• The Low Down

The silent treatment

The Editor,


Recent revelations that the United States planned to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange were met with virtual media silence.


There is no doubt that Assange released evidence of Chinese, Iranian or Russian wrongdoing (instead of US, UK and Australia) and was now being held in jail and persecuted by those states we would be drowning in western propaganda about free speech and the dangers posed by authoritarian states.


Assange would be celebrated by the same media and politicians who have done everything they can to smear and ultimately ignore his plight. Canada’s constant braying about freedom and free speech also appears to end where threats to our allies and the corporate state begin. That the leader of the free world considered murdering a prominent journalist who revealed evidence of their war crimes and very few people are even aware of this, is extremely disconcerting.


Another important issue afforded the silent treatment is the case of Steven Donziger, a human rights lawyer who has been fighting Chevron on behalf of Indigenous Ecuadorians for 28 years.


In 2011 the Ecuadorian government found Chevron guilty of illegally dumping 16 billion gallons of deadly oil waste and ordered them to pay $9.5 billion in compensation to thousands of residents in Ecuador’s Amazon region. Chevron refused to pay and instead launched an all-out assault against Donziger, who spent two years under house arrest despite not being convicted of a crime and was recently sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court.


He was denied a jury and prosecuted by Chevron, the first-ever criminal prosecution by a US corporation, in a case the United Nations described as having a “staggering display of lack of objectivity and impartiality”.


Anyone reading, watching or listening to the mainstream media will most likely not have heard of either of these events nor a multitude of other ongoing injustices and crimes perpetrated by the West and its allies.


A lack of scrutiny and in-depth investigation on topics that challenge orthodox views of western exceptionalism has allowed the west and large corporations to continue presenting themselves as benevolent actors on the world stage and important “stakeholders”, vital to solving the biggest challenges of our time. Nothing could be further from the truth.


The inevitable result will be more of the same while the public remains somewhat aloof and confused about events that should be of utmost concern to all who care about the kind of world we are living in and heading for.


Vagner Castilho

Wakefield, QC