John Pilger says the arrest last week and possible extradition to the United States of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent for all journalists and whistle-blowers.
The renowned Australian journalist and award-winning film-maker appeared live on Saturday from his native Sydney, speaking with his trademark passion and eloquence said that Assange’s plight could lead to other journalists and whistle-blowers being imprisoned.
He claimed the idea that the arrest of Assange was anything to do with bail infringement is ridiculous, rather it was about getting him across to a super max prison in the US.
“The US is struggling to maintain its dominance, its information dominance, its technological dominance, its cultural dominance and Wikileaks has presented an extraordinary hurdle to this,” Pilger said.
“Julian Assange then has become enemy number one. But he should be – and I don’t say this lightly – he should be hero number one. Because if we lose the Assanges, if we lose the Wikileaks, then we lose a whole strata of freedom.”
Pilger went on to say that the so-called John Podesta e-mails, acquired by Wikileaks, showed that Hillary Clinton was a bed fellow of those who backed jihadism. As US Secretary of State, Pilger said, Clinton organised one of the biggest arms deal in history to Saudi Arabia.
“This is an assault on journalism; more than that it is an assault on citizenship,” he said.
On Thursday last week, under apparent pressure from the United States, the government of Ecuador allowed Julian to be arrested at their embassy in London where he had been hold up for seven years. He i
Assange is now in British police custody. He faces a hearing about possible extradition to the United States over charges including colluding with Chelsea Manning to hack government data files which resulted in the publication by Wikileaks of classified video and documents.