“Julian is lying in his cell, probably awake and struggling to fall asleep. It’s where he spends twenty-two hours a day, every day.”

By Binoy Kampmark, CounterPunch

It certainly got the tongues wagging, the keyboards pressed, and the intellectually dead aroused – at least for a time.  Given how many of those in the Australian press and media stable have been, for the most part, unconcerned, and in some cases celebratory, regarding the prosecution of Julian Assange, it was strikingly poignant to have his wife, Stella, present at the centre of Australia’s press epicentre: the National Press Club in Canberra.

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange rally outside of British Embassy .

For those familiar with the ongoing prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder by the United States via the extradition processes of the United Kingdom, a brutal carnivalesque endeavour that continues to blight that legal system, there is not much to be said.  Stella had to get her point across to a pack of the uninitiated – most of them, anyway – and state the obvious fact that her husband is facing gloomy prospects across the pond for spilling the beans on the US National Security State.  Once the doors open to such a prosecution on US soil, bets are off on the subject of publishing national security information in the public interest.  For the first time in US legal history, a journalist, defamed and harassed, will be conveyed into the bowels of a carceral state so revolting it makes Belmarsh look like a modest retreat.

The method, however, lay in the personal touch, one that draws out Assange as the dedicated, loving, and intellectually stimulated everyman. There is talk about the “fledging rainbow lorikeet” that her husband reared when he was on Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville in Queensland.  Remembering the “chestnut coated mare which he would ride when he stayed in the Northern Rivers.”  There was also surfing in Byron Bay in his teens, and beekeeping in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria.

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