Update 2: So, we have a US extradition charge. This is a direct assault on the freedom of the press and those who say it isn’t are fools. The DOJ claim is that Assange didn’t just accept Manning’s documents, he encouraged Manning to go get more. Journalists do this all the time. Likewise, Assange is not American and Wikileaks is not an American institution, so the US is claiming extraordinary extradition rights.

So, it begins. The US put a ton of pressure on Ecuador to make this happen:

Julian Assange

In itself, this isn’t a big deal, though Ecuador’s caving is pathetic (if rather expected). The question is: What comes next? If Assange is extradited to the US, it will be a huge blow for freedom of the press. Since the Swedish sexual assault charges have been rescinded, if that doesn’t happen this all seems rather overblown.

This has nothing to do with Assange being something of a piece of work. It has to do with the fact that the information Wikileaks released with collateral murder, and even with the DNC leak, was legitimate journalistic information. The idea that journalists don’t accept info from state actors or don’t have political biases and preferences is hilariously wrong and stupid.

It’s also absurd to pretend that Assange has been treated as any other suspect. He hasn’t. His entire case has been politicized from the start, with pressure exerted that is not routine for the sort of sexual assault of which he was accused.

This is a political situation, from its start to its conclusion, whatever that might be.

Remember that Manning was just recently sent to prison on contempt charges because she refused to cooperate with a US grand jury on Wikileaks.

Assange isn’t a nice guy and that isn’t relevant to either his rights, or the bad precedent which will be set if he is prosecuted for releasing information, no matter what the source or reason.

Discuss below, and we’ll see how this plays out.

Update: video of the removal. Pathetic.

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