Like a stretched-out loop of VHS tape, if you do a Google Image search for Julian Assange today, you will only get pages and pages of stale, outdated pictures, repeating over and over.
That’s because there have been no official images of him since May 1, 2019 when the paparazzi snapped a bunch of pics of Assange through the window of the prison van including this iconic pic of him, staring right down the barrel of the camera, holding up a defiant fist.
But that was nearly four years ago. In a culture hungry for novelty, this is death to a story.
Because if you work for a media outlet and you go to a professional image library like Getty or AP or Reuters and you can’t find anything new to run your story with, that story is going to get buried.
More than ever before the internet demands new, fresh images all the time and inhibiting the press’ access to them is a small, but significant act of sabotage.
If successful, the case against Julian Assange will set a legal precedent that enables the US to snatch and imprison anyone, from anywhere in the world, who writes or publishes facts that embarrass the US.
The ramifications are enormous for pretty much everyone on planet earth, but especially foreign journalists who might want to write about what the US war machine is doing to their country.
But with only this worn-out tape of increasingly vintage images to present them with, the stories defending Assange and warning of what this precedent means often go unseen.
Is this deliberate? I don’t know. But for the US war machine, it’s certainly very convenient.