“Free Press Free Assange” movement has become a hot issue on Twitter, spreading across the world.
Twitter account @JulianAssange has played a major role of this social media movement, having more than almost 800,000 followers. It means many people in the world hope to see freed Assange and achieve press freedom. The movement includes to upload interviews with his supporters who are very prominent and influential across the world, share his status and information, offer Spanish information and use hashtag #FreeAssange! to influence more efficiently on social media.
Pulitzer-winning journalist and a former war correspondent Chris Hedges writes a column, “The War on Assange is a War on Press Freedom,” for Truthdig. He claims Assange is a “courageous and fearless publisher” who fights against “government suppression of our most important and fundamental democratic rights.”
“The Court added that host States under whose jurisdiction the person falls who had requested protection in diplomatic headquarters have the obligation to adopt positive measures,” according to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ Advisory Opinion on the Institution of Asylum and Its Recognition as a Human Right in the Inter-American System of Protection issued on July 12th.
On the same day, UK ministers, however, have talked with the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to evict Assange after U.S. President Donald Trump’s visiting, according to The Times.
As Assange presents press freedom to the world, he has to be granted the freedom. It will allow to take a step forward for achieving the press freedom. This movement to free Assange will be continued as long as the public wants to enjoy freedom of the press.
[WikiLeaks Korea= Jung Yelin. Reporter]
Wikileaks has declared 3 May, 2018 as ‘World Press Freedom Day’ and urged freedom of Julian Assange.
Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of WiliLeaks has been detained without charge for 2,704 days. The US secret grand Jury investigation has been ongoing for 2,779 days to arrest him as the order of Sessions, "Assange's arrest is a priority".
For 2,144 days, he has stayed in London but now he moved to the Eqadorian Embassy to flee from CIA(Central Intelligence Agency).
The UN ruled that Assange’s arbitrary detention should be brought to an end and he should be afforded the right to compensation. The time has been taken for 818 days.
The situation is getting the worst. For 37 days as the US State department has pressured to Equdor, he is in isolation due to cut off visitors, press and communications from outside.
The opinion that the UK government and court must give freedom to Julian Assange is increasing among netizens around the world.
Since a report has spread that the health of Julian Assange who has been staying in the Embassy of Ecuador in London virtually as detainment has deteriorated, the opinions that he should be allowed to leave the UK have flooded in the media and human rights groups in each continent of America, Europe and Asia.
Thousands of comments such “Freedom to Julian Assange, the hero of humanity”, “The UK government must stop acting as a pawn of America” and “The detainment of Assange is the detainment of civic spirit” are coming up one after another in every internet article, Facebook pages and Twitter pages of the media companies and civic groups.
♦ Why is the US obseessed with the arrest of Julian Assange?
WikiLeaks founded in 2006 by an Australian national, Julian Assange, has gained popularity by exposing and disclosing secret documents related to secrecy and unethical actions of countries and organizations.
WikiLeaks launched in Iceland claimed to be a multinational media organization and associated library, and has been building up the best trust among the global press and civic groups.
WikiLeaks disclosed the memo related to dispose of toxic substances in the African coast, the list of the UK far-right British National Party members and documents associated with the Swiss bank, and created big stirs by exposing the reality of Scientology and the corruption of the Kenyan government.
The bravery of WikiLeaks has gained support from the global press and organizations, but as confidential documents concealed by the US government and Central Intelligence Agency were exposed continuously, he became their target.
In 2010, Assange exposed hundreds of thousands of secret documents related to Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars that the US was involved in through WikiLeaks, which made him the most wanted man.
Some of the most important documents exposed by WikiLeaks came from Chelsea Manning, the US Army intelligence analyst, in 2010.
Manning smuggled over 250 thousand diplomatic documents. These included military records, one of which was a footage showing that a squad of Apache attack helicopters fired guns to a group of people regarded as having an anti-aircraft missile launcher, and killed them. Later, these people were revealed to be Reuter reporters who held a TV camera.
An enormous amount of classified documents, images and videos having emerged from the US also included the scandal of Guantanamo that detained 13,000 war prisoners.
