“Where’s my final Assange report?”

10 Oct

I’ve said and will continue to say that behind a mask of democracy informed by independent media, we are ruled by sociopaths, by the criminally insane.

Craig Murray, yesterday

Where Is My Final Assange Report?

Numerous people have contacted me in various ways to ask where is my promised report on the final day of the Assange hearing, to complete the account?

It is difficult to explain this to you. When I was in London it was extremely intense. This was my daily routine. I would attend court at 10am, take 25 to 30 pages of handwritten notes, and leave around 5. In court I was always with Julian’s dad John, and usually for lunch too. After court I would thank supporters outside the courtroom, occasionally do some media and often meet with the Wikileaks crew to discuss developments and tactics. I would then get back to my hotel room, have a bite to eat and go to bed around 6.30pm to 7pm. I would awake between 11pm and midnight, shower and shave, read my notes and do any research needed. About 3am I would start to write. I would finish writing around 8.30am and proofread. Then I would get dressed. About 9.30am I would make any last changes and press publish. Then I would walk to the Old Bailey and start again.

Apart from being exhausting, I was totally immersed in a bubble, and buoyed by the support of others close to Julian, who were also inside that bubble.

But in that courtroom, you were in the presence of evil. With a civilised veneer, a pretence at process, and even displays of bonhommie, the entire destruction of a human being was in process. Julian was being destroyed as a person before my eyes. For the crime of publishing the truth. He had to sit there listening to days of calm discussion as to the incredible torture that would await him in a US supermax prison, deprived of all meaningful human contact for years on end, in solitary in a cell just fifty square feet.

Fifty square feet. Mark that out yourself now. Three paces by two. Of all the terrible things I heard, Warden Baird explaining that the single hour a day allowed out of the cell is alone in another, absolutely identical cell called the “recreation cell” was perhaps the most chilling. That and the foul government “expert” Dr Blackwood describing how Julian might be sufficiently medicated and physically deprived of the means of suicide to keep him alive for years of this.

I encountered evil in Uzbekistan when the mother brought me the photos of her son tortured to death by immersion in boiling liquid. The US government was also implicated in that, through the CIA cooperation with the Uzbek Security Services; it happened just outside the US military base at Karshi-Khanabad. Here was that same evil paraded in the centre of London, under the panoply of Crown justice.

Having left the bubble, my courage keeps failing me to return to the evil and write up the last day. I know that sounds either pathetic or precious. I know the mainstream journalists who revel in portraying me as mentally unstable will delight to mock. But this last few days I can’t even bring myself to look at my notes. I feel physically ill when I try. Of course I will complete the series, but I may need a little time.

… and Caitlin Johnstone today:

Twitter has announced the rollout of even more censorship policies in the lead-up to the November US presidential election.

“Starting next week, when people attempt to Retweet a Tweet with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt directing them to credible information about the topic before they can amplify it,” Twitter informs us, with “credible information” of course meaning information from the same mass media outlets who’ve lied to us about every American war throughout their entire existence.

“We’re taking more steps to encourage thoughtful amplification by preventing Tweets that have been ‘followed by’ and ‘liked by’ accounts you don’t follow from showing up in your timeline,” adds Twitter, as though the social media echo chamber that is turning us all into idiots wasn’t bad enough.

This is just the latest in the stack of additional censorship measures that Silicon Valley tech corporations have been rolling out in open coordination with the US government under the banner of protecting American democracy. We may be certain that none of these measures will be rolled back when the election is over.

As my regular readers are no doubt tired of hearing me repeat by now, when you have monopolistic tech corporations which attract the bulk of online communication coordinating with governments to censor speech, what you have is government censorship. As Matt Taibbi recently wrote after the irrational Facebook purge of QAnon cultists, this censorship regime is continually expanding and this expansion is likely to continue, especially in the direction of those who oppose these same establishment power structures that are promoting this censorship.

It’s just so brazenly authoritarian. The only reason people are putting up with it is because they’ve spent four years being bombarded with horror stories about Russian propaganda and right-wing disinformation by the same plutocratic media institutions that are now being upheld as “authoritative sources”. But the fact that consent has been successfully manufactured doesn’t make it okay.

Imagine if you were at a party and a bunch of guys with clipboards who work for the government were going around from group to group listening to the conversations people were having and forcibly removing anyone who said anything they deemed false or disruptive. Would you be okay with this? Even if the people they dragged out of the social gathering were saying things that were indeed false?

Of course you wouldn’t. Nobody would find such an occurrence acceptable, but because basically the same thing is happening on the relatively unfamiliar conversation forum known as social media, people accept the authoritative voices of the plutocratic punditry who are telling them it’s normal.

