Julian Assange is now facing extradition to the U.S. to face computer hacking charges related to his collaboration with Chelsea Manning.
However, the case against Assange is now shaping up to be a major test of the principles of a free press in the U.S. vs. the government’s legitimate need to keep security secrets.
The charges that were raised for Assange’s extradition were even rejected by the Obama administration.
Even Occasional-Cortez pointed out that Obama entertained the idea of extraditing Julian Assange but evidentially decided against it because it was unacceptable in terms of an attack on journalism and journalists,”
Cortez said that she is concerned by that specific aspect of Assange’s extradition “very much so in this situation.”
As should it have everyone concerned, Assange faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said.
47-year-old Assange was arrested by British police earlier on Thursday after Ecuador announced it had withdrawn his asylum in their country for apparently “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”
Assange was carried out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by British police, who arrested him that ended Assange’s nearly 7-year stay there.
Images of Ecuador's ambassador inviting the UK's secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of–like it or not–award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books. Assange's critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom. https://t.co/ys1AIdh2FP— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 11 April 2019
Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno claimed the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum as a “sovereign” one because of his alleged repeated violations.
But did not list those “repeated violations.”
The U.S. Justice Department said after he was taken into custody that Assange was initially charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for allegedly helping Chelsea Manning crack a password to a classified computer at the Pentagon in 2010.
Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail in Britain while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He didn’t want to leave the embassy in fear of arrest and extradition to the U.S. for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.
While Assange’s leaking of classified U.S. diplomatic and security information has infuriated the U.S. government, his arrest has drawn loud cries from press freedom advocates who argue he provided the materials to journalists in the public’s interest.
Edward Snowden, the U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked thousands of secret documents from the National Security Agency revealing the extent of the U.S. government’s covert data gathering around the world, sent a tweet on Thursday noting that the United Nations has repeatedly called on the U.K. government to let Assange walk free, deeming his hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy an “arbitrary detention.”
Snowden said Assange’s arrest marked ” a dark moment for press freedom.”
So where does it all go from here? no-one knows at this stage.
But what this means for honest journalism and journalists who dedicate their time to release documents/information that the public should, want to or need to know and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, this is a concern.
Especially for publications like us at Milne News and many other alternative media outlets who speak only truth and will release information to the public that wants to and has a right to know.
A U.S. official said recently that even with an official request filed with Britain, Julian Assange’s extradition is a lengthy process and the WikiLeaks founder wouldn’t likely hit U.S. soil too quickly.
However, Britain and the U.S. do have a fast-track extradition agreement, so the process will be quicker than it would be with many other nations.
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