If Julian Assange were a Chinese journalist and publisher, he’d have the Nobel Prize, be the centerpiece of Human Rights Day, and this week his portrait would’ve been planted atop President Joe Biden’s Democracy Summit.
Assange’s name would’ve been the first on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s list of 350 journalists under threat, published, without irony, on the day his administration sought to extradite Assange to face 175 years in a supermax prison.
If Chinese crimes rather than American crimes had been revealed by Assange, he would now be the poster boy for the Winter Olympics’ boycott campaign.
Every news bulletin today would’ve led with his fate, every press still turning would be rolling out the outrage at the crushing of this butterfly on the wheel.
Poor Julian, if only he had been born a Chinaman.
His “crime”, though, is that he exposed, inter alia, US war crimes in Iraq, including assassinations and more than 15,000 unreported deaths of civilians; the torture of men and boys aged between 14 and 89, at Guantanamo; the US illegally spying on UN secretary generals and other diplomats; the CIA-insitigated military coup in Honduras in 2009; and the US’ secret war on Yemen in which thousands have been killed.
In bewigged splendour, the High Court in London has just landed a death blow, not only to the fragments, the tatters, of British justice, but they have murdered journalism itself. And, given that the fourth estate, in theory, stands as a sentinel for democracy itself, they have killed the pretence that the UK is a democracy at all. All in the week that self-selecting “democracies” have been masturbating their superiority over others.
The Assange case should have fallen at the first hurdle, never mind the scores of hurdles since. On the very face of the Extradition Treaty between the UK and the US, it is specifically excluded that someone can be extradited from one to the other to face political charges.
Ironically, this was so the US could shield the possibility of Irish Republican fugitives in the United States being extradited to face political charges in Britain. No American President – even Obama – is without a long-lost Irish antecedent. With 30 million Irish American votes at stake, no chances could be taken with politically motivated alleged criminals.
When I personally challenged the then-Home Secretary David Blunkett, who secretly concluded the Treaty, about the possibility of new Nelson Mandelas being sent to face political charges, he personally assured me that no such thing could ever happen.
Assurances now as threadbare as a House of Lords medieval tapestry.
Almost uncountable egregious breaches of due process should have killed the remotest chance of Assange’s extradition. Let me highlight just three.
Once it emerged that the US government had secretly recorded on video every legal meeting between Julian Assange and his able and eminent lawyers over several years, the case should have been thrown out by any self-respecting judge, in any democracy.
Once it emerged that the key witness against Assange was an Icelandic thief, fraudster and convicted paedophilic liar, who moreover now freely admits that his testimony on which the charges are based was a pack of lies, any true judge would have found against the US government.
And once it emerged that the US government had laid careful plans to kidnap Assange in London, and if necessary murder him outside Harrods in the streets around the Ecuadorean Embassy, the value of any US “assurances” about what would happen to Assange reached rock bottom. They could not be relied upon. And extradition could not possibly be countenanced.
However, the printing presses are not rolling for Assange, being quietly killed in Belmarsh prison.
The air-hostess-style Western ‘journalists’ being paid handsomely for their skills at reading autocues are silent as to his fate and the fate of their “profession”. They know that if this is happening to Assange it could happen to them, but, like the arrow that flies in the night, they long ago killed that possibility themselves. There will be no glad confident morning for them. Only servitude and pieces of silver.
And so the American juggernaut once again crushes justice in virtual silence. That’s the thing about breaking a butterfly on the wheel. No one can hear it scream.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al-Ghadeer’s editorial stance.
By | George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows. He is a filmmaker, writer, and renowned orator.