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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

creeping fascism: Wikileaks’ Julian Assange arrested in London

The pushback against Wikileaks is getting scary: Founder Julian Assange was arrested in London today over a rape allegation lodged in Sweden.

I find it totally fascinating that Interpol — who had Assange on its most-wanted list — has begun to take such an interest in simple rape cases, which are very different from the organized sex trafficking that is typical of the kinds of sex crimes it would aid in the investigation of. I look forward, in fact, to all the governments that have been involved in pursuing and prosecuting Assange for rape taking this crime so seriously from now on. After all, as City of London District Judge Howard Riddle said in court today:

This case is not about WikiLeaks.

Of course it isn’t. It’s about rape, which our culture always treats as a serious crime. And how could any of this be about Wikileaks, since Wikileaks has committed no crime, and neither has Assange in connection with Wikileaks?

And if you believe all that…
Even more terrifying than the governmental attempts to intimidate and silence Assange and Wikileaks is how readily private corporations have leapt to collude in the intimidation and silencing. Amazon booted Wikileaks off its cloud-service servers “after being questioned by members of the staff of Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman.” What possible reason could PayPal have for freezing Wikileaks’ account other than fear of upsetting the overlords? Ditto Mastercard and Visa, which have just announced they won’t accept payments for Wikileaks?

Who’s next? Anyone who defends Wikileaks or expresses outrage about what’s being done to take Wikileaks down? Freedom of speech and a free Internet are at stake, and the wind is not blowing in the direction of freedom.

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