SEP Slams Liberal Press & MPs in Europe, US Over Backing Assange's Extradition

© AP Photo / Matt DunhamBanners in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are displayed outside Westminster magistrates court where he was appearing in London, Thursday, April 11, 2019.
Banners in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are displayed outside Westminster magistrates court where he was appearing in London, Thursday, April 11, 2019. - Sputnik International
Socialist Equality Party (SEP) national secretary Chris Marsden discussed the charges levied against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange under the 1917 Espionage Act as well as highlighted coverage of the whistleblower's arrest in the liberal media.

According to Mr Marsden, the levelling of charges against Mr Assange under the Espionage Act "tears away the mask covering US intentions" and that Washington had "always wanted to silence Assange forever" by either "locking him away for the rest of his life" or handing him the death penalty. 

"The Swedish allegations, which to this day have not resulted in any charges, were utilised from the outset as part of an operation to get Assange to the US — with Sweden only acting as a transit point," Mr Marsden said. "The same holds true to this day."  

Demonstrators protest outside of Westminster Magistrates Court, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had a U.S. extradition request hearing, in London, Britain May 2, 2019 - Sputnik International
Two Assange Prosecutors Argue Espionage Charge Endangers 1st Amendment – Reports
Marsden added that the US had "upped the legal ante" to convince the public that its "claim on Assange's scalp" would take precedence over Sweden's extradition appeal. 

Mr. Marsden highlighted that multiple "liberal newspapers and left-wing politicians" across Europe and the US had refused to defend Mr Assange.  

Marsden cited UK Labour and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who told ITV News on 13 April that Assange "must answer those questions and demands about the accusations made against him by people in Sweden" and that "there can be no hiding place from those accusations."  "Corbyn has said nothing opposing the latest espionage charges against Assange," Mr Marsden added.

He also cited Labour's shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, who stated on the BBC's Any Questions? On 13 April that she thought that "what should happen is that he should be extradited to Sweden" and that the US could "make a further application to have him extradited from Sweden."

The Guardian also published an editorial following the Espionage Act charges under the headline, "Send him to Sweden", Mr Marsden said.   But the editorial asserts that Assange had fled to the Ecuadorian embassy over the Swedish rape charges, and not over potential charges due to the Espionage Act, which are already underway now that he has been arrested.   Hours after Assange's arrest, Swedish internet activist and programmer Ola Bini had been arrested in Ecuador for his ties to Wikileaks, which the liberal press refused to acknowledge. 

"The espionage charges against Assange and his imprisonment, thanks to the disgusting collusion of Britain and Ecuador, are a threat to journalists, editors, newspapers and other media and to press freedoms the world over," Mr Marsden explained.  

"The US is asserting the right to charge non-citizens for the ‘crime' of publishing the truth," he added. "The extradition case against Assange is therefore the trial of the century."

He stated that the Socialist Equality Party "gives its full support to the rally being held outside Westminster Magistrates Court on May 30" called by the Julian Assange Defence Campaign as "the next vial step in mobilising an international campaign among workers, young people and all those concerned with civil liberties to demand freedom for Assange and the extraordinarily brave whistleblower, Chelsea Manning." 

READ MORE: Charging Assange with Espionage is a Dagger at Heart of Press Freedom  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was forcibly evicted and arrested by UK police on 11 April after remaining at the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, London for over seven years. US authorities later drafted charges under the 1917 Espionage Act, slapping the activist with ten offences totalling 170 years. Assange, 47, is currently being held at Belmarsh Prison following a series of hearings in early May at the Westminster Magistrate's Court.

The views and opinions expressed by Chris Marsden in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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