"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."


December 16, 2010

United for Peace of Pierce County supports the First Amendment right of WikiLeaks to publish material given to it in the public interest by whistleblowers.

It is simply a fact that WikiLeaks has a clear record of exposing crime and injustice.  Despite all the blustering, there is to date no evidence whatsoever that a single person has been harmed or killed because of its activities.  What opinion polls show most Americans believe—that Wikileaks is a malign entity bent upon harming the United States and risking lives—is not a fact.  It is a myth.  There is a real need for American public opinion to be educated on this subject, and we hope with this statement to be doing our part to counter an intense media campaign of disinformation.

Historically, the United States has stood for freedom of the publishers to inform the people.  This is a matter of fundamental American values, especially in our time.  Representative democratic government becomes a sham when citizens don't know what is being done in their name.  Instead of persecuting Julian Assange, we suggest that the U.S. invite him to Washington, D.C., on May 1-3, 2011, to participate in UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day and to discuss his views.

At present, American society is at an impasse.  Core values of freedom and fairness are being flouted at home as permanent war abroad is institutionalized.  Inequality is rising, the American people's basic needs are being ignored, huge tax cuts are being extended for millionaires and billionaires, and our infrastructure is decaying as the shoulders of our children and our grandchildren are being laden with backbreaking debt to pay for futile wars on the other side of the globe.

Among themselves, wealthy elites cynically raise their glasses to toast paid ideologues who have succeeded in convincing most Americans that economic and social frustrations are really moral questions to which religion holds the key.  But revelations from Wikileaks have interrupted the party.  They have opened the door, turned on some lights, and showed the rest of us some of what has been going on behind the closed doors of governments and corporations.

We're delighted that earlier today Julian Assange was released from London's Wandsworth Prison, where he was reportedly held in cell once occupied by Oscar Wilde.  But the celebrity journalism around the Assange (and Bradley Manning, who is being held in inhumane conditions at the Marine Corps Brig at Quantico, Virginia, and who also deserves support) risks obscuring the fact that Wikileaks is less a cause than an effect.

Wikileaks uses modern technology to counter the power of the global elites who have been gaming the system to produce results that increase still further their self-interested domination of the globe.  It is this power that has enabled them to wage pseudo-defensive wars of aggression as they manipulate public opinion by means of a media system they control.  A neo-Orwellian world is being birthed in our time.

Wikileaks is a contrarian response to this project.  And it is a healthy response.  We are told that the world is a dangerous place.  We are told that Wikileaks is making it more dangerous.  Precisely the opposite is true.  The advent of Wikileaks is especially healthy for the United States, where a conceptually absurd "War on Terror" and incessant fearmongering in the name of "national security" have empowered our government to do whatever it likes to whomever it chooses while Congress abdicates both its power and its responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution.

We need to know more, not less, about what governments and corporations are doing.  Julian Assange, therefore, is no enemy of ours and he is no enemy of yours.  He is no enemy of the American people.  Yet our Department of Justice has made it clear it intends to give him the Fahrenheit 451 treatment:  to be tracked and hunted down while we watch the chase on our parlor walls.

Bradbury's 1953 novel seems more prophetic every day.  But Bradbury failed to foresee the Internet, which is proving more threatening to entrenched power than paper ever did.  Had he written a decade later, Bradbury might have entitled his book Fahrenheit 2577: the melting point of the silicon chip.



"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."