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On the Espionage Act

This was an act passed in 1916 to stifle dissent against World War One. It was first used most famously against Eugene V Debs; it was under this act the Rosenbergs were killed. Wikipedia explains the act's original context, purpose and history very well: note that it was this act under which Daniel Ellsberg was accused:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage_Act_of_1917

Obama revived the act and used it against John Kiriakou for exposing the US gov't torture program:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/06/obama-abuse-espionage-act-mccarthyism

James Risen in the New York Times gave the recent history:

https://tinyurl.com/y23n3dfe

And now it is being used to indict Julian Assange, says Martha Gessen in the New Yorker:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/charging-julian-assange-under-the-espionage-act-is-an-attack-on-the-first-amendment

The Guardian explains that the Trump administration has crossed another line in indicting a journalist:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/may/23/julian-assange-indicted-what-charges-mean-for-free-speech

And finally for those who like a YouTube here is Scahill from the Intercept:



Miss Drake

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
misssylviadrake
May. 26th, 2019 04:48 pm (UTC)
Assange did not commit espionage
Mari Webb: Thanks for this Ellen. I have mixed feelings about Assange and what he did but he should not be extradited and charged under this Act. He didn’t commit treason or espionage he embarrassed the United States government. Big difference.
Me: He did more than embarrass the US gov't: he exposed atrocities as did Chelsea Manning. The point is these atrocities were done without the knowledge of most US citizens and with their money; and what was the purpose of these, in whose interests and for what were these atrocities done. Before him Manning did the same; before him, Kiriakou; and this is but one type of information and argument silenced: Debs was imprisoned for protesting against WW1, the Rosenbergs killed as scapegoats; Ellsberg attacked for exposing that the Vietnam war was failing. Now they are going after a young man named Hale.
Mari: Ellen exactly. Like Snowden he felt public had a right to know.
Me: We do -- for these things are not done for us; we are the targets ourselves of such an act's use.
Mari: And it’s so wrong Manning is in jail again 😞
Me: I agree whole heartedly. I should also say that Assange as a person has behaved badly; I was never able to see Laura Poitras's film about him, and the reviews were enigmatic so I don't begin to know about Assange what that film probably teaches. I can see the irony here (as you know) that in 2016 Assange (probably out of spite, perhaps misogyny) helped Trump in his campaign against Hilary Clinton. Never sup with the devil.
Mari: Ellen yes! I saw Poitras’ film on Assange as well as Citizenfour her film about Snowden. She becomes increasingly ambivalent about Assange as the film goes on. Both are excellent thought provoking documentaries.
Me: We did get CitizenFour but not Assange -- I live in Virginia but the film about Assange didn't even appear in DC :(
Mari: Ellen that's really weird that it didn't show there.
Me: No I regret to say it's not. We don't get explicitly leftist films in Virginia - Mike Leigh's Peterloo will not come here.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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