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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

Julian in a glass box

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Reflecting on the image of Julian Assange, isolated in a glass box – separated from his lawyers in a British courtroom – I am reminded of Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem in 1960. He also appeared in court in a glass box.

There is a disturbing reversal that speaks volumes. In Jerusalem, the glass box was to protect Eichmann, organiser of the Holocaust, and murderer of millions. In London, the glass box is to intimidate an innocent man who has embarrassed the US government.

The writer, Hannah Arendt, a Jewish woman who had escaped persecution in Germany before the war, saw that post-war reflection on the Nazi phenomenon was missing key understandings about the psychology and sociology of fascism. In her book called Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, she described Eichmann’s lack of guilt – his complete internalisation of the racism, responsibility-denying narrative, and exceptionalism of Hitler’s SS.

Are we not seeing similar phenomena in today’s world? The narrative of US and Israeli exceptionalism is constructed out of lies that have been repeated so often by the world’s media that they are accepted as truths.

Those who study the vast amount of evidence that was ignored by the 9/11 Commission become keenly aware that the attacks were allowed to happen, precisely in order to bolster the exceptionalism narrative in which the US could legitimately lead regime-change wars.

Because of the lies of exceptionalism, show trials like this one, appear acceptable, justifiable and necessary – a world of needless destruction; of murder (watch the Collateral Murder video); and where whistle-blowers like Manning, and journalists like Assange get jailed for life.

Arendt would say that these monstrous evils are the sum of countless small acts of deception and self-deception by innumerable intelligence officers, politicians, civil servants, military personnel, academics, journalists, editors, and NGO personnel – and judges – like Vanessa Baraitser, who is presiding over Julian’s fate. All are caught in dysfunctional social systems; in webs of ideology and propaganda; in naive narratives that lack ethics and complexity; and in a denial of their own humanity.


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