Journalist Julian Assange Charged with New American Indictment

by Dr. Leon Tressel, published on Global Research, June 26, 2020

On 24 June a US Federal Grad Jury issued a second superseding indictment against Journalist Julian Assange.

The new indictment incorporates the 18 charges from the first indictment and seeks to ‘broaden the scope of the conspiracy’ and asserts that Assange and Wikileaks tried to recruit hackers for the purpose of stealing secret documents from the US government.

Thirteen of the 49 page indictment are devoted to Assange’s efforts to recruit ‘Anonymous’ hackers. At one conference Assange is alleged to have encouraged hackers to join the CIA and then use their position to steal top secret documents.

It also alleges that Assange cajoled, encouraged and assisted Chelsea Manning in ‘stealing’ hundreds of thousands of secret government documents relating to the Iraq and Afghan wars as well as diplomatic cables and Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments.

The icing on the cake of this new indictment are the claims that Assange wilfully revealed the ‘name of Human Sources and Created a Grave and Imminent Risk to Human Life’ through publishing ‘stolen’ secret documents. The tally of secret documents that Wikileaks published includes 75,000 Afghan war reports, 400,000 Iraq war reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments and 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

The new indictment alleges that Wikileaks published documents that revealed the names of various collaborators working with US military and intelligence agencies deliberately putting their lives in danger.

The new indictment also tries to make the help that Wikileaks gave NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden a criminal offence. Never mind the fact that the FBI relied upon paid informants such as ‘convicted conman, and sex criminal Sigurdur Thordarson’ to make up bogus claims against Assange. According to WikiLeaks Thordarson is one of the star witnesses for new indictment from the US Department of Justice.

The timing of this new indictment is suspicious. Trump is trailing in numerous polls due to his disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that has left over 120,000 Americans dead and caused trillions of dollars worth of economic damage. Is the new indictment a pathetic attempt to try and steer the news away from the storm of negative press encircling the White House?

The Freedom of the Press Foundation has commented:

“The Trump DOJ’s new Assange indictment has all the same problems as the old one. Source communication and publishing are not crimes. They didn’t add any new charges. They didn’t really change any old ones. And the using the Espionage Act is beyond the pale.’’

Julian Assange’s extradition trial does not resume until 7 September. Further outbreaks of the virus could put a spoke in that judicial frame up by the British government. Yet it appears the entire British political class including the so called opposition Labour Party will do nothing to try and prevent Assange’s extradition. Its new leader Keir Starmer, a former human rights barrister, supports the extradition process.

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, whose reports revealed the global surveillance operations of the US and UK, has noted the connivance of British and American politicians and media of all political colours with Trump’s war on whistle blowers:

“The Trump DOJ’s attempt to imprison Julian Assange for working with his source to publish classified documents that exposed US war crimes is the most severe US threat to press freedom since 2016. It’s sickening to watch so many journalists ignore it, & so many liberals cheer it: ‘’

Kevin Gosztlioa of the Shadow Proof news outlet has written a detailed expose of the new indictment. He conclusion declares:

“While the conspiracy charge includes sensational claims of collaboration with hackers, it is no less of a political charge than the seventeen Espionage Act offences Assange faces for publishing information.

The additional sections in the indictment represent an attempt to give the illegitimate prosecution a greater veneer of criminality. Unfortunately, it does not take much to scrape it off and expose the contempt for press freedom that still lies behind this vindictive prosecution.’’

Ordinary people around the world must step up their efforts to secure the release of journalist Julian Assange. If extradited to the US he would face a show trial that would resemble the worst excesses of Stalin and Hitler’s courtrooms in the 1930s.

The extradition of Julian Assange by the crisis ridden American empire sends a clear warning to anyone who has thoughts about investigating or revealing US war crimes. It represents a threat to investigative journalists and anti war activists who challenge the bloody rule of American capital which will not go down without a fight.

The persecution of Julian Assange reveals a certain desperation on the part of the American ruling class. However, it won’t solve any of the social, economic and political problems facing American capitalism which is in a state of deep crisis.

 

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