WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange greets supporters from a balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017.(Frank Augstein / Associated Press)


Opinion: U.S. attack on Julian Assange and the truth

Julian Assange must be set free to stop the attack on press freedom.
<a href="" target="_self">Elmar Navarrete Salvador</a>

Elmar Navarrete Salvador

March 10, 2023

The Belmarsh Tribunal convened in Washington D.C. as they pressured the Biden administration to stop the attack on press freedom as they continued the persecution of Julian Assange who is guilty of reporting American war crimes to the world. 

The group advocates for imprisoned whistleblowers, journalists, and publishers who give the public reliable information that reveals the crimes that governments won’t tell you. 

Focusing their meeting addressing the unjust prosecution of which the United States’ attempt to charge Assange with 18 charges which could bring about a punishment of up to 175 years in prison under the U.S. Espionage Act, for revealing government crimes that stem from war crimes, torture, spying and much more.  

The charges linked to the documents most known that his organization leaked (Wikileaks) which have over 391,832 reports that relate to the Iraq war logs. Additionally, the reports show military videos displaying the atrocities of the Collateral Murder footage which displays a U.S. military helicopter shooting at 11 civilians, two journalists, and two children involved as well in Baghdad the capital of Iraq.

Now appealing his extradition order once more as he has been confined in Belmarsh high-security prison in London since April 2019. If Julian Assange’s extradition comes to pass and is sentenced under the espionage act more than likely a sentence of life imprisonment, every media outlet, source, and publisher around the world will have to consider the dangers of reporting in a world where we see injustice every day from exploitation to police injustice and corruption, they think:  if they did that to Assange, what will they do to me?

Jeffery Sterling, a lawyer, former CIA, and now a member of the tribunal, spoke at the event. When examining the Espionage Act and how it’s being used, it’s not unreasonable to be reminded of the anti-literacy laws that were enforced during slavery in this country. Those laws were used to prevent educating slaves because of the fear that an educated slave population would threaten the nation’s security. Keeping us uneducated and ignorant was a tenet of national security then, and we see the same thing with how the Espionage Act is being used now against whistleblowers and against Julian Assange,” Jeffery said.

The tribunal also heard from Ben Wizner who has been the main legal adviser to whistleblower Edward Snowden. Wizner said, “If this prosecution goes forward and ends in a conviction, it will be a very dark day for press freedom in the United States. The prosecution has already had a chilling effect in newsrooms around the country. The lawyers for publications are already assessing the risks of publishing certain information in a way that they never had before.”

The U.S. seems to feel threatened by Assange and his willingness to reveal the truth to the public and keep the government accountable. This seems to me that the government is desperate and will do absolutely anything possible to make an example out of Julian Assange for revealing their crimes. This would send a strong message to anyone who reveals secrets or stories about anyone in a position of authority which sets a harmful precedent for free press around the world. It amazes me how government officials give little to no awareness of this issue putting an innocent man through such suffering for telling the truth.

If we want a functioning democracy and the 1st amendment Julian Assange needs to be free.