Let’s be clear about something. The UK is a catch-all, designating all nation-states that are still colonies or commonwealths of the British Empire. There is no such country as “The UK”, it’s England and all their conquests and colonies and always has been. Julian Assange has been held in HM Prison Belmarsh, a British Supermax prison, since 11 April 2019.

Officially, the “British Empire” began with the unification of England and Wales in 1536, but their exploits predating this by about 500 years, although not considered those of an Empire were, by all accounts, more or less the same. We know of the fierce defender of Scottish Freedom and Independence, William Wallace (c ~1300). The Irish have been under the English boot for about 700 years since about the same time as William until 1922. The Vikings were driven out of Ireland by Brian Boru during the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Aside from a brief decade of independence during the 1640s, Ireland formed an integral part of the English imperial system, until 1922 and the “Act of Partition”, creating “Northern Ireland” and the Republic of Ireland.

Australia is a “Commonwealth” of the British Crown only, otherwise it is a sovereign country that is no longer subject to British law or rule. It used to be a huge, brutal, open-air British penal colony of mostly Irish who went afoul of the provincial oppression of the “Plantations” and An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger). There are many tragic stories of Irish men, attempting to find provisions for their starving families, who were put on a one-way prison ship to Botany Bay, never to see their families again.

Why do I mention all this here and now?

The UK is a vassal state of the US, with all British Prime Ministers from Margaret Thatcher to Rishi Sunak hard-right neoliberals, regardless of party affiliation. Tony Blair was one of the worst, the leader of the Labour Party, a liar with a golden tongue who, along with G.W. Bush, lied the US and the west into a protracted war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Julian Assange would one day come to publish the “Collateral Murder” video, showing the war crimes committed by a US helicopter crew against journalists on the ground in Baghdad, a group that included journalists from Reuters.

Julian Assange is an Australian Citizen. With the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese solidly onboard, the Australian Parliament has finally passed a resolution calling on the US to drop all charges against Julian and for the British authorities to release him.

Julian Assange is a Journalist, someone who reports the news, just like anyone else employed in the thousands by such outlets as the New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. So why is Julian in a British supermax prison at the request of the US Government, and why does such a brutal and inhumane outcome await him (175 years in prison) if he is successfully extradited to the Eastern District of Virginia and convicted of espionage? Because he told the truth and exposed US war crimes in Iraq. This is something intolerable to the US Security State and goes against all the lies told about US “Freedom and Democracy”.

Their failure to relent on the extradition request, and its potential outcome, is sending a clear message to all journalists: be careful what you publish. This flies in the face of the First Amendment protections afforded to journalists and will test its limits should it come to trial in Virginia. The principal role of any journalist is to hold power to account, something Julian did and who is now paying a very high price for his integrity.

All journalists should be very worried about this case and its outcome. Anyone who tells too much truth could wind up in a similar situation as Julian.

A spirited defense was held yesterday as a final appeal to what remains of the once Independent British Judicial System. Short of a miracle or a complete change of heart by the Judge or the Biden Administration, Julian could be on a plane to Virginia to await trial in the coming weeks.

Appeal from Stella Assange, Julian’s partner and mother of his 2 youngest sons: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/assangeappeal/

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