On a bitter cold November evening in London, just yards from the trendy shopping area of Knightsbridge I joined a small group gathered on the pavement outside of the embassy of Ecuador that has been a prison for Julian Assange for the past six years. But this was no ordinary protest although there is now a growing international voice calling for this inhuman farce to end, this was not the only reason these resilient people are braving the cold on a 24 hour vigil. Many feel that the safety of Assange is now at risk since the failed attempt by a mysterious intruder who tried to sneak through a window of the room occupied by Assange as he slept, the plot thwarted by Assange’s own home-made booby trap that alerted him to the danger. The abduction or more sinister the assassination of Assange would avoid a lot of embarrassment for the UK and Ecuadorian governments who are faced now with the prospect of breaking every diplomatic asylum law in the pursuit of their man and every humanitarian law in detaining him in this small space deprived of sunlight and any access to medical care. The UN have ordered his release, this request has been ignored by the British government. To add to his misery he has also been totally cut off from the outside world since the Ecuadorian embassy cut both his internet and phone access and stopped all visits, even his solicitor, leaving him in a state of total isolation.
The facts surrounding Assange’s unwanted six-year stay in the embassy are not widely know to the general public and what they do know is a mishmash of lies and half-truth, many of the so-called facts are so far from credibility to be laughable, others out-and-out vindictive rants. The truth is a fascinating insight into just how low the media have descended. The public perhaps know of the accusations of rape brought against him by the Swedish authorities which have since been dropped after reading the statement he supplied from the Embassy and now the only charge pending in this country against him is for jumping bail for the rape charge. Assange was fully prepared to face the fake rape charge had he been given assurance from the British government that he would not be extradited to the US on ludicrous charges of espionage that could see him face execution or life in prisThe facts surrounding these allegation are themselves ridiculous in as much that Wikileaks is a news publisher who published information that was given to them as is the job of any publisher. In the case of Chelsea Manning who supplied the information, President Obama commuted her sentence in his final days in office and she has recently been released after serving seven years of her 32 year sentence for leaking the information, which she maintains she did in the public interest. If the actions of Wikileaks are considered espionage then every major news outlet in the world must face similar charges, because they all run the information given to them by Wikileaks. In fact many of them made lots of money from this information increasing their readership, whilst Wikileaks made not a single penny .
So why is this, you would think a story of this nature, especially one concerning one of their own, a publisher and journalist would/should be headline news, especially in light of the fact that from a free press point of view the treatment shown Assange could well replicated to any news agency in the future. You see the sad truth is Julian Assange is an honest publisher of truth and facts not financial reward and this places him in the category that is seen as a disgrace to his profession and an embarrassment to the lazy corrupt editorial world of 21st century media news that shamelessly proclaims its editorial imbalance, as it preaches to an audience of the converted with little room for alternative opinion. They may well silence both Wikileaks and Assange and in so doing silence us. When George Orwell wrote his classic 1984 he would have had no idea just how easy it would be to exercise total control over an entire planet and sentence us all to the scenario of his book.
Words/pictures David Coomber TheFitz