Julian Assange’s Partial Legal Victory

On 20th May, at the Court of Appeal in London, Julian Assange won a significant legal victory over the sinister forces in the United States that seek to throw him into a US torture establishment for the rest of his life. He won the right to a full appeal on the grounds that his right to a defence against the (flagrantly unconstitutional) charges under the US Espionage Act, would be denied in the US because of discrimination against him due to nationality. This would deprive him of elementary protection of his right to free speech as a journalist under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The previous court (very reluctantly) asked for assurances from the US that Julian would not be executed (which were given) and that he would be given First Amendment protection (which the US attempted to dissemble). The court rejected the latter US evasion and granted him the right to a full appeal on this point.

 Previous courts outrageously dismissed and much more substantial indictments against the US, including blatant perjury, and threats (and plots!) to have Julian murdered, but this is the issue they could not evade.  This is a significant shift, as in the upcoming appeal, his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights, which applies much more widely, come into play.

There has now been a shift against the US-instigated lynch law that the British ruling class and judiciary have engaged in for most of the last decade and a half, denying him basic rights and attempting to isolate him with a fraudulent rape allegation in Sweden, for which there was never enough evidence to bring charges. However, the smear of ‘rapist’ was successfully used to undercut the necessary solidarity movement. Not only was Julian smeared in the bourgeois, especially liberal, press and politics; much of even the  ‘far left’ originally refused to defend him because of their own pandering to identity politics. Prominent exceptions were George Galloway and Craig Murray, who deserve congratulations for their tenacity and solidarity. 

That hysteria has dissipated at it has become clear to many of those people that Julian’s real ‘crimes’ were to exposure mass murder committed by US imperialism. His campaign has gained momentum, he has gained support from the Australian government and even some of the liberal media who smeared, stabbed and trashed him have been prevailed upon to pay lip service to defending his rights. This is not the end of the persecution of Julian Assange, but it does seem like it may be the beginning of the end, and he must have a good chance of winning his appeal in the Autumn. Everyone must keep up the pressure.