Assault on Assange Continues As More Press is Muzzled
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 1st Amendment of the US Constitution
Stirring language, wonderful aspiration. These rights are being seriously eroded. This update is to keep our readers informed about the status of Julian Assange’s case, the grave threat to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and the ensuing crisis that engulfs us when censorship prevails.
This current attack on freedom of the press and speech is aimed at internet publications, most notably beginning with the persecution of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange 12 years ago. It is now cascading throughout journalism and even impacting our interpersonal relationships. The ghost of Joe McCarthy lingers over our country.
First the update on Julian Assange and then onto the downstream effects.
As of this issue, the status of his case;
- Assange continues in Belmarsh Prison, a maximum-security prison in London.
- His appeal for a hearing to the U.K Supreme Court has been denied and forwarded to the U.K. Home Office Secretary ( Priti Patel ). Upon her likely decision to extradite, the next step is referral back to the original court of jurisdiction to execute the extradition.
- Assange will then have the right of appeal based upon the substantive issues at stake ( 1. Prohibition against extradition based upon political actions, 2. UNCHR’s protections of “freedom of speech”, 3. Misapplication of the Espionage Act, 4. U.S. use of a self-acknowledged corrupted witness, 5. No foundation for the charge of “computer hacking”.
- This is likely to keep him in Belmarsh for an additional 1 year+ exacerbating his fragile physical and mental health status.
- In the event that Assange is extradited to the U.S, his odds of a fair trial are extremely limited. 17 of the 18 charges are filed under the Espionage Act. Legal experts familiar with the Espionage Act state that the process is clearly set up against the defendant.
- During the trial, the defense is prohibited from using the term “whistleblower”, referencing the First Amendment, discussing overclassification of government documents, or from putting forth a “public interest” defense.
- The prosecution is not required to prove “intent to cause national security harm” or that national security was, in fact, harmed.
This prosecution/persecution extends well beyond British or U.S. legal peculiarities, beyond the personage of Julian Assange, and transcends to a global assault on truth. It is predictive of a future devoid of reliable media, thereby eliminating a mechanism of redress for crimes of the ruling class.
America, we have a problem!!
As an unpopular war accelerates climate disasters, the suppression of free speech has escalated: notably expanding restrictive legislation on demonstrations at state and local levels, the voluntary silencing of our major mainstream media, the suspension and/or cancellation of political participants ( left and right) in Twitter and other social media platforms, manipulation of social media platform algorithms to diminish contacts and the outright removal of YouTube archives produced by such well-respected commentators as Chris Hedges, taken individually and collectively destroy the foundation of democracy.
Our voices must be heard in the halls of congress, on editorial pages of our print media, on radio talk shows, throughout social media, and on the streets.
Democracy can not survive a shuttered press.