Julian Assange Will Not Be extradited to the US to Face Trial

Today is a great day for press freedom.

A judge in a London court has ruled that Julian Assange's extradition to the US should not go ahead, due to concerns over the international award-winning journalist's mental health. She agreed the maximum security conditions in a US prison would be oppressive and leave him at severe risk of suicide. 

Assange was facing the grim prospect of a 175 year jail sentence- they basically wanted to toss him into solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and throw away the key. 

Assange has not yet been freed, but I know the US has 14 days to appeal.

Assange is wanted over the publication of classified documents to Wikileaks in 2010-2011. In other words, journalism. Yes, Assange's crime was journalism. He published documents which exposed human rights abuses and crimes against humanity committed by the US and other states. Also, he was careful to redact any details which could have put individuals at risk (which is one of the things he was accused of doing).

The judge was shown evidence from medical experts about Assange's self-harm and suicidal thoughts and said: "Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the US will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge."

One of the most disturbing elements of the case is how those who've committed human rights abuses walk free while the journalist who exposed them has been tortured and humiliated. That's authoritarianism for you, and it's a direct admission the state does not give a fuck about your human rights. Any one of us could be collateral damage to preserve the imperial war machine.

My message to Assange, if he were to get freed, would be to leave the United Kingdom immediately. To take his wife and two small children and get as far away from this wretched, corrupt island as possible. Do not give these bastards the opportunity to change their minds. They have stitched Assange up throughout this process which, it's fair to say, has been one of the biggest shams in the history of the "British justice system".

It is to their shame that so many UK publications have turned against Assange, not least The Guardian which was at one point perfectly happy to work with him and Wikileaks, publishing the state's dirty secrets. The level of betrayal and moral cowardice from this vile, faux-left wing rag has been nothing short of breathtaking.

What the British media seemed to fail to understand was it could've been any one of them next. Or maybe they did understand, and throwing Assange under the bus was their way of telling the state they promise not to step out of line again.

In our pretend democracy, you're not allowed to embarrass the state. Not in any major way. If you do, perhaps you'll be suicided like Dr David Kelly. Or you'll have an unfortunate accident. Or, as in Assange's case, you'll have your reputation utterly shredded by false accusations, so as to ensure the public do not view you as a martyr.

Remember, this was never originally about espionage. Not officially. It was about the most ridiculous of rape charges which fell apart under the slightest bit of scrutiny - charges which were supposed to see Assange extradited to Sweden, but have since been dropped. 

Anyone paying attention knew it was never about rape, that Sweden were planning to extradite Assange to the US the moment his rape case collapsed. Let's not forget, at the time the US would not even publicly admit or deny requesting Assange's extradition, or confirm the existence of charges against him. The lack of transparency stank to the high heavens.

Let's not also forget that while Assange was cooped up in the Ecuadorian embassy, the UN ruled he was being detained arbitrarily and should be allowed to leave the UK. The government refused to drop an arrest warrant, even when the charges in Sweden were dropped and there were no official charges from the US. 

Instead, the UK decided to pursue Assange for skipping bail and then physically and mentally torture him for 20 months in what looked like and a slow and painful political assassination. Let's make no mistake, the state were making an example of him. And our cowardly mainstream media were falling over themselves to say they would be obedient going forwards. They threw their colleague to the wolves.

The MSM would not dare investigate crimes against humanity committed by western states again. Just think about that, the implications are chilling. And let's also consider how left-wing social media accounts have been dropping like flies recently. This is the kind of censorship we criticise China for.

The growth of the internet has proven a nightmare for the state because it's so much harder for them to contain their dirty secrets. And any one of us could be next in the firing line. You don't even have to be a journalist. You can be held legally accountable, even for a retweet in the UK. Yes, if you retweet someone else's words, you can be taken to court. I should know because it's happened to a friend of mine!

We have only the vague illusion of democracy in the UK right now but we are not powerless. If we raise our voices, powerful people can sometimes be swayed to do the right thing, as has happened in the Assange case.

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email: r.d.hale@outlook.com

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