(April 11, 2019) — Here are 10 reasons why WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should walk free.
- Governments’ (monstrous and criminal) behavior should not be secret. People should know what their government is doing, and what a powerful foreign government is doing to their own countries. The actual results of the work of WikiLeaks have been hugely beneficial.
- If US courts were to get busy prosecuting the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks, rather than trying to turn the act of revealing them into some sort of crime, they would simply not have time for the latter.
- Prosecutions should not be arbitrary political choices. A Justice Department wrongly under the thumb of Obama decided against prosecuting Assange. A Justice Department wrongly under the thumb of Trump decided to prosecute, based on exactly the same information but different politics. When Trump was celebrating WikiLeaks three years ago it was for acts of journalism he is not prosecuting; instead he is prosecuting just the journalism that he opposes.
- The choice to prosecute these particular acts is driven by the military industrial complex, but also by Russiagate. The US media and top politicians have long sought to depict Julian Assange as something other than a journalist on the fictional grounds that he is in the employ of or collaborating with an enemy government. If Assange had exposed the peccadilloes of the peace movement, or if he had not figured in the Russiagate myth, he would be free. They’d let him be. Breathing air like you and me.
- Nobody on either side of the debate right now has knowledge of or is focused on the details of the allegation that Assange did something unjournalistic by attempting unsuccessfully to hack into a computer in order to protect a source. This trial by media is no more about that than the Monica Lewinsky scandal was about lying under oath. And the trial by jury is likely to resemble the trial by media, if previous trials, such as Jeffrey Sterling’s, in the Virginia court of choice for patriotic railroaders are any guide.
- The details of that unjournalistic allegation are likely very weak, because the indictment throws in various other allegations that are purely journalistic: encouraging a source, protecting a source. To an ignorant, all-white, militarized-community jury impressed by important national figures saying the word “conspiracy” a lot, these other allegations will loom large.
- If the United States charges Assange with violating horribly anti-democratic US secrecy laws, and denounces him on TV as a “traitor,” despite Assange not being a US citizen, other countries may begin to find the nerve to charge US journalists with violating their secrecy laws. The next Washington Post reporter hacked to death by Saudi Arabia may get a trial first.
- If Assange is brought to the United States and not convicted, or is convicted and serves out a sentence, one can expect the US government, legally or otherwise, to further prosecute or simply imprison him indefinitely. In the propaganda that surrounds this drama it is not a legal proceeding, but a war. If Trump gets away with the numerous crimes and outrages he has thus far gotten away with, he or his successor will have little difficulty devising a way to further “protect” us from Assange.
- If Assange is prosecuted, many US journalists will deliver a self-inflicted blow to their institution dwarfing what the US government delivers. They will declare it fit and proper for a single head of a secretive government to sadistically punish disapproved of journalists. They will pledge their loyalty not to truth or public knowledge, but to the Empire.
- This. (See below.)
(5th April 2010: 10:44 EST) — WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.
Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.
The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.
After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the US military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.
Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.
WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.
WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.
WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Swanson was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial Foundation.
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