Over and over again I see so much division among Assange supporters. Whether it is politically motivated, a simple misunderstanding or whatever the reason is, it has to stop.
Julian Assange himself stated the following in regards to freeing him:
“There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.”
We have to put aside our disagreements, our differing views and stop allowing ourselves to fall for the divide and conquer strategy of the government operatives. Whether they are part of us or not does not matter.
This image was originally tweeted by Assange himself when he was still online. The Twitter account was turned over to the Defend Assange legal campaign after he was silenced.
Even if you suspect someone is a government operative, let them be. As Assange stated above, they are still putting light on his plight. Blocking someone who is doing a good job supporting Assange but may be doing it for the wrong reasons is another No No. If they are avidly supporting him, it doesn’t matter what their reasons are, they are aiding in our campaign. If they are drawing attention to the persecution, don’t distract them with divisiveness. It is a good way to drive them away from the cause. Julian needs all of us.
We need a mass movement to see him free. We need every single person we can get to call for his freedom and to fight his extradition. We cannot afford to lose a single person. We are fighting a super power for a man’s life. We are fighting against possibly the strongest nation in the world and yet we take the time out to fight with one another over small idiosyncrasies. We attack one another without thinking about the consequences. We blacklist supporters, we block them and by doing so, we are only hurting Assange. If we care about Julian, this must end now.
We do not have the time or resources to let this continue! Assange is deterioriating quickly in prison. We must raise the sword of truth and free him now before it is too late.
“Divide and Conquer” has a long history of destroying movements.
“This is also working in the movement to Free Julian Assange. Government Operatives posing as activists start with dropping seeds of doubt and pushing an agenda against what they call the “opposition.” The opposition being people from what they call the “other side” or different political parties. They use familiar terms to put them down which causes a break in forces. Suddenly the movement is divided in half and its strength is half of what it once was. Remember the old adage “There is strength in numbers.” In this battle against the powers that be, it is more than true.“
The point is by arguing and fighting, we lose sight of our goal. It creates a distraction from the real work we are doing and need to get done. We must unite to win this fight! We must free Assange! Together! United!
Swedish prosecutors announced this week, “it is currently not on the cards to issue a European investigation order…” after nearly 9 years. Just a few months ago, they were calling for extradition to “question” him about the sexual allegations. For now, they will be analyzing evidence. The real question here is how can you analyse evidence when it was destroyed by Ny in May of 2017 after Sweden had questioned Assange a 2nd time in this case and dropped allegations?
Is this how justice is served in Sweden?
In several tweets by @BellaMagnani on Twitter the following points are also raised.
Nothing about the sexual allegation case against Assange has been done properly from the get go. From Ny reopening the case after the first prosecutor closed it due to lack of evidence, to the fake torn condom submitted by Anna Ardin with no DNA whatsover, to the recent reopening of the case, it has been a circus show. I wonder what the U.S. used to coerce Sweden to do so?
In Newsweek’s op-ed by Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, he states:
But how do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity. You maintain a constant trickle of poisonous rumors, first half-truths and then increasingly bold lies. You keep him suspected of rape without trial, of hacking and spying, and of smearing feces on Embassy walls. You portray him as an ungrateful narcissist with a cat and a skateboard, whose only aim is self-glorifying exceptionalism.
By making him unlikeable in the eyes of the world, you ensure no one will feel any empathy, so once his voice is muzzled and his isolation complete, he can be burned at the stake with impunity. Most importantly, having degraded him to a clown for the entertainment of all, you will have diverted attention from his spotlight on your own crimes. Next, you make sure that any attempt of his to expose your lies comes at the cost of extradition to a hanging judge in a land bent to see his head on a stick, where torturers enjoy impunity. You then pressure his country of refuge into submission – military and economic leverage never fail – and you turn his protectors into enemies, and his daily existence into attritive hell.
The method is deliberate, concerted, and sustained, and employs isolation, hostility, and shame. Whether you call it “bullying,” “mobbing,” or “persecution” – in essence it is all the same. It purposefully inflicts severe mental suffering and aims to coerce, punish, and intimidate. It is thus, under international law, nothing else than full-fledged psychological torture. Mind you, psychological torture is neither ‘soft’ nor ‘light’. It aims straight at the destruction of your innermost self, albeit without leaving a physical trace. It targets your emotions, your mind and your dignity, and instills chronic shame and anxiety. Through relentless over-stimulation, confusion and stress, it eventually causes total exhaustion, cardiovascular failure and nervous collapse.
I highly recommend reading this incredibly written article by Melzer on the persecution and derailment of Assange.
