Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorized the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to be tried under the Espionage Act in a case which seeks to set a legal precedent for the prosecution of any publisher or journalist, anywhere in the world, who reports inconvenient truths about the US empire.
Assange’s legal team will appeal the decision, reportedly with arguments that will include the fact that the CIA spied on him and plotted his assassination.
“It will likely be a few days before the (14-day appeal) deadline and the appeal will include new information that we weren’t able to bring before the courts previously. Information on how Julian lawyers were spied on, and how there were plots to kidnap and kill Julian from within the CIA,” Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton told Reuters on Friday.
UK Home Secretary approves extradition of Assange to US
Read more UK Home Secretary approves extradition of Assange to US
And thank goodness. Assange’s willingness to resist Washington’s extradition attempts benefit us all, from his taking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 until British police forcibly dragged him out in 2019, to his fighting US prosecutors in the courtroom tooth and claw during his incarceration in Belmarsh Prison.
Assange’s fight against US extradition benefits us not just because the empire’s war against truth harms our entire species and not just because he cannot receive a fair trial under the Espionage Act, but because his refusal to bow down and submit forces the empire to overextend itself into the light and show us all what it’s really made of.
Washington, London and Canberra are colluding to imprison a journalist for telling the truth: the first with its active extradition attempts, the second with its loyal facilitation of those attempts, and the third with its silent complicity in allowing an Australian journalist to be locked up and persecuted for engaging in the practice of journalism. By refusing to lie down and forcing them to come after him, Assange has exposed some harsh realities of which the public has largely been kept unaware.
The fact that London and Canberra are complying so obsequiously with Washington’s agendas, even while their own mainstream media outlets decry the extradition and even while all major human rights and press freedom watchdog groups in the Western world say Assange must go free, shows that these are not separate sovereign nations but member states of a single globe-spanning empire centralized around the US government. Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more attention is being brought to this reality.
By standing his ground and fighting them, Assange has also exposed the lie that the so-called free democracies of the Western world support the free press and defend human rights. The US, UK and Australia are colluding to extradite a journalist for exposing the truth even as they claim to oppose tyranny and autocracy, even as they claim to support world press freedoms, and even as they loudly decry the dangers of government-sponsored disinformation.
Ex-CIA director called to testify on plot to kill Assange — ABC
Read more Ex-CIA director called to testify on plot to kill Assange — ABC
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, it will always reek of hypocrisy when US presidents like Joe Biden say things like, “The free press is not the enemy of the people — far from it. At your best, you’re guardians of the truth.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, people will always know British prime ministers like Boris Johnson are lying when they say things like, “Media organisations should feel free to bring important facts into the public domain.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, more of us will understand that they are being deceived and manipulated when Australian prime ministers like Anthony Albanese say things like “We need to protect press freedom in law and ensure every Australian can have their voice heard,” and “Don’t prosecute journalists for just doing their jobs.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, US secretaries of state like Antony Blinken will have a much harder time selling their schtick when they say things like “On World Press Freedom Day, the United States continues to advocate for press freedom, the safety of journalists worldwide, and access to information on and offline. A free and independent press ensures the public has access to information. Knowledge is power.”
Because Assange stood his ground and fought them, UK home secretaries like Priti Patel will be seen for the frauds they are when they say things like “The safety of journalists is fundamental to our democracy.”
Extraditing a foreign journalist for exposing your war crimes is as tyrannical an agenda as you could possibly come up with. The US, UK and Australia colluding toward this end shows us that these are member states of a single empire whose only values are domination and control, and that all its posturing about human rights is pure facade. Assange keeps exposing the true face of power.
There is in fact a strong argument to be made that even all these years after the 2010 leaks for which he is currently being prosecuted, Assange is doing his most important work yet. As important as his WikiLeaks publications were and are, none of them exposed the depravity of the empire as much as forcing them to look us in the eye and tell us they’ll extradite a journalist for telling the truth.
Assange accomplished this by planting his feet and saying “No,” even when every other possible option would have been easier and more pleasant. Even when it was hard. Even when it was terrifying. Even when it meant being locked away, silenced, smeared, hated, unable to fight back against his detractors, unable to live a normal life, unable to hold his children, unable even to feel sunlight on his face.
His very life casts light on all the areas where it is most sorely needed. We all owe this man a tremendous debt. The least we can do is try our best to get him free.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been treated “very unfairly” to the shame of the entire world, and Mexico is willing to take him in, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters on Tuesday. He said he would bring up Assange’s case with his US counterpart Joe Biden when they meet in July.
The UK announced last week it would extradite the jailed publisher to the US, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years behind bars if convicted. The decision by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel was “very disappointing,” said Lopez Obrador, who is commonly known by his initials AMLO.
He also said he intends to ask Biden to drop charges against Assange when they meet next month. Such an action would go counter to the “hardliners in the US” but “humanity must prevail,” AMLO added.
“Julian Assange is the best journalist of our time in the world and he has been treated very unfairly, worse than a criminal,” AMLO said. “This is a shame for the world.”
Mexico is willing to provide Assange sanctuary if and when he is released, the president added, reminding reporters that he had called on the previous US administration to drop charges against Assange as “a prisoner of conscience.”
Assange, an Australian citizen, sought asylum in Ecuador in 2012, suspecting that Washington wanted him arrested and extradited over WikiLeaks' release in 2010 of classified files on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent the next seven years inside Ecuador’s embassy in London – as the UK refused him safe passage – until his asylum was revoked by a new US-friendly government in Quito.
British police led Assange out of the embassy in April 2019 and put him in the maximum-security Belmarsh prison in south London, where he remains. Within a month of his arrest, the US unsealed an indictment charging him of offenses under the Espionage Act, for which he could face 175 years in prison. Assange has denied all allegations, and a key witness in Washington’s case against him admitted he lied in his testimony.
Australia has not spoken up for Assange’s release, even though the recently elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had opposed the charges against the journalist during the election campaign. Albanese said on Monday that he still believed Assange should go free, but that his government would not publicly intervene with the US on his behalf, because it “engages diplomatically and appropriately with our partners.”
Hi everyone! We're making a new documentary about and in support of freedom for Julian Assange and the wider issue of free media. This gofundme page is to help cover the costs of the pre-production phase of the making of this powerful new film.
There have been many documentaries made about Assange that perpetuate false narratives or focus on the drama and controversy of the events leading to him seeking refuge at the Equadorian embassy and his subsequent arrest and current incarceration.
Our film will take a very different approach, and instead make a strong case in support of his freedom, highlight the very significant precedent it sets for investigative journalism and independent media, and how the outcome effects every one of us.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s father and brother say they have been barred from taking books about the jailed publisher to the Australian parliament, according to a report from The Guardian on Friday. Security guards apparently believe the copies are “protest material.”
John and Gabriel Shipton – Assange’s father and brother – went to the parliament in Canberra on Thursday to ask the government to intervene in the UK’s approved extradition of the Australian-born publisher to the US.
To make their case, they brought books written by Nils Melzer, the former UN special rapporteur on torture, that addressed Assange’s case. The Shiptons intended to hand out copies to MPs and members of the press.
However, Gabriel said the guards seized the books, which they regarded as “protest material.”
“I was saying ‘this is ridiculous. They’re books,’” Gabriel told The Guardian, adding that he offered to call MP and high-profile Assange supporter Andrew Wilkie. The guards, he said, allowed the call, but insisted that he could not take the books in.
Following the incident, Assange’s relatives managed to distribute copies of the book from the stock already in place in Wilkie’s office. They also eventually managed to retrieve the books confiscated by security.
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