Britain’s shame as Julian is freed

26 Jun

Julian Assange is free. The criminals whose blood-soaked deeds he exposed and who had him locked up for years, many in isolation at one of Britain’s harshest jails, require one last penance of him. In a grotesque but for now final mockery of justice, the criminals demand he plead guilty to a crime of which he is innocent. Then he may go home to wife and children. His conditions of release will, inter alia, prevent his taking residence in a country – China or Russia would be my choice – where he would be safe from further vindictiveness.

A liberal intelligentsia which (at best) said nothing in the face of this man’s years of persecution should hang its collective head in shame. Those whose character assassinations of the greatest journalist ever – if breath-taking extent of evil exposed is our guide – did so much to enable his ordeal should never be allowed to forget it.


Jonathan Cook gets it right:

Many good people – Scott Ritter, Judge Napolitano, Alexander Mercouris, Craig Murray, Roger Waters, Brian Berletic and WSWS for example, though the list is far longer – have written and spoken of Julian’s release. Here I single out the Reverend Chris Hedges, writing on Consortium News:

You Saved Julian Assange

The dark machinery of empire, whose mendacity and savagery Julian Assange exposed to the world, spent 14 years trying to destroy him. They cut him off from his funding, canceling his bank accounts and credit cards. They invented bogus charges of sexual assault to get him extradited to Sweden, where he would then be shipped to the U.S. 

They trapped him in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for seven years after he was given political asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship by refusing him safe passage to Heathrow Airport. They orchestrated a change of government in Ecuador that saw him stripped of his asylum, harassed and humiliated by a pliant embassy staff. They contracted the Spanish security firm UC Global in the embassy to record all his conversations, including those with his attorneys. 

The C.I.A. discussed kidnapping or assassinating him. They arranged for London’s Metropolitan Police to raid the embassy — sovereign territory of Ecuador — and seize him. They held him for five years in the high security HM Prison Belmarsh, often in solitary confinement. 

And all the while they carried out a judicial farce in the British courts where due process was ignored so an Australian citizen, whose publication was not based in the U.S. and who, like all journalists, received documents from whistleblowers, could be charged under the Espionage Act.

[See: How America’s Official Secrets Act Ensnared Julian Assange]

They tried over and over and over to destroy him. They failed. But Julian was not released because the courts defended the rule of law and exonerated a man who had not committed a crime. He was not released because the Biden White House and the intelligence community have a conscience. He was not released because the news organizations that published his revelations and then threw him under the bus, carrying out a vicious smear campaign, pressured the U.S. government. 

He was released — granted a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department, according tcourt documents — in spite of these institutions. He was released because day after day, week after week, year after year, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe mobilized to decry the imprisonment of the most important journalist of our generation. Without this mobilization, Julian would not be free.

Read the full piece at Consortium News …

“Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe mobilised to decry the imprisonment of the most important journalist of our generation …”  

Indeed. But too few were Britons. For this truth the Guardian merits especial contempt. As is its wont on matters vital to power, it did sterling work in making it OK for people of conscience on other issues to wash their hands of this one. Their sneering disrespect of Julian emboldened war criminals to drape their vendetta in the thinnest and most transparent – for the few who looked – of legal cloaks. How do I know? Because I heard the pomposities of clueless friends, read know-nothing drivel below the line at Guardian and elsewhere, and saw it all bear fruit in pitifully low turn-out at demonstrations and rallies outside law courts and Home Office.

My previous post, on the June 23 attacks on that Crimea beach, saw Alexander Mercouris and Brian Berletic take the atrocity as a way into a wider dialogue on empire in panic. They begin though with Julian’s release. Alexander asks how such egregious and multiple floutings of due process and rule of law, in a land which prides itself on its justice system, could have met with such indifference from the British public.

Consider this post yesterday on the Funding the Future blogsite of the accountant, tax specialist and modern monetary theorist, Richard Murphy:

I admit that I have never been Julian Assange’s greatest fan. I met him once, and decided that I could not deal with him. Something made me uneasy, and on occasion, you have to act on instinct …

Do you? Really? Does “instinct” – so often a fancy word for superstition and prejudice – count for more with you than the enormity of verifiable crimes exposed by this man?