Nils Melzer also tweeted about this case and stated the following:
As a Swiss/Swedish national, I would never claim that Sweden is a “lawless society”, but I have concluded that, in this case, the responsible authorities have deliberately abused Swedish law, procedures & institutions for the purpose of persecuting #Assange. @Klamberg @AjVBlog
Whatever legal system you apply, it gravely violates human rights to publicly portray #Assange as a rape suspect for 9yrs without formal indictment despite questioning him twice & having full access to all evidence, none of which supports the State’s suspicion. @Klamberg @AjVBlog
Has there ever been such a case? The Sweden judicial system set a dangerous precedent by opening and reopening this case, not once but three times. Not to mention, a huge media conference stating they wanted to again extradite after closing it and destroying the case material, to simply question Assange for a third time.
Was this just another effort to be able to extradite Assange to the U.S. and let the U.K. off the hook if they deny extradition?
Swedish prosecutors have this weekannouncedthat for the time being they will not be issuing aEuropean Investigation Order(EIO) to interview Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. According to Sweden’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson,”…it is currently not on the cards to issue a European investigation order…” For now, they will be analysing evidence before making a decision regarding procedure. So, how is it possible she is now not in a position to interview him – yet two months ago she requested his detention so that she could issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) against him and start an extradition process? If Swedish prosecutors are to follow through with this latest investigation attempt, it will have been the third time that Assange will have been interviewed by Swedish authorities for what is essentially the same inquiry. If Persson is not in a position to proceed with an EIO, how can it have been practical or proportionate for her in May to have pursued hisdetentionfor the purpose of extraditing him to Sweden from the UK? According to the2014 legislationby the European Court of Justice, authorities not in a position to prosecute do not require an EAW, but should carry out investigation through an investigation order. In fact, a Swedish court called the Swedish prosecutor’s request for Assange’s detentiondisproportionateand refused to grant it on June 3rd, suggesting that at least some judges and authorities are deferring to the European Court regarding EAW issuance and proportionality.
The sexual allegations case is simply meant to destroy Assange in the eyes of the average Joe to make it easier for the U.S. to legally prosecute and destroy him without backlash from the public. However, they are assuming we are fools and don’t see through their attempts to violate the very Constitution our country was founded on. The world knows this is an attempt to silence a journalist who exposed the criminal behavior of the U.S. military complex.
I know I preach Assange day in and day out but his freedom is important. Do you know why? His persecution is our rights being violated. Every right we have as humans have been violated in this case or at least damn close to it. The worst though is our right to speak out against oppression and war crimes. Our free speech is at stake while he languishes in Belmarsh prison. His freedom is literally our freedom.
Julian Assange is no mealy-mouthed, genteel saint who never bites back. He’s scrappy, he describes himself as “contentious by nature”, and he really is. He pushes limits of FreeSpeech. For this, his tongue has been cut out, his freedom corralled. Still not a Criminal. He never will be. He’s certainly not perfect or close to it. He’s not a machine or a politician. He’s not an elite or a rich man. He is a gentle intellect who stood up to possibly the biggest bully in history.
The current persecution of Assange is a prime example of the abuse of power used by the U.S. empire to destroy and belittle those who dare question it’s actions. It is setting a legal precedent to take on anyone who exposes it or it’s military actions, regardless of how illegal it may be. The U.S. empire has now become the “Dark Side,” ruled by a deep state oligarchy and driven by greed and the power hungry.
If they destroy Assange, they are shattering our ability to hold them accountable. They are removing our right to speak up when we see something wrong and therefore we are no longer free. We then become ruled by a tyrannical government that is no longer for the people but for those who choose to run it.
Once this precedent is set we don’t stand a chance in hell to regain the freedom it will destroy. We’d have better luck resurrecting the founding fathers or Napoleon.
This isn’t just about the U.S. either. This enables other countries to extradite journalists for espionage because they released information that shows criminal activity. No one will be safe from prosecution worldwide. Be very, very scared folks.
As I said earlier, Assange’s freedom is your freedom. Assange’s destruction is yours.
I never really thought about bullying being torture when I was younger. I knew that what was done to me and others was certainly cruel and mean but not torture by any means. I mean, these were young teenagers, how could bullying be torture? It is though in a lot of cases. Let me show why.
Bullying is the use of coercion, force, or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception (by the bully or by others) of an imbalance of physical or social power. This imbalance distinguishes bullying from conflict. There is no universal definition of bullying. It is widely agreed upon that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time. Bullying may thus be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Bullying ranges from one-on-one, individual bullying through to group bullying called mobbing, in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in their bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as “peer abuse”.
Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.The Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus says bullying occurs when a person is “exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons”. He says negative actions occur “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways.” Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.
Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber.
According to apt, the legal definition of torture is very similar to that of bullying.
Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is the internationally agreed legal definition of torture:
“Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
I can tell you from personal experience that bullying leaves a permanent scar in your mind psychologically. From being mobbed by ten girls and finally kicked and spit on, to the group of boys calling after me down the hall to humiliate me, or the boys coming up behind me acting like they were humping me, or the rape I endured at 14, it all still haunts me to this day. It is always in the back of my mind that I am no good, a scumbag, or various names used to belittle me. I knew others who had much worse done to them. From the boy who was beaten up every day just because he looked differently or the guy they put upside down in the trash can full of gum and it was in his hair. The gay guy they orally raped in the gym shower room. What about the guy in my class they kicked in the crotch so many times they gave him a rupture? The stories are endless.
Even though I was treated as I was, I always stuck up for others. I knew what it felt like to be put through that hell. To have days that you were threatened in letters from fellow classmates wondering when they were going to hunt you down to hurt you or face the boys every day, endlessly, who held you down and raped you . There was no way I could stand to watch others suffer. It changed how I looked at myself and others. In some ways, it influenced who I am today. It certainly is part of the reason I am a human rights advocate and want to make a difference in society.
However, no matter how bad it got for us in our little community no one ever shot up the school. We had a lot of suicide attempts but no one took it out on innocent people.
The fact is bullying is torture. There is no doubt about it. It may only be psychological for some but for others, it is physical as well. It destroys you inside. It destroys your self-confidence, your outlook on life, the way you feel, the way you think and it psychologically scars you. No one should ever be bullied. I wish I would have stood up more often but how can you when sometimes even the teachers participated?
Bullying doesn’t just take place at school, it can happen anywhere there is a group of people. It is a form of power for some. For others, it is a transfer of some form of abuse they receive at home.
From the Wikipedia site:
Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.[15
If you have been bullied or are being bullied, there is help. You can reach out to someone here. Please do it. You are important and you are valuable.
I woke up to the words I never wanted to hear. “Julian Assange was arrested today.” I thought I was speechless but I could hear someone painfully crying out “No!No!No!”
Was that me? I thought as tears began sliding down my face. Pain. Shock. Despair. Then anger. Then back to grief. It was like I’d lost a loved one the pain was so sharp.
I felt defeated. All the hard work his supporters including Unity4J seemed to have been useless. Assange was in U.K. custody after we fought so hard. It is still devastating to me to watch them carry his frail body out of the embassy. In fact, it is so unbearable I refuse to look.
He now faces 175 years or possibly the death penalty if the U.S. succeeds in extraditing him. Many officials would like to see him tried as a terrorist. Can you imagine the precedent it will set if they do try a journalist as a terrorist? Who said America is free? Free of what? Compassion and dignity? Justice?
On this 4th of July I want to remind Americans who celebrate their freedom that the arrest and extradition of Assange is the beginning of the end of your so called freedom.you are not in the least but free. They enslaved us with taxes and corporate tyranny a long time ago. Our freedom was taken away slowly while you sat in your arm chairs and clapped for war and regime changes.
For me, to watch another person like Assange suffer is heartbreaking. We sit passively while our country destroys our heroes and salutes our criminals. We are happy to make it through the day, to compete with the Jones’s and to buy, buy, buy. The very moral fabric of this country is being shredded and all we care about is lining the corporations pockets with our hard earned money to buy the latest high tech gizmo that spies on us.
While we celebrate our freedom ( what is left of it), a man languishes in prison that told us the truth. He warned us we are the last free generation, but Americans don’t seem to care about future generations. They are more concerned with whether their house is as nice as their neighbors.
Meanwhile, the corrupt officials we elected screw us out of our wages, enslave us and line their pockets. The greedy bastards are destroying our rights and we fight with eachother over left and right, when they are the same damn bird.
They propagandize us in order to keep us divided so they can kill our Constitution and brainwash us into believing it is for our own good.
So go ahead and stay complacent. Don’t fight for free speech and free press. Watch your fireworks and eat your hot dogs. Go on with your life. You were warned!
In the mean time, those of us who are awake and calling for the freedom of Assange will continue our fight and some may even be arrested. We prefer the truth over the lies.
