Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Scourging of Julian Assange

Photo by Jeanne Menjoulet | CC BY 2.0

Julian Assange’s latest attempt to have his outstanding UK arrest warrant dropped has failed in what stands as one of the most blatant and cruel examples of the British legal system being wielded as an instrument of persecution against a man whose only crime is speaking truth to power.

The judge presiding over his case, and who summarily dismissed it, was ‘Lady Arbuthnot of Edrom’. Yes, you read that right. In the second decade of the 21st century the UK legal system is still dominated by the kind of people whose morning workout consists of flogging the butler. Lady Arbuthnot also happens to be the wife of Tory peer and former junior Defence Minister Lord James Arbuthnot, whose father was Major Sir John Sinclair Wemyss Arbuthnot.

By now you should be getting the idea. These ridiculous products of privilege and the British public school system (private education for those unfamiliar with the quixotic and arcane code of the British ruling elite) are the guardians of a status quo of class oppression at home and imperialism abroad. In daring to rip off the mask of civility and moral rectitude behind which they and their masters in the US have long carried out their acts of brutality and barbarity at home and around the world, Assange is on the receiving end of their considerable wrath.

If Julian Assange had been confined to a foreign embassy in Moscow or Beijing for five years, on the same grounds on which he has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, his plight would have been a cause celebre, sparking calls for boycotts, sanctions, and action at the UN on the part of free speech and prisoner of conscience liberals in the West who are never done excoriating Russia and China.

As it is the UN has already intervened in the matter of the plight of the Wikileaks founder. In February 2016 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that the “arbitrary detention of Julian Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.”

Given that the Swedish authorities dropped their investigation into the original charges of rape and sexual molestation – made against Assange in 2010 and which he has always denied and claims were politically motivated – the outstanding UK arrest warrant for breaching bail conditions in 2012 which relates to those charges is surely now moot. Julian Assange, you may recall, sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London fearing not extradition to Sweden but to the US over his role as founder and public face of Wikileaks.

In 2018 not only does the threat of extradition to the US continue to hang over him with this outstanding UK arrest warrant, if anything the threat is even greater, what with the part Wikileaks played in disseminating damning facts about Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the leadership of the DNC in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election. The ensuing Washington liberal establishment rage that has ensued as a result of Clinton losing the election to Donald Trump has been positively volcanic.

Clinton, her supporters, and elements of the Washington establishment claim that the information Wikileaks published came by way of Russian hacking, while Assange and groups such as Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), made up of former US intelligence operatives and officials, maintain that the information came by way of a leak within Washington itself. Meanwhile, up to this point, the investigation into alleged Russian hacking, Russiagate, is yet to produce one scintilla of concrete evidence that any such hacking on the part of Moscow took place.

Again, the real crime Julian Assange committed was not breaching his bail conditions but daring to speak truth to power. Wikileaks under his stewardship has become the bête noire of governments, particularly Western governments, revealing the ugly truth of crimes committed by US forces in Iraq, the West’s role in the destabilization of Ukraine in 2014, the destruction of Libya – and this is without the part the whistleblowing outfit played in exposing Hillary Clinton as a politician whose record is a monument to mendacity.

Wikileaks is and continues to be a thorn in their side and must be destroyed. Which means that Julian Assange must be destroyed, a man who teaches us that believing you live in a free society and actually behaving as if you do is not the same thing. The former allows you to exist in a bubble of soporific comfort, while the latter is liable to get you confined to a foreign embassy for five years and counting.

The personal toll on Assange’s physical and psychological well being as a result of his confinement should not be overlooked. Indeed the toll it is having was recently confirmed by the medical opinion of two clinicians, who upon examining Assange at the embassy in October 2017 renewed calls for him to be granted safe passage to a London hospital for treatment. In an article for the Guardian, the clinicians write: “While the results of the evaluation are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare.”

It bears repeating: Julian Assange, as was Chelsea Manning, as will be Edward Snowden if he dares set foot outside Russia, is being punished for removing the veil of freedom, human rights, and civil liberties from the face of an empire of hypocrisy and lies. They lied about Iraq, they lied about Libya, they lied about Syria, and they lie every day about the murky relationships between governments, corporations, and the rich that negates their oft made claims to be governing in the interests of the people.

Until Julian Assange is free none of us are.

More articles by:

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail