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Why even Julian Assange’s critics should defend him The WikiLeaks founder must not be extradited

Assange pictured in 2014 (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Assange pictured in 2014 (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)


February 20, 2024   7 mins

Britain’s political class rightly responded to the mysterious death of Alexei Navalny with an assortment of horror, outrage and indignation. The Kremlin critic’s treatment was an “appalling human rights outrage”, foreign secretary Lord Cameron said. Putin has to be “held to account”, Labour leader Keir Starmer added. So, when Julian Assange arrives at the High Court today for his final hearing, after being held without trial in Belmarsh maximum-security prison for almost five years, will the country’s political elite once again proclaim their commitment to human rights? I suspect not.

If the court rules out a further appeal, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks could be immediately extradited to the United States, where he will almost certainly be incarcerated for the rest of his life on charges of espionage — most likely in extremely punitive conditions. “If he’s extradited, he will die,” his wife Stella has said.

The British Government’s lack of concern for Assange’s fate is not surprising: they are the ones that put him in prison in the first place, after all. More worrying is the fact that much of the public also seems relatively unconcerned. This is probably the result of a campaign waged against Assange over the past decade and a half, aimed at destroying his reputation and depriving him of public support. Those not privy to the case’s details may even think that Assange is in jail because he’s been convicted for one of the many crimes he’s been accused of over the years — from rape to cyber-crime to espionage.

Yet this would be a gross misreading. Since 2019, Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh — and subjected to “prolonged psychological torture”, according to a UN report — despite being technically innocent before British law, since he’s never been convicted of any crime except violating his bail order when, 12 years ago, he sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 12 months.

Assange’s ordeal began in August 2010, when he was investigated in Sweden for rape and sexual molestation. Four months later, the Swedish authorities ordered his arrest. Many viewed the timing as deeply suspicious: that year, WikiLeaks’ series of exposes had rattled Western governments and dominated front pages.

By releasing hundreds of thousands of confidential Pentagon, CIA and NSA files, the organisation had exposed civilian massacres in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, illegal “renditions”, mass surveillance programmes, political scandals, pressure on foreign governments and widespread corruption. Assange took on the ultimate level of power — that which operates behind our societies’ official democratic façade, where state bureaucracies, military-security apparatuses and all-powerful financial-corporate enterprises collude in the shadows. The Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi, who has collaborated with WikiLeaks for several years, coined the term “secret power” to describe this reality, over which citizens have no control, and often don’t even know exists.

Until WikiLeaks came along, this secret power had been largely shielded from public scrutiny, except for rare occasions, and thus allowed to operate with impunity. “For the first time in history, WikiLeaks ripped a gaping hole in this secret power,” Maurizi wrote. Today, many of us are aware of the way in which the national-security complex operates in lockstep with Big Tech and the media to censor dissenting voices. But Assange was warning us about it more than a decade ago. No wonder the system came down on him so hard.

Was there any basis to the accusations that kickstarted 14 years of “lawfare” against Assange? Several years after the Swedish authorities opened the investigation, it emerged that neither of the two alleged victims had wanted to press charges against Assange — let alone accuse him of rape. As Nils Melzer, former United National Special Rapporteur on Torture, wrote in a scathing report on the Assange case, there are “strong indications that the Swedish police and prosecution deliberately manipulated and pressured [at least one of the alleged victims], who had come to the police station for an entirely different purpose, into making a statement which could be used to arrest Mr Assange on the suspicion of rape”.

One of the many myths surrounding the case is that it never went to trial because Assange evaded justice. In reality, Assange, who was then in the UK, made himself available for questioning via several means, by telephone or video conference, or in person in the Australian embassy. But the Swedish authorities insisted on questioning him in Sweden. Assange’s legal team countered that extradition of a suspect simply to question him — not to send him to trial, as he had not been charged — was a disproportionate measure.

This was more than a technicality: Assange feared that if he were extradited to Sweden, the latter’s authorities would extradite him to the US, where he had good reason to believe he wouldn’t be given a fair trial. Sweden, after all, always refused to provide Assange a guarantee of non-extradition to the US — the reason why, when in 2012 the British Supreme Court ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden, Assange sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. From there, however, he continued to make known his availability to be interrogated by the Swedish authorities inside the embassy, but they never replied.

And thanks to a FOIA investigation by Maurizi, we now know the reason. During this period, the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), then led by one Keir Starmer, played a crucial role in getting Sweden to pursue this highly unusual line of conduct. In early 2011, while Assange was still under house arrest, Paul Close, a British lawyer with the CPS, gave his Swedish counterparts his opinion on the case, apparently not for the first time. “My earlier advice remains, that in my view it would not be prudent for the Swedish authorities to try to interview the defendant in the UK,” he wrote. Why did the CPS advise the Swedes against the only legal strategy that could have brought the case to a rapid resolution, namely questioning Julian Assange in London, rather than insisting on his extradition?

In hindsight, the motivation behind this was more than murky: it appears to have been a matter of keeping the case in legal limbo, and Assange trapped in Britain for as long as possible. A year after Assange sought refuge in the embassy, the Swedish prosecutor was considering dropping the extradition proceedings, but was deterred from doing so by the CPS. She was concerned, among other things, about the mounting costs of the British police force guarding the embassy day and night. But for the British authorities this was not a problem; they replied that they “do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter”.

Meanwhile, it took the Swedish prosecutor five years to finally agree to question Assange in London — but only because the statute of limitations for two of the allegations was about to expire. However, deliberately or out of sheer incompetence, the request was sent too late for the Ecuadorian authorities to process it in time. The case relating to the two allegations thus expired.

