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Home > Uncategorised > Iraq, or, Remembering Why they Hate Julian Assange

Iraq, or, Remembering Why they Hate Julian Assange

Monday 7 February 2022, by siawi3

Source: https://www.blackagendareport.com/iraq-or-remembering-why-they-hate-julian-assange

Iraq, or, Remembering Why they Hate Julian Assange

Jacqueline Luqman

02 Feb 2022

Source: Bangkok Post

The Western press wants us to forget that Assange is being tortured for exposing U.S. war crimes. We should never forget the victims of U.S. brutality.

The case against Julian Assange continues as his appeal now goes before the British High Court - or Supreme Court, if you will - but not on the grounds of directly challenging his extradition. Rather, the appeal is based on a legal question regarding how and when judges received and considered those assurances from the US about how Assange would be treated once he was extradited.

It’s a little convoluted, but it seems that there are questions as to whether lower court judges approved those conditions (of US assurances of its fair treatment of Assange) without the review and input of a higher court. In short, Assange’s extradition appears to be delayed for as long as it takes the British High Court to hear his case - which could be months.

The legal complexities of this appeal aside, what I hope is being exposed in this case is not just the contempt that the US government has for real journalism and human rights, but also the ways its allies work to condone US criminal actions at home and around the world.

It is important to recognize that Assange’s imprisonment in the notorious Belmarsh Prison in the UK is akin to torture as his mental state and physical health deteriorates. It should be expected that U.S. authorities will make sure that his mental and physical health will continue to decline, no matter what assurances are given to the courts in the U.K. That is precisely why we need to fight for his release.

However, let us also not forget the reason for his imprisonment. Assange had to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years to avoid extradition by the US because his outlet, Wikileaks, published documents that revealed how the US military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents during the war in Afghanistan. Those documents revealed that 66,000 civilians were murdered by U.S. armed forces and scores of prisoners tortured by US-trained Iraqi forces. Wikileaks also released to the world the horrific video of an Apache helicopter crew murdering 11 civilians in what is called the Collateral Murder video.

(As an aside, it must be pointed out what a galling and stomach-turning insult it to know that the US military names these despicable pieces of war machines after Native American groups, groups which continue to suffer through attempted genocide by the US government.)

Dean Yates, the US Baghdad bureau chief at the time of the US war on Iraq, said that the US military had repeatedly lied to him - and the world - about what happened, and it was only when Assange released the video in April 2010 that the full brutal truth of the civilian killings was exposed. Yates said, “What [Assange] did was 100% an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world what the war in Iraq looks like and how the US military lied … The US knows how embarrassing Collateral Murder is, how shameful it is to the military – they know that there’s potential war crimes on that tape.”

But neither the video nor any of the damning material published by Wikileaks - evidence demonstrating human rights abuses by the US military and the lies of the US government as it tries to punish Assange for exposing - were introduced in the extradition court proceedings. The US government argues that Assange broke the law and endangered lives, but neither the US nor the British courts have demonstrated this, nor seem interested in raising the issue of the lives that the US brutally snuffed out, as exposed by Wikileaks.

Had Assange not published those documents, we would still probably not know about the scale of the wanton collateral murder committed by the US military and its proxies in Afghanistant and Iraq - and about so much more of the US state abuses that Wikileaks exposed.

This sham of a case against Julian Assange is an attack on press freedom, on investigative journalism, and on actual truth. It is an attack on Julian Assange himself. And Assange’s “crime” was to expose US criminality. Let us remember and honor all the victims of US warmongering. We should never forget them. Because the US and British courts seem not to be interested in talking about them at all.

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Jacqueline Luqman is co-host of By Any Means Necessary on Radio Sputnik. She is also a contributor to The Real News Network, Editor-In-Chief of the social media program Luqman Nation, and a contributor to Black Power Media. She has more than 20 years of activism in Washington, DC focusing on participating in and supporting community-level issues as well as regional and national issues that impact working-class, poor, and oppressed people in the US and abroad. She is a member of the Black Alliance for Peace, Pan-African Community Action, is a supporter of several other grassroots radical Black-focused and led organizations, and is an active member of the Board of Social Action in Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, a progressive church in Washington, DC.