Assange

A coalition of over two dozen press freedom and human rights organisations has called on the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange. This is ahead of a US appeal that will be heard next week, challenging a British court decision that blocked the WikiLeaks publisher’s extradition.

The statement, delivered last week to Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland, reflects the widespread popular opposition to the attempt to prosecute Assange in the United States for exposing US-led war crimes, surveillance operations and global diplomatic intrigues.

It also expresses the increasingly crisis-ridden state of the US campaign against Assange, which is widely viewed as an assault on core civil liberties. This is even more so since revelations last month of gangster-like plans by the Trump administration and CIA to kidnap or kill the Australian journalist while he was a political refugee in Ecuador’s London embassy.

Signatories to the letter include the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the Knight First Amendment Institute, along with 20 other well-known advocacy organisations.

The same coalition appealed to the Biden administration to end legal action against Assange shortly after Biden’s inauguration, but the request was rebuffed in another demonstration of the bipartisan character of the assault on Assange, WikiLeaks and democratic rights more broadly. The Democrat administration has not only continued the vendetta against Assange, but has played the lead role in crafting an appeal aimed at securing his dispatch to the US and life imprisonment.

The latest statement warns: “[T]he proceedings against Mr. Assange jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy. In our view, a precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press.”

The signatories note: “[J]ournalists routinely engage in much of the conduct described in the indictment: speaking with sources, asking for clarification or more documentation, and receiving and publishing official secrets. News organizations frequently and necessarily publish classified information in order to inform the public of matters of profound public significance.”

The organisations involved in the initiative note that they were motivated to restate their call for an end to the prosecution of Assange “with even greater urgency, in light of a recent story in Yahoo News describing alarming discussions within the CIA and the Trump administration before the indictment against Assange was filed. The Yahoo News story only heightens our concerns about the motivations behind this prosecution, and about the dangerous precedent that is being set.”

The Yahoo News report, published late last month, reviewed in detail discussions within the Trump administration and the top levels of the CIA, about taking “extreme measures” against Assange in 2017.

Based on interviews with more than 30 former US officials, the story outlined the frenzied response of the government and the intelligence agency to WikiLeaks’ publication of “Vault 7,” a vast trove of leaked CIA documents.

The documents exposed the agency’s vast cyberwarfare capacities, including its extensive use of malware, and capabilities to place “tell-tale” markers on its own hacks, aimed at ascribing them to foreign powers such as Russia and Iran. “Vault 7” demonstrated that the CIA was engaged in mass surveillance, including through smart phones and televisions, and was discussing the development of capabilities to remotely take over the computing systems of modern cars.

The apoplectic response, spearheaded by then CIA director Mike Pompeo, rapidly involved discussions about illegal actions against Assange. These included meetings, involving Pompeo and Trump, about the prospect of kidnapping Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, instigating a shoot-out in London if he sought to flee the building and even assassinating the WikiLeaks founder and his European-based colleagues.

The discussions were not of a hypothetical character. The statement, delivered last week to Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland, reflects the widespread popular opposition to the attempt to prosecute Assange in the United States for exposing US-led war crimes, surveillance operations and global diplomatic intrigues. Employees at the building have testified that discussions about poisoning or allowing for Assange to be violently removed from the embassy, filtered down to the ground level, involving UC Global staff.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris outlined the impact of the UC Global operation. She noted that with pervasive spying, the placement of restrictions on Assange’s communications and visitors and dirty tricks operations, including an attempt to secretly take DNA from one of Assange’s children, the security firm and its American paymasters had effectively created “a black site in the middle of London. Complete lawlessness.”

The Yahoo News revelations exposed not only the criminal character of these extra-legal operations, but also the quasi-judicial attempt to prosecute Assange. The indictment against Assange was prepared amid the discussions about assassinating him, with Yahoo reporting that it was in part motivated by concerns from within the Justice Department that there be charges if Assange were “brought to the United States,” i.e., kidnapped by the CIA.

The Biden administration has said nothing about the extraordinary criminality of the actions taken by its predecessor, with its spokespeople instead directing media inquiries about the reports to the CIA. Pompeo has issued weak denials of the worst of the allegations, while stating that “pieces of” the Yahoo story are true and calling for the former officials who spoke to the outlet to “be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity.”

