Free Speech Project Conversations
The Puzzle of Julian Assange and His Prosecution
In 2010, Julian Assange burst into the international glare after his Wikileaks website published classified materials obtained from soldier Chelsea Manning – including footage of a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad that killed at least 11 civilians. Indicted in the United States on 17 espionage charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of 175 years, he has emerged as a divisive figure. Once he came out of nearly seven years of refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, Assange was arrested and has now been cleared for extradition by the British authorities; but he has appealed that decision. Some say he is being unfairly punished for exposing war crimes, while others contend he damaged diplomacy and harmed U.S. national security. Many believe that if he is convicted, journalists around the world who investigate and write about national security matters will themselves be in danger of prosecution.
At this live, in-person event on the Georgetown campus, we will hear from Assange’s father and his brother, who have made a documentary film about his case, as well as a former FBI agent who has herself become a whistleblower, and a professor of international politics at Middlebury College who doubts Assange’s journalistic or whistleblower credentials.
Source: Assange Indictment
Panelists include Gabriel Shipton, brother of Assange, producer of the film “ITHAKA”; John Shipton, father of Assange, subject of the film “ITHAKA”; Allison Stanger, professor of international politics and economics, Middlebury College; and Jane Turner, whistleblower, former special agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Recorded March 14, 2023
Banning Books: Censorship, Parental Rights, and the Future of Intellectual Curiosity
Over the past few years, public school boards and state governments across the United States have been restricting specific books from being taught in their classrooms or circulating in school libraries. Books about sexual identity, sexual activity, gender identity, and racial identity have been especially targeted. Reacting to or instigating parental concerns, local and state politicians have advocated close scrutiny of certain books, and in some places book burnings have resulted. Many contend that these assaults on books are politically motivated censorship, fuel a culture war, and drive an unnecessary moral panic.
Amidst this ongoing debate, might the First Amendment and its guarantee of Free Speech offer some wisdom on how to navigate these issues? Is there a line to be drawn somewhere between censorship and parental rights?