JOHN PILGER: The Lies About Assange Must Stop Now

If Julian Assange were to succumb to the cruelties heaped upon him, week after week, month after month, year upon year, as doctors warn, newspapers like The Guardian will share the responsibility, writes John Pilger.

By John Pilger

Newspapers and other media in the United States and Britain have recently declared a passion for freedom of speech, especially their right to publish freely.  They are worried by the “Assange effect”.  

It is as if the struggle of truth-tellers like Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is now a warning to them: that the thugs who dragged Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy in April may one day come for them.

A common refrain was echoed by The Guardian last week. The extradition of Assange, said the paper, “is not a question of how wise Mr. Assange is, still less how likable. It’s not about his character, nor his judgement. It’s a matter of press freedom and the public’s right to know.”  

What The Guardian is trying to do is separate Assange from his landmark achievements, which have both profited The Guardian and exposed its own vulnerability, along with its propensity to suck up to rapacious power and smear those who reveal its double standards.

The poison that has fueled the persecution of Julian Assange is not as obvious in this editorial as it usually is; there is no fiction about Assange smearing faeces on embassy walls or being awful to his cat.

Instead, the weasel references to “character” and “judgement” and “likeability” perpetuate an epic smear which is now almost a decade old.  Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, used a more apt description. “There has been,” he wrote, “a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing.”  He explains mobbing as “an endless stream of humiliating, debasing and threatening statements in the press”.  This “collection ridicule” amounts to torture and could lead to Assange’s death.

Having witnessed much of what Melzer describes, I can vouch for the truth of his words. If Julian Assange were to succumb to the cruelties heaped upon him, week after week, month after month, year upon year, as doctors warn, newspapers like The Guardian will share the responsibility.

Pilger and Assange, London 2011. (Oct. 7, 2011 – Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images Europe)

A few days ago, The Sydney Morning Herald’s man in London, Nick Miller, wrote a lazy, specious piece headlined, “Assange has not been vindicated, he has merely out-waited justice.”  He was referring to Sweden’s abandonment of the so-called Assange investigation.

Miller’s report is not untypical for its omissions and distortions while masquerading as a tribune of women’s rights. There is no original work, no real inquiry: just smear.

There is nothing on the documented behaviour of a clutch of Swedish zealots who hi jacked the “allegations” of sexual misconduct against Assange and made a mockery of Swedish law and that society’s vaunted decency.

He makes no mention that in 2013, the Swedish prosecutor tried to abandon the case and emailed the Crown Prosecution Service in London to say it would no longer pursue a European Arrest Warrant, to which she received the reply: “Don’t you dare!!!” (Thanks to Stefania Maurizi of La Repubblica)

Other emails show the CPS discouraging the Swedes from coming to London to interview Assange – which was common practice – thus blocking progress that might have set him free in 2011.

There was never an indictment. There were never charges. There was never a serious attempt to put “allegations” to Assange and question him – behaviour that the Swedish Court of Appeal ruled to be negligent and the General Secretary of the Swedish Bar Association has since condemned.

Both the women involved said there was no rape.  Critical written evidence of their text messages was willfully withheld from Assange’s lawyers, clearly because it undermined the “allegations”.

One of the women was so shocked that Assange was arrested, she accused the police of railroading her and changing her witness statement. The chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, dismissed the “suspicion of any crime.”

The Sydney Morning Herald man omits how an ambitious and compromised politician, Claes Borgstrom, emerged from behind the liberal facade of Swedish politics and effectively seized and revived the case.  

Borgstrom enlisted a former political collaborator, Marianne Ny, as the new prosecutor. Ny refused to guarantee that Assange would not be sent on to the United States if he was extradited to Sweden, even though, as The Independent reported, “informal discussions have already taken place between the US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.” This was an open secret in Stockholm. That libertarian Sweden had a dark, documented past of rendering people into the hands of the CIA was not news.  

The silence was broken in 2016 when the United Nations Working Party on Arbitrary Detention, a body that decides whether governments are meeting their human rights obligations, ruled that Julian Assange was unlawfully detained by Britain and called on the British government to set him free.

Both the governments of Britain and Sweden had taken part in the UN’s investigation, and agreed to abide by its ruling, which carried the weight of international law. The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, stood up in Parliament and abused the UN panel.

