Former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson told Hill.TV that the Biden administration should drop its efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom.
Williamson said Assange should not be punished for releasing information on WikiLeaks that provided details on “the U.S. war machine.”
“What Assange revealed here was torture and rape and murder. What he revealed was up to 15,000 more civilian deaths than we had even known… this is about the U.S. war machine, about the fact that it is a very very big business. It is very well funded. We are not supposed to question the funding and we are not supposed to question what they do,” she said.
Williamson spoke to Hill.TV shortly after Sigurdur Thordarson, a key witness against Assange, admitted to falsifying claims against Assange to gain American immunity. Williamson argued that this new information would “destroy” the U.S. case against Assange.
“The U.S. government was willing to work with Thordarson to trump up these charges in order to bolster its case, in order to get the British government to let Assange come back,” she said. “This is all in order for the United States government to continue its cover-up… This is not really about Julian Assange.”
Williamson has been a vocal supporter of Assange. This past week she tweeted that Assange “is being treated so harshly for one reason only: to freeze disclosure and to freeze dissent.”
Assange gained media attention after releasing classified documents from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2010, followed by confidential emails during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In 2019, Assange was charged with “unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents.” He is being held in Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom. The U.S. government is attempting to extradite him.
In the Hill.TV interview, Williamson called the Assange case a constraint on journalistic freedom, saying: “They’re making it all about Julian Assange in order to freeze any journalistic questioning, any journalistic pushback or challenge to the secretiveness of the U.S. government. That’s why we have a free press.”
Others have made a similar argument.
In February, The Freedom of the Press Foundation and other human rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International-USA, signed a letter to then-acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson, urging federal prosecutors to drop their indictment of Assange to protect freedom of press.