Julian Assange – Looking Forward by Looking Back. By: Peter Koenig

By allowing the US government to compel Julian Assange to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit, America has condemned itself to be a land where telling the truth is a crime. Scott Ritter
Scott is right of course. In more ways than one. This could set a precedent for any journalist who says the truth. It is also a way of intimidating journalists from doing their honest job, of investigating and publishing the truth. Julian Assange’s case may also set a precedent, that the First Amendment of the US Constitution is not sacrosanct.

Let us be honest, the First Amendment has been beaten up badly many times over the past few decades, even more so under reigning neoliberal policies – around the western world.

Setting the western world apart, sounds like seeking divisions. It is the west that sets itself apart with the rules-based orders – that kills international and local laws and even national Constitutions – and is attempting to set precedence of elite-made rules, over the laws of the lands and of the hearts – ethics, moral standards.

Even the New York Times (NYT) stated: “Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, was indicted on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in obtaining and publishing secret military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues.”
“Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues”NYT. 23 May 2019.

Much more can be and has been said about losing freedom of speech, of expression, of press. These sad and ugly precedents have been set, by a falling hegemon. As this empire is falling by its own weight, its “precedents” will be falling as well.

On the other hand, Julian Assange

“Agreed to plead guilty to ONE felony related to the disclosure of national security information in exchange for his release from Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom” (Common Dreams, June 24, 2024, and this https://michelchossudovsky.substack.com/p/wiki-gate-julian-assange-was-framed-4f4?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=1910355&post_id=146051121&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=true&r=jn0x0&triedRedirect=true&utm_medium=email

This is one charge of 17 (the others have been dropped), “disclosure of national security information”, which he received from Chelsea Manning and which has been published later on – even by the mainstream media, who were not accused, indicted and in prison.

That is what our world is all about. We, the People, have let it drift into certainly one of the most dystopian states, humanity has ever known. Even George Orwell would turn in is grave, would he know that his “1984” predictive novel would be so boldly surpassed, in just 40 years beyond the target of his prophecy.

Today what is important – MOST IMPORTANT – Julian Assange is FREE. He is free and back with his family. He is able to enjoy the first time in his and their lives, his kids outside of prison confinement.

After all these years, it sounds like a miracle.

Julian Assange’s wife – Stella – gave happy and emotional interview with BBC (9-min) on 25 June, when Julian was on his way to the US Court in Saipan, Northern Mariana Island, in the North Pacific, a US-administered territory. See this https://youtu.be/kZQIDGHQYZ0 .

And then, as reported by 9 News Australia – Julian’s Heartfelt Welcome Home #JulianAssange #WikiLeaks #australia :

Julian Assange has finally been reunited with his loved ones. The WikiLeaks founder arrived in Australia on Wednesday, 26 June, returning to his homeland after a 14-year-long legal battle. Upon landing, Assange was seen embracing his wife, Stella Assange, while lifting her off the ground and hugging his father, John Shipton. His return marks the end of a long saga, during which Assange spent over five years in a British high-security prison and seven years in asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fighting extradition to the US.

Julian has achieved his Freedom with the help of many – his lawyers, Jennifer Robinson and Barry Pollak; the current Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, who negotiated diplomatically and secretly for over two years with the Biden Administration; the many supporters praying for him; those visiting him in prison; those taking to the streets, and demonstrating for his release; and all those who quietly put their brains in spiritual mode, meditating for justice – Julian has his deserved and due Freedom again. That is important.

See what US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (Rep.) has to say in defense of Julian Assange (45 sec.) https://youtu.be/aIJonegyu2c.

Roger Waters, a big fan and defender of Julian’s, gave a brief interview on 26 June about the release of Julian. He does not hide his happiness, but also expresses his distraught about the loss of freedom of speech and expression symbolized by Julian’s 14 years of confinement, deprivation of freedom for doing his true job as a journalist – TELLING THE TRUTH – see this

Here are comments of Julian’s Defense Team during a Press Conference, outside the US Court in Saipan, Northern Mariana Island – https://youtu.be/unu1QcaszVY .

It is said that Julian’s Defense Team is considering filing a lawsuit with the European Court or the UN for torture against him, the lawyer of the WikiLeaks founder told RIA Novosti see this https://x.com/Zlatti_71/status/1805838249199321194 .

What will that bring? – No retribution, for sure. But perhaps a reimbursement of the tremendous debt Julian and his family and team have incurred – over US$ 520,000 for his travel and the hired jet.

Julian’s Freedom also shows, that a sense of justice still prevails, the justice of morals and ethics has overcome. And that is important.

No matter whether the circumstances were helped by a last-minute Washington’s face-saving act, or 2024 being a US-election year and the Dems needing all the help they can get. Freedom has won.

And isn’t this a sign that this Freedom still enhances the noble thought behind the First Amendment? That Freedom of expression may have a revival?

Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

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