New developments may prove a game-changer for Julian Assange

Julian Assange at the Embassy
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Recent revelations have possibly thrown a huge spanner into the prosecution of publisher Julian Assange. Arguably, the entire case now appears prejudiced against him. The revelations involve a celebrated whistleblower, a leaks publisher, and several major newspapers.

Cryptome declares its hand

Cryptome is a website that specialises in the publication of leaks in the form of raw data. It explains:

Cryptome welcomes documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance — open, secret and classified documents — but not limited to those.

On 29 November, Cryptome founder John Young offered to be a co-defendant with Assange:

In a message sent via web form to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Young identified leaked documents – known as US cables – published by Cryptome. He stated they were the same ones leaked by Chelsea Manning. Young, who is a US citizen, included the URL for the leaked documents in his communication. He also copied in a senior judge.

Young had previously testified at Assange’s extradition hearings. Crucially, he stated that he’d published the documents before WikiLeaks.

Moreover, another witness at the UK extradition hearings was Christopher Butler of the Wayback Machine, a US-based archive. He testified that the archive still makes available to this day all of WikiLeaks’ publications.

US urged to end prosecution

Young published the unredacted US government files on the Cryptome website on 1 September 2011. Another site, PirateBay, published those files before Cryptome.

The day after Cryptome published the cables, WikiLeaks published the same files in full.

Earlier, on 28 November 2010, some of WikiLeaks‘ many media partnersEl Pais, Der Spiegel, the New York Times, Le Monde and the Guardian – published a redacted selection of those files. No charges have ever been raised against those newspapers, or Young, or Piratebay.

On 28 November 2022, the editors and publishers of those partner newspapers named above published an open letter. They requested that all charges raised against Assange be dropped.

Ellsberg joins Young

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg was responsible for leaking the top-secret History of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam 1945-68 (which became known as the ‘Pentagon Papers’). He leaked copies to the New York Times and the Washington Post. The 7,000-page document provided an insight into top-secret US decision-making in the Vietnam War. Ellsberg declared that the publication of the papers showed the war had:

been started and continued by the US Government in the knowledge that it could not be won, and that President Johnson and his administration had lied to Congress and to the public in relation to its origins, costs and prospects

Ellsberg was subsequently prosecuted, but the trial was halted. This followed revelations that burglars sent by president Richard Nixon broke into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. They were hoping to find evidence to discredit Ellsberg. Moreover, Nixon also organised the illegal wiretapping of Ellsberg.

In Assange’s case, there was a similar breach of confidentiality. Surveillance company UC Global secretly filmed Assange with his lawyers inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ellsberg told the UK courts that the surveillance of Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy was comparable with what happened to him.

Like Young, Ellsberg has also now come forward to urge the US government to indict him on espionage charges alongside Assange:

More revelations

On 5 December, Ellsberg told the BBC that Assange gave him copies of all the files leaked by Manning as a “back up”. He also stated that the US Espionage Act, if applied against whistleblowers, is unconstitutional:

A longer version of that interview is available here.

Sham prosecution

The espionage-related charges against Assange include 17 counts for receiving and disclosure of national defense documents. He’s also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion (hacking).

None of the WikiLeaks media partners, nor John Young, nor Daniel Ellsberg, have been indicted for their part in all this. That suggests the prosecution is prejudiced against Assange.

On their grounds, the prosecution’s case looks increasingly shaky. It should be clear to anyone with a sense of justice that the charges against Assange must be dropped without further delay.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons / David G. Silvers, Cancillería del Ecuador cropped 770×403 pixels

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  • Show Comments
    1. Good Lord Tom! You’re still under the illusion there is a “Rule of Law”, that is SOOOO 20th m8!

      NOW we live in the “Rules-based Order”, which, in plain English, means “The Rich and Powerful will do anything they damned well please”.

      There is enough of a figleaf to keep civil society quiet, and that is removed when “need” is; such as with Assange and Corbyn.

      OF COURSE the prosecution and hounding of Assange is clearly post-Judicial! It was obvious from Day 1 to those with eyes and brains.

      It was about silencing REAL journalism. And it has been effective – the corporate media is now the worst I have ever seen in this lifetime.

      This isn’t going to stop because the case is unsound. Julian was a martyr as soon as he was forced to request asylum from Equador.

      The American Empire no more cares about Laws or Rules than it does genuine Democracy.

      Your false-hope headline hurt. Don’t do that.

      1. Spot on, Gnu! You are obviously singing from exactly the same song sheet as myself!
        It sickens me how many of the mainstream media “journalists” are such sycophantic creeps!
        Real investigative journalism is simply no longer allowed in mainstream media: Hardly surprising as Black Rock and Vanguard investment companies own the bulk of all mainstream media, apparently – in fact they own just about everything else as well.
        Free speech generally, is no longer allowed unless it supports the “official narrative”.

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