Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Julian Assange and Personal Freedom, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Andrew P. Napolitano sums it up succinctly: “Assange is a hero.” From Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

It wasn’t until 1969 that the Supreme Court’s modern First Amendment jurisprudence made it clear that whenever there is a clash between the government and a person over the constitutionality of the person’s speech, the courts will give every benefit and draw every inference to the speaker, and none to the government. This is so because the freedom of speech is a natural right, and thus it is always to be presumed constitutional and lawful.

I have argued elsewhere that because the essence of government is the negation of liberty, this presumption against the government should always be the case. Even when it purports to be protecting liberty, the government — because its existence without unanimous consent is based on stealing liberty and property — should always be presumed wrong, immoral, unconstitutional and unlawful. But the courts have only made that so in the case of the freedom of speech.

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Assange Put on Suicide Watch After Patel Decision, Father Says, by Joe Lauria

One of the world’s bravest men was stripped naked and thrown into an empty cell. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

John and Gabriel Shipton at Berlin rally. (Joe Lauria)

After British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Julian Assange’s extradition order on Friday the authorities in Belmarsh prison stripped Julian Assange and threw him into a completely empty cell in an attempt to prevent his suicide, Assange’s father has said.

It was just one more instance in which the prison humiliated his son, Shipton told  a rally on Tuesday night at the offices of the junge Welt newspaper in Berlin. About 300 people attended, with an overflow crowd watching on close circuit TV in the courtyard.

Testimony was heard from expert defense witnesses during Assange’s extradition hearing that he might try to end his life in prison once he learned he was going to the United States.

It is not the end of the road for Assange legally, however. His lawyers have until July 1 to file for an appeal of Patel’s decision to the High Court.  They also intend to apply for a cross appeal of issues such as the political nature of the charges, the threat to free speech and the reported C.I.A. plot to kidnap or kill Assange before his arrest.

Shipton and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, are in Berlin to lobby the German government to put pressure on the United States to drop the case against Assange.

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Free Assange? Yes, But That’s Not Nearly Enough. By Thomas Knapp

Retribution is required for those who have done what they’ve done to Julian Assange. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:

On June 17, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to face 18 criminal charges: One count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, and 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. If convicted on all charges, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.

His final recourse is an appeal to the High Court of Justice where, if the history of his case is any indication, he’ll be told that they’re all out of justice and have none for him.

If justice had anything to do with it, previous courts would have thrown out the US extradition request on grounds of both jurisdiction and treaty language. The “crimes” of which Assange is accused were not committed on US soil. And Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty forbids extradition for political offenses.

Be clear on this: Assange is a political prisoner, held for and charged with committing … journalism.

He exposed war crimes committed by US government forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other illegal schemes such as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s attempts to have UN diplomats’ offices bugged.

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WATCH: Assange Defended at PEN International, by Joe Lauria

While those who have defended Julian Assange deserve credit for doing so, it’s pathetic how few in number they are, and a clear indication of the utter corruption of British and American media. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

CN Editor Joe Lauria spoke out in defense of Julian Assange and against growing press censorship in the West at a meeting of Pen International in Bled, Slovenia.

Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria addressed the 54th annual PEN International Writers for Peace Committee meeting in Bled, Slovenia on Thursday. A video of the opening session, called “Empty Chairs,” which honored Julian Assange and other journalists follows his address. Below that is the text of Lauria’s remarks.

ext of Joe Lauria’s address on Assange to PEN International Writers for Peace Committee

It is hard to exaggerate the monumental significance of the case of Julian Assange.

It is hard to exaggerate about the destruction of a man’s life for doing his job better than almost anyone else and about the destruction of Western governments’ claims that they champion a free press.

Our website, Consortium News, has provided the most comprehensive coverage of the Assange case in the English language. We were inside Assange’s courtroom in London and followed every hearing later by video link to the courtroom. We have just come from Australia, where we have contacts with Assange’s family and his supporters there.

Within weeks he could be extradited to the U.S. to face up to 175 years in an American dungeon for the crime of publishing accurate information.

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Who Is the Hero? Albright vs. Assange, by Lawrence Davidson

The Powers That Be once again honored one of its own, while it continues to persecute a man who exposed their crimes. From Lawrence Davidson at consortiumnews.com:

Lawrence Davidson checks on the answer, from inside and  outside the Establishment.

Pro-Assange protester in London’s Parliament Square, July 3, 2021. (Alisdare Hickson, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Our image of a hero has two aspects. The first consists of generic, stereotypical traits: bravery, determination in the face of adversity, achievement against heavy odds — the kind of person who saves the day.

The second aspect is more culturally specific, describing and contextualizing the circumstances of bravery and determination, and the nature of achievement in terms that are narrowly defined. In other words, cultural descriptions of bravery are most often expressed in terms compatible with the social and political conditions of the hero’s society.

Heroes are ubiquitous. For instance, there are American heroes, Russian heroes, Israeli heroes, Arab heroes, Ukrainian heroes, and so on. Where does good and bad come into it? Well, that too becomes a cultural judgment. Below are two examples of “heroes.” I will leave it to the reader to decide who is good and who is bad.

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The US Cries About War Crimes While Imprisoning A Journalist For Exposing Its War Crimes, by Caitlin Johnstone

The hypocrisy is staggering. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

In what his lawyers have described as a “brief but significant moment in the case,” a British magistrates’ court has signed off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, bringing the WikiLeaks founder one step closer to a US trial under the Espionage Act which threatens press freedoms worldwide.

The extradition case now goes to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval, which will likely be forthcoming as Patel is a reliably loyal empire manager. After that point, Assange’s legal team will be able to launch an appeal.

This is happening at the same time the United States and the United Kingdom are loudly demanding accountability for alleged war crimes by the Russian military in Ukraine, which is interesting because attempting to bring accountability for war crimes is precisely why Julian Assange is in prison.

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Video Transcript: The Semi-Inside Story of Why Trump Refused to Pardon Snowden and Assange, by Glenn Greenwald

Trump blew it on Assange and Snowden and he blew it on the vaccines. He’ll have to give better answers than the ones he’s given so far if he expects to run in 2024. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

For months, Trump indicated that he was strongly considering pardoning NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and considering a pardon for Assange as well. Yet he never did. Why?

In an interview at Mar-a-Logo, Candace Owens presses Donald Trump on why he did not pardon either Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, Dec. 29, 2021

When Donald Trump vacated the White House on January 20, 2021, it became clear that he had refused to issue two pardons which many of his most ardent supporters were advocating and even expecting: one for the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has spent eight years in exile in Russia for revealing to American citizens that the Obama-era NSA was secretly and unconstitutionally spying en masse on their communications and other online activities, and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whose reporting in 2010 on grave crimes by the U.S. and its allies and in 2016 on the Clinton campaign were among the most consequential journalism stories of the last two decades.

Trump’s failure to pardon either of them fostered disappointment and anger in many circles — “Trump left the White House about as weak, cucked, and submissive as it’s possible for a grown adult to scamper away,” I tweeted on that day, with an obviously considerable mix of each sentiment. That reaction was due to the fact that Trump himself had raised the possibility that he might pardon Snowden — infuriating everyone from Susan Rice to Liz Cheney — and was also actively considering a pardon for Assange. Given that it is virtually impossible to imagine any other U.S. president even remotely considering such a move, Trump seemed to be not just the best but the last chance for either of these two courageous dissidents to finally earn their freedom and be able to go home. That many of Trump’s most trusted Congressional allies [such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)] were strongly advocating for a pardon of one or both, and because Trump himself harbored so many valid personal reasons for wanting to confront these security state agencies — he had, as much as anyone, seen first-hand how pernicious and sinister these agencies can be, and what grave menaces they pose for American democracy — it was difficult for many people to understand why he did not pardon one or both of them.

