Corporate media silence on Roger Waters, Assange


This 21 November 2018 AFP news agency video says about itself:

In Ecuador, rock icon Waters defends Julian Assange

Rock icon Roger Waters, a founding member of the British band Pink Floyd, expresses support for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whom he says “needs to be protected“.

By Oscar Grenfell in Australia:

Media blacks out Roger Waters’ performance in defence of Assange

5 September 2019

On Monday evening, Roger Waters and John Pilger staged a powerful event in defence of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside the British Home Office in central London.

Waters delivered a moving rendition of Pink Floyd’s iconic song “Wish You Were Here”, dedicated to Assange, while Pilger issued a scathing denunciation of the British government’s attempts to facilitate his extradition to the US, where the WikiLeaks founder faces life imprisonment for exposing war crimes.

In his first public appearance, Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, outlined the brutal conditions in which his sibling is imprisoned in the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison and made an appeal for his freedom.

The event was attended by around 1,000 workers, students and defenders of democratic rights. It was an objectively significant and newsworthy event, bringing together Waters, a famous musician, and Pilger, an acclaimed investigative journalist, in defence of the most prominent political prisoner in the world today.

However, if one judged solely on the basis of coverage in the major corporate publications in Britain, continental Europe, the US and Australia, the event simply did not take place. In an extraordinary act of political censorship, none of the major news outlets even carried a brief report on the rally.

A search of Google News indicates that the number of publications that have covered the event can be counted on two hands. They primarily include the World Socialist Web Site and other alternative and anti-war websites.

The non-corporate British daily The Morning Star of 4 September 2019 has this report: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters performs outside Home Office. Also, this report in the non-corporate British daily News Line of 5 September 2019.

The censorship is most stark in Britain, where Assange is imprisoned. The Guardian and the [Rupert Murdoch owned] Times have not said a word about the protest, which was within walking distance of their plush London offices. In Europe, France’s Le Monde and Germany’s Der Spiegel, both trumpeted for their supposedly “liberal” editorial inclination, have not said a word.

In the US, the New York Times, the [Rupert Murdoch owned] Wall Street Journal and the [Amazon billionaire boss Jeff Bezos owned] Washington Post have published nothing. …

In Australia, the blackout of the Waters/Pilger protest has extended from “liberal” outlets, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the state-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, to the Murdoch-owned Australian, Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun. The lack of any reportage in that country is all the more glaring, given that Assange is the most well-known Australian imprisoned abroad and that his plight is the direct outcome of the refusal by successive Labor and Coalition governments to meet their responsibility to defend a persecuted citizen.

There is no innocent explanation for the almost universal media blackout.

The Guardian, for instance, has published four articles this year extensively referencing Waters’ stance on a host of political issues, including his defence of children trapped in Syria; his opposition to the Israeli regime’s persecution of the Palestinians; and condemnations of the right-wing shift in the political life of South America.

In October last year, the publication featured an on-the-spot report of a Waters’ concert in Brazil, which occurred amid the singer’s condemnations of the country’s reactionary government. Apparently, the Guardian was able to dispatch a reporter to Rio de Janeiro to cover a performance by the former Pink Floyd singer, but not to central London, within a stones’ throw of its headquarters.

The blackout of the London protest goes hand-in-hand with the silence in the corporate press on recent statements by Pilger and Gabriel Shipton that the conditions in which Assange is being detained in Britain amount to torture, and warning that his health is deteriorating.

It is also paralleled by the silence on the plight of Chelsea Manning, who is being detained for refusing to give false evidence against Assange before a secret US grand jury.

The media has also said next to nothing about the fact that Manning has now been joined in the holding pen for Trump’s kangaroo court by Jeremy Hammond, an online activist who released documents exposing government and corporate spying to WikiLeaks. Hammond, like Manning, is being pressured to commit perjury so the US government has a pseudo-legal pretext to condemn Assange to prison for the rest of his life.

For years, the New York Times, the Guardian and virtually every other media outlet has slandered and maligned Assange. No ink has been spared to present the WikiLeaks founder as a dubious, and even criminal individual.

Until April, all of these publications presented WikiLeaks’ warnings that Assange faced extradition to the US as a “conspiracy theory”. They instead promoted the Swedish investigation into manufactured sexual allegations against Assange, obscuring the fact that he has never been charged in that country and a “preliminary investigation” has been dropped twice.

