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24 Feb, 2020 12:03

‘Every journalist should feel a cold, icy hand running down their spine’: Assange’s extradition case examined in new RT doc

‘Every journalist should feel a cold, icy hand running down their spine’: Assange’s extradition case examined in new RT doc

With Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing getting under way in London, RTD’s new film sheds light on why the WikiLeaks founder’s landmark case may lay the path for future prosecution of journalists.

“Every journalist in the United States should feel a cold, icy hand running down their spine at the charges that had been leveled against this publisher. Because they could be next,” writer Suelette Dreyfus says about Assange whose project published leaked documents exposing possible US War crimes in Iraq and letters exposing shenanigans against Bernie Sanders in 2016 by bosses within the Democratic Party.

“If Julian Assange being a publisher is put in prison for being a publisher, for no other reason than being a publisher, then we have no rules,” says a Swedish journalist Johannes Wahlstrom, who worked with WikiLeaks on the documentary ‘Mediastan’.

The US Department of Justice goes to great pains to argue that Julian Assange is not a journalist, but a spy who conspired with a former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to disclose classified documents related to the national defense. However, the charges Assange is facing are “absolutely applicable to potentially other journalism or media publications,” according to Dreyfus.

Also on rt.com ‘Journalism is not a crime’: Australian MP says charges against Assange must be dropped after visiting him in UK prison

Journalist Mary Kostakidis and director John Pilger also warn of the “extraterritorial reach” of Assange’s charges.

An Australian is wanted in the US on 18 counts of violating the controversial Espionage Act which could carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. The indictment refers to materials, including the classified ‘collateral murder’ footage from Iraq, and US diplomatic cables, whose disclosure, according to the US administration, threatened national security and put people at risk.

It’s simply a “blatant lie,” Angela Richter, theatre director and Assange’s close friend, says. “If anyone would have been killed because of WikiLeaks, they would have dragged the person in front of the camera, or proved it, or taken it against them.”

Assange’s public support significantly subsided over the years, starting with Swedish rape allegations to reports of his allegedly erratic behavior in the Ecuadorian Embassy. “The mainstream old-style media never really liked Julian,” Dreyfus says. The same news outlets and journalists who approached him for information, “the next day described him as a bag lady,” Richter adds.

For a better understanding of the Assange case, his personality and motivation, watch the full documentary here:

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