Censorship Jake Johnson

Outrage as Judge Approves Julian Assange’s Extradition to the U.S.

“Free the Press.” [Original illustration for ScheerPost by Mr. Fish]

Read ScheerPost’s reporting on Julian Assange, including columns and reports by Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges and interviews by Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, here.

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

A British judge on Wednesday granted formal approval to the U.S. government’s request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who faces espionage charges for publishing classified material that exposed war crimes by American forces.

“The home secretary must act now to protect journalism.”

The judge’s new and widely expected procedural order, the culmination of a drawn-out legal battle, places the final decision on Assange’s extradition in the hands of U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, leaving the WikiLeaks publisher with dwindling options to fight his removal to the U.S.—where he could be hit with a 175-year prison sentence.

Patel is expected to make a final decision by May 18, after which Assange can attempt to appeal via judicial review, Reuters reported Wednesday. As Patel weighs the extradition order, Assange will remain jailed in a high-security London prison, where he has languished for years under conditions that experts have condemned as torture.

Human rights organizations wasted no time urging Patel to reject the extradition order. Allowing it to proceed, they warned, would endanger press freedoms around the world, given that the charges against Assange seek to punish a common journalistic practice.

The Espionage Act charges against Assange were originally brought by the Trump administration. Despite pressure from press freedom groups and progressive leaders across the globe, the Biden administration has opted to continue pushing for Assange’s extradition and prosecution.

“If Julian Assange is extradited to the U.S., journalists around the world will have to look over their shoulders if they are publishing information that is detrimental to U.S. interests,” said Simon Crowther of Amnesty International.

Rebecca Vincent, director of operations and campaigns at Reporters Without Borders, stressed in a statement that “the next four weeks will prove crucial in the fight to block extradition and secure the release of Julian Assange.”

“We are seeking to unite those who care about journalism and press freedom to hold the U.K. government to account,” Vincent added. “The home secretary must act now to protect journalism and adhere to the U.K.’s commitment to media freedom by rejecting the extradition order and releasing Assange.”

38 comments

  1. This was a foregone conclusion.

    The only realistic way to get Assange released is in a swap for an equally valuable agent of the Imperium.

  2. Is anyone surprised by this development? It was a long time coming and his captors hoped he’d be dead by now. Still barely alive, Julian will be sent to the US where TPTB will finish him off. Hilary Clinton must be so pleased (recall she called for his assignation).

    Is it any wonder that I rarely if ever hear his name mentioned in the MSM? What does that say about us?

    “Is Journalism a crime?” It is when the journalist exposes the dark side of Empire. Anyone else out there care to challenge the monsters?

    1. Simply shows how hypocritical nations can be in espousing democratic values and practices, yet vigourously clamping down when our own misdeeds are brought to the fore.

    2. @John R
      It’s not just that Assange challenged the establishment, it’s that he EXPOSED some of what they do. His ability to hack their digital systems was unique, and it could be a long time before we see someone else with that ability plus the will to expose their war and other crimes. There are others who challenge authority, some of whom write here, but no one is able to expose what Assange exposed.

  3. Yeah, yeah, but you know what’s REALLY terrible, the Russians are opposed to freedom of press.

  4. War crimes committed by the usa and we arrest the messenger? Beyond the pale!

  5. The US oligarchy needs a fall guy so that they can continue to plunder at will without being exposed. Julian Assange had the audacity to poke holes in their secure little bubble to expose the truth and suffers because Americans are more interested in “the slap” than supporting those who blow the whistle on greed, corruption and mass murder cloaked as “war”…

    1. The assertion that “Americans are more interested in ‘the slap’ than in supporting those who blow the whistle…” is something at which the Ivy D elite would nod in smug approval.

      The same who managed an unfriendly take-over of what had been the party of the New Deal, justified as rule by meritocracy. Who do nothing for the Rust Belt or Main Street and then blame the victims when they object to having been rendered irrelevant.

      MSM allies fill the “news” with items that a few decades ago would never have been considered news at all. Little real political or economic content is ever reported; when it is, it’s out of context snippets. Only a minuscule % represents anything other than the consensus views of the economic and administrative elites. Then other media report that we commoners are only interested in infotainment. Nice negative feedback loop.

