While the Obama administration chose not to charge Assange, wary of the precedent it might set in criminalizing journalism, the Trump administration indicted him with 18 criminal charges that may land Assange in one of the U.S.’s most notorious prisons for 175 years.
Assange’s Wikileaks has won numerous journalism awards and has never had to retract a single publication despite releasing more than 10 million documents exposing, among other things, U.S. war crimes. Former CIA Director Leon Panetta recently indicated that the ongoing persecution of Assange is meant to “send a message to others not to do the same thing.”
As the world debates whether Assange is a hero or a traitor, Children’s Health Defense takes a step back to examine some of the things his organization has revealed for those fighting for health and environmental justice.
1. U.S. diplomatic efforts to overturn resistance to GMOs at the behest of Monsanto
Wikileaks published hundreds of diplomatic cables exhibiting attempts by the U.S. to quell opposition to genetically modified organisms or GMOs. As reported by The Guardian, “the cables show U.S. diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto.”
In a 2007 cable, Craig Stapleton, then U.S. Ambassador to France, advised the U.S. to prepare for economic war with countries unwilling to introduce Monsanto’s GM corn seeds. He recommended the U.S. “calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the E.U.”
Another dispatch, this one from 2009, demonstrated that the U.S. funded a GMO workshop in Mozambique that, according to the authors, helped advance biotech-friendly policies in the country.
In another cable from 2009, a U.S. diplomat stationed in Germany relayed intelligence on Bavarian political parties to several U.S. federal agencies and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, telling them which parties opposed Monsanto’s M810 corn seed and tactics that the U.S.