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A Marriage of Conscience: Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

Edward Curtin

“Anything to Say?” – Bronze art installation by Italian Davide Dormino which was placed in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz on May Day 2015. It features the whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning

“About suffering they were never wrong,” wrote W. H. Auden in the poem “Musée Des Beaux Arts.”

These lines occurred to me last week when all eyes were focused on the brutal British seizure of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

No one should have been surprised by this despicable spectacle carried out in the noonday light for all to see, for the British government has not served as America’s jailer for the past seven years for no reason. It doesn’t take x-ray eyes to see that the British and the Moreno government in Ecuador are twin poodles on the American leash. After a phony display of judicial fairness, the British, as required by their American bosses, will dispatch Assange to the United States so he can be further punished for the crime of doing journalism and exposing war crimes.

Assange has suffered mightily for American sins. The Anglo-American torturers know how to squeeze their victims to make old men out of the young. Abu Ghraib was no aberration. The overt is often covert; just a thin skin separates the sadists’ varied methods, but their message is obvious. No one who saw Assange dragged to prison could fail to see what the war-mongers, who hate freedom of the press when it exposes their criminal activities, can do to a man. Nor, however, could one fail to see the spirit of defiance that animates Assange, a man of courageous conscience cowards can’t begin to comprehend.

Bought and sold, compromised and corrupted to their depths, the American, British, and Ecuadorian governments and their media sycophants have no shame or allegiance to law or God, and have never learned that you can imprison, torture, and even kill a person of conscience, but that doing so is a risky business. For even the corpses of those who say “No” keep whispering “No” forevermore.
While the media spotlight was on central London, Auden’s lines kept running through my mind:

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters, how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just
Walking dully along

His words transported me from London to a lonely jail cell in Virginia where Chelsea Manning sat brooding. Chelsea hearing the news about Assange. Chelsea realizing that now the screws would be further tightened and her ordeal as a prisoner of conscience would be extended indefinitely. Chelsea summoning all her extraordinary courage to go on saying “No,” “No,” “No.”

Chelsea refusing the 30 pieces of silver that will be continually offered to her, as they have been for almost a decade, and that she has refused in her emphatic refusal to give the Judas kiss to Julian, to whom she is wed in this non-violent campaign to expose the truth about the war criminals.

Auden’s words reminded me not to turn away, to pay attention, to not walk dully along and ignore the lonely suffering of truth-tellers. How can anyone who claims to oppose the American wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc., turn away from defending Manning and Assange, two brave souls who have already spent nearly 15 years combined imprisoned for exposing the war crimes of the American and British governments, crimes committed in our name and therefore our crimes.

Who will have the bad faith to buy the torrent of lies that the propagandists will spew forth about Assange as they wage a media blitz to kill his reputation on the way to disposing of him?

The jackals in government and media, so-called liberals and conservatives, will be sadistically calling for blood as they count their blood money and wipe their lips. Only cowards will join this bleating crowd and refuse to go to that lonely, empty place – that cell of conscience – where the truth resides.

All should remember that Chelsea Manning spent more than seven years in prison under the Obama administration for revealing a video about George W. Bush’s war crimes in Iraq; that Assange had to escape the Obama administration’s clutches by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy; and that now that Trump is in office, the reimprisonment of Manning and arrest of Assange are perfectly in accord with the evil deeds of his predecessors. These men are titular heads of the warfare state. They follow orders.

Who can sail calmly on and pretend they don’t see the gift of truth and hear the forsaken cries of two lonely caged heroes falling into the sea? Who can fail to defend such voices of freedom?

Auden speaks:

Edward Curtin teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. He writes as a public intellectual for the general public, not as a specialist for a narrow readership. He believes a non-committal sociology is an impossibility and therefore sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom through understanding. His website is edwardcurtin.com

Filed under: Assange Arrest, empire watch, latest

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Edward Curtin teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. He writes as a public intellectual for the general public, not as a specialist for a narrow readership. He believes a non-committal sociology is an impossibility and therefore sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom through understanding. His website is edwardcurtin.com

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flaxgirl
Reader

I’m not sure what your point is, Robbobbobin. Do you believe that only 8 seconds is not sufficient to have an impression of someone’s mood? Do you interpret the word “bounce” in a literal sense as in lifting both feet from the ground? I believe that 8 seconds is sufficient to get a sense of someone’s mood and I did not mean bounce in a literal sense but simply a conveyance of their mood as in a feeling of a spring in their step. I also think that the showing of this mood was very deliberate and a sign from… Read more »

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“I am now going to do a 10-point Occam’s Razor exercise and when complete will invite you to come up with 10 points that favour “genuine leaker”. I will be very curious to see what your first one is if you bother to come up with one. Perhaps you have one already? If so, I’d be interested to know what it is.”

Pass.

flaxgirl
Reader

The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves. Lenin It’s only been 5 years since I woke up to 9/11 and yet I feel as though I’ve gone through all the possible disillusionment one could go through. Why do I feel as though I’m telling people who woke up so much earlier that there is no Santa Claus? I find it odd that those who woke up years earlier still believe in heroes whether they’re “genuine” so to speak or constructs of the power elite designed to dupe us. Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! Chelsea… Read more »

DriedFish
Reader
DriedFish

Anyone who is using Wikipedia as a main source of “documentation” can’t really be taken seriously. Way beyond downvoting

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“Below are three points that will form part of my usual 10-point Occam’s Razor exercise…” Fortuitous pan out (quite apart from being twice the number of letters in one of Occam’s names). Makes it easy to know when you’ve won enough points (when there’s as many as the fingers on both of your more normal hands added). Imagine the problems that could have arisen if we had to take the average number of letters in each of his names [Occam] and [Ockham]–11 (!!!!!!!!!!!) letters in total–and divide it by the number of his names (2) (=5.½ !!.!!!) to get the… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

This is the challenge page, Robbobbobin. All details are there.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

A few questions.

Do you accept the phenomenon of “controlled opposition”?
If not, why not?

Do you think that when Wikileaks appeared that it might be anticipated that the power elite would use intelligence assets to dupe Wikileaks as part of a “controlled opposition” effort?
If not, why not?

What makes you believe that Chelsea Manning is a heroine and genuine leaker and not an intelligence asset engaged in a controlled opposition effort?

If your response does not address my questions, please consider what credibility your response will have.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

Pass. In the eight seconds he was visible on screen between exiting the court and entering a van in the CNN/YouTube record of that event (https://youtu.be/110rJ9mTKVg), Bradley Manning (was) marched out without bouncing even once. But, I do agree, he could have had anything on his mind at the time, including being in seriously deep politics. Unfortunately there were no explanatory subtitles for the blind in view and, in that case, it seems a pity to attempt to take your money before you know how much it might cost to have your spockets fixed.

auntiebuna
Reader

Flaxgirl: first, thank you for the link with Chelsea being interviewed on ABC. I had never seen her interviewed. Second: a respectful question- you say Chelsea is an agent. An agent of whom? I don’t understand what you want to say. I admit that I was unable to prioritize my time in order to read the entire content of the essay you provided since it appears to be a transcript of the interview with your personal interpretation of her character woven between the statements. My questions about your motives are beyond a thumbs up or thumbs down response. I can’t… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Hi auntiebuna, When I say agent I mean intelligence asset, that is, she works for the CIA or other intelligence agency. What the power elite always want to do is control the information from all sides which means they constantly infiltrate or in some way inveigle themselves into the opposition to control things. It’s a well-known phenomenon called “controlled opposition”. A controlled opposition is a protest movement that is actually being led by government agents. Nearly all governments in history have employed this technique to trick and subdue their adversaries. So, as a matter of course, when Wikileaks appeared they… Read more »

Sensibility
Reader
Sensibility

.. for someone, like Chelsea Manning, who has been continually facing traumatic incidents/situations (probably since birth) and who is on watch around the clock by a multitude of US agencies, and living under the threat of arrest and re-arrest and the threat of mental and physical torture and re-torture .. for someone like her, most probably, a deep psychological analysis of she could mean when talking in her first appearance on the national TV might not be a wise/fruitful endeavour. Of course, we can perform deep psychoanalysis for everybody and everything they do and say, but how useful would that… Read more »

Badger Down
Reader
Badger Down

They’ll need some money for a legal defence. Where do I send the money?

