Assange's Extradition Order Sent to UK Home Sec. While Durham's Russiagate Investigation Continues in the US
So this is American exceptionalism? Making the world a more dangerous place? Prosecuting journalism as espionage? Providing an example for those who challenge power? Crushing press freedoms?
Wikileaks founder and journalist Julian Assange had his extradition ordered in a Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, sending it to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel's desk for approval.
"Today was a formality, but I still felt sick to my stomach about what happened today: a magistrate signing an order to send Julian to the United States," Stella Moris, Assange's wife, said following the order. "The UK has no obligation to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, in fact, it its required by its international obligations to stop this extradition. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel: Don't extradite Julian to the country that conspired to murder him. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel can stop this at anytime, they can stop it today. ... They can do the right thing and enforce Article 4 of the U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty, which prohibits extraditions for political offenses. Right now, they are in breach of their own treaty."
You know, it's a stinging shame that Tuesday was flooded with updates and takes regarding Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz. Whatever the qualms or conundrums were specifically about didn't matter in comparison— journalism was a day a way from being pushed closer to criminalization, and the discourse of the week was primed to focus on matters of a whole other world, where journalism, I guess, means something else.
Maybe it's a look into the future, a peak inside a world where journalism is reduced to unserious matters and made a mockery of amid the entertainment shock of a silly disagreement—that will be forgotten in weeks time.
If that's the case, it's a piss-poor future. In that world, the true pressing matters of the day are overlooked and "the news" proves to be a better wall than a window. But sadly, it seems, all signs point to that future being a reality already, and having been so for a long time.
Along with the discussions regarding journalism being where they are, the war in Ukraine has also provided ample reason to lose trust in the journalistic institutions and any opportunity for truth to thrive, unperturbed, and that was already on top of years of declining transparency.
And of course, there's this criminalization of journalism that challenges power, illustrated clearly in the fact that the US power establishment is making an example of Assange, who revealed war crimes, abuses of power, and suspensions of civil liberties.
The dark irony, as many have pointed out, is the fact that as President Biden and the establishment press the charges of war crimes against their adversary, Russia, the very man responsible for making US war crimes public knowledge is being held as a political prisoner and is being killed by a process.
So this is American exceptionalism? Making the world a more dangerous place? Prosecuting journalism as espionage? Providing a brutal example for those who consider challenging power? Crushing press freedoms?
It must be said, though, that the extradition order coincides with something interesting: the most recent filing from Special Counsel John Durham regarding the Russiagate hoax— the media charade that may have put the most heat beneath Assange, even if fabricated.
The recent filing revealed that Michael Sussman, the lawyer who represented the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign, and who was indicted this past September for making false statements to the FBI, had met with members of the CIA in January 2017 to supply data on "the presence and activity of a unique Russian made phone around President Trump," referred to as the YotaPhone. The alleged activity was said to have begun in April 2016 and persisted following Trump’s "move to the White House." (The April 2016 timeframe is important because it was at that time that the DNC "hack" was claimed to have occurred.)
The January 2017 meeting resulted in a February 2017 meeting between Sussman and the CIA where the Clinton lawyer reiterated his claims about the YotaPhone.
In the early part of 2017, the CIA looked over the YotaPhone and Alfa Bank data provided to them—proving, among other things, that the CIA collected information on a sitting president—and Durham's filing showed that the agency ultimately concluded that the "data was not 'technically possible,' did not 'withstand technical scrutiny,' 'contained gaps,' conflicted with [itself]' and was 'user created and not machine/tool generated.'"
This is a sign that the foundation of the claims of the Clinton campaign is made of caked-together manure, that the CIA overreached, and the FBI has some questions to answer. It also provides potential context about the imprisonment and illiberal persecution of journalist Julian Assange.
Peter Van Buren wrote about the most recent addition to the Durham investigation for The Libertarian Institute and ruminated on the possible connection to Assange (emphasis my own):
"This all should also raise questions about Michael Sussman and his role representing the Democratic National Committee and the DNC server hack. Careful research by retired NSA persons suggest the server was accessed from inside the U.S., not hacked from Russia as widely alleged. One hates to go down the conspiracy road, but is Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks released some of the DNC emails, imprisoned in part because he could prove his source for the hacked emails was not Russian, as he has claimed?"
Scott Horton @scotthortonshowThe Russiagate Hoax Goes Deeper Than We Thought by Peter Van Buren https://t.co/CYCP75ukQU @aaronjmate @Techno_Fog https://t.co/08lhAidmjZ
As Van Buren notes, former NSA experts had already proven that the hack everyone was talking about wasn't a hack at all, that it was, in fact, a leak done within the United States, not Russia. It's not at all crazy.
TechnoFrog, in his newsletter The Reactionary, wondered about the broader implications, noting that Sussman, as well as Alfa Bank hoax pusher Rodney Joffe, "risked charges — and thus jeopardized their lucrative careers — to tie Trump to Russia."
"Considering the personal costs to both men, are we to believe that this was only about politics?
"Or maybe this all leads back to the DNC hack…"
Sure, throw it on a stinking pile of authoritarian reasons the national security establishment would want to make a lesson out of Assange, but further revelations could bring big implications.
Meanwhile, the future of press freedoms desperately depends on public support for Julian Assange, and time is quickly running out (about four weeks) until Patel approves the order that will essential sign the Wikileaks founder's death certificate.
Today's reality already proves how important dedication to truth would be and how dangerous things are without it.
Therefore, the word must continue to be spread, and the fight must continue to be waged to free Assange, protect press freedoms, and preserve truth.
Stefan Simanowitz @StefSimanowitz1/. This Wednesday, @amnesty will be at the London court where a magistrate will issue an order to extradite #JulianAssange to the US The order will then go to @pritipatel for approval Patel will make a decision on #Assange on 18 May. #FreeJulianAssange https://t.co/VqxgL24KWX
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