Assange faces stringent policing, from spying to free expression. The Guardian selectively hearing and misrepresenting the facts sets back civil rights.
The premier liberal-left broadsheet for England, The Guardian, has mounted another challenge for Julian Assange in a recently published article on the terms and conditions of the agreement he must sign to recover his communications, following six months isolation. Having presented the agreement as a domestic hygiene agenda, I feel the need to point out there are more noteworthy, explicitly political, pernicious clauses.
By omission, the Guardian story denies explicit evidence that contradicts their implicit claim the agreement is fair, that Assange is being treated humanely, that he is privileged and ungrateful. Their story entirely relies on cherry-picked facts about the clauses in the agreement reached after a meeting of Ecuadorian and UN colleagues last week. Even if you acknowledge they explain about stringent political censorship, the fact they omit to comment on the worrying import of what, Carlos Podeva, Assange’s lawyer in Quito, called a “prison regime” for civil rights, ought to raise questions. Because reasonable domestic demands are presented as equivalent and proportionate to heinous restrictions on liberty, The Guardian has given a comment that very subtly, but visibly implies the agreement is fair when it is not. The Gateway Pundit wrote to correct assumptions about the developments reprimanding media for not mentioning that, despite restoration of communications being scheduled for Monday 15th October, as of yet no such changes have been made. As a commentator, researcher and analyst, I would welcome improved communications for Assange, not the stifling of his intelligent, critical voice.
Media articles and headlines that Assange has benevolently been given his communications back are a diversion from the truth, the focus on reasonable domestic demands a distraction from the unsettling gag on political expression. Internet presence is not the same thing as freedom of speech, as totalitarian China shows us. There is incontrovertible evidence that extensive surveillance and the prohibition of anti-imperial, anti-authoritarian opinion is significant, and it may only get worse. The internet has a wider crisis of free speech as of later, bigger than ever. Opinions that represent a deviation from the political norm are being censored under the disguise of curbing hate crime. According to Facebook, Twitter, amongst a varied range of social media platforms, it is no longer the case that free speech is defending to death the right of your enemy to speak. There is a creeping crisis of internet fascism. Increasing numbers of unorthodox commentators are reporting the withdrawal of their web platforms. There are escalating numbers of these incidents and increasing waiting times for platforms to be returned, if they ever are.
Far from being a domestic hygiene agenda, the new agreement is fiercely political but not necessarily partisan. I am a member of the far-left but I acknowledge that constitutional rights are a collective right and shared issue. The question is not whose politics is more virtuous but whether democracy will survive and the public will withstand demands from imperial governments and transnational media corporations for greater censorship and limited opinion reprehensible to any true liberal.