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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/12/19

Pardoning Assange Would be the First Step Back Toward Rule of Law

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On April 11, the ongoing saga of journalist and transparency activist Julian Assange took a dangerous turn. Ecuador's president, Lenin Moreno, revoked his asylum in that country's London embassy. British police immediately arrested him -- supposedly pursuant to his "crime" of jumping bail on an invalid arrest warrant in an investigation since dropped without charges but, as they admitted shortly thereafter, actually with the intent of turning him over to US prosecutors on bogus "hacking" allegations.

The US political class has been after Assange for nearly a decade.

In 2010 WikiLeaks, the journalism/transparency service he founded, released information revealing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as State Department cables exposing -- among other things -- Hillary Clinton's attempts to have American diplomats plant bugs in the offices of their UN counterparts (Clinton, at one point, tried to raise the possibility of having him murdered for embarrassing her so).

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In 2016, WikiLeaks released Democratic National Committee emails -- provided by an as yet unidentified whistleblower -- exposing the DNC's attempts to rig the Democratic presidential primaries in Clinton's favor.

At no point has Assange been credibly accused of a crime. He's a journalist. People provide him with information. He publishes that information. That's an activity clearly and unambiguously protected by the First Amendment.

Even if Assange was a US citizen, and even if his activities had taken place in territory under US jurisdiction, there's simply no criminal case to be made against him.

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So they're manufacturing one out of whole cloth, accusing him of "hacking" by asserting that he assisted Chelsea Manning with the technical process of getting the 2010 information to WikiLeaks.

But once again: Assange is not a US citizen, nor at the time of his alleged actions was he anywhere that would have placed him under the jurisdiction of the United States.

Even if he did what he's accused of doing, the current state of affairs is the equivalent of the city government of Chicago asking Norway to extradite a French citizen on charges of not cutting the grass at his villa in Italy to the specifications of Chicago's ordinance on the subject.

There are certainly criminal charges worth pursuing here.

The US Department of Justice should appoint a special counsel to probe the Assange affair with an eye toward firing, seeking the disbarment of, and prosecuting (for violations of US Code Title 18, Sections 241, Conspiracy Against Rights, and 242, Violation of Rights Under Color of Law) the DoJ bureaucrats who hatched this malicious prosecution.

The first step in the process, though, is for US president Donald Trump to pardon Julian Assange for all alleged violations of US law on or prior to April 11, 2019.

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Assange is a hero. Time to stop treating him like a criminal.

 

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Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


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4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


molly cruz

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I say Amen to his heroism, but pardoning him suggests that he committed a crime, which is the writer's conviction and which it doesn't appear that he did. This was pointed out when Trump wanted to pardon Arpaio, Sheriff of Arizona, who had not yet been convicted.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 2:41:29 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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No, it is not "the writer's conviction" that Assange committed a crime. I agree completely, and have written before, that he's done nothing he should have to beg "pardon" for.


On the other hand, he has been maliciously and falsely CHARGED with a crime, and faces extradition pursuant to those charges. A pardon would be the quicker way to justice than hoping he beats the system.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 3:55:31 PM

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molly cruz

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As was pointed out when Trump tried to pardon Arpaio, a pardon is not appropriate when no crime has been committed. He was encouraged to wait until after Arpaio's trial. That's all I know about it. What you think is irrelevant to the question, and I didn't mean to mischaracterize your opinion. Clearly you're on his side.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 5:11:58 PM

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How about just dropping the charges? The persecution of Assange and Manning are an effort to quell the consciences of any other person with damaging evidence against the state or the .00001%. Assange's real "crime" was the planned release in early 2011 of the hard drive of a CEO of a TBTF bank. The public revelation of those purposeful crimes that led to the 2008 collapse could have caused much more trouble for the Banksters.


That the US is a country based on the rule of law has always been a convenient fiction. Any close reading of history will show that all laws are selectively enforced or broken with no consequence.

Article II Section 2 Clause 2 of the Constitution states that all ratified treaties are the supreme law of the land subject only to the Constitution. Can anyone tell me of any ratified treaty that has not been violated by the US?


The true rule of law lies with the people. When they hit the streets or refuse to cooperate in sufficient numbers, then the laws get enforced. Time to hit the streets and stop cooperating in support of Assange, Manning and Free Speech.

In the words of Mario Savio "unless you are free, the machine will be prevented from working at all".

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 5:14:16 PM

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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Popes Joe & Frankie should frankly forgive Julian Assange for being truthful.

Donald J. Trump developed sudden onset oldtimers disease to forget who exposed Clinton's corruption. Wikileaks reported fraud & waste. Qui Tam it!

Submitted on Friday, Apr 12, 2019 at 5:58:48 PM

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