The death of the First Amendment
The US Department of Justice has brought an 18-charge indictment against Julian Assange. Seventeen of the counts are for violations of the Espionage Act. To much scorn and derision Wikileaks and Assange have been warning for years that this is exactly what the US government would do. They have been vindicated. Obama Justice Department lawyers, examining the exact same evidence as the Trump Justice Department lawyers, declined to press charges against Assange because they believed it would criminalize essential elements of journalism, one of which is disclosure of secrets the government would rather not have disclosed, and obliterate the First Amendment. The Obama lawyers were right.
The Trump administration is attempting to silence a journalist and organization that have acted as a clearinghouse for whistleblowers outside and inside governments who have courageously sought to reveal their governments’ depredations and crimes. In this country, Assange and Wikileaks have embarrassed and infuriated both the left and right, Democrats and Republicans, and so they have no friends or protectors within the powers that be. An important point is that they have done their job mostly with documents and other materials produced by the perpetrators themselves. Telling the truth has indeed become a revolutionary act, which is always a hallmark of tyranny.