The foul role of Spiked in the demonization of Julian Assange


Julian Assange, 5 February 2016 PHOTO/WikiLeaks/Conversation

WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange is in increasing danger of being expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and turned over to US authorities, at whose benevolent hands he could face decades in prison or even the death penalty.

Assange has been denied use of communications for nearly three months on the order of the Ecuadorean government, in response to pressure from the US. On Wednesday, Ecuadorian foreign minister Jose Valencia warned that Assange could not claim asylum in the embassy indefinitely.

Assange’s plight demonstrates the extent to which basic democratic rights have been eviscerated by the imperialist powers.

For Britain’s Spiked magazine, however, whose writers advance themselves as the foremost humanist and, on occasion, even “Marxist” defenders of democratic freedoms and the rights of the individual against the state, the situation has not warranted comment for over a year.

This is not an oversight. Before lapsing into silence, Spiked helped prepare the conditions for Assange’s isolation, as one of the most vindictive participants in the campaign against WikiLeaks. While styling itself the embodiment of contrarian radicalism, the publication nonetheless followed virtually word for word the British government’s attack on Assange’s rights and character. Here we have a supposedly libertarian tendency that is slavish in its support for the state.

The essential points of Spiked’s position were set out in their last comment on Assange, “Why Assange should stand trial,” by law editor Luke Gittos. This was published on May 25, 2017—a week after Swedish prosecutors had dropped trumped-up sexual assault allegations against Assange.

Gittos made reference to these events only to dismiss them. “We could all speculate,” he remarked, “on the veracity of the [Swedish] case.” And further: Assange “feels no need to make himself accountable for allegations related to his private life.”

This is disingenuous. Assange had no case to answer in Sweden and Gittos knew it. His invitation to “speculate” was a blatant attempt to muddy the waters over a settled question.

When Gittos wrote that “It’s time [Assange] was held to account for these leaks and for the Swedish allegations,” it was not the (dismissed) frame-up allegations that really enraged him.

World Socialist Web Site for more

Comments are closed.