CIA covers Its tracks as Assange extradition moves forward

There has been an expectation that Washington will respond to the Australian government’s request to free Australian citizen Julian Assange. It has chosen not to listen. No surprise here. Melbourne journalist Caitlin Johnson explains (Caitlin Johnson 17 April 2024) that the intentions are to keep on making an example of the WikiLeaks founder and to drag out the case as long as possible. The British High Court asked in February for an assurance that Assange would be protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech, not discriminated against because of his nationality, and that a death sentence won’t be applied. The answer is that these asks are for the American court system to decide. In other words, there is no guarantee. Meanwhile the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has just filed a case seeking state secrecy privilege, to withhold information relevant to the case filed by journalists spied upon when visiting Assange, which denied their own First Amended rights. This is the mindset in Washington.

So they’re really doing it. The Biden administration is really ignoring Australia’s request to end the case against Julian Assange, and they’re proceeding with their campaign to extradite a journalist for telling the truth about US war crimes.

In order to move the extradition case forward, per a British high court ruling US prosecutors needed to provide “assurances” that the US would not seek the death penalty and would not deprive Assange of his human right to free speech because of his nationality. The US provided the assurance against the death penalty (which they’d previously opposed doing), and for the free speech assurance they said only that Assange will be able to “raise and seek to rely upon” US First Amendment rights, adding, “A decision as to the applicability of the First Amendment is exclusively within the purview of the U.S. Courts.”

Which is basically just saying “I mean, you’re welcome to TRY to have free speech protections?”

US Issues Assurances on Assange

Updated with text of diplomatic note:

“The U.S. Tuesday filed assurances on the death penalty and the 1st Amendment, the latter of which Stella Assange called a “non-assurance.”

See the special article at Consortium News


At the same time, CIA Director William Burns has filed a State Secrets Privilege demand to withhold information in a lawsuit against the agency by four American journalists and attorneys who were spied on during their visits to Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. State secrets privilege is a US evidentiary rule designed to prevent courts from revealing state secrets during civil litigation; the CIA began invoking it with the Assange lawsuit earlier this year.

Burns argues:

“I am asserting the state secrets and statutory privileges in this case as I have determined that either admitting or denying that CIA has information implicated by the remaining allegations in the Amended Complaint reasonably could be expected to cause serious — and in some cases, exceptionally grave — damage to the national security of the United States. After deliberation and personal consideration, I have determined that the complete factual bases for my privilege assertions cannot be set forth on the public record without confirming or denying whether CIA has information relating to this matter and therefore risking the very harm to U.S. national security that I seek to protect.”

Which is obviously a load of horse shit. As Assange himself tweeted in 2017, “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.” Burns isn’t worried about damaging “the national security of the United States,” he’s worried about the potential political fallout from information about the CIA spying on American lawyers and journalists while visiting a journalist who was being actively targeted by the legal arm of the US government.


Political security is also why the US is working to punish Julian Assange for publishing inconvenient facts about US war crimes. The Pentagon already acknowledged years ago that the Chelsea Manning leaks for which Assange is being prosecuted didn’t get anyone killed and had no strategic impact on US war efforts, so plainly this isn’t about national security. It’s just politically damaging for the criminality of the US government to be made public for all to see.

They’re just squeezing and squeezing this man as hard as they can for as long as they can get away with to keep him silent and make an example of him to show what happens when journalists reveal unauthorized information about the empire. Just like Gaza, the persecution of Julian Assange makes a lie of everything the US and its western allies claim to stand for and reveals the cruel face of tyranny beneath the mask of liberal democracy.

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