They laughed because they were untouchable, not because what I said was wrong.
Let me start with a few core truths about Julian Assange:
- Even if this man was a rapist – he isn’t 1 – that is not and never was why he is under lock and key and should make no difference to our response to his terrible plight.
- Even if he is personally obnoxious – I’ve no way of knowing either way, and despise such tittle-tattle and the ends it serves; more often through clueless pomposity than conscious propaganda – it should again make no difference.
- Not a single allegation by Wikileaks has been disproved, though all are in principle falsifiable.
- That Wikileaks revelations put human lives at risk has been resoundingly disproved. The smear was dropped by prosecutors in the trial of Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning but widely sold and credulously bought in respect of Julian Assange. 2
- Wikileaks told the world of the crimes and hypocrisy of Washington and its junior partners. 3 For this, Obama (his enthusiasm soon eclipsed by fear of the ramifications) then Trump and now Biden want to lock Julian up and throw away the key. To which end America, with the help of vassal states like Sweden and above all Britain 4 – through its supine leaders, shameful media and a criminal justice system now exposed for all with eyes to see 5 …
… has shat on his legal rights … conspired to murder him … spied on his counsel … shown up the political exemption clause in Britain’s one-sided extradition treaty with the USA for the sham it truly is … jailed him for years without trial … drugged and subjected him to forms of psychological torture to which his once handsome features now bear eloquent testimony …
And by these and other calculated evils – all hugely if ironically aided by prolonged and systematic media character assassination – sent the crudest of messages to journalists the world over:
Fuck with the the US Empire at your peril.
All of which I’ve said before, and many times. So what’s new? A couple of things. One, if you haven’t seen it, do check out the appearance on TalkTV – Piers Morgan hosting – of the lawyer who married her client and bore him two children, as she confronts the neoliberal warmonger who served Bush I, Bush 2 and, before publicly falling out with him, Donald Trump.
Stella Assange remains calm and poised. John Bolton laughs in her face and opines that the 175 year stretch facing her husband is too lenient. Below the line, viewers give their verdicts.
And my second snippet? Free Assange events are taking place on five continents tomorrow, Saturday, October 8th.
In London there’s a Surround the Hung Parliament event. Meet just before 1pm at Parliament Square, SW1A QAA, to encircle that den of ill repute with a human chain.
In Washington DC there’s a Hands Off Julian demonstration outside the Department of Justice on 950 Pennsylvania Avene. This will be addressed by such luminaries as Jill Stein and Chris “let’s-stop-pretending-the-USA-is-a-democracy” Hedges.
Similar events are to take place in:
- Australia – Melbourne
- Canada – Ottowa, Toronto and Victoria
- France – Paris
- Germany – Hamburg
- New Zealand – Wellington
- South Africa – Pretoria
- USA – Bendigo, Denver, Seattle and, for those within a 24 hour drive of the place, Tulsa
Other events, some online, are planned for Brazil and Mexico. If you can get to one I urge you to do so.
Why? Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.
* * *
- Julian not a rapist? Feel free to take me up on this, but do so on the basis of facts and a clear grasp of (a) the burden of proof, (b) the original complaint in Sweden and (c) the motivation of history’s most powerful empire to get him by any means necessary.
- See this 2011 piece by Glenn Greenwald and, since the issue raised its head a decade later at the kangaroo hearings in London of the US request for Julian’s extradition, see also this steel city post. Alongside other substantive issues on which corporate media maintained near total silence – the Guardian having most to fear – this question of who released tens of thousands of documents, some of which may indeed have put people at risk, is explored in detail. Spoiler alert: it was – ta-da – the Guardian!
- Try searching on “most damning revelations by wikileaks”. You’ll do better with a non-censored browser and search engine like Tor and Duck Duck Go but even Chrome, Edge, Safari etc with Google will throw up more than most people ever want to know.
- I single out the vile conduct of (some of) the Swedish authorities and most egregiously the British. (Note the rebuke to its Swedish counterpart – “don’t you dare get cold feet now!” – of the Crown Prosecution Service under the leadership of Keir Starmer. Amusing and revealing is the way prime minister Boris Johnson, looking for any available weapon – however ill suited given his own position – threw this at Sir Keir in a heated Commons exchange of February this year.) But the indifference of so many other DC vassal states should not be overlooked. Least of all that of Julian’s own country, whose government lifted ne’er a craven finger.
- In fact the much vaunted separation of executive and judicial arms of the state had been given the lie years earlier when Tony Blair halted a major SFO investigation into the bribing of Saudi royals by UK arms manufacturers. As for that other hallowed separation, of legislative from executive branches of government, Richard Murphy nailed it two days ago in his withering analysis of Britain today: “Parliament is undermined … Executive powers taken without opportunity for scrutiny. Ministers show contempt for parliament when announcing policy.