Today, 28th of April, 2017, Courage announces publishing organisation WikiLeaks as its newest beneficiary. The announcement follows reports that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is now preparing charges against WikiLeaks members, in particular its founding editor Julian Assange.
The DOJ has been running an unprecedented and wide-ranging investigation into WikiLeaks for its publishing and sourcing work since 2010. It has involved paid informers, illegal interrogations in Europe and secret search warrants. Recently CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service”.
Offences cited through the investigation, and allegedly in the charges, include conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property. Recent reports cite Cablegate, the Iraq and Afghan War Logs and Vault 7 publications as well as WikiLeaks’ work in getting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, as key to the investigation.
This is about more than one publisher. It is about press freedom more broadly and the steady erosion of the First Amendment in the United States. The Obama Administration prosecuted more whistleblowers than all presidents before combined, and ran the longest investigation into a publisher ever in the US with its WikiLeaks Grand Jury. It has continued to the point where Trump’s Department of Justice has stated that charging WikiLeaks Editor, Julian Assange, is now a “priority”.
Courage’s chief demand is for the US to close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and to drop any charges against any WikiLeaks staff. Courage’s campaign for WikiLeaks is launched on a new site, IamWikiLeaks.org, along with information on the continuing work of WikiLeaks and the actions taken against it. You can follow @CourageWL on Twitter for updates. Courage needs your help to fund WikiLeaks’ team of lawyers in multiple jurisdictions: https://iamwikileaks.org/donate
This is the first time Courage has taken on an organisation, as opposed to an individual, as a beneficiary. We are working to ensure the protection of all WikiLeaks staff, including Julian Assange, Joseph Farrell, Sarah Harrison and Kristinn Hrafnsson. Julian Assange continues to be arbitrarily detained.
Because she is now a beneficiary, Sarah Harrison will be stepping down from her role as Acting Director of Courage and the Trustees will take on high-level managing decisions.
Julian Assange is currently being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has asylum due to the US threats against him.
Courage Trustee and journalist John Pilger said:
In standing up for WikiLeaks, we are defending courage — the courage of those who say ‘no’ to the perennial bullies seeking a divine power over human affairs. Founded and led by Julian Assange, WikiLeaks has provided people all over the world with an armory of truth about wars and politics and the aims of violent, unaccountable power. This is real journalism and a principle of freedom so fundamental that its defeat would mean the conquest of all of us.
Fellow Trustee and human rights lawyer Renata Avila said:
What we are defending here is larger than Wikileaks: we are defending the ability of journalists and citizens, regardless of their nationality, to hold accountable the most powerful government in the World by exposing its secrets, uncovering wrongdoing, and keeping us all informed. The fight for press freedom is more urgent than ever. Will your voice be silenced? Or will you join us to tell them, THIS ENDS NOW.
WikiLeaks members have several lawyers in many different countries and jurisdictions, and Courage needs your help to fund them: https://iamwikileaks.org/donate