Sailing Further Into Darkness
With a hearing set for April 20th, Assange's extradition order will be issued and sent to UK Home Sec. Priti Patel for authorization, pushing the west beyond a grim point of no return.
“We are free press activists. It’s not about saving the whales, it’s about giving the people the information they need to support whaling or not support whaling. Why? That is the raw ingredients that is needed to make adjustments to society, and without that, you are just sailing in the dark.”
—Julian Assange on 60 Minutes in January 2011
The U.S. is fast approaching the point of no return as the global order continues its massive shift and as it does everything in its power to try and retain some standing in the world. The reckless and imperious behavior is not new, but it has stood out as of late with this presiding sense of desperation. As a result, the public awareness is arguably too enveloped in darkness for there to be any hope of avoiding a shipwreck upon the rocks.
On Saturday, a new hearing was announced at the Westminster Magistrate's Court for April 20th where the warrant will be issued to proceed with the extradition of journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The order will then be delivered to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel's desk for approval. Assange's defense will have until May 18th to make submissions to Patel.
In what is an undeniable nail in the coffin for Assange, the subservient British seem well prepared to ship the political prisoner off to the U.S. where he's been indicted with 17 counts of violating the 1917 Espionage Act and will face up to 175 grueling years in a supermax prison, gripped by conditions that will degrade his downtrodden condition even further.
Though the defense will have an opportunity to appeal to Patel, the likelihood that anything sways the Home Secretary from authorizing the order is extremely unlikely. Priti Patel has a long history with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a CIA-affiliated lobbying group. Her time on the HJS advisory council had a considerable intersection with the husband of the judge that made two key rulings leading up to the arrest of Julian Assange nearly three years ago in April 2019.
This looks like the end for the battle against extradition unless public pressure can somehow accumulate enough momentum to force the issue.
More than anything, though, this has broader implications. This is a nail in the coffin for a truly free press and for the public that depends on it because journalism is being criminalized, truth is being criminalized.
The United States and, more broadly, the west is moving closer and closer to complete darkness at a treacherous point, and it's no wonder that this final blow to subject Assange to the empire's punishment is occurring now.
Responsible for revealing the truth of U.S. diplomacy, power, and imperialism—misuses of power, war crimes, the building blocks of a surveillance state, and the like—Assange is finally being forced off the plank. And at a time, no less, when America is trying (and arguably failing) to hold onto being the authoritative force on the world stage, when the U.S. is shamelessly upfront about its regime change tactics (even blatantly threatening Pakistan's Prime Minister), and when an information war orchestrated by the power establishment is clouding the public's visibility as the nation speeds dangerously atop icy roads, unaware that when they see the need to hit the brakes, it will be too late.
Point is, most Americans either don't know about Assange's unjust imprisonment or they have been lead to believe many of the lies that supposedly warranted such treatment— some probably sincerely believe Paul Manafort was meeting with Assange (he wasn't) or that Russia worked with WikiLeaks to expose 2016 DNC corruption (again, false) or any of the other publicized lies. In fact, it’s reasonable to say that a large faction of the pubic has bought into the deceptive claims that Julian Assange—an Australian—is a traitor to the U.S., and have subsequently written off the issue. Or worse, they echo Mike Pompeo—whose CIA seriously considered kidnapping or even assassinating Assange—who called WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service."
It's unfortunate, but this is the shadowy point at which this nation stands.
Such baseless claims are very much akin to the insulated proclaimations that anyone who does not submit to the blindfolded support for Ukraine and "democracy"—more specifically, anyone who cites the U.S.-backed 2014 Maidan coup, NATO's brazen expansion, the intentional new cold war, the funding and direct support of neo-nazi groups in Ukraine who have been a driving force behind the roughly eight-year war being waged in the eastern regions, and the logical condemnations of a widely detrimental economic war—is a traitorous Putin apologist.
And yet, it's come to the worst possible outcome. Of course, the extradition, but also, in the big picture, the lesson that will be made to all journalists that the principles of a free press are an illusion. The lesson being made will be completed, the point made that there is a line, that there are untouchable stories, revelations, and perspectives that will only bring about trouble for any publisher undertaking the burden of conscience.
Maybe it won't automatically result in the inhumane detention in a supermax prison in every case, but the loss of a potential living, the hit on reputation, or perhaps some other form of punishment will likely be enough to exacerbate the cancerous tendencies of self-censorship and stenography that choke our press institutions today.
As written before in this space, we are all effectively screwed. This is not an understatement. The creep towards a dead end for civil liberties won't need to continue much further.
Sure, it's in Germany, not America, where the potential to be prosecuted exists for anyone who expresses approval for Russia's actions in Ukraine (code for: any broader context relating to the whole geopolitical matter).
Bundesministerium des Innern und für Heimat @BMI_BundDer russische Angriffskrieg gegen die #Ukraine ist eine Straftat. Wer diesen Angriffskrieg öffentlich billigt, kann sich strafbar machen. Das gilt auch für das Zeigen des „#Z“-Symbols. Die Sicherheitsbehörden des Bundes haben die Verwendung des Symbols im Blick.
But isn't even that too close to home for the proclaimed American exceptionalism-believing, western democracy-supporting person? Same goes for the undemocratic freezing of banking accounts and assets in Canada back in February. Wasn't that too close?
The whole world is already venturing in dangerous waters, and it only gets more uncertain from here as the U.S. continues threatening the world while the declining empire clutches for something in order to remain on its feet.
Taking away those who hold power accountable, removing the space to even consider trying to hold power accountable, proves that the path forward is bound to get worse.
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