Guest editorial by Phillip Frazer
On Monday night, ABC’s 4 Corners did a Julian Assange update. Herewith my four takeaways:
(1) In almost an hour of reporting, reporter Michael Brissenden barely glossed the crucial stories Assange has published: American interference in the internal affairs of dozens of countries (including invading many of them), US phone-tapping of world leaders, how and why the Democratic Party subverted Bernie Sanders in 2016, multiple financial outrages of global corporations and high-rollers.
(2) Hillary Clinton’s adviser Neera Tanden claimed Assange’s basic goal was to ‘undermine democracy’, which she clearly considers synonymous with America and the Democratic Party. More Americans are losing faith in this crock of KoolAid every day, and most people outside the US never swallowed it. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Hrafnsson and Uruguay’s former London consul Narvaez, clearly shared Assange’s premise that the United States is the most powerful but often the most dangerous country on Earth. That doesn’t make him Vlad Putin’s running dog.
(3) Former US officials, while swatting Assange like a mossie, were clearly more alarmed by the Trump mob’s plan to jail him in solitary forever – if they can’t execute him.
These people are members of the Washington establishment, which Trump isn’t, but they also believe in some of the noble principles in the US Constitution, which Trump doesn’t. They may be Assange’s best chance.
(4) Mike Brissenden’s report gave the last word to former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who said ‘Julian’s not American, he’s Australian’.
So if we are saying that somebody who’s not a citizen of the country he is writing about is bound by their security laws and can be extradited to their country to spend time in their prisons, where does that leave us?’ To which New York Times reporter Scott Shane answered: ‘A New York Times reporter or editor [could be charged] with publishing information the government said should be secret’.
Nothing could be a more clear and present danger to the exceptionalism of American journalists than that.
Assange is part cyber-libertarian and part Byron hippy-socialist, who saw that Hillary’s deep-state USA needs to be deconstructed – but he should also have seen how destructive the Trump presidency would be.
He needs to sort out his bad behaviour with two women in Sweden, we need to stop treating his inappropriate emotional responses as a hanging offence, and Canberra needs to bring him home.