By Kevin Rennie
Time is fast running out to get justice for Julian Assange. The court hearing for his extradition to the United States continues in earnest on 7 September 2020 in the United Kingdom. The ongoing campaign to free the WikiLeaks founder has ramped up in recent weeks.
WikiLeaks was launched in 2006. It has published leaked and classified information from the U.S. government and other sources. Major instances include the Afghanistan and Iraq War Logs, and Cablegate. Assange collaborated with US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning on these leaks.
Eight years ago Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and was imprisoned in the United Kingdom’s Belmarsh Prison for breaching bail. The extradition case relates to indictments for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and espionage. He has been accused by the American government of putting lives at risk.
One hundred and sixty-nine journalists and academics recently sent a letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to bring an end to the proceeding. It followed a fresh US extradition request with amended charges:
The extradition to the US of a publisher and journalist, for engaging in journalistic activities while in Europe, would set a very dangerous precedent.
The Official Australian Website in Support of Julian Assange has published an interview with Andrew Fowler, Aussie investigative journalist and foreign correspondent. He raised concerns about Assange’s health:
It seems quite clear that there is an attempt by the British and US administrations to destroy Assange, either driving him to suicide or a psychological breakdown.[…] The ultimate purpose of Assange’s treatment is a warning to others. Particularly other journalists. It’s the modern day equivalent of crucifixion, putting heads of enemies on spikes, or public hangings.
Many see this as a ‘show trial’, including the World Socialist Web Site. After the last hearing in mid-August, it argued:[…] the US government has been building its extradition case and expanding the scope of its vendetta against all those who have helped WikiLeaks bring the truth to the people of the world.