Julian Assange addresses what he calls “attacks on all fronts against WikiLeaks,” from a monetary embargo involving some of the world’s largest financial firms to a new Hollywood documentary on WikiLeaks, “We Steal Secrets.
Assange Talks About Possible Holder Prosecution
As Attorney General Holder faces possible perjury charges Julian Assange, the publisher of Wikileaks, discussed his case with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Amy Goodman asked Assange to comment on the AP spying scandal as well as a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, being listed on a warrant signed by AG Holder that lists the reporter as a possible co-conspirator in violations of the Espionage Act.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, let’s look at this phenomena from two aspects. Don’t be deceived by what appears to be small maneuvers by the Department of Justice to go after AP, to go after Rosen, to go after us, etc. We have over here the bulk surveillance industry run by the National Security Agency that already has all these records. It has them all already. The National Security Agency—and this has come out in one court case after another—was involved in a project called Stellar Wind to collect all the calling records of the United States, every record of everyone calling everyone over years. And the result of that lay out the entire community and political structure, based upon who people are friends with. You can infer that by who calls who, and what the status is by the relative flow of calls around the country, to suck out the entire community structure of the United States. That has already been done. Those calling records already enter into the national security complex.
What we’re talking about here are mechanisms to use that information in a court case, and therefore it has to be clean. This is the dirty team; this is the clean team. And so, these are maneuvers to pull people into court cases that will become public to set a deterrent against national security journalism. And the most pernicious aspect of that is the abuse of the Espionage Act and other mechanisms to try and conflate the activities of a source with the activities of a journalist or a publisher, and to try and say that whenever a journalist deals with a source, they’re in fact engaged in a conspiracy. And if there’s an allegation—of course, allegations can be very easily made, placed on the table, just invented from thin air—that a source’s behavior affects national security and is therefore espionage, and therefore, extend that allegation over to the journalist and to the source—and to the publisher. In the case of Rosen, they have done that in order to get at Rosen’s emails and other records, to then back reflect onto the source or onto other sources. You know, it is simply a disgrace. It is unethical conduct. It is politically worrying conduct. It is chilling conduct. And it is—why is it being done? Because they believe they can get away with it. It is part of advancing the frontier of the national security state to roll on over the First Amendment and every other traditionally accepted U.S. value.
If Holder has an ongoing prosecution against Assange and Wikileaks it may not only have a chilling effect on journalism but invalidate his statement to the House Oversight Committee on having “never heard of” prosecuting the press for disclosure of material.
While a journalist has never been prosecuted under the Espionage Act, does Holder consider Assange a journalist? What about the New York Times and McClatchy, both published the Cablegate memos. Was Assange a source, a co-publisher, or both? Hopefully Holder will chose to clarify the Justice Department’s actual press policy and will do so on the record instead of elitist backstage double dealing.