Where is the US Indictment of Julian Assange?

J.D. Longstreet | December 8, 2010 

Where is the US Indictment of Julian Assange?
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Is it just my imagination, again, or is the Holder Department of Justice the Worst … EVER???

Why is DOJ dragging its collective feet on issuing an indictment of Julian Assange and formally asking the UK to hand him over for extradition to the US? The US has a strong extradition treaty with the Brits and since they actually have the guy in jail there, WHAT in the world is Eric Holder waiting for?

Under the Espionage Act of 1918 it is a crime:

To convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies. This was punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more than 30 years or both.

To convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies when the United States is at war, to cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or to willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States. This was punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 fine or by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or both.

The law was later extended on May 16, 1918 by the Sedition Act of 1918–actually a set of amendments to the Espionage Act–which prohibited many forms of speech, including "any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States...or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy."

Because the Sedition Act was an informal name, court cases were brought under the name of the Espionage Act, whether the charges were based on the provisions of the Espionage Act or the provisions of the amendments known informally as the Sedition Act.

On March 3, 1921 the Sedition Act of 1918 was repealed, but the provisions of the Espionage Act itself remained intact, and are codified under U.S.C. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 37.

It should be noted that, according to Wikipedia: “The Washington Post reports that sources have said that federal authorities are considering prosecuting Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks under the Act, though Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. "did not indicate that Assange is being investigated for possible violations of the Espionage Act." (SOURCE)

“An editorial in the Washington Times by Jeffrey T. Kuhner said Assange should be treated "the same way as other high-value terrorist targets" and be assassinated. Former Nixon aide and talk radio host G. Gordon Liddy has reportedly suggested that Assange's name be added to the "kill list" of terrorists who can be assassinated without a trial. U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has called Assange "a high-tech terrorist.” Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has been quoted as saying, "Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism, and Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant." Fox News' National Security Analyst and host Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland has called Assange a terrorist, Wikileaks "a terrorist organization" and has called for Bradley Manning's execution if he is found guilty of making the leaks. Incoming Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, has requested the Obama administration to declare Wikileaks a "Foreign Terrorist Organization.” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, said, "Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is, they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family." Assange denies this has happened, and responded by saying, "...it’s really quite fantastic that Gates and Mullen...who have ordered assassinations every day, are trying to bring people on board to look at a speculative understanding of whether we might have blood on our hands. These two men arguably are wading in the blood from those wars." (SOURCE)

The question of charging a non-US citizen under the US Sedition Act, or the US Espionage Act, continues to pop-up as this story continues to roil the air waves and over heat printing presses around the world.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is reported to have said: "Let me be very clear, it is not saber rattling. To the extent there are gaps in our laws, we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say . . . that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation that's ongoing."

At least the US State department has begun to set the stage for charges against Assange. A letter was sent to Assange last week urging him not to release the cables, to return all classified material and to destroy all classified records from Wikileaks databases.

Apparently, that letter was a necessary part of the preparations for charges.

Jeffrey H. Smith, a former CIA general counsel, is reported to have said: “That language is not only the right thing to do policy-wise but puts the government in a position to prosecute him… ." Smith went on to say: “Under the Espionage Act, anyone who has "unauthorized possession to information relating to the national defense" and has reason to believe it could harm the United States may be prosecuted if he publishes it or "willfully" retains it when the government has demanded its return.” (SOURCE)

If all this is accurate, then, what is taking so long to obtain the indictment and get Mr. Assange extradited to the US and into a court of law and get this thing settled?

Frankly, we’d like to see two things. One: an indictment of Mr. Assange, and two: a letter of resignation from Mr. Holder.

J. D. Longstreet

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One Response to “Where is the US Indictment of Julian Assange?”

  1. Fernand Raynaud on December 18th, 2010 3:54 am

    Dear Mr Longstreet,

    I believe that Mr Assange is a toxic little man who misrepresents his goals. But Mr Assange is not the one who breeched confidentiality. Charging him with Espionage or Sedition would be ridiculous. At that rate you may as well indict every journalist and snooper who is critical of America. Hassling Mr Assange would do far greater damage to our standing than the publication of these internal documents that, on the whole, show our private diplomacy to be in accord with our public stand. Have you seen what the Chinese are saying to the whole world, about how the American State Department had lectured them about freedom of access and freedom of speech, and now they want to indict Assange? If the objective is success, and not raving about “death or imprisonment for not more than 30 years or both”, the smartest thing we can do is shrug our shoulders, and cast doubt on the authenticity of leaked materials.

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