Freedom Rider: Julian Assange and Robert Mueller

Russiagate has imploded, but the Democratic Party still wants to stifle dissent and make certain that there will be no WikiLeaks in the future.

The investigation known as Russiagate has officially wrapped up. Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to the attorney general who promptly announced that it contained no proof of Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government. The daily onslaught of misleading and in some cases false assertions will diminish. But Russiagate will never truly go away. The Democrats will milk it for as long as they can.

The faux scandal was kept alive by lies which the misinformed public were exposed to for more than two years. One of those lies was a claim that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange worked with the Russian government to hack Democratic National Committee emails in 2016.

There is no independent corroboration of a hack taking place at all. However there is evidence of a leak coming from a DNC insider. But the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and other experts who made this case are unknown to all but a few. They have been excluded from the corporate media and only those with the most dogged desire to find information are aware of their findings.

While Russiagate has now lost much of its power, the demonization of Assange has gone on. He is under indictment from a secret grand jury convened in Virginia. Chelsea Manning, the former army analyst who leaked damning proof of war crimes to WikiLeaks in 2010 is in jail once again. She refused to testify before the grand jury and place herself at risk of a perjury trap. She languishes in solitary confinement despite having her original sentence commuted in the last days of the Obama administration.

Assange was given sanctuary in the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012 but he still isn’t safe. A political change in Ecuador puts him at risk. The validity of the Ecuadorean passport given to him is now called into question. President Moreno is undoing many of former President Correa’s policies with the promise of financial aid from the United States if he complies with its demands.

Last week a series of seeming coincidences raised new fears for Assange’s safety.  A Department of Justice plane left Manassas, Virginia, and flew to London. That same plane has been used for extraditions to the United States in the past. It remained in London for several days before departing without a passenger. On the same day that the plane arrived in the UK, Twitter suspended Christine Assange’s account, claiming the presence of “unusual activity.” Assange’s lawyers also noted an increased police presence outside of the embassy.

We must connect all of those dots. It isn’t possible to prove a connection but we know that the U.S. is determined to get its hands on Assange. We don’t know why they didn’t get him this time but they have certainly not given up.

While liberals were driven to states of hysteria regarding Russiagate, they show little interest in the plight of Assange and Manning. Manning is a transgender woman, and despite a great deal of discussion about the rights of transgender people, she has been left to her own devices with hardly any protest on her behalf.

Manning and Assange reveal the hypocrisy and hollowness of liberal America. Their disputes with Donald Trump are more about style than substance. Trump’s tweets against the media will engender outrage but the continued persecution of Julian Assange raises few eyebrows.

The true evil of Russiagate goes further than the exposure of a compliant corporate media or cynical politicians. Russiagate has been used to further the interests of the surveillance state, neoliberalism and imperialism. The new attack on Assange should be understood as the most dangerous aspect of Russiagate. The Democratic Party wants to stifle dissent and make certain that there will be no WikiLeaks in the future. That is why this dead issue will be kept on life support for as long as possible and why very few people will speak up for Assange and Manning.

Donald Trump’s election presented a very real shock to the system. Trump expressed views outside of what is considered acceptable opinion by the duopoly. His claim to want better relations with Russia and void the trade deals beloved by neoliberals created panic.

Some of Trump’s enemies are not our friends. The people who ginned up this 21st century McCarthyism also put Black Agenda Report on a list of media outlets alleged to be under Russian government influence. Facebook admits to taking orders from the right-wing Atlantic Council when deciding who should be allowed on the platform. Twitter bans Assange’s mother at a critical moment. These threats are all Russiagate creations.

Those of us who were skeptics all along have a moment to gloat. But we must not forget what Russiagate spawned. Its creators want to get Assange, Manning and anyone else who they see as a danger to their system.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at  Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

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