UK extradition hearing: final act in campaign to bury Julian Assange

by | Sep 8, 2020 | Comment Analysis, Government

Freedom of the press now rests with the dissidents on the internet who belong to no club but, like Julian Assange, produce fine, disobedient, moral journalism, writes John Pilger.

When I first met Julian Assange more than 10 years ago, I asked him why he had started WikiLeaks. He replied: “Transparency and accountability are moral issues that must be the essence of public life and journalism.”

I had never heard a publisher or editor invoke morality in this way. Assange believes that journalists are the agents of people, not power: that we, the people, have a right to know about the darkest secrets of those who claim to act in our name.

If the powerful lie to us, we have the right to know. If they say one thing in private and the opposite in public, we have the right to know. If they conspire against us, as George W. Bush and Tony Blair did over Iraq, then pretend to be democrats, we have the right to know.

It is this morality of purpose that so threatens the collusion of powers that want to plunge much of the world into war and to bury Assange alive in Trump’s fascist America.

In 2008, a top-secret US State Department report described in detail how the United States would combat this new moral threat posed by Assange. A secretly directed personal smear campaign would lead to “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”.

The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its founder. Page after page of the report revealed a coming war on a single human being and on the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of thought and democracy.

Julian Assange smears fade as Wikileaks witnesses concede he was not reckless, did protect informants

The  shock troops would be those who called themselves journalists: the big hitters of the “mainstream”, especially the “liberals” who mark and patrol the perimeters of dissent.

And that is what happened. A reporter for more than 50 years, I have never known a smear campaign like it: the fabricated character assassination of a man who refused to join the club: who believed journalism was a service to the public, never to those above.

Assange shamed his persecutors. He produced scoop after scoop. He exposed the fraudulence of wars promoted by the media and the homicidal nature of America’s wars, the corruption of dictators, the evils of Guantanamo.

He forced us in the West to look in the mirror. He exposed the official truth-tellers in the media as collaborators. None believed Assange when he warned  his life was in danger: that the “sex scandal” in Sweden was a set-up and an American hellhole was the ultimate destination. He was right, and repeatedly so.

US indictment a sham

The extradition hearing in London this week is the final act of an Anglo-American campaign to bury Assange. It is not due process. It is due revenge. The American indictment is clearly rigged, a demonstrable sham. So far, the hearings have been reminiscent of their Stalinist equivalents during the Cold War.

Today, the land that gave us Magna Carta, Great Britain, is distinguished by the abandonment of its own sovereignty in allowing a malign foreign power to manipulate justice and allow the vicious psychological torture of Assange – a form of torture, as Nils Melzer the UN expert has pointed out, that was refined by the Nazis because it was most effective in breaking its victims.

Every time I have visited Assange in Belmarsh prison, I have seen the effects of this torture. When I last saw him, he had lost more than 10 kilos; his arms had no muscle. Incredibly, his wicked sense of humor was intact.

As for Assange’s homeland, Australia has displayed a cringeing cowardice. Not for nothing did George W. Bush anoint the Australian prime minister his “deputy sheriff”.

It is said that whatever happens to Assange in the next three weeks will diminish, if not destroy, freedom of the press in the West. But which press? The Guardian? The BBC, The New York Times, Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post?

Media dead silent as Wikileaks insider explodes the myths around Julian Assange

No, the journalists in these organisations can breathe freely. The Judases on the Guardian who flirted with Assange, exploited his landmark work, made their pile and then betrayed him, have nothing to fear. They are safe because they are needed.

Freedom of the press now rests with the honourable few: the dissidents on the internet who belong to no club, who are neither rich nor laden with Pulitzers but, like Julian Assange, produce fine, disobedient, moral journalism.

Meanwhile, it is our responsibility to stand by a true journalist whose courage ought to be inspiration to all of us who still believe that freedom is possible. I salute him.

Leaks 2020: offshore data leaks proliferate amid government secrecy

This piece is the latest in a long series of investigations and films on the Julian Assange case by John Pilger, all of which are archived at


John Pilger

John Pilger

John Pilger, journalist and film-maker, has won British journalism’s highest award twice. For his documentary films, he has won an American television academy award, an Emmy, and a British Academy Award. His 1979 documentary, the epic Cambodia Year Zero is ranked by the British Film Institute as one of the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century. His films on Indigenous Australia include Welcome to Australia and Utopia. His books include the best-selling history of Australia ‘A Secret Country’. He is a recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize. John continues to be a strong and vocal supporter of Julian Assange.


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    Rubbish, I am so sick of sob stories about this man who helped Trump into the White House and hid from a sexual assault case until time passed meant the charges could not proceed.

    Let the Law follow due procedure.

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      Yes.You forgot to mention he showed the deceit of Clinton and the democrats..but never let facts get in the way of faux angst.If you researched the “sexual assault” you would have found it was a load of hot air and nothing more.But if you were unable to google the clinton email dumps and rad them..and think..then its highly unlikely you would look into the Assange a democrat voter shouldnt you be out burning your local city?

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        So many assumptions, so much hot air, just let the British Justice System do their job. Clinton’s deceit, where have you been during that lying Orange Oaf’s Presidency, don’t make me laugh.
        I would protest, if the cops fired 7 bullets into the back of a person getting into a car in my city. But don’t worry about that poor guy, and the others, waste your time on Baby Huey Assange.

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      It seems Assange has been reduced to being the Darling of the far right wacko brigade.

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      You forgot to add in the other usual suspect phrases, like “traitor” or that he is not a “real” journalist and has blood on his hands. Can you evidence “help” and “hid” regarding your subjective rant? And I dont mean pulling up op eds from the very MSM orgs Wikileaks exposed. I wont hold my breath.

      My analysis: your comment represents the litmus test result for how a diet of MSM and partisanship corrupts critical thinking skills.

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        I couldn’t give a rat’s, your post is nothing but presumptions, you use the same tactics you accuse me off, hypocrite.

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        Boringly predictable response. based on your post I figured you had nothing to offer, at least you admit how corrupt your thinking is.

        Be gone troll.

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        Boringly predictable response. based on your post I figured you had
        nothing to offer, at least you admit how corrupt your thinking is.

        Be gone troll.

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        You’re in the big room with adults now Attuross, not some Murdoch hugging, tiddlywink forum.

        Time to qualify your “help” and “hid” statements with some hard hitting, factual evidence.

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        You’re in the big room with adults now R*, not some Murdoch hugging, tiddlywink forum.

        Time to qualify your “help” and “hid” statements with some hard hitting, factual evidence.

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    “ bury Assange alive in Trump’s fascist America..”
    Great start until the usual left trope of Trump=fascist..Lets continue the gag ..Antifa/Blm are peaceful protestors..

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      I came here to say much the same thing. Instead I’ll just wholeheartedly agree with your comment mike williams. Well said.

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    I’m not a lawyer, but why aren’t the media organisations that published his work on the stand with him and held accountable? For instance, if Tick Tock are circulating a suicide, aren’t they also responsible as well as the uploader?

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    A typical article from that Master of Deceit, John Pilger. Anti-American, anti-Australian, anti-British, he enjoys the full privileges Western democracies offer yet condemns each and every aspect of their domestic and foreign policies. His views reek with bias, unfounded assertions and downright lies, even in his unrestrained love of all things Russian and Chinese. Worse than Corona-19 and far more dangerous.

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      “Bovine Excreta”…..Graham……Go back to reading Murdoch or watching Fox…..

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        Where’s your evidence, Brian, or is your reply simply an aspersion built on false assumptions? Clearly, you’ve learnt a lot from reading Pilger’s articles.

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      GEE,WIZZ” Graham ,you LEFT OUT Pilger’s associations , with MARTIANS & von Daniken? What else did JOHN inject himself into ,FRENCH REVOLUTION / kratoa”?? BOOFHED ” Mate “!

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    That war criminals like G Dubya Bush, Tony Blair, little johnny howard, Dick Cheney, and a host of those in the Military Industrial Complex/Whitehall are walking around, free as the birds, while The Man who actually told us the TRUTH is behind bars, shows just how badly “Freedom and Democracy” has been corrupted.

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    HISTORY ” Repeats Its self,not necessarily BUT ,HISTORIANS , often DO”( Anon.) ALFRED DREYFUS,Wilfred BURCHETT ( Australian Journalist) ABANDONED by their Countries,sacrificed to the Expediency of DUBIOUS ” Alliances Politics”& the POPULATIONS lied too incessantly. AUSTRALIA, a World Wide ,SHAME ” BLEATING SOVERIGNITY ” and Kowtowing to whatever POWER GANG ( USA ) is in CHARGE.Historicall ” SICKENING,Demeaning”!

  7. Avatar

    Some say democracy is a dying philosophy. The threat to principles of free speech per say is not a strong China, resurgent Russia or Iran. Democracy is a philosophy that is being destroyed from within. Where once we had the absolutist power of monarchs in the West, now we have media barrens and their corrupted willing social enablers… so sad.
    An embarrassed Australian and NOT the previously mentioned Graham. Shame.


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