Shafer: Legal martyrdom won't harm Wikileaks

Jack Shafer in Slate: Seemingly trumped-up charges will only turn Julian Assange into an "albino Rev. Martin Luther King Jr" whose legal troubles echo a threat to journalistic freedom so obvious it'll make "anarchists out of baristas and housewives." Furthermore, he writes, European countries are not eager to extradite people to the U.S., offering Wikileaks a long time to make the most of his inconvenient but useful legal martyrdom.

It's true that if Assange does end up in a U.S. courtroom, it'll create a legal and political storm such as the world rarely sees. But it's too easy to see the silver lining as a deliberate strategy: the reality is that very few people want to be imprisoned, even if they are dedicated to a cause that all but requires it.