The Social Execution of Julian Assange

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By LUÍS GONZALO SEGURA*

The price paid by Julian Assange was so high that it stripped the West of its rhetoric about human rights, free speech and democracy.

A few days ago, British justice approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, a country that "defends" human rights. Democracy in capital letters and Guantánamo in small letters. An extradition that went unnoticed by the western media in a new exhibition of the workings of western disinformation. It's not that it's not reported, it's that it's marginalized to the point of being ignored, like the fine print of a bank contract. Like in ancient Athens. It's not that they were murdered, it's that they were exiled. Ostracism is what it's called.

In Spain, the newspaper The country dedicated the usual news on the subject, as if it were just another commonplace event. Any hit-and-run, a successful rescue. One more event in today's usual tangle, so hidden that it was impossible to find on the front page. And yet it was essential and critical news. Nothing more and nothing less than the social execution of a dissident, an activist, a deep throat who did much more for journalism, activism, democracy and society than several Nobel. Without going too far, like what was bestowed on the former president of the United States, while people were tortured in Guantánamo, half the world was bombed and caused humanitarian tragedy after humanitarian tragedy. An even more harrowing ostracism in a newspaper like the The country who was, let's not forget, one of those who profited a lot from Assange's leaks.

 

An extradition above all

In January of last year, 2021, Judge Vanessa Baraitser, of the Old Bailey Criminal Court in England, denied Assange's extradition to the United States, considering that it was "proved" that there he would be so confined and that this would increase the suicide risk. Neither the America of Donald Trump nor the America of Joe Biden looks like they would treat him with consideration. Whether it was Assange Pinochet or Videla or if he had dedicated himself to electrocuting, maiming, torturing or executing left-wing dissidents, they would prepare a festive-political “ride” for him.

Indeed, comparing Assange's ordeal with the contortion of British legal springs in favor of Pinochet makes any democrat feel disgusted. And about that The country should say something, and if it doesn't, it's because today it belongs to US investment funds and, yesterday, to the Francoists like the former owner Juan Luis Cebrián.

It didn't matter then, and it doesn't matter now, that the United States systematically engages in the violation of human rights on a massive scale, because, finally, extradition seems to be a fact. And ostracism too.

 

Assange's Great Contribution

However, Julian Assange's contribution to democracy, to humanity, will never be rewarded, even if a square and a grand avenue are dedicated to him in every city in the world. It would fall short of the colossal contribution made. Julian Assange deserves history books and school textbooks that explain that in 2010 the WikiLeaks published confidential US material about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including killings of civilians and even journalists – something more than usual; in Spain the murder of José Couso(1) is still unresolved. These books should also remind us of the more than 700.000 US diplomatic documents that demonstrated what many supposed and denounced, while many more remained and remain silent, hiding or minimizing the crimes revealed by the documents. Without Assange, today we would be more ignorant.

 

Julian Assange's Hell

But the price paid by Julian Assange was so high that it completely stripped the West of all its rhetoric about human rights, free speech and democracy. Empty rhetoric when it comes to what happens in his domain. Because even if the denial of the extradition of Julian Assange were obtained, it would not entail any reparation, not even a small part of the enormous suffering inflicted. For the denial of the extradition of Julian Assange is a matter of justice. Of reason.

Let no one forget, Assange's life since 2010 has been hell, especially when he had to be confined in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012. You who, in many cases, know what it's like to be confined for days or months in your home due to COVID, imagine what it's like to be cooped up for years in a space as impersonal as an embassy. Well, what would be torment in a home, in an office reaches unbearable limits. And, as if that were not enough, he was also spied on, exposed to intimate videos and, in recent years, even been harassed at the Ecuadorian embassy where he was serving his sentence. Confinement like this is a shame in itself. Such a brutal penalty that the strange thing is not that Julian Assange suffers from mental misfortunes, the strange thing would be that he was healthy.

As if that weren't enough, the revenge against Assange didn't stop there. That same year, 2010, Assange was accused of sexual misconduct and rape in Sweden. A new public punishment even though the complaint was legally abandoned in 2017 and archived in 2019. However, the importance of the complaint was not in condemning Julian Assange for these acts that were attributed to him, but in stigmatizing and discrediting him , albeit with accusations presented in a weak and fragile way.

 

Democracy also runs with Assange

Unfortunately, the worst part of Assange's savage social execution and the unjustifiable white-collar ostracism with which major newspapers such as the The country, hurt him, is the terrible damage done to journalism and freedom of expression. The limits that are set in terms of censorship and self-censorship, in terms of the limits of what is right and what is wrong. Torture at Guantanamo, that's right; demonstrating the killing of civilians by Americans around half the world is incorrect. These are lessons that are registered in the subconscious of journalists and activists. Of all.

But, above all, the greatest damage from this persecution and mistreatment is suffered by democracy itself. That democracy that wonders why the extreme right keeps growing – in France, for example, it is already above 40% and is running for president with the usual regularity. Until the moment comes when it is possible to understand. The answer is where the mainstream media doesn't want to look or show. On Assange, for example. On the social execution of Julian Assange.

*Luis Gonzalo Segura is a former lieutenant in the Spanish Armed Forces.

Translation: Ricardo Kobayaski;

Originally published on RT (Spain).

 

Note


(1) José Couso Permuí was a Spanish cameraman and reporter, killed during the invasion of Iraq, when a US tank fired at the “Palestina” hotel, where he was staying with most of the foreign press professionals in Baghdad, in the April 8, 2003. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

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