Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Assange Defense Committee

Supporters of jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including his father, John Shipton (right), rally during a June 17, 2022 news conference outside the British consulate in New York City. (Photo: Timothy A. Clark/AFP via Getty Images)

'Sad Day for Western Democracy': Chomsky, Ellsberg, Others Denounce Assange Extradition

"The U.K.'s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him—the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest—is an abomination."

Brett Wilkins

As supporters of Julian Assange held a news conference Friday at the United Kingdom's consulate in New York to demand freedom for the jailed WikiLeaks founder, a trio of leading leftist figures decried the British government's approval of the ailing Australian's extradition to the United States.

"Shouldn't we expect Western democracies to behave better?"

In a statement published ahead of Friday's press conference, the three chairs of the Assange Defense Committee—linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker—blasted U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel's greenlighting of Assange's transfer to the U.S. earlier in the day. Assange plans to appeal the decision.

"It's a sad day for Western democracy. The U.K.'s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him—the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest—is an abomination," the trio said, referring to an alleged 2017 CIA scheme to kidnap or kill the WikiLeaks founder.

"We expect the world's most despised autocrats to persecute journalists, publishers, and whistleblowers. We expect totalitarian regimes to gaslight their people and crack down on those who challenge the government," they continued. "Shouldn't we expect Western democracies to behave better?"

The statement continued:

The U.S. government argues that its venerated Constitution does not protect journalism the government dislikes, and that publishing truthful information in the public interest is a subversive, criminal act.

This argument is a threat not only to journalism, but to democracy itself. The U.K. has shown its complicity in this farce, by agreeing to extradite a foreigner based on politically motivated charges that collapse under the slightest scrutiny.

Speakers at Friday's event in New York included Assange's father and progressive German parliamentarian Sevim Dağdelen, who said that "today is a dark day for press freedom, a dark day for human rights."

"Julian Assange is a hero," she added. "Every decent citizen and journalist is called to stand up."


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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Do More NOW,' Sanders Says After Mass Shooting at July 4th Parade

"Today's terrible shooting in Highland Park is the latest reminder of our nation's deadly gun violence epidemic," the Vermont senator said. "Grocery stores. Schools. Churches. Fourth of July parades."

Jake Johnson ·


'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·


On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins ·


Deadly Glacier Collapse in Italy 'Linked Directly to Climate Change'

At least seven people were killed when a glacier slid down a mountainside near a popular climbing route in the Alps on Sunday.

Julia Conley ·


'Organized Whitewash': US Claims Israeli Military's Murder of Journalist Not Intentional

"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," said the human rights group B'Tselem in response to findings of U.S. State Department.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo