The United States said this week it has no role in a legal battle over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now seeking political asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London.
Assange believes the legal case against him alleging sexual abuse is a ploy to get him to the US to face punishment for publishing 250,000 classified diplomatic cables which were leaked to his organization.
Vaughan Smith, a supporter of Assange who gave him refuge in England while under house arrest said recently, “I genuinely believe that [Assange] fears for his life and he fears that if he goes to Sweden he’ll be sent to America.”
But the State Department insisted the United States was not part of the legal wrangling. “This is a UK-Ecuador-Sweden issue,” Nuland said. Washington’s opinion on the Assange case, she said, is that, “We want to see justice served, let’s leave it at that.”
But Assange and his organization committed no crime that any one can speak of with regard to publishing the leaked material. Major newspapers, for example, publish classified leaks all the time, and WikiLeaks is no different.
Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who is accused of doing the leaking, is facing trial in the US and will face potentially harsh punishment if he loses his case.
The reality of Washington’s agenda to punish both Assange and Manning is to make an example out of them so as to disincentivize other potential leaks. But the WikiLeaks releases, while having done no actual harm to the US or any known individual, should be commended as a legitimate action against an overly secret, corrupt, and interventionist government.