On Jan 4th, 2021, Julian Assange's extradition from the UK to the United States was blocked by a carefully crafted court ruling that upholds the grotesque frame-up case of the US Department of Justice.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused the US extradition request on the grounds that it would be "oppressive" because of the WikiLeaks founder's compromised mental health and the risk of suicide if he is detained and imprisoned in the US. He faces no charges anywhere except in the US, where the UK court has now ruled that he cannot be justly tried.
Yet, Assange's victory is not guaranteed. His continued detention in a maximum-security prison has been rendered still more outrageous by the refusal to extradite. Stella Moris (Assange's fiancé), speaking outside the court, cautioned, "As long as Julian has to endure suffering and isolation as an un-convicted prisoner in Belmarsh Prison and as long as our children continue to be bereft of their father's love and affection, we cannot celebrate…"
Baraitser's ruling is itself a de facto admission of the criminality of the British government and its legal system. The fact that Assange is, in her words, a "depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future" and at "substantial risk" of suicide is not solely due to a fear of what awaits him in the US, but the product of his sadistic treatment at the hands of the British state.
In May 2019, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, visited Assange with a medical doctor and a psychologist. He announced that month that Assange had suffered nine years of "persistent and progressively severe abuse" by the US, its allies and the media, resulting in medically verifiable symptoms of "psychological torture." The UK government rejected his concerns.
The legacy that is Wiki Leaks
WikiLeaks, founded by Assange, struck a blow against the brutal activities of American imperialism and its allies, including the UK. Assange's case also sets a precedent for a further assault on journalism and democratic rights.
WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs, the most comprehensive exposure of imperialist criminality and neo-colonial banditry since the Pentagon Papers of the 1970s, which revealed the scale of American military activities in Vietnam, and perhaps of all time.
The logs exposed the lies used to justify the occupation of Iraq, revealing it to be a brutal operation involving the murder of civilians, torture, innumerable acts of imperialist thuggery targeting an oppressed population, and cover-ups extending to the top of the US and allied military commands. The publication comprised 391,832 field reports by the US army, from 2004 to 2009, making it the largest leak in the history of the American military. They recorded 109,000 Iraqi deaths.
In August 2007, Wiki Leaks published the secret report of a Kenyan government investigation into official corruption. The document, produced in 2004, revealed that previous US-backed President Daniel Arap Moi and his closest associates had looted the impoverished country's economy to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Its publication sparked mass anger and impacted the Kenyan national election held in late 2007.
In November 2007, Wiki Leaks published a 2003 copy of "Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta", outlining official US army policy at its brutal Guantanamo Bay prison, where individuals have been illegally detained after rendition operations.
In February 2008, Wiki Leaks released records of the Cayman Islands branch of Swiss bank Julius Baer. The material, detailing the accounts of 2,000 corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals, including 40 politicians, resulted in allegations of tax avoidance on a vast scale.
In April 2011, Wik iLeaks published the Guantánamo Files, documenting the illegal imprisonment of at least 150 Afghan and Pakistani civilians, who the US authorities knew had no connection to terrorism. It included a 14-year-old boy and an 89-year-old man.
Beginning in February 2012, Wik iLeaks released over 5.5 million internal documents from Stratfor, a US-based company. The documents showed that the corporation operated as a private intelligence agency, including spying on Occupy Wall Street protesters and environmental activists.
In 2016, Wiki Leaks published leaked emails that exposed how the Democratic National Committee sought to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The documents also provided evidence of Clinton's sordid relations with Wall Street banks.
Why Assange threatens the American dream?
The attempt to paint Assange as a criminal has been at the forefront of sweeping censorship and an assault on fundamental democratic rights underway around the world. The Assange case represents a new stage in the global assault on constitutionalism and legality. Democracy is incompatible with the degree of inequality that now exists in the United States, its policy of aggressive war for global hegemony and the character of its ruling elites.
The lurch towards dictatorial forms of rule is being driven by the terror of the capitalist oligarchs and their governments that a mass movement of the working class is developing internationally against ever-widening social inequality and the growing danger that economic and strategic conflicts between the major powers will lead to war.
Assange's freedom must be fought for and the assault on democratic rights of which his case is the spearhead must be defeated. These outcomes are assured only through the mobilisation of wider layers of the working class throughout the globe and all defenders of democratic rights.