That said, his treatment by governments in the UK, US and maybe elsewhere, has been utterly inappropriate. So, I welcome his effective release today

No thanks to you, pal. And “inappropriate” in this context is like saying the Salem Witch Trials had aspects of procedural irregularity.

But I would still not handle the materials he leaked because I am not convinced he helped his cause by doing what he did.

Do say more! It just might signal that you have the foggiest idea what you’re talking about.

We need a free press. We need the right to question. Most of all, we need an effective fourth estate. Democracy cannot exist without that.

“… most of all we need truly independent media. Since we have no such thing, we have no democracy.”

There – fixed it for you.

But I am not sure by how much he advanced that cause and that is why I have never been persuaded that his judgement was worth trusting.

Again, do say more Richard, lest the casual eye be deceived into thinking you know the square root of fuck-all about what Julian did, and the price he has paid.


I was pleased to see that such mealymouthed and regally ignorant pomposity – from a man of whom, within narrow limits and paired with caveats and disclaimers, I often write approvingly – got pushback from two of his readers …

Helen Heenan says:

I have to disagree on this one. Assange had the full co-operation of two mainstream newspapers here and in the US, who published and promoted Wikileaks, and who then abandoned him. He exposed government wrongdoing, as did Daniel Ellsberg in the Vietnam war. We need truth tellers, and these men were punished brutally for exposing government lies, crimes, and hypocrisy.

… and even more pleased to see that Helen Heenan’s BTL was picked up and extended by a steel city reader. Well said Inga!

Inga Marie Horwood says:

They didn’t just abandon him, they turned on him – and even unleashed their “satirists” on him. The campaign to demonise him was thorough and persistent. So persistent it is being reprised all over the MSM today. These are the people who refuse to call a genocide a genocide: why should we accept their judgment?

Beautifully put, and a question that should surely be exercising all persons of intelligence and moral conscience: why indeed would we trust people who refuse to call a genocide a genocide on anything at all? 1

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  1. For light on this, see The Gell-Mann amnesia effect.

14 Replies to “Britain’s shame as Julian is freed

  1. I occasionally read stuff on Richard Murphy’s blogsite and I’m surprised to see he’s written this drivel. I don’t know if it’s something in the brains of otherwise intelligent people that makes them get something like the case of Julian Assange so wrong. But good to see he got pushback from his readers.

    The response of the corporate press to Julian’s release has been predictably deplorable. Still peddling the lies that he faced rape charges, and that he endangered lives. The BBC need particular mention for the awful shite they’ve written about him this week. (Of course Owen Jones stuff the knife in along with all the rest at the Guardian at the height of the smear campaign against Julian).

    It was very moving to see him arrive in Australia and be reunited with his family a free man. When I first saw bulletins saying he was free the other day I thought it too good to be true, maybe a hoax or just a rumour, but no.

    Alongside the joy of seeing this courageous man free, I, like yourself and millions around the world, are thinking of all those still suffering around the world. If I was religious I’d say God help them, but I’m not, so people have to just keep fighting for an end to wars and injustice.

    • Hi Margaret. I’ve long known the prof to be myopic. He has similarly brainwashed views on the Ukraine war and Putin. But if you read his post’s comment, where he engages BTL, he reveals a snarky and stubborn deafness to reason I hadn’t seen in him before.

      I won’t deplatform him. Within those narrow limits of MMT and Quaker morality he can be good. But this unpleasant and previously unsuspected side to him is not something I’ll easily forget.

      • What became evident to me about seven or eight years back when I used to read Murphy’s blog regularly is that Murphy cannot take or cope with criticism on anything.

        He comes across as believing that he is infallible on every subject under the sun and does a snarky level John McEnroe temper tantrum whenever someone takes him to task or questions him on any of his pronouncements. Which usually results in him taking his bat and ball home via a ban from commenting on his web site.

        He reminds me very much of the Chicago Professor in Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’. For sure, he is very useful in terms of his narrow area of expertise but well out of his depth beyond those confines. The kind of display’s of an eggshell ego referred to are likely to be a significant factor in limiting the impact of his arguments.

        In that regard he is, unfortunately, his own worst enemy. After all, no listens to an obvious mardy arse.

