21 February 2024 in Dossier Stop Torture, Home, Human Rights


In a few hours, London will decide whether or not to extradite Julien Assange to the United States. If it decides in Washington’s favour, the Australian journalist will have to serve 175 years for high treason and other so-called crimes against American political and military interests. He will then be sentenced to death for being a (good) journalist and for writing the truth.

I write now, because the decision of the British court changes nothing, although, as a humankind, I fervently hope that Assange is spared, if only for political opportunism. I write now, because his affair is a sign of the death of Western democracy – that is, a political system that guarantees freedom of speech and thought, and allows (indeed, demands of) journalists to seek and publish the truth.

The truth is that after the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the United States first, with the addition of China later, acted in exactly the same way: as an imperial power that kills innocents if it feels like it. It imprisons them for no reason, tortures them, annihilates them. These three regimes act in different ways internally: China is a total dictatorship, the state controls everything, especially the economy. The United States has been a democracy in crisis for more than a century, because it is run by economic lobbies and religious fundamentalists – and if anyone has dared to change anything, like the Kennedy brothers, they are murdered on the public street.

Russia is a weak country, held together by an autocratic dictatorship, born out of obscene compromises with oligarchs and murderous militiamen (Ramzan Kadyrov above all), which is incapable of improving the economic situation and which systematically punishes, as it did in Stalin’s time, anyone who dares publicly to dissent. In recent days, I have seen footage of young boys being slaughtered and arrested in the street because, alone in the freezing cold of winter and Putin terror, they displayed a sign saying ‘Navalniy is dead’. That’s all it takes, and your life is over, if you’re lucky. If you are unlucky, you are arrested beaten to a pulp, raped, poisoned, humiliated to death.

Vladimir Putin with his friend and political ally Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the Chechen militias that have sprinkled the history of Russia’s last decades with blood, now autocratic president in Grozny[1]

These three regimes have certain characteristics in common: they promote endless wealth for the elites and leave ever-increasing portions of the population to starve. Only China worries about this, because, in its paternalism, the One Party would like people to be not only silent, but also quiet, industrious and, if possible, happy. But it discovers that as soon as you raise wages, a bourgeoisie springs up on your hands, pawing, thinking, proposing, and forcing up the cost of the economy, until the system, which stood on the exploitation of misery, collapses. Exactly as in the US and Russia.

The United States is the country that nationalised the successes of Nazism and, after having sympathised with Hitler for years, took up his industrial and technological legacy. While it has successfully contributed to building an internal market economy extended to Western Europe, it has also punished with massacres anyone who questioned its orders: Salvador Allende in Chile is the most famous example, but the massacres of the ‘anni di piombo’ in Italy were no less. And don’t forget that the head of the P2 Masonic Lodge, Licio Gelli, who was the occult director of these obscenities, is a former collaborator of SS hierarch Otto Skorzeny and the head of the American secret services in southern Germany: Henry Kissinger. At a time when, in the United States, people were put on trial just for expressing sympathies for socialism[2] .

For decades this was justified by the needs of the Cold War and the existence of two ideological fronts: we, the good guys, in the west; they, the bad guys, in the east. This was because we, the good guys, had found a solution to the economic crisis born of industrialisation: the emancipation of the proletariat. In Moscow and Peking, people talked about the dictatorship of the proletariat, while it was only a bloody and inept apparatus dictatorship. We were granted basic freedoms, such as freedom of political expression and freedom of the press, and even racial segregation, albeit with biblical delays, was endured by the economic power, which needed workers. Lots of workers. And then consumers. So many consumers. Thanks to this, we have moved so far ahead that we even speculate on future gender equality. What enchanting madness.

5 June 1989: an unarmed Beijing citizen in Tiananmen Square stands up to the regime’s tanks[3]

Now all this is over. The United States, torn apart by Trumpian populism and the inability of the Democrats to find functional recipes for social equality, blocked by growing police rage and violence and by the massacres of those who lose their minds, buy a machine gun and carry out massacres in a school, have dropped the mask with Assange’s conviction. Freedom was only a promise that was valid as long as everyone carried out orders without a word and confined themselves to exercising their bestiality in private and religious violence. That’s enough now. Now in Washington you go to jail and get killed like in Moscow and Beijing.

The debates I listen to on TV in the US, Italy, Germany and France I find stomach-churning. There are those who say that Assange was rightly punished, and those who retort that Navalniy should also have been killed. No one who says that journalism, dead and buried for over thirty years (in Italy in correspondence with the investigations called Mani Pulite), is now a stinking corpse. And that Assange, for a single moment, made us believe that it was possible to raise our heads again. Because new technologies allow a spread of thought unparalleled in history – a spread stifled by the lies of lobbies, governments, armies, madmen, but nonetheless unstoppable.

Yet, it would be enough for the European Union to become a reality and emancipate itself from the imperialism of the two poles. It would be enough for us to remember that we were the cradle of civilisation. It would be enough to introduce a revolutionary novelty: education for all, compulsory. And, with it, resurrect awareness. For this, he who fights for Assange, fights for all humanity. 

15 May 1969: the US Army, on the orders of California Governor Ronald Reagan, fires on students at the University of Berkeley[4]


[1] https://www.rp.pl/polityka/art39032861-po-smierci-jewgienija-prigozyna-ramzan-kadyrow-zapewnia-ze-jest-piechurem-wladimira-putina


[3] https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/05/world/tiananmen-square-tank-man-cnnphotos/

[4] https://sfist.com/2019/04/20/a-brief-history-of-berkeleys-peoples-park/

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