Were It Not for Wikileaks
If I weren't following Wikileaks on Twitter/Facebook, I would hardly know Julian Assange's extradition hearing in the UK was taking place, much less that today was the final day of evidence. The corporate press had time today to update their viewers on celebrities having babies, what movies are coming out next, and which presidential candidates the top social media influencers are backing. But they didn't have time to stand with a fellow journalist in defense of free speech and press against the American Empire.
Notably among the Empire's arguments for Julian Assange's extradition is claim that since Assange is not a US citizen, he "does not have free speech protections granted by the 1st Amendment." Think about that line for a moment. "He does not have free speech protections *granted* by the 1st Amendment." It is equal parts abhorrent and embarrassing that one of the chief pillars of the Empire's persecution of Assange is built on a woeful misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. For one, the Bill of Rights is not limited to US citizens, despite what you may have heard from your partisan demagogue of choice. Second, the 1st Amendment does not *grant* any protections to anyone. No amendment in the Bill of Rights, nor any part of the US Constitution *grants* rights. Your rights are yours naturally, endowed by your creator, or by your humanity.
Government can not bestow rights. It can only strip them away, which is exactly what the American Empire is attempting to do to Julian Assange. The fact that there have been no appreciable moves to prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes exposed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay by Wikileaks, while Julian Assange has been fighting for his freedom ever since, speaks volumes to the true dichotomy of liberty and tyranny. Should Assange be sent to the States to languish in a dark cell until he expires, the Empire will not rest there. It will be emboldened to persecute any member of the free press, or any individual pursuing liberty by speaking out against tyranny, should they seek to publish anything the Empire deems threatening to its hegemony.