The founder of Wikileaks is still in the Belmarsh prison of London under the yoke of the United States. The role of investigative journalism must not fall into oblivion.
Juanjo Andrés Cuervo
On the 11th of February, thousands of people marched across London to celebrate the Carnival for Assange. It was another example of solidarity with the Australian journalist who has been held in Belmarsh prison since 2019.
What is the crime committed by Assange? Telling the truth. A truth that the Western world is willing to conceal. The fact is that the world is not a Manichean arena in which it is easy to draw a line to separate the good and the evil.
More than a decade ago, the founder of Wikileaks exposed the crimes committed by the US in Afghanistan and Iran. With the information provided by people like him and other investigative journalists, the mainstream narrative of the War on Terror to bring democracy does not sustain itself.
‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ wrote Juvenal in The Sixteen Satires. Translated as ‘Who will guard the guards themselves?’, we can ask us the same question about the United States. The country that has invaded Afghanistan twice, devastated Vietnam, participated in the overthrow of Sukarno in Indonesia or imposed a blockade in Cuba that still continues today.
In John Pilger’s documentary “The war on democracy”, the Australian journalist analyses the involvement of the USA in most of the countries of Latin America. Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, Chile, Venezuela, Haiti, Brazil and Argentina are some of the countries that suffered the death of thousands by the intervention of the United States.
John Pilger interviewed former CIA Latin America chief Duane Clarridge about the US involvement in the overthrow of Salvador Allende.
Clarridge explained that the intervention of the US was due to “national security interests’”, admitting that Pinochet committed crimes in Chile.
Nowadays, Julian Assange is suffering in a prison for precisely that reason. Wikileaks released the videos of the US army committing crimes in Iraq and 91,000 documents about the invasion of Afghanistan, among other secret documents. His voice is being silenced while his life is expiring.
A tribunal for a real democracy
In 1967, a group of philosophers, activists and political theorists organised a trial against the USA for its crimes in Vietnam. People like James Baldwin, Simone de Beauvoir, Tariq Ali, Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre participated in what became known as the Tribunal Russell-Sartre.
Since 2020, the name has been changed to commemorate Julian Assange. On the 20th of January and chaired by Amy Goodman and philosopher Srećko Horvat, the third edition of The Belmarsh Tribunal was organised with speakers including Stella Assange, Noam Chomsky and Jeremy Corbyn. The aim is the same as in 1967: to tell the world the truth.
Mark Twain famously said that “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes”. Through its hegemonic power, the USA has tried to legitimise its invasions in many countries in the world. Nowadays, they are forcing NATO members to spend more money in weapons for the War in Ukraine.
But in recent times, this narrative is failing. A few weeks ago, former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett mentioned that those Western countries thwarted an attempt at peace talks. It specially blamed Boris Johnson and Joe Biden for infusing an incendiary rhetoric to keep the conflict going on.
And just a few days ago, Seymour Hersh published an article explaining that the US allegedly blew up the Nord Stream Pipeline. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for his reporting on the My Lai massacre and reported widely on CIA spying on anti-war activists during the Vietnam War era.
What if it is true that some Western powers are not interested in protecting the people in Ukraine? What if those same powers do not respect freedom of expression and put the dissenters in prison? On the 20th anniversary of the biggest anti-war demonstration in London, against the war in Iraq, it seems pertinent to ask these questions.
Remember that the invasion in Iraq was based on a lie. It was said that the country had weapons of mass destruction. It was not true. And we need to seek the truth in this labyrinth of lies in which the USA dominates the narrative.