The role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange
Posted by Ian M on October 2, 2021, 10:54 am
Important article looking at key moments where the beeb stabbed Assange in the back. Had forgotten about the Hunt interview, which appears was staged, rehearsed and calculated to maximally damage JA's reputation and prejudice the courts against him at the time of his arrest. Also John Sopel's lamentable interview of Moreno where he let the faeces-smearing allegation pass unchallenged, as well as the depiction of him as an 'information terrorist'. Looking forward to part 2 which will look at 'BBC disinformation, its sustained campaign to ignore historical facts, its sustained campaign to delegitimise Assange as a journalist, character assassination, repetition and promoting of US narratives'. |
extracts, on Hunt:
'How the British government used the BBC to manage Assange’s arrest
Within an hour and a half of Assange’s arrest on 11th April 2019, the BBC broadcasted a statement by Jeremy Hunt, the then Foreign Secretary. The BBC refused to answer any FOI questions about this interview, and so far the Foreign Office has denied any correspondence exists around it (a review is supposedly in progress). It was likely filmed in a room in the Foreign Office, indicated by this image of former junior Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan, apparently taken in the same place. This suggests that Hunt invited the BBC to the Foreign Office explicitly to manage the narrative around the Ecuadorian government stripping Assange of his asylum.
Hunt made no reference to any crime, charge or conviction; by implication he painted Assange as a dishonest, despicable and cowardly character “Assange is no hero” “…has been hiding from the truth for years” “…has held the Ecuadorian embassy hostage…”
At the time the statement was broadcasted all Assange was known to be wanted for was a 7-year old breach of police bail which was not attached to any charge, but which had resulted from him seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy. In essence, Hunt used Britain’s most powerful ‘national asset’ to create a sense of grievous criminal behaviour over a minor violation of law,. This made no legal or logical sense
Jeremy Hunt had not been known to use Britain’s most powerful ‘national asset’ to make similar speeches about the thousands of people who have skipped bail over the years in Britain, or about known serious offenders but on 11th April 2019 he decided to single out Julian Assange for such treatment.'
and on Sopel:
'How the BBC helped the governments of Ecuador and the US to manage Assange’s arrest
By the day of Assange’s arrest, the same day the US requested his extradition from Britain, the BBC had published multiple articles on Assange’s fears about this happening. Examples are here, here, here here and here. Yet a few days after Assange’s arrest, reporter Jon Sopel, on a £245,000 BBC salary, sat with the President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, and ignored almost a decade of BBC articles on the subject. Instead, Sopel fed Moreno lines that allowed him to spread whatever defaming and damning narratives he wanted:
How did he treat staff?
I heard reports that he was spying on your staff, what does that mean?
His claim is that he is a champion of open government, of freedom of information, that he is a journalist and deserved asylum
Do you believe he is an agent for Russia?
So he was on the Russian side?
Were you under pressure by the British and from the Americans to revoke his asylum?
Are you relieved that he is gone?
Moreno’s answers painted a filthy faeces-smearing , physically violent, unhinged cyber-terrorist spy working for Russia. All of Moreno’s narratives have been debunked. This ‘piece’ by the BBC is titled ““Assange smeared faeces in the Ecuador embassy” says president’”
Such narratives served to dehumanise Assange and to contain his support. Not only did it shield the US from public scrutiny, but it also enabled Moreno to promote unhinged claims by leading US politicians including Jo Biden (“Assange is a hi-tech terrorist”) and Mike Pompeo when head of the CIA (“Wikileaks is a non-state hostile intelligence service”). It is now known that using the narratives of ‘hostile’ and ‘terrorist’ individuals inside the Trump government including Pompeo considered assassinating Assange.
Sopel reported back home on his ‘interview’, repeating the stories peddled by Moreno. He delivered the defaming and debunked stories to BBC World News which even then had a weekly audience of hundreds of millions. '
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