EDITORIAL: Don’t Railroad Julian Assange to Virginia

The WikiLeaks legal team has a strong case to throw out Assange’s extradition request after the government that wants him extradited got hold of surveillance video of his privileged attorney-client conversations.

If this were a normal legal case, WikiLeaks’ lawyers would almost certainly be able to get the extradition request by the United States for their client Julian Assange thrown out on the grounds that his privileged conversations with his lawyers at Ecuador’s London embassy were secretly videotaped.

The  very nation that wants him extradited to stand trial in Virginia has obtained access to those videos. In a normal extradition case it would be hard to imagine Britain sending a suspect to a country whose government has already eavesdropped on that suspect’s defense preparations.

But this is not a normal legal case. 

“The Case should be thrown out immediately. Not only is it illegal on the face of the treaty, the U.S. has conducted illegal operations against Assange and his lawyers which are the subject of a major investigation in Spain,” WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said on Monday as the imprisoned Assange appeared before a judge in magistrate’s court in London.

“I don’t understand how this is equitable,” Assange told the court. “This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t access my writings. It’s very difficult where I am to do anything but these people have unlimited resources…They are saying journalists and whistleblowers are enemies of the people. They have unfair advantages dealing with documents. They [know] the interior of my life with my psychologist” as the CIA presumably obtained videos of those conversations as well.  Assange was then packed off in a van back to his dreary cell at Belmarsh prison. 

This is a travesty of justice on many levels.

The existence of Section E of the 1917 Espionage Act, which technically incriminates the unauthorized possession and dissemination of U.S. classified material by anyone, anywhere in the world, effectively criminalizes investigative journalism. It is a travesty that must be challenged on First Amendment grounds.

Revenge, Not Justice

A defendant’s rights to a fair trial here in Virginia have been seriously undermined, indeed nullified, after his conversations with his attorneys came into the possession of the government that wants to prosecute him. 

This is not about justice. This is about revenge.

No case better illustrates just how corruptly powerful the U.S. and British intelligence services and militaries have become and how both nations’ justice systems defend those corrupt interests.

No case better illustrates how the legal systems protect those interests by punishing the man who did the most to expose U.S. and UK crimes to their publics, publics rendered apathetic by an Establishment media that distracts them and presents Assange as their enemy.

No case better illustrates how U.S. and British rulers, together carrying out illegal mass surveillance and unending war, cling to a pretense of democracy to stay in power.

That pretense is imperiled by the adjudication of this case.

If both governments care about maintaining at least an appearance of following the rule of law, they have this opportunity: Let Julian Assange go.  




46 comments for “EDITORIAL: Don’t Railroad Julian Assange to Virginia

  1. October 24, 2019 at 18:53

    “Don’t Railroad Julian Assange to Virginia”

    Yes, indeed, but I’m afraid the call is about as effective as telling the American government that it has never had any legal right to be in Syria or to bomb half a dozen countries or to conduct an international extrajudicial killing program or to have invaded Iraq or to have generated a coup in Ukraine against an elected government.

    Or like telling Israel – America’s privileged Middle East colony – it shouldn’t be stealing homes and farms in the West Bank and East jerusalem or conducting regular ambushes of unarmed demonstrators or keeping Gaza as a hellhole with a military blockade or keeping thousands in prison with no proper legal procedure or building massive concrete walls on other people’s property or assassinating and torturing.

    Empires and the people who run them are about as far away from principles of justice and fairness as the Mafia.

    But that’s America today, and it so far removed from the texts of high school civics classes that the texts resemble parodies or scriptural fantasy tales.

    • jmg
      October 25, 2019 at 15:15

      John, it seems you are right:


      “The only person who’s abided by the law the entire time this epic tragedy has now lasted has been Julian Assange (and his lawyers, and others who work with him, and former Ecuador president Correa). All the other players, the people who’ve been chasing, torturing and now murdering him have all broken the law consistently, one after the other, and in coordinated fashion. But they have the media on their side, and that’s how the story got turned upside down. Propaganda wins.