The case regarding the third allegation, minor rape, was also closed two years later — thus ensuring that the two alleged victims would never receive any closure, and the accusations would stick to Julian forever. At this point, there was no arrest warrant hanging over Assange’s head anymore, but he remained in the embassy because if he had stepped off the premises, he would have been immediately arrested by the British police for violating his bail order (and, he feared, extradited to the US).

As a result of the Swedish authorities’ highly unusual behaviour, Assange had by then been arbitrarily and illegitimately forced into detention for seven years, as was concluded even by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Melzer, the former UN Rapporteur, would later list 50 perceived due-process violations by the Swedish authorities, including “proactive manipulation of evidence”, such as replacing the content of the women’s statement unbeknown to the latter. “[T]he Swedish authorities did everything to prevent a proper investigation and judicial resolution of their rape allegations against Assange,” Melzer concluded.

It seems, then, that the Swedish “investigation” was never about bringing justice to the alleged victims or establishing the truth; it was a way of destroying Assange by setting in motion the legal machinery that has been crushing him ever since — and of course sullying his reputation by associating his name, in the public sphere, with rape.

“The Swedish “investigation” was never about bringing justice to the alleged victims.”

What role, if any, did Starmer play in all this? During the period when the CPS was overseeing Assange’s extradition to Sweden, Starmer made several trips to Washington as Director of Public Prosecutions. US records show Starmer met with Attorney General Eric Holder and a host of American and British national security officials. Using the FOIA, the British media organisation Declassified requested the itinerary for each of Starmer’s four trips to Washington with details of his official meetings, including any briefing notes. CPS replied that all the documents relative to Starmer’s trips to Washington had been destroyed. Asked for clarification, and whether the destruction of documents was routine, the CPS did not respond.

Similarly, when Maurizi submitted a FOIA request to the CPS to shed light on the correspondence between Close and the Swedish authorities, she was also told that all the data associated with Close’s account had been deleted when he retired and could not be recovered. The CPS added that the Close’s email account had been deleted “in accordance with standard procedure”, though Maurizi would later discover that this procedure was by no means standard. Since then, Maurizi has been waging a years-long legal fight to access documents related to the CPS and Assange case, but she has been systematically stonewalled by CPS — even though a judge ordered the CPS to come clean about the destruction of key documents on Assange.

Assange’s worst fears came true when, in 2019, the British authorities finally arrested him, after reaching a deal with the new pro-US Ecuadorian government. Following his arrest, the US immediately announced that it was charging Assange for computer fraud — to which they added 17 much more serious counts of alleged violations of the Espionage Act — and requested his extradition. This was the first time, in the 102 years since the draconian law’s enactment, that a journalist was charged under the Espionage Act, which makes no distinction between a spy working for a foreign government and a journalist like Assange.

The WikiLeaks founder has been fighting his extradition to the US ever since, against a British judiciary system apparently intent on punishing Assange, even disregarding fundamental principles of due process. Melzer has described the proceedings as “a show trial more redolent of an authoritarian regime than a mature democracy… whose sole purpose is to silence Assange and to intimidate journalists and the broader public worldwide”.

Paradoxically, however, this simply confirms what WikiLeaks’ had already exposed: that nominally democratic states are willing to bend and even break the law to silence those who threaten the status quo, including journalists.

This is why, even if you disagree with Assange’s methods or political ideas, this case should matter. For it is about so much more than one man: it is about whether you want to live in a society where journalists can expose the crimes of the powerful without the fear of being persecuted and imprisoned. If the British state allows Assange to be extradited to the US, it won’t be dealing a potentially deadly blow just to one man, but to the rule of law itself.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
3 months ago

Assange, a man desperate not to have his day in court. The sooner he is extradited, the better.

Matt Jarrett
Matt Jarrett
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

Nice one Mike.
V superficial & rather asinine assessment.
Suggest you stick to the Daily Mail childrens supplement.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt Jarrett

Is that your usual hideout?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago

I just find it hard to have too much sympathy for Assange. His actions in dumping the material with no redactions (not the work of a serious journalist) has put the lives of numerous people in mortal danger, and no doubt contributed to the deaths of others.
I don’t doubt the authorities have used every trick available to them in order to get their hands on him, some of highly morally questionable, but I simply can’t find it in myself to get upset over his treatment

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree. This is not the black and white human rights/civil liberties case that many claim it is.
As so often, there are no white hats and black hats here. The US government does stuff we disapprove of. But Assange went well beyond what was justified and necessary in taking them on and needs to face the consequences.
There are people bravely fighting abuses of state power and authority who I would want to support. But Julian Assange isn’t one of them.
I’d prefer that cases like this were tried in the UK (where applicable – not sure if there was a UK offence here). Blair’s appalling US extradition treaty needs to be binned. Yes, that man Blair again. Show me a problem and his fingerprints are all over it.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes. Assange showed reckless disregard for global security and the lives of individuals by publishing quite literally everything he could get his hands on courtesy of Pvt. Manning.
Just because the world order grows more corrupt and bloated doesn’t mean you should make your agents of chaos above the law, or fail to choose them carefully. At a minimum that is. I prefer cooperative, determined, and patient opposition to chaos and firestarting. Not that either side is doing well at its own mission right now. Extreme moderates, passionate incrementalists of the world: Unite! (Doesn’t quite work, I admit).
Can radical nonviolence carry a knife just in case?

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Untrue. the Pentagon found that no one was harmed by Assange’s actions.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

Not by virtue any concern or restraint he showed.
Also: When did this alleged finding occur?

