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posted by martyb on Friday May 24 2019, @11:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the One-man-takes-on-US-Government;-who-will-prevail? dept.

Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues.

The new charges were part of a superseding indictment obtained by the Trump administration that significantly expanded the legal case against Mr. Assange, who is already fighting extradition proceedings in London based on an earlier hacking-related count brought by federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia.

[...] On its face, the Espionage Act could also be used to prosecute reporters who publish government secrets. But many legal scholars believe that prosecuting people for acts related to receiving and publishing information would violate the First Amendment.

That notion has never been tested in court, however, because until now the government has never brought such charges. The closest it came was indicting two lobbyists for a pro-Israel group in 2005 who received classified information about American policy toward Iran and passed it on. But that case fell apart after several skeptical pretrial rulings by a judge, and the charges were dropped.

Though he is not a conventional journalist, much of what Mr. Assange does at WikiLeaks is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations like The New York Times do: seek and publish information that officials want to be secret, including classified national security matters, and take steps to protect the confidentiality of sources.

Also at BBC, CNBC, USA Today, and Reuters

Previously: Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange
U.S. Ramping Up Probe Against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Says
Wikileaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London
Julian Assange Sentenced to 50 Weeks in Prison for Bail Breach
Swedish Prosecutor to Reopen Julian Assange Investigation


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @03:53PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @03:53PM (#847125)

    Remember the context of all this: Trump's constant accusations that a free press is literally the enemy of the people.

    Trump's MO is to say "Do you hate X? I hate X! You should support me and I will hurt X for you!" (and then he robs you blind while you are too busy cheering to notice)

    Remember when he fired Comey and said it was because of how Comey was unfair to Hillary? Like all the democrats would cheer him for it?

    He's doing the same thing here. Lots of people on the left are flaming fucking mad at Assange for the role he played in the attack on the 2016 elections. So he's the perfect guy for trump to go after in his first major attack on the free press. He's hoping that even if you won't defend Assange, you'll shrug and say, "eh, what do I care? That shit head deserves it." (remember Assange has not been charged for anything to do with 2016, this is only about the Manning leaks - charges that Obama's DoJ decided would be over the line)

    And he does fucking deserve it. But the bigger picture here is that after establishing a precedent with Assange, trump's going to go after people who don't deserve it. Good, decent, hard-working Americans that have dedicated their lives to holding the powerful to account. Those people are the real target here.

    We have to defend this shit head's rights in order to defend all those good people. It fucking sucks. But that's the choice we are facing right now.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @05:01PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @05:01PM (#847171)

    Where are all those imbeciles who were apoplectic that Hillary supposedly made a private joke about droning Assange? Here's ya boy officially threatening Assange's life by charging him with crimes that could include a death sentence.

    • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:22AM (1 child)

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:22AM (#847434) Homepage Journal

      Crooked "joked" about Droning him, that's so true. And, she "joked" about Moammar/Libya. About the incredibly brutal way he was murdered (RIP!!). That one happened because of her. By the way, no Due Process there. ZERO.

      My Justice Department, as you know has filed charges against this guy. Who, allegedly is one of the worst leakers, and hackers ever. We think he's been hacking, and leaking all over the place. So we're going through the Due Process with him. Trying to get him into our magnificent Justice System. And that one's the envy of the World. Trust me, we're doing it very fairly. He's going to get one of the fairest "trials" you've seen in you're entire life. Beautiful!!!!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:41AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:41AM (#847441)

        Every post you make is a test of Poe's Law.

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday May 24 2019, @06:09PM (2 children)

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday May 24 2019, @06:09PM (#847246) Journal

    Nice dichotomy. Either Assange deserves to be prosecuted or he does not. Either what Assange did is espionage or it is not. You're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

    By charging him with a crime which can invoke the death penalty they made it very much harder to get him extradited even by England (which would have to be assured that the death penalty would not be sought nor carried out) let alone Sweden. Given the President's stance on not liking to be pushed around I'm hoping he'd explicitly order that no such assurance be made.

    --
    Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:00PM (#847325)

      Either Assange deserves to be prosecuted or he does not. Either what Assange did is espionage or it is not.

      He absolutely deserves to be prosecuted. BUT NOT FOR THE ACTIONS HE'S BEEN CHARGED WITH.
      Capiche?

      Furthermore, he will not be charged for the actions that legitimately deserve prosecution, because shining a spotlight on those actions would be highly embarrassing to the authoritarians currently in power.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday May 24 2019, @09:19PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday May 24 2019, @09:19PM (#847365) Journal

      The latest charges carry 10 years per charge. No death penalty.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 1, Troll) by ElizabethGreene on Friday May 24 2019, @06:39PM (5 children)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Friday May 24 2019, @06:39PM (#847279)

    Remember the context of all this: Trump's constant accusations that a free press is literally the enemy of the people.

    This is incorrect. His accusation is that large swaths of the free press lie and uses their position of trust to deceive the people. The distinction is a subtle.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @07:57PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @07:57PM (#847323)

      This is incorrect. His accusation is that large swaths of the free press lie and uses their position of trust to deceive the people.

      No, you are incorrect. While trump started off making statements with enough space for the willfully blind to find the kind of nuance you are attributing to him, he has since escalated to outright accusations that the press in general is the enemy of the people.

      Here's one such tweet where he makes no such distinction, referring to the press at large: [twitter.com]

      The press is doing everything within their power to fight the
      magnificence of the phrase, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
      They can’t stand the fact that this Administration has done
      more than virtually any other Administration in its first 2yrs.
      They are truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

      You know what's really insane though? The way the press has barely reported on those statements. Its like they are a deer stuck in trump's headlights. They are unequipped to deal with the crisis of authoritarianism.
         

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:25PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:25PM (#847336)

        by "press" he means the media whores that are controlled by the same deep state scum that are trying to bring the US under complete NWO rule as another slave state and everyone knows who the fuck he's talking about. that's why the media whores don't repeat what he said b/c they are scared of what the people might do when they realize it's not just them that hates these disgusting pieces of shit on tv and at the major papers in california and new york. they're lucky they aren't all being burned alive and stabbed/shot when they go to lunch. free press, my ass

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:38PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:38PM (#847346)

          You seem like a level-headed guy.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @01:12AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @01:12AM (#847449)

            Would that be level zero/flattened?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @10:53PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @10:53PM (#847735)

              says the go along to get along, tax paying, boot licking whore.