“The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any of its predecessors”
By Keith Johnson
The United States is now one step closer to nabbing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose ultimate fate may set a precedent on how the federal government pursues and punishes journalists and whistleblowers who expose government crimes.
On May 30, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Assange being extradited to Sweden, where he is accused of sexually assaulting two women. From there, many suspect Assange will be taken into custody by U.S. authorities for possible prosecution on espionage charges.
This AFP reporter recently discussed the Assange case with John Pilger, a UK-based Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker who has been instrumental in raising bail for Assange.
“An indictment has been produced by a [U.S.] grand jury,” says Pilger, “What it says we don’t know. What we do know is that Assange, as editor of Wikileaks, has committed no crime and that whistleblowing is protected by the U.S. Constitution. But constitutional protection is of little value these days, it seems. The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any of its predecessors. The presumption of innocence also seems to no longer exist in the U.S., with Vice President Joe Biden calling Assange a ‘high-tech terrorist.’ ”
The indictment against Assange was first revealed in hacked emails obtained from Stratfor, a Texas-based private intelligence agency. In addition to that source, Pilger reports, “The Independent newspaper in the UK also has learned that U.S. and Swedish authorities have discussed the prospect of Assange’s ‘temporary surrender’ to the U.S. once he is extradited to Sweden, where [U.S. Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton recently made her first visit to discuss Internet security and cyberwar.”...read more