Noam Chomsky tells court that Julian Assange has ‘exposed power to sunlight’

Noam Chomsky
John McEvoy

On 30 September, distinguished academic and public intellectual Noam Chomsky‘s written testimony was read at court during Julian Assange’s extradition hearing.

Extraterritorial reach

Chomsky had previously appeared on Democracy Now! to denounce:

the extraterritorial reach of the United States, which is shocking. Why should the United States… have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world?… It’s [an] outlandish situation. It goes on all the time.

Power to sunlight

In his written testimony to judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is presiding over Assange’s extradition hearing, Chomsky noted that the WikiLeaks publisher has performed “actions that expose power to sunlight”. He continued by highlighting that these actions:

may cause power to evaporate if the population grasps the opportunity to become independent citizens of a free society rather than subjects of a master who operates in secret. That is a choice and it’s long been understood that the public can cause power to evaporate.

Speaking to the press outside the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray noted that Assange has been subject to conditions of “torture… all because he published the truth”.

Rebecca Vincent of Reporters Without Borders concurred that “this case will have historical implications for journalism, for press freedom – that is what is at stake here”.

Chomsky concluded:

In my view, Julian Assange, in courageously upholding political beliefs that most of us profess to share, has performed an enormous service to all the people in the world who treasure the values of freedom and democracy and who therefore demand the right to know what their elected representatives are doing. His actions in turn have led him to be pursued in a cruel and intolerable manner.

The extradition hearing concluded on 1 October, and a verdict will be delivered by Baraitser on 4 January 2021.

Featured image via screengrab/Democracy Now!

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