The Swedish case was a fraud from the moment the police secretly and illegally contacted a Stockholm tabloid and ignited the hysteria that was to consume Assange. WikiLeaks’ revelations of America’s war crimes had shamed the hand-maidens of power and its vested interests, who called themselves journalists; and for this, the unclubbable Assange would never be forgiven.

It was now open season. Assange’s media tormenters cut and pasted each other’s lies and vituperative abuse. “He really is the most massive turd,” wrote Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore. The received wisdom was that he had been charged, which was never true. In my career, reporting from places of extreme upheaval and suffering and criminality, I have never known anything like it.

In Assange’s homeland, Australia, this “mobbing” reached an apogee. So eager was the Australian government to deliver its citizen to the United States that the prime minister in 2010, Julia Gillard, wanted to take away his passport and charge him with a crime – until it was pointed out to her that Assange had committed no crime and she had no right to take away his citizenship.

Belmarsh Prison, where Assange is incarcerated.

Julia Gillard, according to the website Honest History, holds the record for the most sycophantic speech ever made to the U.S. Congress. Australia, said she to applause, was America’s “great mate”. The great mate colluded with America in its hunt for an Australian whose crime was journalism. His right to protection and proper assistance was denied.

When Assange’s lawyer, Gareth Peirce, and I met two Australian consular officials in London, we were shocked that all they knew about the case “is what we read in the papers”.

This abandonment by Australia was a principal reason for the granting of political asylum by Ecuador. As an Australian, I found this especially shaming.

When asked about Assange recently, the current Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said, “He should face the music”. This kind of thuggery, bereft of any respect for truth and rights and the principles and law, is why the mostly Murdoch controlled press in Australia is now worried about its own future, as The Guardian is worried, and The New York Times is worried. Their concern has a name: “the Assange precedent.”

They know that what happens to Assange can happen to them. The basic rights and justice denied him can be denied to them. They have been warned. All of us have been warned.

Whenever I see Julian in the grim, surreal world of Belmarsh prison, I am reminded of the responsibility of those of us who defend him. There are universal principles at stake in this case. He himself is fond of saying: “It’s not me. It’s far wider.”

But at the heart of this remarkable struggle – and it is, above all, a struggle – is one human being whose character, I repeat character, has demonstrated the most astonishing courage. I salute him.

This is an edited version of an address John Pilger gave at the launch in London of In Defense of Julian Assange, an anthology published by OR Books, New York.  See also: .

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” among the 10 most important documentaries of the 20thcentury. Some of his previous contributions to Consortium News can be found here.  

39 comments for “JOHN PILGER: The Lies About Assange Must Stop Now

  1. Alan Michael
    November 28, 2019 at 06:07

    Fantastic descripción

  2. LJ
    November 26, 2019 at 17:35

    When all else fails
    We can whip the horses eyes
    And make them sleep
    And cry

    The Doors…..once upon a time a long, long time ago. Trump is the 12th Avatar of Gloomski, a planet in the 31th nebula of far far away..

  3. jmg
    November 26, 2019 at 06:49

    dean 1000 wrote:
    > Thanks John Pilger for taking pecksniffian, envious journalists to task who can’t mention Assange without grossly demeaning his wisdom, character, or likeability.
    > The exemplary conduct and character of Assange (and Manning) in exposing war crimes, wrongdoing, and incompetence far exceeds that of his critics and tormentors. Assange could easily be the most liked person on the web.

    In some of the footage of Julian inside the prison van after the Oct 21 extradition hearing, a person was saying “what a hero” and, according to a couple of people on Twitter trying to lip read, Julian’s answer was “I’m a human”.

    So, yes, in spite of all the smear campaigns — clearly initiated to neutralize WikiLeaks’ public interest disclosures, and then foolishly followed by many — he seems just a hard-working but basically good human being.

    “Julian is a joy of a man, he’s very positive, sweet natured. He’s determined but he always could get his own way by being charming. He didn’t have to bully anyone.”
    — John Shipton, father

  4. Smith
    November 26, 2019 at 01:25

    Tell them Aussie Gaurdian TRAITORS what you think about their complicity in the brutal arrest, imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange.

