A day after dozens of doctors around the world released a statement about their mounting concerns regarding JulIan Assange’s health as he’s detained in a U.K. prison, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer spoke with Tariq Ali, a renowned British journalist and co-editor of the recent collection of essays, “In Defense of Julian Assange.” To Scheer, Ali and the many contributors to the book, the case against Assange boils down to an international effort to suppress press freedoms. Yet as Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States have all co-authored the WikiLeaks founder’s demise, many other journalists and publishers, including at The Guardian and the New York Times---two publications that published work based on Wikileaks---have refused to defend Assange.
“What we did in assembling ‘In Defense of Julian Assange,’” explains Ali, “was to take every single facet of the case and present it before a reading public. And one reason we had to do this is because the [liberal] press have given up on him, having used WikiLeaks, having got their scoops, having raised their own circulations.”
Corporate media’s abandonment of Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning comes at no surprise to Scheer who has spent much of his career defending and working with whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden and others.
“Everyone likes a whistleblower as long as he's blowing the whistle on their opponent, or in some other regime, or so forth,” Scheer tells Ali.
A prime example of this hypocrisy is the treatment of the Ukraine scandal whistleblower who’s been touted by Democrats and much of the press as a hero. Manning and Assange, on the other hand, are vilified, discredited, ignored, jailed, and in Assange’s case, psychologically and possibly physically tortured.
“The British government [is] keeping [Assange] in Belmarsh prison, which is a high-security prison where he's [surrounded] either by people who have committed unspeakable murders, or so-called terrorists charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts, with very high security; he's been kept in isolation. [Doctors are] worried that he might die in prison.”
Listen to the full conversation between Ali and Scheer as they discuss the many facets of the obscene persecution of Julian Assange, a man who, both journalists argue, is solely guilty of exposing war crimes and uncomfortable truths the establishment wanted to keep hidden from the public.