Toe the line or go to jail: Tulsi Gabbard says Assange arrest is a message to Americans

Friday, April 12, 2019
By Paul Martin

RT.COM
12 Apr, 2019

2020 candidate Tulsi Gabbard has spoken out against the US government’s plans to extradite and punish WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, calling it a “blow to transparency and a blow to a free press.”

Speaking to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Thursday, Gabbard defended the prior administration’s decision not to attempt to extradite Assange. Despite his administration’s record use of the Espionage act against whistleblowers, Barack Obama opted not to pursue charges against Assange, claiming it would create a dangerous precedent for journalists.

“This is a threat to journalists,” she told Matthews, “but it’s also something that threatens every American, because the message that we are getting, that the American people are getting is: Be quiet, toe the line, otherwise there will be consequences.”

Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by British police on Thursday morning, and later found guilty of skipping bail back in 2012. He is due to be sentenced next month and could face a year in prison. Separately, the US Justice Department has indicted Assange on “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” with US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2010.

The WikiLeaks founder received little sympathy from Gabbard’s fellow lawmakers, Republican or Democrat. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer flogged the dead horse of the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy, accusing Assange of “meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin,” a sentiment echoed by Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), who said that WikiLeaks “effectively acted as an arm of the Russian intelligence services for years.”

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