    Since the Guardian employs blanket censorship no comments about Julian can get through.

    Simply use the ‘Report’ function to get their attention!!!

    Show them no quarter!!!!! THE COWARDS!!

  5. dean 1000
    November 25, 2019 at 22:09

    Thanks John Pilger for taking pecksniffian, envious journalists to task who can’t mention Assange without grossly demeaning his wisdom, character, or likeability.

    The exemplary conduct and character of Assange (and Manning) in exposing war crimes,wrongdoing, and incompetence far exceeds that of his critics and tormentors. Assange could easily be the most liked person on the web.

    The Guardian (aka the Daily Sycophant) is right about one thing. It is about the public’s right to know. The press is only one of the means of mass communication. What we now know is that the means of mass communication is not safe when controlled by government or by the corporate creatures of government.

  6. T.J
    November 25, 2019 at 19:33

    The lily-livered spineless wimps of journalists attached to the guardian and other media outlets, have failed in their duty as journalist. They are nothing but reprehensible human beings, devoid of integrity and substance. They lack the one basic requirement necessary to be a good journalist, a conscience. Compared to them John Pilger, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are giants. John Pilger has spent his whole life fighting for truth and justice. Consortium News was founded on similar principles. John has served his profession well and his contribution to true journalism will stand the test of time. He and his likes will be remembered long after those so-called excuses for journalists will be forgotten.

  7. Brian Estes
    November 25, 2019 at 17:25

    Ballad of an Outlaw ~ by Brian Estes 2019

    Come gather ’round the fire
    I’ll sing to you a song
    Of a man they called an outlaw
    And how we done him wrong

    He worked as a miner
    But he didn’t dig for gold
    He sifted through the secrets
    And the lies that they told

    Yes, he dug for the truth, child
    And gave it away for free
    Though he never made a profit
    He made lots of enemies

    The criminals in power
    Pulling wool across our eyes
    They were deer in his headlights
    They were caught in their lies

    He showed us all their spying
    He pulled away the veil
    We learned about their dirty wars
    So they hauled him off to jail

    They tortured him and they kept him
    In a lonesome little cell
    All because he told the truth
    We ain’t allowed to tell

    Some say he beat them
    At their dirty little game
    But when he had his day in court
    He couldn’t even say his name

    The whole world just turned away
    And his mama, Lord she cried
    For though her son was still alive
    The outlaw had died

    Well, some men are liars
    And some men are fools
    And some men are crucified
    For breakin’ all their rules

    There’s things you shouldn’t say, child
    And there’s tales you shouldn’t tell
    Or you’ll end up like that outlaw
    In his lonesome little cell

    Yes, there’s things you shouldn’t know, child
    And there’s things you shouldn’t see
    I’ve sung a song you shouldn’t hear
    They’ll soon be here for me

    But, child, don’t you worry
    It’s time to go to bed
    The outlaws all are gone now
    So lay down your head

    Yes, we jailed all the outlaws
    But here’s a little twist
    Before we called them “outlaw”
    We called them “journalist”

    There used to be a saying
    That the truth will set you free
    But the truth is against the law
    Take it from me

    So gather ‘round the fire
    And burn another book
    And stay away from places
    You hadn’t oughta look

    Some men are killers
    And some men are thieves
    And some men are outlaws
    For the things that they believe

    That was my song, child
    And now you know my tale
    I’m the last of the outlaws
    And they’re hot on my trail

    But someday when the wind blows
    And the last of us are gone
    Raise your voice up to the sky
    And sing an outlaw song

    Won’t you raise your voice up to the sky
    And sing an outlaw song

    • David Thornley
      November 26, 2019 at 12:01

      Brian, does this song poem have a melody?

  8. Stephen M
    November 25, 2019 at 15:38

    “He makes no mention that in 2013, the Swedish prosecutor tried to abandon the case and emailed the Crown Prosecution Service in London to say it would no longer pursue a European Arrest Warrant, to which she received the reply: “Don’t you dare!!!”

