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When the truth becomes threatening

JULIAN ASSANGE / Aftenposten had learned from Julian Assange and sucked what they could from his WikiLeaks data universe, and millions of secrets, before quickly throwing him under the bus. Assange created the whistleblowers' perpetuum mobile, WikiLeaks, an unlimited infinity machine of truth where truth whistleblowers all over the world were given the opportunity to reach out – and lift the blankets that hide the lies of power, their war crimes, corruption, tax fraud, hidden bank accounts, fortunes and conspiracies. What now?


They are connected. Media coverage of Ukraine-tragedy, Israel's war against Gaza and the persecution of Julian Assange. We talk about the 'hunt for the truth', but often also about the work to prevent the truth, and prevent unpleasantness from reaching out. This is how there is a line from the more than 100 journalists who have been shot in Gaza in recent months, via the swastika-tattooed Nazi soldiers in Mariupol that the Western media never talk about, and to the whistleblower Julian Assange, who sits and awaits his sentence in a British high security prison for exposing war crimes, corruption and lies. Truth is the great sacrifice in all this.

"I was called America's most dangerous man," whistleblower icon Daniel Ellsberg told NRK's ​​Ole Torp in June 2015. With copies of thousands of secret documents about the truth in the Vietnam War, Ellsberg broke the wall of lies of Nixon, Kissinger and the Pentagon. But before he died in 2023, the brave whistleblower said Julian Assange was the bravest – and most dangerous – whistleblower of our time.

The fight against whistleblowers is about uncovering and covering up the truth. So what has Julian Assange meant to this struggle since he created it WikiLeaks almost 20 years ago? Assange's greatest crime was that he found a way, not only to whistleblower what he himself learned, but a way for tens of thousands of whistleblowers to show us what the powerful did not want us to see. Because it has become more difficult to hide secrets after the creation of WikiLeaks. Assange gave us the glass ball itself, and of course he had to be punished for that.

Poisonous lies

'Makta' hunting Assange, like the UN's torture reporter Nils Melzer points to – is far from being a Norwegian entertainment series based on forgetfulness and lies. So even if you don't care what an Australian publicist goes through year after year in a British prison, this secrecy is dangerous for us and you too because someone, at any time, can knock on a door 'near you', with lies that easily turns into poisonous, undocumented accusations also against us, against our whistleblowers and investigative journalists.

There are calls to 'stop fake news' and create ministries of truth, also called 'fact checkers'.

We don't see the most dangerous reefs for democracy in good weather and high tide. It is at low tide that the dangerous shoals emerge in Gaza, Kyiv and the British Belmars prison. These are the false accusations, the grotesque abuse of covert and open violence, the contempt for law and due process. These are the public crimes you don't see on a daily basis, but which threaten democracy as they ignore the judiciary and human rights. We only see this when the water level drops and it is too late.

The press doesn't like to be reminded of that. Because an Assange alive also threatens them. With him a new kind of openness is introduced, alertsnes world. Yes, it is primarily due to him. It is an openness that former editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter Arne Ruth has reminded us of many times, which does not use the mass media's editorial offices as intermediaries. Here, the whistleblowers' documents, truth and betrayal are brought directly to us, the readers and listeners. Until then, whistleblowers escape through the internet's coarse masks.

But it is tied up. There are calls to 'stop fake news' and create ministries of truth, also called 'fact checkers'. But the staff go through revolving doors with state intelligence circles and pose as knights of the truth. They are not. Because the truth cannot be determined by an authorized office. It must be smoked by every single journalist, every writer, every author. It is the authoritarians who need ministries of truth and authoritative stamps and badges of access in their controlled regimes. They are the scumbags who threaten our general, democratic way of life. For the mass media's editorial offices have power, with strategic and manipulative choices of what constitutes 'news', their angles, coloring and interpretations which can be good – but just as manipulative where truths are hidden. WikiLeaks gave us an openness and an access to sources that we didn't have before.

It is the authoritarians who need ministries of truth and authoritative stamps and badges of access in their controlled regimes.

