February 24, 2020
Most people reading this will not be fans of Julian Assange. I’m not a fan, and I had plenty of opportunity to form a thorough opinion of him: I worked at WikiLeaks for a few months, and even shared a house with him for a portion of that time.
Now Is The Time To Defend Julian Assange. Even If You Dont Like Him
Many of the criticisms levelled at Assange are entirely fair: he can be arrogant, high-handed, a terrible house-guest, and even a narcissist. 
On another level entirely, he managed never to face questioning in Sweden after facing allegations of rape and sexual assault (which he denied). He was granted bail, took every possible appeal up to the UK Supreme Court, and then fled to the embassy of Ecuador when proper judicial procedure went against him. 
Years of running down the clock worked – with only months left on the statute of limitations, and with only the most serious allegation left, Sweden gave up on its investigation. 
The women who, way back in 2010, accused Assange of sexual assault and rape will never get their day in court, despite having faced horrific online abuse and harassment, to the point of forcing them into hiding and into adopting false identities.We do not get to pick our figureheads – and it’s in cases exactly like this that our freedoms are challenged.Assange, then, does not cut a sympathetic figure now that he’s facing a new extradition attempt – this time to the US. This is a problem, because as little as many of us may care about Assange himself, this prosecution is political, illiberal, and a threat to free speech and government accountability.
Assange is facing extradition to the US over his work with WikiLeaks to obtain and publish classified US military and diplomatic documents in 2010. The revelations from these documents made headlines and led news bulletins across the world.
They included the now-famous “collateral murder” video, which showed a US Apache helicopter in Iraq gun down a group of suspected militants, later found to include civilians and Reuters journalists, before firing a hellfire missile at another site as an innocent bystander walked by.
They include hundreds of thousands of records of the Afghanistan war, detailing among other things the existence of US army assassination squads, and records of the Iraq war, which shed unprecedented new light on the civilian death toll of the US action.
These, and the diplomatic cables, were judged to be of such import and public interest that editors of some of the world’s largest and most respected papers – the New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais –  placed teams of journalists on the project for months at a time, before publishing their findings.
The reporting enabled by the documents’ release won journalism awards across the world, including from human rights groups such as Amnesty International.
We also now know the source of these documents: Chelsea Manning, then a private in the intelligence division of the US army, who admitted in a military trial that she leaked the documents from her base in Iraq.
It is for this leak that Assange faces extradition and decades in US jail, not for later leaks which emanated from hacked email accounts of prominent Democrats – attributed to hackers tied to the Russian state – which influenced the 2016 election in favour of Donald Trump.
Assange is facing prosecution for the best thing he ever did, even if he didn’t redact it well, give his motivations well, or even necessarily do it for the right reasons. If Assange can be prosecuted for releasing information like this, there is little to prevent the next prosecution being the editor of the Guardian, Washington Post, or New York Times.
The US authorities are trying to frame the prosecution of Assange as one of hacking, relating it to his apparently foolish agreement to help Manning secure the password of another intelligence analyst (unsuccessfully), in a bid not to secure extra documents, but to cover her tracks as the source (again, unsuccessfully). 
A trained journalist would know this went beyond journalistic ethics – and certain legal protections – but it seems hardly proportionate to punish such a violation with decades in prison.
Assange does not cut a sympathetic figure. He is easy to dismiss as a hacker, or an anti-US figure, or even as a “Russian stooge”, thanks to some of his associates and his willingness to work with the broadcaster Russia Today.
But we do not get to pick our figureheads – and it’s in cases exactly like this that our freedoms are challenged. The current US administration has shown time and again it is willing to bypass or potentially even break laws intended to hold it accountable and make sure government is in the interests of the people. 
There are populist governments across the world whose citizens need the accountability only the media and whistleblowers can provide. We can ill-afford any erosion of those freedoms against this backdrop. Enabling an extradition of Assange would do just that – and so, love him or loathe him, we must all do whatever we can to prevent an extradition.
Not for his sake, but for ours.
James Ball is global editor at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Related... Harry Dunn's Family Call For Julian Assange's Extradition To Be Blocked What Does The ‘Defend Julian Assange’ Campaign Say About The Labour Leadership? Donald Trump Offered Pardon To Julian Assange, UK Court Hears
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji Dish on Season 5 of ‘Insecure’
October 22, 2021
KA7ZEjY3rvk
Kristen Stewart Opens Up on 'Eternals' LGBTQ Inclusion, Ruby Rose Battles with WarnerBros | The Take
October 21, 2021
7d3MFpaP2L8
AT&T Stock Falls Following Q3 Earnings Results
October 21, 2021
LZNkmpoVefA
Lizzo Splits, Nicki vs. Fan & "RHOP" Shady Dinner
October 25, 2021
u3no5pbvSWE
Scary News, "90 Day" DMs & Bear Crashes Wedding
October 25, 2021
BARMMp0_gZI
Dave Chappelle Speaks Out After Netflix Special Backlash
October 25, 2021
FkuG0Mi1pOA
Travis Barker covers ex Shanna Moakler’s name with new tattoos | Page Six Celebrity News
October 25, 2021
HouPoNCNDEE
Tyler Cameron responds to fans who want him to date Kim Kardashian | Page Six Celebrity News
October 25, 2021
NyxVsR4bDMQ
Paulina Porizkova settles with Ric Ocasek estate: ‘I am gonna be fine’ | Page Six Celebrity News
October 25, 2021
IEuDeZwCYkg
Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Actor Says Camera Was Protected During Shooting, Not Actors | TMZ
October 26, 2021
bASh7PtfiPU
Laundrie Atty. Says Parents Don't Know Why He Ran or What's in His Journal | TMZ
October 26, 2021
Uvc7D9Oelxo
Rep. Nancy Mace Says Dr. Fauci, NIH Must Answer for Deadly Beagle Study | TMZ
October 26, 2021
6ZC9dc2nV7U
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.