    The other thing about the European Arrest Warrant was that it was bogus to begin with. You can’t issue an EAW on the basis of a mere investigation… there have to be actual charges. When Julian challenged the legality of this in a UK court, somehow they found his case to be the exception, ruled against the law and upheld the warrant… which pretty much everyone in the know at the time understood this to be due to pressure from Washington.. He then turned himself in but was able to post bail and was placed on house arrest which provided the opportunity, only after it became obvious that Sweden and the UK were working on Washington’s behalf, for him to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. He has been a political prisoner ever since.

    • Stephen M
      November 26, 2019 at 16:37

      To support my comment above, here’s an actual quote I found online from the judge who presided over Julian’s extradition hearing — “as a matter of fact, and looking at all the circumstances in the round, this person (Mr Assange) passes the threshold of being an accused person and is wanted for prosecution.”

      I think maybe “all the circumstances in the round” and “passes the threshold” are legal terms for “not really but we’re going to say he is anyway.”

      I would also like to rephrase the last statement in my comment where I said it was only after they were “working on Washington’s behalf” that he decided to seek asylum. It was actually only after all his legal appeals were exhausted and he was facing certain extradition that he sought asylum. At that point, his choice was pretty stark, either seek asylum or throw himself on the tender mercies of the Empire of Chaos, aka Murder Inc., aka the Exceptional Nation (i.e., serial violator of international law), and that obviously wasn’t much of a choice. Luckily he was out on bail (as opposed to being in solitary confinement at Wandsworth prison where he was before he made bail) and Ecuador was courageous enough to make the offer.

      Even in the UK Supreme Court decision that hinged upon whether a prosecutor as opposed to a judge could issue an EAW, the Chief Justice applied the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which would allow for state practice to override the letter of the law. Problem is, the Vienna Convention only governs treaties between states but not between states and international organizations, and as Julian’s lawyers pointed out, was not applicable in this case. The Supreme Court itself recognized its own error in a subsequent appeal case involving an EAW. But by then of course, its belated admission came too late to do anything for Julian.

      So basically, it’s more than just a bit of an understatement to say that Julian Assange was not served well by the legal system.

  9. David Otness
    November 25, 2019 at 14:23

    Rob Roy—
    To be clear, it is the National Security Complex doing the dirty deeds re: Assange in its interactions with other nations, rather than Trump himself. That’s in my estimation anyway. The *NSC* is forever, and it is they who rightfully perceive honest and accurate journalism as the greatest threat to their continued covert and sordid existence; their unobserved and most often unremarked longevity in the quiet halls and rooms of underground D.C. attest to that. And they need to keep it that way.
    I think Trump has had to concede much to their ubiquitous power and he recognizes he has to give ground to certain elements within the Blob that is simultaneously using him while commensurately trying to take him down.
    Not that he is of any idealistic stripe that would compel his *conscience* to respect the fundamental to our *freedoms* journalism represents to most of us in any way. I’m relatively assured the only use he can perceive journalism as being valid is in how it can potentially be monetized in his favor, be it directly or via its P.R. value.

  10. David Otness
    November 25, 2019 at 13:50

    My thanks to any and all who remain true to the principles and this person, Julian Assange who woke people from the powers-that-be torpor and stupor of their own dark design. The courage and intrepidity of these trailblazers who put themselves directly in the line of fire of this modern day Empire cannot be overstated.

    From Michael
    “Five hundred and eighty years ago, Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press to the world. That single act created a free press which gave birth to the concept of freedom of speech. The two are inextricably linked; printing is a form of speech.

    Gutenberg’s invention started the Printing Revolution, a milestone of the 2nd millennium that initiated the modern period of human history including the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution, and began the knowledge-based economy that spread learning to the masses.
    Such mass communication permanently altered the structure of society. Removing control of information from the hands of the powerful and delivering it into the hands of the disempowered.”

    “WikiLeaks’ threat to the powerful was recognised and every effort was, and is, being made to criminalise anonymous leaking, which would be akin to criminalising Gutenberg’s printing press, but there is not much chance this criminalisation will succeed.
    Their strategy however, as exposed in a document leaked by WikiLeaks, outlined how WikiLeaks uses trust by protecting the anonymity and identity of leakers and concluded that damaging or destroying this trust would deter leaking; defame Assange and WikiLeaks to kill the threat posed by anonymous leaking.

