Assange: WikiLeaks punished for revealing truth

In an op-ed written before his arrest, Julian Assange says he and WikiLeaks have been unfairly attacked for doing what media outlets should do: tell the truth.

Julian Assange says he and WikiLeaks are being punished for exposing government information citizens should know.
Julian Assange says he and WikiLeaks are being punished for exposing government information citizens should know.

WikiLeaks is struggling to maintain its lifelines as infrastructure and payment providers cut their ties and at least one U.S. politician wants to list it as a terrorist group. Julian Assange, the public face of WikiLeaks, is in jail on what he claims are meritless sex charges. Meanwhile, critics in the U.S. are calling for his head and his home country of Australia seems unconcerned.

In an op-ed in The Australian today titled "Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths," Assange says he and the beleaguered WikiLeaks are being punished for providing people with information they should know about what their governments are doing.

"Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest," he wrote. "WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption."

He's not antiwar, he says, adding: "There is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it."

Other media outlets, including The New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais and The Guardian, have published the U.S. embassy cables that WikiLeaks provided, yet WikiLeaks gets all the criticism, Assange complains.

"WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history," he wrote. "During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed."

"We are the underdogs," he continued. "The (Australian Prime Minister Julia) Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings."

The missive was written before he was arrested today in London in connection with a rape case in Sweden and denied bail.