      Read Studs Terkel, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Robert Scheer, and the few remaining writers who have some sympathy for us, the majority working class. Who feel no need to denigrate us nor speak down to us. As someone who was a blue collar worker for 20+ years, I can attest to the fact that summa us cain rede, wraght, and thank. (and-gasp-even use the Oxford comma!)

  6. To extradite Julian Assange to the US equals murdering him. Unfortunately, I have little, if any faith in the good will and intentions of Mrs. Priti Patel.

  7. Response to a tweet by a twit:

    “Assange isn’t a journalist.”

    The writers who are ’embedded’ with corporate owned media, and they are the majority of those today proclaiming to be journalists, wrong the peoples’ right to know the factual truths of “life’s ground”. – John McMurtry’s The Cancer Stage of Capitalism

    These, so-called journalists, are at war with freedom of the press, of speech and the publics constitutional right to know the actual facts of the state of human beings’ reality, in general, on the ground.

    Nowadays, rather than fully covering the life-threatening, disingenuous aspects of human endeavor, they have sold out, permitting themselves to be co-opted by their sponsors at-large; to one-sidedly disseminate the detrimental, narrower selective narrative fantasies being promoted by these tyrannical power structures.

    1. Great reply! The ridiculous argument by assertion of “not a journalist.” Really? As defined by what standards and by whom? Should we accept that actual investigation is not journalism, but uncritical repetition of authoritarian propaganda is?! Newspeak at its finest.

      We’ve deteriorated to conditions like those in the old USSR. The two major newspapers were Izvestia (News) and Pravda (Truth.) The oft repeated joke was that there was no pravda in Izvestia and no izvestia in Pravda.

      1. @Rafi Simonton & Em
        It’s actually the mainstream/corporate/establishment journalists who aren’t journalists. They are propagandists and stenographers for the establishment (the ruling class, the intelligence community, the military/industrial complex, corporate America, whatever). They have no authority or qualifications to say who’s a journalist, because they wouldn’t know one if they saw one.

  8. Criminalizing truth and honesty are intellectually dishonest and an obscenity even if the United States government and its courts commit the offense!!!

  9. Well, on thing.
    There are a hell of a lot more people to organize and protest in defense of Julian Assange here than in England.
    Good issue to organize around.
    President Biden has some nerve.
    I do not see how I can ever vote Democrat again.

    1. Hence the reason I resigned as a Democrat after 20 years in the party, and witnessing absentee ballot tampering/fraud in the 1980’s.
      So some might say what did you do about it? I attempted to raise the issue with party leadership-and was told I’d never work in tis State if I persisted. Nice guys/women in that party. They had tight control back then and acted with impunity as they do not even more openly. The entire system is CORRUPT and must be destroyed and a new one created..

      1. Yeah Bernie and Assange did it for me.

        And watching my oldest son on TV-who was one of the Bernie Delegates in Vegas -get thrown out of their own convention by the Cops the Democrat Party Leaders called.

        We need a 3rd Socialist -Environment First Party and we need to organize locally.

  10. What we are seeing is the last throes of a dying Imperialistic Fascist global corruption of the highest order. They clearly do not care for free speech, and therefore all media professionals should band together and fight this and disclose all secrets they are aware of as soon as possible because we will not see any changes by running in fear from these cowards. They may sit in high places, as feces does on mountain tops, but their ploy will ultimately backfire in a huge way. You see they don’t have enough family members and minions to follow suit into the future.

  11. Julian languishing in a British prison is not good, either. Best if he is released. Otherwise, being extradited to the United States might fire up some of the U..S. press to highlight the U.S. crimes and push for his release here.

    1. Look at the lockstep unity on Ukraine and ask yourself again if this is even possible, let alone likely.

  12. Assange exposed war criminals and has been/is still being punished severely while the war criminals walk free.
    An insult to justice and the rule of law.
    Free Assange now!

  13. American Democracy may be on the skids, but American authoritarianism is on the upswing. The forces of darkness have only just begun to re-enslave and subordinate the populace.

  14. The slaves can be as outraged as they like, as long as they don’t get out of line, and do what their told.

    -The Machine

  15. It is now certain that Assanges bones will now rest in the land of “the free and the brave.”British justice at its finest as the real nature of these representatives of Roman Powers are displayed. An Easter reflection shows that Crucifixion is a very public way of showing Authority and warning the masses of the consequences of challenge the “World Order.” Let ye all be warned.The public slow motion Crucifixion of Assange is almost complete.

