The most honest man in Britain today is Julian Assange, while the most dishonest are those who are engaged in his ongoing persecution.
(This article by John Wight was first published at https://www.rt.com/op-ed/461768-assange-extradition-justice-british/ on 13 June 2019.)
The latest instalment in that persecution is a court hearing in London on June 14, where details of the request for his extradition to the US, it is expected, will be revealed for the first time.
The formal request for the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks was made to the UK by US authorities earlier in the week – and with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signing the relevant papers sanctioning it, the final decision on whether Julian Assange’s extradition to the US goes ahead now rests with the courts.
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Assange’s poor state of health means that it’s uncertain whether he will be able to attend the hearing in person, or whether instead he will address the court by video link from Belmarsh Prison, where he’s been detained since being arrested and forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London on April 11.
What the start of the extradition proves is that Assange was right all along in claiming political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, on the basis that he was under threat of extradition to the US, and that those who rubbished and ridiculed him for doing so stand exposed as charlatans.
Where we are now is that for daring to publish details of US war crimes and atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention later exposing the corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC in the lead-up to the US presidential election in 2016, Assange is facing the prospect of being sent into the void that is the US justice system – forever.
Or at least as close to forever as possible, given that he is looking at being sent to prison for 175 years on a raft of espionage charges.
In revealing to the world the beast of US hegemony that resides behind the velvet curtains of democracy and human rights, Julian Assange exposed the lie upon which this American Empire (and make no mistake, it is an empire) depends.
It depends on it in order to persuade its supposed beneficiaries – i.e. people living in the West – to continue to suspend disbelief as to the reality of a system they’ve been conditioned to believe is rooted in values that emanate from the human heart rather than from the heart of the machine.
The end result is that in exposing this lie, Assange and WikiLeaks became a bigger threat to the ability of US hegemony to function normally than a million bayonets. As such, it became imperative that he, as the founder and face of WikiLeaks, be destroyed.
Britain’s role in this process couldn’t be any more sordid or shameful. Its legal system and judiciary has effectively been turned into a subsidiary of its US counterpart; its function not to dispense justice but to deliver a man into the arms of injustice.
The fate to befall Assange proves that there’s a world of difference between believing that you live in a free society and behaving as if you do. He is the canary down the coalmine of Western democracy, signalling the warning that its foundations are rotten to the core.
As I said when I spoke at a recent Imperialism On Trial event in London, I will never forget the chill that slid down my spine as I watched him being dragged out of his political asylum in the aforementioned Ecuadorian Embassy in London and hurled into the back of a van. It was a scene you would associate with a fascist state in the 1930s, not a democratic one in 2019.
It was a vision of the future unless people in the West wake up and stand up.
Compounding the injustice involved in the treatment of Julian Assange has been the complicity of a mainstream media which has, without exception, engaged in an unrelenting campaign of demonization, delegitimization, and even dehumanization where he’s concerned.
These people are not journalists, they are ideological foot soldiers. In fact, they’re not even that; they are expensively educated cranks and hacks – so-called progressives, who with a chai latte in one hand and a signed copy of Campbell’s Diaries or Blair’s autobiography in the other, step over homeless people in the street on the way to their hot yoga classes and sushi bars; there to congratulate one another on the latest offering of vacuous tripe served up to the God of yellow journalism.
Compare and contrast the treatment of Julian Assange at the hands of the mainstream media in the UK, and the treatment of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in the Russian media.
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Upon what appears to have been Golunov’s unjust arrest and detention by the police in Moscow, the Russian press united in demanding his release. Largely as a result of the media’s stance, which galvanised public opinion in Russia, Golunov’s detention ended in a matter of days. It stands as a pristine example of how a free and independent press functions in holding the authorities to account on behalf of the people.
Today in Britain, in grim contrast, we have a mainstream media that operates more along the lines of holding the people to account on behalf of the powerful; the plight of Julian Assange being a case in point.
From this point on, at every stage of this execrable extradition process, it is British justice on trial, not him. And thus far the verdict tends towards guilty – guilty of being a US vassal; guilty of the violation of Assange’s human rights; guilty of putting truth and justice behind bars and setting untruth and injustice free.
Ultimately, the stakes in this case couldn’t be any more important or higher, and in the last analysis it really is very simple.
Until Julian Assange is free, none of us are.