‘WikiLeaks staff are in danger’: Pilger, Kiriakou discuss Assange’s ongoing legal battle
“I welcome the Swedish prosecutor's decision to end its investigation of Julian Assange,” John Kiriakou, a former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and whistleblower told RT. “We should not celebrate yet, however.”
“The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States have plotted against Mr. Assange for the past seven years, trying to silence him for his exposure of their crimes.”
Kiriakou, who was the first to acknowledge the CIA’s use of torture, spoke up because he believed the use of torture was “immoral, unethical and illegal.” He served 30 months for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by confirming the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s secret rendition program, and was released in 2015.
“The Swedish government has taken itself out of the equation,” he continued. “But I believe that if Mr. Assange were to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, he would still be arrested on trumped up national security charges and extradited to the United States, where he would find it utterly impossible to receive a fair hearing.”
The Courage Foundation, an international organization supporting whistleblowers and truth tellers, has turned its focus to WikiLeaks and its staff, following the release of whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Wednesday.
Manning provided WikiLeaks with some of its most explosive revelations, including the ‘Collateral Murder’ video, the War Logs, State Department emails and decades of US embassy cables.
“What Chelsea [Manning] endured awaits another Courage Foundation beneficiary, Julian Assange, should he step outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London,” investigative journalist John Pilger told RT earlier this week.
“Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks staff are in danger,” Pilger continued. “WikiLeaks has been so successful in informing people all over the world of the surveillance and war state constructed by rapacious power that it is now fulfills the role of free journalism that the corporate media falsely claims for itself.”
“The DOJ [Department of Justice] has been running an unprecedented and wide-ranging investigation into WikiLeaks for its publishing and sourcing work since 2010,” the Courage Foundation explained. “It has involved paid informers, illegal interrogations in Europe and secret search warrants. Recently CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a ‘hostile intelligence service.’”
“Recent reports cite Cablegate, the Iraq and Afghan War Logs and Vault 7 publications as well as WikiLeaks’ work in getting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, as key to the investigation,” the foundation added.
“Free journalism is, by definition, a threat to those forces that secretly order, control and blight people's lives,” Pilger said. “If Julian Assange was the editor of the New York Times doing his job as the US Constitution says he can, he would not be living in two small rooms, denied sunlight.”
“The difference is that Assange and the WikiLeaks staff are doing what journalists no longer do; they are the agents of people not power. They deserve our support.”