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Out Of Mind » TRUTH IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES » JULIAN ASSANGE & WIKILEAKS » Snowden Speaks Out for Assange: “If You Would Deny a Thing to Your Enemy, It Is Not a Right” plus more

Snowden Speaks Out for Assange: “If You Would Deny a Thing to Your Enemy, It Is Not a Right” plus more

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Snowden Speaks Out for Assange: “If You Would Deny a Thing to Your Enemy, It Is Not a Right”
Common Dreams

  • Nov 17, 2018

Following confirmation that the U.S. Department of Justice does have a sealed complaint against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange—seemingly based on his work exposing the classified secrets of high-level U.S. government institutions and officials—NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Friday afternoon spoke out against any arrest or prosecution of the journalist, saying that one “cannot support the prosecution of a publisher for publishing without narrowing the basic rights every newspaper relies on.”
Snowden’s comments echoed those of other defenders of press freedoms, but carries special weight as someone, like Assange, who has sacrificed his freedom in the name of exposing the secrets of the world’s powerful.
Acknowledging that many people have come to “despise” Assange over the years for a variety of reasons, Snowden declared: “If you would deny a thing to your enemy, it is not a right. What do you stand for?”

In a statement by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden serves as board president, the group said that prosecuting Assange for the publishing activities of Wikileaks would be a “profound and incredibly dangerous threat” to press freedoms and journalism around the world.
“Whether you like Assange or hate him, the theories used in a potential Espionage Act prosecution would threaten countless reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, and the many other news outlets that report on government secrets all the time,” said Trevor Timm, FTPF’s executive director. “While everyone will have to wait and see what the charges detail, it’s quite possible core First Amendment principles will be at stake in this case.”

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Prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing activities poses a profound threat to press freedom

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Promoting press freedom in the 21st century
November 16, 2018
 Uwe Steinert  
On Thursday night Justice Department prosecutors inadvertently published court documents that strongly suggest that the Trump administration has secretly filed charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Shortly afterwards, the Washington Post confirmed that charges have indeed been filed against Assange.
While it’s so far unclear what the charges are, news organizations have speculated they may involve the Espionage Act, the 100 year old law that—on its face—threatens the ability of journalists to do their jobs and could criminalize national security reporting. The Espionage Act has, up until this point, never been used to prosecute a journalist or publisher.
Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, has issued the following statement:
“Any charges brought against WikiLeaks for their publishing activities pose a profound and incredibly dangerous threat to press freedom. Whether you like Assange or hate him, the theories used in a potential Espionage Act prosecution would threaten countless reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, and the many other news outlets that report on government secrets all the time. While everyone will have to wait and see what the charges detail, it’s quite possible core First Amendment principles will be at stake in this case.”
We will have much more analysis and comment as this case develops.

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Assange charges could unsettle liberals, conservatives — and Trump
Date: November 18, 2018Author: Nwo Report 

Some liberals have defended Assange as a journalist, conservatives celebrated him in 2016 and Trump once declared his ‘love’ for WikiLeaks.
Apparent criminal charges against Julian Assange are thrusting the WikiLeaks founder back into American politics — a development that could create awkwardness across the political spectrum.
Many liberals and civil rights activists have defended Assange as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protections. Conservatives have celebrated him for exposing Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016. And President Donald Trump, who declared his “love” for Assange’s website during the 2016 contest, may have new concerns about whether the focus on Assange has a connection to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
For now, the details remain murky about what U.S. law Assange, an Australian national holed up in a London embassy, has even been charged with violating. An unrelated federal court filing discovered late Thursday appears to have accidentally mentioned Assange but doesn’t explain whether the sealed charges deal with WikiLeaks’ publication of stolen Democratic documents to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign or another matter that has also triggered notice from U.S. prosecutors.
It’s unclear when — if ever — the details about Assange will even be made public. Still, Assange’s reemergence at a time when Mueller has carefully studied how WikiLeaks obtained the Russian-hacked Democratic emails in 2016 jump-starts a debate over the fate of the Australian computer programmer.
Although Assange has legions of determined enemies in the U.S., especially pro-Clinton Democrats and national security insiders who consider him a hostile foreign agent, some influential actors may not be enthusiastic about his prosecution.
The American Civil Liberties Union, characterizing him as a journalist, warned that prosecuting Assange “would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.”
“It should not be lost upon anyone that there are leaks of classified information to the media just about every day,” added David Coombs, the lawyer who represented former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning during the 2013 trial about the leak of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to WikiLeaks.
Some Republicans argue that it is high time for Assange, who has been living under asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, to face justice.
“This is cut and dried: WikiLeaks is an outlet for foreign propaganda, and Julian Assange is an enemy of the American people,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican. “He deserves to spend the rest of his life in an American prison.”
But many influential conservatives gleefully celebrated the release of Clinton’s emails in 2016 and have hailed Assange, 47, as a whistle-blower.
In September 2016, Fox News host and Trump confidant Sean Hannity hosted Assange on his show and congratulated him for showing “how corrupt, dishonest and phony our government is.”
“I do hope you get free one day,” Hannity added.
In late 2010, after WikiLeaks released a trove of sensitive U.S. diplomatic documents pilfered by Manning, Hannity called for Assange to be jailed for “waging war” against the U.S.
But Assange’s potential criminal prosecution may be most awkward of all for Trump, who during the 2016 campaign repeatedly praised WikiLeaks for revealing damning correspondence from Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
“I love WikiLeaks,” Trump extolled several times during the presidential campaign. “This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.”
Since then, after briefings from U.S. intelligence officials who consider Assange a national security threat,Trump has changed his tune and sought to place some distance between himself and Assange.
“The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange — wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people…. to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump wrote in a twopart tweet on Jan. 5, 2017.
Only a few months into Trump’s presidency, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said it would be a “priority” to stop leaks and arrest Assange. CNN reported in April 2017 that the U.S. was preparing charges to arrest Assange and that then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo characterized WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
Assange’s efforts in the 2016 campaign present challenges for several people in Trump’s orbit. Mueller’s prosecutors and his grand jury have summoned about a dozen associates of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone to Washington to explain how the self-proclaimed dirty trickster came to know about the pending WikiLeaks release of emails embarrassing to the Clinton campaign.
The president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also appeared to have correspondence with WikiLeaks leading up to the election, The Atlantic reported last year.
Legal experts cautioned against drawing conclusions about the nature of any charges the Justice Department might bring against Assange.
“I don’t think we should assume this is Russia-related,” said Matthew Miller, an Obama-era Justice Department spokesman. U.S. officials have considered bringing charges against Assange since he was the conduit for Manning’s 2010 disclosure of secret government documents.

