By Maria Millers
While millions of Australians have been straining at the leash at the restrictions imposed by lockdowns across much of Australia there has been little thought (or for that matter media coverage) for one forgotten Australian still incarcerated in the notoriously harsh conditions of high security Bellmarsh prison, held for 22 hours a day in a 7 by 11-foot cell.
Julian Assange turns 50 today (3rd July) and his future – despite the January ruling against his extradition to the US – is still very uncertain.
The US under Joe Biden is no less inclined than previous administrations to punish Assange for the release of confidential information which exposed the wrongdoings of our closest ally.
Even though the US case against Assange has been discredited when Icelandic hacker, Ingi Thordarson who previously had claimed he had been recruited by Wikileaks to hack classified material from both public and private Icelandic entities for Wikileaks has now admitted that he had fabricated the evidence that was central to the US case against Assange.
It is distressing to see the indifference of Australians generally and our Government in particular towards Assange. PM Morrison had earlier bluntly dismissed intervening by making it clear that Assange could expect no special treatment. What Assange should expect is the support that is his right as an Australian Citizen.
Maybe the silence from fellow Australians around Assange’s fate is also because deep down we feel uncomfortable about facing the fact that we accept unquestionably the lies told to us by our leaders.
There is also the undeniable fact that Assange does not fit our image of an Australian hero with his paleness, blond hair and pale complexion all suggestive of someone whose youthful pastimes were not football, cricket or surfing but spent secluded before a screen acquiring the skills to carry out the journalism he is now suffering for.
While we all dream of unrestricted travel, parties, dinners in our favourite restaurants and all the other luxuries we have come to accept as our inalienable rights to enjoy, I hope we can spare some thoughts to a brave Australian who has been held in harsh lockdown for more than two years.
See also: Australian MPs call on US President Biden to drop charges against Assange, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 30, 2021.
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