Actor John Malkovich spoke out in defense of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published leaked internal footage of U.S. forces killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and is facing 18 counts for conspiring to get into U.S. government computer systems and obtain sensitive information.
In a video shared by WikiLeaks, Malkovich said “In the case of Julian Assange I very much hope the U.K. government might rethink their position about extraditing him into America because I don’t in any way believe he’d get a fair trial.”
Assange published a series of leaks in 2010, including a video showing U.S. forces firing on a group of people in Iraq in July of 2007. The group U.S. forces fired on included some armed individuals and others who were unarmed, such as Reuters journalists Saeed Chmagh and Nami Noor-Eldeen. Reuters had filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests which the government had not approved prior to the WikiLeaks publication.
Assange also published the “Afghanistan War Logs” and “Iraq War Logs” which among other things documented killings of civilians by coalition forces during the course of those two conflicts.
According to a U.S. indictment, Assange had encouraged then U.S. Army-intelligence analyst Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning) to leak information to WikiLeaks and conspired with Manning to circumvent password protections on computer systems where U.S. government information was stored.
Manning was convicted in 2013 on Espionage Act violations.
“If our governments were more honest and more forthcoming about their actions and their activities, probably there wouldn’t be a need for journalists like Julian Assange to do what they do,” Malkovich continued in Assange’s defense. “But we all know that not the case and they’re not forthcoming nor honest about many many things.”
Malkovich, who is a U.S. citizen, added, “for me it is quite critical to know what is done in my name.”
Malkovich concluded the video by reiterating his call for the U.K. government to reconsider extraditing Assange to face trial in the U.S.
Malkovich isn’t the only celebrity to have spoken out over Assange’s pending extradition to the U.S. Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters has vocally supported Assange throughout the years-long extradition battle.