A video in which Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev is interviewed by Orla Guerin has resurfaced; the interview took place in November 2020. (The BBC version.)
Revealing is what is not seen in the BBC version. When Aliyev held up the mirror to Guerin’s “accusation” that there was no free media in Azerbaijan, the BBC responded by censoring Aliyev’s reference to Assange.
Tossing rocks from a glasshouse is a dangerous tactic, as BBC’s Guerin discovers first hand when she charges that there is no free media in Azerbaijan. Aliyev denies the “accusation” by Guerin and turns the table:
How do you assess what happened to Mr. Assange? Isn’t it the reflection of free media in your country?
Aliyev knows that the BBC reporter has been put on the defensive. Guerin is either ignorant of media censorship in her home country or hoping that Aliyev would be ignorant of such facts. Aliyev is not ignorant; he takes the UK and BBC to task for its participation in the gross violation of Julian Assange.
For the journalistic activity [of Assange], you kept that person hostage actually killing him morally and physically. You did it, not us. And now he is in prison. So you have no moral right to talk about free media when you do these things.
The egregious miscarriage of justice meted out to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange by the UK, US, Australian, and Swedish establishments, and the rest of the western establishments that refuse to stand up for human rights and oppose the torture of a publisher (and his source, Chelsea Manning who was also imprisoned and tortured) shouts in the loudest voice imaginable. Human rights, freedom of the media, and the moral right to lecture others are painfully in abeyance.
And the video “Collateral Murder” bears watching, rewatching, and making known to others. The criminals in the helicopter who gleefully gun down civilians in the Baghdadi street escaped any punishment, and the country that sent its killers to Iraq has eluded the hand of justice. (long version)
Despite the UK court denying the extradition of Assange to the United States, citing concerns over his mental health and risk of suicide, British authorities returned Assange to the maximum security facility of Belmarsh prison. This is rather astounding and logic defying given the court’s professed concern for Assange’s mental health in a US prison.
Despite being found guilty of no crime (except seeking asylum being in fear of state persecution, amply proven by subsequent events), the man who brought to wider public knowledge the commission of war crimes by their governments has been in some form of incarceration since 2010.
What is abundantly clear from the case of Julian Assange is that to gain credibility and attain legitimacy, western states and their media must come clean on their own perfidy and repent before tossing rocks from the western glasshouse.
Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp@gmail. Twitter: @kimpetersen.