May 21, 2024
Supporters of Julian Assange gathered in London and Washington, D.C., to call on the U.S. to stop its attempts to extradite him for publishing classified material.

Hundreds of supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gathered in London and Washington, D.C., on Saturday to demand the U.S. government end its efforts to extradite him over the publication of classified documents. 

Assange, who is currently being held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, will face espionage charges if he is extradited to the U.S. He is accused of publishing information detailing crimes committed by the U.S. government in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, Iraq and Afghanistan, and reveals instances in which the CIA engaged in torture and rendition.

Britain’s High Court ruled over the summer that Assange can be extradited to the U.S.

Supporters in London on Saturday formed a human chain outside Britain’s parliament that stretched from its perimeter railings and across nearby Westminster Bridge to the other side of the River Thames.

JULIAN ASSANGE EXTRADITION TO US APPROVED BY BRITISH GOVERNMENT

Assange, who is currently being held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, will face espionage charges if he is extradited to the U.S.

Assange, who is currently being held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, will face espionage charges if he is extradited to the U.S. (FOX News Digital/Landon Mion)

Assange’s wife Stella said the British government should speak to U.S authorities to stop the extradition attempts.

“It’s already gone on for three and a half years. It is a stain on the United Kingdom and is a stain on the Biden administration,” she said.

In the U.S., supporters of the Australian-born activist gathered outside the Justice Department to call on the federal government to drop its extradition bid. The protestors said they hope Assange never steps foot on U.S. soil and that he would not be treated fairly by the judicial system.

“Julian wasn’t trying to help dictatorships, he was trying to stop the United States from becoming one! And that’s why they want him in jail, and that is why it is crucial that we fight to set Julian free,” 2020 Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Spike Cohen said at the rally.

Human trafficking survivor Eliza Bleu urged the “global elites, the ruling class” and employees of the CIA and FBI to “be a hero, quit your job and become a whistleblower.”

“If it’s a choice between free speech and the United States government, trust and know, one’s gotta go! If one has to go, it ain’t gonna be free speech!” she said, adding that she is so passionate about freedom because she knows what it is like to lose it.

EXTRADITION OF WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN ASSANGE APPROVED BY UK JUDGE

Supporters of Assange gathered outside the Justice Department to call on the federal government to drop its extradition bid.

Supporters of Assange gathered outside the Justice Department to call on the federal government to drop its extradition bid. (FOX News Digital/Landon Mion)

Bleu said that, despite being a female trafficking survivor, she skipped out on the Women’s March that also took place on Saturday because, without a free press, there would be nobody to cover women’s issues or survivor’s issues.

Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London years ago because he faced extradition to Sweden after two women accused him of rape. The investigations were eventually dropped. 

Multiple speakers at the rally in D.C. railed against the corporate press for their lack of journalists at the event, particularly calling out The New York Times and The Guardian for being among the outlets to also publish the contents of the documents Assange had obtained.

“We need watchdog journalists not lapdog journalists,” two-time Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said.

In addition to publishing war logs leaked to him by former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, Assange’s site published internal communications taken from the Democratic National Committee and then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign that shed light on the DNC’s attempts to boost Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary.

Assange has been blamed for impacting Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency in 2016.

The Wikileaks founder is wanted by U.S. authorities on 18 counts over the publication of classified documents.

Multiple speakers at the rally in D.C. railed against the corporate press for their lack of journalists at the event.

Multiple speakers at the rally in D.C. railed against the corporate press for their lack of journalists at the event. (FOX News Digital/Landon Mion)

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The U.S. has said that Assange put lives in danger with his publication of the documents but his supporters call him a political victim. 

The CIA has reportedly previously had plans to kill Assange over the publication of sensitive CIA hacking tools, known as “Vault 7.” The agency said it suffered “the largest data loss in CIA history” after Wikileaks published the materials.

According to a September 2021 Yahoo report, the CIA during the Trump era had discussions “at the highest levels” of the administration about plans to assassinate Assange in London. Following orders from then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, the agency had drawn up kill “sketches” and “options.” The report further noted advanced plans to kidnap and rendition Assange and that the CIA made a political decision to charge him.

Assange’s legal team has appealed Britain’s High Court ruling to authorize his extradition.