[Media Focus] Galileo Galilei and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

  • WikiLeaks Korea –

In February 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for trial before the Inquisition, accused of defending Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

Throughout his four strict trials, Galileo in his seventies recanted the Copernican theory. As a result, he spent the rest of his life under house arrest instead of being sentenced to death.

According to popular legend, after recanting his theory that the Earth moved around the Sun, Galileo allegedly muttered the rebellious phrase “And yet it moves”.

Although Vatican’s authority was soaring to the sky, it couldn’t change the truth. Even if Vatican arrested and executed all the advocates for the Copernican theory, the Sun couldn’t revolve around the Earth.

At that time, the Copernican theory went against the Catholic Church doctrine, but not a false assertion in the biblical sense. ‘He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing’(Job 26:7 in the Bible). It may indicate that the Earth is not a bottom of space, but in fact is suspended in space.

Truth will always prevail. In the history of east and west, plentiful men in power oppressed those who attempted to attest to truth, but there are hundreds of other cases, which were recorded afflicted people as distinguished persons in human history apart from Galileo.

While the history sometimes distorted the facts by the winner, eventually those on the side of truth were recorded as ‘ultimate winners’.

WikiLeaks, which was founded by Julian Paul Assange in 2006, has earned a reputation for an internet website that publishes classified documents related to secret principles and unethical practices of each government.

WikiLeaks created a big stir by reporting a leaked internal document regarding to a toxic dumping incident in the African coast, a list of members of ultra-right British National Party, detailed rules of operation at the US’ Guantanamo Bay detention, documents belonging to the Swiss Bank, the reality of Scientology and a corruption in the Kenya government.

WikiLeaks’ act of courage had been supported by the media and organizations in the world. It won a number of awards in its early years, including The Economist’s New Media Award in 2008 and Amnesty International’s UK Media Award in 2009. In 2010, it received the Sam Adams Award given by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of retired CIA officers.

However, Assange was on the run from US authorities’ chases since he disclosed a series of secret files well hidden by the US government and intelligence agency.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

CIA, which was seeking to find an excuse for secluding Assange from the world, made him become the subject of ‘sexual assault’ allegations. As Assange was wanted by Swedish authorities in connection with sexual assault allegations, he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London to seek political asylum.

Assange has holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy over five and a half years. Due to long-term confinement, the condition of his health is said to be at its worst.

The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, quoted two clinicians who recently examined Assange as saying his physical and mental health was in danger. Since then, the media and non-governmental organizations in the world have shown an extreme interest on Assange’s health.

It is doctors’ opinion that Assange’s continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him, and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare.

There have been various reports that he has a serious shoulder issue that requires an MRI scan, which would be near impossible to organize inside the embassy. He is also said to have a lung problem.

The UK government only allowed doctors with the necessary medical equipment into the embassy, but refused an earlier request to allow Assange safe passage for hospital treatment.

Assange has had no access to sunlight, appropriate ventilation and outside space for over five and a half years. It has been revealed that this condition has taken a considerable physical as well as psychological toll.

The US intelligence agency has been waiting for Assange when he steps out of the embassy.

In 2010, the first arrest warrant was issued for Assange, accused of publishing classified military documents revealing tens of thousands of civilian deaths at the hands of the US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of Wikileaks’ biggest releases of information came in 2010 from US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.

Manning leaked more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, including military logs that included footage of an Apache gunship crew shooting dead a group of men they thought had a missile launcher. It turned out to be journalists for Reuters carrying a television camera.

At the time, Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, said the leaks tore at the fabric of government and pledged aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.

Wikileaks also released a cache of diplomatic cables from US embassies, including various kinds of covert operations.

The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, called ‘arrest of Assange a priority’, and the CIA was working to lead an investigation on WikiLeaks.

Now the Ecuadorian embassy is said to being negotiating with the UK government to break the stalemate relating to Assange’s treatment.

The US government is trying to arrest Assange according to the current law. Socrates left a famous saying, ‘A law is a law, however undesirable it may be.’ But the undesirable law was inevitably lost in history.

The US government seems to believe it’s possible to put a bridle on the ‘mouth of truth’ if Assange would be arrested and detained.

However, the US should learn a lesson from the history that there is no holding those who attest to truth.

‘Truth’ will always prevail against any guns or knives.
[WikiLeaks Korea= Kim Byeong-Soo, Chief Editor]

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