Groups Critical of Israel to be Branded ‘Antisemitic’ Under Pompeo Plan: Report – Global Research

16-11-20 03:56:00,

The US State Department is expected to announce plans to create a new governmental process that would officially designate some groups, including NGOs and human rights organisations, as antisemitic.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly decided to establish the mechanism and is expected to make the announcement soon, but three people familiar with the issue told Politico that he could still change his mind and hold off on making such plans public.

So far, which groups would be classified as antisemitic is unclear, but Politico reported Pompeo had been considering for months whether to label Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Oxfam under the proposed process amid their criticism of the Israeli government’s human rights violations.

If created, groups designated antisemitic would lose any US government support – financially or otherwise – with the State Department potentially urging other governments to follow suit.

So far, the yet-to-be-released proposal has drawn “fierce internal pushback” within the State Department, Politico reported, as well as condemnation from legislators.

The State Department did not reply to Middle East Eye’s request for comment by the time of this article’s publication.

‘These groups defend human rights’

If the State Department follows through on creating the mechanism it could very well be scrapped once President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

When first reported in October, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin warned against the idea, calling it “dangerous”.

“These groups defend human rights, freedom & tolerance for all,” Raskin said on Twitter at the time.

Those objecting to the idea warned that such a process may have chilling effects on freedom of speech and would likely open the door to litigation.

There are also concerns that such a move could embolden dictators and other world leaders to crack down on human rights organisations, among others.

Egypt has already passed several laws that restrict human rights groups including HRW and Amnesty International and has imprisoned and deported rights advocates. The governments of Venezuala and Iran have also expelled HRW staff, among other civil society advocates.

Last year, Israel deported HRW’s Israel and Palestine Director, 

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40+ Rights Groups Call on UK to Free Julian Assange – Defend WikiLeaks

03-07-20 07:14:00,

40+ Rights Groups Call on UK to Free Julian Assange

WikiLeaks publisher turns 49 in prison, facing U.S. extradition

Dozens of press freedom, human rights, and privacy rights organizations across five continents have co-signed an open letter to the U.K. government, calling for the immediate release of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The publisher, who turns 49 years old today in HMP Belmarsh, is facing extradition to the United States where he has been indicted under the Espionage Act for WikiLeaks’ 2010-11 publications of the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diaries, and State Department cables. If convicted, Mr Assange would face up to 175 years in prison, “tantamount to a death sentence.”

The co-signers write,

“This [indictment] is an unprecedented escalation of an already disturbing assault on journalism in the US, where President Donald Trump has referred to the news media as the ‘enemy of the people’. Whereas previous presidents have prosecuted whistleblowers and other journalistic sources under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information, the Trump Administration has taken the further step of going after the publisher.”

Seventeen of the 18 charges against Mr Assange are under the 1917 Espionage Act, marking the U.S.’s first-ever attempt to prosecute the publication of truthful information in a fundamental test of the First Amendment’s protection of press freedoms. Mr Assange has also been charged with conspiring to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which uses language similar to the Espionage Act.

Reporters without Borders, PEN International, ARTICLE19, the International Federation of Journalists, and the National Union of Journalists are among the 40 rights groups who have signed on to the letter, initiated by the Courage Foundation, a whistleblower support network which campaigns for Mr Assange’s freedom and the public’s right to know.

Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International, said:

“This indictment effectively opens the door to criminalising activities that are vital to many investigative journalists who write about national security matters. Beyond the case itself, we are concerned that the mere fact that Assange now risks extradition and potentially decades behind bars if convicted in the USA has a chilling effect on critical journalism, which is essential for exposing the truth about crimes committed by governments.”

Rebecca Vincent,

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