For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Trump's "Nuclear Option" Against a Free Press

WASHINGTON - The suspension of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's White House press pass has caused a major controversy. In "The Trump-Media Logrolling," Institute for Public Accuracy senior analyst Sam Husseini, who was expelled from the Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and locked up, recently wrote that beneath the heated rhetoric, there is a symbiotic relationship between Trump and establishment media. Husseini noted, for example, that mainstream outlets often ignore major attacks on WikiLeaks and other non-establishment media.

ExposeFacts, a project of IPA, released a statement by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in 2017, "Trump Threats to WikiLeaks 'Nuclear Option' Against the First Amendment," which stated: “If journalists and publishers fail to call this out, denounce and resist it -- on the spurious grounds that Julian is ‘not a real journalist’ like themselves -- they’re offering themselves up to Trump and Sessions for indictments and prosecutions, which will eventually silence all but the heroes and heroines among them.”

JOE EMERSBERGER:

Emersberger just wrote the piece "Assange Case Shows Support for Free Speech Depends on Who’s Talking" for the media watch group FAIR. He writes: "The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in February 2016 that the governments of the UK and Sweden had forced WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange into a condition of arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been since 2012. The group’s press release stated: 'The expert panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Mr. Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation.'

  "Assange has never been charged with a crime in Sweden. At the secret urging of the UK government, Sweden refused for several years to question Assange in London regarding sexual assault allegations. That kept the case in 'preliminary investigation' limbo, while Sweden also refused to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to the United States, where he is likely to face prosecution for his work as a publisher.

  "Emails between UK and Swedish officials show that Swedish officials were getting 'cold feet' in 2013, and were considering dropping the 'preliminary investigation' into Assange, but the UK argued forcefully against it. Last year, Sweden finally dropped the investigation (shortly after it finally agreed to interrogate Assange in London, as it could easily have done years earlier), but the UK has been using the allegation that Assange skipped bail as a way to hold the threat of extradition to the United States over his head.

  "In March of this year, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno made the conditions of Assange’s arbitrary detention much worse. For seven months, Assange has been without any means to directly communicate with the public -- in other words, to defend himself from relentless attacks and ridicule in Western media. Moreno has not only cut off Assange’s internet and telephone access, but also severely restricted visits. Moreno has openly stated that he silenced and isolated Assange because he objected to Assange’s political statements, but rather than blast Moreno for trampling Assange’s right to free expression and other basic rights, the international press and prominent 'human rights' organizations have responded with silence, distortions and even smirks."

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