Now Reading
Rise of the Western Dissidents

Rise of the Western Dissidents

Authored by Allum Bokhari via Breitbart:


We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

Because the charges are sealed and the evidence is unknown, it’s impossible to say if the case has merit. But it likely relates to WikiLeaks’ release of unredacted diplomatic cables in 2011, which forced the U.S. to relocate several of its foreign sources.

Some allegations are more serious. While he was alive, neoconservative Senator John McCain maintained that leaks provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, which included the diplomatic cables, caused U.S sources to be murdered.

Those who see Assange as a villain will end the story here. What is typically left out is that WikiLeaks originally released the diplomatic cables in piecemeal form, with names redacted to prevent loss of life and minimize harm.

It was only after a Guardian journalist’s error led to the full unredacted cables leaking to third parties on the web that WikiLeaks published them as well — and not before Assange attempted to warn the office of Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State.

In other words, WikiLeaks behaved precisely as any responsible publisher handling sensitive material should, redacting information that could cause harm. The redactions only stopped when they became pointless. Assange is unlikely to have won more than a dozen journalism awards if he were completely reckless in his publications.

The Pentagon later admitted under oath that they could not find any instances of individuals being killed as a result of being named in Manning’s leaks to WikiLeaks, contradicting Sen. McCain’s allegations.

At worst, Assange and WikiLeaks can be accused of negligence, not deliberate recklessness, in the way it handled sensitive material. But as Breitbart Tech reporter Lucas Nolan points out, a far stronger case can be made against Hillary Clinton for the way she handled State Department emails — yet we see no criminal charges against her.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. In that, he is far from alone.

In the late 2000s to early 2010s, western governments targeted all manner of individuals associated with Assange and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, including Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda, and The Guardian newspaper.

This was the early growth period of the internet, when the web had become a truly popular medium but had yet to be censored by pliant social media corporations. It was a time of profound unease at the power of the internet to undermine authority, both through the dissemination of information as in the case of WikiLeaks and Snowden, and in the new mobilization of political forces, as in the case of Occupy Wall Street and the SOPA/PIPA protests. Heavy-handed crackdowns against individuals and groups that were seen, rightly or wrongly, as symbols of the web’s early anarchic tendencies, like Kim DotcomAaron SwartzAnonymous, and LulzSec, were not uncommon.

These days, however, a new class of western dissident has emerged — the populist dissident.

Populist Dissidents

Who would have thought that the highest court in Europe, home of the enlightenment, would uphold a case in which a woman was prosecuted for blasphemy against Islam?

Who would have thought that Britain, the birthplace of liberalism and the free press, would ban an independent journalist from its shores for satirizing the same religion?

Who would have thought that Germany, whose living memory of the totalitarian Stasi is just three decades old, would put its largest opposition party under surveillance?

Just a few years ago, all three would sound far-fetched. But cases like these have become common as elites in virtually every western country mount a panicked attempt to contain the rise of populism (the goal, in the words of a Google executive, is to render it a “hiccup”in history’s march towards progress).

See Also

Look at the case of Tommy Robinson, the British critic of Islam who was dragged through Britain’s courts on fuzzy contempt-of-court charges. Sentenced to an astonishing thirteen-month imprisonment, Robinson was eventually freed after a successful appeal and now awaits a final trial before Britain’s Attorney General. Shaky charges that have been successfully appealed were exploited to persecute a British citizen who was inconvenient to the establishment. And there’s still a further trial to come.

Then again, Britain is a country that routinely bans foreign politicians and media figures from the country for being too right-wing. Michael SavageGeert WildersLauren SouthernPamela Geller, and Robert Spencer all enjoy this dubious distinction. Theresa May, who was responsible for internal affairs and immigration when Spencer and Geller were banned, is now the Prime Minister.

But it’s not just Britain. Not only has Trump’s White House, supposedly an ally of populists, failed to publicly intervene on behalf of the American citizens banned from the U.K. for expressing populist viewpoints, but it hasn’t even investigated allegations that far-left Antifa activists were able to stop conservative Rebel Media personality Jack Buckbyfrom entering the country by spreading false criminal allegations.

Julian Assange, a left-libertarian may share little ideological ground with right-wing critics of Islam. But they all share at least one thing: persecution by western states coupled with anti-establishment political speech or activities. They are also targets of the security establishment — Assange because of leaks that have exposed their secrets, and the populists because they refuse to censor themselves to avoid angering Muslims. (The UK justified its attempted ban of Geert Wilders by arguing that his presence in the country could lead to “inter-faith violence.”)

We also see attacks on free speech, with governments and politicians across the west pressuring Silicon Valley to suppress its critics. An unaccountable, unelected elite can sweep away a person’s livelihood in minutes, and cut their political message off from millions of American citizens. As I wrote in my column two weeks ago, the overarching trend is the gradual destruction or delegitimization of every tool, digital or otherwise, that non-elites use to express their preferences. Does that sound like a free society, or a controlled one?