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The Empire Keeps Proving Julian Assange Right About Everything

Posted by Lou on November 18, 2018

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been proven right about his reasons for seeking political asylum from Ecuador.
Source: The Empire Keeps Proving Julian Assange Right About Everything
Caitlin Johnstone 
Nov 17, 2018
(CJ Opinion) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal by the Trump administration. This has been revealed by a purportedly accidental copy-paste error in an unrelated court document which used Assange’s name, interestingly not long after it was reported to the Wall Street Journal that federal prosecutors “have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy because a detailed explanation of the evidence could give Ecuadorean authorities reason to turn Assange over.”
Insider sources have reportedly confirmed to the Washington Post that Assange has been charged. Because those charges are sealed, it’s impossible to know what they are or how they’re being justified. If you ask #Resistance Twitter, it’s because it’s #MuellerTime and Assange is about to be arrested under some mysterious charges involving WikiLeaks’ publication of non-government, non-classified emails in 2016. If you ask QAnon cultists, it’s because Donald Trump is planning to extradite Assange so as to rescue him and deal a fatal blow to the Deep State. If you ask people who actually know what they’re talking about, however, it’s most likely for WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and/or last year’s CIA leak publications, and most likely using the Espionage Act. This would constitute a deadly blow to press freedoms, and arguably a greater leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia than the Patriot Act.
It also proves once again that Julian Assange was completely right.
I’ve had so, so many arguments with people this year about Assange’s publicly stated rationale for remaining in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he was granted political asylum by Ecuador’s previous government on the basis that the US was seeking his extradition. The refrain that he can “leave whenever he wants” is extremely common, with Assange’s detractors insisting that he’d never be arrested and extradited to the United States, and that he is instead hiding from (non-existent) Swedish rape charges. The narrative that Assange couldn’t possibly be hiding from the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning has been aggressively promulgated by mainstream outlets like the The Guardian, as in this article by James Ball from earlier this year titled “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride”, claiming that “The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US.”
Ball’s article includes the following galaxy-brained excerpts:
“Visitors, like fish, stink in three days.”
“There is no public criminal case against Assange or WikiLeaks in the US, though Assange frequently says there is evidence of sealed indictments against him and his associates, and there have been publicly disclosed surveillance warrants against WikiLeaks staff, as well as FBI interest in Assange and his current and former co-workers (including me, as I worked with WikiLeaks for a few months in 2010 and 2011). There is no real reason to believe anything has changed with Assange’s situation in the US.”
“The problem for both sides is that neither wants to lose face: Assange wants to be a symbol of resistance against an overreaching US state, and does not want to admit his asylum was about his personal actions and not those of WikiLeaks. Ecuador does not want to suggest it made a mistake in granting Assange asylum.”
Ball was at best completely wrong, and at worst knowingly lying about the very real possibility of secret US charges. We know that the charges are from the US government, so they’ve got nothing to do with any rape or bail violation allegations. But the narrative that Assange is a stinky, stinky weirdo hiding in a cupboard has been so aggressively promulgated by imperial propagandists like Ball it’s (for me at least) literally impossible to talk about Assange’s plight on social media without some stranger coming up and spewing it all over the conversation.
And it’s no mystery why that is. The alternative to making Assange the creepy rapist hiding from justice would be to acknowledge the possibility of what we now know for certain: that a vast, sprawling superpower, with so many extremely tight alliances that it is effectively the center of a globe-spanning empire, is working to extradite an Australian journalist from an Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom so that it can punish him for publishing facts. Much, much easier to have him be the stinky cupboard man than the center of an assault on speech with implications stretching to all future generations and every corner of the globe.
Julian Assange founded an innovative leak outlet on the premise that corrupt power can be fought with truth and transparency. Corrupt power responded by silencing, persecuting and smearing him. In so doing they succeeded in slowing down the leaks, minimizing the impact of publications, and nullifying Assange’s ability to defend himself, and in exchange they have publicly proved that his thesis was, and is, absolutely correct. There is a power establishment which uses lies and secrecy to manipulate and deceive us, and it hates having the light of truth shone upon it more than anything. We know that for certain now. There is no doubt whatsoever.
Julian Assange was never hiding from justice. Julian Assange is, and always has been, hiding from injustice. He has been proven right about his reasons for seeking political asylum from Ecuador, as he has been proven right about so very much before.

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