After Sweden: Assange to become Manning II?
Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden has fueled fears he will be transferred to US jurisdiction. Political rhetoric branding Assange as a terrorist and reports of a secret indictment make a fair trial seem unlikely should he fall into US hands.
It is likely that the WikiLeaks founder will be handed over to the US where he will be tried for espionage, given “the unusualness of the extradition with no charges in place,” David Swanson, an author and activist, told RT.He said that in response to the thousands of classified documents leaked by the whistleblower, the US government “has issued a secret closed indictment and pressured other governments in Britain and in Sweden to ship Julian Assange to the US.” Swanson added that Assange could face conditions amounting to torture or even murder, the very crimes that he exposed. According to an email from US-based intellegence company Stratfor leaked in February, US prosecutors had already issued a secret indictment against Assange.“Not for Pub. — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect,” Stratfor official Fred Burton wrote in a January 26, 2011 email obtained by hacktivist group Anonymous.Attorney Kevin Zeese described Assange’s extradition ruling as “extraordinary” in that no charges have actually been leveled against Assange.“He could’ve done the questioning by Skype. There’s no need to go to Sweden to be questioned,” Zeese told RT.Referring to the strong US rhetoric that brands the WikiLeaks founder as a “high-tech terrorist”, Zeese said that the US is scared by the information disseminated by Assange, as it reveals corruption at all levels of the US government.Highlighting double standards in the Obama administration, he referred to a leaked memo signed by Hillary Clinton ordering US politicians to spy on diplomats coming to the UN.“She should be being prosecuted, not Julian Assange,” stressed Zeese. Julian Assange’s appeal to the UK Supreme Court to reopen his extradition case was denied on Wednesday and he will be transferred to Sweden in two weeks. The Australian whistleblower is wanted by the Swedish government for questioning over allegations of sexual assault and rape.
‘The good, the bad and the illegal’
Concerns have been voiced that Assange is heading for the same fate as Bradley Manning the US army private currently facing court martial for leaking classified military information to WikiLeaks.The two whistleblowers have been targeted by the US government as criminals for releasing information that could potentially put the US public at risk. However, investigations carried out by the US into the overall impact of the leaking of classified documents reveal it was minimal.“There is an embarrassment to the US Empire, but no one has been killed by this. There has been no undermining of US national security,” said Kevin Zeese. He emphasized that what really worries the government is that the public sees what the US does on a “day-to-day basis.”“You see the good, the bad, the ugly and the illegal of US foreign policy” which is exactly what the US government does not want people to see, concluded the attorney.“The US government has very much blurred the line between law enforcement and war,” David Swanson told RT, referring to the US treatment of whistleblowers.