Julian Assange, founder and editor of WikiLeaks, has now been a refugee in the Ecuadoream embassy in London for three years. The key issue in his extraordinary incarceration is justice. He has been charged with no crime. The first Swedish prosecutor dismissed the misconduct allegations regarding two women in Stockholm in 2010. The second Swedish prosecutor’s actions were and are demonstrably political. Until recently, she refused to come to London to interview Assange. Finally, when the British government almost pleaded with her to come, she agreed. She has now cancelled her trip. It is a farce, but one with grim consequences for Assange should he dare step outside the Ecuadorean embassy. The US criminal investigation against him and WikiLeaks – for the “crime” of exercising a right enshrined in the US constitution, to tell unpalatable truths – is “unprecedented in scale and nature”, according to US documents. For this, he faces much of a lifetime in the hellhole of a US supermax should he leave the protection of Ecuador in London. The Swedish allegations are no more than a sideshow to this – the SMS messages between the women involved, read by lawyers, alone would exonerate him. They refer to the accusations as “made up” by the police. In the police report one of the women says she was “railroaded” by the Swedish police. What a disgrace this is for Sweden’s justice system.
Julian Assange is a refugee under international law and he should be given right of passage by the British government out of the UK, to Ecuador. The nonsense about him “jumping bail” is just that – nonsense. If his extradition case went through the British courts today, the European Arrest Warrant would be thrown out and he would be a free man. So what is the British government trying to prove by its absurd police cordon around an embassy whose refuge Assange has no intention of giving up? Why don’t they let him go? Why is a man charged with no crime having to spend three years in one room, without light, in the heart of London? The Assange case amplifies many truths, and one is the accelerating, global totalitarianism of Washington, regardless of who is elected president.
I am often asked if I think Assange has been “forgotten”. It is my experience that countless ordinary people all over the world, especially in Australia, his homeland, understand perfectly well the injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. They credit him and WikiLeaks with having performed an epic public service by informing millions about what the powerful plan for them behind their backs, the lies governments and their vested interests tell, the violence they initiate. Power that is corrupt loathes this, because it is true democracy in action.
John Pilger has won an Emmy and a BAFTA for his documentaries, which have also won numerous US and European awards. His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Aftonbladet (Sweden), Il Manifesto (Italy). He writes a regular column for the New Statesman, London. In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious Sophie Prize for ’30 years of exposing injustice and promoting human rights.’ In 2009 he was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize. His latest film is The War You Don’t See (2010). He can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com