Assange Censorship Free Speech

German MPs Demand Release of Julian Assange

Dozens of members of the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, have issued a statement demanding the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

By Ben Knight / DW News

More than 70 members of the German parliament from four political parties have called on U.S. President Joe Biden and the British government to stop the impending deportation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the UK to the US to face espionage charges.

“Journalists must not be persecuted or punished for their work anywhere in the world,” the Bundestag deputies wrote in an open letter. “In the interest of press freedom as well as for humanitarian reasons in view of his poor state of health, Julian Assange must be released without delay.”

Assange has been imprisoned in the UK since April 2019, when the government of Ecuador, which had hosted him in its London embassy for seven years, withdrew his political asylum.

A subsequent legal process and court trial ended on June 17, when British Home Secretary Priti Patel granted the US’s extradition request. Assange’s lawyers are currently appealing the minister’s decision.

“A free press is one of the fundamental components of each and every democracy,” the Bundestag members wrote. “We are very concerned about the deterrent effect that Assange’s extradition and conviction could have on press freedom and investigative journalism around the world.”

Members of all three German government coalition parties have signed the letter — the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) — as well as several representatives of the opposition socialist Left Party. The letter was not signed by members of the opposition conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) or the far-right populists from the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

In a statement to DW, one of the signatories, SPD human rights spokesman Frank Schwabe, said: “The situation is very clear. Julian Assange does not belong in a prison, and he certainly shouldn’t be deported to a country where he is threatened with a draconian punishment. … For me this is a question of the credibility of our important mutual understanding of human rights.”

Christian Mihr, head of the German branch of Reporters Without Borders, said he hoped the German government would take the parliamentarians’ message on board. “I hope the government recognizes it … when elected representatives send such a strong signal, and that they take it seriously and position themselves clearly to Joe Biden,” he told DW.

Allegations against Assange

Should he be found guilty under the Espionage Act, Assange could face 175 years in prison in the United States. Through the Wikileaks platform, Assange was instrumental in leaking evidence of alleged war crimes committed by the US military in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Wikileaks also published confidential Democratic Party emails during the 2016 US election campaign.

Swedish prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Assange on sexual assault allegations in 2010, though the investigation was eventually dropped when the statute of limitations expired while he remained in the Ecuadoran embassy.

In 2019, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, visited Assange in Belmarsh prison in London and concluded that his treatment by the UK, US, and Ecuadoran governments amounted to psychological torture.

DW has reached out to the German Foreign Ministry for a reaction. So far, the German government has held the position that it has no reason to doubt the integrity of the British extradition process.

A petition opposing the “psychological torture” of Assange has been approved by the Bundestag’s petitions committee, the Left Party parliamentary group announced in Berlin on Wednesday. Left-wing politicians see the committee’s vote as a demand that the German government take action to secure Assange’s release.

Green MP Corinna Rueffer welcomed the German lawmakers’ action on Twitter as an act to strengthen press freedom.

13 comments

  1. I have just finished reading “The Trial of Julian Assange – A Story of Persecution” by Nils Melzer. It is a shocking indictment of the collusion between the governments of the USA, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Australia along with the acquiescence of the United Nations in the “greatest legal scandal of the century” (to borrow the words of Daniel Ellsberg) whereby the due process of law has been twisted and the course of justice has perverted at every turn by the craven collaboration between the intelligence services and the judiciary in protecting the interests of those in power whose corruption and hypocrisy know no bounds. Melzer’s text highlights the fact that no less than five of the Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America have been flagrantly violated (Amendments I, IV, V, VI and VIII). Likewise the principles of the Magna Carta have been overturned by a British Conservative Government and a judiciary that, from the outset of their complicity with the mandate served upon them by their “special relatives’ in the USA, have had no intention whatsoever of responding to the concerns of the UN special rapporteur on torture, or allowing Assange fair representation by his defence counsel. The Anglo-American Show Trial that commenced on February 24th 2020 at Woolwich Crown Court, presided over by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, which displayed gross and disproportional conduct by Crown officials, merely consolidated their premise that this was a case of “guilty until proven innocent” and every opportunity for the defence to prove Assange’s innocence and the guilt of those who had conspired to persecute him, was undermined by a disregard for due process which was undertaken in acquiescence with the demand that no lengths should be spared to find Assange guilty and have him extradited to the USA to face the kangaroo court of a US Grand Jury, who would have him summarily committed to one of the most notorious maximum security prisons. It is ironic that the Declaration of Independence, Action of Second Continental Congress of July 4th 1776, makes reference to throwing off the shackles of a corrupt and despotic British Monarchy stating in part “The History of the present King of Great Britain (namely the syphilitic madman in the person of George III) is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States”. The irony is that, even though this declaration absolved the colonies from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain be dissolved, with the passage of almost 250 years we have arrived at a situation where the United Kingdom and its European neighbours are little more than vassals to the interests of the US hegemon. With the fall of this corrupt and craven Tory government here in the UK, and similar developments that are likely to occur in Europe, we may have an opportunity to bring to fruition a new declaration of independence from the Congressional Intelligence Complex of a Deep State that, strangely enough, is still in concert with British Imperial interests. What they fear most, with regard to the acquittal and release of Assange, is that the way will be open for redress and for the prosecution of all the criminals and their aiders and abetters within the Military Industrial Congressional (Parliamentary) Intelligence Media complex, in respect of the catalogue of crimes they have committed which few would have known about had it not been for Assange and Wikileaks shining a torch of truth into this abyss of iniquity. And they will stop at nothing to silence and criminalise those who speak out in protection of the fourth estate. The fight continues. . . .

