MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky blasted the arrest of Julian Assange as being "scandalous" on many levels, according to Democracy Now.
Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested on Thursday morning by London's Metropolitan Police. While it was initially believed that he was arrested by British authorities for skipping bail on a separate charge, it soon became evident that they had acted on the direction of the U.S. government keen to extradite Assange for publishing classified military information.
The Department of Justice released the indictment document, which pointed out that Assange had been charged for assisting former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in helping hack a military computer to gain access to classified information. The prosecutors, however, did not mention that their effort was eventually successful, leading many journalists around the world to call Assange's arrest arbitrary and an act of retribution against press freedom. Critics argue that if Assange, who merely published information gained through a source, can be prosecuted by the United States, any journalist can be tried using the same parameter in the future.
Noam Chomsky, who has been critical of America's military policies and President Donald Trump, said that Assange's arrest was deeply troubling on many levels. Speaking to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Chomsky said that the primary reason that the WikiLeaks founder had been arrested was that he was publishing information critical of the establishment.
"WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power," Chomsky said.
"People in power don't like that, so therefore we have to silence it. OK? This is the kind of thing, the kind of scandal, that takes place, unfortunately, over and over."