The establishment media has also repeatedly accused Assange of being a “Russian agent” because WikiLeaks published in 2016 newsworthy leaked emails which exposed corruption in the Democratic Party and the militarist, pro-big business policies of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In August, a US federal court threw out a civil case brought by the Democratic National Committee, rejecting “with prejudice” the false assertion that Assange conspired with Putin and Trump against Clinton and upholding WikiLeaks’ right to publish under the First Amendment. The response of the American press has been to simply not report the ruling.

In other words, the media silence on Monday’s rally is part a broader, conscious political agenda. For coming on nine years, the establishment media has actively sought to assist the US, British and Australian governments and state apparatus retaliate for the exposure of their crimes by doing everything possible to undermine support for Assange and WikiLeaks. …

Monday’s event, and the responses to it, confirm that the movement in defence of Assange, Manning and democratic rights must continue to develop independently of, and in opposition to, the entire political and media establishment.

World-famous fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood visited Julian Assange in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison yesterday. She gave impassioned comments afterwards condemning the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder and calling for his freedom: here.

Actress Pamela Anderson says imprisoned journalist Julian Assange is “depending on all of us to save him,” declaring, he “cannot die in prison!” In an interview with the World Socialist Web Site this week, Anderson explained that Assange, who she has known for years, “created WikiLeaks so that people could find a way to be informed,” and to “end these awful wars and bring us all closer together.” Anderson said that the US government’s attempt to prosecute Assange is a fundamental attack on democratic rights: here.

UK “justice” system tortures Julian Assange, treats fascist Tommy Robinson with kid gloves: here.

A defense and security firm based in Spain that was hired to protect the Ecuadorian embassy in London provided secret audio and video recordings of Julian Assange to US intelligence: here.

In an interview with the World Socialist Web Site last week, John Shipton, the father of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, spoke of his fear that his son “may die” as a result of the conditions under which he is being imprisoned in Belmarsh Prison in London: here.

Yesterday marked six months since WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange was expelled from Ecuador’s London embassy and arrested by the British police. The sight of a persecuted journalist being manhandled by five burly police in the capital of a supposedly democratic country shocked millions of people around the world: here.

For nearly five decades, the iconic rock musician Roger Waters has made it clear that he has something to say about big social and political questions. Going back to the 1970s, when he was the bassist and primary creative force of the rock band Pink Floyd, Waters has consistently voiced from the recording studio, concert stage and interview chair his opposition to imperialist war, state repression, inequality and bigotry: here.

Over the past week, several prominent public figures, including federal members of parliament, have called on the Australian government to fulfil its obligations to defend WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange, including by taking steps to prevent his extradition from Britain to the US. The statements come in the lead-up to British extradition hearings in February, that will decide whether Assange is dispatched to the US. He faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in an American prison for exposing US war crimes and diplomatic intrigues: here.

Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court in London yesterday—only his third public appearance since UK police seized him from the Ecuadorian embassy on April 11 and imprisoned him in the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison. Assange, whose exposure of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan garnered worldwide attention and multiple journalism awards in Australia, the United States, Europe and Latin America, arrived at court in a Serco prison van: here.

THE EXTRADITION hearing of Julian Assange at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday morning brought a crowd of over a hundred demonstrators which was doubled by the arrival of 120 Yellow Vests protesters who had travelled overnight from France: here.

Around 200 demonstrators assembled outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Monday to oppose the extradition of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange to the United States on espionage charges carrying a 175-year prison sentence: here.

In a blatant attempt to obstruct justice, British judicial authorities are stymying an investigation into the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) illegal spying on WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange. El Pais reported on Wednesday that a request by Spanish judge José de la Mata to interview Assange via videolink had been rejected by the United Kingdom Central Authority last month. De la Mata is investigating a complaint by Assange’s lawyers alleging that UC Global, the private company hired to provide security to Ecuador’s London embassy, illegally surveilled him on behalf of US authorities while he was protected with political asylum inside the building: here.

SWEDEN dropped its investigation into alleged sexual offences by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today: here.

Swedish prosecutors announced yesterday that, after almost 10 years, they were finally abandoning a “preliminary investigation” into allegations of “sexual misconduct” against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Sweden’s deputy chief prosecutor, Eva-Marie Persson, told a press conference that there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed: here.

8 thoughts on “Corporate media silence on Roger Waters, Assange

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