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UK-USA: An example must be made of Julian Assange

Edward Snowden says Julian Assange ’could be next’ after John McAfee dies by suicide in jail

Thursday 15 July 2021, by siawi3

Source: https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3140962/example-must-be-made-julian-assange

My Take

by Alex Lo
South China Morning Post Columnist


An example must be made of Julian Assange

Washington, long ago, decided that its ability to keep dirty state secrets is more important than upholding the democratic values of the rule of law, human rights and press freedom

Alex Lo

Published: 9:00pm, 13 Jul, 2021
Updated: 9:00pm, 13 Jul, 2021

In olden days, they would have hanged, drawn and quartered Julian Assange. But, since we live in supposedly more civilised times, the great whistle-blower against the mighty United States has, more humanely, been put in a tiny isolated cell with 24-hour camera surveillance, in what is euphemistically called “suicide watch”. Has it crossed people’s minds that he might be suicidal precisely because of the conditions in which he is being kept?

As a multinational NGO puts it: “Since its founding in 2019, Doctors for Assange has condemned the abusive treatment of Mr Assange as a form of psychological torture that puts Assange’s life at risk, affirming the findings of the UN Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer.

“The concern that Mr Assange would be driven to suicide by the oppressive conditions in a US prison was in fact the reason that the UK judge denied the US attempt to extradite Assange. In their letter, the doctors assert that the torture of Mr Assange is ongoing due to his continued arbitrary detention in the UK.”

The highfalutin legalese of Washington cannot disguise the vengefulness of Uncle Sam. Across three presidential administrations, the real message in its relentless decade-long pursuit of Assange – and of the other fellow great whistle-blower Edward Snowden – is that any such disclosure of American dirty laundry would invite ruination not only of your life as you know it, but also severe disruption of the lives and well-being of your closest and dearest, as well as your friends and close associates.

UK judge refuses extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange 5 Jan 2021

It’s worth remembering what Assange’s alleged crimes were, and how some of the world’s leading democracies – Britain, Sweden and Australia – behaved more like vassal states of the US in helping to trap Assange and put him where he is today.

Fighting extradition in London, he faces a maximum of 175 years in a US jail under the Espionage Act of 1917 in an unheard-of prosecution for practising journalism that exposes extensive war crimes committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as secret US diplomatic cables.

In January, a British judge rejected the US request for extradition, but she allowed the US to appeal against her ruling while denying bail to Assange. US prosecutors have since offered to allow Assange to serve any jail time in his native Australia, a condition his legal team has rejected.

As Doctors for Assange wrote this month in its appeal to US President Joe Biden
: “We urge you to drop the appeal and all charges in this case that constitutes an egregious violation of the rule of law, human rights and press freedom.

“Failing to do so would establish a precedent with permanent, devastating effects on the foundations of our democracy, and irrevocably damage the United States’ reputation in the international community’s eyes. We urge you to put an end to this case before its dire consequences become your personal responsibility.”

But Washington has, long ago, decided that its ability to keep dirty state secrets is more important than any of those democratic values cited in the doctors’ appeal. And for that, an example must be made of Assange to intimidate others from following him.

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Alex Lo has been a Post columnist since 2012, covering major issues affecting Hong Kong and the rest of China. A journalist for 25 years, he has worked for various publications in Hong Kong and Toronto as a news reporter and editor. He has also lectured in journalism at the University of Hong Kong.

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Source: https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/edward-snowden-says-assange-could-be-next-john-mcafee-suicide-2021-6

Edward Snowden says Julian Assange ’could be next’ after John McAfee dies by suicide in jail

Azmi Haroun

Publié le 23/06/2021 à 23h09 | Mis à jour le 23/06/2021 à 23h12

Edward Snowden says Julian Assange ’could be next’ after John McAfee dies by suicide in jail
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in April 2019 in the UK, and a UK court temporarily blocked his extradition to the US in January 2021.

Edward Snowden said he fears that Julian Assange ’could be next’ if he faces extradition.
John McAfee too died by apparent suicide on Wednesday. News had broken that he would be extradited to the US from Spain.
“Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair,” Snowden tweeted.

Former NSA consultant and data privacy advocate Edward Snowden tweeted on Wednesday that Julian Assange “could be next,” after antivirus mogul John McAfee died by apparent suicide in a Barcelona prison cell following news that he was being extradited to the US on criminal tax evasion charges.

Spanish outlets broke the news of McAfee’s death by suicide on Wednesday.

Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair - and prison system so cruel - that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next ,” Snowden tweeted.

“Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain,” he added.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in April 2019 in the United Kingdom, and a UK court temporarily blocked his extradition to the US in January 2021 on 18 charges, most through the Espionage Act, of obtaining and sharing classified information.

Read the original article on Business Insider here