Monday, January 4, 2021
Bonjour Readers! In a positive turn of events post-2020, a United Kingdom Judge has denied the request for an extradition to the U.S. of a high profile leaker / journalist because of risk for an untimely demise before and awaiting trial. As in the case of other recent high profile cases that raised suspicion whether the defendants in those cases actually disappeared themselves or if was caused by someone else, this case likely follows suit for fear he wouldn’t be able to get due process before XYZ could happen.
The whistleblower / leaker / journalist had gotten into hot water for publishing documents which were classified for secret purposes related to on going Middle Eastern wars and conflicts.
Due to current health deterioration and other previous health and mental factors, it was recommended not to send the journalist defendant overseas as it could accelerate his decline. Per British laws regarding extradition and human-rights the judge has a right to block and invoke human-rights law on the grounds of health to prevent oppressive and unjust treatment.
Much of the case has revolved around freedom of speech and also has been politically motivated. The case being, if leaking something that could be potentially harmful to one group can bring to light the injustice, then is it a bad thing? Is it two wrongs make a right or is it more subjective and what is good to one group of people not necessarily good universally?
At the time the individual had managed to leak a lot of embarrassing and jarring information regarding a military computer from an inside whistleblower. Apparently there were a lot of embarrassing and reputation damaging content that was leaked to the media and about injustices such as potential war crimes against unarmed individuals.
The work was framed in the light of exposing wrongdoing for the greater good for public interest. However, as is often the case it really hit a bad nerve on higher ups, people in power and exposed the bad things regular joes and us civilians weren’t supposed to know. It might have been a one off incident were it not for the fact that there was a large cache of similarly embarrassing and classified material.
The case became publicly made know and accessible as early as 2010 and 2011 and spurred much questioning as talking heads raced to do damage control and put out the dumpster fires.
Since the extradition will not go through, the Mexican President has offered the chance to free the journalist and also offer him asylum, aka pardon and asylum.
Many people have been woefully following the case as time had gone by from various part of related countries he was bounced around from Sweden to Ecuadorian embassies with more restrictions over time.
The politics of this involve a power nation or nation state. One that is known around the world as a super cop. But as we all know from movies such as Justice League and Injustice Gods and the like, that power unchecked can be catastrophic. As shown when the only superhero that had no powers showed up the rest of the Justice League, the majority of the League voted to dismiss the caped dark knight avenger, but he resigned himself knowing that he didn’t belong there. If nations and superpowers don’t have someone to check their powers and have contingencies then what happens when there’s a rogue actor? This goes back to historic lessons on WWI and WWII and the various treaties and imposition of power of many strong nations against weaker less armed nations essentially bullying them to do their bidding. Crusades and other wars have been fought and conquistadors with armaments to take over other nations in the name of a “justice” war for “the greater good”. But who gets to decide what’s good? The answer is the one that has the money and the bigger guns gets to write the history books.
These lawyers overseas know that there’s a chance that this journalist most likely won’t get a fair trial in the country he’s whistleblowing. And other individuals that have extradition requests have sometimes fallen under similar law interpretation.
The case has alleged that this journalist solicited military information from an Army intelligence analyst that helped crack passwords and provided via portable hardware device to leak logs related to military actions that may have endangered other lives of intelligence sources. And there’s further information that this journalist may have assisted another contractor / whistleblower who helped regular Americans realize their phones were being tapped against their wishes.
I remember hearing when the news first broke several years ago about the phone tapping and mass data harvesting of regular cellphone users of Verizon as well as other big tech companies that handed over mountains of data to this secret data harvesting program before it was made public. And I remember seeing all over social media the large backlash that their own tax dollars were being used to fund a program that essentially spied on their every day chats, messages, phone calls, and pictures. And that even if they weren’t doing anything wrong it was ending up being pored over by the people high up that were supposed to protect them. But this was all in the name of protecting citizens from a nameless shapeless fear of terrorism. George Carlin was prophetic when he came out with his comedy skit poking holes in the the idea of trading the comfort of security for the relinquishing of personal privacy and freedoms. For the simple inconvenience of having your entire person searched to prevent a bad decision of malicious groups from a particular era, malicious groups that were wronged from politics and other actions. Actions have consequences and perhaps these bad actors were retaliating against unfair treatment themselves in a system that they had no win.
Social media was in an uproar over countless surveillance programs and it lit a firestorm of debate and discussion about encryption. Encryption is a saving grace of modern invention to help safeguard our personal privacies. Much of which often has been leaked. In 2014 when a iCloud leak of celebrity photos was leaked to the web which for the sake of this site, we’ll dub as rhyming with “the happening”, you could see that data wars were ongoing. It was a fight between the tech savvy and the n00bs of phones and digital devices. Encryption would have helped somewhat even despite the spear phishing attacks. Other instances of this ongoing digital war include a Sony picture hack, credit card companies and hardware stores etc.
