In an article by netz politik, it is revealed that the US intends to investigate Assange for “obtaining and disseminating secret information“ which is punishable by the death penalty. This investigation appears to have been reinstated the day after Assange’s arrest.
The death penalty for a journalist? This is terrifying that the US would hand down such a punishment for a journalist doing his job. This is what letter from the DOJ stated in a letter published in the same article.
Only one day after writing the indictment, the US Attorney’s Office admitted to also investigate Assange for the „unauthorized receipt and dissemination of secret information“. That is what the Department of Justice wrote in a letter to former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, which we are publishing in full.
This accusation can be charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, a federal law intended to protect military secrets since World War I which has also been used to charge Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Convictions under the Espionage Act can be punished by death. The death penalty is not only inhumane and archaic, it has legal consequences: The United Kingdom is not allowed to extradite Assange if he faces the death penalty.
I will post a link of the letter from the DOJ written to Daniel Domscheit-Berg asking for voluntary testifying against Assange (link to full letter) .
As stated in the article others have been asked in the past to testify. Some have done it voluntarily. Yet many have refused including Chelsea Manning who also was charged under the outdated Espionage Act.
In the past, more people around WikiLeaks were asked to support the investigations by providing information to the prosecutors. Jacob Appelbaum was asked to testify against Assange, but he refused. Manning is back in prison since early March for refusing to testify before the grand jury.
How can the US DOJ justify charging a publisher for doing his job? Assange simply producing documents for the public to read. If prosecuted under this law, why aren’t media organizations like the New York Times who published the “Pentagon papers” and the Guardian who published the “Snowden Files” under investigation? Doesn’t this enable the AG to prosecute any journalist or media organization for reporting?
By simply using the indictment for hacking, the US DOJ is getting around the law that the UK cannot extradite any individual who could face the death penalty. This also pacifies many supporters of Assange who would believe he would be safe.
The US is well known for making people like Assange disappear. It is not uncommon for people to have fatal “accidents” or “commit suicide.” Julian is a vital truthteller who is much needed and stands for our rights and for press freedom. He stood up against the most powerful government in the world today. We cannot let them destroy him and what he stands for.
Please write to the DOJ and the author of the letter at the addresses below:
Dana J. Boente
United States Attorney’s Office
2100 Jamieson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 299-3980 (Fax)
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001