      “In 2010, Swedish police invented a rape allegation out of thin air and against the expressed wishes of the alleged victim. . . .

      “This was followed (after 7 years!) by the new Ecuador government that violated any and all international law by rescinding Julian’s asylum, but only after hiring a Spanish “security” company that recorded all of his -and all of his visitors’ – talks and phones etc., including client-lawyer and doctor-patient conversations that we all know are confidential . . .

      “And now he’s in a super high security prison for no apparent reason at all . . . And then Monday in court, a British court, it was a bunch of Americans who openly decided what should happen . . .

      “What Assange practiced when he published “US war files” is called journalism. Which thank god is perfectly legal. Much of what those files reveal is not. What he did when he allegedly “skipped bail” in the UK is called requesting asylum. Also perfectly legal, a basic human right. He never broke a law. . . .

      “If you live in Britain and you think Brexit is a more important issue than Assange, you’re delusional. Nothing is more important to anyone in a society than a government torturing a man to death in broad daylight, a man who moreover has not broken a single law. We don’t even torture mass murderers, terrorists or child rapists to death anymore, at least not at home. But Julian Assange IS treated that way. And whether the UK will be a part of Europe or not, that is the country it has become. A lawless medieval banana republic.”

      (Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law — Raúl Ilargi Meijer — ZeroHedge, Oct 25, 2019)

  2. October 23, 2019 at 17:20

    Thank you, Geeyp, for powerfully true and humanitarian observations re: so many evil actions against Julian, actions carried out by our government that is SUPPOSED to be of, by and for THE PEOPLE, but in this crucial case have proved themselves to be anything but.

    • October 24, 2019 at 09:21

      It is amazing how the Power Elite seem always easily able to recruit to their institutions, Press, Univ., Political Class, Civil Service, Judiciary, Military Cadre, not just their proprietary think tanks, a species of moral ciphers totally innocent of the vow they took to uphold the Constitution, or even the fundamental moral doctrines of Western Civ since Socrates. And not only that, but persons to impoverished of basic humanity, they are able to inflict such torture over extended periods on helpless fellow man.

  3. October 23, 2019 at 12:09

    I am getting the urge to start an organization devoted to ruining the remainder of the lives of all who inflicted this trauma on Julian Assange and Freedom of the Press.

  4. October 23, 2019 at 11:30

    As far as I know, the actions of Julian Assange have embarrassed many politicians (and RIGHTFULLY so) but haven’t killed anyone. The actions of those politicians, on the other hand, have LITERALLY KILLED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE and created over TEN MILLION REFUGEES by triggering civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine! Wake up everybody! Truth tellers like Julian Assange are heros, not villains. The lives that they are saving may someday include your own!

  5. evelync
    October 23, 2019 at 10:25

    The top priority of these government gurus seems to be protecting themselves from exposure of wrongdoing……
    Keeping the inevitable f..k ups of their shortsighted policies quiet; making sure they don’t see the light of day…..

    When the bad news inevitably seeps out they threaten us using words like “national security” and “strategic interest” to shut down any scrutiny of the wrongheaded policies that don’t serve the general interest; trying to scare us into self censorship.

    Whistleblowers and their publishers who risk all to produce the proof of what we all suspected are demonized and called “unpatriotic”….. when the wrongdoers themselves with their delusional policies that serve the MICIMATT are truly the “unpatriotic” ones because their policies make us less safe and never produce what they promise.
    For them an honest discussion of foreign policy is verboten.

    So which of the candidates currently running against that wily huckster can be trusted to stand up to this and protect the whistleblowers?

    Edward Snowden, I think, gets to the point on the kind of leadership we have been missing in his tweet on October 2nd at 4:36 pm

    “I am neither Democrat nor Republican, but Sanders is in my opinion the most fundamentally decent man in politics. His life-long struggle for a more equitable society is a reminder of how far we have come—and a challenge to complete the journey. #GetWellBernie “

    Snowden doesn’t get distracted by the rhetoric of ambitious politicians; instead he looks to character and decency and consistency.
    I was pleased to see his name on the long list of people who have endorsed Sanders.

