Julian Assange is highly likely to have cooperated with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election, reports Michael Weiss of The Atlantic. His arrest is the result of his own actions and alleged breaking of the law. Assange stands accused of having worked to steal American state secrets. The notion that he is punished for doing journalistic work is erroneous. The US government accuses him of trying to help Chelsea Manning to hack into the Pentagon’s servers. He also published highly sensitive information that endangered people’s lives for little reasons beyond generating publicity. Assange deserves the treatment he is getting.
Julian Assange is no hero. But that doesn’t mean that his extradition to the US sets a worrying precedent for journalists and those who seek to publish information that the public needs to know about, holds the Guardian in an Observer editorial. A large reason for his persecution is the fact that he helped a source conceal their identity. If he can be charged for that then so can the many journalists that do this regularly. It is necessary to get certain sources to share sensitive information. While he should face the rape charges against him in Sweden, his extradition to and prosecution in the US would go against the values of a free press.