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Speaking Power to Truth

[Editor’s Note: The following post is by TDV contributor, Wendy McElroy]

If you wish to speak the truth, then leave America. On American soil, the truth will not set you free; it can kill you.

Julian Assange knows this. In 2010, his organization WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of confidential documents; they pulled back the curtain on the lies and atrocities that constituted the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

For aiding and abetting the truth, Assange confronted extradition to Sweden on flimsy charges, from where he would have been extradited to America and charged with treason despite being Australian. He sought sanctuary in Ecuador's embassy in London. On the one-year anniversary of his haven, Assange stated, “…if the Swedish government immediately drops their request tomorrow, I still cannot leave this embassy.” Why? “If I walk out the front door I could be arrested in relation to the United States.” A complicit UK has stationed police officers outside the embassy and in its lobby at a cost of nearly $6 million (as of the end of May.)

Bradley Manning knows the price of speaking truth on American soil. He is the US soldier who provided the classified material to WikiLeaks. Arrested in May 2010, he has spent over three years in jail without being convicted of a crime. Shortly after Manning's imprisonment, Adrian Lamo – the man who turned Manning in – assured an audience that the friend he betrayed would be treated well. “We don’t torture our own citizens,” Lamo said.