David McKee
David McKee
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

That no one was harmed was, I think, was more by luck than judgement.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

irrelevant.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

He does not come across as a pleasant person,not someone you would want to be mates with. As for that original “rape” charge they tried to get him on,I agree with Ken Livngstone when he said it sounded to him more like oafish bad manners. That is still serious so he can hardly really be anyones Knight in Shining Armour. He has got 3 children now. It’s a bit yucky. This Human Rights lawyers,a female,got permission to visit him when he was holed up in the Ecudorian Embassy. I think there was actually some sort of legal form of marriage. So she was allowed in for an hour or two to work on his paperwork but actually they got to it hammer and tongs so she could knock out some mini-mes,so if he gets topped,his legacy is available. Does make sense,but how far do you go to prove you’re RIGHT ON and With The Program.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
3 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

How does the fact that you’ve decided someone you’ve never met is ‘not a pleasant person’ have any relevance to his appalling treatment at the hands of the British and Swedish authorities, as amply detailed in this article?
The two-faced hypocrisy of those wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth over Navalny’s death will no doubt be matched when Assange meets a similar fate in the US (if he makes it that far). Aah, but he had it coming they’ll say.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Well,I’m sure you were shocked and horrified and appalled to learn from this man’s revelations that the society you live in is full of surveillance and is in fact increasingly tooling up it’s ability to control YOU and your behaviour and lifestyle as an individual,and not just one in a demographic. That sort of idea probably never even came into your mind until you had it spelled out to you. Because thinking is hard work. And only people we LIKE count. If we don’t LIKE someone we dismiss their work. People who THINK can value the work produced by someone they recognise as unpleasant but Morons have to “I luv u I really du”

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wikileaks DID redact the documents. The unredacted documents were put out by other sources, not Wikileaks. Wikileaks warned the US that unredacted versions were in circulation, and advised the US to take precautions.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
3 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

Just one of the many distortions of the Assange story fed to the useful idiot journalists of the MSM in order to destroy him.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

Thanks for this clarification. If possible, could you provide a link to a reliable source that supports your claim? Thanks!

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader
Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This is wrong. Redactions were made. the Pentagon could find no harm done to operatives.
Matter finished.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Did you read the whole article BB, or just jump based on what you think you know.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
3 months ago

If only our lords and masters applied the same dedication and resolve to running the country! This issue, unlike making meaningless and confected noises about matters over which they have no control or influence (basically everything outwith the country, and most things in the country), was probably a bit to complicated for the poor dears. Although to be fair, I don’t really give a sh*t about him either, a man accused of rape who rather than defend himself, hides!

J Dunne
J Dunne
3 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

Maybe it would be a good idea to actually read the article before commenting.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

He is not a nice person,even if he is a truth teller. They are often nasty people. Does my bum look big in this?
Yes.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
3 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Curious how truthtellers become tattletales or rats when personal interests get targeted. Or, as you point to, when they display rat-like traits.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
3 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Are you a nice person, Jane?

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

No. But I don’t have to be.
Why do I have to be nice.
Why does Julian.Assange have to be nice.
Is his work of telling us all what we already knew less valid if he’s horrible.
Should we build gas chambers for Ugly Girls?

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Fancy a shag!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 months ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

You see they have your simple mind.
I do not think anyone seriously doubt that the rape allegations were anything other than a confection to damage his reputation and get him back to Sweden so that he could extradited to the US

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago

someone else speaking for other people.

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago

Whether people support Assange or wish to see him charged, seems to fall along a libertarian vs authoritarian axis, not a left-right axis. There are plenty of woke leftists who, as long as there’s lots of rainbow flags and DEI initiatives, back their authoritarian managerial state to the hilt. They are distinct from maybe still a few remaining anti-authoritarian leftists who question state power and want to see Assange free (on the basis that he opposed the secret state). Then over on the right, there’s the libertarians hanging out at Reason who are adamant his rights have been transgressed. They are distinct from the authoritarian right who, on this issue, align with the totalitarian rainbow crowd who want Assange destroyed for opposing the power of the managerial state. Even though they have different models of managerial state power, they are elitists who work within the managerial state and insist it must not be fundamentally challenged.

Robbie K
Robbie K
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Whether people support Assange or wish to see him charged, seems to fall along a libertarian vs authoritarian axis, not a left-right axis.

I’ll wager most people merely take an honest view on morality and see a sneaky little creep that got his come uppance.

Michael James
Michael James
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Yeah, let lynch-mob justice reign!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael James

Agreed lets string up Robbie K first!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

His comeuppance for what exactly, making some high and mighty people look bad in their own words? You sound a bit like those authoritarians who want him drawn and quartered for that.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That’d be a pretty risky wager.

Did you actually read the article?

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is the most ignorant comment I have ever read on the internet.

Robbie K
Robbie K
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

Thank you, and welcome to the web. I’m sure after a few more hours you’ll find something much worse.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That isn’t actually an argument. You just somehow “know” (how exactly?) that Assange is a ‘sneaky little creep’…..

I wouldn’t like you on my jury!

Robbie K
Robbie K
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Plenty of folks in agreement it seems.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I think you should speak for yourself and leave everybody out of it. Journalists publish classified data all the time. He did not steal the data and tried to get it redacted in conjunction with the FBI. I aways thought harm was a major part of any legal process.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Who are these anti-authoritarian leftists of whom you speak? Are they anything like the moderate Muslims we hear so much about but never actually see?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think Ian means the old-guard classical liberals of the Voltarian sort. I do believe they were (are) sincere in their defense of free speech (an excellent example of this dying breed of liberal is Alan Dershowitz). But I wouldn’t call them Leftists. I think “classical liberal” is a more accurate, less confusing label.

Sean G
Sean G
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’m an anti-authoritarian leftist… by this standard, anyway: https://www.politicalcompass.org/ Are we really that rare?

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  Sean G

No, but you’ve been squeezed out of the internet debate a bit by the authoritarian left. Once I go to rallies, I meet the good old anti-authoritarian lefties all the time.

marianna chambless
marianna chambless
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

That is what I see too, in the U.S. Little is written or spoken about Assange by the government or mainstream media (MM), he’s disappeared. Navalny’s death is receiving a lot of attention here by MM, Americans have been convinced that Putin is Satan and Russia is forever our enemy. And, what has happened to Navalny reinforces that. However, Assange forces us to consider that what we have always believed in has really betrayed us, and that, we prefer not to see. Thankfully, there are still voices out there for those anti-authoritarian leftists – Aaron Mate, Norm Finkelstein, Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, to name a few. Many thanks to all those who have worked for the release of Julian Assange, I hope they are successful, for him, certainly, but for the rest of us too.

Mrs R
Mrs R
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Judging by the relatively small crowd that gathered yesterday in support of Julian Assange outside the Royal Courts your assessment of those supporting him is spot on.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Every libertarian expects that their beliefs should enforce good governance, not work against it. Does it sound like that’s what his release of these documents achieved?

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
3 months ago

It’s not secret power, it’s just Power. That’s what real Power looks like – the ability to avoid scrutiny, accountability or justice. If Assange just got away with what he has done, then there would be no such thing as Power. He has been marked for eradication, and Power always gets its man.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

Very good point. Accurate distinction.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

I don’t agree. There are degrees of secrecy and deceit within political structures

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
3 months ago

Here’s George Orwell, writing to George Woodcock in March 1948, defending British civil servants against persecution for communist views, which he of course despised:

“… the way in which the government seems to be going to work is vaguely disquieting, and the whole phenomenon seems to me part of the general breakdown of the democratic outlook. Only a week or two ago the Communists were shouting for unconstitutional methods to be used against the Fascists, now the same methods are to be used against themselves, and in another year or two a pro-Communist government might be using them against us. Meanwhile the general apathy about freedom of speech, etc., constantly grows, and that matters much more than what may be on the statute books”.

Which goes to show that a) none of this bullying and disregard for the basic rights of those with we might disagree is new, and b) the flag-waving crowd whose conscious or unconscious bias against Assange makes them indifferent to, or even in favour of, the apparently disgraceful way he has been treated should think again. Today it’s nominal conservatives in power, tomorrow it might be a nominally left, authoritarian party; the day after tomorrow, who knows.

Those of us who still believe in basic liberal principles of freedom thought, speech, conscience, association, fair trials and due process need to start putting aside petty differences of opinion and making a full throated defence of our liberal democratic culture in find the courage to speak up and vociferously defend the rights of people we might vehemently disagree with or cannot stand to be around. It’s later than we think.

Richard C
Richard C
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Extremely well expressed, thank you.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard C

Thank you, but all the credit is due to George Orwell. He’s a beacon in the dark. I wonder if Unherd would consider taking someone like Orwell and doing a series of in-depth articles by different contributors on his work, looking at it mainly through the lens of contemporary politics and society. Hannah Arendt – whose portrait hangs proudly and prominently on the stairwell at Unherd – would be another good candidate.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago

An alleged rapist that is willing to traduce half the world to avoid going to court to defend his widely proclaimed innocence. Compare to Navalny.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Try reading the article again. He avoided extradition for questioning about an alleged crime with which he had not even been charged in order to defend himself from suffering the same fate in the US that has just befallen Navalny.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

In Sweden you have to be present in the country to be charged with a crime. This has been explained many times before.

R Wright
R Wright
3 months ago

I see GCHQ has its hands in Unherd’s comment section now. The Swedish, British and American officials involved in this travesty of justice will rot down below for their actions.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
3 months ago

Good comparison. Yep. Though what Assange most shed light on is how difficult it is for a power like the US to move events in foreign countries their way. The missing link is often what intelligence professionals see as frailty in our diplomats, an empathy with and understanding of local culture. Force behind goals is deemed necessary and sufficient. Which is why we fail, over and again. Culture is force and it’s best to use natural momentum.

George Locke
George Locke
3 months ago

More worrying is the fact that much of the public also seems relatively unconcerned. This is probably the result of a campaign waged against Assange over the past decade and a half, aimed at destroying his reputation and depriving him of public support. 

I think the more likely explanation is that the public just has more immediate concerns right now.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  George Locke

Imprisonment without trial might not be bread-on-the-table but it’s surely an urgent and immediate concern. Even Navalny, who’s all over the papers and TV news, at least got a trial of some kind…

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
3 months ago
Reply to  George Locke

Yes indeed, the public in general has more immediate concerns right now. For example, last night, Everton could only draw with Crystal Palace, whose sick manager has just retired. Also of great concern, a member of strictly come dancing has just died.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago

I must read this again as it’s very detailed. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about all those years ago about Julian Assange. It doesnt really help that he’s not a particularly likeable person. Having been brought up in a sceptical household I thought everybody knew our vaunted Democracy was fake,that there were hidden layers of power directing events we didn’t know about,that the people in authority were not out to help us though back in the day there were many worthy people committed to caring way above their pay grade but they have been mostly retired off or forced out and I feel sorry for the bewildered people I hear on the radio or even in real life who can’t understand why they can’t get that Special Needs assessment for their child or that Care Package for their aged Parent. But now I see that Assange opened up a lot of folks eyes and of course he provided the detail.
Yes,it so two faced. USA says Jump and we are supposed to say How High but the other way round it doesn’t work.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

