under the delusion that the levers of power they were taught run the government aren’t connected to anything. It’s like a child’s steering wheel in a car.

  22. For the most part, those living in the comforts of first world conditions have been so far reeled-in to powers technological virtual reality systems that they no longer are able to distinguish, between what is, and what is only a manufactured representation of what is, on a remote device/screen.
    During the past 85 years, how has constantly and diligently pointing out that there has been a “massive mass media cover-up” actually changed the trajectory of U.S. crimes?
    The difference between Julian Assange and those purporting to be journalists is that his work was having an impact on those covering up the crimes; it was playing on the down and dirty level of truth where the U.S. operates clandestinely, whereas the others are not only content with talking until they are blue in the face about pie in the sky; that is in fact their purpose, to obfuscate, while spewing out the elites concocted narrations.
    What comes first for them is the burnishing of their personal identity facades, and seeing to it that their incomes keep skyrocketing.
    And all the while a murder is being committed, in broad daylight, while we are forced to watch their reportage when, and if it comes to light, until we are all blue in the face, to the point of stupefaction.

  23. Whenever we expose the truth in the face of their lies, we are Julian Assange. Whenever we show people what democracy could look like, we are Julian Assange.
    What has happened to him could happen to any of us. He was more public about it than most of us are able, so he got the death sentence. Archbishop Romero told the truth, and he got the death sentence. Innumerable priests and nuns and lay people in the church in South and Central America who worked with the poor get the death sentence. Julian is not alone in his martyrdom.

    He lit a torch for real freedom and democracy, not the freedom to exploit and kill. We must keep this torch lit, as long as we are able to do so.

    1. This is the most profound statement I have read…. thank-you. I would like to see hundreds of people call the White House comment line daily and jam up those lines with “Free Assange” messages. He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and the warmongers should be in prison.

  24. Most Americans and Britons and Australians could care less about Assange. They’re too busy watching tv, drinking beer, and smoking weed.

  25. The extinguishing of democracy comes when we have not overcome the propaganda machine of the fascist elite, that is, when we have not reached the ordinary working class people who should be our allies. That is what happened in Germany and it can happen here.

  26. as awful as he is, probably unfair to single out scott morrison as the only culpable australian prime minister; people who should have known better, like julia gillard, were truly reprehensible too

  27. Surely Assange the Scapegoat shouldn’t even be the alt-media issue here. They just don’t make violins small enough, I hear him saying. Far more attention and “effective wrath” should be focused on the agents of secrets that Wikileaks exposed, and the huge mountain of evil secrecy still kept hidden. Who can trust a government anymore? The same psychopaths have their fingers hovering over nuclear launch buttons that would kill us all. It’s a minute to midnite in the Garden, and we are busy writing…

    Julian would be the first to agree there ‘s some serious work to do yet to save us all, before the Boot comes down one last time.

  28. Chris Hedges:
    The Execution of Julian Assange
    “He committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, ……innumerable war crimes. And empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. – Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners”.
    So where is the real list of US’s war’s beneficiaries? We don’t see it in your enumeration here, Chris. Aren’t some of their family names, at least easier, to find in ‘Jeffrey-Epsteins-Little-Black-Book-unredacted’?

    1. @Except
      The beneficiaries are all of us, just not in the same proportions. Of course the rich benefit the most. But the average American can afford things that most people in the world don’t have because of the domination of the world by the U.S. empire. If you are a typical U.S. hyperconsumer, you are also a substantial beneficiary of these wars. If you don’t want to be, change your lifestyle by consuming a lot less. A good start would be to organize your life so that you don’t have to drive regularly, then give up your car.

  29. Europe (because I don’t think anyone else could) needs to use Magnitsky laws to sanction everyone involved in Assange’s persecution.

    1. @Geoff
      What makes you think that Europe would do any better than the U.S.? The U.K. is as much a part of this as the U.S., and other European nations either support or at least don’t oppose what the U.S. is doing to Assange. Don’t be fooled by the delusion that the grass is greener on the other side (assuming that you’re an American).

      We need to oppose all of these deep state war mongers, and they’re in many other countries in addition to the U.S.

  30. On 11December on a public forum I posted :
    Julian Assange (*) is the modern day “christ crucified”, the “Voice crying in the wilderness” speaking the truth against the current world empire for humanity’s democratic rights, while the US president only script-reads it in paying patent “lip service” (symbolic of the old practice of washing of the hands, like Pontius Pilate did): Quote:
    We say: “We hold these truths to be self-evident” that all women and men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Chris Hedges, it was a soul hug to find your later comprehensive writing of 13 December using a similar biblical definition.
    What it means to me is that it supports my perception of Julian Assange’s significance to the ruling Empire ending being exactly in his crucifixion by it.

    1. Jen J
      I had that exact same thought, and I’m not even religious. But the crucifixion image keeps crossing my mind. I’ve emailed and called the White House; discovered the comment line is only available 3 days a week for 3 hours, which means before noon on the west coast; then you call and it’s busy. (sigh).

  31. Very sad that UKHC decided for Assange’s extradition. But Assange’s defense team is also to blame as it focused only on his mental/physical condition being ill and incapacitated and unfit for extradition (the lower court’s ground for discharging him) and not on any substantive grounds. Perhaps they thought they could not succeed on those grounds? Hope in the appeal to Supreme Court they would raise substantive grounds too and seek leave of the Court to raise these additional grounds at the appellate stage before it.

  32. Shout out to the seven Dems of 13 nay votes on the NDAA.

    But why only Seven? Where are the 43?

    NAYs —13
    Braun (R-IN)
    Cardin (D-MD)
    Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Lee (R-UT)
    Markey (D-MA)
    Merkley (D-OR)
    Padilla (D-CA)
    Paul (R-KY)
    Portman (R-OH)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Toomey (R-PA)
    Warren (D-MA)
    Wyden (D-OR)

    1. Yes. It separated the wheat from the bullshit. In my state Republican Rob Portman voted against the NDAA while the “progressive” Democrat, Sherrod Brown, gave a Yea. It’s not clear that Portman is pure of heart -he’s retiring; but the inference of greasy K St. merchants-of-death-money is inescapable in the case of Sen. Brown, now confirmed as just another lying sack-a-shit politician.

  33. There is much made of Obama’s decision NOT to prosecute Julian, given that, why did Julian remain in the Ecuadorian embassy? Why didn’t the whole thing go away back with Obama was president?

  34. Some people would like to be ignorant and content but they can’t because they know the reality of people in their family being tortured to the point of psychosis. So even though they want it to be a bad dream, they can’t avoid it and want to do something to hit back. Even a little thing.

  35. Even if Assange was released tomorrow, he would be too traumatised, too fearful, or a combination of both, to speak out.
    They have him by his throat and by his balls.
    He has a family to care for.
    He is done for, either way.

  36. The US government “assures” that Assange will be “safe”. They don’t want to try him. They want him to wither and die, or they want him to succeed in killing himself. Then the Biden administration can claim that freedom of the press is intact, since Assange was never tried for publishing the leaks. It is a copout, another lie, like the many “assurances” Chris listed in the article. And the MSM will run with it because they want their access, and they will continue to be the stenographers of the government.
    That’s the second part of the First Amendment that is gone. The first one was freedom of assembly. It is dead. Peaceful protests for democracy get you arrested anywhere. Drive a car over, maybe kill, protesters is lawful in some states. Next we will not be able to write or call our elected officials when we disagree with them either.
    This is all by design.

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