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Australia: Crocodile tears for journalists in China; silent on UK, US torture of Assange

Foreign Minister Marise Payne's double standards

In contrast to her loudly intervening on behalf of journalist Cheng Lei, and writer Yang Hengjun, who are both currently detained on criminal charges in China, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, in concert with this and former Australian governments, has ruthlessly turned her back on journalist and publisher, Julian Assange. Julian Assange, arguably of greater stature than any other journalist in the world, remains in the dungeons of the corrupt UK government, which is in league with the United States and its war machine. Assange's 'crime' was to expose United States war crimes (and those of other states) to the world. It is indicative of America's despotism that its allies will do its bidding against their own citizens, helping the US to try to destroy Assange as a warning to any journalist who might try to write the truth about war and corruption when it involves powerful people. It is shocking that President Trump pardoned the perpetrators of what came to be called 'Collateral Murder', but backed the continued persecution of Assange. Behind his saccharinely benign grandpa mask, Biden takes a similar stance. [Candobetter Editor: Title change on 10 Feb 2021]

If Assange had exposed sadistic Nazi crimes, he would be called a hero. By exposing sadistic United States war crimes, he is falsely and despicably branded as a criminal. Critics of the Nazi war and torture machine, when they were in power, were unlikely to survive. We know that critics of the American war and torture machine have similar poor life expectancy. What does that tell us about the US-NATO alliance and its most faithful supporter - Australia?

Some Australian journalists are more equal than others

The Australian government's efforts to free Cheng Lei from prison in China receive front page publicity.

"Payne said officials had visited Cheng six times during her detention, most recently at the end of January. In the days after Cheng’s August detention was made public, two Australian foreign correspondents were flown out of China, helped by Australian consular officials after the pair were questioned by China’s state security ministry." (Kirsty Needham, "Australian journalist formally arrested in China on suspicion of leaking secrets," Reuters, 8 Feb 2021.)

We saw similar grandstanding in efforts to rescue corporate media Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste who, along with Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, on 29 December 2013, was arrested by Egyptian authorities, who complained of journalistic misrepresentation. The three journalists were accused of helping Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, and of doctoring news items in a manner that endangered the Egyptian state. Suzette Dreyfus later criticised Greste, for his repetition of opinions used to slur Julian's credentials as a journalist and publisher. Greste has written two such articles, "Julian Assange is no journalist: don’t confuse his arrest with press freedom," published by the so-called Alliance for Journalists' Freedom (AJF), April 16, 2019, and "Peter Greste on Julian Assange," also published by the AJF, Feb 25, 2020. With friends like this in the AJF, you might say, who needs enemies? Greste really throws the courageous Assange under a bus. Interesting, then, that Greste was released without explanation after an international outcry from the same western block that is either persecuting Assange or leaving him to rot.

ABC journalist, Bill Bertles and Financial Review journalist, Michael Smith, probably escaped China just before being arrested. Arriving in Australia, they were feted by their colleagues and the government. Appropriately, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China:

“[...] denounced what it called the use of “foreign journalists as pawns in wider diplomatic disputes.” (Miriam Berger, "Two Australian journalists flee China after tense standoff,"Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2020.)

Meanwhile Julian is checkmated in England by foreign powers egregiously manipulating the judiciary.

Australia turns a blind eye to utter corruption in the British judicial system against Julian Assange, time and time again:

In 2010 Assange voluntarily answered questions from the Swedish police about a very strange story of an alleged rape claimed by a female journalist. The police found there was not enough evidence, closed the case, and told Assange he was free to continue on to England. The United States subsequently leaned on Sweden to reopen the case, and England arrested Assange, where he went through three hearings about extraditing him to Sweden. His lawyers warned him that such extradition and the charges were a ploy to get him extradited from Sweden to the United States, where he had as much chance of a fair trial as anyone would in Nazi Germany, who reported on the concentration camps. Assange jumped bail and sensibly applied for and received asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. After this the British continuously tried to extract him from the embassy.

During this time, unbeknownst to the world public, the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny contacted the English Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2013 to let it know that she was going to withdraw the charges and an international warrant for Assange's arrest, (on the cooked up charges of 'rape'), because they were plainly excessive relative to the alleged crime. In an action demonstrating political influence on the justice system, biased against Assange, in favour of the United States, the British Prosecution Service tried to convince her not to drop the case for extradition. These communications were only revealed in 2018, although it was obvious to many that something like this must be going on. (See Bowcott, Owen; MacAskill, Ewen, "Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show," The Guardian, 11 February 2018.)

Apparently, the Crown Prosecution Service succeeded in getting Prosecutor Ny to keep up the persecutory processes against Assange, despite public disapproval from within the Swedish legal fraternity. However, in March 2015, Sweden allowed Assange to respond to questions from the embassy in London. Most of the charges had expired under the Swedish statute of limitations by then but, to this day, many people in the world think that Assange was found guilty of rape. This is because of the eagerness of the corporate media to report and support the United States narrative, in preference to reporting the facts to a public that needs to be properly educated in this matter.

On 17 May Prosecutor Nye officially suspended their investigations and revoked the warrant to arrest Assange. The option of resuming the process was kept open in case Assange came to Sweden before August 2020.

On 11 April 2019, Assange was arrested and dragged out of the embassy by English police, in an aggressive display of naked contempt for his refugee status by the English state. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correra had been openly sympathetic to Assange, but could not serve a third term. He had refused to allow police into the embassy, according to his diplomatic rights under the Vienna Convention. The new president, Lenin Morero, quickly demonstrated hostility towards Assange and is thought to have been responding to inducements from the United States to breach the embassy refugee obligations to Assange. (See "Julian Assange Arrest Part of Lenin Moreno's Deal with IMF: Ex-Foreign Minister Patiño Under Morero," Telesur, 14 April 2019.)

Undercover Global, a Spanish defense and security firm, conducted multiple invasive surveillance activities on behalf of the United States CIA, involving filming and recording all Assange’s activities in the embassy, including conversations with his legal team, even when Assange tried to talk to them privately in the toilet area. Later British courts would unaccountably allow the United States to use this illegally gathered information, which should have been inadmissible, in their case for extraditing Assange. This conduct alone should utterly discredit their mission in the eyes of the world public but, sadly, the mass media has failed to alert and educate the public adequately.

Does anyone remember how the middle classes all over the world marched down their main streets, calling, "We are all Charlie!" when Islamic fundamentalists killed journalists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris? Yet, when a man who, arguably, will be the last journalist and publisher to be able to reach the world on issues of global surveillance, the military industrial complex, and mass media corruption, is thrown into a maximum security prison, silenced and maddened, there is an abject failure among the same classes who thought the Charlie Hebdo cause so chic, to shout, "We are all Julian Assange!" and demand that the Australian government intervene to stop his censorship, suppression, and imprisonment.