Assange's Friend on UK High Court Decision: Taking Away Hope of Justice is Beginning of Fascism
18:10 GMT 10.12.2021 (Updated: 18:30 GMT 03.11.2022)
The London Administrative Court has upheld the US' appeal for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition. Assange’s fiancee, Stella Moris, denounced the decision as "Grave miscarriage of justice," adding that it will be appealed in the Supreme Court.
John Pilger, a veteran investigative journalist, filmmaker and Julian Assange's friend, believes that the ruling on Assange extradition to the US has done no less but blew apart one of the cornerstones of a civilised society - which is justice.
Sputnik: Now, as the verdict is announced, how will it impact the international media community, especially journalists and organisations who face similar charges?
John Pilger: I think the main threat is to justice. It is a threat to journalism. But the main threat here is a travesty of a miscarriage of justice, that's what I think is the real. I don't see many journalists who might be in danger because most of the press, most of the Western press have actually been opposed to Julian Assange, and it's only in recent months or perhaps years that they realized there might be a threat to them. The real threat here is the grotesque, the grotesque dismissal of justice. It really sends a shadow right over the body politic of the United Kingdom, because when you take away any hope of justice in the courts, then that truly is the beginning of fascism. This dismissal of justice, I call it grotesque, I don't exaggerate, because what they said in their brief statement today, the judges or rather the Lord Chief Justice said, was that they had accepted assurances from the United States that Julian would not be imprisoned in what they call over their special administrative measures. That is a hell hole dropped into a place where he would never be seen again, like some living death. Those assurances, the United States itself said that we reserve the right to withdraw all those assurances if Assange does something we don't like. This is about justice. Justice is, in my view, the most important cornerstone of any civilized society, and it's just been blown apart in London.
Sputnik: What about the whole concept of whistleblowing? Should everyone think about exposing misconduct fear of being treated like Assange?
John Pilger: Yes, it's a threat to whistleblowers. This is the gravest threat to real journalism. I don't mean a journalism that is simply an echo chamber of governments and their vested interests. I mean those honourable exceptions, real journalists, whistleblowers, the journalists who today have difficulty having their work published in the mainstream.
Sputnik: Why is the Assange case so different from Francis Haugen's, who exposed Facebook misconduct and has been touring all over Europe with her testimony?
John Pilger: The Assange case is very clear because Assange went to the heart of an imperial state, and he and WikiLeaks exposed the criminal activities of that state. And in so doing, performed a unique public service. He exposed the CIA for what it is. He exposed the body politic of the United States for what it is with the exposé of the diplomatic cables. He exposed the conduct of war by the United States for what it is, and that is a kind of homicidal activity. On that scale that hasn't been done before.
Sputnik: How true is it that the whole case is just a matter of national security and classified information?
John Pilger: National security is what we call in English a “weasel term”. National security means those unaccountable below parliaments, below governments who actually wield extraordinary power the intelligence agencies, the defence establishments. Every country now, that likes to still call itself a democracy, really, its power resides in its national security state, and that is a state in shadow, a state that conducts wars.
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Sputnik: Is there an alternative course of action for Assange's defence team now? What are his friends and family going to do?
John Pilger: They're appealing. Now they'll appeal to the UK Supreme Court. That's what Stella Morris, Julian's fiancee, said today. And my guess is that that appeal may at least delay the extradition of Julian to the United States. You have to really understand when you look at the statement by the judges, how, from the point of view of logic alone, let alone the point of view of justice, how outrageous it is. They are accepting assurances from the state, which itself has said it will break those assurances. It's a kind of Kafkaesque statement.
Sputnik: During the first day of his Summit for Democracy, President Biden declared his support for independent journalism and free speech. What's your take on this, given the news from London?
John Pilger: My laughter is enough. I also heard the secretary of State, a rather miserable creature, who wanders around the world threatening countries, called Anthony Blinken, talking about how journalists should be free. And the next day, the United States government seems to win its case of blocking the freedom of certainly the world's most famous journalist. I've been a journalist for a long time and I'm still in awe at the United States’ capacity to live in its own world of illusion. Perhaps they actually believe that. Perhaps they believed they are a democracy. Perhaps they believe they're a force for good. If they do believe it, they have a great sense of humour.