Well it’s not normal. How do people think conversations happened back before there were monopolistic tech oligarchs policing their words in coordination with the government to make sure they weren’t hazardous to democracy? Did they forget that this wasn’t something that used to happen? Do they think before online political discourse people used to have to meet at the FBI headquarters to have a fed supervise their conversation if they wanted to debate whether or not a conspiracy theory is true?

No, people just talked to each other. Sometimes what people said was true, sometimes it was false, sometimes it was an idiotic urban legend about a Hollywood celebrity putting rodents in their butt, but at no time did anyone stop and think they needed a team of billionaires and government agents to jump in and police their conversations for them.

It’s abnormal, it’s insane, it serves only the powerful, and it’s being advanced by the powerful. The powerful understand the primacy of narrative control; they understand that they are vastly outnumbered by the rank-and-file public their continued rule is therefore entirely dependent on their ability to control how people are thinking, speaking, acting and voting. These rollouts of corporate and state power collaborating to control speech are not a response to a crisis of democracy, they’re a response to a crisis of narrative control.

From Taibbi’s aforementioned article:

In my mind, this argument became complicated in 2017, when the Senate Intelligence Committee dragged Facebook, Twitter, and Google to the Hill and essentially ordered them to come up with a “mission statement” explaining how they would prevent the “fomenting of discord.”

It’s right there in black and white: censor speech to prevent “discord”. This coordination between corporate and state power to censor speech has gotten more and more egregious ever since, just as it was designed to be. Government power has been threatening online platforms like Google and Facebook with antitrust cases in order to ensure compliance with government power from them, and as long as these platforms bow to the pressure and keep expanding the censorship regime that is designed to protect imperial power structures, they’ll probably be safe.

You can’t reach billionaire levels of influence and wealth control in the current system without collaborating with existing power structures; if your collaboration isn’t trusted you’ll find yourself targeted like TikTok and WeChat. This is why all the libertarians and free market types who say Silicon Valley censorship can be fought by moving to a different platform are false; no platform is going to be allowed to rise to the level of Facebook, Twitter or YouTube unless it aligns itself with the same power structures that are pushing censorship on those platforms. This is why attempts to compete with them keep failing.

These platforms were built with the help of establishment power structures, and they are maintained with the consent of those power structures. A few giant platforms sucking up all human conversation to then censor those conversations in alignment with establishment interests is an extremely valuable asset to the powerful, and they’re not going to let it go easily. It’s an extremely effective weapon against dissident thought.

First the wealthy controlled the newspapers, then they controlled the radio, then they controlled television, now they control online speech. It’s been the same story for centuries, and in each instance they collaborated with existing power structures to protect the status quo upon which their kingdoms were built. They did this because they understood the real secret of power: that whoever controls the narrative controls the world. Humanity will only transition into a healthy collaborative way of functioning on this planet when everyone else awakens to this truth as well.

*

7 Replies to ““Where’s my final Assange report?”

  1. “sociopaths, by the criminally insane”

    Sociopaths, yes, but the criminally insane? If the latter, by mistake, the common folk might benefit, but those who rule are becoming obscenely wealthy.

    • Hi Chet. I’ve been using “the criminally insane” for years. As my blogging became more intensely political, reflecting my own journey of discovery, I wanted a term that expressed my understanding but unlike the more accurate “ruling class” – defined by monopoly ownership of something essential to wealth creation – had not become stale. I wanted to reach people through reasoned and evidence based content, yes, but also by fresh rather than hackneyed language. People are easily turned off by the latter.

      So it was conceived in a spirit of expedience but I now think I was nearer the mark than I’d realised. By accident I’d stumbled on a term which, in its way, is as accurate as ‘ruling class’. But to see this you have to make a distinction between ‘insane’ and ‘stupid’. They are not at all the same thing.

      I still use ‘ruling class’, of course. Sometimes its accuracy makes it indispensable!

      • I suppose the problem I have is that for me neither “ruling class” nor “criminally insane” convey the relentless evil of those in power. There’s probably a superb noun hanging around the fringes, but it’s beyond me, so perhaps “criminally insane” is the best way to describe “them.”

        • Each to their own, Chet. On the whole I steer clear of “evil” because for a materialist like me its connotations are too metaphysical. (And it fails to capture the truth that many individual members of that class may be brave, warm, decent human beings.) That said, I’d never say never. I see where ‘evil’ may well apply in specific situations. The appalling cynicism on show in the trial of Julian Assange, for instance.

