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Dangerous Precedent Looms in Espionage Indictment Against Julian Assange


Added 05-24-19 10:21:02am EST - “Plus: Naomi Wolf has no clue (again), gun site wins Section 230 case, and more...” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “Dangerous Precedent Looms in Espionage Indictment Against Julian Assange”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

An unprecedented attack on free speech and the free press is afoot, as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charges Julian Assange with espionage over leaked documents published on WikiLeaks. This is "the first time in the history of our country [that] the government has brought criminal charges under the Espionage Act against a publisher for the publication of truthful information," warns the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The Espionage Act is typically used to punish the leakers themselves, people like Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, and most recently Daniel Hale," noted Reason's Scott Shackford last night. This prosecution extends the law's reach.

Some have expressed a little schadenfreude to see Assange, an alleged Trump supporter, get screwed over by Trump's administration. But as journalist Adam Serwer points out, this isn't necessarily about Assange so much as "establishing a precedent that can be used to prosecute journalists for doing their jobs and publishing information that embarrasses the government or exposes wrongdoing."

Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, calls the prosecution a "threat to all journalists everywhere who publish information that governments would like to keep secret."

Sen. Ron Wyden (D–Ore.) says he is "extremely concerned about the precedent this may set and potential dangers to the work of journalists and the First Amendment."

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