Julian Assange turns 48 today. For most it would be a happy birthday but for the truthteller it is just another day of being incarcerated. There will be no cake or gifts for this hero. No party or celebration. Not even greeting cards because Belmarsh doesn’t allow them.Just the usual day, 23 hours in his cell and an hour out of it.
Assange has been illegally detained for 9 years despite 2 U.N. rulings calling for his freedom and countless human rights organizations supporting him. Numerous people advocate for his freedom. There are protests worldwide and yet the U.K. and U.S. governments refuse to listen. We need a mass movement to free him before his health deteriorates any further. Doctors have already stated some of his conditions are irreversible.
He is looking at 175 years in prison if extradited to the United States where he will be tried by the infamous espionage judge who has never found a person “Not guilty.” In all likelihood, he faces more violations of his human rights. The U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, has stated he has all the signs of prolonged psychological torture. He was even put on Belmarsh’s hospital ward for 3 weeks, yet the U.K. continues it’s persecution of this innocent journalist.
I will wish Assange a happy birthday, but the best gift we can give him is to continue to write and call our elected officials, protest, and educate the public. Please consider donating to his defense fund at
As a rape survivor at the age of 14, I can tell you the supposed women attacking Nils Melzer are not truly rape survior supporters as they attacked many of us who pointed out facts on the Assange rape allegations. Their open letter is nothing more than an attack on a man’s career full of disinformaton and smears. Had any of these ladies had the class to actually read up on the Assange case and educated themselves, perhaps this travesty would not have occurred. Instead, they attack a man who had the class to thank them twice in a show of total respect.
Nils Melzer has been nothing but respectful in his correspondence with myself and shows an impeccable sense of loyalty and duty to his title. He is dedicated to his job, yet takes time out of his busy life to address the concerns of others. This is unusual in this day and age.
Had these women investigated the Assange case further they would realize that Melzer was simply stating the facts on the case. Their statements in the open letter only exposes their ignorance at best.
As a rape survivor myself, i find it disgusting and feel appalled by their disrespect to other survivors in the thread. Instead of compassion, they whine like sick puppies that they are being attacked. From my point of view on consensual sex regarding a condom, it is not just the man’s position to ensure it is used properly but also a female’s. In the case of Assange, the women were just as responsible for the proper use of the condom as was Assange. Sofia Wilen was aware the condom had fallen off and yet continued to have sex and consented to it.
When women use sexual harassment and rape to destroy a man’s career when neither took place they make me sick. For those of us who were victims, they make us look like fools. It becomes much harder to prove our own victimization.
The women attacking Nils are neither respectable for their attempt at smearing him and attempting to destroy his career nor should their concerns be heard on the basis that they treated him and those who spoke up with such blatant disregard. They are apparently writing their malarkey with little to no understanding of the real issues here.
I would also like to state that those who allege rape when it did not take place should be prosecuted. They are not only smearing a man and destroying his career but it leaves a scar for life. No one should be put through the horror of false allegations. In the case of Assange, this in fact was another way they tortured him. What about the survivors of false allegations?
When Nils Melzer reported on the torture of Assange, the media didn’t want to know. Only a few smaller sites picked up on his article and mostly only independent journalists reported on it. This article is to once again remind all of us exactly what he told us.
“I took with me a psychiatrist and a forensic expert, both of them have decades of experience of working with torture victims. And they compiled a medical protocol, which is designed and recognized internationally for the identification and documentation of signs of torture, both psychological and physical … What we found … [is] that Julian Assange shows signs that are typical for persons who have been exposed to a psychological torture for a prolonged period of time – severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive weaknesses and distortions,” Melzer said.
The rapporteur noted he could not reveal all the medical diagnosis due to the patient’s confidentiality, adding that the symptoms were very severe.
A very important point is that Assange had been isolated from outside influence for almost six years, Melzer stressed.
“He has been exposed to consistent public mobbing, intimidation, calls for assassination, insults, ridicule. We know from school that mobbing is extremely destructive and can lead people to suicide … Here we have someone who has been mobbed by the world. No state has ever stepped in and at least tried to prevent it,” he said.
In his article, Demasking the Torture of Assange, seen here by special permission:
“For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship & our fate to unrestrained tyranny.”
“Once JulianAssange had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule & shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage.”
“This is not only about protecting #Assange, but preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. Once telling the truth has become a crime, we will have surrendered our fate to unrestrained tyranny.”
He also stated in a tweet:
Any bail condition entailing (in-)direct refoulement contrary to Art 3 UNCAT breaches peremptory international law and, therefore, is null & void (ab initio), as is any related conviction. Hence the inherent arbitrariness of #Assange’s current imprisonment for bail violation.@FT
I’ve worked in many areas of war in my life, in situations of violence, and I’ve talked to victims of persecution around the world and I’ve seen very serious atrocities.
