Reviews, Screen, TV

Some thoughts on Four Corner’s Julian Assange ‘Hero or Villain’

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The recent ABC TV Four Corners two-;part special Hero or Villain: The prosecution of Julian Assange had many serious fails: here are four of them:

(1) In almost an hour of reporting, reporter Michael Brissenden barely mentioned the crucial stories Assange published, which were and still are the reason he’s America’s most-wanted: * exposing US interference in the internal affairs of dozens of countries (many of which they invaded) * exposing US phone-tapping of world leaders * revealing how and why the Democratic Party subverted Bernie Sanders in 2016, and * releasing documentation of global corporate theft and lethal disregard for human life on a vast scale.

(2) Hillary Clinton’s position that Assange is a criminal was presented, unchallenged, via a former Hillary advisor Neera Tanden who told us that Assange’s goal was to “undermine democracy”, which she clearly considered synonymous with America and the Democratic Party.

Even Americans are losing faith in this crock of KoolAid these days, and most people outside the US never swallowed it. The Clinton line was then ‘balanced’ by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Hrafnsson and Uruguay’s former London consul Narvaez, both sharing Assange’s premise that the United States is the most powerful but often the most dangerous country on earth. Four Corners chose not to point out that this is a valid and widely shared political point of view, and that it doesn’t make its proponents running dogs of Vlad Putin.

(3) Former US officials came on camera swatting Assange aside like an Aussie mozzie, then revealed they were more alarmed by the Trump gang’s plan to jail him in solitary forever — if they can’t find a judge who’ll execute him. The ABC again failed to connect the dots, to make clear that these people are members of the Washington establishment, which Trump isn’t, and they believe in some of the noble principles in the US Constitution, which Trump doesn’t – and that they may be Assange’s only chance of staying alive.

(4) Mike Brissenden’s report did allow someone to pay a tiny tribute to the bloke who finally managed to rip the emporer’s clothes off; former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger summarised the plot against Assange as follows: “Julian’s not American, he’s Australian. So if we are saying that somebody who’s not a citizen of the country he is writing about is bound by their security laws and can be extradited to their country to spend time in their prisons, where does that leave us?”

Well, since Rusbridger himself has done nothing to save Assange from the US conspiracy, after he, Rusbridger, published the Wikileaks secrets, it leaves Assange in prison and Rusbridger at risk of being dragged off to one in a foreign land as well. Back in the USA, New York Times reporter Scott Shane added another cautionary wail: “a New York Times reporter or editor [could be charged] with publishing information the government said should be secret”, he said, indignant and fearful because American journalists have always believed that their nation’s judiciary is supposed to have their backs against power-mad feds. Trashing that ‘balance of power’ undermines the entire American media, yet again, the ABC left the implications drifting in the wind — fearful that no one in Canberra would have their back if they rang alarm bells?

Assange is part cyber-libertarian and part Aussie hippy-socialist, who saw that Hillary’s deep state USA needs to be deconstructed. He should also have seen that a Trump presidency would be at least as awful for the planet as Hillary’s would have been.

Assange needs to sort out his bad behaviour with two women in Sweden, we need to stop treating his inappropriate emotional responses as a hanging offence, and Canberra needs to bring him home. On all accounts, Four Corners’ lily-livered reporting didn’t help.

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