When the history of American foreign policy and the misery Washington has caused throughout its tenure as world policeman is written, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks will have many entries in the footnotes, not to mention the index. The publication of Chelsea Manning's treasure trove of US diplomatic history - thousands of cables describing the interactions of US decision-makers with world leaders through the decades - alone gives WikiLeaks the title of most important journalistic outlet of the new millennium. And that is just the crown jewel in a diadem of journalistic triumphs - stinging exposures of the War Party and their corrupt enablers - no other outlet can hope to match. It is therefore with very little surprise that one reads the news that the Justice Department has secretly indicted Assange - and please pay special attention to how that has been revealed.
The New York Times had the scoop: in an unrelated case, the geniuses over at the Justice Department had mistakenly copied phrases from the secret indictment in publicly available court documents.
Really? That doesn't seem very credible, and the specific document the Times refers to throws the whole matter into serious question: the mention of Assange is simply inserted into text that is about someone who is alleged to have coerced a child, and asks for the documents in the case to be sealed. The insertion reads:
"Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged."
How is this relevant to the case of the child-coercer? Is he really all that "sophisticated"? As sophisticated, say, as the founder of WikiLeaks?
And, more importantly, how did this weird "mistake" come to the attention of the New York Times and other media outlets? Who was trawling through months-old court documents about an obscure case - and to what purpose?
The Times has been one of the chief conduits for the Deep State's leaks designed to undermine Trump on every front, and this most recent scoop is no different. This is the way the national security Establishment announces its intention to destroy its two principal enemies: not just Assange but also the President, who has, after all, declared "I love WikiLeaks!"
That's why "liberals" of the anti-Trump persuasion are already composing polemics justifying the prosecution of Assange for publishing government secrets - think of "campaign finance laws," they babble, don't they limit speech as well? And wasn't WikiLeaks part and parcel of the Trump campaign, a weapon in the Orange Monster's hands? The Louise Mensch crowd, i.e. the Democratic party and its crazed base - are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of Russo-Trumpian "collusion" being exposed at Assange's trial.
That's why the pathetically weak take of the anti-Trump but pro-Assange left on the whole affair is so absurd: Glenn Greenwald is desperate to blame the Evil Trump for Assange's indictment: throughout his Intercept piecehe refers to the "Trump DOJ" and "the most extreme faction" of the Trump administration as the culprits behind the move, but this ignores the outright warfare that the DOJ - filled with Clintonite holdovers - has engaged in with this administration since before Trump even took office.
Furthermore, we don't know the provenance of the Assange indictment: when was it composed, and by whom? The likelihood is that the DOJ is simply editing the previous draft indictments which were undoubtedly written during the Obama administration. The difference is that the Obama crowd concluded they'd lose in court: the authors of the current indictment seem more optimistic.
We don't even know what Assange is being charged with: speculation is that violation of the Espionage Act is at the top of a long list.
Espionage - on whose behalf? The Times reports that the CIA's renewed pursuit of Assange began when Mike Pompeo took the helm and probed into the alleged collusion between WikiLeaks and the Russians. So is the Trump administration going to prosecute Assange for colluding with Vladimir Putin to get Donald Trump into the White House? This is what we're asked to believe not only by the Times, but also by Greenwald and the NeverTrump left: Trump and his team are lemmings, and are running rapidly toward those cliffs.
I don't believe it for a minute. There is more to this story than meets the incurious eye - not that anyone seems interested in following up on the several clues embedded therein. A major clue is the timing: why is this information coming out now - just at the moment when the Mueller investigation is reportedly heating up, and a Democrat-controlled House is gearing up for renewed probes into alleged "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the ever-present and apparently omnipotent Russians, who managed to tip a presidential election with a few Facebook ads?
The left will never forgive Assange for supposedly being the decisive factor in Hillary Clinton's humiliating defeat. The neoconservative Right - which is even more vehemently anti-Trump than the leftist elements of the NeverTrump cult - licks its chops at the prospect of his coming martyrdom. His biggest defenders are on the Trumpian Right: Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham - and, of course, the President of the United States.
On the left, Assange's defenders consist of two people that I know of: Greenwald and the independent journalist Michael Tracey. (Oh yeah, and Noam Chomsky.)
And doesn't that say all that needs to be said?
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.