Hillary Clinton ally suggests Assange is a ‘fascist’. But Twitter hits back.

Neera Tanden
Mohamed Elmaazi

Neera Tanden, a long-time ally of former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, has joined other establishment insiders in celebrating the arrest of transparency activist Julian Assange. Tanden, a self-proclaimed “progressive” and president of the Center for American Progress (CAP) thinktank, took to Twitter to suggest Assange’s behaviour had been “fascist”:

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Many people on Twitter, however, clearly disagreed.

Journalist Aaron Maté called Tanden out:

Maté won the Izzy Award for his journalism critiquing Russiagate conspiracy theories pushed by the Democratic Party establishment and ‘mainstream’ press.

There is no evidence that Assange or WikiLeaks work for the Russian – or any other – government:

And as filmmaker Dame Cathy Vogan noted:

Others were even blunter:

Assange is wanted for exposing war crimes

Tanden’s use of Russophobic smears also ignores the fact that Trump’s government is seeking to prosecute Assange over his role in publishing the Iraq War Logs and Afghan War Diaries. Veterans for Peace UK (VfP UK) denounced what they called an act of ‘revenge’ for these disclosures, which:

revealed the true human cost of our wars in the Middle East.

VfP UK continued by saying:

Wikileaks acted in the public interest by releasing these documents and Julian Assange, as a journalist, was right to publish in association with newspapers including The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel.

Author Laurie Calhoun hammered this point home with a single link:

Calhoun linked to the infamous Collateral Murder videos published by WikiLeaks in 2010, exposing:

the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Criminalising journalism

Iraq veteran and Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard, meanwhile, has warned that the US government is trying to send a message to the press and the public:

Be careful, be quiet, and fall in line.

As Ron Mimnaugh noted:

Chris Floyd laid bare the contradictory nature of Tanden’s arguments:

Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

It’s also important to remember that Tanden advised Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign:

WikiLeaks also revealed that a key part of Clinton’s electoral strategy was to promote ‘extremists’ like Trump. This ‘Pied Piper’ strategy sought to ‘elevate’ Trump –  and other “extreme candidates” – on the hopes that they would win the 2016 Republican Party nomination.

The strategy document said:

many of the lesser known [Republican candidates] can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right.

And that:

we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme [Pied Piper] candidates…[including]:

• Ted Cruz

• Donald Trump

• Ben Carson

Tanden’s smear is even more ironic considering her heavily criticised soft-ball interview with far-right Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. WikiLeaks exposed Tanden’s cringeworthy assessment that the interview would protect the CAP against allegations of antisemitism.

Neera Tanden and Benjamin Netanyahu

Tanden clearly has many reasons to hate Assange and WikiLeaks. But opposition to ‘fascism’ isn’t one of them.

Featured image via Tom Tom Festival-YouTube – image of Nera Tanden and Benjamin Netanyahu via CAP-YouTube

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