Amid the attempted prosecution of Julian Assange, the world is in a surreal moment where the truth has been turned on its head. A groupthink has emerged which collectively rejects history and facts so it can stick with the narrative that Assange deserves his persecution. As always, it’s ambiguous whether all the propagandists believe their own lies, and it doesn’t matter whether they do; they’re doing what the centers of power require of them, which is to reinforce the official story.
The same goes for regular people. When they tell us that Russia hacked the DNC and gave emails to WikiLeaks, we’re supposed to go along with this consensus within our political circles, whether or not we know this claim has long been disproven by forensic evidence. When they say Assange should be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” we shouldn’t object, even if we remember that Obama’s DOJ found this very same charge against Assange was not a legitimate reason for prosecution.
Since 2013, when the U.S. government implemented the negation of a 1948 law which banned the use of government psyops on American citizens, these operations for deceiving the American public about Assange and WikiLeaks have thoroughly permeated the media environment both in the U.S. and abroad. (With the media’s eager collaboration.)
These and the other aspects of the corporate media’s mythology around WikiLeaks, from the claim that they’ve “doctored” emails to the claim that their founder is a rapist, are simply part of what we need to accept in order to be part of the establishment’s clique. As C.J. Hopkins has written about the media’s war against Assange, “The demonization of the empire’s enemies is not a deception … it is a loyalty test. It is a ritual in which the masses (who, let’s face it, are de facto slaves) are ordered to display their fealty to their masters, and their hatred of their masters’ enemies.”
So many people numbly absorb this propaganda because they’re not aware of the vast and sophisticated machine which seeks to mold their minds. The smear campaign against Assange has been filled with psychological tricks that are reminiscent of CIA public opinion influence operations. It’s likely no coincidence that Assange has been slandered with accusations of pedophelia when the “pedophile” smear is a known CIA character assassination tactic that’s been used to undermine numerous activists. Neither has it been a chance occurrence for Assange and WikiLeaks to be frequently characterized as Russian assets at a moment when the CIA and other facets of the deep state seek to reignite anti-Russian hysteria.
The U.S. government’s role in the effort to destroy Assange’s reputation is made even more obvious from the fact that in 2008, central actors within the intelligence community outright promised to carry out a character assassination campaign against him. In 2008, the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessment Branch of the US Defense Department created a secret document which explained their plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Julian. This plan-which has no doubt been shared by the CIA-is summarized by John Pilger as follows:
They described in detail how important it was to destroy, and I quote, “the feeling of trust that is Wikileaks’ centre of gravity”. This would be achieved, they wrote, with threats of exposure and criminal prosecution and an unrelenting assault on reputation.
Since 2013, when the U.S. government implemented the negation of a 1948 law which banned the use of government psyops on American citizens, these operations for deceiving the American public about Assange and WikiLeaks have thoroughly permeated the media environment both in the U.S. and abroad. The relentless and sometimes almost identical hit pieces from The Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other major publications throughout the West hint at a coordinated effort behind the scenes to drive popular sentiment against the favor of WikiLeaks and Assange.
The often grotesque nature of the attacks against Assange-like the slander that he smeared feces on the walls of the Ecuadorian embassy or the unsubstantiated claim that he often smells bad-also show the carefully considered lies that go into the attacks against Assange. These attempts to make people see the man as physically repulsive serve the function of making people unwilling to listen to the logical arguments for why they should oppose his prosecution. They’re textbook pieces of psychological manipulation, ones which could easily originate from the CIA psychologists who study how to mold people’s perceptions.
This all makes it logical that at this moment, at a time when the U.S. government is close to prosecuting Assange for practicing journalism, the Western media’s years-long practice of lying about Assange is being ramped up. For example, when I do a search for Assange’s name, the very first thing that comes up is a hit piece from The Guardian titled: “I love stories of badly-behaved houseguests — and Julian Assange has raised the bar.” There are also articles accusing Assange of lying about Seth Rich being the source of the DNC emails because Mueller’s new report claims-despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary-that Russia hacked the DNC. The empire’s propagandists need to find a way to get people not to worry about the dangerous implications for press freedom that Assange’s prosecution would entail, and continuing to destroy Assange’s character is the route they’ve taken.
The campaign against Assange has ironically revealed the most about the character of the people who’ve been behind it. From studying the lies that top government and media figures tell about Assange, and from noticing the emotional tricks that they strategically put into their lies, we’ve learned that these people collectively behave as a sociopath. To serve their cause of advancing the agenda of the U.S./NATO empire, they lie routinely and without remorse. The only thing that matters to them is protecting power. This fact makes it clear how to defeat them: treat them as the professional manipulators that they are, and resist their manipulations in the same way one would resist the manipulations of an abusive partner.
And in the case of both personal relationships and politics, the biggest rule for breaking free from a sociopathic manipulator can be summarized as: don’t let yourself be gaslighted. The people driving Assange’s persecution want you to disregard what you know to be true so that you’ll conform to their narratives. If we take this psychological power away from them and determinedly speak out against their smears against Assange, they won’t be able to control the narrative about Assange any longer.