Free Assange. Stop persecuting truth spreaders


> Julian Assange an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006 published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
> The major exposes are so well documented and videoed, including massacres and tortures, that no major release of facts has been denied by the major governments.
> Italian journalist Stefania asserts that investigative journalism in principle necessarily has to use restricted information.
> Edward Snowden is of similar fame for exposing US state secrets of having secretly spied and recorded conversations of world leaders and massive surveillance of people around the world.
> Issues of the world today: Human and individual freedoms, state power, freedom of information

Free Assange. Stop persecuting truth spreaders
Mario Ferdinand Pasion
December 20, 2020

On Jan. 4, 2021, the world’s biggest whistleblower Julian Assange of Wikileaks, may be judged and extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom.  For exposing, with evidence, the massive spying on world leaders and civilians, state-sponsored torture sites around the world and murders, random helicopter attacks on reporters and civilians, and various illegal operations, among others, he was accused of violating the US Espionage Act and of computer hacking and publication of secret documents.  He was also accused of endangering people’s lives with his exposes, but no cases have been presented, with even US Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, who headed a Pentagon review, telling the courts that “they had uncovered no specific examples of anyone who had lost his or her life [as a result of the Wikileaks publications].”

Intense pressures were applied during this period of persecution — even when Assange resided inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for most of the last 10 years.  In 2010, he was accused of sexual assault in Sweden, but an investigation has since been dropped. The El Pais newspaper of Spain alleged, with witnesses and video clips, that the Spanish private security firm Undercover Global Ltd. spied on the embassy, delivering audio and video surveillance of visitors and lawyers and movements in the mission to the CIA.  In April 2019, Assange was physically dragged out like an animal after a deal was reached between the US and the new Ecuadorian government, and he has been incarcerated in near isolation since.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gets arrested (Inset: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Donald Trump, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and Edward Snowden). COLLAGE BY IDSI

All the signs of convicting Assange are showing today.  His access to family and lawyers is very limited; media is not allowed access to him. The Australian government has not defended Assange, who is its citizen, although Australian groups have protested.   After allowing NGOs and political groups to monitor the trials by remote video in September this year, District Judge Baraitser suddenly ordered their access revoked, infuriating Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and other human rights watchdogs.

Rappler is not concerned at all with this violation of human rights or press freedom, and so are other “human rights defenders,” Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan, Maria Ressa, VeraFiles, ABS-CBN, etc. The torture of dozens of people in “black sites” around the world, killing of dozens of leaders and scientists in operations and hundreds of thousands of civilians over fake news by the US and the UK military, the lies of Western countries are of little concern to these defenders. But the “potential spying” and management of deadly riots by nonaligned states are sufficient basis for constant media attacks and worldwide sanctions, and “possible plans against the US” are sufficient bases for invasions and assassinations.

Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said, “The judge excluded witnesses who could testify on systematic torture in the US.”  The Department of Justice has tried to frame this as a hacking case when there is no evidence of hacking, and of endangering the security of operatives and costing lives but without specific cases. In fairness, some US politicians are finally asking for more fairness. US lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard has sponsored a bipartisan bill calling for the US’ indictment charges against the two whistleblowers — Assange and Snowden — to be dropped and has also urged Trump to pardon the two men. UK’s The Guardian also published a strong editorial calling for the UK government not to extradite Snowden and even for Trump or Biden to pardon Assange.

Wikileaks has been accused of indiscriminate dumping of files for publicity purposes.  While it has released millions of files in the internet, Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who has worked for some of Italy’s top publications including la Repubblica and l’Espresso and started working with Julian Assange, said while there are mistakes, in most cases Wikileaks does its own verification and media partners also do their own.

The major exposes are so well documented and videoed, including massacres and tortures, that no major release of facts has been denied by the major governments. Accusations of bias have been made by governments that are exposed or that are colluding with Russians, etc.

“Investigative journalism in principle necessarily has to use restricted information, Maurizi points out, but rational people do care about the consequences of what they publish.  The information should not be exposed “if it risks terrorist action or harms to society, but if information is classified just because it is embarrassing, because someone is trying to cover up war crimes, torture or crimes against humanity, and we absolutely have the right to expose these secrets.” Wikileaks would not agree with the use of unverified rumors simply because it came from another famous publication.  And media can be selective in practice of agreed principles.  When people are granted impunity as records of Western courts will show and when their military are the ones committing mass horrors, whistleblowers as well as publishers of these pieces of information are needed, as Wikileaks did. Worldwide, some organizations are pressured and threatened by the Pentagon; others are funded and supported, protected, including by the National Endowment for Democracy and Omidyar groups; not averse to supporting subversions of governments instead of just influencing their thinking. Julian Assange hasn’t known freedom since publishing the US secret documents.  Rebels can be trying to achieve an outlook, just as Jesus and Galileo were, differentiate them from those trying to overthrow governments or seize power like the Hong Kong rioters or takeovers in Venezuela, Bolivia, etc.

There will be mistakes by any organization, but we have to assess the values attained for society, the efforts made to avoid unnecessary harm from the disclosures and the actual harms done. Until today, the Wikileaks exposés have helped nations know who to believe and who not to, and useful information on organizations, politicians, persons can still be obtained from the released files — for the good of the general public.  All our local media have massive errors, without efforts to even verify, or not beyond quoting famous but disreputable sources.

Suicide risk? For someone falling from being a lionized “hero, freedom fighter” of the world to being dragged out like an animal, isolated, called a “narcissist” and “traitor,” unprotected by his own Australian government, separated from wife and children, Assange is a suicide risk as well.  On the depressed state of Assange today, psychologist Blackwood stated that it is “manageable,” just as the US penitentiary “managed” Jeff Epstein, found dead by “suicide” one week after an attempt, with cameras turned off and guards going on breaks?  Just like Kevin Frost, who exposed Australian Special Forces’ killing of Afghan civilian prisoners for practice, “died of suicide” a week later also?

Edward Snowden is of similar fame for exposing US state secrets of having secretly spied and recorded conversations of world leaders and massive surveillance of people around the world including other crimes and violations of human and legal rights.  He is also hounded by the US trying to arrest him from around the world but has wisely decided to seek asylum in Russia rather than the UK.  What will happen in Assange’s case will be closely watched to see what will happen to him.

Human and individual freedoms, state power, freedom of information — these are the issues of the world today. Most nations and peoples are looking for advantage, it is true, but some strive for some range of consistency and less interference, and some are at the extreme of trying to achieve maximum self-interest and control, at the expense of substantial truth, consistency and mutuality, seeking to be the sole No. 1 forever. This is an existential risk for the whole world, not just for humans but the earth. The Assange case is a pivot point; he should be released. Free him.

Mario Ferdinand Pasion is a political analyst, director of economic alliance Phil-Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Strategic Studies and the chairman of Nat-Fil (Nationalist Filipinos Against Foreign Intervention).

New Worlds by IDSI (Integrated Development Studies Institute) aims to present frameworks based on a balance of economic theory, historical realities, ground success in real business and communities and attempt for common good, culture and spirituality. We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks (

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