    Sanders speech on foreign policy a few years ago at Westminster College in MO and his support for MLK who dared question the morality of foreign policy and Sanders backbone prove to me that he alone of the candidates would stand up for the whistleblowers.

    Any of the candidates who mouth off about “national security” without questioning the wrongheaded policies that have got us to this sad place cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As we’ve seen from the long parade of MICIMATT leaders.

    • evelync
      October 23, 2019 at 20:13

      Ryan Grim interviewed Sanders on espionage act:
      ”AS PRESIDENT, Bernie Sanders would end the practice of using the controversial Espionage Act to prosecute government whistleblowers, the Vermont senator told The Intercept in an interview on Saturday ahead of a major rally in New York.”
      “Asked if it is appropriate to prosecute whistleblowers using the Espionage Act, Sanders said, “Of course not.” “

  6. Robyn
    October 23, 2019 at 08:39

    For years I have been reading every article I come across about Julian. I am always surprised that below-the-line comments hardly ever mention the Australian government, given that Julian is an Australian citizen. All very well to criticise USUK, but Australia is surely the most evil of all in allowing one of its citizens to be tortured. Based on Craig Murray’s most recent article about Julian, Julian is likely to die before this process goes much further.

    • Lee M
      October 24, 2019 at 08:13

      Albeit belated, there is a ray of hope. Today in parliament the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group that consists of 11 MPs was officially approved. the other MPs have been Katowing to the US for decades

  7. October 23, 2019 at 03:22

    Not just revenge, this is an attempt by powerful people who perceive a threat to silence a that threat and make it plain to everyone worldwide with a conscience that any threat to them will be met with a fate worse than death. We are at the peak of the hysteroidal cycle. The PTB are indeed facing a threat–the threat of their own incompetence, which will bring them down. Document who does what, secure that documentation and make sure they don’t get away when the reckoning comes.

  8. jmg
    October 23, 2019 at 03:07

    The case management dates were set as follows

    18 November 2018 Call-over hearing (administrative hearing necessary to bring a defendant before a judge every 28 days)

    18 December 2019 Deadline for evidence

    19 December 2019 Case management case (to review the progress of the case, including evidence submitted)

    7 February 2020 Deadlines for bundle submission by both sides

    11 February 2020 Deadline for defence skeleton argument

    18 February 2020 Deadline for prosecution skeleton argument

    25 February 2020 Extradition hearing begins.

    (WikiLeaks — Press Release Regarding Julian Assange’s Case Management Hearing — 21 October 2019)

  9. Doro Reeves
    October 22, 2019 at 20:13

    I think this case is clear evidence that fascism has taken over in the U.S. Perhaps in the UK as well.

    • DH Fabian
      October 23, 2019 at 01:44

      Yes, this began as far back as Reagan/Thatcher.

    • Tim Jones
      October 23, 2019 at 04:17

      Yes, the Plan of the Cabal is, many tentacles that reach out to every aspect of our lives and has been in place for a long time. However, evil deeds of the Cabal will sooner or later be exposed and all the host of sucker-fish that derive money from at least 60 years of lying will eventually be prosecuted. This is truly a sad day but there is hope.

  10. Chuck Nasmith
    October 22, 2019 at 15:57

    Free Julian and too many others. Educate. Check Caitlin Johnstone today . Truth is good, you warmongers.

  11. Ronelle
    October 22, 2019 at 14:22

    Daniel Ellsberg was spared a life in prison only because Nixon sent a goon squad to California to steal Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s notes. Ellsberg walked out of court a free man because his civil rights to a fair trial had been abrogated. Back in 1971 there still was a little justice.

    Now the US has obtained illegally filmed video of the private conversations between Julian and his psychologists and lawyers and he still remains in prison!? Every one of Assange’s civil rights have already been imperiously flaunted by several countries – including Ecuador which gave him asylum and imperiously took it back. Obviously, there is no civilized law the countries of this world will not unabashedly break to vindictively punish him and scare away all independent truth telling journalists.

