On Friday morning, Julian Assange's eleven-year persecution was prolonged and increased. Priti Patel, the British Home Secretary, approved the United States' extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to face eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with Wikileaks' 2010 publication of thousands of documents revealing widespread corruption, deception, and war crimes by American and British authorities, as well as their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.
On April 11, 2022, people protest wearing t-shirts and Easter eggs at Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome, Italy, demanding Julian Assange's release from extradition. (Image courtesy of Simona Granati - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.) )
This decision is unsurprising — it has been clear for years that the United States and the United Kingdom are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — but it highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy, and a free press. These self-glorifying performances are frequently used to legitimize these two countries' meddling in and assaults on other countries, as well as to give their populations a feeling of superiority despite the nature of their governments.
After all, if the United States and the United Kingdom stand for liberty and against tyranny, who could possible oppose their wars and interventions in the name of furthering such high ideals and noble values?
I've been reporting on the Assange case for years, and I've set out the precise backstory that lead Assange and the US to this position on several times. Thus, there is no need to repeat anything; those interested may read the granular trajectory of this persecution here or here. Suffice it to say, Assange has been effectively imprisoned for more than a decade while not having been convicted of any crime other than bail jumping, for which he has already completed his fifty-week term.
Ecuador awarded Assange legal sanctuary from political persecution in 2012. It did so because the Swedish government failed to guarantee that the Wikileaks founder's trip to Sweden to confront sex assault allegations would not be used as a pretext to hand him over to the US.
Fearing what, of course, happened — that the US was determined to drag Assange back to US soil despite his not being a US citizen and never having spent more than a few days on US soil, and intending to pressure their long-time-submissive Swedish allies to turn him over once he was on Swedish soil — Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's government concluded Assange's core civic rights were being denied and thus granted him refugee status.
When Trump officials, led by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, bullied Correa's meek successor, ex-President Lenin Moreno, into withdrawing that asylum in 2019, London Police stormed the embassy, arrested Assange, and placed him in the high-security Belmarsh prison (dubbed "the British Guantanamo" by the BBC in 2004), where he has remained ever since.
Following the rejection of the US extradition request by the lowest-level British court in early 2021 on the grounds that Assange's physical and mental condition could not withstand the US jail system, Assange has lost every subsequent appeal. He was allowed to marry his long-term fiancée, British human rights lawyer Stella Morris Assange, who is also the mother of his two young children, last year.
In early 2021, an extremely unusual unanimity among press freedom and civil liberties groups was formed to urge the Biden administration to end its prosecution of Assange, but Biden officials — despite spending the Trump years masquerading as press freedom advocates — ignored them (an interview conducted last week with Stella Assange by my husband, the Brazilian Congressman David Miranda, on Brazil's Press Freedom Day, regarding the latest developments and toll this has taken).
The Home Secretary's decision this morning — typical of the British when it comes to the demands of the US — does not imply that Assange's appearance on US land is imminent. Under British law, Assange has the right to file a series of challenges against the Home Secretary's decision, which he will very certainly do. Given that the British court has essentially stated its intention to obey the commands of their American masters, it is difficult to see how these further processes would have any impact other than to postpone the inevitable.
However, placing oneself in Assange's shoes, it is simple to see why he is so desperate to delay extradition to the United States for as long as feasible. The 1917 Espionage Act is a heinous and oppressive piece of law. Woodrow Wilson and his gang of authoritarian progressives devised it to outlaw dissent against Wilson's decision to engage the United States in World War I. It was largely used to arrest anti-war socialists like Eugene Debs and anti-war religious leaders like Joseph Franklin Rutherford for the crime of writing a book criticizing Wilson's foreign policy.
One of the Obama administration's more pernicious authoritarian inventions was to repurpose and reinvigorate the Wilson-era Espionage Act as an all-purpose weapon to punish whistleblowers who criticized Obama's policies. Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Obama Justice Department prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act of 1917 than all other administrations combined – in fact, three times as many as all previous presidents combined. One whistleblower charged by Obama officials under that law is NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who revealed mass domestic spying in 2013 that Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (now of CNN) falsely denied conducting when testifying to the Senate, leading to legislative curbs enacted by the United States Congress and ruled unconstitutional and illegal by courts.
What makes this legislation so pernicious is that it is designed to make it almost difficult for the government to lose. As I explained in a Washington Post op-ed when the indictment was first revealed, this 1917 law is written as a "strict liability" statute, which means that the defendant is not only guilty as soon as there is proof that they disclosed classified information without authorization, but they are also barred from raising a defense "They cannot use the "justification" defense to argue to a jury of their peers that disclosing that information was not only permissible but morally required due to the serious wrongdoing and criminality it revealed on the part of the nation's most powerful political officials. In other words, the 1917 statute is structured to provide only show trials, not fair trials. No one in their right mind would voluntarily submit to trial and life imprisonment in America's worst prisons based on an accusation filed under this fundamentally compromised statute.
Whatever else one may say of Assange, there is little doubt that he is one of the most influential, trailblazing, and talented journalists of his generation. One might easily argue that he is the only occupant of the top slot. And, of course, that is why he is in prison: because, like free speech, "free press" protections in the United States and the United Kingdom exist only on paper and in principle. Citizens are permitted to engage in "journalism." "as long as it does not disrupt, upset, or obstruct legitimate power centers Employees of The Washington Post and CNN are "free" to say anything they want as long as it is authorized and guided by the CIA or the substance of their "reporting" benefits the Pentagon's massive war machine.
Real journalists are often threatened with prosecution, jail, or even murder, as well as derogatory tweets. Much of the American corporate media elite has overlooked or even celebrated Assange's prosecution because he shames them, providing as a bright mirror to show them what true journalism is and how they are entirely devoid of it. And the American and British governments have effectively used the petty jealousies and anxieties of their failing, vapid, and meaningless media minions to get away with imposing the single most serious danger to press freedom in the Western world with little or no opposition.
In actuality, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom have free speech or press freedoms. They are essentially rhetorical tools used to propagandize their home people and to excuse and ennoble the numerous wars and other types of subversion that they are continuously waging in other nations in the guise of maintaining principles that they do not favor. The prosecution of Julian Assange is a profound personal tragedy, a political farce, and a major threat to fundamental civic liberties. It is, however, a vivid and lasting monument to the deception and fraud that is at the core of these two regimes' portrayals of who and what they are.
Update: @ 9:50 AM- Julian Assange Published Truth. Now They Want to Kill Him. Yet a Dirt Bag Like Woodward Can Publish Lies Freely, and the Powers-That-Be (CIA & Liberal Press) Praise Him!
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VIDEO: Note To Fox News…Everyone should be blasting every Media we come Across that has a Problem with Julian Assange
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