‘But [what] I have never seen is that a single person has been deliberately isolated and, I would say, persecuted – not prosecuted, but persecuted – by several democratic states in a concerted effort to eventually break his will.’
We could see that Assange showed all the symptoms that are typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture.’
The evidence made available to me strongly suggests that the primary responsibility for the sustained and concerted abuse inflicted on Mr Assange falls on the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the United States and, more recently, also Ecuador…
‘The consistent and repeated failure of all involved states to protect Mr Assange’s fundamental right to fair judicial proceedings and due process makes the hypothesis of mere coincidence extremely unrealistic and gives a strong impression of bias and arbitrary manipulation. This starts with the secretive grand jury indictment in the United States, continues with the abusive manner in which Swedish prosecutors disseminated, re-cycled and perpetuated their “preliminary investigation” into alleged sexual offences, exacerbates with the termination by Ecuador of Mr Assange’s asylum status and citizenship without any form of due process, and culminates in overt bias against Mr Assange being shown by British judges since his arrest.
‘The only realistic explanation for this sustained systemic failure of the judiciary is that the United States, and probably also the other involved states, are trying to make an example of Mr Assange before the eyes of the world, not as much as a punishment for whatever real or perceived harm he is alleged to have caused, but as a measure of deterrence for others who might be tempted to imitate Wikileaks and Mr Assange in the future. In these circumstances, Mr Assange has absolutely no chance to get a fair judicial proceeding in any of these jurisdictions.’
‘[I] had been affected by the prejudice that I had absorbed through… public… narratives spread in the media over the years. And only when I scratched the surface a little bit, I saw how little foundation there was to back this up and how much fabrication and manipulation there is in this case.
The U.K. judiciary system seems to have ignored international law and the call to free Assange by the U.N. If this trial were about justice and not vengeance, the ruling to release him would have been adhered to. However as per usual the U.K. once again submits to U.S. authority in a cowardly manner.
The people of the world, including Amnesty International, need to listen to what U.N. Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer has to say about this case. Where is the outrage?
The MSM is on the government payroll and will continue to be silent on the plight of Assange. The only media outlets truly covering his story are low budget with independent journalists like Cassandra Fairbanks, Elizabeth Vos and Caitlin Johnstone at the helm. There is only one way we can free Julian. We have to take it to the streets. Only we can save him from a future of torture and death.
We have to educate others. We need to tell his story far and wide. If we don’t, he will die in prison. The U.S. and U.K. governments both refuse to abide by international law and U.N. rulings in this case. The U.N. has repeatedly called for the release of Assange to no avail. Only the people have the power to change the outcome.
We need a mass movement and show of hands. We need to stand up and say, “No more!”
Julian Assange’s fight has to be our fight. If we allow this injustice to continue, we are giving up not only our rights but our very freedom. He represents so much more than just a journalist. What happens to Assange happens to us all. There are no excuses for inaction.
Please put aside your fears and tell his story and recruit more advocates to help free Assange.
On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, 26 June 2019
I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the US had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, two women made the headlines in Sweden. One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. Mind you, each woman even submitted a condom as evidence. The first one, supposedly worn and torn by Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure. The second one, used but intact, supposedly proved ‘unprotected’ intercourse. Go figure, again. The women even texted that they never intended to report a crime but were ‘railroaded’ into doing so by zealous Swedish police. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his allegedunsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.
Well then, I thought, at least we know for sure that Assange is a Russian spy, has interfered with US elections, and negligently caused people’s deaths! But all I found is that he consistently published true information of inherent public interest without any breach of trust, duty or allegiance. Yes, he exposed war crimes, corruption and abuse, but let’s not confuse national security with governmental impunity. Yes, the facts he disclosed empowered US voters to take more informed decisions, but isn’t that simply democracy? Yes, there are ethical discussions to be had regarding the legitimacy of unredacted disclosures. But if actual harm had really been caused, how come neither Assange nor Wikileaks ever faced related criminal charges or civil lawsuits for just compensation?
But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.
In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed.Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.
Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.
Yes, living in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard may seem like a sweet deal when you believe the rest of the lies. But when no one remembers the reason for the hate you endure, when no one even wants to hear the truth, when neither the courts nor the media hold the powerful to account, then your refuge really is but a rubber boat in a shark-pool, and neither your cat nor your skateboard will save your life.
Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.
This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek.