Press Freedom Coalition says DOJ must drop Assange case after CIA plot revelation
A coalition of more than two dozen press freedom groups on Monday escalated an earlier appeal demanding that the US Department of Justice drop charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying the demand is now still more urgent due to recent reports that the CIA conspired to kidnap. and maybe kill – the reporter.
“We understand that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting good faith national security interests, but the prosecution of Mr. Assange jeopardizes journalism which is crucial to democracy,” the organizations wrote. “In our opinion, a precedent set by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists, crippling their work and undermining press freedom. “
“The actions described in the indictment are virtually indistinguishable from common practices in newspapers across the country.”
Yahoo News first reported revelations that officials at the “highest level” of the agency were considering attacking Assange, as well as “spying on WikiLeaks associates on a large scale, sowing discord among group members and steal their electronic devices “.
The letter comes two months after the Biden administration won an appeal to the UK High Court in its case to extradite Assange. Earlier this year, Westminster Magistrates’ Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that the extradition would be “oppressive because of Assange’s sanity” and endanger the life of the WikiLeaks founder because of the conditions in the American prisons.
Assange is accused in the United States of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for publishing classified U.S. military documents revealing U.S. war crimes.
After news outlets around the Labor published countless reports based on information provided by Assange and WikiLeaks, the coalition wrote on Monday that “journalists routinely engage in much of the behavior described in the act. accusation: speak with sources, seek clarification or further documentation, and receive and publish official secrets.
As former intelligence consultant and press freedom advocate Edward Snowden tweeted on Monday, the case against Assange “criminalizes the kind of journalism you read every week in the newspaper.”
“The actions described in the indictment are virtually indistinguishable from common practices in newspapers across the country. This is exactly why the two The New York Times and The Washington Post– themselves who are not fans of Assange – have denounced the charges against him in the strongest terms, “wrote Parker Higgins, director of advocacy for the group.