Julian Assange has clarified his remarks stating that he would accept extradition to the US in the event of Bradley/Chelsea Manning receiving clemency from former President Obama.
As I predicted when the story broke, Manning’s eventual freedom (May of this year) will begin a negotiating process between Julian Assange’s lawyers at President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, who will hopefully be more sympathetic to Assange than Obama’s people who more or less wanted Assange dead one way or another.
Hillary Clinton stated that she sought to execute Assange with a drone.
In a calm and reasoned statement, Assange told his audience on a Periscope press conference,
“I’ve always been willing to go to the United States provided my rights are respected because this is a case that should never have occurred”.
Since Assange has not been convicted nor even charged with a crime in the US (or anywhere else), there is no reason why Assange should have to face the spectre of an unfair show trial for the ‘crime’ of publishing crucial information which was in the public interest throughout the world, first and foremost in America.
Former Congressman and Republican Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul has echoed these sentiments time and time again.
Now that Manning – the individual who actually blew the whistle on US war crimes – is free, it sets a precedent for Assange, who was merely Manning’s publisher, to likewise receive clemency after his long order as a prisoner in all but name, at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
If President Trump were to issue a blanket pardon for all future would-be criminal charges relating to Wikileaks publications, Trump could claim he is opening up a new chapter in America’s relationship with whistle-blowers and publications of real news. He would also win crucial support among the alternative media of both the left and right who almost uniformly support Assange and the work of Wikileaks.
Legally, this is entirely possible. It is what President Ford did to put the ‘Nixon fiasco’ behind and move on as a nation.
Many of Trump’s supporters are Wikileaks supporters. If Trump does the right thing following on from the Manning precedent and the totally politicised machinations against Assange, America could move on from the darkest years of the Bush-Obama era and Julian Assange could legally travel to one of the many countries that would almost certainly welcome him, most likely Ecuador but Venezuela or Russia are also realistic possibilities.
Assange’s long road to freedom is not over yet, but I am more optimistic about his situation than I’ve been at any time since he entered the Ecuadorian embassy.