The Guardian Could Help Assange By Retracting All The Lies It Published About Him

The Guardian has joined The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País in signing a letter from the five papers which collaborated with WikiLeaks twelve years ago in the publication of the Chelsea Manning leaks to call for the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange. This sudden jolt of mainstream support comes as news breaks that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been personally pushing the US government to bring the Assange case to a close.

The Guardian’s participation in this letter is particularly noteworthy, given the leading role that publication has played in manufacturing public support for his persecution in the first place.

If The Guardian really wants to help end the persecution of the heroic WikiLeaks founder, the best way to do that would be to retract those many smears, spin jobs and outright lies, and to formally apologize for publishing them.

This is after all the same Guardian which published the transparently ridiculous and completely invalidated 2018 report that Trump lackey Paul Manafort had met secretly with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy, not once but multiple times.

Not one shred of evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this claim despite the embassy being one of the most heavily surveilled buildings on the planet at the time, and the Robert Mueller investigation, whose expansive scope would obviously have included such meetings, reported absolutely nothing to corroborate it. It was a bogus story which all accused parties have forcefully denied and no serious person believes is true, yet to this day it still sits on The Guardian’s website without retraction of any kind.

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US Officials Concern Troll About World Press Freedoms While Assaulting Them

I will never get used to living in a world where our rulers will openly imprison a journalist for telling the truth and then self-righteously pontificate about the need to stop authoritarian regimes from persecuting journalists.

Just today US State Department spokesman and CIA veteran Ned Price tweeted disapprovingly about the Kyrgyz Republic’s decision to deport investigative journalist Bolot Temirov to Russia, where press freedom groups are concerned that the Russian citizen could face conscription to fight in Ukraine.

“Dismayed by the decision to deport journalist Bolot Temirov from the Kyrgyz Republic,” said Price. “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job. The Kyrgyz Republic has been known for its vibrant civil society — attempts to stifle freedom of expression stain that reputation.”

This would be an entirely reasonable statement for anyone else to make. If you said it or I said it, it would be completely legitimate. But when Ned says it, it is illegitimate.

This is after all the same government that is working to extradite an Australian journalist from the United Kingdom with the goal of imprisoning him for up to 175 years for exposing US war crimes. Price says “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job,” but that is precisely what the government he represents is doing to Julian Assange, who has already spent three and a half years in Belmarsh Prison awaiting US extradition shenanigans. This is in top of the seven years he spent fighting extradition from the Ecuadorian embassy in London under what a UN panel ruled was arbitrary detention.

A UN special rapporteur on torture determined that Assange has been subjected to psychological torture by the allied governments which have conspired to imprison him. Scores of doctors have determined that his persecution is resulting in dangerous medical neglect. Yet he is being pulled toward the notoriously draconian prison systems of the most powerful government in the world, where he will face a rigged trial where a defense of publishing in the public interest will not be permitted.

All to establish a legal precedent that will allow the most powerful empire that has ever existed to extradite journalists from anywhere in the world for exposing inconvenient truths about it. But sure, Ned, “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job.”

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Assange files appeal against US extradition

Julian Assange’s legal team filed an appeal on Friday to stop the WikiLeaks co-founder’s extradition to the US, where he faces espionage charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 175 years.

According to WikiLeaks, Assange’s lawyers filed “perfected grounds of appeal” before the UK High Court of Justice against the US government and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who approved the extradition of the Australian-born editor in mid-June.

The appeal argues that “Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions,” while the US government “misrepresented the core facts” of the case to the UK judiciary. It adds that the request to extradite the WikiLeaks co-founder violates the relevant treaty between the US and the UK, as well as international law.

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Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

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.”

“If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we; none of us is free,” she added.

Myriad human rights, journalistic, and other groups have condemned Assange’s impending extradition and the U.S. government’s targeting of a journalist who exposed American war crimes. In a Thursday statement, the Australian Journalists Union said that “the charges against Assange are an affront to journalists everywhere and a threat to press freedom.”

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Merrick Garland: Drop the Charges Against Julian Assange

I turned on the news yesterday and there was Attorney General Merrick Garland somewhere in Ukraine, talking about being part of the effort to prosecute war crimes charges against the Russian invaders. Coincidentally, the night before seeing our chief prosecutor in Ukraine, I had finished reading Nils Melzer’s recently-published book, the Trial of Julian Assange, which is an eloquent and devastating exposé of endemic political corruption deep within the state apparatuses of the US, the UK, Sweden, and other countries.

The unmistakable fact is that Merrick Garland’s Justice Department is still actively pursuing the extradition of Julian Assange, in order for him to face charges under the Espionage Act and spend the rest of his life in prison. This is the same Espionage Act that the Nixon administration considered using against Daniel Ellsberg, for leaking what became known as the Pentagon Papers, which were published in the New York Times and elsewhere.

Unlike Ellsberg, Assange did not himself steal, hack, or otherwise make off with secret documents that exposed US war crimes. He only facilitated the leaking of these documents, and the eventual publication of redacted parts of them by Wikileaks, the New York Times, and most of the rest of the world’s media. But unlike with Ellsberg, the government is going ahead with prosecuting someone — a journalist and editor named Julian Assange — under the Espionage Act.

The Espionage Act is one of these laws that is on the books but is not generally considered particularly useful by prosecutors because the law is so blatantly an outrageous, draconian relic of the Red Scare, an example of the most authoritarian responses to the militant labor movement of the post-World War 1 period. Enforcing the Espionage Act makes a complete mockery of all of the most fundamental democratic institutions. It’s obviously in total conflict with the First Amendment and many other elements of the Bill of Rights. The possibility that other journalists who expose war crimes might go to prison for the rest of their lives for violating the Espionage Act is a terrifying prospect. But Garland’s prosecution of a journalist for exposing war crimes under the Espionage Act continues.