    For 12 years, since 2008, that is exactly what powerful organisations, powerful media and government, powerful military and corrupt corporations have been doing. They are trying to destroy the public’s trust in Julian Assange and, by so doing, destroying the trust in WikiLeaks and ensuring this mechanism of educating the world fails.
    Slowly, instance by instance, the malicious and deceitful smears of Julian Assange’s character have been exposed for what they are; an effort to destroy trust in a system of anonymous leaking that will educate everyone.”

    • November 25, 2019 at 18:35

      Much appreciate your statement David Otness. Very powerful and well-crafted.

  11. Litchfield
    November 25, 2019 at 13:33

    Thank you thank you thank you, John—also Craig Murray—for your ongoing defense of Julian ASsange. Defense that is eloquent, powerful, and in fact may well make the difference in saving his life.

    Why has it taken so long for doctors to rally in his defense?
    Why have his attorneys not taken far more aggressive legal action against British authorities and news outlets for defamation of character and libel? Oh, he is a public person, so any lie can be told about him? I don’t think that is how it works.
    Let us hope it does not end in “wrongful death” suits.

    If he dies, I can only hope his family take the British govt, the Guardian and others to the cleaners in a civil suit for wrongful death. Then all the dirt would come out in a big way.

    How awful to be forced to think such thoughts. Yet it is normal to seek retribution for wrongdoing.

    Please convey to Julian that many are praying for him—including those who don’t believe in God.When push comes to shove, how else can one express oneself? “Hope” sounds a bit hopeless.

    Most important is for Julian to find the strength to not give up.

    I can hope that is true.

  12. November 25, 2019 at 12:36

    My deepest regards for the courage of John Pilger in keeping alive the concern about the disgusting treatment of Julian Assange by The Guardian, The New York Times and all the other rags, and the governments of the UK, USA, Sweden and Australia in perpetuating the lies and smears. Of what use is a journalist if all he does is write articles suggested to him/her by the intelligence services. Any journalist or publisher who has not exposed the repellent plot against, not just Julian, but all of us, should be ashamed to show his/her face!

  13. November 25, 2019 at 12:02

    John Pilger, it is a privilege to be able to read what you write. And it is with great admiration for someone who has contributed so much by spotlighting what is wrong and thereby reminding us of what is right.

  14. November 25, 2019 at 11:19

    Media have been used ad infinitum to prepare citizens for war and to denigrate peoples who were about to be eliminated. They should be concerned that the jackboot may fall on their necks at some point. Many in the media were long ago compromised and write the equivalence of repetitious articles which have the useless effect of so many chattering parrots in a zoo. I commend Mr. Pilger for his excellent and informative article. Viva Assaange!

    • nondimenticare
      November 25, 2019 at 14:42

      “They should be concerned that the jackboot may fall on their necks at some point. ”
      That is most likely one of the reasons for their “change of heart.” That and the trust they have that their audience has a poor memory: Once an idea has been implanted in their readers’ heads (an idea, ironically, that was implanted in the “journalists'” heads as well), they absorb it but forget its origin. “Journalists” et al. are then free to come out later as “the good guys.” No past equals no future.

  15. wm. meis
    November 25, 2019 at 10:26

    Why will the Australian NOT demand his release back to his home country. Would this not be reasonable?

    • Jim Scott
      November 26, 2019 at 20:40

      The Australian is owned by Murdoch and Murdoch is strongly entrenched as an important PR asset of the US Deep State apparatus.

  16. November 25, 2019 at 08:18

    It’s time to free Assange and Manning and put the real culprits behind bars!

  17. Skip Scott
    November 25, 2019 at 07:24

    I doubt that the Guardian or the Times has anything to worry about. They are now completely controlled propaganda mouthpieces for Empire. Any reporter with a shred of integrity or credibility is long gone. Real journalists are only to be found on the internet at sites like CN, with a few outliers like Matt Taibbi at the Rolling Stone. The “Assange Precedent” will only apply to them. As a result, trust in the MSM is at an all time low. Assange has revealed the “man behind the curtain”, and for that he will be eliminated unless enough people make enough noise that his continued torture becomes untenable.

