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. Billionaires 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, independent 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 producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

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.

Stella Moris

Stella Moris, Julian Assange's partner, speaks while veteran journalist John Pilger stands to her right at a demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on August 11, 2021. (Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

Further Blow to Press Freedoms as US Wins Appeal in Effort to Extradite Julian Assange

"This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges."

Brett Wilkins

As Britain's High Court on Wednesday handed the United States a win in its bid to extradite Julian Assange, press freedom and other human rights defenders renewed calls for the Biden administration to drop all charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

"It is now time for President Biden to do the right thing and help end this farcical prosecution which should never have been brought in the first place."
—Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International

Lord Justice Tim Holroyde on Wednesday ruled that the U.S. government may expand its appeal of a lower court's rejection of the Trump administration's attempt to extradite Assange, the BBC reports. On January 4, Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates' Court warned that extradition "would be oppressive by reason of Assange's mental health," and that there was a "substantial" risk the WikiLeaks whistleblower would kill himself in a U.S. prison.

Clair Dobbin, an attorney representing the U.S. government in the case, had countered that Assange would be able to "resist suicide" in American custody. The United States is now seeking to minimize or dismiss expert medical evidence provided by neuropsychiatrist Michael Kopelman, who last year testified that Assange is autistic, suffers from recurring depression, and was likely to try to kill himself if extradited.

Holroyde said Wednesday that the High Court would hear the full appeal on October 27 and 28. Assange has been imprisoned in London's notorious Belmarsh Prison for over two years.

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London Wednesday, former U.K. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn told demonstrators that "journalism is a very dangerous and risky profession when done properly" and that Assange "walks in that great tradition of great, fearless journalists."

"We're here to support Julian Assange and demand his freedom," said Corbyn.

Stella Moris, Assange's partner, told the protesters that the U.S. government "is exploiting the inherently unfair extradition arrangements with this country in order to arbitrarily prolong his imprisonment."

Amnesty International legal adviser Simon Crowther said outside the court that charges like those against Assange "should never be brought against journalists or publishers."

"What this allows the U.S. to do," said Crowther, "is to challenge journalists and editors when they publish things the U.S. does not want in the public domain, sometimes classified material, which is the lifeblood of investigative journalists when they're investigating things like war crimes and crimes against humanity that are perpetrated by states like the U.S."

"This would have a very significant chilling effect if the U.S. were to win this case," added Crowther. "Journalists would have to look over their shoulder and worry about their legal liability when they accept information from sources provided to them confidentially."

Amnesty International on Wednesday joined Assange Defense, Freedom of the Press Foundation, the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and other advocacy groups that reiterated earlier calls for U.S. authorities to drop all charges against the jailed whistleblower.

"This attempt by the U.S. government to get the court to reverse its decision not to allow Julian Assange's extradition on the basis of new diplomatic assurances is a blatant legal sleight of hand," Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty's Europe director, said in a statement.

"This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President [Joe] Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges which have put media freedom and freedom of expression in the dock," Muižnieks continued.

"President [Barack] Obama opened the investigation into Julian Assange. President [Donald] Trump brought the charges against him. It is now time for President Biden to do the right thing and help end this farcical prosecution which should never have been brought in the first place," he added.

Assange is charged in the United States with violating the 1917 Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for publishing classified U.S. military documents on WikiLeaks over a decade ago.

Among the materials brought to light by Assange and WikiLeaks are the so-called "Collateral Murder" video, which shows a U.S. Army helicopter crew killing a group of Iraqi civilians; the Afghan War Diary; and the Iraq War Logs, all of which revealed U.S. and allied war crimes. Many of the documents published by WikiLeaks were provided by former U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. 

Unlike Manning—who spent seven years in prison before her sentence was commuted by Obama in January 2017—none of the soldiers or commanders implicated in war crimes by WikiLeaks were seriously punished. Assange could spend the rest of his life behind bars if he is convicted of all the charges against him. 

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.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

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