Balkinization >> Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Prosecute Assange

Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Prosecute Assange–For the U.S.’s Sake, Not His


Marvin Ammori


… Many of our nation’s landmark free speech decisions are not about heroes–several are about flag-burnersracists, Klansmen, and those with political views outside the mainstream. And yet we measure our commitment to freedom of speech, in part, by our willingness to protect even their rights despite disagreement with what they say, and why they say it.

… I end up, with Assange, where I do with racists and Klansmen. Despite the damage he has caused, the costs to our nation of prosecuting his speech outweigh the benefits. I hope our nation’s lawyers consider the merits of this position in determining how best to respond to Assange and Cablegate.

This is an extract from a very long post which is well worth reading. It is a thorough, well-considered and compelling case. As with Marvin, I too end up with Assange where I do with racists and Klansmen: we can’t choose who should benefit from rights – they ought to be available to everyone, racists and Julian Assange as well as the people we like.

See also Wikileaks: International Free Speech Reps Urge Restraint (First Amendment Law Prof Blog) and WikiLeaks and our obligations to the web of tellings: the principles of free speech, discretion and bearing witness come into conflict when considering a case such as WikiLeaks by Nicholas Shackel in the Guardian.