In a belated attempt at damage control, Democratic Party representative Adam Schiff stated that the US House Intelligence Committee was “seeking information” on the reports about the Trump-CIA plot against Assange. He claimed to have been completely unaware that anything was afoot, despite serving as the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel in 2017.

The professions of ignorance have no credibility, given that the Democrats embraced Pompeo’s description of WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence organisation,” a designation that placed the publishing organisation in a category akin to terrorists or hostile spies. In 2017, the Senate formally included the description of Assange’s media outlet in its annual Intelligence Authorization Act, with the overwhelming majority of Democrats voting in favour.

The Yahoo report follows the revelation by Icelandic weekly Stundin that Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, a key witness in the US indictment against Assange, admitted that almost all of his testimony consisted of lies proffered in exchange for immunity from US prosecution for fraud and other criminal activities.

Taken together, the information demonstrates that the case against Assange should have been thrown out of the British courts as soon as it was presented. Despite this, the UK High Court granted US prosecutors the right to appeal an earlier judgement blocking Assange’s extradition.

That earlier verdict, in a District Court, upheld all of the substantive arguments of the prosecutors, including the right of states to pursue journalists for exposing material that they deem to be classified. It ignored the explicit ban on extraditions for political offenses contained in the British-US extradition treaty.

Instead, Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange’s extradition would be “oppressive,” given the draconian conditions in US prisons and the likelihood that he would commit suicide. In light of the Yahoo reports, it appears likely that Baraitser’s ruling was motivated by fears within the British state apparatus of the widespread opposition that would ensue were Assange to be killed by the American authorities after having been extradited.

Despite the complete exposure of the US case as a frame-up and a dirty-tricks operation, the record of the British judiciary means there can be no confidence that it will reject the US appeal when it is heard on October 27 and 28.

The recent revelations have again demonstrated that the pursuit of Assange is linked to broader political issues, including a turn to authoritarianism by governments around the world, in response to mounting social and political opposition. The Trump officials who plotted Assange’s murder and kidnap and initiated his prosecution would go on to lead a fascist coup attempt on January 6. The Biden administration is proceeding with the discredited legal case, as it pursues “let it rip” pandemic policies in the interests of the corporate elite, and ratchets up preparations for a catastrophic war against China.

The record has demonstrated that the fight for Assange’s freedom and the defence of all democratic rights can only go forward through the building of an independent political movement of the international working class against war, inequality and authoritarianism.

Originally published by WSWS.org


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


2 Comments

  1. Nadia Sindi says:

    https://www.facebook.com/AXJ.OR/videos/2043016569268673.

    https://www.facebook.com/AXJ.OR/?ref=pages_you_manage

    The most Criminal Official of Oregon late A.G. Dave Frohnmayer had deleted and removed all the record from Lane County that shows I’ve change my name to Nadia Sindi then he lift my old name Faika M. Sindi and change the first letter of my name made it Saika Findi!! and trapped me with a Criminal record since 1987!!

    This had happened when late A.G. Frohnmayer was Oregon A.G. https://www.amazon.com/Without-Evidence-Anna-Gunn/dp/B076C44SWD/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&hvadid=77721795906863&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&keywords=without+evidence+movie&qid=1634744148&sr=8-1.

    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/january112014/corruption-petition-ns.php?fbclid=IwAR0n668Efngx8J3l95dUI5tufiMmD73OQWgy2oCp2eovOjeokwQRFW2AbWA

    https://uomatters.com/tag/dave-frohnmayer-uo-president?fbclid=IwAR1qI1qm6ta1TnXfI9F1r-vjv9XMemLhurXjKptJsvUPHiDJJaFcdmriLhM

    https://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21195-reputation-for-rent.html

    https://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-30283-u-of-o-prof-files-bar-complaint-in-long-v-kroger-case.html

    https://www.dailyemerald.com/archives/uo-president-faces-ethics-complaints/article_de9248c1-bf32-53ea-9a2b-8b67c4c08ad1.html

    https://www.thefreelibrary.com/University+president+faces+ethics+complaint.-a0153374882?fbclid=IwAR1lSXHpNvxvFW0TxkLDBhjELusnbonQkvyk8I3L7Ovt2UnNodwONa0nD2o

    Late Oregon A.G. Dave Frohnmayer and Both D.A. Doug Harcleroad, Alex Gardner with the Lane County Sheriff, trapped me in a criminal record since 1987. They have changed first letter in my first name to “S” So I couldn’t expunged it!!

