On June 19, Julian Assange started his fifth year reclused in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Public figures and intellectuals have shown him support, including Noam Chomsky, Patti Smith, Roberto Saviano, Ken Loach, Brian Eno, Michael Moore, Vivienne Westwood, Slavoj Zizek, Sarah Harisson, Srecko Horvat, Baltasar Garzón and Angela Richter, just to name a few. They’re calling their initiative by the evocative name, First They Came for Assange.
The initiative will last one week, and meetings will take place in various parts of the world. In New York, Assange’s cause will be pleaded by the journalist and radical intellectual Amy Goodman, the investigative and documentary journalist (Dirty Wars) Jeremy Scahill, journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Christian Hedge and Assange’s attorney Carey Shenkman.
It is not the first time that these personalities have campaigned in favor of Assange since the beginning of the rape case against the Australian hacker in Sweden. Goodman, during her show “Democracy Now,” deconstructed the process of demonization against Assange on trial for two charges of rape, for refusing to use a condom during consensual sexual relations and in one case for not wanting to undergo an HIV exam: Under Swedish law, this is enough to constitute rape.