.Sticky Wiki

Reprieve for Julian Assange

Julian Assange, who founded Wikileaks in 2006, faces 175 years in a U.S. prison if extradited from Britain. Assange’s attorneys succeeded in having a stay granted on Feb. 21.

His crime: publishing over 10 million documents exposing war crimes, government and corporate corruption, human rights and civil liberties violations, CIA torture, cyber warfare, surveillance and hacking tools, emails of fixed elections and diplomatic cables.

And he has made enemies. Donald Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, drew up plans to kidnap or poison Assange. A fake rape charge had previously been filed in Sweden—also, character assassination.

He escaped unjust persecution and arrest by receiving Ecuadorian citizenship from progressive former President Rafael Correa, who granted him asylum in its London embassy. Pompous head spook Pompeo hired a Spanish company, UC Global, to spy on Assange.

Ironically—hypocritically—after he was indicted for leaking classified documents, they required all cell phones deposited before guests entered his quarters and copied all the data from his doctors, lawyers and lover, later wife Stella Moris, also secretly filming his quarters.

Trump bribed Correa’s successor, President Lenin Moreno, with $4.4 billion in Ecuadorian aid on condition that Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship be revoked. Money talks. Metropolitan police dragged him out of the embassy, where he dared not leave the building for seven years, and carted him off to London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison, incarcerated for five years now, battling a series of trials.

The High Court issued a March 4, 2023 postponement to study new evidence and consider granting an appeal. The case has also been referred to the European Court of Human Rights. If an appeal is not forthcoming, the world’s greatest journalist will undoubtedly be convicted in the notorious Eastern District Court of Virginia’s “Rocket Docket,” specializing in “espionage” cases. And publishing classified documents is not illegal in U.S. law.

If the U.S. can imprison an Australian journalist, violating the U.S.-UK treaty barring extradition for political offenses, this will set a precedent for any oppressive regime to snatch anyone publishing material they don’t like anywhere in the world, which is already chilling investigative reporting. Julian Assange needs all our support.

Barry Barnett is a political and environmental writer in Santa Rosa.

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