Rock solid precedent and the First Amendment support Julian Assange, and if American justice is not completely corrupted (a debatable assumption), they will carry the day for Assange if he’s extradited from the UK. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” — First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
In the oral argument of the famous U.S. Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Pentagon Papers Case, the late Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the “no law” language in the First Amendment to mean literally no law. The setting was an appeal of the Nixon administration’s temporarily successful efforts to bar The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing documents stolen from the Department of Defense by a civilian employee, Daniel Ellsberg.
The documents were a government-written history of the Vietnam War, which revealed that President Lyndon B. Johnson and his secretaries of defense and state and the military’s top brass materially misrepresented the status of the war to the American people. Stated differently, they regularly, consistently and systematically lied to the public and the news media.
Though LBJ was retired, Nixon did not want this unvarnished version of the war he was still fighting to make its way into the public arena. The Nixon DOJ persuaded a federal district court judge to enjoin the publication of the documents because they contained classified materials and they had been stolen.
If Donald Trump is capable of shame, his treatment of Julian Assange should be the number one candidate. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.
It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.
Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.
One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.
The treatment meted out to Julian Assange by the American and British governments tells you all you need to know about them. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, gave an interview to Strategic Culture Foundation over the weekend. After arriving from his home country of Australia, Shipton is visiting several European states, including Russia, to bring public attention to the persecution of Julian Assange by British authorities over his role as a publisher and author.
First though an introduction to the Assange case. Few media figures can be attributed with transforming international politics and the global media landscape. Arguably, Julian Assange, author, publisher and founder of the Wikileaks whistleblower website (2006), is in the top tier of world-changing individuals over the past decade.
The Australian-born Assange has previously been awarded with accolades and respect for his truth-telling journalism which exposed massive crimes, corruption and nefarious intrigues by the US government and its Western allies.
An attack on a reporter is being construed as an attack on journalism, but the reporter in question works for a media organ that used then betrayed Julian Assange, and now won’t life a finger to help him. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
Guardian columnist Owen Jones, a self-described left activist and socialist, was attacked in the streets of London at 2 am Saturday morning in what he himself describes as “a blatant premeditated assault” by a bunch of guys. He says he was kicked, punched, but then saved by the friends he was with, and nothing really happened to him. Or he would have taken photos and published them. Owen was fine, before and after. But his pride was not.
No pictures of black eyes or anything, but a brick load of indignation. No matter that in Britain, people are attacked all the time, certainly at that hour, in bar fights, in knife fights, people die every weekend. But for some reason Owen Jones thinks his role in this is special. That the incident happened because of his political views, and because the far right is getting more aggressive.
The persecution of Julian Assange is just part of a wider war on WikiLeaks. From Suzie Dawson at contraspin.co.nz:
We’ve been so busy sifting through the ashes that too few of us have noticed what’s been staring us in the face all along.
Let’s change that.
The Big Picture
With millions of words written about Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and its associates, swirling all around us daily, it’s easy not to see the wood for the trees.
The first port of call for those defending the world’s most at-risk publishing organisation and its staff has been tackling the individual narratives of its oppressors. Focusing on Sweden, or Ecuador, or the US Department Of Justice, the Grand Juries or the United Kingdom and debunking their spin seems a necessary task. But we have to face the reality: Years of arguing til we’re blue in the face about the intricacies of all the various aspects of the aforementioned – plenty of which I’ve engaged in myself – hasn’t achieved victory. We aren’t better off, or stronger for it. Things are slipping, and slipping fast.
A decade into this battle, it’s time to reflect upon the sum total of the parts. We need to acknowledge what has happened not just to Julian – but to his organisation as a whole. We need to examine WikiLeaks at an architectural level, just as its opponents have. In doing so, we see that the desecration of Julian’s reputation and the attacks against his work, relationships and his physical person were actually never about him – it was always about his organisation, what it is and what it does, all along.
Sweden and the cases against Julian were only ever a distraction, a red herring. To get a crystal clear picture of the situation we must zoom out to an eagle eye’s view.
The freedom of the press in the colonies, now under assault in the Julian Assange case, predates the establishment of the United States. From Dave Lindorff at counterpunch.org:
The trial, as imagined by an illustrator in the book Wall Street in History – Public Domain
Here in this ultra-modern city on the coast of southern China, I read in the morning paper that 11 consulates representing most of the nations of Europe, have lodged protests with the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor over a controversial new extradition bill that if passed would allow Hong Kong to extradite suspects to nations with which Hong Kong does not have an extradition deal. That would include China (a country of which Hong Kong is an integral part while still retaining local control over such things as its legal system which remains based upon British Common Law, not Chinese law).
I was not surprised to see that the US Consulate here in Hong Kong did not join in the protest against the new bill.
After all, the US is itself clearly flouting the extradition treaty it signed in 2003 with the UK, which states that neither nation will extradite to the other anyone who faces politically motivated prosecution. Yet just this past week, the US filed 17 charges of violation of the hoary US Espionage Act, a measure enacted by Congress in 1917 during the First World War that has rarely been used since then and that is widely viewed as designed to target political opponents of the government.
The US intelligence community is determined to destroy WikiLeaks. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:
The Made by FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals.
But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.
In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it’s that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don’t get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.
Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil’s Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes); “The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America… I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request.”
That’s far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange’s legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d’oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.