Dr. Jordan Peterson Interviews Stella Assange, Part 2
Last week we brought you Part 1 of our summary of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s enlightening interview with Stella Assange, wife and longtime attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. As you know, after years of self-imposed confinement inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, he’s now being held in a London prison and faces possible extradition to America to stand trial on espionage-related charges that could carry 170 years.
Part 1 shed light on what, exactly, Assange did and what his motivations were. As described by his wife, they were mostly that he hates deceit and sees where the digital age is taking us in the brave new world of so-called “journalism.” He wanted to make a statement with a large-scale action, and he sure did.
Stella also explained that the “new rules” we now see being “normalized” and applied to political dissidents — such as the collaboration between government and private industry to cripple them financially — were first used to go after Julian. Since Trump got into office, she said, the CIA has been obsessed with Julian and WikiLeaks. (Of course, we have to say it: they’re even more obsessed with Trump himself!)
Now, here’s Part 2.
A Strategy to Ensnare Assange
Given all that Assange might know, we’ve wondered in recent years about his safety. Stella speaks of an investigative piece from 2021 saying there had been a plan not only to kidnap but to assassinate him. It mostly got attention from far-left publications, likely because this concerned Trump’s CIA. (I have a feeling that if Assange is at this point a target for assassination, it’s because of deep-state Democrat concerns, certainly not Trump, who is all for transparency. Just a hunch.)
Before the government introduced espionage charges, Stella explains, they started with one charge in March 2018, over using his computer to help Chelsea Manning hide her identity when logging in. (She already could gain access but wanted anonymity.) They’re saying that he “agreed to help her hide her identity, which is what journalists do all the time,” she says.
The charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” carrying a five-year sentence, was used as a “PR exercise,” she says, to differentiate him in people’s minds from “other journalists.” Then came the add-on: 17 espionage charges. Even The New York Times and Washington Post ran editorials in support of him.
Dr. Peterson suggests that because of the “troublesome” security concerns and legal issues Julian is raising, the government’s strategy might be to ensnare him in a decades-long legal nightmare whether or not they could convict. (We would add, again, that this sounds much like what they’ve done to Trump.) There’s virtually no cost to them — except, of course, for the long-term damage it does to our institutions — but the cost to Julian is the rest of his life.
‘Just Shut Up and Take It’
Dr. Peterson, in fact, says he finds the claim by Julian’s attorneys that his legal travails have, over time, contributed to the decline of his mental health to be “highly probable.” He’s spoken with many who’ve suffered similar persecution, to a much lesser degree, and that’s what he saw in them. It’s a form of PTSD.
It shows “how serious this culture of unwarranted accusation and weaponization of the investigative process really is,” he says. The likelihood that this might happen to you or someone you know is “increasing dramatically.” And seeing it happen publicly to others is “making you muzzle your willingness to speak freely and act truly, in a manner that’s so pernicious and pervasive that you can hardly even imagine.”
(Note: sometimes what Dr. Peterson says off the top of his head is so spot-on, we especially like to put it in print. The above paragraph, which capsulizes perhaps the worst problem of our age, certainly qualifies.)
He speculates that for every Julian Assange who is actually persecuted “on the reputational front,” there are perhaps 10,000 who decide to “just shut up and take it.”
Moving the Goalposts
Stella says that for Julian, “the U.S. has been moving the goalposts constantly.” Halfway through the extradition hearings, for example, they produced a “superceding indictment,” saying they had a new witness — who had been given immunity — talking about Julian actually instructing hackers. (Note: this “superceding indictment” sounds like what they do to the January 6 detainees.) But that witness later said publicly that this is not what he told the FBI.
“The Department of ‘Justice’ has completely misled the British courts,” she says.
Under the Espionage Act of 1917, which was enacted during wartime to prosecute spies and critics of the war, all it takes to violate it is possessing — not necessarily even publishing — just one document marked “classified.” (Aside: that’s why they’re looking for even one “classified” document from Mar-A-Lago to be able to charge Trump.) After the war, the focus was on spies, and then it was turned on journalists who dared to expose government secrets. They argue that journalists have no “public interest” defense because this is an espionage statute. The line between espionage and journalism is being blurred. This is why even The NYT and WAPO became alarmed, and why everyone who reads and/or shares “unauthorized” news on their laptop should be.
‘This Case Is as Political as It Gets’
So, why stay in legal limbo rather than be extradited to America and fight within the legal system there? Stella says Julian is indeed using the law to fight what is a political persecution. If he went to America, she says, he’d be tried in a Virginia court, which is near CIA headquarters, “the same CIA that plotted to assassinate him.” He would be “under their complete control.” At least in the U.K., he can see her and their two children.
She doesn’t have faith in the “justice” system, either here or in the U.K. “This case is as political as it gets,” she says. She believes that in the U.S., the CIA might house Julian under what are called “special administrative measures,” which allow the prisoner only 30 minutes a month to speak to his family or attorney. About 50 prisoners in the U.S. are confined this way. He might also be placed at the SuperMax prison. A lower British court ruled last year that Julian should not be extradited because it would lead him to conditions that might drive him to take his own life.
Julian, she says, has a keen respect for the historical record and has always thought of WikiLeaks as a “Rebel Library of Alexandria.”
She says he’s shown how governments — even our own State Department — have behaved in a criminal manner when the stakes were high enough. In her words, “When we come to this level of power, there are no rules. The only rule is…‘might’ over ‘right.’”
According to Dr. Peterson, there’s a “beneficial antagonism” between journalists who want to expose secrets and states that want to keep them. “And it’s not appropriate for the state security agents, even though they have their domain, to interfere with the overarching freedom of expression and a free press,” he says.
Ah, but that’s what they’re doing, and every day they look for new ways to do it. Plenty of fake journalists are fine with being scribes for the state, at least when it’s run by “their” side. But real journalists are an endangered species in the digital age.
Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and longtime conservative commentator on issues in culture and current events. A New York Times best-selling author, he hosts the weekly talk show Huckabee on TBN.
Originally published at MikeHuckabee.com. Reprinted with permission.