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The Guardian must change its treacherous course on Assange

Of all the mainstream media, it is the institution priding itself on its liberal values and progressive heritage that has carried the worst betrayal against the whistleblower of the century. It must listen to our protests now — before it is too late, writes CHRIS WILLIAMSON

IT’S 10 years since the publication of the Iraq war logs that dramatically exposed US war crimes.

It is against this background that the abject failure of the mainstream media in general, and the Guardian in particular, to expose the lies being peddled about Julian Assange should be judged.

The Morning Star is literally the only daily newspaper to which the public can turn for accurate reportage on this and many other crucially important issues of the day.

Assange’s treatment by the corporate media, even by their incredibly low standards, has plumbed new depths.

They have perpetuated the fabrications about Assange, and their failure to accurately report on his show trial and torture, on British soil, has been truly breathtaking.

But it is the Guardian that deserves most opprobrium, because it used and then abused its relationship with Assange for its own material gain.

It cashed in on the explosive revelations Assange provided to them — and then threw him under the bus.

That is why it is being singled out for most criticism and why yesterday’s demonstration outside its offices was held, with another one planned for November 27.

Many of us used to treat the Guardian as an oasis of responsible and fearless journalism, in a desert dominated by billionaire-backed propaganda factories, which make up the vast bulk of the fourth estate.

Before it double-crossed him, it would have been inconceivable that the Guardian, of all media outlets, would be the one that is culpable for Assange’s current plight.

Not only did the Guardian publish the password to the encrypted cables that Assange had given them in the strictest confidence, they subsequently carried numerous stories designed to smear and undermine Assange’s reputation.

After I became the target of a vicious smear campaign by the Guardian last year, I gained a personal insight into how far it had descended into the gutter.

But the consequences for me were minuscule when compared to what Assange has already endured, with even worse to come, should the US succeed in its endeavour to extradite him.

It’s the Guardian’s treachery that is central to the efforts of the US to silence Assange, destroy WikiLeaks and crush any future attempts to expose the abuse of state power.

The Guardian’s mealy mouthed efforts to absolve itself of blame are probably the most egregious example of its betrayal of Assange and a complete abdication of the five core principles of journalism.

Those principles require truth and accuracy, independence, fairness and impartiality, humanity and accountability.

While Assange embodies those principles, the Guardian has failed every single one of them.

When Parliament is about to introduce legislation authorising criminal conduct by the security services at home and absolving war crimes overseas, there has never been a more important time for the kind of fearless journalism that Assange represents.

The Guardian’s proud heritage has been besmirched by the way it has dealt with Assange.

So, if it is ever to regain its reputation, the Guardian must change course, stop acting as a poodle for the British and US administrations, admit that it has wronged Assange and start speaking out in defence of a genuine free press.


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