Since its foundation, Wikileaks has been a thorn in the side of powerful US agencies.
It caused red faces in Washington by publishing a manual on the operation of the Guantanamo detention centre in 2007. In April 2010, Wikileaks won global recognition by releasing shocking video footage of an attack by US helicopters in Baghdad that killed civilians, including two Reuters staff members.
Later in 2010, Wikileaks published an extensive cache of material relating to US conduct in Afghanistan. Iraq, material on Guantánamo, and US diplomatic cables from US Army intelligence Chelsea Manning.
The document release infuriated US agencies. A grand jury held closed hearings as to whether Assange and Wikileaks should face charges under the Espionage Act and the Obama administration held its hand. It took the view that if Assange were charged, a precedent would be set impacting traditional media that made revelations based on leaks bringing political blowback. […]
When Wikileaks released the documents from Chelsea Manning, Assange, an Australian national, was operating in Europe. The release of the material was not challenged in Europe. No European prosecution agency charged Wikileaks or Assange with breaking any law in Europe. The US action against Assange is a sinister extension of US extraterritorial reach.
The lack of any significant push back within Europe against Assange’s prosecution is a disturbing example of the powerlessness noted by SWP in its 2019 report.
The European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union commit to protecting media freedom. The perturbing silence on the Assange case raises questions as to how seriously that commitment is taken. Läs artikel