Five major news outlets have signed a letter urging President Biden to end his charging of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, after having recently won a court victory that will see the man extradited to the US.
Entitled “Publishing is not a crime” it was signed by The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País, the five journals that collaborated with Assange on the release of the famous “Cablegate” leak.
This publishing decision by Wikileaks and Assange made 250,000 unredacted cables from embassies and foreign ministries across the world available to the public.
The State Dept. Cables as they were referred to in the US, and the leaks at large, represent a well of information, from which journalists now a decade after their publication still draw from, and includes crimes such as mass killing of civilians in Yemen by the US done in secret, and that Hillary Clinton had been spying on dozens of diplomats at the UN.
“‘Cablegate’, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US State Department, disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale,” the letter, published on Monday reads. “In the words of the New York Times, the documents told ‘the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money’”.
This kind of vocal opposition to the extradition attempt, and indeed much of Assange’s persecution by the Trump and Biden Administrations, has been rare from major newspapers, even as they have continued to use both Wikileaks, and the State Dept. Cables for their own purposes.