October 10, 2022 — Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple and Assange Defense co-chair Alice Walker has written a new opinion piece on the importance of freeing Julian Assange, published in the Kansas City Star on Sunday, October 9.
Walker takes aim at the contrast between the Biden Administration’s rhetoric of major changes from the Trump Administration and the continuation of Assange’s prosecution.
What did Assange do to provoke the Trump administration’s ire? In 2010 and 2011, he embarrassed the U.S. government by exposing truths about civilian casualties, war crimes and abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. The Obama-Biden administration was in power then, and set its sights on Assange. But officials had the wisdom and restraint to conclude that prosecuting Assange would create a dangerous precedent called “The New York Times problem.” Simply put, there is no way to prosecute Assange without criminalizing the same newsgathering and publishing practices used at The Times, The Kansas City Star and every other news outlet.
Surely, reasonable leaders such as Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland would not allow the prosecution — condemned by journalism and human rights groups around the world — to go forward. Right?
The Biden team inherited this debacle. Instead of abandoning Trump’s war on journalism, they have continued it. They have chosen the politics of “nothing will fundamentally change,” instead of correcting the injustices of a rogue administration.”