Assange Charged With Violating Espionage Act

DOJ alleges the Wikileaks founder “aided and abetted” Chelsea Manning in obtaining classified documents.

Victoria Jones/Zuma Press

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing a new round of charges for his role in publishing tens of thousands of US government documents provided by former Army Private Chelsea Manning. The 18-count indictment, announced by the Department of Justice Thursday afternoon, charges that Assange violated the Espionage Act when he allegedly “aided and abetted [Manning] in obtaining classified information.” The DOJ had previously announced that it was charging Assange with violating computer fraud laws.

Barry Pollack, the lawyer who handles Assange’s US legal affairs, told Mother Jones Thursday that the government charged Assange for “encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information.” He called the initial allegations unsealed last month a “fig leaf,” adding: “These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have been taken by the US government.”

Prosecutors told reporters Thursday that they were “not charging Assange for passively obtaining classified information,” according to Politico, and added that Assange is “not a journalist.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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