A fortuitous, for the US government, string of legal technicalities may allow it to throw Julian Assange in jail. From Caitline Johnstone at medium.com:
Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?
Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”
“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.
“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The Post editorial of years back is still relevant because Assange is being tried for an “offense” almost a decade old. What’s changed since is the public perception of him, and in a supreme irony it will be the government of Donald “I love WikiLeaks”Trump benefiting from a trick of time, to rally public support for a prosecution that officials hesitated to push in the Obama years.
Much of the American media audience views the arrested WikiLeaks founder through the lens of the 2016 election, after which he was denounced as a Russian cutout who threw an election for Trump.
But the current indictment is the extension of a years-long effort, pre-dating Trump, to construct a legal argument against someone who releases embarrassing secrets.
The government is getting its full measure of revenge against two people who told the truth about it. From Craig Murray at lewrockwell.com:
Tonight both Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are in jail, both over offences related to the publication of materials specifying US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and both charged with nothing else at all. No matter what bullshit political and MSM liars try to feed you, that is the simple truth. Manning and Assange are true heroes of our time, and are suffering for it.
If a Russian opposition politician were dragged out by armed police, and within three hours had been convicted on a political charge by a patently biased judge with no jury, with a lengthy jail sentence to follow, can you imagine the Western media reaction to that kind of kangaroo court? Yet that is exactly what just happened in London.
District Judge Michael Snow is a disgrace to the bench who deserves to be infamous well beyond his death. He displayed the most plain and open prejudice against Assange in the 15 minutes it took for him to hear the case and declare Assange guilty, in a fashion which makes the dictators’ courts I had witnessed, in Babangida’s Nigeria or Karimov’s Uzbekistan, look fair and reasonable, in comparison to the gross charade of justice conducted by Michael Snow.
What does the US military do when it thinks a small, foreign island would make a nice base? It leases it from the British, who took it from its inhabitants. They then moved them out. From Con Hallinan at antiwar.com:
The recent decision by the Hague-based International Court of Justice that the Chagos Islands – with its huge U.S. military base at Diego Garcia – are being illegally occupied by the United Kingdom (UK) has the potential to upend the strategic plans of a dozen regional capitals, ranging from Beijing to Riyadh.
For a tiny speck of land measuring only 38 miles in length, Diego Garcia casts a long shadow. Sometimes called Washington’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier,” planes and warships based on the island played an essential role in the first and second Gulf wars, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the war in Libya. Its strategic location between Africa and Indonesia and 1,000 miles south of India gives the US access to the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the vast Indian Ocean. No oil tanker, no warship, no aircraft can move without its knowledge.
Most Americans have never heard of Diego Garcia for a good reason: No journalist has been allowed there for more than 30 years, and the Pentagon keeps the base wrapped in a cocoon of national security. Indeed, the UK leased the base to the Americans in 1966 without informing either the British Parliament or the US Congress.
Julian Assange and Wikileak’s case is indistinguishable from the Pentagon Papers case. From Alan Dershowitz at theburningplatform.com:
Before WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gained asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012, he and his British legal team asked me to fly to London to provide legal advice about United States law relating to espionage and press freedom. I cannot disclose what advice I gave them, but I can say that I believed then, and still believe now, that there is no constitutional difference between WikiLeaks and The New York Times.
If The New York Times, in 1971, could lawfully publish the Pentagon Papers, knowing that it included classified documents stolen by Rand Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg from our government, then WikiLeaks was entitled, under the First Amendment, to publish classified material that Assange knew was stolen by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from our government.
The US/British/Ecuadorian case against Julian Assange is a crock of the material cats cover up in their litter boxes. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
And so now Julian Assange of Wikileaks has been dragged out of his sanctuary in the London embassy of Ecuador for failing to clean his cat’s litter box. Have you ever cleaned a litter box? The way we always did it was to spread some newspaper — say, The New York Times — on the floor, transfer the used cat litter onto it, wrap it into a compact package, and put it in the trash.
It was interesting to scan the Comments section of The Times’s stories about the Assange arrest: Times readers uniformly presented themselves as a lynch mob out for Mr. Assange’s blood. So much for the spirit of liberalism and The Old Gray Lady who had published The Pentagon Papers purloined by Daniel Ellsberg lo so many years ago. Reading between the lines in that once-venerable newspaper — by which I mean gleaning their slant on the news — one surmises that The Times has actually come out against freedom of the press, a curious attitude, but consistent with the neo-Jacobin zeitgeist in “blue” America these days.
Anyway, how could anyone expect Mr. Assange to clean his cat’s litter box when he was unable to go outside his sanctuary to buy a fresh bag of litter, and was denied newspapers this past year, as well as any other contact with the outside world?
US government prosecutors had better tread lightly in bringing Mr. Assange to the sort of justice demanded by readers of The New York Times — which is to say: lock him up in some SuperMax solitary hellhole and throw away the key. The show trial of Julian Assange on US soil, when it comes to pass, may end up being the straw that stirs America’s Mickey Finn as a legitimate republic.
If the US extradites, tries, and imprisons Julian Assange, the First Amendment as we knew it will be dead. From Nozomi Hayase at antiwar.com:
On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by the UK police inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted political asylum in 2012. This termination of asylum by Ecuador in violation of international law comes a week after WikiLeaks warned the public it had received information from two high level Ecuadorian government sources about a US-backed plan for the Ecuadorian government to expel Assange from its embassy.
Assange’s lawyer confirmed he has been arrested under a US extradition warrant for conspiracy to publish classified information with whistleblower Chelsea Manning revealing government war crimes in 2010. Specifically, this relates to WikiLeaks’ publication of the collateral murder video, documents concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the US Diplomatic Cables.
In making a statement outside Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters that Assange’s arrest marks a “dark day for journalism”. This prosecution of Assange is recognized by experts on free speech rights as an attack on freedom of the media everywhere.
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