from Democracy Now! —
In a stunning decision, a British judge has blocked the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, saying he would not be safe in a U.S. prison due to his deteriorated mental state. In 2019, Assange was indicted in the United States on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The United States has already announced plans to appeal the ruling. Press freedom advocates have campaigned against Assange’s prosecution for years, arguing it would set a dangerous precedent for prosecuting journalists. The blocked extradition due to concern over prison safety rather than press freedom shows that “this is not the end of the road,” says Assange legal adviser Jennifer Robinson. “This is still a terrible precedent.” We also speak with Jameel Jaffer, founding director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, who says that while the decision is a “very significant victory” for Assange, the judge has largely sided with the U.S. prosecution.
But it ain’t justice…
Excerpt from “Assange Extradition Ruling Is a Relief, But it Isn’t Justice” —
That said, the message of the empire here was essentially, “We totally coulda extradited you if we wanted, but you’re too crazy,” which sounds a lot like the international diplomacy equivalent of “I could kick your ass but you’re not worth it.” It’s a way of backing down while still saving face and appearing to be a threat. But everyone looking on can see that backing down is still backing down. I think it’s a safe bet that if this case hadn’t had such intense scrutiny on it from all over the world, we would have heard a different ruling today. The empire did what it could to try and intimidate journalists with the possibility of prison for exposing its malfeasance, but in the end, it backed down. I’m not going to take that as a sign that we’ve won the war, or even the battle. But it is a sign that our punches are landing. And that we’ve got a fighting chance here.