The Guardian • Issue #2105

Assange free at last

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2105

Photo: Vinnie

Wikileaks founder and journalist Julian Assange has been granted bail by the UK High court. The bail will be granted as part of a plea deal, under which Assange will be sentenced to 62 months.  Since he’s already been in Britain’s high security Belmarsh prison for more than five years, this should mean Assange can go free. Assange travelled to the US territory of Saipan and pleaded guilty to a charge of mishandling documents under the US espionage act. He has since landed in Canberra, and is a free man.

Julian Assange came to global attention after founding Wikileaks in 2006, and going on to release ‘Collateral Murder,’ video footage which showed US troops attacking journalists from a helicopter in Iraq. Since then, Assange has faced charges of sexual assault, since withdrawn, political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and arrest and imprisonment by UK authorities on behalf of the USA. Assange has been hounded by three US presidents and five British prime ministers.

At this time, it’s important to remember why Julian Assange has had so much time incarcerated in one way or another. In the words of Greens senator David Shoebridge, “Julian Assange has spent years in jail for the crime of showing the world the horrors of the US war in Iraq and the complicity of governments like Australia, and that is why he has been punished.”

Julian Assange revealed war crimes. That’s what he was punished for. The Iraq War logs revealed 66,081 civilian deaths in the course of the US invasion of Iraq, caused by US forces, US contractors, and Iraqi forces with full US responsibility.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has tried to walk both sides of the street on this. He has repeatedly said that Assange’s incarceration “has gone on too long.” Albanese will probably be given some credit for behind-the-scenes pressure on the US, but we will never know what that pressure was. Certainly it didn’t stop the US from pursuing Assange.

Nouka Iwa

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