While Garland makes plans to help prosecute war crimes committed by Russian soldiers, the war crimes committed by US forces in Bagram, Kama Ado, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Fallujah, Haditha, Baghdad, and on and on and on, go almost entirely unprosecuted and unpunished, and generally unacknowledged, except when the media spotlight is temporarily impossible to ignore, and a few crocodile tears must be shed to maintain appearances. But even while occasional noises are made by officials to half-heartedly acknowledge some of the shortcomings of the US military invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the person most responsible for bringing the knowledge of these shortcomings to the global public is being prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917.

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Fmr CIA Director Summoned by Judge Over Claims US Plotted ‘At Highest Level’ to Execute Julian Assange

Last year, media reported that US officials had allegedly discussed the possibility of assassinating Julian Assange during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017. The alleged plot presupposed kidnapping the WikiLeaks founder from the diplomatic mission or capturing him if he tried to escape.

Mike Pompeo, the former US secretary of state, has been summoned by a Spanish court to testify over claims the US had plotted “at the highest level” to assassinate WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange, reported The Telegraph.

Judge Pedraz had sent a request to US authorities to call Pompeo as a witness, a spokesman for Spain’s National Court was cited by The Telegraph as saying, adding that, “There has been no reply as yet.”

Judge Santiago Pedraz, of Spain’s National Court, is leading a probe into whether Spanish security firm UC Global spied on Assange while providing security for the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The Australian citizen had sought refuge at the embassy in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges, which he denies. The whistleblower remained there until April 2019, when Ecuador’s new government revoked his asylum.

Lawyers representing Assange in Spain, including the former judge Baltasar Garzón, have accused Washington of “orchestrating” the espionage effort targeting the whistleblower. The claim that UC Global placed microphones and cameras in the embassy to spy on Assange’s private conversations and meetings.

The legal moves involving Mike Pompeo come as part of a petition filed by Aitor Martínez, one of the lawyers representing Assange in the proceedings against UC Global. In addition to summoning Pompeo, Judge Pedraz is also seeking to question William Evanina, a former US counterintelligence official who is said to have confessed to viewing security camera footage and audio recordings from inside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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Julian Assange’s Wife Says He’ll Kill Himself After Brits Approve Extradition To America

Stella Moris, the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, suggested that her husband would kill himself if he is extradited to the United States after the British Home secretary approved a judge’s order to fly Assange from the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison in London to Virginia to stand trial.

British Home Secretary Pristi Patel approved the order on Thursday; paving the way for Assange, a native Australian, to stand trial on espionage charges.

“If he’s extradited to the U.S., the conditions he will be under will be oppressive,” Stella Moris told a press conference Friday. “It will drive him to take his own life. That’s not simply a regular discussion about mental health. We are talking about driving a person to take their own life.”

American officials have informed the British government that Assange will not be held in maximum security if he is extradited.

Moris said Assange’s declaration that he would kill himself was made “recently,” adding that she would fight the order with “every available avenue. … I’m going to use every waking hour fighting for Julian until he is free,” The Daily Mail reported.

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The UK’s Decision to Extradite Assange Shows Why The US/UK’s Freedom Lectures Are a Farce

The eleven-year persecution of Julian Assange was extended and escalated on Friday morning. The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the U.S.’s extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to stand trial on eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents showing widespread corruption, deceit, and war crimes by American and British authorities along with their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.

This decision is unsurprising — it has been obvious for years that the U.S. and UK are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — yet it nonetheless further highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy and a free press. Those performative self-glorifying spectacles are constantly deployed to justify these two countries’ interference in and attacks on other nations, and to allow their citizens to feel a sense of superiority about the nature of their governments. After all, if the U.S. and UK stand for freedom and against tyranny, who could possibly oppose their wars and interventions in the name of advancing such lofty goals and noble values?

Having reported on the Assange case for years, on countless occasions I’ve laid out the detailed background that led Assange and the U.S. to this point. There is thus no need to recount all of that again; those interested can read the granular trajectory of this persecution here or here. Suffice to say, Assange — without having been convicted of any crime other than bail jumping, for which he long ago served out his fifty-week sentence — has been in effective imprisonment for more than a decade.

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Judge suggests CIA may have illegally recorded Assange conversations, challenging extradition demands

Spanish media is reporting that a court order issued by Spanish High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz indicates that content of communications between Julian Assange and his lawyers may have been illegally recorded during the time he spent at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The order that the newspaper El Pais has seen names Spain’s Under Cover (UC) Global security company as handing over the information to CIA agents. That would have revealed the defense strategy of Assange, a whistleblower and journalist whom the US wants extradited from the UK on espionage charges, a request that has been granted and will be decided on within the next two months by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

If put on trial and found guilty in the US, Assange could be sentenced to 175 years in prison for revealing damning US military operations during the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and publishing it on the WikiLeaks website.

The Spanish court order is procedural in nature, sent by Jusge Pedraz to the UK as an explanation as to why the country’s authorities should allow him to take testimonies from Assange’s doctors and UK lawyers – one of whom is well known solicitor and human rights activist Gareth Peirce – who were the subject of spying at the embassy.

Legal sources have told El Pais that the extradition request could fall through for violating the right of defense if there is proof that US intelligence agencies managed to learn about Assange’s defense by illegally spying on his legal representatives and doctors. Spain gaining access to these individuals for the sake of obtaining witness testimonies would leave the British justice system “in an embarrassing situation,” some believe.

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