By Srećko Horvat and cross-posted from Counterpunch.org
When the ruling class is in panic mode, their first reaction is to hide the panic.
They react out of cynicism: when their masks are revealed, instead of running around naked, they usually point the finger at the mask they wear. These days the whole world could witness a postmodern version of the infamous quote “Let them eat cake”, attributed to Marie-Antoinette, queen of France during the French Revolution.
As a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing his emails, John Podesta, the man behind Hillary Clinton’s campaign, posted a photo of a dinner preparation, saying “I bet the lobster risotto is better than the food at the Ecuadorian Embassy”.
A similar version of vulgar cynicism emerged earlier this month when Hillary Clinton reacted to the claim that she reportedly wanted to “drone” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (“Can’t we just drone this guy?”) when she was the US Secretary of State. Instead of denying her comments, Clinton said that she doesn’t recall any such joke, “It would have been a joke if it had been said, but I don’t recall that”.
One doesn’t have to read between the lines to understand that if Hillary Clinton had said that, she would have considered it a joke. But when emperors joke, it usually has dire consequences for those who are the objects of their “humor.”
Cyber-war Not with Russia…but WikiLeaks
During the last few months I have visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London several times and each time I came out of the Embassy, where he is spending his fifth year in political asylum under legitimate fear he might be extradited to the US, my thought was the following one: although he lives, without his family, in a postmodern version of solitary confinement (even prisoners are allowed to walk for up to one hour a day), although he has no access to fresh air or sunlight for more than 2000 days, although the UK government recently denied him safe passage to a hospital for an MRI scan, if his access to the internet would be cut off this would be the most severe attack on his physical and mental freedom.
The last time I saw him, which was only two weeks ago, he expressed the fear that, because he had already published leaks concerning US elections and with more to come, the US might find various ways to silence him, including pressuring Ecuador or even shutting down the internet.
What seemed a distant possibility only two weeks ago, soon became a self-fulfilling prophecy…