INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
RT FEBRUARY 22, 2020 - by Staff Writers
GOVERNMENT WANTS "WHAT LOOKS LIKE A FREE PRESS", NOT "DISSIDENTS"
Brian Eno, Vivienne Westwood and others speak about fighting for Julian Assange's freedom
Prominent public figures like designer Vivienne Westwood and musician Brian Eno, joined mass protesters against Julian Assange's extradition, saying his fate will have impact on press freedom and holding governments accountable.
"Julian is the Trojan horse. If he knocks a crack in that wall, we can get government to do all the other things they need to be doing, which they are doing the opposite of [right now]," British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood told RT. Thousands took to the streets near the British Parliament to protest the imprisonment of the WikiLeaks founder ahead of a hearing next week to determine whether the imprisoned journalist will be extradited to the US.
Westwood called out British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the 2019 imprisonment of Assange and his not standing up for the journalist, who the US alleges violated the Espionage Act of 1917 through his WikiLeaks publications.
"He [Johnson] never listens to people at all. So I think he'll just bluff his way out of not making any decision and that would be a catastrophe," Westwood said, adding "public opinion" on Assange has turned because of a shift in press loyalty and people's hunger for "truth" from their governments.
By This River musician Brian Eno said Assange's imprisonment and potential extradition confirm "our worst fears about the British government's enslavement to America. Now we don't have any trading partners or we're not about to have any trading partners, so we're completely at the mercy of America."
He added governments have used fear to try and convince people Assange is one of the "bad people" that citizens should be afraid of and trust the government to punish.
He lambasted the governments for seeking "total control of information" and scaring the press from doing their job.
"They don't want dissidents. They want what looks like a free press so they can tell nasty stories about footballers' wives and that sort of thing, but it's not free at all when it comes to things that matter."
Also present at the protest was Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief, who reiterated the importance of Assange not being extradited, saying the case is all about "press freedom."
On a more hopeful note, Hrafnsson said he was excited to see "momentum growing" for supporting Assange and he promised the next rally in favor of Assange's release will have "an even bigger crowd."
Joseph Corre, the cofounder of successful retailer Agent Provocateur, meanwhile slammed the US' threats against Assange, which include a possible one-hundred-and-seventy-five-year prison sentence if he is found guilty of the eighteen charges against him, which include disclosing national defense information and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. They refer to WikiLeaks publishing documents some of which showed possible war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the infamous murder of civilians and reporters by a US drone.
Corre believes the charges are more about the government sending a message than any real crimes.
"What are they [America] trying to say? No one's going to live a hundred-and-seventy-five years. We're not going to stand by and let that happen," Corre told RT.
He promised though that support for Assange will not waver even in the face of a case that could take months and end up in the Supreme Court if he's extradited.
"I think the crowd's going to get bigger and bigger until we get him out. We have to do it. I don't think there's a choice," he said.