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Saturday, December 1, 2018

You Don’t Have to Love Assange to Fear His Prosecution

By: Peter Van Buren
The American Conservative

It turns out the DOJ is going after the Wikileaks founder. The press should be very afraid.

The Department of Justice showed its cards last week when it accidentally confirmed that the U.S. is planning to prosecute Wikileaks head Julian Assange, who has been sequestered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.

What happens to Assange will be one of the biggest test cases for press freedoms in America ever. At stake? The ability of all journalists to inform the public of things the government wants to withhold.

But this has been largely ignored because Assange, once a darling of the progressive activist press, is now regarded as a hero-turned-zero, mostly because of Wikileaks’ role in publishing hacked emails that proved damaging to the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign ahead of the 2016 elections.

The controversial Wikileaks founder always maintained that an unrelated sex assault investigation in Sweden (which has since been dropped) would lead to his detainment in the UK with an extradition to the U.S. That’s why he sought political asylum from Ecuador. Turns out he wasn’t just paranoid. A clerical error has revealed that the Justice Department did indeed file secret criminal charges against Assange, who is an Australian citizen. Court papers in what appears to be an unrelated case used cut-and-pasted language from documents prepared previously against Assange, all of which was revealed publicly to an unsuspecting reporter.

Though the new information makes clear that prosecution is planned if Assange can be delivered to American custody, no further details are available. Assange is under scrutiny at a minimum for unauthorized possession of classified material going back to at least 2010, when Wikileaks burst onto the international scene with evidence of American war crimes in Iraq and exposed years’ worth of classified State Department diplomatic cables.

Read more at The American Conservative.