December 22, 2021 — The New York Times and Chicago Tribune have published letters to the editor from Assange supporters this week, a sign of the growing chorus calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to drop the Trump Administration’s unprecedented charges against Julian Assange.
Writing to your own local newspaper is a great way to take action for Julian Assange. When you write a letter to the editor, you are letting your community, your legislators, and our national leadership know that you care about the criminalization of journalists and publishers, and you encourage your local news outlet to cover the case further.
In the New York Times, retired constitutional lawyer and Assange Defense-Los Angeles member Stephen Rohde writes,
A free, uninhibited and courageous press is essential to a functioning democracy. When the Supreme Court upheld The New York Times’s right to publish the classified Pentagon Papers, Justice Hugo Black wrote, “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”
The Justice Department under President Barack Obama rightly declined to indict Julian Assange for publishing secret government documents. But in 2019, the Trump administration did so, and President Biden’s Justice Department chose Donald Trump’s path over Mr. Obama’s by vigorously pursuing Mr. Assange’s extradition. Mr. Trump’s shameful legacy threatens to become Mr. Biden’s.
In October, 24 leading press freedom, civil liberties and human rights organizations urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to dismiss the indictment.
Mr. Garland should uphold the Constitution and American values of freedom of the press, due process and human rights by immediately dropping the indictment against Julian Assange.
Richard McGowan, writing to the Chicago Tribune, says:
Can a country still call itself a democracy, founded on the notions of truth and justice and a free press, if it suppresses state crimes and forbids journalists publishing classified information when that reveals the crimes of elites? If damning information implicates the powerful, how much will the public tolerate the inversion of law by those same elites to exact revenge on journalists for exposing the truth?
Those are some of the questions that I had this past week when President Joe Biden hosted a summit for the U.S. and other countries to demonstrate their commitment to democracy and human rights — the same week the U.S. won its appeal to extradite Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, under the archaic Espionage Act, for exposing American war crimes and human rights abuses.
Covered-up videos of troops killing journalists and civilians. Censored documents that show the torture of prisoners in Iraq. Records of mass illegal surveillance of American citizens. Assange exposed these crimes and more, committed during the Bush and Obama administrations.
United States official statements and policy are often full of hypocrisy — pledging to be a leader in the climate crisis and immediately opening up 80 million acres to drilling comes to mind — but the Justice Department’s maleficent, single-minded mission to imprison Assange for exposing the truth is the epitome of injustice.
Juxtapose that with the official double talk of defending democracy and a free society heard at this summit and in recent years. It’s a national shame.
Write your own letter to the editor today! Here’s how.