Julian Assange should be living his life as a free man, enjoying his family, breathing fresh air, and being able to pursue his award-winning journalism and publishing.
That’s the only conclusion one has to draw from this week’s announcement by Swedish prosecutors that they were dropping a preliminary probe into sex-offense accusations made against Assange nearly a decade ago.
This is the second time Swedish authorities have dropped their investigation for “lack of evidence”. Yet, because of these specious allegations and abuse of due process, Assange has endured detention and deprivation of his freedom for more than seven years.
The Australian founder of Wikileaks and his worldwide supporters have always claimed that the Swedish, British and American governments were conducting a nefarious conspiracy to entrap him. The initial sex claims made against Assange by two Swedish women in 2010 were flimsy and contradictory; there is evidence that the complaints were doctored by Swedish police.
The ultimate goal was always to persecute Assange for is ground-breaking journalism which exposed troves of war crimes committed by the US and its British ally. Additionally, Wikileaks exposed far more crimes and corruption, such as illegal global spying on all citizens by US and British intelligence agencies, as well as countless diplomatic intrigues against foreign states.
Thus, Assange had to be destroyed by the US and British state criminals in order to serve as a warning against other independent journalists.
To avoid the bogus sex-offense case and possible extradition to Sweden and thence to the US, Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. He repeatedly offered to cooperate with Swedish prosecutors via video link, but they declined. British police besieged the embassy for nearly seven years, forcing Assange to live in a single small room with few visitors permitted and limited communication with the outside world. It also turns out, he was being spied on by American intelligence agencies seemingly in cahoots with the Ecuadorian embassy. All told, it was a grave violation of asylum rights and due process.
When a new pro-US Ecuadorian government connived in removing asylum status, British police stormed the embassy in April this year and strong-armed Assange to a maximum-security prison. He continues to be held in solitary confinement awaiting an extradition trial next year to the US where he will face charges of espionage and a possible 175 years in prison.
The official British reason for taking Assange into custody in April was that he skipped bail in 2012 over the Swedish case. He was sentenced to 50 weeks for what was a minor bail infringement. It now turns out that the Swedish authorities have no case against Assange. So, why was he imprisoned after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy? His indefinite detention is a travesty of justice and legal standards.
Assange’s father and UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer have warned in recent weeks that his life is in danger from the extreme conditions of deprivation and psychological torture.
At his last court hearing in October, 48-year-old Assange was barely able to articulate his name. Evidently, his incarceration is intended to break him physically and mentally. One of his supporters in court, renowned journalist John Pilger, said it was a shocking “show-trial” in which the British judge’s callous deliberations were being obviously directed by unknown personnel from the US embassy who were sitting beside the judge’s bench.
It is abundantly clear that the ghastly treatment Julian Assange is being subjected to is a medieval-like witch-hunt. The grossly extreme conditions he is suffering are totally out of proportion to his alleged activity, whether the now-obsolete sex claims by two Swedish women, or the latterly tacked-on US government allegations of “espionage”.
Assange’s persecution is simply because of his truth-telling journalism. His denial of legal rights and his incarceration under torturous conditions are grim proof of the barbaric nature of the US authorities and their British and Swedish co-conspirators.
The fact that Swedish prosecutors have announced that after nearly 10 years of “investigating” dubious claims against Assange, that shows the scandal of his detention and torture.
The near-silence of the Western news media is also shameful. For years, they have peddled the false claims against Assange, smearing him as a “pervert”. Those smears served to advance the heinous agenda of the US and British governments for destroying Assange.
Now that the Swedish prosecutors have finally dropped their sex-offense probe against Assange, there is a scandalous indifference among the Western trial-by-media outlets who previously condemned Assange as guilty.
The Western human-rights NGOs are also indicted by their relative silence over Julian Assange’s plight, yet these same NGOs are only too willing to condemn foreign states for alleged human rights abuses when it suits Western governments’ agendas. Their selective concern illustrates who is calling their tune.
International public protests and campaigns by journalistic unions and societies, as well as UN bodies, must demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.
His principled, fearless journalism literally changed the world and how we understand it. Wikileaks and courageous whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden shone a critical light on the crimes committed by Washington and its NATO allies. Citizens all around the world have been empowered by the exposure of hypocrisy, deceit and corruption. Assange et al exposed the emperor with no clothes.
This is much bigger than the individual fate of Julian Assange, as deadly serious as that may be. Independent journalism, freedom of expression, truth and justice for everyone is at stake.