(ANTIWAR.COM) — As the US prepares to try to acquire WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange through extradition, the Justice Department has revealed a new series of charges against him. Assange would face 170 years in US prison if convicted.
The new charges are 17 separate charges under the Espionage Act. According to the Justice Department, the charges are all related to leaking classified documents related to national security, which were part of the leaks from Chelsea Manning, who the US has already indefinitely jailed for refusing to testify against Assange.
This sets up a potentially very controversial case. Though also used to prosecute proper spies for foreign governments, the Espionage Act of 1917 has been used repeatedly to target journalists and those who provided information to journalists. Its use against the press has historically been deeply criticized.
The Trump Administration has tried to push a narrative in which, even though WikiLeaks behaves like a journalistic outlet, they are something distinct, almost certainly an argument that envisioned having to argue a case like this as being something other than rank censorship of the media.
If the conviction of Assange is successful, it would have a chilling effect on the American press, and indeed the international press since Assange wasn’t American nor in America during the “crimes” in question, establishing that the US government can jail journalists for reporting on their embarrassing secrets.
These articles were chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
Since you’re here…
…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us