The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recently published a video entitled “Journalism is not a crime.” It boldly states that “you can’t kill the truth,” that “everyone deserves access to information,” that “it’s vital to hold governments to account” and that “freedom of expression underpins all human rights.”
It therefore begs the question: why the hell is Julian Assange languishing in solitary confinement in Belmarsh high security prison, particularly now that he has served his sentence for breaching bail conditions?
He was due to be released on September 22, but district judge Vanessa Baraitser told him that in her view she had “substantial grounds” for believing that if she released him, he would “abscond again.” Consequently, she said Assange’s status in jail would change “from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.”
An obvious fact was ignored by the judge, which was that as one of the most well-known individuals on the planet, the chances of Julian Assange absconding anywhere are virtually zero. The decision to continue to detain him is a stain on Britain’s reputation and shows up the FCO’s video as a complete fraud.
The charges brought against him in the US include “computer misuse” and the “unauthorised disclosure of national defence information.” But these charges are incongruous, because what he revealed were war crimes by the US and the appalling abuse of state and corporate power. By disclosing this information, he performed an international public service and he should be venerated and celebrated, not demonised and denounced for his efforts on our behalf.
When Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, Slavoj Zizek wrote:
“Assange characterised himself as the spy of and for the people: he is not spying on the people for those in power, he is spying on those in power for the people.”
It is therefore little wonder that the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic want to shut him up and deliver a warning to anyone else who dares to shine a light on their dirty dealings.
Assange risked everything to expose the misuse of power, which has resulted in him being subjected to a systematic, and deeply sinister, smear campaign ever since for his efforts on our behalf.