Freedom for Julian Assange is a big question today. For a decade he has been suffering political aggression for telling the truth that we needed to hear. And this is a crucial matter that defines democracy at its core.
Last week, the British government decided that the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, should be extradited to the United States. If it happens Assange will be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for having disclosed US state secrets. Assange will be charged with espionage.
The case against Assange concerns the publication of hundreds of leaked documents from primarily the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also about diplomatic reports, where the description of heads of state and government are key elements. The largest and most serious western media collaborated with Wikileaks on the publication of this material. It was not without reason, because it is precisely the discovery and publication of such material that is the core business and social mission of serious media.
Without Assange, we wouldn’t know about the horrific abuses against the civilian population in the US wars. According to Wikileaks, it is often American soldiers who are the anonymous sources for the leaks. But if everything has already been leaked, and all the facts are true, then on what ground the US will act against Assange?
The US is demanding that Assange be extradited because his truth has endangered US personnel. But this is just a hox! According to The Guardian, not a single American has lost their life due to Wikileaks leaks. What does it say? It says that the United States’ struggle to get Assange extradited is less about security for American personnel, and more about the discomfort of publishing material that cannot stand the light of day in an open and democratic society.
And then we have a few diplomats and politicians like UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt backing the decision. The question is why would they when they are American’s partners in crime. These politicians and diplomates use the opportunity to assassinate Assange as a principled thinker. Here we need to say that the British decision to extradite Assange to the United States is very undemocratic.
Of all the words, respecting the British decision is the blandest mistake that we could ever support. But you must not forget that European politicians are less allies to the US and more puppets of its illicit cause of imperialistic desire.
Meanwhile, it is Julian Assange who seems to be paying the very highest price for free speech, the remnants of a life in an American high-risk prison. It is the price of revealing the information that is absolutely crucial to being able to lead an open, democratic, and absolutely necessary debate about America’s modern wars. A true and open democracy pays homage to its messengers, even when they bring critical or bad news. This is one of the most important characteristics of a true democracy. So, I believe that freedom of Julian Assange is the same as respect for freedom of expression.