For many people when they arrive in London their to-do list normally consists of all the typical tourist attractions London has to offer; The London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and of course, Harrods. The building I was curious to see was that of the Ecuadorian Embassy London where Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has been seeking diplomatic asylum from many of the world’s superpowers, most notably the United States.
Isn’t it ironic that across the road many of the bankers and corporate crooks of today are free to spend dirty money while a man fighting to expose their corruption is sitting in a small room surrounded by the police?
he is getting free rent on one of the most expensive road’s in London, that’s how I feel
“Where to love?” asked the bald-headed taxi man upon entering the classic black London cab.
“Harrods or the Ecuadorian Embassy please, which ever is easiest,” I replied.
“The Ecuadorian Embassy? For that WikiLeaks bloke?” he questioned in a thick Cockney accent.
“I hope you know it isn’t that Benedict Cumberbatch bloke there. It’s the real one,” he responded.
I bit my lip and just played cool. “Oh yeah I know, thanks,” I replied. “So what is the people’s general opinion of Julian Assange here in London then?” I asked inquisitively.
“Couldn’t really give a shit I suppose,” he cackled with his heavy smoker’s lungs. Then in all serious he stated “he is getting free rent on one of the most expensive road’s in London, that’s how I feel.” That said it all. It became crystallised that money was the only thing on his mind as he proceeded to try rip me off as we arrived at my destination.
“We are here everyday for him” Elsa declared
Having undertaken a brief lap of the luxurious Harrods, I wasn’t particularly expecting to find any protesters outside Julian’s ‘temporary’ residence, although I was pleasantly mistaken. Directly opposite the building I found four of his loyal supporters, Clara, Maria, Elsa and Amina, each from different countries all around the world.
“We are here everyday for him,” Elsa declared as she held up two posters that stated ‘Don’t Shoot The Messenger’. I have been following the Julian Assange and Wikileaks case but honestly, time has gone by so fast I had lost track of just how long Assange has been trapped behind the embassy walls. Clara announced ” You know it has nearly been 21 months since Julian Assange arrived here”. I was horrified. To be standing there it hit me just how self-willed this man really is as he is willing to sacrifice the finer things in life for others. Personally, I know after two days in bed with the flu I am frantic to get up and get out for some fresh air. Things just become suffocating. Unfortunately in the busy Knightsbridge area of London this is distant fantasy for Julian Assange as he is surrounded at every corner both inside and outside the Ecuadorian Embassy. London’s Metropolitan Police along with many undercover agents in blackout cars all watching, waiting, and wasting, £10 millions and counting to be exact. As you can see from the photograph below there are two police officers behind me, just two of the many that surround all entrances and exists of the building.
I won’t lie, the atmosphere is tense around the perimeter. The Metropolitan Police are gawking and talking amongst each other as we walk around the road. Their looks are stern and there are definitely tense vibes, a feeling of intimidation describes it best. It is then I begin to wonder whether any of these police officers return home each night and think to themselves that what they are doing is wrong? In the end though there is money in their pockets so why complain? Sadly, this seems to be a widespread opinion within society today.
It really surprises me the lack of support for Julian Assange’s organisation WikiLeaks, especially as the rape charges become an even more transparent motive for his arrest. Even though he is technically incarcerated behind the walls of this affluent borough Julian is unquestionably in one of the safest positions he has been in for the past five years. In one of his speeches given on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy he addressed the public that it was thanks to his supporters that brought their eyes with them that he has remained where he is today. As the police descended upon the embassy he stated “I knew there would be witnesses and that is because of you.”
Flak refers to criticising the credibility of an idea or a person whereby fear and panic is inserted to deem the idea or person ‘crazy’ or mentally unstable.
According to the Propaganda Model of the mass media there are four characteristics that determine the type of news: Ownership, Advertising (funding), Sourcing (a concentration of media in prolific areas e.g The White House) and Flak. Flak refers to criticising the credibility of an idea or a person whereby fear and panic is inserted to deem the idea or person ‘crazy’ or mentally unstable. I personally believe flak would be an accurate filter of the Propaganda Model to describe the current situation that Julian Assange is experiencing along with many other whistleblowers. I think many citizens forget that the government is working for us, the taxpayers. We are entitled to know what they are doing and how it not only affects us but how it affects the billions of others around the world.
A bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates Julian had one of his colleagues buy each of the women for Valentine’s Day.
Just as we were about to leave one of the women took out her phone to show me a picture on her iPhone of a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates Julian had one of his colleagues buy each of the women for Valentine’s Day. “He wanted to thank us for our support because it was raining and the weather was horrible all day but we stayed here, outside the embassy.”
20 years could be too late and our democracy could be a thing of the past.
If you want to keep up to date with the latest information and support Julian Assange visit Justice for Assange. Just like many political activists in the past such as Aung San Suu Kyi who spent 15 years under house arrest, lets hope we don’t look back in 15 years and say, ” Dammit, he was right after all” because at the pace the world is moving in 15 years it could all be too late and our democracy could be a thing of the past.