Assange Extradition Case Moves Forward While The CIA Covers Its Tracks

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readApr 17, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

So they’re really doing it. The Biden administration is really ignoring Australia’s request to end the case against Julian Assange, and they’re proceeding with their campaign to extradite a journalist for telling the truth about US war crimes.

In order to move the extradition case forward, per a British high court ruling US prosecutors needed to provide “assurances” that the US would not seek the death penalty and would not deprive Assange of his human right to free speech because of his nationality. The US provided the assurance against the death penalty (which they’d previously opposed doing), and for the free speech assurance they said only that Assange will be able to “raise and seek to rely upon” US First Amendment rights, adding, “A decision as to the applicability of the First Amendment is exclusively within the purview of the U.S. Courts.”

Which is basically just saying “I mean, you’re welcome to TRY to have free speech protections?”

At the same time, CIA Director William Burns has filed a State Secrets Privilege demand to withhold information in a lawsuit against the agency by four American journalists and attorneys who were spied on during their visits to Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. State secrets privilege is a US evidentiary rule designed to prevent courts from revealing state secrets during civil litigation; the CIA began invoking it with the Assange lawsuit earlier this year.

Burns argues:

“I am asserting the state secrets and statutory privileges in this case as I have determined that either admitting or denying that CIA has information implicated by the remaining allegations in the Amended Complaint reasonably could be expected to cause serious — and in some cases, exceptionally grave — damage to the national security of the United States. After deliberation and personal consideration, I have determined that the complete factual bases for my privilege assertions cannot be set forth on the public record without confirming or denying whether CIA has information relating to this matter and therefore risking the very harm to U.S. national security that I seek to protect.”

Which is obviously a load of horse shit. As Assange himself tweeted in 2017, “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.” Burns isn’t worried about damaging “the national security of the United States,” he’s worried about the potential political fallout from information about the CIA spying on American lawyers and journalists while visiting a journalist who was being actively targeted by the legal arm of the US government.

Political security is also why the US is working to punish Julian Assange for publishing inconvenient facts about US war crimes. The Pentagon already acknowledged years ago that the Chelsea Manning leaks for which Assange is being prosecuted didn’t get anyone killed and had no strategic impact on US war efforts, so plainly this isn’t about national security. It’s just politically damaging for the criminality of the US government to be made public for all to see.

They’re just squeezing and squeezing this man as hard as they can for as long as they can get away with to keep him silent and make an example of him to show what happens when journalists reveal unauthorized information about the empire. Just like Gaza, the persecution of Julian Assange makes a lie of everything the US and its western allies claim to stand for, and reveals the cruel face of tyranny beneath the mask of liberal democracy.


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