If you’re an American locked in your home because of coronavirus, you’re getting a small taste of what it’s been like for Julian Assange the last eight years. Assange has been a profile in courage, the coronavirus nonsense is a study in panic and cowardice. From Nozomi Hayese at antiwar.com:
Last week the US District Judge Anthony Trenga released Chelsea Manning from detainment after concluding that the grand jury that she had been subpoenaed to testify before no longer needed her, since it was being disbanded. Manning was incarcerated because of her principled stance against the secrecy of the grand jury and her refusal to cooperate in its coercive procedure.
The release of Manning came after the US government tried to break her to the point of suicide. Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, wrotea letter to the US government late last year indicating that Manning’s imprisonment amounted to torture. Her resistance is a part of the US government’s war on the free press, going after WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange.
Assange has been charged under the Espionage Act for publishing classified documents which exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. This indictment is recognized by free speech groups as an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment. In February, the first week of the UK hearing of the US request for Assange’s extradition revealed a scale of this “war” that goes well beyond press freedom. What took place inside the Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London was a sign of a dangerous slippery slide towards fascism.