“After the Trump administration’s dangerous decision to proceed, the Biden administration has frustratingly continued with the prosecution”
The thing about whistleblowers and the people who facilitate their bravery is that when people forget about them, the governments on which they blew whistles ultimately win.
When it comes to Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks has produced countless significant revelations about the US and other countries over the past few decades, there is still pressure coming from both sides. And while his defenders may not have the numbers or resources of the entities trying to jail him for more than a century, they still show up.
According to a media release, members of the Boston Area Assange Defense and the Harvard College Class of 2022 will “assemble in Harvard Yard, near the entrance to Tercentenary Theater, between Widener Library and Memorial Church” on Sunday, May 29, at 8am “to protest Assange’s continued detention in a high security prison in London and his impending extradition to the United States.”
The main audience for their demonstration: Attorney General Merrick Garland, who “will be speaking at Harvard University’s commencement ceremony, which runs from 8:00am-10:30am.” According to the release, the “protesters will demand that Garland drop the case and Assange not be extradited to the US.”
More from the Assange Defense group below:
Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, and he is being held by the UK because the US wants to extradite him to be charged under the Espionage Act for releasing classified information about US war crimes. Even though this is standard practice for investigative journalism, and he is not a US citizen, the US is accusing him of espionage. He faces 175 years in prison, if convicted.
In mid-March, the UK Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal of their earlier decision that Assange would be extradited to the US. In April, a UK court ordered the extradition of Assange to the US. The final decision in the case will be made by the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. But, at any time, Joe Biden or Merrick Garland could drop the charges and the case would be over.
Dozens of human rights, civil liberties, and press freedom organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the ACLU, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and more have called on the Justice Department to drop the charges against Assange. The New York Times’s Editorial Board says Assange’s indictment “is aimed straight at the heart of the first amendment.”
The Obama administration decided against prosecution of Assange, understanding the threat it would pose to press freedom. After the Trump administration’s dangerous decision to proceed, the Biden administration has frustratingly continued with the prosecution, while at the same time espousing lofty rhetoric about their support of press freedom and persecuted journalists.
Free speech and freedom of the press are on the line in this case. The US is trying to make an example of Julian Assange so that any journalist or publisher, considering publishing information that will upset the US, will think twice about it.
The UN Special Rapporteur, Nils Melzer, has just published a book, The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution, which lays it all out, the charges, including the false accusations, which the US obtained by offering immunity to their key witness and the campaign of smears that almost made Melzer refuse to take the case. Order his book here.