    • LA Schuler
      October 22, 2019 at 23:59

      We have a large crop of brave and bold citizen journalists here in the US, inspired by Andrew Breitbart and Julian Assange along with their own experiences with corrupt elites across the business-military complex, who are drilling down into the roots of so much of the filth that threatens to take over our country. Our CIA is being exposed as the extremely corrupt entity that they’ve been from the get-go. The spying that apparently happened to Julian was at the behest of the rogue Obama administration. Those of us who welcomed Julian’s work understood that nefarious activity was going on in Obama’s presidency. Those folks were the most nontransparent and mysterious government I’d ever seen in my long lifetime. Their secret actions, when learned, never aligned with their words. Now’re we’re uncovering one rat’s nest after the other, and they’re nasty and ugly. Our President is very much aware of the scale of corruption he is up against. The prior administration planted operatives “in disguise” throughout the White House administration. They are being found out one by one. News will be trickling out slowly, but great steps are being taken. I pray that all our countries’ citizens who value ethical values, generosity of heart, and yes, God, will stay strong in spirit through our tough times ahead. I personally expect positive change in good time.

    • October 23, 2019 at 14:12

      Ronelle, you say: “…Ecuador which gave him asylum and imperiously took it back.”

      Rafael Correa offered asylum to Julian Assange and no amount of threat or bribery would make him give up Julian Assange. The new president Lenin Moreno caved in to USA pressure to take away protection for Julian Assange.

      THAT’S what Trump should be impeached on!…not the silly thing the Dems are using now.

    • October 23, 2019 at 23:22

      To add to my previous note (below), I should have said why having Assange dragged out of the Embassy was an impeachable offense by Trump. He called Moreno and promised him billions in an IMF loan if he would do this deed for the US. A quid pro quo if ever there was one. Assange got pulled out of his sanctuary and IMF gave the loan to Moreno, hence the uproars and protests in Ecuador today. There is nothing more stupid than borrowing from the IMF. IMMEDIATELY, the country in debt is ordered into austerity mode and the poor suffer, which, BTW, is the goal of the odious IMF.
      Now, isn’t that more impeachable? Why won’t the Dems open inquiry on that, something that can be proven, a quid pro quo involving billions? Because, they wanted it and even tried it themselves with Obama, but Correa wouldn’t cave. The Democrats act as if they are better than the Republicans, but they aren’t in their war crimes.
      Previous note:
      [Ronelle, you say: “…Ecuador which gave him asylum and imperiously took it back.”
      Rafael Correa offered asylum to Julian Assange and no amount of threat or bribery would make him give up Julian Assange. The new president Lenin Moreno caved in to USA pressure to take away protection for Julian Assange.
      THAT’S what Trump should be impeached on!…not the silly thing the Dems are using now.]

  12. October 22, 2019 at 14:20

    No More War

  13. ShireWakeUp
    October 22, 2019 at 13:14

    These ‘legal’ proceedings are even more of a sham than first thought!
    Virginia has come to London.

  14. Noah Way
    October 22, 2019 at 12:49

    The only way any of this will end is with the defeat of the US war machine.

    • Sally
      October 22, 2019 at 19:03

      Dignity honour and justice where is it was it ever here and if it was here where has it gone and we the people want it back NOW. Stay with us Julian Assange the world and its people need you in it. A path will be made open and freedom will be walking with you and us

    • Lily
      October 27, 2019 at 03:25


      Dignity, Honor and Justice went the way of Shame.

  15. GMCasey
    October 22, 2019 at 12:37

    America—–the land where vice and victory are synonyms. America, the once upon a time—-democratic republic—- is not only throwing its citizens to the curb—but throws anyone from any nation who does anything that America doesn’t like.
    BUT, before you do that ,America, maybe Bush 2, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Obama, Clinton, Trump—should serve their time too. When so many in government elect to ignore the Bill of Rights——-it becomes the People, who must challenge this in the Supreme Court—–
    If the Supreme Court rules against the People—then it looks as if terrorists are everywhere in America —and the People have no reason to believe anything except Wikileaks. TRUTH—-a necessity–but in the hands of government– so very , very fragile.