      • Hi Phil,
        One of the reasons I did deplatform him was precisely because he doesn’t deal well with those who disagree with his point of view, or even ask a question or further explanation, he was snarky, rude and just plain ignorant.

        • I agree with your character assessment Susan, but still find him useful within his narrow confines. He is proving effective in calling out the cruel stupidity of ‘austerity’.

  2. Not to forget Novara Media who never seem to let class analysis get in the way of ID politics. They did it with Corbyn and weaponised anti semetism but relevent to this subject here is Ash Sarkar from back in 2020 “But it is in the first sense that anyone who considers themselves as on the side of justice must stand with a woman who’s been waiting nearly a decade for her day in court. And that means supporting Assange’s extradition to Sweden, on the condition that onward extradition to the US is blocked by Swedish and British authorities.”

    • Novara are on the periphery of my radar but despite doing some good work they earned my mistrust when, in a piece on George Galloway following the magnificent Rochdale result, Michael Walker and Aaron Bastani poured scorn on his ‘denialism’ of Bucha as a Russian atrocity. See my March 2 post, Gaza to Rochdale …

      As you say, they aren’t ones for letting class analysis (including anti-imperialism) get in the way of ID politics.

  3. I used to quite admire Novara years ago, but as time passed, became aware of how wrong and basically thick they were on so many things. They fell for the antisemitism scam, the Bucha massacre false claims blaming Russia, when doing the fairly simple thing of actually examining the evidence, the facts would have obvious. But no, too blind, too gullible.

    Another thing that became obvious to me years ago was that the Novara people bloody loved being invited onto MSM platforms, where they could slag off Corbyn and anyone else who was the enemy of the day.

    You can’t be on both sides of the media, you’re either independent or corporate. Can’t be both. But Novara are fake lefties. Love the sounds of their own voices while throwing good people under the bus.

    The final straw for me was Ash Sarkar tweeting this: “Julian Assange, definite creep, probable rapist”. Awful self regarding woman.

    • Interesting you say that Margaret. Alexander Mckay over at the Marx Engels Lenin Institute says exactly the same, fake lefties looking for permanent adulation in the mainstream. By the way Alex did a great deconstruction of the immigration policies of the Tories, Labour and Reform

  4. Ok great thanks Gerald. I’ll take a look at that. I’m not familiar with Alexander Mckay’s work but I find the more I read independent thought, the more links to other good writings come my way.

  5. I must confess, to my shame, that for a while I was taken in by the Guardian and their stuff about Julian. I began to wonder if there really was something ‘off’ about him else why would people I thought could be trusted be saying all this about him when he’d clearly performed a service to us all by revealing these truths? Then I thought, hang on, who benefits here? And began to research. I’m a slow learner in some areas (not in others though) as it was the Guardian’s take on Julian that finally turned me off trusting them forever. So thank you Julian for revealing the corrupt narrative of even the liberal left intelligensia or whatever you call them – as well as everything else.

    • You’re the last person should feel shame, Anne. We all were at some point on our path to enlightenment duped by the Guardian, mainly because on matters not pivotal to power it can tell the truth even when that embarrasses those in high office. Shame – as distinct from the healthy embarrassment we all feel at past follies – would only be a thing if for personal advancement or out of sheer idleness we should ‘forget’ what we now know.

      Needless to say that doesn’t let the faux opposition revealed in my post or called out in these comments off the hook. Ignorance and even laziness is one thing; playing an active role in paving the way for this man’s horrifying persecution quite another.

      And even then, a little bit of sincere contrition goes a long way. What if Owen Jones or George Monbiot were to come right out and say – and mean it – that they were dead wrong about this man, and now repent on the enormous harm they facilitated. Now that would be something!

      • One more thing … It isn’t just liberal media that lead us astray. As Gerald hints at in his first comment, on Novara Media, identity politics is a poor substitute for class analysis – never more so than in its blindness to imperial agendas. (This is where Owen and George go wrong.) But its reactionary potential when weaponised took time to bear fruit. Does any right-minded person think rape a good thing? Of course not! That’s what made its weaponising so powerful a tool in the hands of evil people with evil agendas and a systemically supine media to advance them.

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