Assange’s Treatment Reminds us of the Brutal Reality of State Power

Charles Murray’s moving account of attending Julian Assange’s recent court hearing makes for deeply disturbing reading. Not only because the hearing, as Murray notes, lacked any fair process and was a charade, but also because of the poor physical and mental state of Assange himself.

Murray writes, “I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight. But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both.”

Just think about what is happening here. A UK prison is effectively being used by the US government as a place to torture a journalist. And people at every level within the revered UK justice system, from judges to state lawyers to prison officers, are turning a blind eye to it. They’re all acting as if nothing bad is happening here, as if all this is perfectly normal. Again, this is deeply disturbing.

Assange is literally being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. And yet he’s not even been prosecuted for committing any crime. This is only happening because he did something that people in the highest echelons of state power in the US won’t tolerate: he exposed them as the moral monsters they are and the modern US state as the force for social evil it is.

The deep UK and US states have gone to extraordinary lengths to make Assange suffer and to break his spirit. They know the moral legitimacy of their authority in the public’s mind depends on people believing they are basically decent people who are trying to solve our problems and make the world a better place.

In reality, things are very different. People high-up in within the deep state, unelected types who do not operate in public view, are not people like you and me. They’re sociopaths, egomaniacs and charlatans. People who love power. And the coercive apparatus of the state is the only means by which these predators can acquire power over hundreds of millions of people. This is what attracts them to positions of government power and how the state becomes a nest for such people. The worst kind of people in society wielding terrible power over everyone else. That’s statism in a nutshell.

Wikileaks enabled the world to peek behind the facade of the modern state. Many people were genuinely stunned by what they saw. Where they expected to see the kindly face of the democratic nation-state was instead the black and soulless stare of evil. Where they expected to see decent people trying to do good things, they saw sadistic people revelling in their freedom to commit atrocities; they saw corruption, deception and fraud as a matter of routine.

For most people, the reality of what lurks behind the facade of the modern democratic state is too much. The truth is too horrible to accept. They’d rather keep the fantasy that the most powerful states in the western world are forces for social good and are directed by basically decent people trying to do good.

As unpalatable as it may be for the British public, the truth is the UK state is populated by people – from judges to policemen – who are willing to be complicit in doing monstrous things to innocent people as their public duty. Such things as effectively psychologically torturing a journalist by keeping him in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Normally, solitary confinement is reserved for individuals who pose a threat to everyone else, but Assange is being kept in solitary confinement because he poses a threat to no one or nothing except the common goals of sociopaths in state power in the UK and in the US.

Treating a journalist as if he were a dangerous psychopathic killer or a terrorist is despicable enough, but his poor mental state observable at the hearing suggests he is being forcibly subjected to debilitating drug treatments. This is the kind of thing you would expect to happen in North Korea or China, but not in the United Kingdom. It’s sick.

What’s being done to Julian Assange is monstrous. It can only be described as evil. And people at every level of the UK justice system are complicit in the evil being done to him. How these people can look themselves in the mirror or sleep at night I do not know.

Not that it will be any comfort to Assange, but his treatment at the hands of the UK and US governments only further validates what Wikileaks revealed to the world: that the highest echelons of the most powerful states in the western world are populated not by moral leaders but by moral monsters; not by lovers of liberty but by lovers of power.

In this regard, the modern world bears a tragic resemblance to the old world of several centuries ago or even the ancient civilisations of millennia ago – the cruelty of which most people think we have advanced beyond. In private society, we have, thanks to capitalism, but when it comes to authority we’re still in the dark ages. The worst people in society still prey on everyone else through state power.

Unless things take a very unexpected turn or something extraordinary happens such as Trump being impeached, then it looks like Assange may never see the light of day again. He’ll be imprisoned and then one day we will probably hear solemn-faced government officials telling the world that he ‘took his own life’.

The good thing is governments won’t be able to destroy Assange’s legacy. Wikileaks can’t be destroyed because the Internet can’t be destroyed by governments. Wikileaks has given us plenty more knowledge about how state power is used in our age. It’s now up to us to act upon that knowledge.

Sadly, there’s currently little sign that people are willing to do that or even that people are concerned by the fact that a journalist is being held captive and tortured in a society where there is supposed to be limits on what the government can do to people; and where freedom of speech and the principle of being innocent until proven guilty are supposed to exist. From Julian Assange’s point of view, none of these things exist. He is a person without any rights, trapped in a moral and legal void created by the US and UK states. If he ever escapes and lives to tell the tale, it will be truly miraculous.

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