Death Sentence for Julian Assange?

More than six years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy building in London, the WikiLeaks founder finds himself in danger again.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Remarks made earlier this week by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa suggest that her government may be depriving Assange of the political asylum it granted him in in 2012 and hand him over to British and then US authorities, the World Socialist Website wrote on Saturday.

In an interview on Wednesday, Espinosa said that the Ecuadorian government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.”

She added that the two sides were working to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.

In March, the Ecuadorian government cut Assange’s phone and Internet contact with the outside world and barred his friends and supporters from visiting him.

The Ecuadorian authorities explained their action by stating that “Assange’s behavior, through his messages on social media, put at risk good relations this country has with the UK, the rest of the EU and other nations.”

If Assange is handed over to the British authorities, they could eventually extradite him to the United States to face prosecution over Wikileaks’ publication of leaked US military and diplomatic documents.

Last year, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that putting Assange on trial for espionage was a “priority” and then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, asserted that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

In 2010, WikiLeaks published information leaked by US soldier Bradley Manning that exposed war crimes committed by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.

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The people like Assange who expose illegal behavior are punished, while those who committed the crimes are rewarded. And these acts are perpetrated by those who claim to hold the moral high ground.

Conservatives such as Sarah Palin seems to support Assad while those on the left have said very disturbing things.  In 2016, Hillary Clinton strategist Bob Beckel told Fox News “a dead man can’t leak stuff,” and said the “guy’s a traitor, a treasonist (sic), and … and he has broken every law in the United States. The guy ought to be—and I’m not for the death penalty—so, if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it, illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”

Hillary Clinton asked: “Can’t we just drone this guy?” She proposed destroying WikiLeaks with a drone strike.

We do not know what Trump thinks of Assange, we do know that his lawyers made the case for preemptively pardoning Julian Assange in a motion to dismiss a WikiLeaks-related lawsuit by Democrats against the Trump campaign. Preemptive pardons are rare.

Prior to Pompeo taking over the State Department, spokesperson Heather Nauert said the US supports freedom of the press, an oblique reference to Assange and WikiLeaks.  


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