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Assange Arrest: How Does British Corporate Media See its Future?

Nina Cross
21st Century Wire

On Thursday I joined the supporters of Julian Assange outside Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London following his arrest by British police at the Ecuadorian Embassy just hours before.  The events of the 11th April and the background to Assange’s case are now well-documented.  Inside the court Assange was found guilty of skipping bail in 2012, when he sought asylum in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.  There are also conspiracy charges against him by the United States government which is requesting his extradition. These relate to the 2010 publication of classified military documents leaked by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which exposed war crimes. Outside the court  corporate media did not seem to realise its future freedom is hanging in the balance.

The scene outside of Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London (Photos by Nina Cross)

As we called for his release outside the court, in the House of Commons the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott  challenged the grounds given by the US for Assange’s extradition, warning he is wanted not because he is a threat to US national security, but because he has exposed US corruption and war crimes.

Also in support of Assange on Thursday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a video released by Wikileaks in 2010 showing war crimes committed by US military in Iraq, leaked by Chelsea Manning, and echoed Abbots calls that the UK government should oppose extradition to the US.

In contrast, the much of the British government celebrated the arrest of Assange, achieved through its conspiring with the Ecuadorian government, while the collaboration between the UK and the US to silence Assange is flagrant.  But the British mainstream media is not only failing to address the British government’s complicity in Assange’s persecution, it is legitimising it.

Interestingly, I was asked by several media outlets why would I support Julian Assange on this issue.  I had the feeling that was about killing time while they waited for the appearance of Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, and Wikileaks co-editor, Kristinn Hrafnsson to deliver an update.  It was very cold if you weren’t properly dressed and were hanging about.  Questions from mainstream media included:

Why are you here?

What do you think of the fact embassy staff claimed Assange was rude to them?

What do you think about the sex charges against Assange? (these were allegations)

What do you think of the argument that Assange is not a real journalist?

These are the narratives that divert public attention from the threat hanging over us, not just over journalists, if we want them to hold the powerful to account.  Had the British media engaged in the last six to seven years in the real reason Assange has been arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British public would understand by now that their government is weak and subservient to US foreign policy.

Undoubtedly, Theresa May’s government has demonstrated this week that it will enable the Trump government to extradite a journalist receiving leaks of information from the US, a journalist that was not even in the US during the leaks.  Should Assange’s case set an extradition precedent and the next journalist receiving a leak from the US is British, who will protect them, a point raised by John Pilger?  The question is what will the British courts do now?  Will they kneel to US foreign policy in the same way the British government has?

Where were these questions on Thursday?  The British corporate media is continuing to protect the establishment, and is capitulating in its own destruction.  We called on the media to join us and hold banners and demand press freedom.

Not all media there was mainstream.  Some alternate media outlets were also there, and kept diversion narratives out of the questions, because they have less or no government agenda and are not afraid to challenge it – but they simply do not have the reach, resources and power of  corporate mainstream media.

When Robinson and Hrafnsson appeared, on two occasions, to update us on the proceedings, the press swarmed around them.   The moment corporate media journalists surrounded Hrafnsson while he instructed them on what their fate might be if Assange is extradited, is a moment they should remember.  They cannot say in the future that nobody warned them, should they find themselves one day stitched up and handed over to US authorities for exposing crime and corruption, their own government betraying them, supine and deferential to US foreign policy.

“There’s only one condition: No extradition!”
“US -UK hands off Assange!”
“Free Free Free Assange!”


There is a campaign by Wikileaks to raise funds for Assange’s legal defence.  It can be found at:


READ MORE ASSANGE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Assange/Wikileaks Files




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