Bob and Darin were on a panel together discussing banalities in generalities, as is the usual case. If either had said anything meaningful on the subject, the moderator would have cut him off.
Bob didn’t know Darin. He was introduced as a former CIA official. Bob had heard back in those days when he was on the Congressional Budget Committee staff that Darin had once had a limited oversight position—budget Bob seemed to remember it was—over a black-op CIA group. When the moderator closed the panel, the two looked at one another and raised their eyebrows.
Bob took advantage of the eyebrow connection to suggest that they have a drink. To his surprise, Darin agreed.
Darin was remote and distant at first, but found the conversation to his liking as the two discussed the moderator’s skill in avoiding delicate issues. In an abrupt change of subject, Bob asked Darin if the US government would assassinate Julian Assange.
“Yes,” Darin replied.
Bob followed up quickly with a question, which, as he was asking it, he realized he should not be asking: “Does the CIA have an in-house assassination group or does the agency contract it out?”
Darin replied, “The CIA doesn’t need to physically assassinate Assange. Washington will use the PATRIOT Act to override the First Amendment and bring a spy case against him. Currently, the British are going through their pretense that they have a rule of law, but if in the end law doesn’t require that the Brits extradite Assange to Sweden, whose government will sell him to Washington, Washington will bring an extradition case based on charges that are being concocted in a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia.”
Bob asked, “You mean Assange will be tried and condemned to death?” “Possibly,” Darin replied, “but Washington might be content with discrediting him. Washington would try him in Alexandria, Virginia, which has a high density of military contractors. If Washington concludes that the jury wouldn’t convict Assange, Assange will be ‘suicided’ in prison.”
“Is there anywhere Assange can go to escape the frame-up?”
“There is nowhere he can go. If he were to go to Cuba, Washington would offer an end to the embargo in exchange for Assange. If he went to Venezuela, Washington would offer to call off its assault on the Chavez regime in exchange for Assange. He couldn’t go to China or Russia, because they don’t want their own secrets revealed. If he were to go to Iran, it would be used to confirm the charge that he is a spy.”
“Why is Washington so obsessed with Assange?”
“It is power taking its revenge. Assange has made government transparency a moral issue and made people aware that classification and secrecy serve to hide government crimes and deception. This has empowered whistleblowers.”
“Won’t there be other whistleblowers?”
“Not without Wikileaks. Formerly, whistleblowers would release documents to the media. However, whistleblowers have learned that the law that was enacted to protect them is not obeyed in the post-9/11 environment, and the media has learned that the First Amendment has lost much of its authority. It has become too dangerous for whistleblowers to step forward. Moreover, whistleblowers have learned that even the New York Times first checks with the government before the paper prints a leak. Remember, the Times sat for one year on the leak from NSA that the Bush administration was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spying on Americans without obtaining warrants from the FISA court. The Times published only after Bush was reelected. Wikileaks is the only way whistleblowers can get the word out.”
“You mean if the government convicts Assange it is the end of Wikileaks?”
“Yes. If Assange is convicted of spying, then ipso facto a successor would be a spy. The ability of whistleblowers to bring accountability to government is about to disappear.”