    • October 22, 2019 at 18:25

      Yes it does come down to who gets to decide the Truth – the Government with its cronies and media lapdogs, or the Truth-Exposing man of principle at Wikileaks? Which is it going to be America?

  16. Stephen M
    October 22, 2019 at 12:31

    There is no principle, legality or justice at work here. This is nothing more than the exercise of raw power.

    To me, this case is a good illustration of the extent to which we are being ruled by criminals.

    • DH Fabian
      October 23, 2019 at 01:49

      This is far from the first time we’ve seen proof of this, and soon enough forgot.

    • Stephen M
      October 23, 2019 at 18:09

      True DH Fabian, I didn’t say it was the only illustration just one…. among many. When you look at the wars of aggression, the proxy wars, the lethal sanctions, the coup plots, the drone attacks, the indiscriminate spying, the torture, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum, all of it illegal. It’s plain to see that the U.S. (and its lackeys, particularly now the UK, which apparently has been reduced to the status of a Banana Republic) does not honor any law — save that of power — and only cynically invokes international law when it advances its imperial interests. And it’s not so much that it’s forgotten, as you said, it’s that the public is so snowed under and gaslighted by the constant overwhelming Orwellian propaganda that there isn’t even an awareness, generally, of the truly criminal nature of what we’re dealing with here.

  17. LowellHighlander
    October 22, 2019 at 12:30

    I support this editorial fully, and yet I fear that the Empire (here, the American Empire) will not release its grip, certainly not its grip on one individual.

    I can only add that I hope that there’s one juror chosen for the eventual trial who will take it upon herself to read about the history, nature, and ethics of jury nullification in the United States. [See the list of readings at the website for the Fully Informed Jury Association.]

  18. Jeff Harrison
    October 22, 2019 at 12:22

    What they’ve forgotten is the line from Star Wars… The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers. This behavior will not be a freebee for either the US or the UK.

  19. Sam F
    October 22, 2019 at 11:59

    This is very well born out by my investigations and efforts to prosecute of US government and judicial corruption: “powerful interests are being protected by the legal system …by an Establishment media… the U.S. and Britain, together carrying out illegal mass surveillance and unending war, are clinging to a mere pretense of democracy.”

    The problem is that most cling to mass media to know what they must say to get by, and in H.L Mencken’s words (approx.) “The average man avoids the truth as he avoids arson, regicide, and piracy on the high seas, and for the same reasons: it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn’t pay.” Especially where, in the case of our universal judicial corruption, the loss of the myth of Santa Clauses in black robes who will rescue them from any serious wrongs, leaves them with no hope at all. The truth-teller is a fearsome figure to, if not the enemy of the unprincipled and cowardly, which is to say nearly everyone.

    • Lily
      October 27, 2019 at 03:43

      Sam F,

      this is true: the average man avoids the truth.

      Everytime i try to recommend CN or any other alternatives to the Orwellian media to anybody, the reactions are almost always the same: people become aggressive. They seem to be deeply afraid of the truth.

  20. doris
    October 22, 2019 at 11:49

    Amerika is and always has been a series of big fat scams. Claiming that “all men are created equal” in its founding document was the number one scam. The First Amendment was another of many. The US Government is the biggest criminal operation on Earth, and when people point that out, it makes them enemies of the state. When Julian is prosecuted, the world of journalism will be officially over. And the Amerikan sheeple will bleat in favor of their criminal government every step of the way.

    • October 22, 2019 at 21:57

      It was already over with embedded journalists in Iraq and Clintons dereg of the FCC in 1999 allowing corporations to buy up all the local news outlets anywhere to consolidate the message. The killing of Bernie in 2016, an amazing # of hit articles on him posted in WaPo. Ur right tho, Manning, Snowden and Assange prove just how disgusting and deep the corruption goes. The US is a cesspool of filth and evil.

