(UnitedVoice.com) – The far-right and the far-left don’t agree about much. However, the issue of Julian Assange has been uniting the two sides for years. Even Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have come together and called for his release.
Who Is Julian Assange?
In 2006, Julian Assange, an Australian editor and computer programmer, founded a website called WikiLeaks. The independent media organization served as a platform for leaked government material from around the world. The very first document the website published was an alleged threat from a Somali rebel leader who wanted gunmen to assassinate government officials.
WikiLeaks soon became the go-to platform if someone wanted to share secret info or look to see what their governments were doing. Then, in 2010, WikiLeaks and Assange became household names in the United States. US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) shared hundreds of thousands of classified military documents with the website, including confidential diplomatic cables and information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some American politicians called Assange a terrorist and demanded he be arrested. Others believe he is a hero. In 2019, during former President Donald Trump’s administration, a federal grand jury handed down an 18-count superseding indictment under the Espionage Act against the WikiLeaks founder for his role in the Manning leak.
AOC and MTG Unite
On November 8, Ocasio-Cortez, Greene, and several of their colleagues, including Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to drop the prosecution of Assange. The representatives told the POTUS that they are “deeply committed to the principles of free speech and freedom of the press” and are encouraging his administration to stop the extradition proceedings against the WikiLeaks founder.
The lawmakers pointed out that, in 2013, the Department of Justice, under former President Barack Obama, decided against indicting Assange. Biden was vice president at that time. The letter stated that the lawmakers agreed with the decision to not pursue charges “because [the DOJ] recognized that the prosecution would set a dangerous precedent.”
Representative @RepMcGovern and I just sent this bipartisan letter to President Biden, urging him to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange:
Dear President Biden,
As Members of Congress deeply committed to the principles of free speech and freedom of the press, we… pic.twitter.com/5usNBn88Im
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) November 10, 2023
The representatives went on to say that the Espionage Act was intended to punish government contractors and employees who sold state secrets to adversaries, “not to punish journalists and whistleblowers” who were doing nothing more than keeping the public informed. Finally, the lawmakers said the government should not “pursue an unnecessary prosecution that risks criminalizing common journalistic practices” because it would have a chilling effect on the free press in the US.
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