Right before our eyes, we are seeing how very much down the hole the once great country of the United States of America has fallen and yet we are reluctant to call things the way they are and keep pretending it's still a democracy. Sad!
Joe Lauria at ConsortiumNews
Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act on 17 New Counts
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was indicted on Thursday under the Espionage Act, the first time a journalist has been charged under the Act for possessing and disseminating classified information.
A journalist was indicted under the Espionage Act for the first time in U.S. history on Thursday when the Department of Justice charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Act in a move that opens the way for prosecution of anyone who publishes classified information.
The 37-page indictment charges Assange under four sections of the Act, including Section E for possessing and disseminating classified matter. It charged him with acts common to any investigative journalist:
“(i)circumvent(ing) legal safeguards on information; (ii) provid(ing) that protected information to WikiLeaks for public dissemination; and (iii) continu(ing) the pattern of illegally procuring and providing protected information to WikiLeaks for distribution to the public.”
Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in London’s Belmarsh prison for skipping bail and seeking asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012 because he feared onward extradition from Sweden to the United States and prosecution under the Espionage Act. He was arrested on April 11 when Ecuador illegally lifted his asylum and let British police onto Ecuadorian territory to carry Assange from the embassy.
The U.S. had until June 12 to add additional charges in its extradition request to Britain. The decision on extradition rests with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who WikiLeaks said “is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the UK and elsewhere.”
Not a Journalist
John Demers, head of the DOJ’s National Security Division, in announcing the indictment told reporters: “Some say that Assange is a journalist and that he should be immune for prosecution for these actions. The department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy and we thank you for it. It is not and has never been the department’s policy to target them for reporting.”
But Demers said Assange wasn’t a journalist. “No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposefully publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential human sources in a war zone, exposing them to the gravest of dangers,” he said.
Assange’s attorney in the U.S., Barry Pollack, responded:...........