Julian Assange and the U.S. war on truth-tellers

London protest against extradition of Julian Assange, Jan. 4.

Pentagon generals and killer cops can’t tolerate truth-tellers. That’s the reason Ramsey Orta was locked up for four years. 

Orta filmed his friend Eric Garner being choked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Staten Island, N.Y. The world saw and heard the Black man scream “I can’t breathe” 11 times as he was being strangled on July 17, 2014.

No charges were brought against the cop who killed Eric Garner, a loving father of six children. But Ramsey Orta was railroaded to jail, where he spent time in solitary confinement and had rat poison put in his food.

It’s the same spirit of revenge that has motivated the persecution of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

While in the U.S. Army, Manning discovered evidence of the massive killings of civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan. These war crimes included U.S. helicopter gunships shooting up a Baghdad neighborhood in 2007, killing 18 civilians.

In 2009, the U.S. bombed the Afghanistan village of Granai, killing over 100 children. For revealing these atrocities to the world via Wikileaks, Manning spent seven years in jail, most of which were spent in solitary confinement. 

After being pardoned, Manning was ordered to appear before a grand jury. She refused to be a snitch and spent another year in jail.

The transwoman was forced to spend 22 hours a day in isolation, which amounts to torture according to the United Natons. Only after she was driven to attempt suicide was Chelsea Manning released.

Even then, the court demanded $256,000 in fines, which were raised through crowdfunding.

Journalism isn’t spying

For the same reasons Chelsea Manning was jailed, the U.S. government is seeking to extradite Julian Assange from Britain.

Assange was a co-founder of Wikileaks that published Chelsea Manning’s evidence of U.S. war crimes.

For these acts of journalism, the White House wants Britain to send Julian Assange to the U.S. on charges of violating the Espionage Act. Assange could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Even establishment organs like the New York Times condemned the use of the Espionage Act. This thought-control law was passed in 1917 after the U.S. entered World War I to crush any anti-war movement.

Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon went to court to try to stop the New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers. These documents revealed the lies that successive presidents told to justify the Vietnam War.

Daniel Ellsberg — who copied the Pentagon Papers and brought them to the media — was charged with violating the Espionage Act. Only because of the massive anti-war movement and exposure of illegal wiretapping were the charges dropped.

Julian Assange has spent two years in a British jail after being forced to seek asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy. He is no more guilty than Daniel Ellsberg.

If Assange can be put on trial, so can ProPublica journalists. They revealed secret IRS information that billionaires like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos paid almost no federal income taxes. 

Truth-telling is not a crime. Hands off Ramsey Orta, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange!