AMLO Reiterates His Proposal for Assange’s Asylum to Mexico as Extradition to the US Looms

By Gustavo A. Maranges on January 4, 2022

photo: EPA

On January 4th, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated his decision to give humanitarian asylum to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The statement came after the United Kingdom High Court agreed to extradite him to the United States. Assange’s history is one of the most painful violations in the annals of international freedom of speech carried out by the United States government, which has been desperately pursuing Assange during the last decade.

AMLO’s decision was publicly announced first in January 2021 when a lower UK court ruled against Assange extradition based on his mental health, which experts considered delicate enough to drive him to commit suicide. With this gesture of humanitarian justice, the Mexican president tries to save Assange’s life and to amend the politically driven decision of former Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who shamefully bowed to the wishes of the US and withdrew the diplomatic asylum and the citizenship to Assange in 2019.

Lopez Obrador also announced he will make public the personal letter he sent to former US President Donald Trump, asking to pardon Assange and end the persecution against an ill man, who represents no threat to anybody. AMLO regretted that the Trump Administration’s decided to not even reply to the letter, which reflects the lack of humanity of that government. This new attempt comes at a crucial moment when the Australian programmer and WikiLeaks founder is appealing the extradition order issued by a London Court.

Beyond the offer of the Mexican President, Assange’s situation has escalated the level of criticism around the world, given the unfair treatment he has suffered since 2010 when he decided to publish over 700,000 classified documents from the Defense Department of the United States. The accusation against him is an open attack on the free practice of journalism and shows that the United States will never spare efforts to punish those who dare to show the world the murderous side of its crusade against terrorism and the hypocrisy behind it. It is also a clear threat to any other journalist who would step up to expose the vast crimes taking place around the world of US foreign policy and in particular the Pentagon,

Everything began in 2010, when Assange, aided by the CIA analyst Chelsea Manning, unveiled the a multitude of crimes against humanity committed during the unpopular Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Entire families and civilian groups were murdered by the US Army and instead of prosecuting the ones involved in these events, the US justice system chose to aggressively go after the messengers who revealed the truth to the world. Something must be wrong in a system where real criminals go free and honest whistleblowers are charged with 18 different crimes in this case including one for conspiring to receive information related to National Defense issues, 7 for getting that info, another 9 for publishing it, and the last one for accessing  a computer without due permission. If found guilty of all these charges, which will certainly happen in the US judicial system, he will be sentenced to 175 in prison.

Some US justice analysts have said that Assange’s time will be only 4 to 5 years.  However, it is hard to trust in a system that is famous for convicting people to insane times in prison, as it was in the case of the Cuban Five, where one of them was sentenced to double lives plus 15 years in prison on conspiracy to commit charges. Moreover, it is too naïve to ever believe them, when Chelsea Manning was condemned to 35 years in prison, even when she had fewer charges.

The trap against Assange was initiated with an extradition petition from the Swedish government, whose General Attorney Office wanted to hold him accountable for two alleged sexual crimes, which suddenly came out of the blue. This was the first attempt to take Assange to the US. However, the maneuver did not succeed due to the brave decision of former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to give him political asylum.

Immediately after that humane act, the British government stated it will never allow Assange to travel out of the UK under any circumstances. This was the beginning of his prison time. Assange was, in fact, jailed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, whose authorities did not allow him even to get proper medical attention for almost 7 years.

The situation in the embassy began to deteriorate after Lenin Moreno won the presidential election in Ecuador in 2017. Assange’s internet was cut and his privacy was violated in several ways. His private conversations with his lawyers were leaked to the US government and some footages of his daily routine were sold to the media. Moreno’s administration even limited his visits to twice a month. All this, together with the stress generated by the Damocles Sword of the extradition over his head, sank Assange into a deep depressin. The final touch came in 2019 when Lenin Moreno left Assange unprotected by revoking his asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship after the United Kingdom promised not to extradite him to a country where his life was in danger. But, why was it necessary for a commitment of the UK government, when the alleged matters only were relevant to Ecuador? This was all a trick.

Today, the due process in the Assange case is heavily in danger since the UK government could decide to extradite Assange even if the Supreme Court decided not to do it. Assange is not only a person, today he represents the cause of hundreds of journalists that struggle to bring truth to the light of day, a fair cause that deserves the whole world’s support.

AMLO’s gesture of asylum for Assange may fail but he took an important stand at an at a critical moment against the empire that just assumes it can always get away with murder with impunity.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English