The Perfect President to Pardon Assange

A global pandemic and months of nationwide civil unrest have proven to be the perfect cover for corrupt prosecutions in 2020. 

After all, it was only 10 months ago that the president of the United States—for only the third time in American history— was acquitted of impeachment charges.

Though, the president wasn’t the only one. 

A near three-year investigation and subsequent attempt to prosecute retired Lt. General Michael Flynn came to an unceremonious close on November 25, as President Trump announced a full pardon for his former national security advisor.

In February, an 18-month investigation into Missouri’s former governor Eric Greitens yielded “no evidence of any wrongdoing” on the part of the former executive, despite his earlier resignation as a result of the disproven allegations.

While the electoral process inches to a close, there is still time for President Trump to save yet another victim of politically motivated prosecution: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange founded Wikileaks in 2006 as a public online repository for any and all leakers to publish classified or otherwise confidential documents, photos, videos, or files with total anonymity. Wikileaks quickly became internationally renowned as the public safe haven for whistleblowers to expose governments’ and corporations’ deepest and darkest secrets. 

The earliest releases on the site included a secret assassination plot in Somalia and evidence of torture at Camp Delta, the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

Though, it wasn’t until 2010 that U.S. officials began to take Wikileaks seriously. 

On April 5, 2010, Assange’s site published highly classified video footage showing a U.S. military helicopter shooting and killing over a dozen civilians in Baghdad, Iraq in July 2007. 

In the video, you can hear the pilots laughing and joking about the act. The strike seriously injured two children. The video shows pilots dismissing the collateral damage, saying “it’s their fault for bringing their kids into battle.” It was a massive embarrassment for the U.S. military.

The release of the Baghdad footage arguably is the most notable breakthrough in Wikileaks’ history. According to Google, the single search term that experienced the most growth worldwide in the seven days following the release: “Wikileaks.” 

This wouldn’t be the last time Wikileaks would release highly classified information humiliating the U.S. government.

Shortly thereafter, with the help of a transgender U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Assange would release more than 250,000 classified State Department diplomatic cables.

The leaks earned Assange fandom with some, and notoriety with others. Among those, then-Vice President Joe Biden, who called Assange “a traitor.” 

The publisher’s vigilante style of transparency at all costs earned him praise from political leaders in Spain, Brazil, Russia, the United Kingdom, Argentina, and, most notably, Ecuador.

Following the release of the diplomatic cables, Assange visited Sweden. During the trip, Assange was accused of sexually assaulting two women. Immediately, he denied the allegations and after being questioned by authorities was cleared of wrongdoing. 

Nevertheless, the investigation was later reopened by a Swedish prosecutor who attempted to lure Assange into revisiting the country, presumably in a ploy to arrest him. When he refused, an international warrant was issued for Assange’s arrest and extradition to Sweden, which a British court affirmed. Assange appealed but his efforts were futile. 

On June 19, 2012, merely days after the extradition order, a man walked into the Ecuadorian embassy in London toting a completed request for political asylum by the Ecuadorian government. It was Julian Assange. Despite being situated in central London, the embassy was sovereign territory. For any country’s police or military to enter without permission would be considered an act of war.

Sympathetic to Assange’s concerns that his human rights would be violated in Sweden, Ecuador approved his asylum for Ecuador proper. But for months, British police stood watch directly outside the embassy gates prepared to arrest Assange should he make an attempt for the airport. He was trapped.

Assange would remain in the embassy for the next seven years. Ultimately, the Swedish charges were dropped but new charges from the U.S. government meant Assange remained an international fugitive. 

As Hillary Clinton prepared to attend the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, Wikileaks published thousands of internal DNC emails and documents exposing a blatant bias against Bernie Sanders’ candidacy in the Democratic primary. Large swarms of Democratic voters protested the convention and Clinton’s seemingly unjust coronation as the Democratic nominee. 

Just months after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States, Ecuador had inaugurated a new president of its own. The new administration was not nearly as hospitable to Assange. Eventually, they’d invite British police into the embassy to carry Julian Assange out in handcuffs.

Within hours of his arrest, a British judge convicted Assange of jumping bail in a trial lasting less than an hour. He was remanded into custody and was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison.

The barrage of legal attacks by Sweden, the United States, Ecuador, and Britain garnered strong criticism from the United Nations. Over the course of his imprisonment, Assange’s health deteriorated to the point that he was transferred to the prison’s hospital. 

In September 2019, Assange’s prison sentence ended. Awaiting a verdict on whether British authorities would turn him over to the United States, a British judge made a terrifying order denying Assange his freedom just days before his scheduled release. Given his status as a flight risk, the judge ordered that Assange would remain in custody until the resolution of his extradition case. 

In November 2019, over 60 medical doctors signed on to a letter suggesting that Assange was in such poor health that he could die in prison. The judge was unsympathetic. In February, as the COVID-19 pandemic plagued countries around the globe, his lawyers appealed again to no avail.

To this day, Assange remains in a British prison.

Whether Julian Assange is a spy, a traitor, a journalist, or a hero to free speech rests in the eye of the beholder. But one thing is certain: the global elite sleep much easier knowing Assange isn’t a free man. 

President Trump has found himself in the crosshairs of many of the same powers that have imprisoned Julian Assange. Without his intervention, Julian Assange will likely die in a British prison, unconvicted of any crime.

If the Trump-Russia collusion hoax was illegal, the global scheme to keep Julian Assange behind bars is downright Soviet.

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About Dylan Johnson

Dylan Johnson previously served in the administrations of President Donald Trump and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. Johnson is currently the campaign manager for Eric Greitens’ U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri.

Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images