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IPFS News Link • Whistleblowers

Why Julian Assange Must Be Freed

• https://fee.org, Jon Miltimore

John Joseph Mearsheimer recently summed up in a single sentence why Julian Assange should go free.

"Journalists don't go to jail for publishing classified information in the United States," Mr. Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, said in a recent video.

There has been endless ink spilled on Mr. Assange, whose lawyers on Feb. 20 made an eleventh-hour attempt to kill an effort to extradite the Australian journalist to the United States.

Since 2019, the WikiLeaks founder has been held in Belmarsh Prison in Britain and faces 17 charges of espionage and a single charge of computer misuse.

One item WikiLeaks published titled "Collateral Murder" was video footage of a U.S. military airstrike in Baghdad from July 12, 2007. The classified footage shows an Apache helicopter firing a 30 mm cannon into a group of people that included two Reuters journalists. Around a dozen people were killed, and two children were injured.

Mr. Assange's decision to publish the footage, which he received from U.S. intelligence analyst Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning), is why he is today in prison.

As the government's indictment against Mr. Assange states, the WikiLeaks founder didn't have a security clearance, which is why he "conspired" with Mr. Manning to obtain the footage and other records, including U.S. State Department cables.

Mr. Manning was convicted of 20 charges in 2013 and was sentenced to 35 years behind bars at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, a sentence that was commuted in January 2017 by President Barack Obama.

Mr. Assange, whose hearing at the British High Court in London concluded on Feb. 21, will likely find out this month whether he'll be extradited to the United States.


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