Rome, 17 May, 5pm, British Embassy: Amnesty international gave the appointment to shout out “don’t extradite Assange”. A message loud and clear from Italy…oh no, hold on a second, from the people of Italy, because the government of Italy voted down the motion to grant Julian Assange political asylum in the country last December.
And it wasn’t a right-wing majority to vote down the proposal to give safe harbor to the Wikileaks founder in order to save him form the US prosecution and risk of ill treatment. It has been a cross-party bow to the international establishment’s censorship, silently approved by the lefty LEU and populist 5Star both abstained.
“An act of cowardice” is the wording you can easily find in all the outraged online comments six months after the lower chamber (Camera dei Deputati) gave up the chance to make a difference in the ‘pro-Atlantic’ west European political pattern by granting Assange political asylum.
What is really sad is that at the time of the vote there wasn’t even the excuse of the war-time supposed necessity to stick all together with no divergence on anything like there’s now, in todays’ proxy war against Russia and, paradoxically, we’re now outraged by Russian war crimes in Ukraine and looking forward to seeing all legal evidence reported so the responsible can be sentenced, but, as Amnesty Italy spokesperson Riccardo Noury put it today at the rally:
“No one has been brought to justice for war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, while those who revealed those crimes are paying a very high price”.
Hopes are, by the way, still alive:
“If we lose this case we lose the right to know what the state is doing in our name“, tweetted from the rally in central Rome Stefania Maurizi, the journalist who is on the case from 13 years and from six years has carried out an information request legal battle to get full documents from British CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), all detailed in her book “The secret power”
Although freedom of speech in Italy today is not as much under threat as in UK where Assange suffered his calvary and has been finally condemned to the extradition, Maurizi talking, months ago, about press freedom in Western democracies, such as US and UK, explained these “aren’t better if compared to regimes such as Russia, China, North Korea, when it comes to getting rid of an uncomfortable journalist like Assange; they’re only less brutal, I mean they don’t need to burn the journalist’s arms with a cigarette butt..to torture him physically. They can get the same identical results by persecuting him for over ten years until he’s on the brink of suicide”.
Watch video below – Interview with Il Fatto Quotidiano: “In US journalist aren’t free too“.
If, on the one side, with Julian Assange they went heavy handed to turn him into the living icon of the ‘intimidation of all’ so free journalists must think twice before exposing crimes at state level, on the other side todays’ democracies easily use the light, invisible, tools of surveillance and boycotting in order to make sure that undefended journalists who do, or might, expose governments’ crimes and corruption, peacefully and silently fall into ruin or give up the fight because it’s too dangerous.