Glenn Greenwald lays into fellow journalists for celebrating Assange’s arrest

A picture of Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange
Bryan Wall

Julian Assange has been arrested by the Met Police. Police entered the Ecuadorian embassy after its government withdrew his asylum. Journalists filmed Assange being carried outside by police. Assange had been in the embassy since 2012 after gaining diplomatic asylum.

Under his leadership, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder video which shows a US Apache helicopter crew killing civilians and journalists. And now, the US government has asked that Assange be extradited to the US because of this and other similar leaks published by WikiLeaks. All of this, as Glenn Greenwald has noted, clearly puts journalists at risk.

Reaction to the arrest

WikiLeaks quickly broke the news to the world that police had arrested Assange. It also pointed out that he had made many enemies by publishing information that governments wanted to be kept secret.

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As news of his arrest spread on social media, many people reacted with disbelief and anger. Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, said Assange was being unfairly persecuted:

Ryan Grim of the Intercept, meanwhile, wrote that Assange’s arrest “is a real test for the American media”. And Jeremy Scahill, also of the Intercept, declared that the arrest was “an assault on journalism”, insisting:

But it was their Intercept colleague Glenn Greenwald who really nailed the dangerous precedent of Assange’s arrest.

Greenwald on Assange and the future of journalism

The award-winning journalist called on some people in the media to “take a hard look in the mirror”.

He also said it was “fascinating” watching journalists from the New York Times celebrate Assange’s arrest:

But this is something he has seen before:

And he believes jealousy explains this reaction:

As a result, he feels “sick” seeing some journalists support the Trump administration’s persecution of Assange:

Name and shame

Greenwald also took aim at the Huffington Post’s White House correspondent, S.V. Dáte, in particular. Dáte has claimed that Assange is not a journalist and is instead “an ally of Vladimir Putin”. Because of this, Greenwald accused Dáte of “helping” the Trump administration:

Given Dáte’s comments, and pulling no punches, he argued that Dáte was “mindlessly repeating” US propaganda:

Understanding the risk

Greenwald also acknowledged that there are some journalists who understand the danger we are all in. And this means we have to set aside our personal feelings about WikiLeaks. He argued, for example, that even Micah Lee – someone with “contempt for Julian personally & politically” – appreciates the “dangerous precedent” of Assange’s indictment.

He also drew attention to other journalists who understand “the serious dangers to press freedoms” that Assange’s arrest represents:

Understanding power

Greenwald is right to point to the danger that Assange’s UK arrest poses for journalists. The fact that many mainstream journalists don’t want to admit this is an example of the problem with the establishment media. It’s too comfortable sucking up to governments and the powerful. As a consequence, it cheers on the persecution of anyone who challenges this arrangement. And Julian Assange is currently their main target.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons – David dos Dantos/ Wikimedia Commons – Cancillería del Ecuador

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    1. Thank God for journalists like Glenn Greenwald who have integrity and will stand up to the truth. The sad fact is that, as this worthless Tory Government moves so far to the right it is all but Fascist with an MSM as their official Propaganda machine, turning to the MSM for the truth, good investigative journalism and fair and impartial reporting is a worthless exercise. I am going to be bold and say there isn’t a shred of truth that I can see in any of certainly the gutter Press (i.e. the Tabloids) and even respected papers like the Guardian going into a right wing tail spin.

      This same Press whines on about Freedom of the Press when they are sanctioned or sued for Libel and chose to say it is unhealthy but the truth is, the MSM has little or no interest in truth just Power, Power and more Power. It is just as well that people are turning more and more to online and alternative media such as this site to get at the truth. Rupert Murdoch once boasted that he can make and break Governments in the UK. When the Tories are in Government yes he can because they rely on his cabal of papers to have them re-elected which means endless propaganda, vicious and malicious smears against Labour Opposition Leaders and MPs, creation of hysteria etc. All fuelled and fed by a Tory Government. I say this, we deserve better, much better than the gutter Press we have in this country today – I prefer sites like this, RT UK and others to read the truth. I hope a new Government who has the well-being on the Nation at heart to implement some curbs and controls on the MSM – it is so badly needed.

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