WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is scheduled to appear in February at a court hearing in Britain to decide whether or not he will be extradited to the U.S. to face trial, according to a ruling by a London judge on Friday.
Assange has been charged with 18 felony counts by the U.S. federal government and could face life in prison if extradited and found guilty. The hearing in Feb. 2020 is expected to last several days.
“WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher,” Assange said via video link in the courtroom on Friday to defend his actions, according to the BBC.
U.S. officials disagree with Assange’s distinction about his work and want to make an example out of him for publishing information that exposed the incompetence and criminality of the deep state.
“By publishing that unredacted material on the internet, Mr Assange created a grave and imminent risk that human intelligence sources, including journalists, human rights defenders and political activists, would suffer serious physical harm or arbitrary detention,” said Ben Brandon, who is representing the U.S. in the court proceedings.
Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s legal counsel, spoke outside the hearing on her client’s behalf. He was too ill to actually appear in court, as his health has waned rapidly in recent months since being hauled out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Robinson claimed that Assange being punished for publishing “truthful information about the United States” including “evidence of war crimes, human rights abuse and corruption the world over” would “place a chilling impact” on whistle-blowers and journalists “all over the world.”
WikiLeaks released a letter on their Twitter account signed by 37 members of the European Parliament calling on the European Commission to prevent the extradition of Assange:
37 MEPs call on the European Commission to prevent the extradition of Assange to the US: "his detention constitutes not only an attack on the right to information, which is a fundamental pillar of democracy, but also contravenes both international and European legislation." pic.twitter.com/rTqWxVKV05
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 21, 2019
“His detention constitutes not only an attack on the right to information, which is a fundamental pillar of democracy, but also contravenes both international and European legislation,” the letter reads.
Ford Fischer of News2Share noted that Chelsea Manning, who leaked sensitive military data to Assange exposing war crimes, has been incarcerated for over 100 days now for refusing to cooperate with the Assange investigation.
President Donald Trump, who loved WikiLeaks while he was on the campaign trail, is now overseeing an unprecedented crackdown against the organization’s founder that could have dire, long-standing ramifications against journalistic freedom while in the Oval Office.
Report: President Trump Planning to Remove FBI Director Christopher Wray After Election
Fox News reported Sunday that President Donald Trump is strongly considering removing FBI Director Christopher Wray from his position in the event he wins a second term in office next week.
Two purported senior White House officials said that the President is planning to remove Wray after the election.
Another official also indicated that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper would be fired after the election.
Wray has served in the position of FBI Director since 2017, overseeing an agency throughout a series of congressional inquiries into official misconduct in the 2016 presidential election.
Reports have emerged suggesting that the FBI, under Wray’s leadership, kept Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop secret after it was seized into government custody by order of a subpoena. The computer repairman who legally acquired it has described being browbeaten into silence by FBI agents after he reported his possession of the device, expressing his surprise that the highest level of law enforcement would essentially tell him to keep his mouth shut.
The FBI has been increasingly absent when it comes to investigating left-wing crime and policing Deep State-style corruption and partisan behavior within its own ranks. President Trump’s tentative second term will likely include thorough reforms to institute accountability and professional integrity within the federal bureaucracy.
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