Saturday, December 4, 2010

Julian Assange: Wanted by the Empire, Dead or Alive


"....The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has announced that the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting "an active, ongoing criminal investigation" into the latest Assange-facilitated leak under Washington's Espionage Act. Asked how the US could prosecute Assange, a non-US citizen, Holder said, "Let me be clear. This is not saber-rattling," and vowed "to swiftly close the gaps in current US legislation…"

In other words the espionage statute is being rewritten to target Assange, and in short order, if not already, President Obama – who as a candidate pledged "transparency" in government - will sign an order okaying the seizing of Assange and his transport into the US jurisdiction. Render first, fight the habeas corpus lawsuits later.....

Years ago Rebecca West wrote in her novel The Thinking Reed of a British diplomat who, "even when he was peering down a woman's dress at her breasts managed to look as though he was thinking about India." In the updated version, given Hillary Clinton's orders to the State Department, the US envoy, pretending to admire the figure of the charming French cultural attaché, would actually be thinking how to steal her credit card information, obtain a retinal scan, her email passwords and frequent flier number.....

These latest WikiLeaks files contains some 261,000,000 words - about 3,000 books. They display the entrails of the American Empire. As Israel Shamir wrote here last week, "The files show US political infiltration of nearly every country, even supposedly neutral states such as Sweden and Switzerland. US embassies keep a close watch on their hosts. They have penetrated the media, the arms business, oil, intelligence, and they lobby to put US companies at the head of the line."

Will this vivid record of imperial outreach in the early 21st century soon be forgotten? Not if some competent writer offers a readable and politically vivacious redaction.....

And Assange? Hopefully he will have a long reprieve from premature burial. Ecuador offered him sanctuary until the US Embassy in Quito gave the president a swift command and the invitation was rescinded. Switzerland? Istanbul? Hmmm. As noted above, he should, at the least, view with caution women eagerly inviting his embraces and certainly stay away from overpasses, bridges, and open windows.

In 1953 the CIA distributed to its agents and operatives a killer's training manual (made public in 1997) full of hands-on advice:

"The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stair wells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve... The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the 'horrified witness', no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary.""

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