MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Killing the messenger: Joe Biden’s disturbing hypocrisy on Julian Assange | Salon.com

Posted by M. C. on January 21, 2023

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: Joe Biden stood up for press freedom as a candidate — but backtracked in the White House

By BEN COHEN

Barack Obama refused to indict Assange because of the “New York Times problem”: If Obama were to indict Assange for publishing truthful information, he’d have to indict the New York Times as well. But Biden has now affirmed Trump’s contention that publishing the truth is a crime.

Has woke Ben woken up?

https://www.salon.com/2023/01/18/the-messenger-joe-bidens-disturbing-hypocrisy-on-julian-assange/

It is time for President Biden to live up to his rhetoric on press freedom.

As a candidate in 2020, Biden released a powerful statement on the importance of press freedom, writing:

Reporters Without Borders tells us that at least 360 people worldwide are currently imprisoned for their work in journalism. We all stand in solidarity with these journalists for, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1786, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

Biden left out the fact that one of those imprisoned people is WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, and that he is languishing in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison in London because the U.S. government wants to make an example of him.

Assange was indicted by the Trump administration in an aggressive, precedent-shattering move that was widely condemned by journalists and human rights groups. President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have had almost two years to do the right thing and drop this dangerous prosecution.

They have failed to deliver.

Instead, the Biden administration continues to lecture the world about press freedom and disinformation. Biden and his allies rightly chastise authoritarian regimes for censoring the press, cracking down on dissent and even criminalizing publishing the truth. Reporters Without Borders condemns violations of press freedom in places like Iran, China and Myanmar. But they also note that press freedom violations are not unique to such regimes. They condemn the persecution of Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa in the Philippines, and they lead a coalition of 16 journalism advocacy groups calling on the British government to free Assange.

These reports underscore the importance of a free and independent press that can expose wrongdoing, inform the public of uncomfortable realities and push back on government propaganda. In other words, a free press protects our access to the truth when the government deceives us.

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