You know him ? You say he’s not particularly likeable.
Even if you loathed him it has nothing yo do with the case.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

I know that. I see that he’s being gone after for serious political reasons. I didn’t say the fact he is unpleasant is pertinent. I simply said that he comes across as a selfish and not particularly considerate person,it takes one to know one,he may have done us a favour in telling us we were all under surveillance(were there really people who didn’t know that) but if he was really as noble as his fans claim he WOULD HAVE edited and redacted the material as I’m sure some people must have suffered from their names being revealed.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago

I think Assange behaved foolishly over the Swedish business, but given what has happened since his arrest it is clear he was far from paranoid on the matter. The treatment meted out to him by our supposed rule-of-law democracy is worthy of the CCP, Iran’s mullahs, Cisi’s Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine or Algeria. Continuing to view ourselves as a free country is beyond delusional.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

‘You thought’ might have been more apt.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Corbett

No. He was foolish, understandable perhaps, but foolish nevertheless.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 months ago

I do not see why the Courts haven’t just reject the extradition on human rights grounds, say, the right to family life.
After all they do not hesitate to do this to prevent the deportation of rapists and murderer’s who are in this country illegally

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago

One answer is that we, the US, have told the courts to do no such thing under penalty of whatever we’ve threatened the UK with. I love my country, but not the people who run it and the people who make it look like everything it claims to oppose.

Bob Downing
Bob Downing
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“I love my country, but not the people who run it and the people who make it look like everything it claims to oppose.”
Well said, and probably what untold millions would also say, given the freedom to do so. Trouble is – nobody is listening, or would give a damn if they did.

George Venning
George Venning
3 months ago

Because the British Government does not wish to prevent his deportation. If they did, there would be any number of grounds to reject it.
One might point out that political prosecutions are often cited as the classic exception to the principle of extradition. This case is nothing if it isn’t political
Or that Assange cannot receive a fair trial because the CIA have admitted that they bugged his meetings with his legal counsel – a circumstance that should have his case thown out of any court in the land.
You could raise issues of jurisdiction (Assange isn’t a US citizen and what he was doing wasn’t illegal where he was doing it)
And on and on. The British Government is every bit as cynical and lawless as the US in this case.

Saul D
Saul D
3 months ago

There was a video floating around that said the fear-headlines around Democracy being under threat, isn’t about Democracy as you or I would understand it, but a fear of ‘Democratic institutions’ being underthreat. That is administrators in the ‘government agency/NGO’ world who believe that their talking together and coming to an interagency consensus is what makes ‘Democracy’ – not having the popular voice vote on things that affect them.
Assange is an example of how those ‘Democratic institutions’ close ranks, target their critics and seek to obfuscate and blind the voting public as to what they are doing. All while taking the voting public’s money while building their careers.
Assange has been ‘rotting on remand’ for 5 years. That should appal anyone. He is a long-term prison inmate, but without having been proven guilty. The process is the punishment. And he is a journalist. Silencing a journalist for revealing true documents undercuts the freedom of the press.
The message we keep getting is do not become an enemy of the ‘Interagency’. Schumer’s “They have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you” is made worse because the interagency seems to lack the moral self-control or ethics to restrain its worst instincts. And if it lacks that moral self-control, then we need journalists like Assange who are willing to risk all to expose them, so the ‘Democratic instutitions’ really do work for the people, and not the other way around.

Terry M
Terry M
3 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Schumer’s “They have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you”
And yet, Chuckie supports them with his votes and even teaches them some tricks.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
3 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

The video is an interview between Tucker Carlson and Mike Benz – available on Twitter/X. It’s AMAZING and explains everything really…..

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
3 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

It reminds me a bit of the final scene in Kafka’s Trial.

Susan Matthews
Susan Matthews
3 months ago

Starmer’s role in the campaign against Assange is interesting- thanks for this well researched and thoughtful piece

Matt Jarrett
Matt Jarrett
3 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

Starmer’s like Blair. An ostensibly Good Man, but forever irretrievably tarnished by association with some right dubious b*stards/politicopower systems. Bridges well burned now.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 months ago

Excellent article.

There is another potential explanation here, namely that the UK government is trying to look to the USA as if it is on the USA’s side in this, but is actually tolerating the drawing-out of this process as long as possible because if it doesn’t, the result is extradition to the USA for Assange, which would be disastrous.

I am quite surprised that the ECHR hasn’t stepped in and put a block on Assange’s extradition – or perhaps I’m not remotely surprised actually, since the ECHR seems very ready to block the deportation of terrorists and criminals who only threaten British citizens, but is of course toothless in the face of American geopolitical bullying.

There’s one thing I’d like to understand: Assange if extradited would be prosecuted under the Espionage Act and other American laws, but why is Assange bound by American law in the first place? He is not an American citizen, did not perform any of the acts in question on American soil, and was not the person who illegally accessed the data in the first place. He promoted material that was already public domain at the time, that’s all.

