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Apr 13, 2019 · Last update 24 days ago.

Should Assange be extradited to the US?

Following nearly 7 years seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Julian Assange was arrested on the 11th April 2019. As the founder of wikileaks.org he is wanted by the US government in connection with a massive internet dump of secret United States documents leaked by Chelsea Manning in 2010, and the US are seeking his extradition. The Swedish authorities previously issued an international arrest warrant in relation to sexual assault allegations also, but Assange maintained that the Swedish charges were a smear campaign and would lead to an extradition to the US; this directly led him to see refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012. Julian Assange was arrested by UK authorities for failing to surrender to court, where, why and how should Assange now be prosecuted?
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No, any extradition will be a dark day for journalism
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Why not prosecute the much larger war crimes that Assange helped expose?
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Breaking of international law
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Yes, Assange needs to stand trial
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No, Sweden would be the only valid extradition
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No, any extradition will be a dark day for journalism

Assange provided a safe space online for whistle-blowers to leak information for the greater public interest, and has published an abundance of embarrassing documents that implicate various governments and individuals in scandals, corruption and crimes across the globe. This is in fact all his extradition is based upon, his part in exposing US war crimes, something Chelsea Manning has already been prosecuted for, but Assange's role remains one of the publisher of Manning's leaked documents, putting him in the same position as any other journalist or media company. Despite an abundance of misinformation surrounding his ejection from the Ecuadorian Embassy Wikileaks is what was behind the revoking of Assange's asylum at the Embassy, with the Ecuadorian President also implicated in a corruption scandal for which he had blamed Wikileaks and Assange for being unearthed.

This may set a legal precedence for being able to prosecute journalistic practices that bring war crimes to light, something that many governments also enjoy impunity for despite it wildly being recognised as detrimental to a free press, and something that is a crime in many countries. But this pattern is not new, just a gradual decline that can be noticed internationally, and began under the Obama administration in the US with President Obama prosecuting more journalists than all previous presidents combined. The US has a bad history of abusing whistle-blowers also and has been accused by the UN of torturing Chelsea Manning, the whistle-blower that has already been arrested for the crimes that the US is now seeking to have Assange extradited for. Likewise the UN rapporteur for torture has denounced the treatment of Julian Assange in the UK as amounting to torture, with several years of isolation and constant CIA spying so that he wasn’t allowed the privacy to even form his case.

Assange is now facing 175 years in prison in the US being charged under the Espionage Act, a law that has not really been used since the First World War. A publisher has never been charged under the espionage act, and doing so could set a trend where not only whistle-blowers could be prosecuted for espionage but a publisher also, leaving any journalist a potential criminal if they publish something the US government doesn’t favour. Assange should not be extradited to the US, and extradition to Sweden would just see the UK passing the buck to Sweden, letting them decide whether to further the United States' attack on journalism. In this way any extradition would be an unprecedented case, where someone is prosecuted for publishing leaked documents, something that would be seen as a standard journalistic practice if it involved less damning evidence against a less powerful regime. This case has wide ranging implications, this is an atrocities and criminal assault on journalism.

youtube.com/watch?v=6HJq0WxoK0c thecanary.co/global/world-news/2019/04/05/julian-assange-faces-imminent-eviction-by-ecuadorian-president-implicated-in-corruption-scandal theblacksphere.net/2017/02/media-silence-obama-stunning-record-prosecution-journalists youtu.be/KSX8HoO5o_8

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Nov 26
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DH edited this paragraph
This may set a legal precedence for being able to prosecute journalistic practices that bring war crimes to light, something that many governments also enjoy impunity for despite it wildly being recognised as detrimental to a free press, and something that is a crime in many countries. But this pattern is not new, just a gradual decline that can be noticed internationally, and began under the Obama administration in the US with President Obama prosecuting more journalists than all previous presidents combined. The US has a bad history of abusing whistle-blowers also and has been accused by the UN of torturing Chelsea Manning, the whistle-blower that has already been arrested for the crimes that the US is now seeking to have Assange extradited for. Likewise the UN rapporteur for torture has denounced the treatment of Julian Assange in the UK as amounting to torture, with several years of isolation and constant CIA spying so that he wasn’t allowed the privacy to even form his case.

Why not prosecute the much larger war crimes that Assange helped expose?

What are Assanges crimes in comparison to the ones that he revealed? He revealed things that everyone wanted to know about, felt they deserved to know about, and that were crimes of much greater gravity than his own disputed crimes, in terms of the public interest. In a similar way to Edward Snowden this seems more like a message to the general public, not to make public information out of any evidence that makes the government, or any structure in it, look bad, and the US want that message to be international. Charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, this all seems a fairly minor part of another big case, but why not punish the much bigger war crimes that were actually revealed by this case.

Assange may escape prosecution anyway as evidence against him is slim and solely based on testimony from Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower who provided US military documents to Wikileaks, and currently Manning is refusing to testify to the courts. The very values of justice and democracy are being undermined here, instead of wanting to find out the truth or achieve justice, the military-focused government of the US are prepared to lie to the people in order to perpetuate their own interests, and when such lies are revealed they react by imprisoning, punishing, lying about or torturing those who reveal them. Why not prosecute these much worse and more heavily guarded crimes before prosecuting Assange’s disputed, much less violent, less disgusting and less corrupt crimes?

youtu.be/rY5jCvRHEFk?t=11763 thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2019/04/23/fbi-agent-explains-how-julian-assange-may-escape-prosecution-and-chelsea-manning-is-key youtube.com/watch?v=VKt-6MYIeoE

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Nov 25
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DH edited this paragraph
https://youtu.be/rY5jCvRHEFk?t=11763 https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2019/04/23/fbi-agent-explains-how-julian-assange-may-escape-prosecution-and-chelsea-manning-is-key/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKt-6MYIeoE

Breaking of international law

Prolonged solitary confinement of over 15 days constitutes torture according to the UN, something that the US has carried out against Chelsea Manning while she has been imprisoned for the crime Assange is wanted in connection with. In addition Manning has been subjected to humiliation tactics that are also a direct violation of US law. Mike Pompeo has stated his intention to designate Assange and Wikileaks as a non-state hostile intelligence service. This means that upon Assange’s extradition the United States could switch his charges to something much more serious, or seek further charges than the current conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Meaning Assange faces, not only torture in the form of US "advanced interrogation techniques" and use of humiliation and solitary confinement, but he also faces a likely unknown escalation of charges. It is also forbidden to turn someone over to a country if he/she is likely to be the victim of torture according to UN Convention Against Torture, which the US and UK has ratified, making this illegal under international law.

