The case for the extradition of Julian Assange raises questions about the freedom of the press, about the extraterritorial creep of US law and Europe’s readiness -or lack of – to protect media freedom. Since its foundation, Wikileaks has been a thorn in the side of powerful US agencies. It caused red faces in Washington by publishing a manual on the operation of the Guantanamo detention centre in 2007. In April 2010, Wikileaks won global recognition by releasing shocking video footage of an attack by US helicopters in Baghdad that killed civilians, including two Reuters staff members. Later in 2010, Wikileaks published an extensive cache of material relating to US conduct in Afghanistan. Iraq, material on Guantánamo, and US diplomatic cables from US Army intelligence Chelsea Manning. The document release infuriated US agencies. A grand jury held closed hearings as to whether Assange and Wikileaks should face charges under the Espionage Act and the Obama administration held its hand. It took the view that if Assange were charged, a precedent would be set impacting traditional media that made revelations based on leaks bringing political blowback.
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