Awkward! WikiLeaks calls out US concern for journalists with reminder of Collateral Murder video WikiLeaks has called out VP Mike Pence over his concern for jailed Reuters journalists, reminding him of the Reuters staff killed by US fire in the infamous Collateral Murder video leaked by Chelsea Manning.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his disappointment at a Myanmar court decision to reject the appeal of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been sentenced to seven years in jail for breaking the Official Secrets Act.
Pence described the move as a “failing a basic test in democracy,” and called on the government to release them in “the name of free & independent press.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this appeared to remind WikiLeaks of another threat to free press, the prosecution of founder Julian Assange, who faces secret charges in the US for his role in publishing leaked documents, including US War Logs and State Department cables provided by whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2010. Should Assange be jailed for publishing leaked documents, it could leave all media open to similar punishment.
WikiLeaks tweeted it was hard for the US to advocate for Reuters journalists convicted for telling the truth when Assange has been “arbitrarily detained, in violation of multiple UN rulings, for reporting about the US govt *killing* two Reuters journalists.” It tweeted a under former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s tweet about the case.
Among Manning’s leaks was the infamous Collateral Murder video, which showed a 2007 US Apache helicopter strike in East Baghdad that killed at least 12 people, including a Reuters Reuters photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and camera assistant Saeed Chmagh. Two children were also injured and their father, who came to help the wounded, was killed.
Reuters were unable to get information about the employees’ deaths at the time. A US statement claimed all the victims were insurgents and that it did not know how they died.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years under the Espionage Act for her role in the leaks, and was pardoned by President Barack Obama after almost seven years of imprisonment.
WikiLeaks supporters fear Assange will face even harsher punishment than Manning, particularly given comments by members of the Trump administration including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence agency.”
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