The Julian Assange detention has nothing to do with sexual misconduct and everything to do with the Pentagon’s desire to exact revenge for his WikiLeaks exposure of U.S. crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Namely, wholesale killings of civilians and contempt for sovereignty and international law.
Whistleblowing is not unconstitutional. As a presidential candidate in 2008, constitutional law professor Barack Obama lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy” and declared they “must be protected from reprisal.”
John Pilger, in a Truthout Op-Ed analysis of the Assange case, recently called it one of the epic injustices of our time. Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean embassy London for five years, but now the case against him appears to be unraveling.
The United Nations group that decides compliance with international human rights obligations has ruled that Assange has been detained unlawfully by Sweden and Britain. The British parliament has discredited his “captivity.” The chief prosecutor in Stockholm, Eva Finne, dismissed the case against Assange.
“There is no reason to suspect he has committed rape,” Finne said. Moreover, one of the woman involved in the case said the police fabricated evidence, railroaded her and protested that she “did not want to accuse Assange of anything.”
But the Pentagon is adamant about whistleblowers. One whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison and tortured during her pre-trial detention. (Thirty-five years for whistleblowing!!)
John Pilger, in his analysis, hails “tiny, brave Ecuador” for granting asylum to Assange when the gutless politicians of Australia, in collusion with America, would not.
Pilger concludes with a stinging indictment of the United States:
“The decent world owes much to Julian Assange. He told us how indecent power behaves in secret, how it lies and manipulates and engages in great acts of violence, sustaining wars that kill and maim and turn millions into refugees.”
COURT POLS BLOCK GLOBAL WARMING
The Supreme Court recent decision to put a hold on President Obama’s global warming plan is what a New York Times editorial calls extraordinary.
It may be that but it is business as usual for a majority of the court blocking any progress.
The Obama administration wants to combat global warming by curbing carbon emissions from coal-fired plants. Its Clean Power Plan requires states to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from their electricity producers. The target for reduced emissions is 25 percent.
A majority of Americans, including many Republicans, agree that global warming is, or will be, a serious threat.
Chief Justice Roberts claims that the court is viewed unfairly as just another political branch. It is not unfair. He insists that the court doesn’t work as “Democrats or Republicans.” But it does.
The GOP commands the court. It’s just that Roberts never admits the biases of his commanding politicians.
A brief court order, by a 5-4 vote, temporarily blocked the global-warming plan. The liberal bloc of four dissented from an unprecedented Supreme Court order. SCOTUS had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before its legal fate had been decided.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli called “climate change the most significant environmental challenge of our day, one that is already affecting national public health, welfare and the environment.”
He’s absolutely right. But far too many Americans think climate change is an idea or story expounded by many people but not true. A myth.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)