OPINION: Yesterday a member of the Socialist organization Class Conscious published an article entitled, A Further Warning to Marxists In Regards to Trump’s Coup Attempt, in which activist Davey Heller addressed the dangers of Trump, fascism, and counter-arguments made by hostile critics who stubbornly cling to politically rose-colored glasses. In light of Heller’s repeated warnings to the masses, I wanted to ask “What in God’s holy name is this shite from Courage Foundation’s U.S.-based project the “Assange Defense Committee?”:
“Even though we are all still recovering from the election (and there are still some pending legal challenges to consider), we thought we’d take a few minutes to unpack an idea that many people have floated on social media and opinion columns…the possibility of a pardon for Assange.”
On November 18, 2020, the Assange Defense Committee which is co-chaired by Noam Chomsky, Alice Walter, and Daniel Ellsberg published a jaw-dropping blog post called Election Hot Take: 5 Reasons Pardoning Assange Could Drastically Enhance Trump’s Legacy,” as if white washing Trump’s racist, misogynistic, and fascist-in-nature administration should actually be a priority. This is the same man who protected Saudi Arabia after they literally chopped up a journalist in a foreign embassy, made a $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia which Syria will undoubtedly pay for for years to come, refuses to concede to the U.S. 2020 election, and has divided this country possibly more so than anything in the entirety of U.S. history.
If none of that is enough for you to agree that no one should be in the business of re-writing Trump’s history how about the fact that he was behind the arrest and imprisonment of Julian Assange? Does that even bother anyone anymore?
1. It Would Transform Trump Into the Defender of American Values
The first reason as to why Assange Defense believes Trump should pardon Assange is that it would “transform” him into the “defender of American values” and no, you’re not still drunk from the Thanksgiving festivities. See my previous points. They absolutely published this statement which is wrong on so many levels I wouldn’t know where to start and I’m not sure if that’s the worst of it. With the Ministry of Truth hard at work, the article goes on to say in so many words that Trump is a victim of external circumstances that have marred his image and that the “cultural and political divisiveness at the moment” is beyond his control. It ends with the committee’s suggestion that Trump could “drastically” reshape his legacy by pardoning Assange:
“It would become impossible to spin a narrative about Trump and our political climate without noting his magnanimous gesture.”
The only thing that has become impossible to spin is the fact that fascist and/or far-right elements never left the Assange and WikiLeaks community but rather simply went underground after public backlash only to rear it’s ugly head in blog posts such as this. It’s abundantly clear that at least some of the people behind Courage Foundation and the Assange Defense Committee would really really really like to bury the fact that Trump will go down as a horrifying blemish on American history regardless of the gaslighting and propaganda.
#2. and #3. It Preempts Joe Biden; It Makes Things More Difficult For the Biden Administration
Again, is this the political goal here, to make sure that Trump gets credit for an Assange pardon? Apparently it is since the article reads “a Trump pardon takes the decision out of Biden’s hands and gets Trump all the credit.” Unfortunately, every single American who’s not a bootlicking, brown shirt-wearing Nazi would never agree with this sentiment. Stunningly worse despite the fact it’s stunning that this post can get any worse, they wrote, “[The Democratic Party] won’t have Trump to kick around any more…Taking Assange (and others) out of play gives Biden one less move he can make to appease key parts of his base.” Won’t have Trump to kick around any more…maybe I’m the one still drunk from Thanksgiving because I can’t believe Assange supporters are expected to believe this level of propaganda as if Trump is the real victim here.
This is a good time to remind readers what Heller wrote yesterday:
“Whilst it is true that Trump does not command an organized brown shirt movement, he has been able to create his own fanatical and mass of crazed petty bourgeois and armed lumpen fanatics. Trump ‘campaign rallies’ didn’t stop once he was elected. MAGA rallies may have more of the aesthetic of a pro-wresting spectacle than the Aryan grandiosity of Nuremberg, but they have been essential to whipping up a fascist base.”
“Combined with his Twitter megaphone, Trump has crystallized a mass movement out of the existing reactionary shards of decaying US capitalism. Outside the state structures this includes Christian evangelicals, white supremacists, libertarian and far right militias, the gun lobby and the hardcore anti-communist Cuban “gusanos.” Inside the state, Trump has cultivated personal support within the police, Special Forces, ICE, Homeland Security and other armed Federal bodies such as BORTAC.”
It’s as if the Courage Foundation forgot all about Trump’s message to the far-right that they should “stand by,” or the videos of George Floyd protestors being run over in cold blood after which Assange support darling Cassandra Fairbanks celebrated the images as “porn.” Apparently hundreds of journalists attacked by squadrons of military-trained goons that Trump unleashed on the streets of America or the unmarked vans kidnapping protestors in Portland are no longer terribly important to the conversation. Nor it appears is the fact that Kyle Rittenhouse was able to raise $2 million in bail money because of the dangerous, far-right movement the Führer in office gleefully whipped up over the course of the last four years.
Despite all of this, the Assange Defense Committee even wrote an “I’m pardoning Assange” speech for President Trump tagging it as #Gamechanger.
