WASHINGTON, DC: In an unexpected show of unity, MAGA Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and left-wing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined forces with 14 other members of the US Congress to to advocate for an end to extradition attempts against Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The case against Julian Assange calls for a bipartisan emergency
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In a letter directly to President Joe Biden on November 8, the bipartisan group expressed deep concerns about the potential repercussions of continuing Assange’s extradition and called for an immediate end to all proceedings against him, according to the Washington Examiner.
It’s worth noting that Greene and Ocasio-Cortez typically fall on extreme ends of the political spectrum when it comes to policy or ideology, but it appears the congresswomen have found common ground in the plight of ‘Assange.
Julian Assange has been held at Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019 (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
“It is the duty of journalists to seek sources, including documentary evidence, in order to report government activities to the public,” the bipartisan letter read.
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He adds: “The United States must not pursue unnecessary prosecutions that risk criminalizing common journalistic practices and thus paralyzing the work of the free press. We urge you to ensure that this matter is closed as quickly as possible. “
Julian Assange’s legal battle over leak of classified US military documents
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Julian Assange, detained at Belmarsh prison in London since 2019, is currently awaiting extradition to the United States. The charges against him stem from the release of classified U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables more than a decade ago.
The bipartisan letter highlights the potential seriousness of the charges against Assange, as he faces 17 counts under the Espionage Act of 1917, including receiving, possessing and communicating classified information to the public, as well as a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
It should be noted that the accusations against Assange are closely linked to the actions of Chelsea Manning, a former US military intelligence analyst.
In 2010, Manning leaked classified U.S. military documents to WikiLeaks, including cables detailing alleged war crimes committed by the government in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Cuba.
US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning) was the one who leaked the classified documents to WikiLeaks (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The leaked documents also revealed instances where the CIA allegedly engaged in torture and rendition.
One notable release was the “Collateral Murder” video, released by WikiLeaks 13 years ago, showing the US military allegedly gunning down civilians in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists. Manning’s actions led to Assange becoming involved in the dissemination of the leaked information.
If convicted, Assange could face a maximum sentence of up to 175 years in a maximum security US prison.
The bipartisan appeal notes that the prosecution against him has raised “deep concerns” among international media, human rights advocates and members of Congress.
A chilling mix of politicians signed the letter, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is currently under censure, and fellow “Squad” members Ilhan Omar and Jamaal Bowman. Notably, the list also includes Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie, demonstrating a rare moment of bipartisan solidarity on this issue.
Diplomatic implications highlighted in bipartisan letter
The letter highlights the potential diplomatic fallout, warning that pursuing Julian Assange’s extradition could damage bilateral relations between America and Australia, given that Assange is an Australian citizen who has never been to the United States. -United.
It stated: “We note that the Espionage Act of 1917 was ostensibly intended to punish and imprison government employees and contractors for furnishing or selling state secrets to enemy governments, and not to punish journalists and whistleblowers for attempting to inform the public about serious issues that some U.S. government officials might prefer to keep secret. »
The call also brought attention to a pivotal decision by the Obama administration in 2013, when Joe Biden was vice president and the Justice Department chose not to prosecute Assange due to concerns about its potential impact on press freedom, as reported by the Washington Post.
The move was praised “because it recognizes that prosecution would set a dangerous precedent,” according to the Washington Examiner.
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