In 2003, a nation was still reeling from the effects of a deadly terrorist attack that cost thousands of lives. Like any crises, a scapegoat was needed to appease a stunned and angry nation, and it came in the form of Iraq. It was a time for unanimity; an unholy alliance was forged between the liberal media and neocon politicians. The mainstream media, led by outlets such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, became messengers of deceit and lies. The message was that Saddam Hussein had in his possession ‘weapons of mass destruction’; it was relayed by news organizations without any cross-examination whatsoever.
Today, the official count of civilian deaths in the Iraq war stands somewhere around 460,000 and there is still no evidence that Saddam Hussein had stored weapons of mass destruction. The thousands of poor, impoverished civilians that were butchered in this needless war had no voice, until Julian Assange—the founder of Wikileaks.
In 2010, Assange released the most damning evidence of the US government’s atrocities in Iraq. Military footage was leaked to Wikileaks that showed civilians and journalists being mowed down by bullets from a US Apache helicopter. The dead included Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Elden and his driver Saeed Chmagh. A few moments after the initial attack, a van appeared with men who attempted to rescue the injured. The helicopter open fired on them as well. Later, servicemen who approached the blood-drenched street found two half-dead children, a boy and a girl, among the slain.
Fast forward to nine years later and Julian Assange is being prepared to stand trial before the very institutions that had enacted this barbaric crime against humanity. Assange is being charged with ‘conspiracy,’ but little is being said about the conspiracy of state actors who had engaged in a bloody war against defenseless men, women, and children. Indeed, what is a conspiracy if isn’t beating the drums of wars and lies?
The states who engaged in this atrocious war had waved a myth around the masses. They weaved this web of lies in such a way so that they could appeal to human beings longing for God and justice and, at the same time, unleash a machine of human sacrifice upon a foreign society. The media’s drums of propaganda entranced a nation and when unanimity was achieved the high priests of the state let loose. Media outlets like CNN and Fox News praised the glorious ‘fight for freedom,’ but nothing was said of the dark killings that happened beyond the embedded journalism that was designed for western audiences. It continued for years until Assange came along.
Assange’s Wikileaks was like bitter vinegar to the media’s sugary and pulpy interpretation of war; it was obvious that he wasn’t needed. State authorities immediately arrested the leaker of the footage, Chelsea Manning; but they couldn’t get Julian Assange. The founder of Wikileaks was now a fugitive, but the footage of the attack had broken the myth; its raw truth proclaimed the aesthetic of Christ’s crucifixion, that no innocent man should suffer at the hands of a violent mob, no matter how many lies are concocted in order to justify it.
Not only did Assange give us the raw truth about vicious wars against civilians overseas, but he gave us the raw truth about the manipulation of masses in our own nations. In 2016, Wikileaks released a series of emails that revealed how the media had conspired with the Democratic Party leaders to rig the primaries. Once adored by the so-called antiwar Left, Assange was now hated by them for simply revealing the truth. The elite liberals in the west proclaim social justice. The elite conservatives proclaim “objective” truth. Neither love Assange, which is strange because, in a sense, Assange reveals that both groups love violence and persecution and neither love justice and truth.
The political and social fixation on violence can only be broken by embracing the truth. Truth is often bitter and hard to swallow, but it is necessary. State actors – including both the politicians and the media – work to keep the masses hypnotized so that violence can be continuously perpetuated. Such behavior is demonic and blasphemous, and it should never be embraced in a society where, supposedly, seventy percent of the population claim Jesus, the ultimate truth-teller, as their savior. Such a society should not partake in the making of laws that persecute truth tellers. In such a society, men should look to Jesus and continually repent.
Christ’s crucifixion became for us the lens through which we can reveal and deconstruct the lies of worldliness. Truth became, for us, the image of an innocent man being brutally slain by a violent mob. Jesus is the way, truth, and life. The video of the Apache attack in Baghdad brings back those haunting moments. So what if we don’t ‘like’ it? Should we persecute Assange as the mobs in the first centuries persecuted the apostles of Christ? We can try all we want in order to justify Assange’s persecution, but the truth is: Christ has defeated the lie of violence, and there is nothing we can do to overturn this victory. We are forever haunted by the crucifixion at Calvary and our conscience is captive to it.
The state and its co-conspirators are in their death throes; they try in vain to cover up the skeletons of sacrificial victims in their dirty closets and claim morality at the same time. They are no match for Christ. Any proclaimer of truth is an ally of Christ. Any persecutor of truth is an enemy of Christ. Assange is not perfect; he is a sinner like the rest of us. Nevertheless, he is a truth-teller, and the worshippers of the greater truth-teller would do well to stand up for him; our very species depend on it.