Oh and one last thing: did America extradite Anne Sacoolas for unlawfully killing Harry Dunn in 2019, fleeing both the scene of the traffic collision and then the UK entirely, then hiding behind a spurious claim of diplomatic immunity when facing the entirely legitimate demand to return for questioning? Well no, what happened is that she “attended” court via a video link and got a suspended sentence. I suggest that Julian Assange face the American justice system in the same way.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
3 months ago

I wrote my Assange sonnet several years ago, while he was still holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
**********
From the Sonnets, Mostly Bristolian:-
**********
Sonnet 151
He’s to be scoped, the rapey narcissist,
athwart on camp-bed with a cigarette,
recalling ruefully his Swedish tryst.
It’s pretty gamey in that oubliette,
and latterly his visitors are few
and low status: just junior attachés
and interns. No more television crews
now camp beneath his balcony; that craze
of troubadour paying court to caytiff king
has passed. Now Julian’s the apostate,
there’ll be an end of virtue-signalling.
Let Cumberbatch and Gaga find new mates;
the creep will linger like a nasty smell
inside his Ecuadorian hotel.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago

Assange committed the crime of making the powerful look bad, and they cannot allow that to stand. All the happy talk of liberty, freedom, and democracy is so much whitewash against the backdrop of ever-growing govt power and intrusion into people’s lives. No one in the UK should be surprised at this man’s treatment, seeing as how your govt has worked overtime to criminalize tweets and facebook posts.

Richard C
Richard C
3 months ago

I don’t think that Assange should be extradited to face the onerous US legal system but Fazi lets him off the hook on too many fronts.
What about – yes, what aboutism – the people who were exposed to torture or even death as the result of Assange’s blanket document releases?
What about the real damage done to intelligence gathering becuase of these releases?
The US and other intelligence and policing services are clearly out of control but a blanket release of documents wasn’t really meant to rein them in, it was intended for the self-aggrandisement of Assange.
There are no angels in this story.

marianna chambless
marianna chambless
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard C

I have read that before releasing information, Assange approached the FBI for aid in redacting any sensitive information, and they refused to help. Now, if they had really feared that anything he was going to release would be injurious to others, why would they not have helped with that? I think that they wanted to get him or shut him up, and with either route he chose, their goal would be achieved. I have also read that there is no proof that anyone suffered as a consequence of the revelations. However, that probably needs more looking into.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard C

Assange was not the person who made the information public in the first place. He promoted it, certainly, because Wikileaks had a much higher profile than where it had existed prior to that point, but it was public domain nonetheless.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard C

the Pentagon could find no damage to operatives. So they had to change their case.
Your point is null.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
3 months ago

I expect Assange will be extradited in the next few days to a high security American prison cell, where he will (just like Epstein) be given the chance to “commit suicide”.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
3 months ago

Assange comes across as what he is, the socially awkward son of Australian hippies, used to having grown up in a pristine & consequence-free isolation, too much time to think (along with too little mind to think with) and a strong narcissistic bent.
Know and dislike the type, having gone to school with a number of them.
That said, not sure I want him delivered up to the Yanks.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
3 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Couldn’t stay away, sir? (I haven’t been able to).
We Yanks reply: “Send him over, we just wanna talk to ‘im”
(Like a neck-tattooed guy in a dive bar who wants you to follow him into the alley and “have a talk”).
I think he deserves some time in addition to the years of confinement he’s suffer. That said, his years as a “confined fugitive” may shorten his total time served.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
3 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

They offered me a huge markdown. And The Spectator was too expensive.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
3 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Yes. I’m on a one-dollar month right now.

Marcus Corbett
Marcus Corbett
3 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

‘Along with too little mind to think with.’
Gratuitous superficial insult which highlights a characteristic which you know intimately.

jane baker
jane baker
3 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

You said it better than me, every word.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
3 months ago

The guy was accused of rape and went to extraordinary lengths to avoid a trial. I’m afraid talk of the UN etc is playing into his hands I can’t see past the fact that he is a creep of the first order

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

No, he went to extraordinary lengths to avoid indirect extradition to the United States (and its famously humane prison system), and I don’t blame him.
As for the conveniently timed accusation of rape, which the “victims” were apparently reluctant even to present, I smell a veritable sewer’s worth of rats, don’t you?

D Glover
D Glover
3 months ago

This jumped out at me as the strangest statement;

when Maurizi submitted a FOIA request to the CPS to shed light on the correspondence between Close and the Swedish authorities, she was also told that all the data associated with Close’s account had been deleted when he retired and could not be recovered. The CPS added that the Close’s email account had been deleted “in accordance with standard procedure”



What? The Crown Prosecution Service deliberately forgets the work of anyone who retires?
If that were true Sir Keir wouldn’t be able to brag so much about what he did as Director of the CPS, since all records have presumably been deleted.

David Walters
David Walters
3 months ago

I suspect most Unherd readers are deeply unhappy about his possible extradition but alas it will happen whatever we think. A few years ago I used to think I knew who were the good guys but not anymore. So many people in all walks of life – politicians, scientists and journalists may be bought for relatively little. It also reinforces my view of Starmer. But the really depressing thing is that there is this relatively small band of anonymous people who wield so much power and wealth and yet are never satisfied. I suppose it was always the case and no doubt always will be.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
3 months ago

The treatment of Assange is a disgrace. I wouldn’t trust the glorious democratic regimes of Britain, Sweden and the U.S. (for example) as far as I could throw them. What utter hypocrites they are.
I’m British, by the way, and while one expects this kind of stuff from 90% of the world’s states, I vaguely believed in a residue of British freedom. How naive of me.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 months ago

The reason most people know nothing of this case is that most journalists either don’t care about journalistic freedom or want Assange punished.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 months ago