  16. It is now certain that Assanges bones will now rest in the land of “the free and the brave.”British justice at its finest as the real nature of these representatives of Roman Powers are displayed. An Easter reflection shows that Crucifixion is a very public way of showing Authority and warning the masses of the consequences of challenge to the “World Order.” Let ye all be warned.The public slow motion Crucifixion of Assange is almost complete.

  17. “The home secretary must act now to protect journalism.”

    Seems to me humanity must act now to protect humanity. Fix the spotlight on nature and humanity, and notice how solid this foundation is, through the evidence you accumulate, when you look for it, and only if you look for it, and weigh it against any evidence to the contrary, and only then can yo see how solid this foundation is.

  18. As Caitlin Johnstone so clearly put it ” ..Patel is a reliably loyal empire manager…”
    UK judiciary trashed its once principled rule of law at US behest (as did the Swedish judiciary at US/UK behest ) – to enable their Judicial Kidnapping of Assange from asylum to Belmarsh in plain sight.

  19. As a result of Wikileaks, the govt has worked harder to co-opt the media over the last 10 years, including weakening independent media, as Greenwald and Intercept can attest. Lately, the appearance of propaganda on sites like Counterpunch has raised an alarm. If Scheerpost continues to mix stories critical of empire with more that support the official line, like those of Andrew Cockburn or Alfred McCoy, I will become skeptical here as well. However, editors whether here or at Counterpunch can only follow their own conscience. I suspect Hedges is correct that the govt agencies will eventually criminalize any dissent, including independent sites like Scheerpost, so being critical of empire is a hard line to walk.

    Elon Musk gaining ownership of Twitter, will still leave it compromised because Space X courts the govt for contracts. If Musk were really a threat to the military-industrial complex, he would be marginalized and his businesses punished. That is part of the price the wealthy will pay for not creating a more just, caring society: they and their companies will be subjects of the increasingly authoritarian gov’t, and eventually eliminated and replaced if they themselves do not submit.

    1. First, to correct an error, I was making reference to Patrick Cockburn (not Andrew) and his April 9th article, https://scheerpost.com/2022/04/09/putin-is-being-written-off-as-an-ineffectual-monster-but-a-russian-defeat-is-far-from-guaranteed/.

      Articles like this create a kind of cognitive dissonance, especially if its claims support US propaganda efforts and do not provide greater context (history) and evidence (although history and evidence are readily disputed, demonstrated by Bucha massacre stories). As recent policing by social media platforms and the Assange trial has shown, this is a dangerous and difficult time to navigate for any journalist (or news site) critical of the US govt. This is not to say the US govt cannot provide factual information, or that Russia does not deserve criticism, but this is partly the point: it’s not all black and white, good vs evil, as any media that mixes propaganda, or unsubstantiated opinion, with criticism of empire (whether US or Russia/China) is more dangerous than doing only one or the other.

      1. Hi TimN,

        I would refer you to Patrick Cockburn’s essays about the Ukraine war, starting here (https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/03/07/even-if-russia-captures-kyiv-putin-has-already-been-defeated-after-starting-unwinnable-war/), and to some extent Jeffrey St. Clair’s own column, Roaming Charges. I find the arguments largely one sided against Russia and supportive of US propaganda (Putin evil, crazy, Russia evil, destined to fail) but we each must draw our own conclusions.

        Also, consider the full comments section under the Patrick Cockburn article from April 9th on Scheerpost.

  20. It’s our own fault, not holding those accountable, all those years that the us attacked all those countries Cuba, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Spanish colonies, not to mention, Iraq, “Afghanistan, Siria, Libya , Iran, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, and many others, and we did nothing to stop it!!!!

  21. Priti Patel is pitilessness personified. I’d be astonished to see her exhibit understanding or compassion.

    1. @niko
      I don’t agree that any corporate or establishment media ever supported Assange. More accurately, they were embarrassed into publishing what he leaked. I can’t imagine that the propagandists for the establishment would ever support Assange or anyone else exposing what the establishment actually does.

  22. “the men Americans most admire tell them the most extravagant lies; the men they most despise try to tell them the truth”. HL Menkhen

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