Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a whistleblower, delivered a speech in support of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange just before Assange gave his speech from the balcony of the Ecuador embassy in London.

“We should not foreget what this is about,” he began. “This is about the persecution of an individual who has made life much more simple and more productive for whistleblowers in the Information Age and in an age where, as Western governments become increasingly authoritarian and civil liberties are diminished, we need whistleblowers now more than ever to protect the rights of others.”

He highlighted how WikiLeaks had not only shined a light on the illegal war in Iraq but also revealed “individual war crimes carried out withing that war.” They’d shown how governments had colluded on the rendition and torture of individuals. To Murray, there was a parallel.

“I blew the whistle on torture and extraordinary rendition and the collusion of the CIA and MI6. I was in consequence immediately charged with extortion for sexual purposes and blackmailing people into sex in exchange for British visas.”

He said it took him one and a half years to clear his name of those charges because “they routinely charge and try to beat up whistleblowers and that is what is happening to Julian Assange just as it happened to me.”

He mentioned the case of Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who blew the whistle on the fact that “she had seen documents signed personally” by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorizing torture at Abu Ghraib. The “very next day” she was charged with shoplifting.

Whistleblowers or dissidents are always “immediately charged with offensives which don’t relate to whistleblowing at all.” Why is this? Because in the United States, in the United Kingdom and now, apparently, in Sweden, “just as it seems to always happen in authoritarian and totalitarian countries, dissidents are not charged with political offenses. They are fitted up with criminal offenses.”

“How likely is it that when I was engaged in a bitter struggle, an internal struggle with my own government that were trying to sack me over the torture and I was trying to prevent the use of torture, did I then think, oh, that’s a good idea. I’ll go and bed someone tomorrow while I am in the middle of this. Was Julian Assange, while conducting the campaign of WikiLeaks, so distracted that he decided to get into incidental and coincidental criminal activity?” He also asked if Rumsfeld would be exposed as a man who authorized torture by Karpinski only to have her the very next day “pop out” and engage in “shoplifting.”

“Only our disgustingly, complacent and spoon-fed mainstream media would accept such a narrative for one single moment. It is obviously to nonsense to anybody with half a brain,” he added.”

And, to the British Foreign Office’s threat against the Ecuador embassy by the UK, he said it was but another example of the “total abandonment of the very concept of international law by the neoconservative juntas that are currently ruling the former Western democracies.” He recounted his experience as a British diplomat and suggested if police were sent into the Ecuadorean embassy to get Assange they would be subject to Ecuadorean law for committing crimes.