  21. Jo Hayward-Haines
    October 22, 2019 at 11:03

    This article captures the essence of this case within the context of U
    S. And U.K militarism perfectly. The injustices faced by Assange make a pretense of democracy.

    • Jeff Harrison
      October 22, 2019 at 12:23

      I think the word you’re looking for isn’t pretense, it’s mockery.

  22. Piotr Berman
    October 22, 2019 at 10:39

    “If both governments care in the very least about maintaining an appearance of following the rule of law,” they care about maintaining appearances, this is part of the programs of manipulating public opinion. And in the age of rule based world order, the “rules” may come from law, but equally often, the “law” follows the “rules”.

  23. Michael Wilk
    October 22, 2019 at 10:30

    They will not let Assange go. We are at the stage where even the last pretenses of the U.S. and U.K. governments being democracies or republics are falling away and the naked fascism of both is now proudly on display. The powerful no longer care what the peasants think, so long as those peasants meekly obey. Dissent is easily crushed.

  24. Bif Crowley
    October 22, 2019 at 09:57

    “Nobody is above the law,” say those who break the law.

  25. Nick
    October 22, 2019 at 09:54

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the U.S. government has ever cared about the rule of law. Compared to the millions killed in illegal wars in Iraq and Vietnam, just to name a couple, what’s one journalist to them? And the British are good lap dogs, just following orders, if you will…

    • AnneR
      October 22, 2019 at 11:58

      I doubt that the Brits are simply lapdogs, really.

      They didn’t have to imprison Assange in Belmarsh (a sort of UK version of the US Supermax prisons). They don’t have to deny Assange full and daily access to visitors, his lawyers, to his papers. They don’t have to keep him solitary confinement – a well recognized psychological torture. They chose to do all of this. What could the Yanks do were the Brits to have, at the very least, treated Assange humanely?

      Of course, he should not even be in prison and the UK should have refused to even consider extradition. But the UK is fast becoming a very serious surveillance, police state at all levels of society (except, of course, that of the ruling elites). And the UK is hand in glove with the USA’s illegal invasions, chaos and destruction and death dealing across the MENA countries. But then, it was the “old empire.”

      No, the UK is as brutal, violent, imperialist, ugly and illegal in its actions as the US is (Chagos islanders? letting UK military off the hook for their brutal murders of local populations – in those MENA countries of course).

    • October 23, 2019 at 12:14

      @ AnneR: “I doubt that the Brits are simply lapdogs, really.”

      I don’t doubt it when it comes to Julian Assange. Remember that during the court battle over his extradition to Sweden, the courts in the UK from bottom to top ignored the controlling law that extradition was only proper if charges had been filed in the extraditing nation. No such charges had been filed in Sweden.

      That’s why Assange sought refugee status in the Ecuadorian Embassy. His rights were ignored by the UK courts.

  26. certainquirk
    October 22, 2019 at 09:33

    As a libertarian, this behavior is what I’ve come to expect from government. For those who still believe in the rule of law, it’s probably a real blow to be witnessing all this. Keep voting though. Keep believing. Or wake up. We’re not getting justice, we’re getting a martyr.

  27. geeyp
    October 22, 2019 at 05:11

    The feces had hit the fan when, in April, UK thugs and their Filthy American Accented Cohorts (FAAC) kidnapped Julian from the asylum he so deserved. In a few weeks, US was given Julian’s computer, devices, papers, and everything else that he kept with him. That info told me that Ecuador’s Moreno was a complete sellout to our “intelligence agencies”. They have spied on him for well over a decade.

    Around Sept., the security firm providing security-spying for Ecuador was exposed as a US puppet. These exposures have taken their toll on us following along to these disasters and sink in incrementally. It is difficult to fathom the awesomeness of the gall it takes to do these stench ridden crimes against a human that has not done anything except help the people of the countries of the world.

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