Will Assange Agree to Extradition Following Manning’s Commutation?
by Stephen Lendman
On January 12, WikiLeaks tweeted “(i)f Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case.”
He’s a political refugee, given asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, unable to leave because of fabricated rape charges.
A sealed indictment wrongfully charges him with spying under the long ago outdated 1917 Espionage Act, a WW I relic. He’s a conduit, not a spy, involved with others, publishing leaked material they’re given on vital issues.
With Manning’s sentence commuted, will he agree to extradition as promised, knowing no chance of justice awaits him if handed to US authorities, sure to treat him as viciously as Manning.
Following her commutation, WikiLeaks tweeted “Assange: ‘Thank you to everyone who campaigned for Chelsea Manning's clemency. Your courage & determination made the impossible possible.”
In a separate statement, Assange said “Ms. Manning is a hero, whose bravery should be applauded. Journalists, publishers, and their sources serve the public interest and promote democracy by distributing authentic information on key matters such as human rights abuses and illegal acts by government officials. They should not be prosecuted.”
Assange’s lawyer Melinda Taylor indicated he stands by his pledge to risk extradition to America. Did Obama commute Manning’s sentence so Washington could arrest and prosecute him?
Will Trump pursue him as aggressively as Obama? Will Assange reconsider his pledge to remain safe, not sorry.
Confinement in Ecuador’s London embassy is far better than in a US maximum security prison, risking torture and other abusive treatment.
He likely hoped promising to accept extradition would get Manning freed. He’ll remain in prison until May 17 - lots of time for Assange to decide his next move.
He expressed confidence of a fair trial under Trump. It may be wishful thinking - a big gamble he risks losing.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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