The Australian version of the CBS News program ’60 Minutes’ presented a segment on Julian Assange Sunday night that was missing the usual mainstream media smears and distortions about his case.
Australia’s 60 Minutes newsmagazine Sunday night aired an extensive interview with Stella Morris, Julian Assange’s partner, and featured the two boys the couple have had together. While the promos for the segment during the week indicated it would focus on salacious questions such as, “How does one get pregnant in an embassy?” and “Did Pamela Anderson give your relationship cover?,” the 24-minute spot ditched the usual smears against the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher and instead humanized him to a large national audience.
The segment made clear Assange was never charged with rape in Sweden, was only wanted for questioning, and that that inquiry has been closed. It reports that the CIA surveilled Assange 24/7 in the embassy, including on privileged conversations with his lawyers; that the CIA plotted to kidnap Assange, poison him and steal one of his boy’s diapers for DNA to prove it was his child. The interview with Australian MP Andrew Wilkie makes clear why the U.S. espionage charges against Assange are really an assault on journalism.
The program ends with an appeal from Morris to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison to apply pressure on the British government to release Assange from high-security Belmarsh prison where he is isolated 23-hours a day on remand waiting a decision on a U.S. extradition request.
An article Monday in Australia’s Murdoch papers about the 60 Minutes’ report was largely factual, except that it repeated the canard that Assange faced rape “charges” in Sweden.
WikiLeaks, Christine Assange, Julian’s mother, and Assange supporters have tweeted recognition that this was a mainstream treatment of the Assange case like few others.