Belmarsh, control orders, deportation and extradition

Via a Fundamentally Devious US Plea Deal, Julian Assange Will Soon Be a Free Man

25.6.24

My response to the extraordinary and unexpected news that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has been freed from HMP Belmarsh, where he has been imprisoned for the last five years, fighting his proposed extradition to the US on entirely inappropriate espionage charges relating to the publication, with some of the world’s most prominent newspapers, of classified US files leaked by Chelsea Manning, and is en route to the Northern Mariana Islands, where he will sign a plea deal with the US authorities prior to his release in Australia as a free man. While no one with any compassion could begrudge Assange his freedom, it is, nevertheless, a devious victory on the part of the US government, which has obliged him, via the plea deal, to falsely admit that he “knowingly and unlawfully conspired with Chelsea Manning” to commit espionage against the United States by obtaining and disseminating classified national defence information. Although the deal appears to protect the precious US First Amendment, regarding the freedom of the press, shielding Assange’s mainstream media partners from being held criminally accountable for co-publishing the leaked files with WikiLeaks, which may have been the outcome had a trial gone ahead, it remains to be seen whether Assange’s plea will nevertheless have a chilling effect on journalists working with whistleblowers, who, in future, may fear working with sources exposing classified government information through a valid suspicion that they too may be held to have crossed some invisible line into espionage.

Julian Assange Wins A Major Battle in His Long War Against Punitive US Overreach

20.5.24

My response to today’s major victory for Julian Assange in his five-year struggle to prevent his extradition to the US to face espionage charges relating to the publication by WikiLeaks, in 2010 and 2011, of classified US files leaked by Chelsea Manning. In the UK High Court, judges allowed him to appeal on the basis of his right not to be prejudiced against because of his nationality (he is an Australian citizen), and his entitlement to the protections of the US First Amendment. On this latter point, the US government refused to provide adequate assurances that he would be entitled to First Amendment Rights, even though they guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The decision highlights the US government’s shameful efforts to portray Assange as someone other than a journalist and publisher whose publication of files leaked by Chelsea Manning took place alongside some of the world’s most significant newspapers. It is shameful that only Julian Assange has been singled out for punishment, and even more shameful that the Biden administration failed to drop the extradition request, initiated by Donald Trump, despite its devious and unacceptable efforts not only to prevent Assange from having the protection of the First Amendment, but also to portray him as some kind of terrorist.

On Gorilla Radio, Chris Cook Plays ‘Warriors’, and We Discuss Julian Assange, Guantánamo, Genocide in Gaza and George Galloway

8.3.24

Linking to, and discussing my recent interview with Chris Cook of Gorilla Radio, in which we discussed Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza, the significance of the recent by-election victory in the UK of George Galloway, the continuing plight of the 16 men still held at Guantánamo who have long been approved for release, the global vigils for the prison’s closure, and the continuing plight of Julian Assange, who is still fighting in the British courts to prevent his extradition to the US to face outrageous and unjustifiable espionage charges relating to WikiLeaks’ publication, in 2010-11, of classified US files leaked by Chelsea Manning. Chris also played ‘Warriors’, my recently released song about Julian and Chelsea, recorded with The Four Fathers.

The Four Fathers Release New Song, ‘Warriors’, About Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, To Coincide With Julian’s Last UK Appeal Against Extradition to the US

21.2.24

Linking to, and discussing the significance of ‘Warriors’, the new release by The Four Fathers, which I wrote about Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and which was released to coincide with Julian’s last UK appeal against his proposed — and grotesquely unfair — extradition to the US to face espionage charges relating to the files that he published, with some of the world’s most significant newspapers, which had been leaked by Chelsea Manning, including the Guantánamo files, on which I worked a media partner.

How Brexit Gave Us Vile, Broken Politicians Who Despise Human Rights and Seek to Criminalise Refugees: Part One

18.3.23

The first of two articles in which I examine how the Tory government’s vile anti-immigration policies, pursued with such vigour by Priti Patel and Suella Braverman, have their origins in the dangerous isolationism of Brexit, and its unleashing of false and disturbing notions that, post-Brexit, the UK should no longer be constrained by international law. In this first article, I look at how Brexit happened, how Theresa May paved the way for the shoddy and cruel lawlessness of Patel and Braverman, and how the Tories, even before Brexit, have consistently sought to undermine the European Convention on Human Rights, with a particular focus on Theresa May’s obsessive pursuit of the Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada.

“Publishing Is Not a Crime”: Finally, the New York Times, the Guardian and Three Other Newspapers Urge the US to End the Prosecution of Julian Assange

4.12.22

Publicizing the open letter to the Biden administration, calling for the prosecution of Julian Assange to be dropped, from the five newspapers — including the New York Times and the Guardian — who worked with WikiLeaks on the release of over 250,000 US diplomatic cables 12 years ago.

Photos and Report: The Phenomenal Success of the Human Chain for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Around the UK Parliament

9.10.22

My report and photos from the Human Chain for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on October 8, 2022, which involved the Houses of Parliament being completely encircled by campaigners calling for his extradition to the US to be dropped.

Radio: I Discuss 20 Years of Guantánamo and the Proposed Extradition of Julian Assange with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio

7.1.22

Linking to, and discussing my recent interview with Chris Cook on his ‘Gorilla Radio’ show in Victoria, British Columbia, in which we spoke about the case of torture victim Abu Zubaydah, the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, and the latest dispiriting ruling in the extradition case of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange.

UK Judges Rule That WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Can Be Extradited to the US, Accepting Risible US Assurances Regarding His Mental Health and Suicide Risk

10.12.21

As the UK High Court allows the extradition to the US of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, overturning a lower court’s ruling regarding his suicide risk, I explain my disappointment with the ruling, not only because US assurances regarding his treatment are unreliable, but also because the key element of the case wasn’t under discussion: the US’s reprehensible efforts to prosecute a publisher for making available leaked information that it is in the public interest to know about, which sends a chilling message to the world about the US’s disregard for press freedom.

Like a Wheedling Abuser, the US Makes Groundless Promises in Julian Assange’s Extradition Appeal

28.10.21

My analysis of the appeal by the US government, heard in the High Court in London this week, against a judge’s refusal in January to allow the extradition to the US of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, on the basis that, because of his mental health issues, the risk of him committing suicide if extradited is too severe to allow the extradition to go ahead.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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