New extradition proceedings against Assange

Like several members of the newsroom, Julian Assange is a member of the MEAA, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

The MEAA supports Julian Assange, not only because he is a card-carrying member, but because of the important issues for journalism and the profound consequences for our profession that his case represents.

The MEAA has called on the Australian and UK governments to oppose his extradition and has advocated privately and publicly for his release. As part of this public advocacy, the MEAA this week arranged a webinar so members could hear from WikiLeaks editor Kristinin H about the new charges that the US has brought against Assange. This is an extract from that webinar by the WikiLeaks editor.

Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the “Pentagon Papers” about the Vietnam War, defended Julian Assange at his London extradition hearing on Wednesday. 

Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other papers in 1971, told the court WikiLeaks’ disclosures had shown Americans how they had been misled about US action in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as his leaks, which also revealed previously secret information, did about Vietnam. 

Ellsberg referred to the Collateral Murder video, showing an Apache helicopter killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff. 

“I was acutely aware that what was depicted in that video deserved the term murder, a war crime,” he told London’s Old Bailey court via videolink on Wednesday. 

Earlier, John Goetz, (NB: pronounced Goets) an investigative reporter who worked for Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine on the first publication of the documents in 2010, said Assange was careful to ensure the names of informants in hundreds of thousands of leaked secret US government documents were never published, countering claims made by Guardian journalist David Leigh in his book,  Julain Assange’s war on secrecy

Goetz told the court. Assange was concerned the media should take measures “so no one would be harmed”, he said. 

Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton spoke with Australian filmmaker James Ricketson about the evidence of Goetze and Ellsberg on Wednesday at his son’s trial on the Old Bailey.

John Jiggens