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Written by Alex Newman
| Thursday, 30 December 2010 11:40 |
American proponents of government secrecy are calling for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be assassinated or imprisoned, even if it means creating a new law to do it. And that is exactly what anti-WikiLeaks activists in the federal government are working on right now. People calling for the prosecution of Assange and WikiLeaks — mostly Western officials, government apologists, and media talking heads — have generally advocated indictments for conspiracy and even espionage. A few, who may not have realized Assange was an Australian national, actually called for charges of treason. Former House Speaker and establishment Republican Newt Gingrich wants him classified as an “enemy combatant.” Others called for outright extrajudicial murder.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been intentionally vague about what is going on within the Justice Department in terms of charging WikiLeaks. But he did say "there's a predicate for us to believe that crimes have been committed here and we are in the process of investigating those crimes." Holder acknowledged several weeks ago that an investigation was ongoing and that he had "authorized significant steps" in the leak probe, but he did not offer any details.
But legislators are already moving to modify the 1917 statute to make it easier to prosecute Assange and others like him. Earlier this month, neoconservative Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced a bill to amend the Espionage Act. The proposal would purport to criminalize the disclosure of any information “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”
Photo of Dianne Feinstein: AP Images