From Consortium News
A few corporate media publications have finally come out in very half-hearted support of Julian Assange after years of stabbing him in the back at every opportunity. These outlets, including the Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, have found their voice very belatedly, only after the Trump administration revealed last week that it plans to lock Assange away for the rest of his life on espionage charges. His crime on the charge-sheet: more than a decade ago he published evidence of U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq.
The journalistic "resistance" claims to be coming to Assange's defense out of principle: if he is jailed for espionage, journalism itself will be criminalized. And they are most definitely right about that. But their sudden conversion to Assange's cause is not really about principle -- legal or journalistic. It is rooted solely in an urge for self-protection.
The papers that have rushed so very late in the day to Assange's side, after the Trump administration announced moves to charge and extradite him, are also those who worked most closely with WikiLeaks -- in a distant past, long before they turned on him.
The Guardian published a mealy-mouthed commentary from its former editor Alan Rusbridger. He spent part of his short space reminding us how unlikeable Assange is -- as though that had anything to do with the rights and wrongs of the Trump administration's case and as though Assange wasn't so vulnerable now to Washington's ire precisely because papers like the Guardian have worked so hard to isolate and demonize him.
The Washington Post, a little more honorably, gave room to Glenn Greenwald, an expert in U.S. constitutional law, to make a persuasive case for Assange based on journalistic, ethical and legal principles.
Let's be clear, however. Both publications care nothing for Assange or the ordeal he has been through over the past nine years. Or the ordeal he faces if the U.S. gets its hands on him.
For years the corporate media ignored the overwhelming evidence that a secret U.S. grand jury had been convened to drum up charges against Assange.
They similarly ignored the reason for the physical and mental torture and financial penalties inflicted on Chelsea Manning, which were intended to extract false testimony that might make the phony espionage charges look a little plausible in court.
The media have ignored the endless examples of legal abuse Assange has suffered at the hands of the U.K. and Sweden, long before the U.S. threw its own soiled hat into the ring, as I recently documented here.
The media are still ignoring such abuses, including Assange's year-long solitary confinement in Belmarsh, a high-security U.K. prison, for a minor breach of police bail.
And so far the corporate media have been ignoring reports that Assange is so ill, or possibly so drugged by the authorities, that his lawyer is unable to work with him on his defense.
In the case of the Guardian, the paper even fabricated a story out of whole cloth to try to create a nefarious connection between Assange and the Trump administration. Months later the paper has not only failed to provide a shred of evidence for its fantastical story but has gone to ground, refusing to answer any questions about it.
In the Firing Line
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