          Here though we’re speaking of descriptors for those in whose interests the planet is run. I wouldn’t insist on my terminology, it ain’t a falling out matter, but I see ‘ruling class’ as the least problematic term. Defined by monopoly ownership of some essential of wealth creation – human beings under slavery, land under feudalism, the various forms of capital under capitalism – it has to my mind the greatest explanatory power. All other aspects of class rule flow from that monopoly ownership.

          This despite the fact I do not regard ‘ruling class’ as completely accurate. In an essay written three years ago to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I wrote:

          I start as Luther pace Wycliffe did, with injustice rationalised by cant. The idea of a soul sped to heaven by cash payment to a priesthood now unites believer and non believer alike in aghast incredulity. T’was ever thus. The crimes and absurdities of times gone by are crystal clear to our so clever, end-of-history gaze – what wolves and sheep they were; what rogues and fools! – but should humanity survive, a time will come when faith in the superiority of blind market forces over wealth creation planned by and for humankind will evoke a similar response. Ditto the fact of fewer than a dozen men owning half the world, while scores of millions die in destitution and arms profits in and of themselves drive industrialised carnage. Cry Godwin’s Law if you will, but why would these things not seem as monstrous to our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s age as the nazi holocaust to ours?

          There is an answer to that but it’s not good news. Not only is every generation desensitised to greater or lesser degree to the horrors of its day. And not only are we in the West sheltered from those endured by peoples at best not psychologically real to us and at worst out of sight and out of mind. The horrors I speak of flow from laws of motion few understand (least of all economists, their salaries dependent on their not understanding) and which leave us with clear beneficiaries, yes, but not identifiable agents in the sense of individuals who by making other choices could reverse those laws of motion. On the contrary, by making different choices those agents would see their ‘power’ evaporate in an instant. I call them a ruling class, and with good reason, but ultimately that’s no more than a useful fiction when they too are enslaved. In our day the Henry Tudors and Heinrich Himmlers, ogres whose humanity we must deny to reaffirm our own, are thin on the ground but their elusiveness is that of a world amok: an Isaac Asimov dystopia without the robots.

          Emphasis added.

          The other problem with ‘ruling class’, of course, is that due to what Gramsci rightly called ‘false consciousness’, the term turns people off. There’s only so far you can go in pandering to that but it seems to me that writers who wish to reach people have an imperative to make their words vivid and engaging, ever in search of new ways to communicate old truths. Some five years ago I hit upon ‘criminally insane’, thinking it good for a post or two. But like a fortuitous accident it has to my mind proved more durable, in its versatility of explanatory power, than I’d ever expected. As I say in footnote 1 to my July reads post:

          I don’t mean to imply our rulers are all twenty-four carat, frothing at the mouth loony tunes. Indeed, they may be charming, passionate about improving the lot of the poor, devoted parents and all round good eggs. It’s just that the decisions they – or those who act on their behalf – make are driven by an insane and life negating imperative. I speak of the pursuit of profits which, however vehemently this class may protest to the contrary, trumps all other considerations; all those things that sane people hold dear. I don’t say our rulers don’t care about the environment, peace, the eradication of dire poverty etc etc. I say that actions speak louder than words and the choices our rulers make are overridingly driven by none of these things but by the remorseless logic of capital accumulation: a logic of which they – and the theoretically bereft economists ultimately in their pay – are and always have been in deepest denial.

          • Thank you for your explanation: You’ve evidently have thought longer and deeper on the subject than I have.

            Maybe I’ll just go along with “criminally insane” and “ruling class” too.

            • Well you know, Chet, I get plenty of flak so will take compliments wherever I can get ’em!

              More seriously, I’d hate to get hung up on terminology. Words are vital and we who are brought together by recognition of a world run by gangsters (a more recent addition to my lexicon) should strive for both freshness and precision in those we use.

              But I’ve seen half a century of some form or other of political dissent. In that period I’ve watched again and again the prioritisation of language over action, map over terrain. I saw it in the big identity movements; most visibly in feminism and disability rights but to lesser degree black consciousness and gay rights. And I saw it in the far left, where we had the absurd spectacle – only apparent to me in hindsight – of avowed materialists in screaming matches over ideas that could never be tested given the participants’ disconnect from the realities of class struggle – not, as was sometimes said, due to our being almost entirely drawn from the petit-bourgeois. Rather, because we were would be revolutionaries in non revolutionary times.

              But see how easily I digress! I seek not to persuade others to adopt my superior terminology. (I have my vanities but that’s not one of them.) It suffices that, without fetishising language, we all of us strive for greater precision and bounce in the relatively few words that do and always will matter.

              Thanks for an invigorating discussion.

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