In Orwell’s dystopian fiction 1984, the government’s mission through the Ministry of Truth is to supply its people with news, entertainment, books, films, plays and songs, packed with the information it wants the people to know. It constructs lies to fit the narrative it wishes to establish and sets about rewriting historical documents so they match the constantly changing current party line.
Have we slept walked our way into 1984 with the curious witchhunt of Julian Assange?
From the time Wikileaks published Collateral Murder in 2010, exposing the slaying of Iraqi civilians at the hands of merciless US Apache soldiers, in what became the biggest news story of its time, the United States has wanted Julian Assange silenced and forgotten.
He has lived in a state of confinement since May 2010 when he was arrested and jailed in the United Kingdom, lived under house arrest for a further 18 months in England and then sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy from June 2012 .Yet many people think Assange was in a position where he could simply walk free.
Has there been a well crafted smear campaign to dehumanise Assange and coax the public into forgetting him? How else could he have been detained within two tiny rooms devoid of sunlight for more than six years without public commentary and concern? The apparent dismantling of Assange’s character and disinformation has been thorough. Most people do not know the specifics of his case, but “believe” he is an arrogant rapist and an ungrateful, badly behaved houseguest, smearing faeces on the embassy walls and being cruel to his cat. These disputed claims are now so well accepted it’s inconceivable that they could actually be lies.
The one surety about Assange was that he did publish secret State documents and videos. Embarrassing yes, but surely not indictable in a country that protects freedom of speech in its constitution. Never mind the fact that Assange is an Australian citizen, but far from protecting him against being tried for espionage in America, the Morrison government’s public statements have been limited to assurances that he is being treated like any other citizen with ongoing consular assistance.