On June 17, British rapper, singer and political activist MIA posted several tweets in defense of Julian Assange and denouncing the decision by British Interior Minister Priti Patel to approve his extradition to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act of 1917.
In his first message, MIA wrote: “They invite war criminal like Tony Blair to speak in Davos about ethics and religion, then lock up the journalist who helped defend the truth and innocent civilians in solitary confinement. Gross. “
In another tweet, he posted: “No war criminals worldwide have been interrogated for killing 1 million people in Iraq for no reason. Yet 1 man has been charged and jailed for 10 years for showing a video of 10 minutes about it “.
With over 625,000 Twitter followers, MIA’s tweets reached a large audience, and the second of them received 65,000 likes and 17,000 retweets. The response to MIA’s messages reflects broad public support for Julian Assange despite the universal formation of every capitalist government in the world against him.
His mention of a “10-minute video” is a reference to WikiLeaks’ April 5, 2010 publication of the infamous Collateral homicide videoa classified U.S. military video depicting the indiscriminate murder of more than a dozen people in a Baghdad suburb, including two Reuters reporters, in July 2007.
It was the publication of this leaked video by WikiLeaks, as well as other confidential documents and information that have become known as Afghan War Logs and Iraq War Logs, which revealed to the world the criminal nature of the aggressive wars waged by US imperialism and its allies. in the Middle East in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
Born as Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam to Sri Lankan parents in London, MIA is a 46-year-old artist known internationally for her songs commenting on political issues such as immigration and warfare. While she was a child, her family moved to the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna, where she Maya spent most of her childhood before returning to London in 1986.
MIA adopted her stage name, an initialization of Missing In Action, around 2001 in honor of her missing cousin in Sri Lanka. As she wrote in 2012, “We were the same age, we went to the same schools growing up. I too was living in Acton at the time. So I was living in Acton looking for my missing cousin in action. “
MIA has consistently supported Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2012. It claimed that WikiLeaks was the only source of reliable news and information on ongoing events in Sri Lanka. She stood by Assange’s side during a press conference at the Ecuadorian embassy in London when he was successfully granted political asylum from Ecuador in August 2012.
In 2019, he gave an interview to the WSWS after visiting Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison and after a press conference that was boycotted by corporate media and the BBC. At that moment she said: “The fundamental conclusion is that he is there because he has reported some war crimes and has just campaigned for peace. … I support Julian because I think someone like this is valuable to society because of his knowledge of so many different things. “
One would think that a Grammy-nominated international music artist making public statements defending Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and denouncing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a “war criminal” would attract media attention.
As Prime Minister of the UK Labor Party from 1997 to 2007, Blair oversaw Britain’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq based on lies invented by US imperialist intelligence agencies that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction. “
To date, however, no corporate news organization, including the music and entertainment press, has reported MIA statements denouncing UK plans to place Assange in the custody of US imperialism on the grounds that it would not be “oppressive. , unfair or abusive process to extradite Mr. Assange.
The silence of corporate media over MIA’s comments comes as no surprise, as the UK Home Secretary’s decision to approve Assange’s extradition order has just been reported and there have been no editorial objections to it. It is a measure of the subordination of the capitalist press to the needs of US imperialism.
Aside from protests from MIA, journalist and director John Pilger and rock musician Roger Waters, very few artists have spoken out publicly against the parody of justice inflicted on Julian Assange as punishment for his publication of the truth on WikiLeaks.
As the WSWS reported Thursday, following the announcement last week that the UK government had approved his extradition, Assange was stripped naked and placed in a naked cell in London’s Belmarsh maximum security prison. Julian’s wife, Stella Morris, also reported that he had been denied visitors for the entire week since the announcement. The goal of the UK government, as it collaborates with US Justice Department Chairman of the Democratic Party Joe Biden, is to intensify Julian Assange’s suffering as much as possible.