You don’t have to agree with any of the individuals or groups listed above to see that surveilling political parties, blocking journalists from entering countries, jailing critics of religion, upholding blasphemy laws and censoring the net is the behavior of authoritarian nations, not liberal democracies. Yet this is the disturbing pattern we now see in the west.

Worse, foreign authoritarian regimes now provide safe harbor for western dissidents, in the same way that the west does for foreign dissidents. Edward Snowden, accused of violating the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans, has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists. Before that, he sought refuge in Hong Kong, a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China, an even more terrifyingly totalitarian state.

Will there now be a quid pro quo, with Russia and other authoritarian regimes protecting our dissidents while the west protects theirs? Or will western countries remain true to their liberal traditions, and stop its alarming attempts to surveil, suppress, and persecute a growing number of its own citizens? On present trends, a dark and dystopian future seems to loom on the horizon.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!

11
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
Justin TauaJohn NolanBrigitte MeierSeanOlivia Kroth Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“Who would have thought that Germany, whose living memory of the totalitarian Stasi is just three decades old, would put its largest opposition party under surveillance?”

That might not have seemed so dreadful when the German government was well aware that its own officials, even including the prime minister, were under surveillance by the US government.

“Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite ’em.
And little fleas have smaller fleas
And so ad infinitium”.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“Robinson was eventually freed after a successful appeal and now awaits a final trial before Britain’s Attorney General”.

I sincerely hope not, as the Attorney General is the government’s chief prosecutor. Surely a judge would have to be involved?

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“Edward Snowden… has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists”.

No it doesn’t. Even when establishment media like Breitbart allow themselves to tell some of the truth, their default mode is lying.

An examination of the published facts will show that no more journalists have been murdered in Russia than in the USA, for instance. And since President Putin took office in 2000, far fewer journalists have been killed in Russia.

fugmckeown
Guest
fugmckeown

“Edward Snowden… has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists”. Tom Walsh, the author was been sarcastic about “persecutes and even kills its own journalists”
your have to read it in the context and narrative of his article.

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

If there is any sarcasm there, it is so subtle that it goes unnoticed. I did not read any sarcasm in this phrase. The Western media always blame Russia for “killing its own journalists”. Nothing new, it has become a banal cliché.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Unfortunately – these rare truth heroes only number around 1 in every hundred-million sheeple.

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

There is nothing in this report about the pervasive repression of freedom of speech of those who speak out against Israeli apartheid and for BDS. Why? Is this writer afraid of being labeled “anti-semitic” for defending human rights?

Sean
Guest
Sean

Stopped reading after “Russia… prosecutes and kills its own journalists…”. Bs!

Brigitte Meier
Guest
Brigitte Meier

The US has adopted the Nazi tactics since WW2, augmented by the new tech capacities which the Nazis didn’t have yet. The entire concept of US hegemony is copied from Hitler’s Third Reich. The doctrine of full spectrum dominance is only a different name, not a different idea. Now that IA makes possible face, speech and mood recognition, the US desire to expand the concept of Stasi worldwide is finally in reach. People would do well to analyze history by principles, not just by apparent actions. Trump ordered the elimination of Assange – essentially by the same methods the Saudis… Read more »

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

Welcome to the FOURTH REICH! Those who master minded this New World Order were, generally, high ranking members of Hitler’s power base, and were welcomed into Amazia, Englandia,to continue the march forward to global conquest, run and controlled by those who financed the Third Reich, Rochschilds and their nasty, satanic banker mates. Same ones that financed the Russian revolution, the Spanish revolution, the French revolution! Starve, deprive the people long enough, plant your subversives, the rabble rousers amongst them, and then, voila, if you control the media, as they do, instant warfare, by which one can destroy whatever form of… Read more »

Justin Taua
Guest
Justin Taua

How dare Allum Bokhari associate Julian Assange, Ed Snowden, Aaron Swartz, LulzSec and Kim.com with Right-wing proto-Fascist arse-holes like Geert Wilders, Tommy Robinson, Lauren Southern, Michael Savage, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. What planet are you from Allum Bokhari? Clearly, the Western “Left”, has abondoned ship to join the “New Conservative” crusades against Russia, China, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and the whole bloody World. Whilst we’ve had to endure the absurd spectacle of “Conservative” political scribes, re-defining “Centre-Right and Extreme-Right” as “Left and Right”; we’ve seen the forces of the US/Euro-centric-Right, become more Fascistic as time passes. But the irony… Read more »

Copyright DRN Media PLC 2019. RSS: http://theduran.com/feed

Scroll To Top