This is a really sad, though not unexpected, development. It's hard to
avoid the parallels to Navalny's treatment.
Besides all the press freedom implication and one man's suffering, the
vilification of Assange is the most successful psy-op I've ever
encountered personally. It's appalling.
The extradition of Julian Assange must be condemned by all who believe
in press freedom
The British home secretary has formally approved the extradition of
WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States, in the latest
development in a dangerous and misguided criminal prosecution that has
the potential to criminalize national security journalism in the United
Previously, a major coalition of civil liberties organizations,
including Freedom of the Press Foundation, implored U.S. Attorney
General Merrick Garland to drop the case against Assange in the name of
protecting the rights of journalists everywhere. So, too, have the
editors of major news outlets such as The New York Times and Washington
By continuing to extradite Assange, the Biden DOJ is ignoring the dire
warnings of virtually every major civil liberties and human rights
organization in the country that the case will do irreparable damage to
basic press freedom rights of U.S. reporters.
The prosecution, which includes 17 charges under the Espionage Act and
one under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, covers events that took
place more than a decade ago, but was brought only under the Trump
administration — after the Obama Department of Justice reportedly
considered charges but dismissed them for their dangerous First
Reports suggest Assange may have at least one more avenue of appeal, so
he may not be on a flight to the United States just yet. But this is one
more troubling development in a case that could upend journalists’
rights in the 21st century.
You don’t have to like Assange or his political opinions at all to grasp
the dangerous nature of this case for journalists everywhere, either.
Even if you don’t consider him a “journalist,” much of the activity
described in the charges against him is common newsgathering practices.
A successful conviction would potentially make receiving classified
information, asking for sources for more information, and publishing
certain types of classified information a crime. Journalists, of course,
engage in all these activities regularly.
There is some historical irony in the fact that this extradition
announcement falls during the anniversary of the Pentagon Papers trial,
which began with the Times publication of stories based on the legendary
leak on June 13, 1971, and continued through the seminal Supreme Court
opinion rejecting prior restraint on June 30, 1971.
In the months and years following that debacle, whistleblower (and FPF
co-founder) Daniel Ellsberg became the first journalistic source to be
charged under the Espionage Act. What many do not know is that the Nixon
administration attempted to prosecute Times reporter Neil Sheehan for
receiving the Pentagon Papers as well — under a very similar legal
theory the Justice Department is using against Assange.
Thankfully, that prosecution failed. And until this one does too, we
continue to urge the Biden administration to drop this prosecution.
Every day it continues to further undermine the First Amendment.
# distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
# <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
# collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
# more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
# archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nett...@kein.org
# @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: