End the 1917 Espionage Act
End the 1917 Espionage Act
Violation of the 1917 Espionage Act is the law that Julian Assange faces if he is extradited to the US from England. If found guilty of the charges under this violation, Assange faces up to 175 years in a US supermax prison. For what? many people ask. This is where it gets tricky. The 1917 Espionage Act is vague. It was called for in president Woodrow Wilson's 1915 State of the Union Address. Note the vague, flexible language (from Wikipedia):
There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags but welcomed under our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue ... I urge you to enact such laws at the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out. They are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government, they have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the Government in order to serve interests alien to our own. It is possible to deal with these things very effectually. I need not suggest the terms in which they may be dealt with.
Note the flavor of contempt for "naturalized citizens" -- i.e, immigrants seen as infiltrators.
Assange is not an American, so how he can be tried under that law will be fleshed out by lawyers in the future. In the meantime, as if acknowledging this fact, the US, such as Mike Pompeo have publicly called him a ""non-state hostile intelligence service." This makes him drone-eligible; he is being seen here by the US government as a terrorist, the reasoning for his kill not far removed from the thinking that went into Obama killing US citizens Anwar al-Awlaki, and, later, his 16 year old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and, under Trump, an 8 year old Awlaki girl, Nawar al-Awlaki. That's what we do to American citizens -- Hellfire missiles.
If Assange gets extradited to the US, a Necessity Defense will be unavailable to protect him, although it is highly relevant. Instead, we need to take out the law -- the Espionage Act of 1917 -- a POLTICAL law almost impossible to defend against (again look at the loose language of Wilson's inspiring call to act). The US already own the Internet, has so many resources devoted to identifying potential "problems" that such an Act is show trial stuff meant to publicly validate the surveillance state evil -- with the Press behaving propaganda provocateurs.
America needs serious reform in a number of key areas. Rather than behaving as a gangster state whose reach extends anywhere on the planet, let's begin our much needed democratic reform by ending the message of arrogance and deceit tied up in the Espionage Act.