(es) Vienna, June 29, 2022
Like an over-familiar tv series, the Assange saga is now almost certainly reaching the final round. Julian Assange’s odd tryst with Donald Trump, and the damage Assange he inflicted on Hilary Clinton’s electoral campaign in 2016, did not endear him to everyone in the story.
Nor did the behaviour of Assange during his 10 days in Sweden in 2010 which led to his first arrest, and a first attempt to extradite him from London, and the many millions spent on lawyers and police during his seven-year sojourn in the Ecuadorean embassy.
Superstar information warrior or dangerous nuisance, Assange now faces almost certain extradition to the USA. Colleagues who worked with him on his Wikileaks material were amazed by his indifference to the fate of those named, in Iraq for example, however innocent they were. Is he, was he, a journalist really or an irresponsble hacker whose main source, Chelsea Manning, was left to rot in jail and never mentioned again? The jury is still out.
The affair, which has also been made into a couple of films, notably The Fifth Estate (2013), is set out with admirable sense by the UK Press Gazette’s Alfie Davis, will no doubt continue to preoccupy and divide journalists everywhere, long into the possible 170 years Assange, now 50, faces in prison.
- April 2007, Al Jazeera: The crucial Wikileaks clip of US soldiers killing civilians in Iraq