Pesky Puss
Reader
Pesky Puss
Stephen Morrell
Reader
Stephen Morrell

I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with “.., crimes committed in our name and therefore our crimes.” They most certainly are not ‘our’ crimes. They’re the crimes of the rulers. And the rulers take succour from their shills, particularly MI5’s shill, the BBC and MI6’s shill, The Guardian.

Speaking of the latter, look at their latest disgusting piece: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/17/julian-assange-dominic-raab-literary-signalling-gore-vidal-arwa-mahdawi

Ramdan
Reader
Ramdan

‘….therefore our crimes’…cause we are accomplices by our silence, by commission or omission… Cause the ones that rule are there cause we elected them….of course, this is not a personal matter but jut the result of a general or more widespread conscious state of the population. As long as we do not recognize and accept the the state of affairs at present (and at any given moment) are also the result of our actions (or inactions) we will be stuck on the same situation. We seem to be passive agents on the construction of reality but we are not. In… Read more »

Stephen Morrell
Reader
Stephen Morrell

Most don’t know what the truth is and those that do can’t see a solution. It’s not the fault of the oppressed that they don’t do anything. Part of oppression is a well-ingrained, even fervent, belief in it. And this blaming it all on everyone, on the oppressed who are the majority because they’re not jumping up and down, logically leads to supporting collective punishment. But worst of all, it deflects blame from the real perpetrators of all the horrors facing our species. The current state of affairs needs to be recognised, and its perpetrators dealt with, but it should… Read more »

Ramdan
Reader
Ramdan

By accept I mean recognition of our role in the general scheme of things, of our omissions and comissions, of iur ignorance and naivete that left room for manipulation of truth and emotions to happen. This is not about fault, blame or guilt, is just that recognition that leads to action for change of my own role. That is, to become aware. I (we) don’t need to find who to blame but just to underestand what and how basic humanity is being distorted. Basic humanistic values manipulated to bomb, kill, imprison human beings. Once that is known, recognize then we… Read more »

Stephen Morrell
Reader
Stephen Morrell

It’s most certainly about blame. The oppressors are the capitalist class, kept in power by their state of armed thugs, secret police, courts, prisons, military and bureaucracy. Their ‘soft power’ support comes from organised religion, the corporate media, in the ‘education’ system and from the political superstructure (‘democracy’, parliament, etc). The capitalist class must be expropriated without compensation and the economy socialised and subject to democratic planning. Nothing short of that will help our species deal with the real and looming threats to its existence, let alone lay the basis for ending oppression. This requires a revolution. The working class… Read more »

auntiebuna
Reader

Thank you for this brilliant article. And thank you for informing me of the bronze statues. Please share any links you have about this exhibition. It needs to be spread to others so they know there are others who recognize the heroism of Snowden, Assange and Manning.

vierotchka
Reader

That black and white photo is in Geneva – you can see the giant chair with the broken leg and the Palais des Nations (UN building) in the background. See the following photo to compare. I have never seen these sculptures there, though.
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vierotchka
Reader

See the article (in French) from 2015. These sculptures were a traveling exhibition, taken from city to city.

https://www.lematin.ch/suisse/Snowden-Assange-et-Manning-a-Geneve/story/23308968

Archie1954
Reader
Archie1954

They are innocent in the eyes of God and that is what matters, more than the evil lies and depredations of secular beasts. We have all seen the spilled blood, the broken bodies, the crying children that the US, the UK and their evil minions have desecrated our green Earth with. These lost ones will be revenged, not by us, but by the evil doers own deadly mistakes!

vierotchka
Reader

Assuming that God actually exists, and if God exists, God obviously doesn’t care.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

One of the basic premises of this piece is seriously misguided. In matters like this (Assange having, over the years,, discomforted more than enough of the British and European mighty to be a person eminently worthy of the UK ‘s own interest) the Americans could probably learn more about vindictive social coercion from the British working on their own account than the British could ever from the Americans. American exceptionalism as it actually is is hard enough to swallow without the tendency of its internal, covert believers, believing themselves to be emancipated from it, to misappropriate–by way of demonstration–all of… Read more »

Ramdan
Reader
Ramdan

Out with the plutocrats!
Out the excecutioners of Truth!
Out the manipulators of the people!
Expell those promoting war in the name of democracy!
Out the enemies of human life and the life of the planet!
Out those profiting from human suffering and death!
Out to the Rober Baron’s!
Out to the merchants of death and deceit!