Freedom of the press in the United States is supposed to be legally protected, literally enshrined by the First Amendment of the rightfully lauded written constitution.
Today there is a real fear that a journalist and publisher is about to be extradited from an ostensibly democratic country to face a sealed grand jury indictment, the charges of which may include espionage which can carry a sentence of life imprisonment or even capital punishment.
Whatever one’s view of Wikileaks and its editor, Julian Assange, it should be noted that the organisation has an unbroken 100% record of accuracy in its reporting. Can CNN, BBC, ITN etc claim anything close to this?
In a landmark ruling in February 2016 the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights found that ‘Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom since his arrest in London on 7 December 2010.’ In a public statement, the expert panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Mr. Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation
Mr. Assange, detained first in prison then under house arrest, took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 after losing his appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court against extradition to Sweden, where a judicial investigation was initiated against him in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct. However, he was not formally charged.
“The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,” said Seong-Phil Hong, who currently heads the expert panel.
“The Working Group maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation,” Mr. Hong added.
In its official Opinion, the Working Group considered that Mr. Assange had been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth Prison in London, followed by house arrest and then confinement at the Ecuadorean Embassy.
If Julian is expelled from the Ecuadorean embassy in London he will be immediately arrested by the metropolitan police and quickly transported into the vast gulag that is the American prison system, never to be heard of again.
Need we imagine how our elected representatives, both in London and Washington, and indeed across the world, will rejoice at this travesty of justice? No more will we learn of the nefarious machinations of governments, militaries and security services. The evil scumbags will have recovered their most cherished secrecy and we’ll be plunged back into darkness.
As appalling to watch as it is, the video of Collateral Murder at least gave us a glimpse of how world leaders kill in our name and then attempt to hide the evidence of their crimes. Julian Assange and his colleagues at Wikileaks shame every corporate media journalist who should be exposing exactly that. Wikileaks has laid bare the systemic failings of a system that puts profit before truth. We owe it to ourselves to do whatever we can to protect Julian from the awful fate that awaits him and, in fact, that awaits us all.
Mike Raddie is co-editor of BSNews