    Wikileaks has shaken the very foundation of Empire. That is why they act so desperately. The only other time in my life I can recall such desperation by TPTB was during the 1960’s with the series of assassinations that remain unprosecuted to this day.

  18. November 25, 2019 at 01:52

    A wonderful summary.

  19. Fran Macadam
    November 25, 2019 at 01:13

    Thank you sir. Judges genuinely supportive of law, justice and truth would have released this journalist long ago.

  20. Borjanka Milatovic
    November 24, 2019 at 23:26

    Dear Mr Pilger, your engagement for Assange and your fight for truth is really impressive, powerful and human. By doing that , you’re saving not only your dignity, but also ours. If something happens to Assange, it will be the biggest moral, intellectual and human disgrace of XXI century and we will be obliged to live with that shame. How is possible that we live in the world where the mining of dignity, truth and human disency don’t have any mining and importance anymore.

  21. Sam F
    November 24, 2019 at 22:37

    Thank you, John Pilger for this excellent summary. I too wrote to my allegedly liberal humanitarian senator (King), and was amazed to receive the standard reply that Assange had damaged national security.

    Here we see the problem of tribalism of government officials in these countries. They cannot question the “threat to national security” narrative without loss of personal security, because they must pose as defenders of national security even while attacking the institutions of democracy, and the rights those were intended to guarantee. They cannot oppose the surveillance state or the economic corruption of government, or they will be reviled by their DC colleagues and get no election funding. Those who understood the problems are soon brought within the tribal narrative of national security. If politicians brought their social and political allies into office, they would outnumber the DC narrative controllers. If our mass media were independent media, the people would understand the nation’s problems better than DC, but instead they are fed the same narrative, and fear their own kind too much to learn, or to stand for truth and justice.

  22. November 24, 2019 at 20:42

    Thank you – and all those with you. If only success could be seen!

  23. geeyp
    November 24, 2019 at 19:13

    This speech is just as effective read as well as said. So happy we have John Pilger. God help Julian.

  24. robert e williamson jr
    November 24, 2019 at 18:44

    I wrote my congressman Dick Durbin D. Il , this last month calling for this whole bunch being persecuted by an unworthy government to be freed .

    The rational being that judging by appearances outrgovernment could use the help!

    John I am not particularly religious, agnostic in fact but you do saintly work!

    Thanks, much thanks!

  25. Kevin T
    November 24, 2019 at 18:10

    A superb summary. Should be mandatory reading for anyone who calls themselves a ‘journalist’.

  26. Collie Macadoodoodle
    November 24, 2019 at 18:04

    Another thing to always remember is Obama’s guilt in this. His lawyers advised it would be dangerous [for other journalists] to charge Assange but he just punted that football to Trump. He could’ve pardoned him (I would’ve written “should’ve” but that would seem to imply that Obama is a good person, which I don’t believe) for any past crime. He also only narrowly commuted or pardoned or whatever Manning, also allowing the next Pres to continue to ruin her life. What a pig Obama turned out to be.

  27. Steve Abbott
    November 24, 2019 at 17:40

    John Pilger makes the case extremely well, for justice for Julian Assange, and for the future security of the entire journalistic profession, but it is far more than that. It is a case for the ethical standards, professionalism, or utter self-humiliation of the journalistic profession and the historical profession (in my opinion already deeply degraded), but far more than that too. It is a case for both the intellectual and the physical survival of our species, because the current standards allow the mindless powerhouses of the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, and three letter agencies, to override both intellectual truth, and social and environmental justice.
    Thank you Mr Pilger, Mr Assange, Ms Manning, and all those currently endeavouring to see past the fog of greed to save us all from this travesty.

  28. Robyn
    November 24, 2019 at 17:19

    There is an interesting parallel between John Pilger’s reporting that two Australian consular officials in London only knew what they had read in the papers and Nils Melzer acknowledging that, before investigating Julian’s case, he also only knew what he had read. Melzer conceded that this had resulted in his having a negative view of Julian.

    The reliance on the MSM by people in top official positions is astonishing, the more so in the case of the Australian officials because it concerns probably the most high-publicity case involving an Australian at least for this century and all happening on their doorstep. At least Professor Melzer did and continues to make maximum effort for Julian; so far the Australian government and Opposition have done zero.