The UN special rapporteur on torture has said that if Assange is expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy it would represent a serious violation of his human rights, including his right to freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, due process and the prohibition of cruel degrading or inhuman punishment. This has now occurred and there is no prosecution going forward, as the extradition seems to be taking precedence. According to various media sources and people close to Assange he is not in a good physical or psychological states since entering into British Police custody, having difficulty confirming even his name and date of birth, indicating he may already be suffering under similar "advanced interrogation techniques" as Manning has been exposed to in the States. Turning Assange over to the US in light of Pompeo's intentions and Manning's treatment would be in direct contradiction to the norms of international law, and represents a serious violation of a number of Assange's human rights.

youtube.com/watch?v=Yu8KQ7ceN9w thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/328730-cia-director-wikileaks-a-non-state-hostile-intelligence-service washingtonpost.com/national-security/assange-argues-that-us-charges-against-him-are-political-and-a-bar-to-his-extradition/2019/10/21/edf4b428-f406-11e9-8cf0-4cc99f74d127_story.html?outputType=amp youtube.com/watch?v=bKDdO_MPpI8

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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu8KQ7ceN9w https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/328730-cia-director-wikileaks-a-non-state-hostile-intelligence-service https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/assange-argues-that-us-charges-against-him-are-political-and-a-bar-to-his-extradition/2019/10/21/edf4b428-f406-11e9-8cf0-4cc99f74d127_story.html?outputType=amp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKDdO_MPpI8

Yes, Assange needs to stand trial

No one is above the law; he may have committed a series of quite serious crimes and should be held accountable for this. He is possibly a criminal who has led to Donald Trump in the White House, helped terrorists internationally, and even possibly committed rape in Sweden, he needs to stand trial, for his criminality to be determined and justice be served. Assange has maintained that his rights and liberty have suffered as a result of the last 7 years, but he could have walked out to face what he is accused of at any time. It is hypocritical that he has claimed that he has suffered due to his conditions while seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy considering the number of lives he continues to risk by leaking such sensitive information.

Furthermore it is widely recognised that Julian Assange is not a journalist and his conduct, which has led to the most of the charges he is wanted for, perfectly demonstrate this. Assange is wanted for charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, other media organisations are not in the same position and this has no reflection or implication for journalism as he is being charged for this conspiracy hack and then leak hundreds of thousands of classified state and military documents, not simply for his releasing the information. In addition his asylum status was withdrawn for aggressive behaviour, as Assange repeatedly violated embassy terms for his asylum status - skateboarding, inviting celebrity guests, hacking WiFi, and even wiping his excrement on walls. It is clear that Assange has not acted in the best interests of anyone either before or during his time at the Ecuadorian embassy, he should face his actions.

youtube.com/watch?v=ynR9mpn6g4A youtube.com/watch?v=Uw9jiA4po3k aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/wikileaks-assange-repeatedly-violated-asylum-terms-moreno-190402183841403.html bbc.com/news/av/world-latin-america-47956607/assange-smeared-faeces-in-ecuador-embassy-says-president youtube.com/watch?v=VKt-6MYIeoE

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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynR9mpn6g4A https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw9jiA4po3k https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/wikileaks-assange-repeatedly-violated-asylum-terms-moreno-190402183841403.html https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-latin-america-47956607/assange-smeared-faeces-in-ecuador-embassy-says-president https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKt-6MYIeoE

No, Sweden would be the only valid extradition

The only valid extradition that the UK government could allow would be to Sweden, for questioning in relation to the original charges held against Julian Assange in 2012. Even UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has commented that Assange should not be extradited for exposing atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Assange is guilty for publishing this information why aren’t other media organisations that printed the same information also guilty? Assange is clearly being made a scapegoat here.

But there are also widespread concerns that the larger pressure of the American case against Assange overshadows or in some way allows Assange to sidestep the charges against him in Sweden and they by no means should be overlooked. If prosecuted in American Assange faces 18 charges relating to espionage and over 170 years in prison, but Assange maintains that these charges are purely political making his extradition illegal under UK law. The UK and Sweden should be doing everything in their power to stand up for Assange’s human rights and to prevent his extradition to the Unites States, but his open cases in Sweden should be resolved and justice be bought to his victims and/or Assange himself.

bbc.com/news/uk-47904837 aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-denied-extradition-hearing-delay-191021131801405.html washingtonpost.com/national-security/assange-argues-that-us-charges-against-him-are-political-and-a-bar-to-his-extradition/2019/10/21/edf4b428-f406-11e9-8cf0-4cc99f74d127_story.html?outputType=amp

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DH edited this paragraph
The only valid extradition that the UK government could allow would be to Sweden, for questioning in relation to the original charges held against Julian Assange in 2012. Even UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has commented that Assange should not be extradited for exposing atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Assange is guilty for publishing this information why aren’t other media organisations that printed the same information also guilty? Assange is clearly being made a scapegoat here.
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