By Jessi Rucker
In a desperate effort to prevent the secrets of the United States Government seeping out again a smear campaigns, suspicious server attacks and the possibility of espionage charges have been sprung on WikiLeaks and the founder, Julian Assange.
He has turned himself in and is currently on house arrest in England. He has referred to the charges as being politically motivated.
The documents he released on his website discussed various topics – some of which could be considered “dangerous” to humdrum. Some of the topics include missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, while others cables discuss diplomats gossiping about each other’s intelligence or appearances.
Assange was considered a year ago, as his investigations about killings in Kenya earned him several humanitarian awards.
Some of the more serious charges were that American diplomats were spying on United Nations delegates, that the drug company Pfizer hired private detectives to dig up dirt on the Nigerian attorney general since he was suing the company after medication killed children in the African country, and that the U.S. and other NATO allies were creating a defense known as Eagle Guardian to defend a Russian invasion of Poland.
On Nov. 28, WikiLeaks, an international non-profit website that publishes documents from anonymous sources, released over 250,000 embassy cables on U.S. Government Foreign activities. The website is leaking a few hundred cables at a time to serve the material, that dates from 1966 to this February, justice. At this time only 1,500 of the cables have been posted to the website: wikileaks.ch.
According to London’s Guardian newspaper, two different women that had slept with Assange had been suspicious about contracting a sexually transmitted disease from him. In efforts to find Assange for STD testing, one woman was led to the other and the two agreed to go to the police after unsuccessfully tracking down the WikiLeaks boss. The women accused Assange of unwillingness to wear condoms, possibly giving them a STD and reluctance to get tested. After days of review, and two questionings with Assange the molestation charge hadn’t been pursued or closed.
By Nov. 30, just two days after the cables were dropped, the sexual charges against Assange from August had resurfaced and there was a warrant out for his arrest. Assange and his supporters criticize the awkward timing of the attempt to attack his character as- “dirty tricks,” Assange tweeted. On Dec. 7 he was willingly taken into Swedish police custody without possibility of bail.
Other efforts in taking down Assange are espionage charges from the U.S. Government. The Justice Department and the Pentagon are conducting an active, ongoing criminal investigation of Assange.
The Espionage Act of 1917 states that it is illegal to convey information, true or false, with the intent to interfere with the operation or success of the US Armed forces. The U.S. government has yet to defend any of the leaked cables as being false, they would need to prove that WikiLeaks founder, Assange had the intent to harm the U.S. military or promote the success of it’s enemies. The First Amendment and the immeasurable term, “intent” it seems unlikely to justly prosecute Assange.
Also, espionage charges would normally be against the main conveyer, the source of the cables, not those who printed it. Assange has refused to reveal his source, but many point fingers at former U.S. army intelligence agent, Bradley Manning, who is also being charged for leaking “Collateral Murder,” a video of an American helicopter air strike that killed journalists and civilians in Iraq.
If WikiLeaks founder was prosecuted, many other news sources that also disseminated the contents of the documents might also be charged. New York
Times, that fought and won the Pentagon Papers case in 1971, have also helped with the disclosure of the leaked diplomatic documents.
Assange, born and raised in Australia, has also taken up temporary residence in Kenya, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Iceland and many other European countries. When visiting Sweden he told TSR, a Swedish public television station, that he would like to live and work in Switzerland where he could take political asylum.
Since WikiLeaks has no official headquarters, operating from posts worldwide, and Assange has no permanent address, just a post office box, it would be hard for the U.S. government to charge him as an American spy due to this lack of address.
“I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter,” Assange told the BBC. “This has been a very successful smear campaign and a very wrong one.”
He is currently awaiting an extradition trial to the U.S. on Feb. 11.