Demonstrators supporting Julian Assange hold banners outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
The book of hours on Julian Assange is now being written. But the scribes are far from original. Repeated rituals of administrative hearings that have no common purpose other than to string things out before the axe are being enacted.
Julian Assange faces extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States, where he has been indicted on 18 counts for obtaining, possessing, conspiring to publish and for publishing classified information. The indictment contains 17 counts under the Espionage Act of 1917 and one charge of conspiring with a source to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which uses Espionage Act language. This is the first ever use of such charges for the publication of truthful information in the public interest, and it represents a gravely dangerous attempt to criminalise journalist-source communications and the publication by journalists of classified information.
The public deserves answers about the UK’s new opposition leader and his relationship with the British national security establishment, including the MI5 and the Times newspaper, his former role in the Julian Assange case and his membership in the intelligence-linked Trilateral Commission.
Doctors 4 Assange, who are the many doctors who sent a letter to the Home Secretary in Great Britain, tweeted a concerning statement today. According to them, Craig Murray’s reporting on the trial of Assange only escalated his mistreatment rather than helping to aid Assange.
Here is a list of things you can do to help. Everyone can do at least one of these.
1) Put 18 May firmly in your diary. The hearing stands adjourned until 18 May. Turn up on 18 May and join the protests there all day – show the world this is a political trial, and we know it. Woolwich Crown Court is walking distance from Plumstead Railway Station in South East London. If you feel able to do so, bring your tent and join the Free Assange Village that sets up on the grass banks around the court – there is loads of available space. But if you can just turn up for the day, that is just as valuable. Protests will roll on every day throughout the hearing which will continue for a minimum of three weeks.
The trial against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a perfect metaphor for how United States imperialism operates in the world today.The Armed Forces, the Department of State, and the CIA caused thousands of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria, but it’s the person who showed to the world those crimes who is going to be sentenced to 175 years in prison for 18 crimes (17 of them described in the Espionage Act of 1917, passed on the occasion of War World I).
The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it.
Johanna Ross, journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland
Julian Assange’s extradition hearing came to an end on Thursday; a trial which, according to his supporters bears all the hallmarks of a ‘show trial’ straight from the pages of a Kafka novel. The former Wikileaks editor, has already served around 13 years in arbitrary detention, despite not having been charged with any crime. If there was ever any confirmation of the helplessness of the individual in relation to the state, this was it. And if there was ever any demonstration needed that the West is moving away from democracy towards authoritarianism, this was it.
In Thursday’s separate hearing on allowing Assange out of the armoured box to sit with his legal team, I witnessed directly that Baraitser’s ruling against Assange was brought by her into court BEFORE she heard defence counsel put the arguments, and delivered by her entirely unchanged.
It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.
As chronicled by the painful, searing reports of Ambassador Craig Murray, what’s taking place in Woolwich Crown Court is a sub-Orwellian farce with Conradian overtones: the horror…the horror…, remixed for the Raging Twenties. The heart of our moral darkness is not in the Congo: it’s in a dingy courtroom attached to a prison, presided by a lowly imperial lackey.