For me the biggest enigma is Edward Snowden.
Here Assange languished first in the Ecuadorian Embassy for years, trying to avoid being handed over to the police, then the Ecuadorian Embassy staff had enough and threw him out, handing him over to the U.K. authorities. Now he is still waiting for 5 years in prison, if or when he will finally get extradited to the US.
On the other hand is Snowden, who published 3 years after Assange’s military intelligence leaks secret papers about the huge US Surveillance program, flees to Russia and seems to be, according to Wikipedia, a naturalised Russian citizen: a Libertarian hero arranging himself quietly with Putin‘s suppressive regime.
Yesterday this contrast came to my attention, when Douglas Murray wondered, why Snowden is staying so quiet about Navalny‘s death. Glenn Greenwald (the Libertarian of the American Left) seemed to be furious with Murray, fiercely defending Snowden on X and publishing Snowden’s criticisms of the Russian Regime and its corruption. Snowden’s articles were in the Guardian 4 years ago, and it seems Putin doesn‘t give a damn about Snowden’s publications.
The contrast between these two US whistleblowers couldn’t be more ironic. One languishing in a U.K. prison, the other living comfortably somewhere in Russia, producing occasional critical essays about Putin…

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
3 months ago

What would you have preferred Snowden do – give himself up to US ‘justice’ and be found one day accidentally hanged in his prison cell?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

I make no judgement on E.Snowden, but find it ironic, that as a Libertarian, he had to flee to a deadly dictatorship. At the time many European politicians pleaded with their governments to grant him refuge, but no country had the guts to take him in.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
3 months ago

The timing of Navalny’s death wouldn’t have anything to do with the timing of this hearing? No, how could I even think such a thing!

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago

That sounds like a conspiracy theory…

David McKee
David McKee
3 months ago

Trying to portray Assange as a victim? Wow – Thomas Fazi certainly likes a challenge.
Two points:
First, Assange has certainly been the subject of some legal jiggery-pokery. In countries like China, Russia and Iran, it’s a lot simpler: inconvenient persons have nasty accidents in aircraft or falling from windows in tower blocks. Let’s leave aside boy scouts and their Utopian desire to live in a perfect world. So, which of these two systems do you prefer to live under?
Second, Assange would cut a much more sympathetic figure if he had leaked the secret cables of both the United States and its enemies. He did not. It was just the Americans. So Assange did America’s enemies a big favour. Which is why Moscow is the bolt-hole of choice of other whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

“Assange would cut a much more sympathetic figure if he had leaked the secret cables of both the United States and its enemies. He did not.”

Are you sure he had access to that information and chose not to publish it? And for the record, he leaked nothing. The information you refer to was already public domain, having been leaked by someone else.

Chipoko
Chipoko
3 months ago

[Assange] ‘subjected to “prolonged psychological torture”, according to a UN report.’
The UN lost its moral authority decades ago. I don’t believe anythng that organisation asserts.
How come the democratic governments of the USA, UK and Sweden are so determined to bring this man to trial and justice? And how come he is so determined to avoid this?
Something smells in all of this.

John Tyler
John Tyler
3 months ago

How dare you put Assange and Navalny in the same sentence?!

One is being well looked after the other repeatedly subjected to death attempts and mistreatment. One is the subject of a legal extradition case being handled by one of the fairest legal systems in the world; the other subject to an opaque system run by judges appointed by an autocrat. One appears to have committed a crime with the intent of destroying the security of a democratic nation; the other has dared to stand for election in a corrupt autocracy. One is a coward, afraid to leave the shelter provided by his high-profile ideological supporters and to state his case publicly in an open court; the other a brave man, facing his corrupt accusers head on even knowing his arguments in court will never be heard outside.

There may be a case for Assange, but sure as hell ain’t comparable with Navalny’s!

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

I don’t that is what the disclosed documents said re USA

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

As far as I’m aware Assange has never made a video comparing immigrants to cockroaches and neither has he called for said immigrants to be shot.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
3 months ago

I guess if you illegally reveal screeds of classified info to the detriment of the most powerful state in the world, then whether its a Liberal democracy or an authoritarian regime doesnt really matter – they might just want to come after you.
Not sure what Assange has really achieved with any of this.
Yes, power in whichever form can have a dark underbelly.
I could have told you that without Wikileaks assistance

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 months ago

Assuming that Assange is deported to the US and stands trial, what would be the likelihood that the discussion of what he leaked would lead to those involved in extra-judicial killings also standing trial in their turn? Is it worth holding my breath?

Mike Rees
Mike Rees
3 months ago

That he’s in Belmarsh is his own fault. He’s a bail jumper. If he hadn’t skipped he’d have been walking the streets on bail now. But he absconded and as a consequence is locked up. Oh dear!

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
3 months ago

I’m not an Assange fan, or a conspiracy theorist, but I am a free speech fan. If matters were as this article claims, this affair stinks.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago

What does the law say with respect to a journalist coming into possession of classified documents. Where does freedom of the Press come into play. Not one mention of the law by either Fazi or posters.

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

We now know far more about Assange and his sexual predations from the two Swedish women who accepted him as crusader for world equality and justice, but discovered that like so many men, what he was really interested in was, to use that quaint English saying, “getting his leg over”, preferably without a condom or their consent, and then refusing to have an STD test.
Had Assange accepted the offer of the Swedish legal system in November 2010 to accept its verdict, he would have been a free man shortly after he’d served whatever sentence that system had imposed. Instead he chose to spend years in the basement of the London embassy of Equador and even longer in Belmarsh prison.
The man has persistently demanded to be above the law in Sweden, the UK and the USA and discovered that there is always a price to pay for misplaced arrogance.

