The iniquity must stop. Julian Assange must be freed immediately.
The longer that the travesty of Julian Assange’s imprisonment goes on, the more his plight exposes the corruption of the United States government and its Western allies.
He has been persecuted under three U.S. presidencies: Obama, Trump, and now Biden. That shows the continuity of a systematic criminal policy to destroy free speech and independent journalism.
This week saw the U.S. government appealing an earlier British court ruling in January against Assange being extradited to the United States. There were two days of hearings at the High Court in London this week. A pair of judges will now deliberate over the next few weeks on whether to uphold the earlier ruling by the lower court or grant the U.S. extradition request. No date has been set for the decision. If the two judges overturn the ruling in favor of Assange his legal defense team may further appeal that decision in the British Supreme Court. And so the macabre saga grinds on.
Already Assange (50) has been held for two-and-half years in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison, the notorious Belmarsh dungeon, where only the most dangerous offenders are kept. Even though he has never been convicted of any crime. This gross abuse of legal process was again demonstrated this week when Assange appeared in court via a video link. He is denied proper access to his legal team. Assange’s health has suffered badly during his incarceration, with doctors warning that further detention could result in death.
The Australian-born journalist and publisher, who founded the Wikileaks whistleblower organization, gained international fame around 2010 with his exposure of U.S. war crimes and crimes against humanity. His courageous service to public interest won him multiple awards. In 2012, the U.S., Britain and Sweden colluded in entrapping Assange using a trumped-up sex assault case which later was dropped from lack of evidence. When Assange skipped bail during that initial case in London he fled to the Ecuadoran embassy where he was granted political asylum. In a bizarre development, he remained cooped up in the embassy for nearly seven years. In April 2019, a change of government in Ecuador allowed the British police to seize Assange and throw him into Belmarsh. That was in spite of the fact that his misdemeanor of skipping bail in 2012 was null and void since the Swedish sex case had been dropped by 2019.
What the appalling saga illustrates is that Assange has been subjected to relentless political persecution by the United States aided and abetted by the British authorities.
Every step along the way of the long, tortuous persecution has served to expose the vindictiveness and corruption of the U.S. establishment as well as their British and European counterparts. From the war crimes, torture, illegal global surveillance, coups and anti-democratic machinations, to the disgusting climax of Julian Assange’s personal crucifixion under the cynical veil of legal extradition and espionage charges.
The case against Assange should never have been opened in the first place. His contribution to the public interest was phenomenally important. His exposure of war crimes by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and other imperialist interventions is on par with those of Daniel Ellsberg who revealed the crimes of the Vietnam War through his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg has joined many other international figures calling for Assange’s release. Arguably, what Assange revealed through Wikileaks was even of bigger significance than Ellsberg’s in that the former brought international attention to a global system of Washington’s corruption.
Even while confined in the Ecuadoran embassy, Assange’s organization succeeded in bringing further ignominy on the U.S. by exposing the CIA’s Vault 7 files. That blockbuster exposé showed how the American intelligence service was spying on citizens and governments worldwide. It was that exposé that escalated the U.S. determination for vengeance. As an investigative report by Yahoo! News revealed recently, it was then that the head of the CIA Mike Pompeo launched efforts to abduct and even assassinate Assange. This was in 2017 when Assange was not even charged by the U.S. for alleged espionage. That means the U.S. was willing to assassinate an innocent journalist simply on the basis that he exposed its massive global crimes. The later espionage charges were only brought in 2019 when Assange had been seized by British police.
As Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton remarked this week in an interview, the U.S. government found a legal cover for abducting him. That is what is happening right now. Assange is in solitary confinement for no convicted crime. If he is extradited to the United States, he faces 175 years in prison on charges of espionage. His only real “crime” is that his principled journalism exposed Washington’s crimes. That’s what is at stake. Not only the right to freedom and life for Julian Assange but also the wider rights to the rest of us for public knowledge, independent journalism, freedom of expression and justice. All of these rights are supposed to be hallowed by the U.S. and its Western allies. Evidently, that is a lie and that is the shocking truth.
Outside the High Court in London this week, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks Kristinn Hrafnsson told supporters and media that belated U.S. assurances of medical care for Assange and easier prison conditions are “worthless”. The implication is the U.S. is desperately trying to assuage public anger and give the British judges legal room for granting extradition. There is little doubt that if Assange is sent to the U.S. he will die. That is the unspoken objective.
Hrafnsson said the two judges have only two choices: uphold the earlier decision not to extradite Julian Assange or de facto hand out a death sentence.
The presumed moral authority of the United States and its Western allies is exposed as a heap of fetid lies and fraudulence. The legal process against Assange has been a premeditated process of judicial abduction and assassination.
The credible reports of a CIA plot to kill Assange orchestrated at the highest levels of U.S. government should have been enough to have the extradition case thrown out. So too were admissions of fabrication by a star witness for the United States, the Icelandic conman Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson.
With a few honorable exceptions, the Western corporate media have been silent on this travesty. These same media have splashed endless headlines about the dubious case of Russian conman Alexei Navalny and outlandish claims that the Russian government tried to poison him. Earlier this month, the European Parliament awarded its “prestigious” Sakharov Prize for Freedom to Navalny who is serving a jail sentence in Russia for an embezzlement conviction. The European governments have done nothing for Assange’s freedom. They use awards and express “concern” for political expedience to serve an agenda as in the dubious case of Navalny. But in a genuine case of injustice, Assange, there is shameful silence and thereby complicity.
The Australian government has done nothing to help Assange. Gabriel Shipton says the Australian authorities have treated his brother like a backpacker who has lost his passport, like a person who is a trivial nuisance.
Canberra is too busy sucking up to Washington to push a criminal war agenda against China.
The cruel irony is that Julian Assange’s life work of exposing Western government crimes and corruption is at its most powerful now even though he is locked up in solitary confinement in a maximum-security British prison.
The case against him was “born rotten” as Stella Moris, his fiancée and mother of his two children, stated passionately this week. The iniquity must stop. Julian Assange must be freed immediately.