The committee’s third reason why Trump should pardon Assange ties in with #2 and states, “It makes things more difficult for the Biden administration” and it would cause “headaches” for him because Assange, Manning, and Snowden were “all charged with crimes committed during the Obama-Biden administration.” If this isn’t a dog whistle to Trump’s violent, far-right base to continue exactly what Heller warned us about yesterday I don’t know what is:
“Even should Biden takes office, Trump’s launching of these efforts now has seeded the ground for a classic ‘stab in the back’ trope for the millions in his MAGA movement who sincerely believe that Trump won in a landslide. This will only fuel further violence and instability, and lay the groundwork for a future attempt by the fascists to seize power in 2024.”
No one is arguing that Assange shouldn’t be pardoned but make no mistake, Courage Foundation and the Assange Defense Committee’s message to make “things more difficult for the Biden administration” along with their earlier statement that the 2020 U.S. election is basically still up for grabs is inadvertently (or perhaps purposely) propagating America’s far-right violence and volatility against anti-fascists and a Biden win. And pushing the idea that Trump should receive credit for a pardon over Biden is, in and of itself, laying the groundwork for Trump’s re-election in 2024. And remember:
“Trump still has control of all the armed bodies of men under his command. He has elevated loyalists to the top of the Pentagon including making Christropher Miller, the former Special Forces commander his new Secretary of Defence….Trump also still controls the Senate via the Republican Party he dominates. Trump can sill [sic] can call on his lunatic MAGA base. Although not backed by the dominant capitalist faction, he is backed by a section of finance capital. So whilst not underplaying the forces arrayed against him, it is wishful thinking to cast Trump as an ‘isolated loner.'”
Aside from the fact that pro-Assange organizations are STILL inexplicably dog whistling to Trump’s base, Assange’s attorneys spent weeks during his extradition hearing arguing that yes, he is being charged for alleged crimes (note that the Assange Defense Committee doesn’t even use the word “alleged”) committed during the Obama administration but it’s the Trump administration that went so far as to charge him and request his extradition from the U.K., not the other way around.
They noted that Obama had enough sense not to prosecute a journalist and publisher because of the implications and dangers it presented against a free press, a guaranteed and protected right under the U.S. Constitution. Trump is literally carrying water for the Obama-Biden-Hillary administration because they themselves were too afraid to open journalism up to prosecution and journalists around the globe to U.S. extradition.
#4. It Strikes at the Deep State
It doesn’t matter if the “Deep State” or “national security establishment” or “military-industrial complex” is real or not in the context of Trump pardoning Assange. This is yet another dog whistle not only to Trump’s base but to Qanon fanatics who believe that the Deep State has been trying to destroy Trump since his election. Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been pushing this narrative since January 2017, appearing on Tucker Carlson at least twice to make this point. Again, thinking things can’t get any worse in this blog post, the Assange Defense Committee held their own beer:
“They hate people like Assange, who operate outside established institutions. And Trump (usually) hates them back. What do they say about ‘the enemy of my enemy?”
Um…first, the whole “enemy of my enemy” bit is a blatant and open call to crawl into bed with fascists and everyone should call this shite out for what it really is. The Assange movement isn’t even trying to mask their unsavory desires anymore. Second, at no point has Trump been “outside established institutions.” Heller’s article, No More Appeals to the Fascist Trump! The Assange Campaign Must Turn to the Working Class!,” which was published in partial response to Greenwald’s appearance on Tucker Carlson earlier this year aptly speaks to the committee’s post:
“Here we see yet another so called ‘progressive’ element of the Assange campaign regurgitating the ludicrous idea that it’s not Trump but ‘Deep State’ actors opposed to him, who are responsible for the prosecution of Assange! For starters this completely contradicts the main tenet of Assange’s legal defence, that the prosecution of Assange is being directed by the highly politicized U.S. Department of Justice, which under Trump, essentially takes it’s orders from the President.”
“The ‘Trump versus the Deep State’ narrative also somehow posits a billionaire developer from New York, whose cabinet is full of billionaires and the former head of the CIA is somehow an ‘outsider’ fighting and taking on the “establishment’! This is the narrative that underpins the MAGA movement and the Q Anon conspiracy theory.”
Let’s be honest, does a guy who sold $350 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia sound like someone who’s up against the military-industrial complex? Does a guy who appointed Bloody Gina head of the CIA and then used his secretary of state who was the former chief of the CIA to install an illegal spying operation in the Ecuadorian embassy to record every single moment and meeting of a journalist’s life sound like someone who’s up against the national security establishment? Ordering Assange’s arrest and extradition alone proves that Trump is working hand in glove not only with the Deep State, he’s doing the bidding of the entire establishment that would like see Assange destroyed because he pulled back the curtain on the dirty dealings of exactly who Assange Defense says Trump is fighting: The CIA, the military-industrial complex, politicians, governments, and corporations.
