Saturday, December 4

Julian Assange’s extradition ruling: right result, wrong reason | Julian Assange

JThe extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to face charges of espionage and piracy cannot be carried out. This ruling By Judge Vanessa Barrister is a victory, although not on the principles that should form the basis for opposing her extradition. The legal basis for the sentence is that “extradition would be oppressive because of mental damage.” The WikiLeaks founder has a “recurrent depressive disorder” and is likely to be incarcerated in a maximum security prison, where the procedures would not prevent Assange from “finding a way to commit suicide.”

It is not to criticize the soundness of Barrister’s legal judgment to argue that this was the right decision, but for the wrong reason. That a British court has ruled that America’s prison system is too barbaric to guarantee Assange’s safety tells its own story. But it’s about something much bigger than Assange – it’s about journalism, the free press, and most important of all, the ability to expose the atrocities committed By the world’s last remaining superpower.

Assange is not yet free: America can appeal a ruling from our lowest court; he should now be released on bail rather than remain incarcerated at Bears given his proven mental state, but legal experts believe that Barrister’s decision would be difficult to overturn. What remains concerning, then, is that no precedent has been set to protect other whistleblowers, unless there are similar mental health grounds, and therefore the principled case needs to be explained more clearly.

More than a decade ago, Chelsea Manning bravely downloaded classified documents from US military servers and discovered, most notably, a 2007 video of an American aircrew laughing after 12 innocent people were killed, including two Iraqi Reuters employees. . The aircrew had dishonestly claimed that they had come across a shooting – without Manning’s video, history would have continued to record it as such. Other files showed how hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan, people whose lives are not considered worthy of being covered By the majority of the media, were killed By US-led forces. Another cable exposed scandals and corruption in Tunisia’s Western-backed regime, helping fuel a protest movement that toppled its autocratic ruler, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Manning had first approached American newspapers with the information, but with no luck, so he went to Assange’s WikiLeaks organization, which published the material.

It is for this reason that Assange is being persecuted By the United States: to set an example, to encourage the others. US authorities fear that if Assange does not face the worst horrors of his inhumane prison system, he will not discourage others from similarly exposing American atrocities.

Here’s why it is important. America’s ability to unleash violence against foreign populations depends on its national citizens not being aware of the consequences. Consent to the Vietnam War, for example, began to unravel when American citizens saw images of the conflict of children screaming in their napalm-burned clothes, or realized the hundreds who were slaughtered By American forces in the massacre. By My Lai. Since then, the United States government has become more adept at managing media coverage, including incorporating journalists into military units. The use of drone strikes – drastically accelerated By Barack Obama, who used them 10 times more than his predecessor, killed an unknown number of civilians who remained largely anonymous. Civilian deaths of airstrikes in Afghanistan increased By 330% in four years under Donald Trump, and not only increased drone strikes, but reversed a policy to publish the number of civilians killed By drone strikes outside war zones.

America’s war machine depends on being able to airbrush brutal human realities. If innocent civilians can be silently killed without consequence, then there is nothing that can prevent more from suffering the same fate. The US military cannot be allowed to operate with impunity – that’s what this case is really about. And while Assange’s freedom can be saved, although this is not certain, the argument for revealing the truth about the wars carried out on behalf of the American people must be louder than ever.

• Owen Jones is a columnist for The Guardian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *