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US uses national security ‘as a veil to hide war crimes’ – Assange’s lawyer

The journalist’s persecution was revenge for publishing embarrassing information, Aitor Martinez says

The Julian Assange saga has clearly shown that the US has been using its “national security” as a “veil” to hide war crimes, one of the WikiLeaks founder’s attorneys, Aitor Martinez, has said.

The years-long persecution of the publisher and the extradition case have also set a very dangerous precedent, which threatens the whole concept of press freedom, the lawyer added.

At the same time, the Assange case had become growingly toxic for the US administration, sprouting numerous groups advocating his release and effectively turning into a global movement, Martinez suggested.

“The truth is that the US administration had been pushing for the extradition process until recently, and indeed, just a few weeks ago, they had even provided diplomatic assurances seeking the effective handover of Julian Assange. However, in recent times, a citizen movement has emerged against this extradition, and I believe there is no corner of the world where a ‘Free Assange’ movement has not sprung up,” the lawyer stated.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange waves as he leaves the United States Courthouse on June 26, 2024 in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
What the Assange saga says about the state of the American empire

The timing of the abrupt resolution of the years-long affair is likely linked to the looming US presidential elections and the ongoing campaign, where it was bound to emerge one way or another. The case “in some way tarnished the image of the United States before the world” given it “meant the political persecution of a journalist who simply published truthful information that evidenced the commission of serious war crimes,” Martinez noted.

“Therefore, unquestionably, the Assange case would have arisen in the framework of the presidential debates, and this was the only way to end a case that undeniably did not play in favor of the image of the US in the world,” he said.

While politicians in Washington have ultimately opted to wrap up the affair, the US intelligence community has regarded it as a personal vendetta of sorts against the journalist, Martinez claimed.

“This case was being radically pushed by the US intelligence establishment and mainly by the CIA as a form of revenge against Julian Assange for the material he had published, which in some way had revealed the shame of the US military in operations abroad,” he said.

June 28, 2024 at 12:57AM

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