Joe Lauria comments on the last few days of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. He notes a movement on the part of the prosecution away from their previous tack, which was to argue that Assange was not really a journalist, but actually engaging in hacking and intelligence himself. By establishing that, they may have been able to avoid the obvious problem that the prosecution of Assange could create a precedent for the prosecution of any news organization that published classified documents. The British prosecution may have realized that this strategy was not working because of the obvious double standard it relied on. Instead, they are continuing to hit Assange with the charge that he deliberately revealed the names of confidential informants. Again, Lauria explains, the reality is that Assange worked very hard to redact such informants before Wikileaks released them—much harder, in fact, than mainstream news outlets did when publishing the same information. Assange even went to the U.S. government for help in knowing what was important to redact in the name of national security, but the government refused to help. To claim wrongdoing on Assange’s part now, says Lauria, is the height of hypocrisy.
Discussed on the show:
- “Daily Video Report on Assange Hearing–Day 9” (Consortium News)
- Hit & Run
- “State Department Cables” (WikiLeaks)
- “Baghdad War Diary” (WikiLeaks)
- “Kabul War Diary” (WikiLeaks)
- WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy
- Iraq Body Count
- A Political Odyssey
- “Schenck v. United States” (Oyez)
Joe Lauria is the editor-in-chief at Consortium News. He is a former UN correspondent and wrote at the Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal. You can follow him on Twitter @unjoe.
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Scott Horton has done over 5,400 interviews with military leaders, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. Avoid being part of the mob that calls for innocent blood by learning from foreign-policy experts, and spread the message of peace to others.