Biden Mulls Australia’s Request To Drop Prosecution Of Julian Assange

  • Julian Assange published stolen classified material on Wikileaks in 2010.
  • The documents included highly sensitive diplomatic cables and information about the wars at the time.
  • The DOJ alleges Assange conspired with the leaker and endangered American lives.
  • Australia wants Assange to be allowed to return home.

( – Australian citizen Julian Assange rose to international prominence in 2010 when he published the bombshell classified documents that former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning stole. He posted the material on his website, Wikileaks. The Department of Justice has charged him with multiple crimes for his role in the leak and is trying to have him extradited from London.

The Australian government wants Assange sent back home. It also wants America to stop pursuing charges against him. President Joe Biden recently indicated he’s thinking about it.

Wikileaks and Charges

Chelsea Manning stole thousands of documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and diplomatic cables when she was a US Army intelligence analyst. She handed it over to Wikileaks, who then published it. Among the material leaked was video footage from a 2007 airstrike on Baghdad that showed the US military allegedly committing war crimes. US soldiers were seen shooting and killing 11 civilians. A Reuters photographic journalist, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his assistant, Saeed Chmagh, were among those killed in the airstrike.

During her court martial, Manning alleged that Assange and others at Wikileaks encouraged her to steal more intelligence. The Army also released a chat log between Manning and Assange that appeared to show the Wikileaks founder offering help crack passwords.

The FBI and DOJ used those logs and Manning’s testimony when they filed charges to demonstrate Assange wasn’t just sharing information, he was also conspiring.

In 2019, the federal government charged Assange with 17 espionage charges for allegedly entering into a conspiracy with Manning to steal and release classified documents. He was also charged with a computer crime.

Australia Gets Involved

In February, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that he wanted the US to end its prosecution of Assange. The announcement came after Australian lawmakers passed a motion demanding the Wikileaks founder be released by the British government and sent home.

At the time, The Associated Press reported the prime minister said he thought the process had gone on long enough and “this thing cannot just go on and on and on indefinitely.” In the months since making those remarks, his feelings haven’t changed.

On April 10, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Joe Biden met at the White House. A reporter used it as an opportunity to ask the president whether he was going to give Australia what it wanted and allow the DOJ to drop the charges against Assange.

“We’re considering it,” Biden said.

If the administration drops the charges, it would be a major victory for First Amendment activists in the US who believe the prosecution of Assange violates the Constitution’s protections for free speech.

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