Diane Abbott puts a corrupt establishment in its place with a historic speech on Julian Assange

Diane Abbott and Julian Assange arrest
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On 11 April, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott delivered a speech on Julian Assange. And it proves the Labour Party is now on the right side of history.

Pursued “because he has exposed wrongdoing”

Responding to a statement from her Conservative counterpart, Sajid Javid, Abbott said:

Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect US national security. He is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by US administrations and their military forces.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also condemned the US persecution, saying:

The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.

In the Commons, Abbott was explicit about what Assange’s arrest is really about, saying that WikiLeaks‘ disclosures on:

illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale… [have] put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US administration. It is for this reason that they have once more issued an extradition warrant against Mr Assange.

In other words, Labour is standing on the side of international law and the UN rather than that of the US. As Abbott noted:

In February 2016, the UN panel ruled in his favour, stating that he had been arbitrarily detained and should be allowed to walk free and [be] compensated for his deprivation of liberty… But the foreign office responded by saying this ruling changes nothing.

Recently, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reiterated its ruling that the UK government was ‘arbitrarily detaining’ Assange and again demanded that the authorities allow him to leave. The Conservative administration tried to appeal the UN ruling but failed.

US poodle?

Abbott also pointed out something revealing about the foreign office’s previously take on Assange’s situation. She suggested it’s because the Conservatives are predominantly concerned about UK relations with the US:

I note it was the foreign office that responded, not the home office or the ministry of justice. The foreign office has no responsibility for imprisonment and extradition in this country. But it is of course interested in relations with allies and others.

WikiLeaks revelations

The shadow home secretary then noted some examples of WikiLeaks reporting:

And we should recall what WikiLeaks actually disclosed. Who can forget the Pentagon video footage… in Iraq which killed 18 civilians and two Reuters journalists? It is the monumental amount of leaks such as this that lifted the veil on US-led military operations in a variety of theatres, none of which has produced a favourable outcome [for] the people of those countries.

One revelation from the ‘Iraq war logs’ was that the US military indiscriminately killed over a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters media staff. The documents also showed that US and UK officials lied about having no official statistics on deaths. And the leak identified over 66,000 civilian deaths from 2004 to the end of 2009.

The Afghanistan war documents, meanwhile, showed that the US-led coalition forces killed hundreds of civilians. They then attempted to conceal their conduct. The documents also revealed the US-led coalition’s widespread use of death squads and drones to kill suspects without trial.

Aside from a breach of bail (see a timeline of his case here), Assange’s arrest concerns an extradition request from the US. The now unsealed indictment alleges that Assange is guilty of ‘conspiring to commit computer intrusion’. It claims that Assange helped whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack a password in order to make it more difficult to identify her as the source of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs.

Right side of history

Rounding off, Abbott said that Assange is at risk because he has exposed wrongdoing that is in the “utmost public interest”. And she said that Labour would be “very concerned” if the UK extradited Assange to the US on the basis of his revelations.

It’s important to note that Abbott’s response marks a historic break from Blairism. The right wing of Labour is all too keen to join the Conservatives in sucking up to the US. But Abbott just proved Corbyn’s Labour is a government really worth fighting for.

Featured image via Theodore Nozart/YouTube and CBS This Morning/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
      1. Indeed. Assange was reported as “ranting” or “screaming” as he was dragged form the embassy. I would be too if I was possibly going to end up in Guantanamo Bay.

    1. may’s closing remark triumphantly delivered quote….
      ”nobody is above the law” is very likely to bring chickens
      home to roost and bite somebody’ ass, and it couldn’t
      happen to a more deserved bunch of liars and thieves.

    2. I suspect that more than being just a puppet of the US the UK has lost its sovereignty to it. I would not be surprised in the least (though we’d never hear about it) if the US regime said to the UK regime, “Either you go in and arrest him or we will.” It’s blackmail but a very powerful tool, because no British government would survive the fallout if it became clear to the British people the US totally owns the UK.

    3. What a truly sad day for us all, the illegal arrest of Julian Assange, indeed the entire fiasco of attacks perpetrated against him since the start of this deliberately crafted debacle, isn’t just about him, nor is it just about Journalism and Journalists, it is also most emphatically about us too.

      The US and it’s allies (that’s us in the UK too folks) are sending a message to The Entire World, and that message is no entity, whether they are a god, a Nation, an organization, a person or an idea like International and National law, or even Truth, will be allowed to stand in defiance of their will, particularly if it is in all our best interests, or Planet Earth’s interests.

      There is no respect of any law, only subjugation of those laws by their corrupt, anti-life desires, and whilst we are told we MUST obey these laws, they are literally now flaunting the fact that they are abusing those laws, and now going so far, that they can’t even be bothered to hide it.

      They are right in the sense that literally no-one has the gumption to arrest and prosecute them. No one is above The Law …… except all those who practice the very arts the rest of us were raised to be evil and wrong. Theresa May and others, are so corrupt, they can’t even hide their glee at the sheer level of damage they are causing to the majority of us, and visibly getting away with it.

      There are a whole bunch of corrupt Leaders …Traitors I should say, that are being propped up by a huge audience of the ignorant, who are being led-by-the-nose by those traitors’ lackeys i.e. The Mainstream Media.

      It is high time our respective Judiciary , Police forces and Military actually did the right job and protect the people they are sworn to protect, us, not Corporate and Political Lust.

      We are told so often that we have to bear these things because they are in our interests, but clearly they are not.

      Today, Truth, Freedom of Speech, and even Freedom of Thought, have been declared international aberrations by The U.K and the U.S, and those having different views to the sanctioned ‘truth’ of the day are to be silenced.

      If you are holding out hope that our respective Judiciaries have any teeth to bite the hands that feed them, then sadly recent history proves otherwise.

      What a truly sad day for us all.

      1. It truly is a sad day for journalistic freedoms but let’s not conflate facts in one case with personal bugbears and perspectives on plenty of others. There’s the nub of a decent point in what you say but ranting widely about oppressive forces that most people visiting this site probably already know about lessens its impact.

        Perhaps direct your righteous anger towards helping to inform ‘the ignorant masses’ of the issues they face rather than castigating them for not being as liberated as you are? Organise.

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