John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

Remember Wikileaks?

It was all over the news last year, after releasing the Iraq War Logs, which revealed that the U.S. military failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, rape, murder, you name it, by Iraqi police and soldiers over the period from 2004 to 2009, among other oversights.

The Logs also showed that tens of thousands more Iraqi civilians had been killed in the war started by President George Bush in 2003 – a war that, I have to say, ought never to have happened, based as it was on lies and deception by our own government, aimed at misleading us into supporting the war.

Earlier releases by Wikileaks, such as the video of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike that killed a bunch of Iraqi journalists, had already made the organization a main target of U.S. authorities. They’ve been trying ever since to silence what I see as a kind of online town crier, only the news is about the world instead of some little hamlet in the mountains somewhere.

Wikileaks, and its reputed founder, Julian Assange, have kept at it, though the mainstream media seem to have let the story go.

Given the corporate nature of the mainstream media, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear some day of a secret agreement between the U.S. intelligence community and the news barons, hoping to kill Wikileaks with silence if they couldn’t find any other way to do it.

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Anyway, in April of this year, Wikileaks began publishing batches of files related to the prisoners being housed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

According to reports about those files, they show that 150 or so innocent Afghani and Pakistani were held at Gitmo, as it is known. That amounts to roughly a fifth of all the prisoners ever held there, a total of about 750 or so.

And the Wikileaks files were written by muckety-mucks in the Pentagon, after they had conducted interviews and assessments of the Gitmo population.

According to the files, the innocent detainees included farmers, chefs, old men and young boys, who apparently had no connection to terrorism or military acts against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. And remember, it was only combatants from our decade-old war in Afghanistan that Gitmo was intended to house.

No wonder the boys in the Pentagon were pissed off when this news hit the streets. Far from rounding up “the worst of the worst” of our Afghani enemies, which is what we’ve been told by countless government mouthpieces, we had scooped up a random assortment of brown-skinned nationals and tossed them into cells without cause.

So, let’s see, we were lied to about why we went to war against Iraq, we’ve been lied to about the nature of the detainees in Gitmo. Kind of makes one wonder if we’ve ever been told the truth about anything having to do with the military adventurism of the Bush administration.

Of course, there are many other lies we have been fed, crossing so many lines of thought and acts of the government, it’s hard to keep track.

So we’re holding it to a particular point here, which is this.

Our government continues, inexcusably in my eyes, to expend vast amounts of money and resources to go after Julian Assange, seeking to put him in a cell every bit as nasty as the cells in Gitmo, and throw away the key.

Government prosecutors have forced Dynadot, a California Internet registrar that once hosted Wikileaks, to turn over undisclosed documentation about Assange. A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., has been conducting what is called “a long-running investigation into Wikileaks.”

We, as a nation of supposedly freedom-loving patriots and advocates of open government, should put a stop to this.

Assange has done nothing more than reveal that the Emperor has no clothes. His only “crime” is that he has done this repeatedly, while still managing to evade the illegitimate noose that federal prosecutors hope to drop around his neck.

Assange has become the poster boy for transparency in government, and civil disobedience against government gone astray, and he should get a medal hung around his neck, not a noose.

jcolson@aspentimes.com

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