Julian Assange and freedom of the press

Sir, – It is to be welcomed that a prominent Irish Times commentator is covering the media trial of the century, that of Julian Assange (Fintan O’Toole, “Assange being persecuted to scare off future investigations”, Opinion & Analysis, 14 December), even though it is a comment prefaced with distracting and irrelevant allegations about his alleged attitude towards women, his alleged service to Vladimir Putin’s assault on democracy and the impact of his revelations on the 2016 U.S. election that saw Donald Trump triumph over Hillary Clinton — that difficult dilemma that Americans face in electing the least offensive warmonger.

Julian Assange is not persecuted for any of these reasons, as Fintan O’Toole rightly observes. And he is “persecuted”, as his fiancée Stella Morris reminded us after the judges’ harrowing decision. He has spent ten years incarcerated in one form or another, nearly three of them in solitary confinement, and is about to spend his third Christmas away from his family, in the notorious Belmarsh prison. He recently suffered a mini-stroke. He was denied access to visitors and his legal team, who were spied on by the CIA. A recent credible investigative report reveals that the CIA was also plotting to kidnap or assassinate him. All of this amounts to psychological torture, as documented by Professor Nils Melzer, the UN rapporteur on torture, and is enough to have the case thrown out.

All of these facts are well documented, but are met with an indifferent groan by the mainstream media who seem to deny the serious implications of this case for press freedom. The logs revealed by Wikileaks document, as Fintan O’Toole notes, “terrible things done to real human beings”. Let us be clear as Assange is being persecuted for essentially exposing war crimes, government deception, military cover-ups and ultimately the true horror on a large scale of the disastrous and futile wars waged by the US and UK governments, facts that powerful political leaders do not understand. wants the public to know.

Suspended from the ramparts by the warmongering political leaders of America and Britain, the persecution of Assange is being used to silence other whistleblowers, journalists, editors and publishers. It is the duty of all who work in the media to join the growing international campaign to have the charges against him dropped and released from prison. – Yours, etc.,


Irish Anti-War Movement, Dublin 1.

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