Democracy dies in sunlight. On Human Rights Day!

To decide Julian Assange’s extradition on December 10th is extreme cynicism and a humiliating slap in the face to all civic liberties and freedoms that the West takes pride in.

Human Rights Day?

December 10th is Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It is very cynical that today of all days it was announced that Wikileaks whistleblower Julian Assange may be extradited to the United States, as the BBC just announced. Less than a year ago a British judge ruled against the extradition, but the US won the case on appeal, and will thus soon have its prey in its hands. The many incriminating proofs of US crimes documented by Wikileaks were many bridges too far for Washington; Joe Biden also spoke of the whistleblower as a ‘hi-tech terrorist.’

And the European Union? Its Commission did not let Human Rights Day pass unnoticed, and yesterday announced the Global Europe Human Rights and Democracy programme for the period 2021-2027, worth no less than €1.5 billion! From the statement of the Foreign Commissioner of the EU, the Spanish socialist Josep Borrell, one could perhaps deduce that the EU will do something for Assange with a little of that money:

Courageous people of all kinds fight daily for civil liberties, for independent media and to protect democratic institutions, often at great personal risk.

However, there is absolutely no evidence of this, and everything suggests that with this one and a half billion euro, the European Commission has created a pot to carry out propaganda about the high values of the Union, while paying spin doctors who present the criminal action of Frontex to protect Fortress Europe as a humanitarian act (‘against the people smugglers’).

Isn’t that too negative about the EU?  But have you ever heard that the EU acted against Poland because it provided torture chambers to the CIA? Torture is one of the worst infringements of human rights and the rule of law! But not at the instigation of Putin or Lukashenko.

Herman Michiel, Ander Europa


Democracy dies in sunlight!

On Human Rights Day, a British court cleared the way for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States, where he will face espionage charges. The decision to deny the US extradition request by Judge Vanessa Baraitser of Westminster Magistrate’s Court in January this year was overturned by the High Court of Justice in London on Friday, December 10.

This is clearly a cynical decision, the goal of which was not only to demonstrate that the powers that be can do whatever they deem favorable for them completely regardless of the intense talk about how human rights are cherished and, of course, exercised by the Western elites.

The decision was based on an appeals plea filed by prosecutors representing the United States against Judge Baraitser’s decision. The court argued in its ruling that judge Baraitser should have notified the US of her provisional view and given the US time to provide assurances about prison conditions in the US and its incarceration arrangements for Assange. It also stated that it was satisfied with the United States’ assurances that Assange would not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), a contentious policy of solitary confinement, or held in a supermax prison.

Baraitser’s decision to deny extradition in January was based on concerns that Assange would be subjected to such arrangements while in US custody. Due to these concerns, the medical evidence presented by Assange’s defense team that he was a suicide risk if extradition became imminent, and the serious mental health issues that he already suffers from, Baraitser determined that extradition would be oppressive.

While Assange’s defense team is expected to appeal the high court’s decision to the UK Supreme Court, the case would be sent to the UK Home Secretary, who had previously sanctioned the US extradition request shortly after it was filed in 2019.

Assange is currently being held in Belmarsh High Security Prison on judicial remand, with no charge or conviction. Once extradited, Assange will stand trial in the United States before a federal grand jury on 17 counts of espionage and one count of conspiracy to hack into government computers under the infamous Espionage Act.

This is the triumph of elite impunity, and it is a clear indication that the West is rapidly moving towards a clearly authoritarian model in which notions like free speech will only be adhered to by those who blindly follow the ‘liberal-democratic’ consensus.

Democracy dies in sunlight!

Boyan Stanislavski, The Barricade

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