    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/justice-for-nadia-sindi…

    My life with Liberal Klans in Oregon!!

    Arab/Muslim Americans are treated less than animals! We are called Sand N…

    We are being prosecuted in a daily basis! High tech lynching, institutionally racism! Especially for Arab women!!

    Oregon late A.G. Dave Frohnmayer had my SS# blocked & prevented me from getting employed, made me homeless and jobless!

    Dave Frohnmayer was the one who started & initiated the fraud of Foreclosed-houses & taking over our homes!

    His bank robber Rep.Bob Ackerman, Doug McCool, UO Prof. Margaret Hallock. Hired Scarlet Lee/Barnhart Associates. Forged my family’s signature. Gave our fully paid Condo to the thief Broker Bob Ogle, his mom Karen Ogle was working in the USA Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She administered the power of attorney to have my sister signature, added her son to the deed. Sold without my signature!

    Bob Ackerman had never responded to the Summon from the Court, and the sheriff never served me or arrested him either!!
    ThIs is what kind of criminal government we have in Oregon!!

    Arrest Rep. Bob Ackerman, Doug Mccool, Broker Bob Ogle, his mom Karen Ogle, Scarlet Lee/Barnhart Associates, UO Prof. Margaret Hallock, Wells Fargo

    Both D.A. Doug Harcleroad, Alex Gardner told me they have NO JURISDICTION on Frohnmayer! Oregon criminal Officials are complicit with these crimes against me!

    Both EPD, Lane County Sheriff Dept. and the FBI had been told to step down from investigating the bank robber Rep. Bob Ackerman & the rest of Lane County Criminal Officials are complicit with him!!

    I ran five times for public offices! Voter Fraud & Sedition by Lane County government to protect & cover up for the two criminals Frohnmayer & Ackerman!!

    Oregon government is complicit with their crimes!!

    https://facebook.com/groups/justice4nadiasindi…

    http://davefrohnmayer.com

    Please sign petition.

    https://change.org/petitions/a-g-eric-holder-sent-jeff-merkley-gov-john-kitzhaber-investigate-abuse-of-power-and-criminal-forgery-by-former-oregon-a-g-david-frohnmayer-and-lane-county-government#share….

    Dave Frohnmayer was going to kill me by sending some fabricated story after he called the manager where I used to live to tell her he was waiting for him to pick him up from the Airport! Then Frohnmayer sent me a team of Doctors for Mental health to Evaluate me!

    https://uomatters.com/tag/dave-frohnmayer-uo-president?fbclid=IwAR1qI1qm6ta1TnXfI9F1r-vjv9XMemLhurXjKptJsvUPHiDJJaFcdmriLhM

  2. Dear Friends,
    Assange and Snowden opened up truths or factualities that puncted the Big Capital and its intrigues in worldwide arena, esp as exposing bootlickers of Big C.. With all my respects to Barack Obama, how dare he called Snowden a “fugitive”, unless he, Barack himself, been a “Capital Slave’ of Big C. Slaughtering human rights is not what Jesus Christ taught in New Testament, or in Bhagavad Gita, or wherever are your ‘Siddhartha Dharmas’, Barack Obama in his days as Pres. his V.P. Joe Biden , looted illegitimately if you have ever heard about them, umpteen European facts of industrial secrecy under the name terror secrecy.

    Please recognise, Assange and Snowden are great Souls who worked excellently, exposing a predominantly evil system built by the RR Bankers game trust, the current power holders and their antecedent “subconscious fugitives”. No higher powers will noble them

    george (chakko)
    Vienna, 25/10/2021 21:08 hrs CET