We are not there yet in Norway, fortunately, but in Germany you cannot watch Russian TV, wear Stop the Genocide buttons or hold appeals for the liberation of Palestine. In Germany! So this is getting closer.

Encryption secures the alerts

Assange and WikiLeaks really showed us the importance of encryption instruments and secure methods of file transfer, as well as how these could be used to bring out controversial truths without revealing who the source was. Truth became possible! Even for a whistleblower who wanted to remain anonymous, it was possible to report.

Patric Andersen says in Springer Link on 31 October 2020 that "the philosophical paradigm that forms the basis of Julian Assange's values ​​is cyberpunk ethics. The Cyberpunk movement emerged from the 1990s when they emphasized that strong encryption was the best way to defend individual privacy and stand up to authoritarian regimes in the digital age.

Carlos Amorim (Brazil)-Assange

Then the big newspapers – yes, I reckon Aftenposten among them – having learned from Assange and soaked up what they could from his WikiLeaks data universe and millions of secrets, they quickly threw him under the bus. "He is not a proper journalist," said Aftenposten's editor Trine Eilertsen. Back in 2021, I wrote in MODERN TIMES: "Julian Assange cannot benefit from the protection that journalists have, Aftenposten's editor-in-chief Trine Eilertsen was able to tell in Dagsnytt 18 on 23 January this year: 'He is not a publicist or a journalist according to ordinary terms ', she says. 'I don't see Assange as a journalist. For that, he has methods that no journalist with an ethical backbone would use. He showed that when he dumped all the files without hiding either names or personal information or ensuring that people were in danger... and when he assumed a role in the American election campaign in 2016 that even an ordinary journalist would not do, to step in as an actor thus'. 'Journalists cannot become activists when they have to cover it as a news story', concludes Eilertsen."

The errors are many in these statements. But the worst was that Eilertsen believed that Assange was neither entitled to freedom of speech and the press nor to legal protection. In the process, she forgot that freedom of expression is not actually reserved for journalists, but applies to all of us. That is why it is called a human right, not a journalist's right.

Watch-dogs ble til lap-dogs

It was in 2011 that it exploded for Assange. They had put the Me-too movement on him. Was he a rapist?

The US likes to use one, or both, of two cards to crush opponents who cannot be bought: You are either an 'anti-Semite' or a 'woman abuser'. The mainstream media (MSM) jump on board. It works every time. The US demanded loyalty from the world press, including The Guardian and Aftenposten. Watch-dogs became lap-dogs. The Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan rusbridger was forced to destroy his own computer where Edward Snowden's revelations were stored, he told me one day after breakfast at the Thon Hotel at Holbergs plass in Oslo.

No official charges, and no proven crimes, just as Assange sits year after year in solitary confinement while he fears being extradited to the United States' prison horrors – and for the past five years he has been in a British high-security prison together with sex offenders, murderers and terrorist convicts. Indeed, freedom of expression was and is in danger.

The Me-too movement was blamed on Assange.

The UN's torture rapporteur, Nils Melzer, shows us in the book The Trial of Julian Assange >(2022) that the Swedes had promised the English prosecution something. Swedish authorities received an e-mail from the office of the British chief investigator, current leader of the British Labour, Keir Starmer, which read: "Now you must not get cold feet and resign!"

The Vault 7 reveal

Today, February 1, 2024, the US-supposed whistleblower behind the disastrously revealing Vault 7 leaks published by WikiLeaks in 2017 is Jewish Joshua Schulte, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. With the Vault 7 disclosure, the stage was seriously set for America's war against Assange and WikiLeaks. Not long after, the Swedish authorities therefore arrest Assange on trumped-up charges of rape – and we got the start of a 12-year persecution of this 'enemy'.

But there will be new wars and new revelations. An Assange in the open would always have posed a threat to powerful abusers and liars. Therefore, they also want to ensure that he can never again use the glass ball with all that the powerful thought we should never know.

With Assange, thousands of whistleblower voices can live or be silenced. Therefore he had to be crushed. We must ensure that they fail.

See also this essay's own subtopics about Ukraine og Gaza.

John Y. Jones
John Y. Jones
Cand. Philol, freelance journalist affiliated with MODERN TIMES

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