“Assange was saved by the U.S. presidential race” – But, can he feel safe?

By Prof Marcello Ferrada de Noli


1. What motivated President Biden the release of Assange on June 26?

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson said that “diplomacy and intense lobbying with the highest authorities in the U.S. played a big role in Assange walking free”. Besides Australia, other notable international campaigning in favour of Assange’ release from prison, inclusive by head of states with good relations to Washington, it is said have also contributed. Also, most valid in the context is Stella Assange’s appraisal referring the “years and years” solidarity movement with the WikiLeaks founder. But nevertheless those efforts that have been pursued along the years, nothing had happened until precisely June 26 2024.  So, the question is, why was Assange released from prison exactly at this timing, after fourteen years of solid persecution, prosecution and imprisonment –an epic development that started already 2010 in Sweden, at the instigation of the US?

It was only recently, in April 2024, when Western media reported that “US President Joe Biden (was) contemplating a significant shift in the United States’ decade-long pursuit of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, prompted by a request from Australia to abandon the prosecution against the Australian citizen.” The cited report echoed statements by Biden done during a State visit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “We are considering (a request from Australia)”, as reported by the BBC on 11 April 2024.

However, by then, according to the New York Times, talks that have been pursued between representatives of Joe Biden and Donald Trump regarding the presidential debate, and finally reached an agreement. The first debate was set for June 27. In fact, Trump asked Biden for this debate already in February 2024.

Ensuing, in May 2024 Biden gets the confirmation about Trump’s intentions of releasing Assange if elected president. This was declared by Trump himself at the end of that month: “We are going to to give (pardon for Assange) serious consideration”.

Was Trump to announce this during the presidential debate scheduled for some weeks after that? Most probably. Statements by Newsweek’s Senior Editor-at-Large Josh Hammer published also on 26 June 2024 –one day before the presidential debate– affirms “Donald Trump has been very outspoken about his re-election bid to pardon Julian Assange.”

What is certain is that Biden, the one who had previously referred Julian Assange as to “high-tech terrorist” (see below on death threats to Assange by U.S. politicians and high-ranking officials), anticipated the expected Trump’s “scoop” by the decision of releasing Julian Assange via a prompt judicial procedure elaborated by the U.S. government. 

On the 26 of June, just one day before the presidential debate between Biden and Trump, Al Jazeera published the headline:

2. Are the U.S. threats on Assange still existent? They were uttered before by high-ranking government officials and U.S. politicians…including pleas for his killing.

For instance, the Republican ex-president Mike Pence newly declared that Assange should be (still) prosecuted:

Let’s remind that the U.S. acusations are about espionage. Earlier in this process, according to a document published by the Senate Select Committe on Inteligence, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (Democrat), chairman of the said Senate Intelligence Committee, and Christopher Bond (Republican), vice chairman of the committee, asked via official letter to Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Julian Assange for espionage.

Does the U.S. law on espionage entail death penalty? Acccording to Cornell Law Review, “The 1917 Espionage Act, from which the 1954 Act derives much of its wording, authorized the death penalty for espionage ´in time of war´…” 

Pence, for example, would thus argue that the “crimes” were commited during the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

There are, or have been, other publicly manifested threats from the part of high-ranking government officials and U.S. politicians regarding the killing of Assange. Some examples:

See video “Bob Beckel Wants Julian Assange Assassinated!

Translation of headline in above Corriere della Sera article Sep 27, 2021So the CIA planned to kidnap and kill Julian Assange”.

Caption of image above (La Jornada, 24 March 2024):  “Mike Pompeo, director of ther CIA, gave instructions to that organization for the planification of the kidnapping and assassination of Julian Assange, as revealed by the American magazine The Nation.”

On the other hand, the involvement of the Australian government in the process to obtain the release of Julian Assange, may be a guarantee that assassination plans against him, with the participation of American agencies, will not be devised. That, against the background of the new alliances that the U.S. has been working out regarding Australia. As known, the geopolitical warfare of the U.S. is progressively focusing on China. For this, the U.S. would not upset such plans of political and military collaboration with Australia. For instance, since some years ago, Australia, together with New Zeeland and others of the region, have been invited to NATO meetings at high level.

Lastly, I know Assange personally, and I am sure he is equipped with personal preservation strategies which would prevent an exposure to such kind of danger.  

3. Transcript of the interview on these subjects published in RNN 28 June 2024

“The US released the founder of WikiLeaks to save the president’s image before the debate” is the title of an article based in an interview with The Indicter chief-editor, published in RNN 28 June 2024. In the English version the title of the RNN article was “Assange: Die Another Day”.


Joe Biden’s PR people were intensively preparing the president for the debate. In order to surround the old politician with positivity, the authorities even released from prison one of their main critics, WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange. The journalist is still alive, but his wife and supporters fear for his safety. Presidential spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said that the White House has nothing to do with Assange’s movements and does not influence the Justice Department at all. How “independent” this department is can be judged by the endless delay in the Hunter Biden case and the process against Trump.

Marcello Ferrada de Noli, a professor emeritus previously at the Karolinska Institute and Swedish human rights activist, is confident that the US leader personally contributed to the high-profile release of one of his enemies. The journalist was saved by the presidential race:

“This decision was made just a few days before the Biden-Trump debate. The Julian deal itself was a carefully considered move given its impact on Biden’s re-election prospects.”

Now the White House will begin to actively portray concern for human rights: Israel will face loud reproaches for excessive cruelty in Gaza, and the Pentagon will have a stern conversation with Kiev, asking Zelensky not to target civilian targets in Russia at least until November.

Assange is the first attempt to deceive everyone.

“I doubt that the end of the Julian case was inspired by a sudden respect for freedom of the press,” the expert commented sadly. “I would not view this as an act of political altruism by Biden.”

The imprisonment has greatly damaged the journalist’s health, but for now he may not be afraid of killers for two reasons. Australia is an American outpost in the Pacific Ocean, which prevents China from establishing its 100% dominance there.

“Washington needs Canberra for its project in the region. So, I don’t believe Biden will risk a good relationship.”

Officials from both parties have hinted, or said outright, that the WikiLeaks author is a big problem that needs to be eliminated. Republican Newt Gringrich said Assange “should be treated as an enemy combatant,” and Democrat Bob Beckel publicly suggested killing him. “I know Julian personally and he is very careful, and I am sure that he will take measures to maintain his physical integrity.”

De Noli said. “I’m not saying that there is no threat to his life, but whether it will be realized is another question.” At least in the near future.”

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