With Extradition Postponed, Assange’s Fate Still Hangs In The Balance


The continued attempts to extradite Julian Assange to the United States for exposing US war crimes presents an existential threat to the freedom of the press and truthful journalism.

On the morning of Tuesday, March 26th the British High Court once again ruled to delay the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The ruling comes as the court seeks assurances from US prosecutors that should Assange be extradited to the United States he will not face prejudices and inhumane treatment, or later incur harsher charges that could result in Assange facing the death penalty.

The US Justice Department has until April 16th to issue assurances to the royal High Court. If the US meets the deadline, the parties will have until April 30th to make submissions about the assurances. Wherein a hearing will be held on May 20th on whether or not Assange’s legal team will be able to continue the appeal. 

The court however rejected key portions of Assange’s appeal as his legal team once again tried in vain to introduce new evidence pertinent to the ongoing case. Chief among this is evidence that demonstrates conflict of interest on the part of the United States, as the court continues to refuse to see evidence that U.S. officials including former CIA director Mike Pompeo and other CIA officials under the Trump administration drafted plans to kidnap and murder Julian Assange in 2017. At the time Assange had entered his fifth year of being sequestered inside London’s Ecuadorian embassy under political asylum amid concerns of being in the exact same predicament he now finds himself in.

April 11th marks the five year anniversary of Julian’s arrest, where he has since been incarcerated in His Majesty’s Belmarsh maximum security prison — known as “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay” for its harsh conditions and use to detain high threat inmates such as terrorists — without conviction, and subjected to 23 hour a day confinement as his mental and physical health continues to deteriorate.

Speaking to the press following the ruling Julian’s wife, Stella Assange, called it “astounding”

“I find it astounding that five years into this case the United States has to show that their case remains an attack on press freedom. What the courts haven’t agreed to look at is the evidence that the United States has plotted to assassinate Julian, to kidnap him. Because if it acknowledges this, then of course how can he be sent to the United States?

Julian is a political prisoner. He is a journalist. And he is being persecuted because he exposed the true cost of war in human lives. This case is a retribution. It is a signal to all of you that if you expose the interests that are driving war, they will come after you. They will put you in prison, they will try to kill you.”

As Stella Assange points out, it is imperative to note the political motivations behind Julian’s persecution.

Julian Assange is being charged with multiple counts alleging that he violated the Espionage Act, and in publishing classified material obtained from whistleblower U.S. Army intelligence analyst private Chelsea Manning in 2013, endangered US National Security. 

These charges, however, are a total fabrication. In 2013 the Pentagon established the Information Review Task Force that investigated the impact of WikiLeaks disclosures on behalf of the Defense Department and found that no one had ever been harmed as a result of WikiLeaks’ publications.

The allegation that Julian Assange committed an act of espionage is the primary fabrication amid a slew of myths and smears that have all been thoroughly debunked.

Furthermore in this regard, in recent years it has also been revealed that the FBI’s star witness in bringing these allegations against Julian, Icelandic hacker Sigurdur Thordarson, a diagnosed sociopath, multiple times convicted child molester, and fraudster who embezzled $50,000 from WikiLeaks, fabricated false testimony on behalf of the US Justice Department, who was aware of his criminal activities and allowed them to continue in order to expedite their persecution of Assange.

Julian is, in reality, the victim of a vicious witch hunt targeting a journalist for doing journalism that exposed the war crimes of the US empire committed during their illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan

The thousands of documents provided by Manning offered the public a much needed transparency about the reality of US occupation, including documenting tens of thousands of civilians killed by US armed forces and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as numerous accounts of torture and other abuses.

Below is a brief excerpt from the Free Assange campaign documentary Collateral Murder 10 Years On, discussing some of the most shocking revelations, including video footage of US army apache gunship opening fire on several Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists, killing many.

Julian Assange is being criminalized for telling the truth. Inasmuch, not only does Julian’s fate continue to hang in the balance, so does the very fate of press freedom and the public’s right to know.

Julian never should have been incarcerated in the first place. The perpetrators of the crimes he helped expose should be the ones spending the rest of their lives behind bars. But of course, as Edward Snowden brilliantly put it — “When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.”