Posted by Matthew Rothschild on December 07, 2010

So now Julian Assange is under arrest.

I’m in no position to fully weigh the evidence against him, and I take all allegations of rape and sexual misconduct seriously.

But I wonder: His accusers allegedly sent text messages and tweets boasting about having sex with him, and the allegations reportedly include that he didn’t use a condom when having consensual sex.

And I wonder: Would any other person charged on such flimsy evidence in Sweden really have interested British law enforcement?

What I know for an absolute fact is that the U.S. government is intent on destroying him.

They want to destroy him not for allegedly committing a sex crime but for committing the crime of journalism, for exercising the right of free speech and freedom of the press.

Until his arrest, the U.S. government seemed to be putting more pressure on him than Osama bin Laden.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said he had attacked not only the United States but the entire world.

Newt Gingrich demanded that he be named an enemy combatant and sent, I guess, to Guantanamo or Bagram.

Bill O’Reilly said he should be assassinated.

This is the most reactionary, repressive response to speech and to the press since Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon papers.

And it’s eerily reminiscent of a scene in “Fair Game” when Naomi Watts, playing Valerie Plame, yells at Sean Penn, playing her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson. She tells him that they are just two little people up against the White House, which can crush them.

It’s all the same issue: The empire can’t stand to have someone pointing out that it’s got no clothes on—or that it’s linen is dirty.

It doesn’t matter whether that person is Ellsberg, Ambassador Joe Wilson, or Julian Assange.

The empire will do what it can to destroy that person. And so it is.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Two Can Play the Extortion Game in Congress."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter