News Groups Urge US to Drop Assange Charges

    Photo: Getty Images [via The Guardian]

    The Facts

    • Twelve years on from publishing the “Cablegate” disclosures alongside WikiLeaks, The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País on Monday issued a joint letter urging the US government to drop its prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

    • Assange has been incarcerated in Britain since 2019. Before that, he spent much of the past decade under house arrest or as a political asylee in Ecuador's London embassy. He is wanted in the US on 17 charges of spying and on an allegation of conspiring to commit computer intrusion. If extradited, he could face up to 175 years in a maximum security penitentiary.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Assange is a journalist and should have the protections journalists possess in any functioning democracy to reveal corruption and deceit at the highest levels of government. The attempted prosecution of Assange is not only a grave injustice, but a serious threat to press freedoms more broadly.

    Narrative B

    Assange is not a journalist, he is a spy leading an intelligence agency that has provided sensitive information to enemies of the US. He doesn't care about national security or about the lives he has put at risk, even having deemed them "collateral damage." Suggesting constitutional rights should protect his un-American and illegal activities is a gross misrepresentation.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Julian Assange will be extradited to the US before June 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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