In British court today, a new affidavit states Julian Assange will not be protected by the First Amendment if extradited because he is a foreign national. This is absurd and directly threatens journalists worldwide. It will set a precedent that silences any objection to U.S. behavior through the press. Once that is established, it will be easier to also go after press in the States.
No one will be safe from the long arm of the U.S. DOJ. If the press can’t object to the behavior of the U.S. government, who can? This is the beginning of the end of free speech and free press.
From Caitlin Johnstone:
“The First Amendment is not a set of special free speech privileges that the US government magnanimously bestows upon a few select individuals, it’s a limitation placed upon the US government’s ability to restrict rights that all persons everywhere are assumed to have.”
John Rees from the Defend Assange Campaign spoke afterward stating:
“They’re saying that if #JulianAssange is extradited he will immediately be placed under ‘Special Administrative Measures’. That means that he will not be able to speak to the press or the public, and neither will his legal team… He will be put in a black hole …”
According to an article I found here, the Geneva Convention clearly states in Rule 34:
2. They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians, and without prejudice to the right of war correspondents accredited to the armed forces to the status provided for in 4 A 4) of the Third Convention.
Referring to this statement, Assange became a citizen under this law by covering the Iraq War and Afghanistan War. If this is the case, legally, the U.S. cannot try him as a foreign national but must do so as a citizen. If the U.S. refuses to do so, they are violating the Geneva Convention which both the U.K. and U.S. signed and,are in agreement with. Here is another reason to not extradite Assange. Others I have defined in my article “Reasons Why Assange Should Not Be Extradited” seen here.
After the court hearing today, Krisstinn Hraffson made the following statement (article seen here): “On the one hand they have decided that they can go after journalists wherever they are residing in the world, they have universal jurisdiction, and demand extradition like they are doing by trying to get an Australian national from the UK for publishing that took place outside US borders,” he told AAP.
But then at the same time, they are not granting any foreign journalist the protection of the First Amendment.
“That’s extremely serious. That’s of grave concern to all journalists.
“We are seeing this incremental approach, a darkness flowing over journalism from that country, and it’s about time that journalists really united in resisting this.”
Assange’s extradition hearing will be in two parts. One week starting February 24th and 3 weeks starting May 18th. Assange’s legal team have only been permitted to see Assange for a total of 4 hours since his imprisonment April 11th, 2018.
If Assange is extradited from the U.K., it will prove that their justice system is a farce and their government is simply a slave to the United States. People must rise up and oppose this before their rights are completely obliterated.
The question now is if the First Amendment doesn’t apply to foreigners, how can foreigners be subject to US laws, particularly when they neither live nor work in the United States?