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The U.S. media has spent almost four full years loudly proclaiming its own devotion to defending press freedoms from any assaults by the Trump administration. And yet, with a few noble exceptions, they have largely ignored what is, by far, the single greatest attack on press freedoms by the U.S. Government in the last decade at least: the prosecution and attempted extradition of Julian Assange for alleged crimes arising out of WikiLeaks’ 2010 award-winning publication — in conjunction with the world’s largest newspapers — of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and U.S diplomatic cables.
Assange is currently being held in the high-security Belmarsh prison in London where he faces no charges of any kind other than the attempt to extradite him by the U.S. Government for those 2010 publications. There are no charges pending against him in Sweden, nor does this prosecution have anything to do with WikiLeaks’ publications during the 2016 election. The indictment pertains solely to those widely celebrated 2010 disclosures that revealed rampant war crimes, systemic corruption and official deceit by numerous governments around the world.
Our new episode of SYSTEM UPDATE explores Assange’s case — the latest updates to it and the reasons it is so pernicious — with two guests: the international human rights lawyer Jen Robinson, who has long represented Assange in this and other legal proceedings, and the Washington Post’s media reporter Margaret Sullivan, who is one of the few major media figures to have denounced the Assange indictment. The show begins with my own comprehensive reporting on this case in order to document what did and did not happen, what is and is not in question, and why this attempted extradition should deeply anger anyone who cares about press freedom: not just in the U.S. but internationally.
I believe the issues raised by this program are of vital importance across the political spectrum. You can watch it on the Intercept’s YouTube channel (to which you can subscribe to see all content when it’s broadcast), or on the player below. A transcript will be posted later today: