Julian Assange’s Fears About Extradition to the United States Affirmed
By: Kevin Gosztola Friday August 17, 2012 12:14 pm
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Another bigger question is why Assange continues to claim the US has plans or intentions to “persecute” or, to use a term that is more neutral, prosecute him. Snide commentators, sneering correspondents, and elite-minded former government officials discount any suggestion that the US might extradite Assange from Sweden. They do not even bother to take into account the existence of an empaneled grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, in the Eastern District that is investigating anyone who can be connected to the WikiLeaks organization.
Now, The Saturday Age, based in Australia, has published a report that features some critical details on the United States government’s plans for Assange. It describes Australian Foreign Affairs Department documents that were obtained under freedom of information laws and show the Australian diplomatic service “takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents.” Australia’s ambassador to the US Kim Beazley sought “high-level US advice on ‘the direction and likely outcome of the investigation’ and “reiterated’ an Australian government request for “early advice of any decision to indict or seek extradition” of Assange.
The diplomatic cables identify “a wide range of criminal charges the US could bring against Assange, including espionage, conspiracy, unlawful access to classified information and computer fraud.” They indicate “Australian diplomats expect that any charges against Assange would be carefully drawn in an effort to avoid conflict with the First Amendment free speech provisions of the US constitution.”
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Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Michael Ratner, who is a member of the WikiLeaks legal team, considers the details to be “pretty extraordinary revelations.” It shows Australian government officials to be “hypocrites if not liars” because they have claimed “they don’t know anything about a US prosecution or extradition.”