Assange’s Arrest Threatens Journalism


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After seven years of silence of isolation in an Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police. With Assange now in custody, the United States is currently attempting to have him extradited so that he may stand trial for his collaboration with former U.S intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. With Assange’s assistance, Manning accessed and leaked multiple classified videos and documents that detailed human rights abuses perpetrated by the U.S military in the Middle East. As of now, Assange has been indicted with “Conspiracy to Commit Computer Intrusion” by the Department of Defense. What makes this indictment troubling is the “evidence” of conspiracy that the administration is presenting.

Rather than focus on the alleged hacking, this indictment focuses on the actions that Assange and Manning performed during their collaboration. Some of these activities include the use of a private chat client, deleting chats to conceal Manning’s identity and the use of a secure Dropbox link to pass documents along. While these actions led to the publication of numerous “sensitive” documents, they are all constitutionally protected acts of journalism that major news organizations engage in regularly.

Unlike the eight Espionage Act prosecutions of the Obama administration, this indictment is not an explicit attack against published truth. Rather, it is an attack on the means by which investigative journalists dredge forth the secrets our governments have been hiding. If this indictment is allowed to continue, it could create precedents that could be brought forth during other cases of whistle blowing. This is not an act of justice; this is a message from a hostile power. While the powers that be may seek to hide their hands, we can not allow them to. Let this event stand, not as a warning, but as a call to action. Raise your voice and let those in power know that we will not accept lies any longer.