The first meeting of the Wired Next Fest 2022 in Milan talked about Wikileaks and Julian Assange: a case that goes to the heart of the freedom of the press of the democracy of the future.
Stella Assange, first guest of the Wired Next Fest Milan 2022 said that “Julian’s case represents the destiny of our future”. In a room packed with people at the new Milanese edition of the Wired Next Fest 2022, hosted in the spaces of the Fabbrica del Vapor, the legal consultant and wife of the well-known journalist and activist defined the story of the Wikileaks case as “political” and Assange as a “political prisoner” . In 2010, about 600,000 documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were published on the WikiLeaks site he created, including videos revealing real war crimes committed by the US military.
For this reason Julian Assange is persecuted by the American government and has been hosted by the Ecuadorian embassy in London for years. At the moment he is in the British prison of Belmarsh, a maximum security prison in the English capital nicknamed the “British Guantanamo” following allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees. Regarding the condition of her husband, whom she sees twice a week with her children, Stella Assange tells of a very bad physical and mental state that has lasted since 11 April 2019, the day of her arrival in the British prison.
The key difference between the Assange case and the Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning cases, says Stella Assange, is that the latter “were whistleblowers and not editors of a news site.” In order to be able to try him, former US President Barack Obama had in fact spoken of the need for a precedent. “Julian is not American, he was not working for the United States and had no contractual obligations,” Assange continues, pointing out how the US government actually extended its jurisdiction outside the country, persecuting a journalist and a publisher for the mere fact that he has done his job.
“What happened after Julian’s case is quite the opposite of what he expected: the relationship between citizens and governments has become even more blurred, it joins the surveillance capabilities of the states and the increasing compression of our rights” says Stella Assange also referring to the fact that democracies like the United States contradict their own ideals of transparency.
Original article was published in Wired Italia.