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Killing the First Amendment, by Philip Giraldi

Governments hate free expression, especially when the expression consists of exposing governments’ depredations. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

When one travels nearly anywhere in Europe where Medieval government centers, including courts, remain, one will frequently see the personification of a sometimes blindfolded woman representing Justice holding a sword in one hand and a scale or a scroll in the other. As soon as human beings came together to form governments, one of the first demands has always for justice that is accessible to all and that is readily understood. That is not to say that governments have not corrupted the mechanisms that were set up to deliver justice to serve their own parochial ends, but it does demonstrate that the human desire for fair treatment under law has been strong for thousands of years.

Now, it seems, those who seek justice often find that justice is denied through various artifices that have been contrived to give the government greater control over what constitutes criminal behavior. It is an emphasis on punishment of those the government has decided to make an example of. One only has to look at the treatment of whistleblowers by the US government, most notably the cases of CIA veterans Jeffrey Sterling and John Kiriakou, where punishment was the objective to discourage anyone from exposing criminal behavior by those in charge.

Even though in theory whistleblowers are protected because they have come forward to reveal illegal activity by the government, in practice that protection is often notional. And then there are those instances where justice is deliberately perverted, as in the current case of Julian Assange, whom the United States government would like to extradite so he can be tried under the Espionage Act of 1917. But the actual charges against Assange are where things get murky. Assange is accused of having collaborated with Chelsea Manning to steal and publish classified material relating to clear evidence that atrocities were carried out by the US military in Iraq and then covered up. And perhaps more to the point in political terms, Assange is also being accused of having participated in the theft of the Hillary Clinton emails in 2016. It should be pointed out that the Federal government has not provided any actual evidence of either alleged crime.

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Using Assange to Send a Three-Part Message, by Jacob G. Hornberger

It’s a three-part message with one clear theme: don’t reveal the government’s secrets, you will be punished. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

When Julian Assange and Wikileaks disclosed evidence of dark-side activity, including war crimes, on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, U.S. officials felt they had no choice but to use Assange to send a three-part message.

The first message is to people within the national-security establishment who might be tempted, out of a crisis of conscience, to reveal dark-side activities of the national-security establishment. By doing everything they could to destroy Assange’s life and even maybe bring about his death, the national-security establishment sends a powerful message to would-be leakers: “This is what will happen to you if you disclose our dark-side secrets to the American people. We will hunt you down, we will persecute you, we will prosecute you, we will destroy you, and we might even kill you.”

How many people within the national-security establishment are willing to undergo that price for revealing dark-side secrets of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA? I’d venture to say not very many at all.

Thus, regardless of what ends up happening to Assange in a court of law — that is, even if he is ultimately acquitted in a U.S. federal court of ludicrous charges of violating some World War I-era espionage law — the national-security establishment has undoubtedly already succeeded in its quest to suppress revelations of other dark-side activities. All that any would-be leaker has to do is look at Assange’s mental and physical condition after years of being hounded by the national-security establishment. Very few people want to end up like that. They are likely to remain silent, even if their consciences are calling on them to reveal dark-side secrets to the American people.

The second message is to people who disclose the dark-side secrets that are leaked to them — organizations like Wikileaks and executives within those organizations, like Assange. The message to them is the same as the message to would-be leakers: “If you dare publish any of our dark-side activities, we will come after you with a vengeance, just as we have with Julian Assange. We will hound you, indict you, prosecute you, persecute you, incarcerate you, torture you, and maybe even kill you.”

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As Fascism Casts Off Its Disguises, by Caitlin Johnstone

No use pretending anymore: we live in a fascist regime. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The US government has won its appeal against a lower British court’s rejection of its extradition request to prosecute Julian Assange for journalistic activity under the Espionage Act. Rather than going free, the WikiLeaks founder will continue to languish in Belmarsh Prison where he has already spent over two and a half years despite having been convicted of no crime.

“As a result, that extradition request will now be sent to British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who technically must approve all extradition requests but, given the U.K. Government’s long-time subservience to the U.S. security state, is all but certain to rubber-stamp it,” writes Glenn Greenwald. “Assange’s representatives, including his fiancee Stella Morris, have vowed to appeal the ruling, but today’s victory for the U.S. means that Assange’s freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.”

“Mark this day as fascism casts off its disguises,” tweeted journalist John Pilger of the rul

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