    1. Bernie, I too was impressed with Nils Melzer’s book – I read it twice in two weeks.
      This book should be compulsory reading; disappointing, but not unexpected is how little media attention in Australia Melzer has been able to gain, even with the release of this book – a couple of good reviews in independent online news and that’s it.
      Melzer has two recurring themes so easily forgotten, thanks to the corporate media:
      1 – Assange (and Manning) exposed horrible war crimes that the US has not properly investigated and probably won’t because responsibility for those crimes and the legal procrastination go all the way to the oval office: Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden. And,
      2 – The widespread acceptance of the lies that Assange was/is a ‘racist,’ ‘narcissist,’ ‘a smearer of shit.’ etc/etc. Melzer himself acknowledges how such bullshit had distorted his own perceptions of Assange, and how he too was distracted from what Assange & Manning exposed. The success of this propaganda campaign are still evident when one reads below the line comments in papers like The Guardian.
      The willingness of Wikileaks early media partners to undermine Assange was evident from the first days in the bunker; best insight on this Mark Davis Wikileaks Revelations at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZkyLoaMvRg

      As for the Germans – about time, as Melzer shows, it was not that long ago that the Germans tried to fob him and to cease his investigations.
      The new Australian government suggests that it is using ‘quiet diplomacy’ – ie, not wanting to cause the US to lose face; the common recyclable is that “this must come to an end;” a statement open to numerous interpretations.

      Ultimately, Melzer is right when he states that what has happened, and may happen to Julian is cause for concern for those interested in the longevity of democracy.
      But he’s also a realist as to what may eventuate: ‘The US criminal justice system … relies heavily on intimidation, coercion and violence to achieve its goals.’

    2. “And they will stop at nothing to silence and criminalise those who speak out in protection of the fourth estate. The fight continues. . . . “, only now it has taken a drastic turn in the direction of the final nuclear holocaust!
      The hegemon will not relent in illegitimately punishing the innocent, Julian Assange, through a show trial, and taking his life for telling the truth and showing them up for what/who they truly are.
      Since the implosion of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s when Russians bore first-hand witness to the plunder, instigated by the West, on their Motherland, and showed what the Wests (US) intentions had truly been all along, Russia had been attempting, in vain, through the art of diplomacy, to hold America to its promise of not moving NATO one inch further eastward, until “the day of infamy”, on February, 24th 2022, when Russia, having no more alternatives, took the bait. .
      The West will not relent in their aims, and their attempt again to destroy Russia, this time by spilling the blood of the innocent in Ukraine, through a proxy war.
      Their ultimate aim is never to permit a multipolar, cooperating world populace, but continue to promote chaos and friction, in order to try to maintain their unipolar greed, no matter the consequences for the majority of humanity.
      Will the evil serpent awaken from this exceptionalist American dream in time to avert global Armageddon?
      “So the problem is not so much to see what nobody has yet seen, as to think what nobody has yet thought concerning that which everybody sees.”
      ― Arthur Schopenhauer

  2. It’s interesting that this article points to the Christian Right as an element not supporting his release…..even in Germany. I personally am not surprised. Look at the current activities of our Supreme Court.

  3. 1. Assange didn’t hack or steal classified files.
    2. His meetings with his attorneys/barristers were recorded by the prosecution.
    3. The key witness against Assange recanted his testimony.
    4. Assange’s revelations were clearly in the public interest.
    5. This would preclude the prosecution of any case in the US .
    The US/UK public crucifixion of Assange is a “message” to anyone and/or any media that dares to expose government crimes: “This will happen to you”.

  4. Thank you for reporting this new, important step; and for drawing attention to the unwarranted, inhumane persecution of Assange, effectively, for shining light on politically embarrassing acts by actors in the U.S.

    Every light subsequently shown on this legally questionable assault on press freedom, is a blow for the free flow of information necessary to any functional democracy.

  5. I also am very concerned about the deterrent effect that Assange’s extradition and conviction could have on press freedom and investigative journalism around the world! Free Julian Assange in the Immediacy of now!

    Concerned American citizen

  6. At last, powers around the world are standing up for Julian Assange! First Mexico, and now members of the German Bundestag.
    I hope that their stand will make the German government, lately a minor player supporting the United States’ empirical hegemony, remove itself from the pressure of the US and make a brave statement for human rights.

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