As many know by now, Julian Assange was indicted on 17 additional Espionage Act charges yesterday that carry a total of 175 years in prison. This was not only an attack on Assange to try to make him pay for publishing U.S. government classified documents and videos, but an attack on free press throughout the globe by the so-called "land of the free".
WikiLeaks has officially responded to the indictments in a news release today, May 24th. WikiLeaks rightly points out that this all about the disclosure of the damning evidence of "war crimes and human rights abuses by the US government". And more people in the mainstream media are waking up to that reality.
Even the hardcore leftist mouthpiece Rachel Maddow has come to defend Assange against the charges, because she realizes how these charges could so easily apply to what journalists everywhere do. Not so long ago however, she and many others sang a different tune and ignored the obvious purpose of going after Assange, and the inevitable charges that would be laid upon him. They denied Assange the rightful status of a publisher or journalist in order to deny him any rights of the free press.
The indictment played the same tune of denying Assange any credibility as a journalist, despite being recognized as a journalist by many in official capacities. WikiLeaks notes:
“Julian Assange is no journalist”, said US Assistant Attorney General John Demers, revealing his unfamiliarity with the First Amendment, whilst also disregarding dozens of journalism prizes awarded to him, including two in the past month, and unaware of UK court rulings and US intelligence reports recognising him as a journalist.
The WikiLeaks response also reiterates the purpose of making journalism which threatens to expose the criminal behavior of the U.S. government illegal, which WikiLeaks co-founder and editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said was coming all along:
The US Department of Justice indictment states that "Assange, Manning, and others shared the objective to further the mission of WikiLeaks, as an "intelligence agency of the people,"... in order to disclose that information to the public and inspire others with access to do the same." With this indictment, the Trump Administration seeks to do just the opposite: to cripple the free press and send a message that no journalist deserving of the description is safe from reprisal.
The Department of Justice wants to imprison Assange for crimes allegedly committed outside of the United States. This extraterritorial application of US law is explicit throughout the indictment ("in an offense begun and committed outside of the jurisdiction of any particular state or district of the United States"), thereby classifying any territory in the world as subject to US law.
Hrafnsson has himself responded by saying:
"This is the evil of lawlessness in its purest form. With the indictment, the 'leader of the free world' dismisses the First Amendment -- hailed as a model of press freedom around the world -- and launches a blatant extraterritorial assault outside its borders, attacking basic principles of democracy in Europe and the rest of the world."
That's the reality of these charges and the flagrant power abuses being perpetrated by the legal system of the 'land of the free'. It's so Orwellian it's pathetic how most people don't even see this, nor did many not even care to see it previously when they cheered on the persecution of Assange, as they were blinded with false patriotism and nationalistic fervor.
Assange's attorney, Barry J. Pollack also responded to the indictments saying:
"Today the government charged Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information. The fig leaf that this is merely about alleged computer hacking has been removed. These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have been taken by the U.S. government."
This has been the goal all along, and the mainstream media are responsible for letting it come to this point in their shunning of Assange. The ACLU rightly notes that this is about setting "a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable."
If the government gets way with this, the world will enter a new dark ages of tyranny and lawlessness at the hands of the false authorities in power. A sure way to prevent any of this from moving forward is for the UK Home Secretary to protect both Julian Assange and the rights of the free press. They are mutually inclusive. One cannot be protected without the other. One cannot be sacrificed without also sacrificing the other.
The fate of press freedom in the world to expose corrupt and criminal government behavior and the fate of Julian Assange are inextricably linked. Now is the time for the governments that have a shred of authenticity to truly represent the rights of people and of the press to stand against the creeping authoritarianism and tyranny that is knocking on our doors.
Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.
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Posted from KURE