“The more I pursued the question of why Assange has so little public support, the more disturbing the story became.”
I follow the blog written by Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador with long experience of the UK’s deep state. When he wrote recently about the deteriorating state of health of Julian Assange, the Australian publisher of WikiLeaks, currently detained in solitary in high-security Belmarsh prison, with inadequate access to documents and lawyers to defend himself against extradition to the USA, I decided to join the rally supporting him in Trafalgar Square, London. Hardly anyone showed up on Saturday, November 16th – at best 60 people.
This non-news is itself news. The more I pursued the question of why Assange has so little public support, the more disturbing and complicated the story became. If you want to follow this up with a single further source, I recommend prize-winning, independent journalist Jonathan Cook’s blog.
What Assange Has Done
In 2006, Assange established WikiLeaks, a platform for whistle-blowers. By leaking US war logs and hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables supplied in 2010 by army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, he exposed human rights abuses, atrocities and war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. WikiLeaks, the self-proclaimed “intelligence agency of the people,” protected Manning’s anonymity (correct journalistic practice). The platform undermines Western powers’ control over information.
What He is Alleged to Have Done
Assange is accused in the US of leaking confidential information and putting lives at risk. A Swedish prosecutor also alleged that he had unprotected sex with two women in Sweden (an offence under Swedish law).
Assange was told he was free to leave Sweden and one of the two women dropped her complaint. In late 2010 Assange surrendered to the British police for other alleged sex offence and was released on bail. In 2012, when a British court ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden, Assange breached his bail and was granted asylum on political grounds in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. By then he feared he would be extradited to the USA directly or via Sweden.
In the increasingly ‘Me Too’ era, WikiLeaks and the alleged sex offences have been entwined by no fewer than six states.