None of This is Terribly Surprising
Again, fascist elements that took up residence inside the Assange support community as early as 2016—if not earlier—never left home but simply went underground. The Assange Defense Committee tweeted out their blog post on November 18, 2020 and 152 supporters liked and/or retweeted it including journalists/activists Nozomi Hayase and Juan Passarelli, one of the co-hosts of Action4Assange (which is the latest incarnation of Unity4J whose lead journalist is the PR face for Unity4J co-founder Suzie Dawson’s personal fundraisers—plural), and Unity4J’s right-hand insider Kitty Hundal.
Perhaps these individuals didn’t actually read the article before retweeting it assuming that the big-name backers of the committee gives the organization enough legitimacy that allows for blind trust. I’m curious if those involved with this project even know what’s being published in their name such as Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, Jeremy Corbyn, and attorney Tor Ekeland?
The fact that this entire article is just a groveling dog whistle to Trump and his base is hardly surprising. Over two years ago, Heller published an article entitled The Dead End of ‘Uniting’ With Fascists to Defend Julian Assange,” that was met with a firestorm of brazen attacks from Unity4J members and co-founders who repeatedly smeared him as a federal agent. No one batted an eye.
Stunningly, Unity4J was the pro-Assange campaign promoted at the time by Courage Foundation, WikiLeaks and a “member of Assange’s legal team” who took over Assange’s Twitter account despite the campaign’s deeply disturbing public behavior. And when Cassandra Fairbanks, an activist who has bent over backwards to promote fascist activity and Trump’s administration—including the day after Assange was arrested only to be inexplicably crowned as a lauded witness in the Assange extradition hearing for her testimony that Trump ordered Assange’s arrest—became one of the hosts for Unity4J’s vigils and a recurring face for Assange support, no one questioned it.
Additionally, when WikiLeaks insiders were feeding Fairbanks and Dawson inside information about Assange’s court dates and other information, no one seemed bothered by it. When Jack Posobiec, a former Navy intelligence officer with close ties to the Trump administration started appearing on Unity4J vigils pushing Qanon-lite conspiracy theories, it was no big deal. And when Unity4J co-founder Suzie Dawson was caught lying about her circumstances and why she “fled” New Zealand in order to grift for money i.e. fraud, literally no one cared—
Except for a handful of individuals like Class Conscious, Davey Heller, and myself who have sustained years of attacks from Assange supporters. This also includes @MasonBee, a New Zealand Internet Party insider who blew the whistle on Dawson’s financial shenanigans within her own political party and how she ran it into the ground.
And sure, there have been a few others who appeared to be concerned about fascism and Unity4J but over the course of time most of those anti-fascist sentiments have been proven lack-luster at best exemplified by the fact that some of these individuals have since publicly supported Fairbanks, her associates, or other far-right figures and/or have gone on to promote Unity4J’s spinoff, Action4Assange. Additionally, most of these individuals never actually called out the campaign in its entirety, the dangers of its fascist ties to Trump and the U.S. intelligence community, or how it presented Assange to the general public. Rather, these individuals or accounts appear to have a personal vendetta against Dawson and one or two of her alleged associates and they piggy-backed off of the hard work of activists who repeatedly had the courage to put themselves on the line.
To be clear, there is a facade of anti-fascism coursing through the WikiLeaks community. Take for example all of the competing factions vying for WikiLeaks’ attention or control of the movement (yes, there are factions wake up and smell the infiltrated coffee). Regardless if they appear fascist or not in nature, they have all acted in an oppressive and/or fascist manner one way or another: Suppression or censoring speech, controlling the narrative through harassment, defamation, or public humiliation, identifying enemies “as a unifying cause” which in this case includes Assange supporters who won’t toe the line, misogyny and alleged sexist abuse, threatening journalists, and promoting or defending the 2020 version of Hitler’s Brown Shirts.
Trump vs. Biden
None of this of course is an endorsement of Joe Biden who is just as much a part of the establishment as Trump. In fact, he’s a product of the Clinton Dynasty and that alone should tell you he’s someone never to be trusted. Heller made this point in yesterday’s article (with emphasis):
“As Trotsky explained whilst fascism and social democracy are both tools of the bourgeoisie that does not mean that they are the same in relation to the working class. Fascism is dedicated to wiping out the organising capacity of the working class, whilst social democracy is a tool to control the working class through reforms or the false promise of reforms under capitalism. Ultimately, both must be defeated if socialist revolution is to occur. However, as Trotsky stated:
‘When one of my enemies sets before me small daily portions of poison and the second, on the other hand, is about to shoot straight at me, then I will first knock the revolver out of the hand of my second enemy, for this gives me an opportunity to get rid of my first enemy. But that does not at all mean that the poison is a “lesser evil” in comparison to the revolver.’”
There’s no question that the two-party political system in America must be destroyed in order to make way for a socialist revolution but until Americans have had absolutely enough, until they are finally pushed to the breaking point of overthrowing and rebuilding the system that protects obscene economic inequality, racism, brutality, oppression, and the absence of free public health care and education, it is extremely dangerous to pander to a president with fascist tendencies and military backing over Biden when it comes to an Assange pardon. In fact, you should probably be overthrowing U.S. politicians not pandering to them with rose-colored glasses.
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