The arguments being raised in defence of Assange are false.
First; his supporters refer to him as a journalist and then, drawing a very long bow from that, argue freedom of speech in his defence.
Journalists among other things, write words and significantly, their words, either reporting factually on news or writing articles commenting on news. Assange did neither. Instead he published verbatim stolen material. That’s no different than stealing a book, republishing it on a website and claiming authorship. That said, whether the Americans can nail him depends on whether he was involved, directly or indirectly, it matters not, in the published material’s theft. If so he’s a goner.
Pleading public interest won’t wash either as that’s entirely subjective and in this case with security issues involved, too easily countered.
If Assange was not involved in securing this material then prosecuting him for publishing it raises a rather awkward question. That is subsequently so did every other newspaper in the world only selectively as most of it was innocuous.
Assange is presented by his defenders as a courageous man. The record says otherwise. His miserable existence in the Ecuador Embassy these past seven years stems solely from him jumping bail – an appalling way to treat his friends who put up and thus forfeited the sizeable bail amount involved.
But more important he was gutless in not fighting the unbelievably ridiculous Swedish rape charges for which he was plainly not guilty.
The two complainants consented to sex. Their protest was that he lied in not wearing a condom. That’s not rape and ought not be a criminal offence. There are only two reasons for using a condom, namely pregnancy and disease prevention and as it happened neither eventuated. Why the Swedish government became involved in this silliness adds weight to Assange’s belief there was another agenda.
Assange is a deeply unsavoury individual for which he’s paying a hell of a self-inflicted price.
A more amusing Australian journalism tale is currently underway in Australia against no less, the editors of the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Australian Financial Review and some others. All face prison sentences.
When the Cardinal Pell trial was completed, for good legal reasons the Judge imposed a temporary embargo on publishing any details. But the story was too hot to resist thus this lot all tipped off their overseas’ affiliates. Within days of Pell’s conviction and sentence we read about it in the foreign press and doubtless few Australians would have been unaware of it as a result. Should they be sentenced to prison and actually go, I’ll renounce my life-long atheism as plainly there is a God.
Probably the Judge will go for massive fines, assuming that’s within his scope. Should instead he impose prison sentences I probably won’t live long enough to see them carried out as their wealthy employers fund drawn out battles through the appellant courts, such as we’ve experienced here with Kim Dotcom.
Mind you, if ever they did serve a term, they’ll doubtless present themselves as martyrs for press freedom. It’s time the Aussies brought back flogging of convicts. That would sort them out.