Julian Assange is a great hero of our time.
Subject to a 24-hour police siege, confined to a single windowless room, he continues to fight, and fight effectively, for truth and justice.
WikiLeaks continues to provide a means by which whistle-blowers can reveal how governments, corporations and other organizations conspire against the public. Most of what the American public knows about the toxic Trans Pacific Partnership, for example, has been made known by WikiLeaks.
John Pilger wrote an excellent article, updated on Counterpunch, about the how the U.S. government, abetted by the governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden, are bending international law and their own laws to deprive Assange of his freedom.
He is wanted for extradition to Sweden for questioning in a sexual misconduct case. He has not been charged with any crime, and the alleged victims in the case do not accuse him of any crime. He has offered to testify in London, or to go to Sweden to testify if he can be assured that he won’t be extradited to the United States.
A grand jury has been meeting in secret in Alexandria, Va., for five years trying to figure out ways to define Assange’s truth-telling as a crime. The details of the ongoing investigation of Assange have been defined themselves as a state secret. One of the crimes the grand jury is pondering is violation of the U.S. Espionage Act, which carries a maximum penalty of death or life imprisonment.
Assange might be in a U.S. prison today, or worse, if not for the courage of the Ecuadorian government, which despite all pressure and threats offered him refuge in its London embassy.
The U.S. government treats Assange as it might treat a terrorist. And in fact, to a government whose policies are based on secrecy and lies, truth-tellers and whistle-blowers are more terrifying than killers or suicide bombers.
I think a good litmus test for whether an individual believes in freedom and democracy is the person’s attitude toward Julian Assange. President Obama most certainly fails that test. I think Assange will be remembered when Obama is forgotten.
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice by John Pilger for Counterpunch.