The prosecution – and persecution – of Julian Assange is meant to silence others who would speak out against abuses of power, Wikileaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson and Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson say, promising to fight back.
“This is a precedent…that effectively means that any journalist or media organization anywhere in the world can be extradited and prosecuted for having published truthful info about the United States, and that is, as a matter of principle, wrong and ought to be resisted. And we will be fighting it,” Robinson told the press.
“The message is not to Julian Assange. The message is to journalists all over the world that they should not step in the way of a superpower who wants to have all the power,” Hrafnsson agreed. While he is concerned about the “chilling effect” on journalists who now “have to face the possibility of being persecuted and thrown into a prison plane to be put on trial in the US,” he remains confident that “there will always be brave people to step forward and see the importance of getting information out.”
And Wikileaks has set its own precedent, Hrafnsson pointed out. The Iraq and Afghanistan war leaks – “the largest leak in military history” – followed by the Cablegate release of State Department communications – “the largest leak in diplomatic history” – set a standard for those who came later, he said, citing the Panama Papers and Edward Snowden’s leaks as publications inspired by the Wikileaks model.
Whatever attacks are mounted against Assange, “the work of Wikileaks will continue,” Hrafnsson said. “It is not going anywhere.”
“He will take on the fight and fight for victory – and we will help him out.”