Julian Assange Exposed Corruption, Now He Fights Removal from UK

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Julian Assange Exposed Corruption, Now He Fights Removal from UK - Encounter Today - Blog

Julian Assange may be fighting his final battle against being extradited from Britain to the United States.

Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, his name and the case against him went viral after becoming the first publisher to face charges under the United States’ Espionage Act. If Assange is indeed extradited to the U.S., he would stand trial and be sentenced to up to 175 years in a maximum-security prison.

How did we get to this point?

In 2010, Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, stole 750,000 pages of classified materials from the Department of Defense, after which, he leaked them to Wikileaks. Ultimately, Julian Assange made the decision to publish the classified material. A point that is important to make here, is that no evidence exists that Bradley Manning communicated with Assange before Manning sent Wikileaks the materials.

In a statement released by Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, he said, “This hearing signals a crucial stage in Julian’s battle for justice and is the end of the line in the UK courts… This Christmas will be Julian’s 5th in a UK prison. He has gone through years of uncertainty, and his mental and physical health getting worse and worse. He should be able to come home to Australia with his children and get the support he needs. I urge the Prime Minister to pull out all the stops in his efforts to end Julian’s suffering. Bring Julian home.”

London’s High Courts will hear the extradition case on February 20 to 21. Two judges will be reviewing Assange’s appeal request to block the extradition after a judge in June of 2022 denied his appeal.

Lawmakers from Australia and the United States have come together in a bipartisan effort to see the charges against Assange and the extradition appeals dismissed.

Despite the weight of controversy this case has borne, many supporters of Assange’s actions see the charges against him as an attack on press freedom. On the flip side to this are U.S. prosecutors who view Assange using WikiLeaks to publish classified material as an endangerment to her allies. If Assange is extradited to the U.S., stands trial and is charged, a dangerous precedent for journalism would be set.

Press Freedom

Freedom of the press, which is the right to report news or circulate opinion without censorship from the government, was considered “one of the great bulwarks of liberty,” by our nation’s Founding Fathers.

Currently, the United States ranks number 43 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index. For a nation that is a light and hope to so many other countries thanks to our Judeo-Christian values which are enshrined in documents like the First Amendment, there is clearly room for improvement.

In part, we owe the very existence of our nation to press freedom! “Some of the most important voices before and during the American Revolution were anonymous pamphleteers who were writing under pseudonyms, talking about the crimes of the British government,” says Trevor Timm, a lawyer who runs the ‘Freedom of the Press Foundation’.

The attack on press freedom by the government isn’t anything new. In fact, the war against the press having the ability to expose corruption or publish inconvenient truths about the government has been a long battle.

Did you know the U.S. government assisted in stifling the press through the Sedition Act of 1798 which criminalized the criticism of government officials and the Office of Censorship which was created during WWII by FDR in an attempt to control the media narrative around the war effort!

Press freedom, however, has also had her day in court. The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of her on numerous occasions, granting her immense legal protections, for example; Near vs. Minnesota (1931), which held that it was largely unconstitutional for a government to censor the press, and New York Times v. United States (1971), which ruled that the Nixon Administration could not use vague pronouncements of “national security” to censor the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Perspective

If something is of value, it will face scrutiny. Press freedom benefits everyone, and as we have learned, it has had its fair share of attacks against it.

The case against Julian Assange isn’t just about one man facing potential jail time, this case involves us all because truth impacts all of our lives. The potential outcome of this case could result in less people who are willing to expose the truth due to the immense cost it could bring. But that won’t be us…

As believers, we know what persecution looks like from times of old, as God outlined for us in His Word, to our current age. We have been told time and again that we will face persecution just as Jesus did (John 15:18), may this never dismay us. As we have been given mouths to speak, ears to hear, and eyes to see, may we be those who boldly stand for the truth, no matter how controversial or inconvenient it may be.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10

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