Skip to main content

Black Listed News
Trending Articles:
Trending Articles:

Assange Extradition Hearing Opens with Scathing Condemnation by Mainstream Media

Published: February 24, 2020
Share | Print This

Source: Mint Press

The extradition trial of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange got underway at Woolwich Crown Court in London today. Assange, 48, is wanted by the U.S. government on 18 charges of hacking and breaches of the Espionage Act, specifically for the publication of evidence leaked by Pvt. Chelsea Manning that detailed evidence of American war crimes in the Middle East. If found guilty he faces up to 175 years in prison.

The prosecution, led by James Lewis, Q.C., began by reading out a damning statement from five leading media organizations, The Guardian, The New York Times, El País, Der Spiegel and Le Monde, all of whom had partnered with Wikileaks, gratefully publishing the group’s revelations but now condemned them, helping his prosecution.

“We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk,” they said. The prosecution is alleging that Assange recklessly published a huge trove of documents containing the names of American agents and informants, putting their lives in danger, and that he solicited information from Manning, encouraging her to break the law. That neither were in the United States when this took place, Lewis said, was irrelevant, as Manning was still a member of the U.S. armed forces. Therefore, he told the court, the case was one of “straightforward criminality.”

Many mainstream outlets like the BBC and The Guardian also framed Assange as having “put lives at risk” – echoing the attack from the prosecution in their headlines. Media were also strongly supportive of his arrest from the Ecuadorian embassy last year, celebrating that the “delusional, childish narcissist” poisoning America with his “vile spite” was finally about to “face justice.” Former Newsweek journalist Tareq Haddad noted that the press room was packed for the U.S. government prosecution team’s statements but was half empty by the time the defense began.

A crowd of supporters gathered outside the court, with only a few of those who showed up able to attend the events in person. Assange’s father, John Shipton, told those assembled that, “all of the bases for the prosecution’s accusations fail on accuracy and fact” and that sending his son to the United States would be a “death sentence.” The crowd kept up a constant stream of noise and chants were audible in the courtroom throughout the day. Eventually, the defense, including Assange himself, asked for them to keep quiet as it was interfering with proceedings.

The prosecution finished much earlier than expected and by the afternoon the defense was presenting its case. Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, Q.C., stated that “This is not about criminal justice, it’s about making an example” of his client, adding that the charges were “grossly inflated.” Kristinn Hrafnsson, Icelandic investigative journalist and current editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, demanded to know “why aren’t we here talking in court about the war crimes, the assassination of innocent civilians?” The defense also argued that the defendant suffers from long term mental health problems, including clinical depression, which would no doubt be exacerbated by extradition. They noted that in 2013, U.K courts denied an American extradition request for British-Finnish hacker Lauri Love on mental health grounds.

The defense also revealed that they intend to call American linguist and political activist Professor Noam Chomsky as an expert witness and confirmed the story circulating that the Trump administration offered Assange a full pardon in exchange for a statement that Russia was not involved in hacking related to the 2016 elections. They did not accept the offer from former congressman Dana Rohrbacher as they felt it amounted to political extortion. Rohrbacher denies certain parts of the story.

Assange had been granted political asylum by the progressive Ecuadorian administration of Rafael Caldera, but could not leave the country’s embassy in London for almost seven years. However, after Caldera was replaced by the right-wing, pro-U.S. Lenin Moreno, his welcome ran out and he was dragged out the building last year. Since then, he has been held at Belmarsh Prison, London. The most infamous leak Wikileaks revealed was the “Collateral Murder” video, that showed American forces massacring civilians, including Reuters journalists, in cold blood.

The extradition hearing has been condemned by many international groups, including the Council of Europe and the United Nations. On Friday, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director Massimo Moratti said:

The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression…The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who expose official wrongdoing by publishing information disclosed to them by credible sources could have a profound impact on the public’s right to know what their government is up to. All charges against Assange for such activities must be dropped.”