In addition, WikiLeaks disclosed a considerable amount of diplomatic documents that contained various secret activities conducted by the US embassies all over the world.
The then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said these exposures dismantled the government operation, and promised the US government would actively seek to bring those who stole the information to account.
Manning who handed the information to WikiLeaks was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2010, which was reduced to 7 years by President Obama, and thus she was released last year.
♦ ‘Suspicions about US gov. operation’ to arrest Assange
All the activities of Assange have been nightmares for the US government. The US government seeking an excuse to isolate him from the world, is known to have worked to incriminate him for a “sex crime”.
In August 2010, two women in Sweden accused Assange for alleged sexual assault. They claimed that they met Assange at a seminar in Sweden and had sex with him.
The problem is that the two women accused Assange for sexual assault after six days. In the case of sex offenses, it is common for victims to report it immediately, particularly after the incident, but this was extremely unusual.
In particular, one of the two women was reportedly working in the Swedish Embassy in the US. She is known to have been a CIA agent.
The other woman was the host of the seminar that Assange attended, and was portrayed as an attractive blonde feminist. Some claimed that she prepared the event with Assange the day after she had sex with him.
All these are the reasons why one part of the US government is alleged to have carried out an operation.
Assange moved to the UK when he was wanted by the Swedish government for sexual assault, and the UK court ruled in May 2012 that he had to be extradited to Sweden. Assange’s defense lawyers claimed that it was one of the conspiracies to send him to the US.
In June 2012, Assange claimed political asylum and entered the Embassy of Ecuador. The Ecuadorean Embassy accepted him two months later. Since then, Assange has been virtually confined within the Embassy of Ecuador in London.
In February 2016, the UN human rights group found that “Assange was arbitrarily detained” and recommended the UK government release him.
The UN declared in a statement in Geneva, Switzerland that the UK and Sweden should stop depriving Assange of liberty in respect of his body and freedom of movement.
Specifically, the UN pointed out that Assange’s current status was in violation of Articles 7, 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and Article 14 of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The UN emphasized that Assange’s arbitrary detention must be terminated, his body and freedom of movement respected, and the right to compensation granted to him.
With the pressure of such international public opinions, the Swedish prosecutors announced that they would stop the investigation due to the expiration of the rape charge investigation period in May 2017.
However, the UK government and court, under the influence of the US government, are adopting a strategy that publicly ignores UN recommendations.
♦ The choice of the UK government and court under the influence of the United States is…
The Ecuadorean government had asked the UK government to acknowledge his diplomatic status, revealing that the Australian national Assange voluntarily naturalized to Ecuadorean citizen on 12 December, but the UK government refused it.
Assange’s defense lawyers insist on the nullity of the arrest warrant against him, claiming that “the arrest of Assange no longer conforms to the public interest” and “He is at the risk of extradition to the US”.
On the other hand, the UK government is urging Assange to leave the Ecuadorean embassy. Judge Arbuthnot also said that she did not find “Assange’s fears (of being extradited to America) were reasonable”.
According to the UK law, he must be arrested to be fined or jailed for up to a year if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy. Experts, however, believe that he is more than 95% likely to be extradited to the US at the request of its government.
A possible option now is that the UK government expels him to Australia, not the US, but this is a matter of risking a conflict with the US.
An international lawyer said, “The US court, which had sentenced Manning to 35 years, is likely to give Assange a greater sentence than it did.”
The allegation that the US government is placing on Assange is espionage.
In general, a spy acts for the benefit of the opponent country or a specific business group.
However, it remains highly controversial why releasing documents against the government and military policies and strategies for better democracy corresponds to the act of espionage.
The governments and militaries of the world do not reign on the people, but are entrusted with powers. Particularly, the power to take human lives and limit human rights should be used only as a last resort, at least in the good sense.
Is it possible to justify a military operation in which 100 civilians are murdered to kill 10 enemies?
This is an issue that governments, media and citizens around the world should seriously seek to address.
This particularly suggests a direction that the UK government should take for how to deal with the Julian Assange issue.
[WikiLeaks Korea= Lee Kyung Ah. Reporter]