The Isolation of Julian Assange Is the Silencing of Us All

HUMAN RIGHTS, 9 Apr 2018

John Pilger – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Apr 2018 – In this letter, twenty-eight writers, journalists, film-makers, artists, academics, former intelligence officers and democrats call on the government of Ecuador to allow Julian Assange his right of freedom of speech.

If it was ever clear that the case of Julian Assange was never just a legal case, but a struggle for the protection of basic human rights, it is now.

Citing his critical tweets about the recent detention of Catalan president Carles Puidgemont in Germany, and following pressure from the US, Spanish and UK governments, the Ecuadorian government has installed an electronic jammer to stop Assange communicating with the outside world via the internet and phone.

As if ensuring his total isolation, the Ecuadorian government is also refusing to allow him to receive visitors. Despite two UN rulings describing his detention as unlawful and mandating his immediate release, Assange has been effectively imprisoned since he was first placed in isolation in Wandsworth prison in London in December 2010. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish case against him collapsed and was withdrawn, while the United States has stepped up efforts to prosecute him. His only “crime” is that of a true journalist — telling the world the truths that people have a right to know.

Under its previous president, the Ecuadorian government bravely stood against the bullying might of the United States and granted Assange political asylum as a political refugee. International law and the morality of human rights was on its side.

Today, under extreme pressure from Washington and its collaborators, another government in Ecuador justifies its gagging of Assange by stating that “Assange’s behavior, through his messages on social media, put at risk good relations which this country has with the UK, the rest of the EU and other nations.”

This censorious attack on free speech is not happening in Turkey, Saudi Arabia or China; it is right in the heart of London. If the Ecuadorian government does not cease its unworthy action, it, too, will become an agent of persecution rather than the valiant nation that stood up for freedom and for free speech. If the EU and the UK continue to participate in the scandalous silencing of a true dissident in their midst, it will mean that free speech is indeed dying in Europe. This is not just a matter of showing support and solidarity. We are appealing to all who care about basic human rights to call on the government of Ecuador to continue defending the rights of a courageous free speech activist, journalist and whistleblower.

We ask that his basic human rights be respected as an Ecuadorian citizen and internationally protected person and that he not be silenced or expelled.

If there is no freedom of speech for Julian Assange, there is no freedom of speech for any of us — regardless of the disparate opinions we hold.

We call on President Moreno to end the isolation of Julian Assange now.

List of Signatories (In Alphabetic Order):

  1. Pamela Anderson, actress and activist
  2. Jacob Appelbaum, freelance journalist
  3. Renata Avila, International Human Rights Lawyer
  4. Sally Burch, British/Ecuadorian journalist
  5. Alicia Castro, Argentina’s ambassador to the United Kingdom 2012-16
  6. Naomi Colvin, Courage Foundation
  7. Noam Chomsky, linguist and political theorist
  8. Brian Eno, musician
  9. Joseph Farrell, WikiLeaks Ambassador and board member of The Centre for Investigative Journalism
  10. Teresa Forcades, Benedictine nun, Montserrat Monastery
  11. Charles Glass, American-British author, journalist, broadcaster
  12. Chris Hedges, journalist
  13. Srecko Horvat, philosopher, Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25)
  14. Jean Michel Jarre, musician
  15. John Kiriakou, former CIA counterterrorism officer and former senior investigator, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
  16. Lauri Love, computer scientist and activist
  17. Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, Presidential advisor
  18. John Pilger, journalist and film-maker
  19. Angela Richter, theater director, Germany
  20. Antonio C. S. Rosa, editor of TRANSCEND Media Service (Peace Journalism)
  21. Saskia Sassen, sociologist, Columbia University
  22. Oliver Stone, film-maker
  23. Vaughan Smith, English journalist
  24. Yanis Varoufakis, economist, former Greek finance minister
  25. Natalia Viana, investigative journalist and co-director of Agencia publica, Brazil
  26. Ai Weiwei, artist
  27. Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and activist
  28. Slavoj Žižek, philosopher, Birkbeck Institute for Humanities

____________________________________________

John Pilger has won an Emmy and a BAFTA for his documentaries, which have also won numerous US and European awards. His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Aftonbladet (Sweden), Il Manifesto (Italy). He writes a regular column for the New Statesman, London. In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious Sophie Prize for ’30 years of exposing injustice and promoting human rights.’ In 2009 he was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize. His earlier film is The War You Don’t See (2010). His new film, The Coming War on China, is available in the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com. He can be reached through his website www.johnpilger.com

Go to Original – johnpilger.com

 

Share this article:


DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


There are no comments so far.

Join the discussion!

We welcome debate and dissent, but personal — ad hominem — attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain an inviting space to focus on intelligent interactions and debates.

 (please enter the four letters and numbers you see above, no spaces)