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

From my notes 17 November 2010:
Mark Stephens, Julian Assange’s London based lawyer stated:
 “Both women have declared they had consensual sexual relations with our client and that they continued to instigate friendly contact well after the alleged incidents. Only after the women became aware of each other’s relationship with Mr Assange did they make their allegations against him.
“Media reports had reported the basis for the rape charge “purely seems to constitute a post-facto dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex days after the event,” he said. 
This might be a ‘sting’ perpetrated by the CIA with the women prepared to perjure themselves, assuming that crime exists in Sweden. In which case it would be of major interest to all who have followed the story to date.
Or it could it be that each woman only consented to sex with Assange on the condition that he wasn’t having sex with another women in Sweden and elsewhere. This is a quite normal understanding that couples come to before engaging in sex. But having discovered that wasn’t the truth and they’d been lied to, [by Assange] they are now seeking a legal redress in the Swedish courts.
I am reminded of the recent case where an Israeli women claimed she was raped because her consent to sex was obtained through lies which resulted in her rapist being jailed. I don’t know what the law is in Sweden, my recent knowledge of the country coming from the pen of the late great Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, but it appears that Assange’s lawyers are treating this case very seriously.
As for Mr Assange practising casual unprotected sex, that alone, for a man in his position may not deserve an international arrest warrant, but it does deserve international censure. 

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

The writer doesn’t mention the following about which I have far greater sympathy for those who Assange betrayed:
“Julian Assange’s supporters have been ordered to forfeit £93,500 in bail money after the WikiLeaks founder sought political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
A court ruled on Monday that the payments must be made within a month by nine friends and backers who in 2010 pledged £140,000 to guarantee Assange would abide by bail conditions during a failed legal challenge to extradition proceedings brought by authorities in Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.
Vaughan Smith, the former British army captain who hosted Assange at his Norfolk home while he was on bail throughout 2011, and had promised to pay £20,000 if Assange skipped bail, was ordered to pay £12,000, while Philip Knightly, a veteran Australian investigative journalist who exposed the British traitor Kim Philby as a Russian spy, was ordered to pay £15,000, £5,000 less than he originally pledged.
Making the ruling at Westminster magistrates court, the chief magistrate, Howard Riddle, said he accepted that the sureties “acted in good faith”, but said the system of sureties for defendants who want to remain at liberty would be undermined if cash was not forfeited.
“I accept that they trusted Mr Assange to surrender himself as required,” he said. “I accept that they followed the proceedings and made necessary arrangements to remain in contact with him. However, they failed in their basic duty, to ensure his surrender.”
Assange broke his bail conditions in June this year when he took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in Knightsbridge after he lost a supreme court challenge to the validity of the European arrest warrant that demanded his return to Sweden for questioning. He was due to be sent to Sweden within days when he took up residence in the diplomatic mission, where he was granted political asylum.
Assange’s colleagues in the WikiLeaks organisation, Joseph Farrell and Sarah Harrison, were ordered to pay £3,500 each after originally pledging a combined £10,000. Sir John Sulston, a Nobel-prize-winning biologist, was ordered to pay £15,000 of the £20,000 he pledged. Tracy Worcester, a model turned environmental campaigner, had to pay £7,500 while Prof Tricia David, an educationalist, had to pay £10,000 of the £20,000 she promised. Caroline Michel, at one time Assange’s literary agent, was ordered to pay £15,000 of the £20,000 she had promised.”
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/oct/08/julian-assange-supporters-ordered-forfeit-bail

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

“Assange’s legal team countered that extradition of a suspect simply to question him — not to send him to trial, as he had not been charged — was a disproportionate measure.”

Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a former appeal court judge who was flown in from Sweden by Assange’s defence team, under cross-examination by Clare Montgomery QC, for the Swedish government, acknowledged that while she believed the warrant to have been disproportionate, agreed that a Swedish district court and the appeal court, considering evidence from Assange’s Swedish lawyer Björn Hurtig, had judged it both proportionate and legal.

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

“Assange’s legal team countered that extradition of a suspect simply to question him — not to send him to trial, as he had not been charged — was a disproportionate measure.”
Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a former appeal court judge who was flown in from Sweden by Assange’s defence team, under cross-examination by Clare Montgomery QC, for the Swedish government, acknowledged that while she believed the warrant to have been disproportionate, agreed that a Swedish district court and the appeal court, considering evidence from Assange’s Swedish lawyer Björn Hurtig, had judged it both proportionate and legal.

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

Assange might not have been a spy working for a foreign government / governments because he provided more than ten million documents, to anyone and everyone for free.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47907890

Saul Tobin
Saul Tobin
3 months ago

The author of this article refers to the US legal system as though it were that of a dictatorship. If extradited, Assange would receive a trial by jury in which he would enjoy due process and have the opportunity to present his defense and challenge the prosecution on constitutional grounds. US free speech protections are significantly stronger than those in most other democracies, including the UK.

David Yetter
David Yetter
3 months ago

The extradition request should have been thrown out immediately on the grounds that American law does not apply extraterritorially to persons who are not American citizens. Assange is Australian and was outside the US when his website published the dump of secret documents. It should still be thrown out on that basis and Assange freed to return to his homeland in the antipodes.
The extraterritorial application of American law to non-Americans is something we Americans should object to at least as much as do the victims of the practice. After all, other countries can use the precedent, and I, myself could surely be charged with, for instance, disparaging the armed forces of the Russian Federation, insulting the “Prophet” Mohammed, mocking Xi Jinping with pictures of Disney’s version of Winnie the Pooh, and probably a host of other “crimes” made up by one tin-pot depot or another somewhere on the face of the globe.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
3 months ago

I’m not a fan of secrets, and yes the world isn’t perfect. If he goes to the us and has his day in court he can get some closure. Seems like a worthy goal to me.