Yesterday, the US government declared war on the First Amendment and after it filed an 17 count indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The superseding indictment brought by DOJ carries grave implications in terms of the US Constitution and the concept of a Free Press as could affect the ability every single media outlet to cover or expose government wrongdoing. If the DOJ win their case against Assange, it will establish a dire precedent – giving the US government the ability to decide who is, or who is not a journalist, allowing the state to try anyone it wants under the Espionage Act of 1917.
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, the attorney for Chelsea Manning stated, “Up until now the Department Of Justice has been reticent to actually indict publishers for work implicating matters of national security, because the first amendment rights of the press and public are so constitutionally valuable. This signals a real shift, and sets a new precedent for the federal government’s desire to chill and even punish the vigorous exercise of the free press.”
21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen spoke to RT International yesterday when this story broke, and focused on the spurious nature of the DOJ indictment which appears to follow a familiar pattern of politicized indictments which are not founded on fact, but rather to wrestle control the information space and control the geopolitical narrative. The DOJ charge sheet is peppered with inflated rhetoric and elaborate legalese which is clearly designed to side-step the US Constitution by re-framing the story from journalism and publishing to espionage, thus removing any journalist/publisher protections from Assange and WikiLeaks. Henningsen also notes that there is nothing in this new indictment that hasn’t already been publicly known for the last six years – all of which was already heard during the trial of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning). Watch:
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