Very often an arrest in this society is not just the loss of freedom for one person, it is a deliberate attack on the free flow of information. Especially information regarding the dealings of "our" representatives, a lot of which takes place behind closed doors. Decisions are made that dramatically affect all our lives, but we are not privy to those decision making processes. The government and the people are two entirely different entities, the government assumes the right to know everything about you, but you are not allowed to know all about the government. This arrangement is safeguarded by a vast array of secret service agencies, which work away diligently protecting the institution of the state, and the power and privileges of those who are in control. We, the ordinary people, will be fed misinformation, lies, trivia, propaganda, and overdoses of the culture of the celebrity, all bubble gum and candy floss to keep us happy and our thoughts away from what controls our lives, and in a lot of cases, our death.
Democracy is probably the most misused and most misunderstood word on our planet, our representatives will spout it as what we have, and what the state is trying to protect. However, democracy, if it ever has lived, is most certainly an alien land to the society we inhabit today, an anathema to the state.
Those individuals who dare expose this subterfuge and duplicity, and to pass on to the public these inner dark dealings of the state are vilified, persecuted and in most case silenced. Lies and subterfuge are the daily tools of the secret agencies, and with the sophisticated surveillance techniques of the modern world, all of us are suspect, and can and are, monitored in our every day actions. The world of trivia and fantasy that swamps our lives is the state's propaganda wing issuing us with paracetamol to take away the pain, in an attempt to keep us happy and our thoughts away from the world we actually inhabit.
Sorry George Orwell, we ignored you.
The following is an extract from an article by Chris Hedges:
We have watched over the last decade as freedom of the press and legal protection for those who expose government abuses and lies have been obliterated by wholesale government surveillance and the criminalizing of the leaking and, with Julian’s persecution, publication of these secrets. The press has been largely emasculated in the United States. The repeated use of the Espionage Act, especially under the Obama administration, to charge and sentence whistleblowers has shut down our ability to shine a light into the inner workings of power and empire. Governmental officials with a conscience, knowing all of their communications are monitored, captured and stored by intelligence agencies, are too frightened to reach out to reporters. The last line of defense lies with those with the skills that allow them to burrow into the records of the security and surveillance state and with the courage to make them public, such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond, now serving a 10-year prison term in the United States for hacking into the Texas-based private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor. The price of resistance is high not only for them, but for those such as Julian willing to publish this information. As Sarah Harrison has pointed out: “This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it.”
Even if Julian were odious, which he is not, even if he carried out a sexual offense, which he did not, even if he was a poor houseguest—a bizarre term for a man trapped in a small room for nearly seven years under house arrest—which he was not, it would make no difference. Julian is not being persecuted for his vices. He is being persecuted for his virtues.
His arrest eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities carried by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments in the seizure of Julian two months ago from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power, no matter what their nationality, will be hunted down around the globe and seized, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where journalism is outlawed and replaced with propaganda, trivia, entertainment and indoctrination to make us hate those demonized by the state as our enemies.
The arrest of Julian marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism and constant state surveillance, now far advanced in China, that will soon define our lives. The destruction of all protection of the rule of law, which is what we are witnessing, is essential to establishing an authoritarian or totalitarian state.
The BBC China correspondent Stephen McDonell was locked out of WeChat in China a few days ago after posting photos of the candlelight vigil in Hong Kong marking 30 years since student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square were gunned down by Chinese soldiers in June 1989.
“Chinese friends started asking on WeChat what the event was?” he wrote. “Why were people gathering? Where was it? That such questions were coming from young professionals here shows the extent to which knowledge of Tiananmen 1989 has been made to disappear in China. I answered a few of them, rather cryptically, then suddenly I was locked out of WeChat.”
In order to get back on WeChat he had to agree that he was responsible for spreading “malicious rumors” and provide what is called a faceprint.
“I was instructed to hold my phone up—to ‘face front camera straight on’—looking directly at the image of a human head. Then told to ‘Read numbers aloud in Mandarin Chinese.’ My voice was captured by the App at the same time it scanned my face.”
Governmental abuse of WeChat, he wrote, “could deliver to the Communist Party a life map of pretty much everybody in this country, citizens and foreigners alike. Capturing the face and voice image of everyone who was suspended for mentioning the Tiananmen crackdown anniversary in recent days would be considered very useful for those who want to monitor anyone who might potentially cause problems.”
This is almost certainly our future, and it is a future that Julian has fought courageously to prevent.