Further US demands for espionage charges against Assange

Richard Phillips

While Obama administration spokesmen and the Australian government continue to insist that Washington is “not interested” in prosecuting WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence head, Dianne Feinstein, has issued another call for the Australian citizen to be put on trial.

“Mr Assange should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act [of 1917],” Feinstein told the Melbourne-based Age last week. “I believe Mr Assange has knowingly obtained and disseminated classified information which could cause injury to the United States. He has caused serious harm to US national security, and he should be prosecuted accordingly.”

US Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd told the newspaper that “there continues to be an investigation into the WikiLeaks matter.”

Assange is currently inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, pending a response to his June 19 application for political asylum in that country. Ecuadorian embassies in the US and Britain reported last week that they had received over 10,000 email messages in support of his application.

Assange’s decision to seek asylum followed the recent UK Supreme Court rejection of his legal appeals against extradition to Sweden. The WikiLeaks editor fears that if removed to Sweden, Washington will intervene and extradite him to the US. There he would face trial, on trumped-up charges, for the “crime” of publishing hundreds of thousands documents exposing war crimes by Washington, and the intrigues of the major powers.

New evidence of US operation against Julian Assange

Richard Phillips

Todos Somos Julian Assange - We're all Julian Assange...

If Assange’s conflict is purely with the Swedish government, then why is his asylum application of such concern in Washington?

While the Obama administration and its allies continue to deny the existence of a sealed US Grand Jury indictment against Julian Assange, further information has come to light about the extent of Washington’s operation against the founder of the WikiLeaks web site.

Assange, who is fighting extradition to Sweden on dubious sexual assault allegations, is seeking political asylum in Ecuador and remains inside its embassy in London. He has good reason to fear that if he is extradited to Sweden, Washington will intervene, extraditing him to face a Grand Jury trial on espionage charges.

According to WikiLeaks, special task forces have been established by US intelligence agencies, and subpoenas have been issued compelling WikiLeaks associates to appear before a Grand Jury. The US Justice Department has served subpoenas on ISPs and online services for the Twitter accounts and other private data of WikiLeaks staff and supporters.

Further preparations emerged at recent pre-trial hearings of Army Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of disclosing classified military data—later published on WikiLeaks as Cablegate, the Afghan War Diaries, the Iraq War Logs and the Collateral Murder video footage. Manning has been incarcerated for more than 760 days without facing trial.

Recent prosecution testimony indicates that the case against Manning is only a small element in a massive FBI investigation. US Army Major Ashden Fein, the lead prosecution counsel, told hearings this month that the FBI file on the case, most of it classified, totalled 42,135 pages or 3,475 documents. “Manning is a piece of the FBI file,” Fein said, and only accounted for “8,741 pages or 636 different documents.”

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