Chris Hedges and John Pilger on the ‘Show Trial’ of Julian Assange

As supporters of Julian Assange rally behind the jailed WikiLeaks founder in the lead-up to Wednesday’s extradition hearing in a British court, Chris Hedges gets a read on the status of Assange’s case with input from investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker John Pilger. In this clip from “On Contact With Chris Hedges,” the host and his guest are equally unsparing in their takes on what, in stark contrast to official accounts, is really behind the ongoing and vigorous efforts on the part of the U.S. and other governments to punish Assange.

Hedges, pointing to a recent Yahoo! News article confirming previous reports that the the CIA and Trump administration members had considered assassinating Assange, bluntly describes the upcoming hearing as a “judicial pantomime” and part of a broader strategy of “political persecution” against Assange for exposing and embarrassing the U.S. government (among others) through his work at WikiLeaks.

Pilger chalks up Assange’s current tribulation to a “CIA operation” and a “show trial,” adding that “everyone who knows the United States well knows the power of the CIA—the extrajudicial power of the CIA, the extra-governmental power of the CIA. That’s what this is.” Anticipating push-back on this characterization, Pilger reminds “On Contact” viewers that he has been present at several of Assange’s most consequential days in court for more than a decade. According to Pilger, the goal of Assange’s persecutors is to shut WikiLeaks down and to make an example of its founder, who faces 175 years in prison if extradited to the U.S. “Serious investigative journalism is the enemy,” says Pilger.

Watch the interview in its entirety above.