But there was also the debate about encryption versus trying to “run out the clock” on the bad guys when it was discovered a bad actor might have stored some messages on an Apple brand device. And it became politicized and made evening news that investigators wanted a company to backdoor its own device to set a precedent to look into its device, thereby potentially weakening security for that and all other users in the future. On the one hand the “good guys” or “white hats” wanted to stop more bad things from happening. While the tech industry said to the effect of “what’s to stop you from asking us to do this again and again for you?” Basically this was a debate over unchecked power to diminish a device with all its innovations of security. Why stop with this device and why even innovate if it’s going to be easily backdoored? And then in essence allow potential to accidentally leak this to others – thereby creating a security flaw for anyone to have. Many companies have had zero-days leaked like that inadvertently.
As you can see what is good is bad for others and bad is good for some. Even the term white hats is subjective. As many have grown up to see white hatted cowboys as good and black-hat cowboys and negative. This was on an NPR radio broadcast where a study was done with arcade video games and people tended to think of a particular character as good or bad based on superficial appearance alone. Perhaps all these political judgments and rules are based on what we’ve been indoctrinated into learning as good and bad moral judgments when growing up.
Anyway, back to the no-extradition case. Many people celebrated outside the London court feeling a partial vindication. While the judge didn’t agree that it was politically motivated citing his acts that proceeded to take him “outside the role of investigative journalism”.
Currently there could still be further appeal so this journalist’s fate is not out of the neck of the woods yet. Although some have been clamoring and pleading for the current leader of the free world to consider this journalist an exceptional case and grant a pardon before leaving office in January. There has been much debate on social media about the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Were the case to be unsuccessful then this journalist could be flown to the U.S. and face life for charges of leaking diplomatic cables that revealed and leaked potential war crimes of the so called country and defender of the free world. Many others on social media feel the unrest because it appears to them that journalism and truth telling is the most dangerous thing today. The movie The Post for example appears to explore recurring themes of press versus governing bodies and censorship. Censorship has been mentioned in other works of literature such as Fahrenheit 451.
As stated by one of the prison consultants that testified, they feared for the life of this Mr. Journalist. And were worried about the sudden disappearance of the defendant as in a similar case that ended up having various memes on social media about a recent high profile case.
Right now it is considered a 1 in favor for the British courts and they hope that the case is not pursued any further and to let it be dropped.
The famed journalist created a site to leak controversial material that has been quite useful to many countries and journalists until it roused the big elephant. The site also played a role in 2016 elections.
Some have also wondered if perhaps the incoming administration can let this case come to rest and let bygones be bygones with a pardon. What’s more there have been family and supporters of the journalist that have been lead to suffer emotionally and time apart due to this vengeful pursuit that has spanned a decade a least. While the 1862 protagonist Jean Valjean was pursued relentless by the police Inspector Javert in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the journalist of this leak site has been sentenced emotionally with his life turned upside down for speaking the truth about atrocities that were committed, only that it was embarrassing for a big nation state.
A previous investigations in Sweden had been dropped due to expiration of statute, but no doubt this big machine of a superpower has remained on his tracks. As per Reuters it’s been said by a spokesman involved that they will continue to seek extradition.
It was only 2 years ago before he was nabbed by British law enforcement but much of the case was postponed and delayed due to the recent coronavirus pandemic. Watchdogs wanted to be able to watch the hearings which had a few technical glitches.
To some he’s a criminal still but others praise him and some of the two other related whistleblowers for standing up and exposing wrongdoings. To many in the powerful upper echelon, their nation can do no wrong or it’s only wrong when someone else does it, but not them.
Australia also has offered an opportunity for him to return if he wins his case.
Currently the argument against extradition is that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime and that the prison holding will be harsh for a man of his health and age.
For those advocating for freedom of press, this appears to be at least a step in the right direction for the case.
This seems to be the trend currently in the world: speak out about some injustice and get backlash. You’ve seem that with the gender inquality and inclusivity movements as well as 2020 racial movements. You’ve seen that with the sit down protests for Wall Street and a lot of social justice campaigns on social media. The world is no longer sitting on the sidelines content to see the elite tell them to eat cake. The world is changing fast. If you’re a savvy and smart millennial one thing you can do is to read more and be more socially conscious aware. A few years ago the gender and equality movement came out also and was finally accepted into many laws with repeal of DOMA.
Politics is important and something that as you get older should get more knowledgeable about. While our site tries not to delve too much into political parties and articles, it is something that will be important to your life in adulthood. Get a learning of your news, history of your country and world, and social and political issues impacting you and the rest of the world. We hope this article gave you a few things to ruminate about.
Like this article? Tell us more about what world issues might be something you’d like to hear about and we might add it as the topic of one of our future articles.