CIA reportedly plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian Assange
Media reports that the CIA considered criminal acts in pursuit of Julian Assange are deeply troubling.
Reacting to an investigation by Yahoo! News, NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said:
“The suggestion that US security services even considered kidnapping and murder on the streets of a trusted ally is chilling. That such acts might have been contemplated as a reaction to an individual who had simply published inconvenient truths is all the more troubling.
“At Assange's extradition hearings, the US government did not contest evidence that individuals allegedly working on its behalf had bugged the Ecuadorian embassy in London, followed Assange’s family and associates, and burgled the office of his lawyer. That context makes these fresh allegations all the more difficult to dismiss.
“If true, the story from Yahoo! News’ blows a hole in the case made by the US government that its attempt to extradite Assange is not politically motivated.
“I am calling on the UK home secretary to explain whether the security services had any involvement in, or knowledge of, these plans.
“Furthermore, it is clear that when the US appeal against the dismissal of its extradition application in respect of Assange is heard in October, it should be dismissed out of hand and its subject released at once.”
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said:
“If these accusations are true, it would cast a long shadow over all independent journalism and they would once again prove that extraditing Assange to the United States would put his life at serious risk. We are calling for a full investigation and for the British authorities to release him immediately.”