How Long Must He Wait? Assange Wins Right to Appeal

Photograph Source: Paola Breizh – CC BY 2.0

So Julian Assange won his right to appeal extradition to the United States from England. How long before that next legal step takes place? Months, a year? Who knows? You can bet neither Joe “Only Pardons for Them That Don’t Need ‘Em” Biden nor Donald “Maybe a Pardon” Trump is keeping track. The person who’s keeping track is Assange – jailed in hideous Belmarsh Prison, in solitary, for five years and effectively imprisoned in the Ecuadoran embassy for seven years before that. Assange knows exactly how long he’s been rotting in a dungeon, because he’s lived every miserable minute of it. Wrongly locked up for practicing truthful journalism, knowing full well that he could still end up in a Northern Virginia courtroom, facing a 175-year sentence for violating the odious Espionage Act, Assange is an innocent man wrongly punished, doubtless consumed by lugubrious despair as he faces even more torment at the hands of his ghoulish American persecutors.

Washington and London have inflicted great damage on Assange, being directly and deliberately responsible for his mental and physical deterioration, no doubt in the hopes that his death will end what has become a very nettlesome publicity fiasco. Truth be told, the Biden gang probably doesn’t much like appearing in public as the tormentor of an honest journalist and as an egregious violator of the First Amendment, in short as a bunch of criminal authoritarians. Better, from the white house’s standpoint, for Assange to hurry up and die and get this slow-motion embarrassment of Joe Biden’s regime over with. But too bad for them. Assange remains quite alive, and his legal team is still really, really kicking.

How badly have Washington and its British sidekick tortured Assange? Well, according to Chris Hedges in Scheerpost May 25, “Julian is in precarious physical and psychological health.” This caused the 52-year-old “a minor stroke, hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall…Prison authorities found ‘half of a razor blade’ hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline…” thus the sickening handiwork of Washington and London bigwigs. Their message is clear: embarrass American elites with crackerjack news reporting and scoops, as Assange did with his coverage of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, and this is the fate that awaits you.

The press finally woke up to the danger this case poses to it, and numerous newspapers called for Assange’s release. Though a pardon would be quite a feather in the cap of the president who releases Assange, Biden seems oblivious to the public relations advantages of mercy. That’s probably because Assange simply offended too many Dem honchos, paramount among them Hillary “My Turn to Be President” Clinton, who famously whined “Can’t we just drone this guy?” about Assange. What a stateswoman! What an inspiring display of integrity from the woman who would lead the West! Not.

 Hillary “We Came, We Saw, He Died” Clinton is as thuggish regarding Assange as she and the rest of the Washington elite are regarding anyone else out of imperial favor. He may not view it this way, but Biden is essentially doing the bidding of the panoply of powerful mediocrities of which HRC is a star. After all, Wikileaks so embarrassed the 2016 Dem presidential candidate by publishing her emails – emails that revealed chicanery to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders. In any true democracy, this eye-popping revelation would have invalidated the Democratic primary. But it’s been a long time since the U.S. was a true democracy. Maybe Assange neglected to count on that when he published HRC’s missives. Anyway, he clearly underestimated the extent to which liberal rulers, specifically Biden, would fall unquestioningly into line with the unending revenge motif.

The whole phony case against Assange stinks of corruption and abuse of power. Corruption because the CIA under Mike “Get Assange” Pompeo plotted to kidnap or murder the journalist and also, corruptly, listened in on his privileged conversations with his attorney in the Ecuadoran embassy. Corruption because bogus charges were cooked up against him by a pliant Swedish prosecutor, the sole purpose of which was to toss Assange into the clutches of the furious U.S. government. Assange did not rape those two women in Sweden, and the prosecutor eventually dropped the case. But the damage was done: to Assange’s reputation and to his freedom, because once he sought refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy, he was trapped.

As for abuse of power, there are too many instances of it even to try to cite comprehensively here. Suffice it to say that the very hostile Judge Vanessa Baraitser, in Assange’s original London trial, adopted U.S. prosecutorial positions as her decisions, while the judge to whom Assange first appealed is best friends and the former roommate of the British minister charged with removing the obstreperous journalist from his Ecuadoran refuge. That judge, predictably, ruled against Assange. So there was judicial abuse of power, as well as intelligence agency abuse of power, police abuse of power in Sweden, and finally the abuse inherent in the evil Espionage Act itself, a law designed by that moral midget and war criminal Woodrow Wilson to stifle dissent – especially legal First Amendment dissent to war-making.

In June 2022, U.S. attorneys got U.K. consent to haul Assange off to an American jail. The journalist has fought that decision ever since. His legal team argues that he would lack First Amendment protections and could face the death penalty – two points on which the American legal eagles refused to offer blanket protections. So yes, as a foreigner, Assange could well lack First Amendment protections for practicing journalism (if he had such protections, the case would be instantly thrown out, because of the Pentagon Papers precedent) and he could also be put to death. So in March, the two judges of the High Court ruled in his favor. “Washington, in response, reportedly offered assurances to treat Assange fairly…” RT reported May 20. “Assange’s defense team argued that pledges given by the administration of President Joe Biden were ‘blatantly inadequate.’” The two judges agreed.

One has to wonder why the Biden malefactors won’t guarantee Assange’s immunity to the death penalty. That is a very sinister refusal indeed. It’s clear why they will try to strip this journalist of his First Amendment protections – with such, they’d have no case. But the fact that they evidently want a free hand with regard to the death penalty? There is one word for that: malignant.

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Busybody. She can be reached at her website.