The court finished at around 4 p.m. local time and will resume at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The hearing is expected to last several weeks.

Featured photo | Supporters hold placards and banners during a protest against the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange outside Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London, Feb. 24, 2020. Matt Dunham | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, Common Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

Related Articles:

The defense for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange alleged that the director of a Spanish security company known as Undercover Global was contracted by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire who is one of President Donald Trump’s biggest donors.

The prosecution of Assange threatens press freedom. This is the first time that the US Espionage Act has been used against a publisher. Ahead of the proceedings in a UK court, professionals, activists and human rights defenders around the world are coming together to intervene in this highly politicized case.

Since the Democrats' failed attempt to impeach President Trump we've entered a period where the left is now stepping up their attacks on Attorney General Barr's credibility in case he is actually going to indict the criminals in the attempted coup and spying on the Trump Administration. In a recent article on CNN's website that hilariously took 4 writers, including Zachary Cohen, Jeremy Herb, Dana Bash, and Jim Acosta to put together their most recent hit job and planned distraction of more fake Russian interference.

The Foreign Office has long taken a strong anti-Assange position, rejecting UN findings in his favour, refusing to recognise the political asylum given to him by Ecuador, and even labelling Assange a “miserable little worm”.

Julian Assange started a leak outlet on the premise that corrupt and unaccountable power is a problem in our world, and that problem can be fought with the light of truth. Corrupt and unaccountable power responded by detaining, silencing and smearing him. His persecution has proved his own thesis about the world absolutely correct.

Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.

Effort to shut down political opposition masquerading as noble effort to protect the children.

The U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has stressed in its latest report that hacktivists and “public disclosure organizations” like WikiLeaks pose a “significant threat” similar to that of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorists, as well as Russia, Iran, and China.

Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the FBI for all records related to murdered Democratic National Committee (DNC) Voter Expansion Data Director Seth Rich.

Glenn Greenwald has spent the last three years being falsely smeared as a stooge of authoritarian governments while he was actually doing more damage to an authoritarian government than all of his critics combined. Public trust in oppressive institutions (like the oppressive institutions that empire loyalists have been protecting by smearing Greenwald as a Kremlin agent and a Putin puppet) can be severely weakened by the exposure of their dark underbellies to the light of truth.

A very “sedated” Julian Assange told a friend that he’s dying on Christmas Eve. Because of Assange’s condition during the phone call, concerns about his health have mounted.  His suffering amounts to torture at the hands of government.

The Washington Post has published clear, undeniable evidence that US government officials have been lying to the public about the war in Afghanistan, a shocking revelation for anyone who has done no research whatsoever into the history of US interventionism.

A Newsweek journalist has resigned after the publication reportedly suppressed his story about the ever-growing OPCW scandal, the revelation of immensely significant plot holes in the establishment Syria narrative that you can update yourself on by watching this short seven-minute video or this more detailed video here.

Now that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is safely locked up in Belmarsh prison awaiting a US extradition hearing, Sweden has, for a third time, dropped its rape investigation.

Prosecutor says country will not proceed with investigation into WikiLeaks founder

Share This Article...

Image result for patreon

You Might Like

Image result for patreon


Ad Blocking software disables some of the functionality of our website, including our comments section for some browsers.

Login with patreon to gain access to perks!


Enter your email address:

More Blacklisted News...

Blacklisted Radio
Blacklisted Nation
On Patreon
On Gab
On Twitter
On Reddit
On Facebook
Blacklisted Radio:
Republic Broadcasting
Podcasts on Youtube
Podcasts on Demand
On Iheart Radio
On Spreaker
On Stitcher
On iTunes
On Tunein

Our IP Address:

Garden office


Advertise Here...

Libertas Bella

Get your 2nd Amendment Shirts
over at Libertas Bella

BlackListed News 2006-2019
Privacy Policy
Terms of Service