Assange: Is the modern day US empire capable of mercy?

Sep 22, 2023
Man lurking behind the American flag. vector illustration.

‘I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice’ ~ Abraham Lincoln

The UK High Court decision in the Assange case may be just over a week away. The delegation of Australian politicians currently in Washington DC have reportedly been granted audience with Republicans Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, & Vivek Ganapathy Ramaswamy and with Democrats Jim McGovern, Ro Khanna and Ilhan Omar, as well as representatives from the Department of Justice & State Department, so is there room for optimism?

To look at it another way, is the modern day US empire capable of showing mercy?

Like the empire’s emissary, in July Secretary of State Blinken stood on Australian soil, in front of Australian media, flanked by the Australian Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers and more or less said: We hear what you say about Assange, but fuck off. His statement went unexplained, unquestioned and unchallenged.

Like all empires, the US aims to oppose and repress by any means any opposition by any person from any place at any time. Assange is a particularly important target because of his conspicuous publications of wrongdoing by the United States. When the truth came out they were, for a time, internationally humiliated.

Although it is chilling for free speech the world over that the United States asserts extraterritorial reach over a non-citizen non-resident publisher and journalist, it is even more concerning that it unashamedly maintains its position on Assange when his government and most of his fellow Australians call for his freedom and are ignored or rebuffed.

Equally concerning is our government’s passive acceptance of this public proof of the disrespect in which the US powers hold us, even as an allegedly important ally. It entirely confirms our status as a vassal state.

The inability of the United States to be moved by appeals from the global community in the Assange case is indicative of the level of paranoia that exists in the inner sanctum about Assange as a free man representing an ongoing threat to them. But why is an independent journalist, who has only ever published the truth, an ongoing threat?

It can only mean that the United States Government and its accomplices continue to engage in the kind of conduct exposed by Assange and are doing all they can to obviate any further exposures of their wrongdoings.

How does it end for Assange? A public execution of sorts? Mercy unexpectedly emerging in the corridors of the White House? The United States putting aside hubris for humility and acknowledging that Assange has “done his time”? All most unlikely.

We seem to be heading towards a drawn out show trial, the inevitable salutary conviction, and – if he survives – release of a broken man in 10 years time. Only time will tell.

For an Australian government, however, consequences certainly will flow when people realise what more could and should have been done.

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