Assange Case Moves Forward as CIA Covers Its Tracks

Caitlin Johnstone on moves by U.S. authorities to shield the system from political fallout over the Assange case.

Ecuadorian embassy in London where Julian Assange took asylum. (nick.hider, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

So they’re really doing it. The Biden administration is really ignoring Australia’s request to end the case against Julian Assange, and they’re proceeding with their campaign to extradite a journalist for telling the truth about U.S. war crimes.

In order to move the extradition case forward, per a British High Court ruling, U.S. prosecutors needed to provide “assurances” that the U.S. would not seek the death penalty and would not deprive Assange of his human right to free speech because of his nationality. 

The U.S. provided the assurance against the death penalty (which they’d previously opposed doing), and for the free speech assurance they said only that Assange will be able to “raise and seek to rely upon” U.S. First Amendment rights, adding, “A decision as to the applicability of the First Amendment is exclusively within the purview of the U.S. Courts.”

Which is basically just saying “I mean, you’re welcome to TRY to have free speech protections?”

At the same time, C.I.A. Director William Burns has filed a state secrets privilege demand to withhold information in a lawsuit against the agency by four American journalists and attorneys who were spied on during their visits to Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 

State secrets privilege is a U.S. evidentiary rule designed to prevent courts from revealing state secrets during civil litigation; the C.I.A. began invoking it with the Assange lawsuit earlier this year.

Burns argues:

“I am asserting the state secrets and statutory privileges in this case as I have determined that either admitting or denying that CIA has information implicated by the remaining allegations in the Amended Complaint reasonably could be expected to cause serious ? —? and in some cases, exceptionally grave ? —?damage to the national security of the United States. After deliberation and personal consideration, I have determined that the complete factual basis for my privilege assertions cannot be set forth on the public record without confirming or denying whether C.I.A. has information relating to this matter and therefore risking the very harm to U.S. national security that I seek to protect.”

Burns in 2019, while he was director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Development. (World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Which is obviously a load of horse shit. As Assange himself tweeted in 2017, “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.” 

Burns isn’t worried about damaging “the national security of the United States,” he’s worried about the potential political fallout from information about the C.I.A. spying on American lawyers and journalists while visiting a journalist who was being actively targeted by the legal arm of the U.S. government.

Political security is also why the U.S. is working to punish Julian Assange for publishing inconvenient facts about U.S. war crimes. The Pentagon already acknowledged years ago that the Chelsea Manning leaks for which Assange is being prosecuted didn’t get anyone killed and had no strategic impact on U.S. war efforts, so plainly this isn’t about national security. It’s just politically damaging for the criminality of the U.S. government to be made public for all to see.

They’re just squeezing and squeezing this man as hard as they can for as long as they can get away with to keep him silent and make an example of him to show what happens when journalists reveal unauthorized information about the empire. 

Just like Gaza, the persecution of Julian Assange makes a lie of everything the U.S. and its Western allies claim to stand for, and reveals the cruel face of tyranny beneath the mask of liberal democracy.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

11 comments for “Assange Case Moves Forward as CIA Covers Its Tracks

  1. Robert
    April 20, 2024 at 07:16

    There are many Deep Staters and Bureaucrats whose careers can be used as examples of how the grotesque amounts of money and power floating through Washington DC can result in good young men being completely overwhelmed and corrupted by the system. William Burns, currently of the CIA, is as good example as there is. Way back when he was US Ambassador to Russia he showed great promise in telling truth to power. He had figured out early on that Washington DC’s goal was to get Russia into war with Ukraine , and to accomplish that by any means necessary. And he objected to that unstated goal in voice and writing. Fast forward to 2024 and he is a full fledged member of the DC establishment, completely comfortable lying to Congress and the American people on matters of great importance. His stance on Russia has taken a 180° turn, not because he was wrong decades ago. He turned because he no longer had the willpower to resist the establishment. He came to realize that power and money and a measure of fame were easy pickings. All he had to do was sell his soul, and he did.

  2. Curmudgeon
    April 19, 2024 at 11:48

    Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Paul Craig Roberts, has stated several times that Assange has broken no US law. Mike Pompeo pulled them out of his arse.
    In Clown World, aka The United States of America, the law is whatever a government prosecutor (persecuter?) says it is. That’s the reason for the old saying that in the US, a prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich. Zion Don is getting the same treatment that his boy Fatass Pompeo dreamed up for Assange.

  3. susan
    April 19, 2024 at 07:46

    The US government is thoroughly revolting and are the ones who should be locked up in prison! FREE ASSANGE!!

    • April 20, 2024 at 14:32


    • Andy
      April 21, 2024 at 14:19

      The C.I.A. does not work for the US government, the C.I.A. is the enforcement agency of the international financial monopoly cartel. The C.IA. has simply compromised every aspect of the USA. USA does what the cartel tells them to do.

      This shadow entity is hiding in plain sight, toppling and destabilizing every place, culture and population seeking self determination.

      The rules based order is really to allow this criminal cartel to determine all of human affairs, every war and atrocity is designed to prohibit any alternative path.

      It’s quite obvious at this point, politicians only answer to power, they couldn’t care less about their electorate, they all kneel to the war profiteers of the global financial cartel.

      That’s why justice and law is a farce in the west. However, they cannot compromise China and Russia, they cannot blackmail them, nor have access to monopoly in their markets.

      They’ve shown their hand, their getting desperate, trying to cling to murderous and marauding version of power. They cannot win if they can no longer shackle nation states with permanent debt peonage, or continue committing failed state activities that prevent finance as a public utility, instead of dirty money lending and US global currency.

      The final point is threat of nuclear conflict, I wouldn’t put it past them, this type of power is all consuming.

      The Assange case is the lid coming off, prepare for all types of wild murder.

  4. firstpersoninfinite
    April 18, 2024 at 23:29

    Mr. Burns: there is no question of national security at stake when the security you seek to protect does harm to others. Otherwise, you are just admitting unwittingly that the national security you seek to protect harms others indiscriminately with extreme prejudice. There is no law on the books of any judiciary saying that being a sack of shit is the same thing as avoiding the detection of high crimes and misdemeanors. Free Assange! Or else the Empire isn’t worth any effort made to maintain it going forward.

    April 18, 2024 at 21:21

    Thank you Caitlin Johnstone for continued reporting on this very important issue of freedom of speech for all.

    Thank you Consortium News for publishing her piece.

  6. Jack Stephen Hepburn Flanigan
    April 18, 2024 at 21:15

    And have complete contempt for Australian citizens if it thinks in following a particular course it will run contrary to the US.

  7. Jack Stephen Hepburn Flanigan
    April 18, 2024 at 21:09

    “Just like Gaza, the persecution of Julian Assange makes a lie of everything the U.S. and its Western allies claim to stand for, and reveals the cruel face of tyranny beneath the mask of liberal democracy.”

    As written and so it applies to Australia the most gutless, crawling sycophantic unctuous ally it has. Australia has betrayed Julian from day one. Recent history establishes that Australian governments (both Labor and the “Coalition”) are interested in political security and not national security and, overall, national interests.


    • Susan Siens
      April 19, 2024 at 16:44

      What can one expect from a country settled by small-time criminals (small-time because the British aristocracy are the big-time) whose only claim to superiority was pale skin? If the military is made up of colonialists, then maybe it’s a good idea to use them as proxies in a war with China. (Hard to believe that anyone is that stupid, but so be it.)

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