When it comes to accurate and responsible publication of vast numbers of secret or suppressed or censored documents, included those revealing state crimes, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been preeminent since 2006. Not surprisingly, their vital and courageous work, on behalf of truth and transparency in the public interest, earned Julian Assange, and Wikileaks, powerful and dangerous enemies.
The focused attack on Assange himself has lasted for nearly a decade, forcing him to seek sanctuary for years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in England, and culminating in his arrest in April of 2019 on specious grounds, denial of bail, and his cruel incarceration in prison. For nine months now, since April of 2019, Assange has been a political prisoner in the UK. He has been held in solitary confinement and without access to proper legal representation or medical care. He has suffered greatly. Already weak, and in poor health from his years restricted to life inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British have imprisoned him under inhumane conditions, at further damage to his health. And who knows what British officials may have surreptitiously done, while he has been imprisoned, to further injure his mind and body?
Late in January of 2020, after growing pressure on the UK authorities, including several appeals by fellow prison inmates for humane treatment of Assange, his solitary confinement has apparently been relieved.
Consider that the inmates of the prison showed more empathy and mettle on behalf of a cruelly treated, persecuted, and heroic human being than nearly all the political leaders of the western world, and many thousands of his ‘fellow journalists’, combined.
Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, has recently been interviewed pertaining to the Julian Assange affair. Published by Republik AG, the interview was conducted by Daniel Ryser and translated by Charles Hawley and date 31.01.2020. Melzer’s responses to the interviewer were remarkably lucid and forthright and illuminating. 
Melzer confessed to having been influenced, in effect duped, by the media’s campaign of disparaging depictions of Julian Assange, and so Melzer had long resisted bringing his appropriate and close professional attention to the actual facts of the matter.
Once Melzer was finally convinced to study the Assange issue, Melzer’s fluency in Swedish enabled him to personally and effectively examine a trove of official documents from Sweden, pertaining to the preliminary criminal investigation of Assange for the possible crime of rape. From the interview:
“It quickly became clear to me that something was wrong….The Swedish authorities … intentionally left [Assange] in limbo… for nine years … [and he was never] given the chance to defend [himself] because no charges [of rape] had ever been filed.”
“I could hardly believe my eyes. “A rape had never even taken place….”
“The number of breeches of law that accumulated in Sweden within just a few weeks during the preliminary criminal investigation is simply grotesque.”
Melzer found that the Swedish police had falsified testimony to make it seem as though a rape had taken place. This false accusation was then cultivated in the media and by hostile officials, and was left hanging in the air for nine years, poisoning public perception of Julian Assange, without Assange being given the chance to defend himself.
Melzer, in summarizing why the Assange affair was precisely relevant to his position as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, noted that Assange through Wikileaks had exposed systemic state torture; Assange himself had been persecuted and ill treated by state power for years subsequent to his imprisonment without bail; was now being subject to serious mistreatment amounting to torture in prison; and was at risk of further torture, and a life sentence, if he was extradited to the United States.
The entire interview is extraordinary and important, and Nils Melzer has done a tremendous service by being forthright and illuminating about the many state power misdeeds, and official and media misrepresentations, pertaining to the Assange affair.
Melzer gives the impression of being somewhat naive when he states that he couldn’t believe his eyes upon discovering numerous instances of dishonesty and sleaze and illegality in the Swedish documents. What would one expect from Sweden today? They are now dedicated vassals and useful idiots to the American Imperial agenda, which is intrinsically, inherently, dishonesty dependent, and pathologically criminal.
And when Melzer warns us that “a murderous system is being created before our very eyes”, well, rabid criminal aggression of just about every variety has been on the loose and actively attacking people and entire countries and spreading its infection for decades now. An international system of pathological criminality is long since well established.
When Wikileaks became preeminently effective as a responsible and integrity-based means by which whistleblowers could get their information to the public, it became the enemy of corrupt state power, as well as the leading symbol of, and inspiration for, the battered ideal of journalistic excellence.
The ongoing degrading, spiteful, punitive mistreatment of Assange was intended to break him, to destroy his body and amazing mind and if possible his very essence. Furthermore, that venomous persecution is a message to us all: here is what happens if you effectively expose high crimes, and embarrass with transparency and the truth a system based on secrecy and lies and hypocrisy and organized state criminality. 
But the malicious attack on Assange, including disparaging distortions pertaining to his very personality, was also motivated by the attempt to deflect attention towards him and away from the message, the documents, the revelations, that whistleblowers via Wikileaks had given us.
People who ‘go rogue’ and reveal secrets about the institution or organization of which they have been a part, place themselves at potential great risk The whistleblower must try to find a proficient ‘megaphone’, and a trustworthy one that safeguards their identity. Wikileaks has steadfastly attempted to do just that, but when exposing the secrets of corrupt or murderous power, ensuring the anonymity and securing the safety of the whistleblower will always be a challenge.
Despite the challenges, Wikileaks in an unsurpassed way became the contemporary journalistic giant on behalf of whistleblowers.
During the decade long tribulations of Julian Assange, many of his ‘fellow journalists’ in conventional mass media, and even in a large swath of alternative media (more accurately termed faux-alternative media), have been missing in action in terms of clearly explicating his circumstance, have largely not been defending him, or have actually been piling on, with lies and snide insinuations and the like. A large part of the media inattention to or attack upon Assange was prescribed by state powers. As noted, Nils Melzer himself was taken in by that propaganda. And the Melzer interview itself has largely been suppressed in mass media.
But, in addition to the prescribed role of damaging Assange, there is something else going on with the media’s display of inattention or hostility. Assange and Wikileaks have been journalistic giant slayers, have expedited illuminating, devastating, voluminous political exposés, including war crimes; have been doing what good journalism would aspire to. Gnawing away at the presstitutes is the stark contrast between Assange’s courageous excellence, and their own role as bootlicking little poseurs scurrying around with press passes and trying to give a dignified veneer to their kept and sometimes sordid role.
Assange has thus made enemies of several connected powers: corrupt corporate and criminal state power, and its indispensable partner in sleaze, pathetic or vile so-called journalism.
Wikileaks has been carrying out the critically important function of doing the dangerous illuminating journalism that most mass media news outlets have abandoned.
The post WW2 era saw the conjunction of four major global-reach information-control ambitions. These have caused an interlinked process of informational degradation globally, and especially in the west.
For one, the CIA initiated a vast global attempt to control what information people received. This included not just the ambition to influence or control mass media news, as ‘Operation Mockingbird’ is typically depicted as attempting, but also even politically-relevant academic information. So, for example, it was disclosed by the Senator Frank Church led investigations in the United States in the 1970s that the content of 1200 unnamed books had been written with CIA involvement. The CIA’s attempt at ‘public perception management’ continues to this day.
Also, the very disproportionate ownership of, and management positions in, global mass media by persons identifying as Jewish, enabled extreme bias in information relating to Jewish and Israeli financial and political and broadly societal, interests.
And the Pentagon’s first hidden then explicit ambition of full spectrum domination included the attempted deployment and domination of the ‘information realm’. For those who plan aggressive domination, truth is a lurking nemesis, secrets that hide crimes or evil intent are sacred, and manipulation of the public the goal.
Finally, the increasingly concentrated private corporate ownership of, and power over, communication meant that the profit motive and other corporate, including political, considerations severely handicapped the search for, and disclosure of, and discussion of, that which was contrary to corporate interests. That exclusion zone removed a lot of important informational territory from public view.
These forces together constituted a deadly squeeze play on integrity and disinterested journalism in mass media, and the ‘collateral damage’ has been just about all encompassing: you can’t get to common sense, or to reliably good science, or to sensible public policy, or to countless other beneficial places, through a fog of disinformation and manipulation and trivial distraction intended to manipulate.
It is only in recent years, with the Internet and modern communication technology giving honest intention a prolific and more effective means of broadcasting information, that there has been an increasingly effective counterforce to systematic public manipulation via disinformation. The renaissance, to the extent that it has been accomplished, has included many ‘amateurs’, ‘citizen journalists’, and enhanced ‘whistleblowing’. The whistleblower now has a better chance than ever of reaching a large audience.
There is large irony in the relentless attack on unfettered free speech and communication by the United States. The first amendment to the US Constitution stipulates robust legal protection for freedom of speech and the right to publish freely.
The particular circumstances of Julian Assange’s tribulations are of course unique to him, but his mistreatment as a political prisoner  is also part of the pattern of abuse for opponents of the American-led global domination project. Of the many examples that could be given, let us just remember the mistreatment of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. He was imprisoned and languished and died through neglect or was murdered in prison. During that time he was subjected to a two years long kangaroo-court trial which was not a pursuit of justice, as advertised, but palpable injustice by representatives of the war criminals who had waged aggressive war on the remnants of Yugoslavia. The book Travesty, The Trial of Sobodan Milosovic and the Corruption of International Justice, by John Laughland, gives eloquent testimony to the injustices ‘achieved’ by the ‘winners’ of the war upon Serbia.
In the case of Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning via Wikileaks, along with a massive cache of other documents, exposed horrific war crimes by the United States. Made available was a video of laughing United States soldiers in a helicopter in Iraq slaughtering innocent people including children. The soldiers involved and their commanders or the politicians who precipitated that war of aggression against Iraq based on lies, have not been put on trial for those unmistakable crimes. That massacre constituted one appalling heart-wrenching episode of very many hidden atrocities inflicted on the Iraqis by the United States, for more than a generation. And the crimes against Iraq are a mere subset of the American Empire’s atrocities, many hidden, in the period since the 2nd World War. 
 Sweden’s sustained dishonesty in the Assange affair is indicative of Sweden’s process of political-culture deterioration. The downward spiral began after the Second World War, when Sweden ditched long-standing policies of peaceful co-existence and neutrality for the dubious security of the American Empire. After the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986, which was a coup d’état involving Swedish officials, and never yet officially acknowledged, official dishonesty became reflexive, Sweden’s default position. Link to my article on the subject: https://countercurrents.org/2020/01/success-as-trickster-sweden-as-cautionary-tale
 The common assertion that publishing classified and secret documents is a threat to ‘national security’ is often specious. Secrecy under the rubric of national security is a handy cover for corruption, crime, and stupidity. Another primary goal is to leave the public in the dark and open to extreme exploitation and manipulation, which is what we see in all directions.
 The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment contains a robust prohibition of Cruel or degrading treatment.
Article 2.2. asserts categorically that “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever … may be invoked as a justification of torture.” And here torture includes degrading treatment. Many citizens of Sweden, the UK, and the United States are complicit in the torture of Julian Assange, through word and deed.
Robert Snefjella, a retired Canadian organic farmer and contractor