Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Clare County Review & Marion Press Courier-Leader, Paw Paw Flashes, & South Haven Beacon LaFayette Sun Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Mike’s Musings: Release Assange now, he has endured enough punishment

There are so many innocent people jailed for crimes they haven’t committed. I worked for a time, helping to expose some that were incarcerated, yet innocent. One of those, a man I truly admire is Julian Assange, and I hope and pray at some point, he will be released.
Assange, founder of Wiki Leaks, faces an 18-count indictment which could put him in jail for 175 years, from the US government, accusing him of conspiring to hack into US military databases to acquire sensitive secret information relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The information was then published on the Wikileaks website with bits and pieces picked up in many different newspapers.
Assange has claimed the information exposed abuses by the US military. On the flip side, US prosecutors say the leaks endangered lives.
The New York Times described the Afghanistan War leaks as “a six year archive of classified military documents that offered an unvarnished and rim picture of the Afghan War.” The Guardian called the material “a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundred of civilian…Taliban attacks have soared and NATO commanders fear neighboring Pakistan and Iran are fueling the insurgency.”
At the time of the leaks the legacy media agreed the information was “justified public interest in the material. The US government felt otherwise and charged him with the Espionage Act of 1917.
Assange has been avoiding US prosecution for nearly 12 years, first held under house arrest in the Ecuadorian embassy and the last couple of years in a prison in the United Kingdom. Now the US has won the right to extradite him and his supporters are concerned that he will end up in a maximum security prison.
His editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said it better than I could. “The right of journalists to publish material that governments and corporations find inconvenient is under attack. She added, “This is about the right of a free press to publish without being threatened by a bullying superpower.”
Back in the day when the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers or Woodward and Bernstein published classified materials to expose Watergate, they were pronounced heroes by many of us. What Assange published is very similar to the Pentagon Papers.
What a difference a half century makes. The mainstream, legacy media these days will have very little to do with their fellow journalist Assange. He apparently is off limits despite doing the job that journalists are trained to do- expose the truth. If ever there was proof that these media types are now colluding, instead of exposing with government corruptors, this is it.
Assange has suffered enough. It is time media outlets everywhere gave Assange’s story the ink it deserves. If his story is told, I think many of us will agree he has been a victim of powerful governments seeking to punish him for doing his job. It is time to pardon or release him from incarceration. Freedom of the press is on the line. Make the right choice, America.

Leave a Reply