    • philnc
      November 25, 2019 at 13:25

      It may be that the primary target audience of commercial mass media propaganda are the elites from which the leadership class is drawn. Those of us further down the ladder are merely secondary recipients of the continual indoctrination process to keep them in line. Clearly that’s intended, particularly for the foot soldiers in law enforcement and military service. But the slipping through of truth to many of us isn’t the major concern it probably should be, mostly due to the arrogant sense of invincibility that is part of the conditioning of the elites.

    • November 25, 2019 at 14:31

      Good point. I think the Australian officials are playing dumb.

  29. Anna withers
    November 24, 2019 at 16:05

    Thank you John for standing with Julian and Chelsea on our behalf. We are praying that good will overcome in time to save his life. Please tell him that we care and are devastated by the treatment he’s receiving. From Cape Town, Anna and Kiam

  30. jmg
    November 24, 2019 at 16:04

    John Pilger:
    > Instead, the weasel references to “character” and “judgement” and “likeability” perpetuate an epic smear which is now almost a decade old. . . .
    > They know that what happens to Assange can happen to them. The basic rights and justice denied him can be denied to them. They have been warned. All of us have been warned.

    Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture:

    “How do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity.”

    (As You Celebrate Your Freedom, Remember Julian Assange | Nils Melzer | Newsweek | 7/5/19)

    “On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, 26 June 2019 . . .

    “In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.”

    (Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange — Nils Melzer — Medium — June 26, 2019)

    See also on the campaign against WikiLeaks:

    – 40 rebuttals to the media’s smears of Julian Assange — by someone who was actually there | Fidel Narváez | The Grayzone | August 20, 2019

    – The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit ally in framing Julian Assange | Sara Chessa | Independent Australia | 5 November 2019

    – Secret plan to kill Wikileaks with FUD leaked | Nate Cochrane | iTnews | Feb 10 2011

    – [Leaked document] The WikiLeaks Threat | An Overview by Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal, and Berico Technologies

  31. ranney
    November 24, 2019 at 15:16

    Thank you John for this excellent run down of the Assange “rape” saga of lies, and how the US has intimidated numerous countries like the UK and Sweden. It is quite frightening when one realizes that the US has been blackmailing other countries for years into doing what we want. No wonder Trump thinks its all right, and his sec’ty of State can clearly say that this is how it’s done – all the time.
    I doubt that both Sweden and the UK would have so seriously undermined their own laws to such an extent unless they had been told to by the US and given the understanding that if they didn’t that bad things would happen to them. We are clearly the world’s largest criminal cartel with behavior similar to the drug lords of Central and South America except on a grander scale.

    • Rob Roy
      November 25, 2019 at 12:26

      You are right; thanks for an excellent comment. Thanks to the ever-stalwart John Pilger for his work, without which we would be bereft. We should have more reporters like him. Of course, those great journalists don’t get printed in the MSM, hence the ignorance abounds.
      It’s not just Trump who knows “this is how it’s done,” but also all the presidents before him. Trump is just open about it. The others pretend to do good, to care, when in fact, they don’t.
      Trump did something more impeachable than this silly thing about the Bidens. He bribed Lenin Moreno, the new president of Ecuador to the tune of a 4+ billion dollar loan from the IMF if he would throw Julian Assange out of the Embassy in London. It worked because Moreno is a criminal, and one can see the result in Ecuador today. Once a country takes an IMF loan, it’s sunk…into poverty via extreme austerity measures, hence the rioting. He’s not being impeached on that gigantic act by the Democrats because Obama tried the same impeachable thing except Rafael Correa never succumbed to the pressure, never gave in to threats. Correa a moral man, unlike our presidents. All the presidents in my lifetime are war criminals. At least Trump hasn’t bombed Iran or Russia, which Wikileaks revealed Hillary would do if president.
      You are right, the US pressures and threatens to get what it wants…Bolsonaro, Guido, Anez, illegal all, will give the US what it wants.
      US citizens will rise up against the treatment of Assange if he is brought to the US and it may be the beginning of the end of any respect whatsoever for the MSM when they, too, are revealed, for all to see, as criminals.

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