It is perfectly clear to anyone who looks squarely at this case that Assange faces up to 175 years in prison for revealing American and allied war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq in the post–2001 period. As Chris Hedges wrote last week, “If Assange is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting, allowing the government to use the Espionage Act to charge any reporter who possesses classified documents, and any whistleblower who leaks classified information.”
And what are most Americans thinking and saying about Julian Assange’s fate? What is the press, whose principles and professional practice are at stake, saying and doing? Most Americans know little to nothing of the Assange case. Apart from independent media, the press cannot write of it due to its diseased relationship to power.
This inflicts damage of a kind not adequately considered. It is the harm done by ignorance and silence — a self-inflicted harm. A society that cannot address a crisis in its press such as America has faced for some years now is doomed to proceed without a free press. It is paralyzed to act in its own interest.
Of Powell’s famous lie at the U.N. as to the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — the most consequential lie so far told in this century — the corporate press said as little as it could get away with, and what it said was whitewash. Of his torching of Vietnamese villages, his post–My Lai cover-ups, his roles in the Iran–Contra scandal and the flagrantly illegal invasion of Panama in 1989, and other such pockmarks on Powell’s record — of these nothing.
I see a nation that is detached from reality (which is a basic definition of psychosis) such that its people are confined to a series of simulationsPATRICK LAWRENCE: The Manufacture of Decline – Consortiumnews