Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Demonstrators protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on October 21, 2019. (Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Demonstrators protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on October 21, 2019. (Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Drop Charges and Extradition Pursuit of Assange, Says Amnesty International, Denouncing US Govt's "Full-Scale Assault on the Right to Freedom of Expression"

"The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who expose official wrongdoing by publishing information disclosed to them by credible sources could have a profound impact on the public's right to know what their government is up to."

Andrea Germanos

Amnesty International on Friday criticized what it called a "full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression" by the United States and demanded the country drop its Espionage Charges against and extradition request of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The call from the human rights organization came three days before a London court will determine the fate of that extraction request.

Assange has been in the high security Belmarsh prison in London since April 2019 after being forcibly removed from the Ecuadoran embassy where he'd been effectively trapped since 2012.  The WikiLeaks founder faces up to 175 years in prison for 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act—charges journalists and press freedom defenders said represent a dangerous assault on press freedom by attacking Assange for publishing and exposing U.S. war crimes.

Doctors and a United Nations expert have warned that Assange is being held under conditions that threaten his very life.

"The U.S. government's unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the U.S. military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression," said Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International's deputy Europe director.

"The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who expose official wrongdoing by publishing information disclosed to them by credible sources could have a profound impact on the public's right to know what their government is up to," he continued. "All charges against Assange for such activities must be dropped."

If the court fails to drop the charges, Moratti added, the U.K. must not allow him to be extradited.

"Julian Assange could face detention conditions in the U.S. that amount to torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement. The risk of an unfair trial is very real given the targeted public campaign against him undertaken by U.S. officials at the highest levels, which has severely undermined his right to be presumed innocent," said Moratti.

Over 1,200 international journalists amplified the call for Assange's freedom in a new statement this week.   

"This case stands at the heart of the principle of free speech," they wrote. "If the U.S. government can prosecute Mr Assange for publishing classified documents, it may clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere, an alarming precedent for freedom of the press worldwide."

The "use of espionage charges against people publishing materials provided by whistleblowers is a first," the journalists said, "and should alarm every journalist and publisher."

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, added her voice Thursday to the chorus against Assange's extradition.

"The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Julian Assange, and of the offenses listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond," she said. "Consequently, allowing Julian Assange's extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo