Whatever else he is, the man is a master of propaganda. Every seller of goods or services in the world ought to be begging his advice on the subject. He may or may not have the skill to boost sales or revenue, but he sure as hell can destroy a competitor’s credibility.
A little while ago, a Chinese dissident found refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing. After a bit of argy-bargy, China agreed to let him catch a flight to America, and it all ended cordially. But when an Australian dissident found refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London, the UK government went into a snit and refused to give him safe passage to the local airport to catch a flight to Ecuador.
Oh, my! China did the honourable thing, Britain (backed by Sweden and the US) the dishonourable. The British government, having allowed many “extraordinary renditions” of America’s Prisoners of War through Britain to torture camps in Europe, is now insisting on one more victim. Its treatment of Assange has shown up Britain’s cowardice when America cracks the whip. Pathetic.
By his resistance, Assange has shone the light of publicity on the moral corruption of three nations that I have admired and respected most of my life – Sweden, Britain and the USA. Now, with so many others, I find myself despising them as bullies. The young man is a hero – like the Chinese man who defied the tanks in Tiananmen Square, in the famous photograph.
The US is ruled by certifiable psychopaths, now, who have ripped their country’s reputation to shreds. It is today’s Evil Empire. Its money buys acolytes – the rulers of Britain and Sweden, for instance. The US’s desire to deliver Assange into the bloody hands of its eager torturers at Guantanamo is what drives the British and Swedish politicians to please their paymasters. The corruption stinks to high heaven.
How bizarre, that this one small man of no intrinsic importance has been promoted to the status of a Solzhenitsyn, a Dreyfus, a Stauffenberg, a Daniel Ellsberg, for daring to do the right thing. What a cracked-up sense of honour the three nations’ representatives are clinging to.
In truth, there is little surprise about the US government’s determination to punish Assange’s whistle-blowing. The bombings, invasions and occupations of Moslem communities have put the USA and its cronies beyond the pale of civilised society. The drone-strikes target civilians, on the off-chance of killing a stray resistance fighter. Murder by joystick, they call it, and Assange believes it should be reported. The kings of the killing fields have adopted the cynical words of Shakespeare’s MacBeth:
I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
Britain? Well, Britain has a long history of savagery in defence of its commercial interests. They have done very well out of the slaughters in Iraq and Libya and Pakistan, and expect to do well in Iran. Sweden’s miners and manufacturers too have a vested interest in the wars of the Empire. Those interests are infinitely more important than the old-fashioned virtues that the nation used to practise.
An online newspaper the other day referred to the Swedish rulers as “a Quisling government”, which is amusing, in a sick way. Mr Quisling was the appointed ruler of Norway during the German occupation in the 1940s. I don’t suppose many Swedes enjoy seeing their nation bracketed with a Nazi puppet.
Sigh. In 1961 Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22, a satirical anti-war book that ended with the main character plotting to flee to Sweden in a row-boat from his squadron’s base in Italy. The last scene in the movie shows him actually in the boat and rowing out to sea. Today, the objective might not be Sweden at all, but Ecuador.