POLITICS AND FREEDOM

Julian Assange & the Authoritarian Impulse

The saga is over but the damage is forever done

'bumpyjonas…
The Polis
Published in
5 min readJun 25, 2024

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Julian Assange during a press conference attended by international media, — David G. Silvers, Cancillería del Ecuador — CC BY SA 2.0.

It should not have come to this with the Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange. Assange was finally released yesterday after pleading guilty to one charge of treason (against the U.S.). This is an attack on press freedom and the First Amendment that began under President George W. Bush. The U.S. should be ashamed.

But not much shames the United States these days. This is probably why my country continues to drift towards authoritarianism with a wannabe dictator (Donald Trump) waiting to be anointed again.

And yes, this is an authoritarian moment. One of the main tenets of authoritarian governance is its attacks on free speech and the press. In all of the authoritarian countries today, press freedom is constantly under challenge or is already tightly controlled. Assange who launched his groundbreaking, cutting edge digital oversight website Wiki Leaks just as George W. Bush’s “war on terror” accelerated, crossed the line and eventually he had to be put in his place. In turn, a message was sent to all journalists.

For those who don’t know the 18 year saga, here’s the timeline according to the BBC

  • 2006 — Assange co-founds Wikileaks — a…

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'bumpyjonas…
The Polis

word scratcher, baller...shot caller, born in a city made of chocolate.