Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Those Angry at Rushdie’s Stabbing Have Been Missing in Action Over a Far Bigger Threat to Our Freedom, by Jonathan Cook

The attack on Salman Rushdie has been rightfully condemned, but many who do so have said not a word about the plight of Julian Assange. From Jonathan Cook at unz.com:

Nothing I am about to write should be read as diminishing in any way my sympathy for Salman Rushdie, or my outrage at the appalling attack on him. Those who more than 30 years ago put a fatwa on his head after he wrote the novel The Satanic Verses made this assault possible. They deserve contempt. I wish him a speedy recovery.

But my natural compassion for a victim of violence and my regularly expressed support for free speech should not at the same time blind me or you to the cant and hypocrisy generated by his stabbing on Friday, just as he was about to give a talk in a town in Western New York.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”. His Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, one of the last two contenders for Johnson’s crown, concurred, describing the novelist as “a champion of free speech and artistic freedom”.

Across the Atlantic, President Joe Biden stressed Rushdie’s qualities: “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear… We reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression.”

The truth is that the vast majority of those claiming this as an attack not only on a prominent writer but on Western society and its freedoms, have been missing in action for the past several years as the biggest threat to those freedoms unfolded. Or, in the case of Western government leaders, they have actively conspired in the undermining of those freedoms.

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John Pilger on the Urgency to Free Assange

Once Julian Assange is extradited to the U.S., he’ll be in the black hole prison system and will never be heard from again. From John Pilger at consortiumnews.com:

In an interview, the renowned Australian investigative journalist warns that the U.S. is close to getting its hands on the the courageous WikiLeaks publisher.

Julian Assange at an antiwar rally in London, Oct. 8, 2011. (Haydn, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In an interview with the World Socialist Web Site, renowned Australian investigative journalist John Pilger warns that the “U.S. is close to getting its hands on” the courageous WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Last month, British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved Assange’s extradition to the U.S., where he faces 175 years imprisonment under the Espionage Act for publishing true information exposing American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As Pilger explains, Patel’s order will be the subject of a further appeal, but the British judiciary that will adjudicate has facilitated Assange’s persecution every step of the way. This underscores the urgency of a political fight to free Assange, based on the powerful struggles of the working class that are emerging all around the world.

Pilger began his media career in the late 1950s. His first documentary, The Quiet Mutiny, exposed aspects of the U.S. war in Vietnam in 1970. Since then, Pilger has produced more than 50 documentaries, many of them feature-length and centering on revealing the crimes of the major imperialist powers.

In a 2012 Rolling Stone interview, Assange was asked: “Who has been your most critical public supporter?” He replied: “John Pilger, the Australian journalist, has been the most impressive.”

Pilger has been unwavering in his defence of the WikiLeaks publisher. In 2018 and 2019, he addressed Socialist Equality Party rallies, demanding that the Australian government use its diplomatic and legal powers to free Assange.

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The Assange Persecution: British Courts and Media…GUILTY!! By Brett Redmayne-Titley

And the media wonders why their trust and approval ratings are in the toilet. From Brett Redmayne-Titley at unz.com:

The months-long extradition hearings of Julian Assange, a trial that will forever define modern journalism, have been shamelessly whitewashed by British media. Too few news agencies reported on the utter abrogation of judicial Due Process and The Rule of Law exhibited in a British courtroom against an innocent fellow journalist.

This sham trial exposed a fundamental British truth: That the UK courts and its press are really America’s concubines, willing to fellate any US interest on command.

With the number of courtroom seats set at only sixteen, the few in attendance at Westminster Magistrate’s Court provided the only reporting from the trial to the world. Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murry reported daily the courtroom torture of Julian Assange. However, world media quashed the story!

Wrote Murry in outrage,

“… I simply cannot believe the blatant abuse of process that is unfolding before my eyes in this courtroom…. A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few…”

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Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition, by Brett Wilkins

The legal process for Julian Assange has run forever, but this may be his last appeal before he’s sent to a too ugly to contemplate fate in the U.S. From Brett Wilkins at commondreams.org:

“If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we,” said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder’s impending transfer. “None of us is free.”

In a last-ditch effort to avoid extradition to the United States, lawyers for jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday appealed to the United Kingdom’s High Court to block the transfer.

Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, told Reuters that the Australian publisher’s legal team appealed his extradition, which was formally approved by U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel last month.

“We also urge the Australian government to intervene immediately in the case to end this nightmare,” Shipton said.

Supporters of Assange held protests ahead of his 51st birthday on Saturday, including one in an open-top double-decker London tour bus that passed by British government buildings in Westminster on Friday. One of the demonstrators, 79-year-old Gloria Wildman, told Agence France-Presse that Assange has “been in prison for telling the truth.”

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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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