World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Assange: Pentagon Attempts To Stifle Reporting

‘Assange: Pentagon Attempts To Stifle Reporting With “Espionage” Charges’

By Sherwood Ross

The Pentagon is attempting to quash coverage of its activities by alleging that any reporter seeking classified information is collaborating with the source and guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says.

In an interview published in “Rolling Stone” magazine, Assange, now under house arrest in England, said the Pentagon demanded “we not only destroy everything we had ever published or were ever going to publish in relation to the US. government, but that we also stop ‘soliciting’ information from U.S government employees.”

Assange asserts the Pentagon is trying to create a new legal precedent that forbids “a journalist simply asking a source to communicate information.”

“Individuals like (investigative reporter) Sy Hersh and Dana Priest (Washington Post)...constantly say to their sources, ‘Hey, what about this, have you heard anything about it? I heard there’s been an airstrike in Afghanistan that’s killed a bunch of civilians---do you have any more details...?” Assange said. Such questions “would be defined as conspiracy to commit espionage under the Pentagon’s interpretation,” he contends.

“If the Pentagon is to have its way, it will be the end of national-security journalism in the United States,” he warned.

While Assange said the U.S. “has historically been a relatively open society,” within it “there is a shadow state, and that is the U.S. military, which, as of September (2011), held 4.3 million security clearances... That is a closed, totalitarian society that gathers and stores more information than any other society in the world.”

Assange said that for the past 20 years he has been developing systems “to protect people’s rights to communicate privately without government surveillance.” He said surveillance “is another form of censorship” because “When people are frightened that what they are saying may be overheard by a power that has the ability to lock people up, then they adjust what they’re saying. They start to self-censor.”

“I have a lot of sympathy for journalists who are trying to protect their sources,” Assange told reporter Michael Hastings of “Rolling Stone.” “It’s very hard now. Unless you’re an electronic-surveillance expert or you have frequent contact with one, you must stay off the Net and mobile phones.”

He went on to say, “We are now in a situation where countries are recording billions of hours of conversations, and proudly proclaiming that you don’t have to select which telephone call you’re intercepting, because you intercept every telephone call.”

Assange said the U.S. is trying to indict him for “espionage, or conspiracy to commit espionage, and computer hacking. The U.S. grand jury is looking at indicting us for charges which are not, on their face, political. But of course, the reasons are political, and that’s a different matter.”

He said the U.S. intelligence apparatus has subpoenaed the records of most of his friends in the U.S. and asked for their Twitter records, Google accounts and individual ISPs. “The laws which they’re working toward an indictment on are the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986,” he said.

Assange embarrassed the Pentagon with the release of the infamous “Collateral Murder” video that showed a U.S. helicopter in Iraq spraying fire on unarmed civilians, killing several as well as two journalists.

He quickly followed up with the release of hundreds of thousands
of classified files related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that created an international firestorm, reporter Hastings noted.

“But soon after he began releasing the diplomatic cables, which were widely credited with helping to spark the Arab Spring, he was detained and imprisoned after spending a week with two female supporters in Stockholm, entangling him in a yearlong legal battle to win his own freedom,” Hastings wrote.

Assange told Hastings of his respect for the democratic values of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson but said “the U.S. military-industrial complex and the majority of politicians in Congress have betrayed those values.”

Assange founded WikiLeaks, dubbed the first “stateless news organization,” in 2006. The Assange interview appeared in the February 2nd issue of “Rolling Stone.”

*********************

Sherwood Ross formerly reported for major dailies and currently does radio commentary for “New American Dream” and directs the Anti-War News Service.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

The White House: Charting A New Course On Cuba

We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. More>>

ALSO:


Journalist Most Recent Victim Of Israeli Military

Bashar, a journalist from Palestine TV, was shot in the left leg at Kufr Qaddum on Friday the 5th of December 2014. More>>

ALSO:

  • Palestinian Centre For Human Rights - Swiss government’s bid to convene a summit on Palestine
  • UN News - UN-backed reconstruction efforts continue in Gaza
  • UNICEF Mobilizes To Reach People Affected By Typhoon

    As Typhoon Hagupit wreaks havoc through the Philippines, UNICEF is acting quickly to support the Filipino government’s response to the emergency, providing lifesaving supplies and services for children and women in the areas hardest hit by cyclone-force ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • FAO - FAO praises government for early typhoon warnings
  • Security Council Demands End To LRA Attacks In Africa

    A Congolese refugee at an emergency school in Obo, Haut-Mbomou, Central African Republic, (CAR) after fleeing attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Photo: OCHA/Lauren Paletta More>>

    UN Condemns Botswana’s Treatment Of Bushmen

    The UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has voiced concerns over Botswana's evictions of the Bushmen in the name of wildlife conservation. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has condemned Botswana’s treatment of Africa’s ... More>>

    UN Congratulates Frontline Ebola Response Workers

    10 December 2014 – The United Nations today congratulated the front line workers in the field battling Ebola on their well-deserved recognition as Time “Person of the Year,” while countries affected by the outbreak and their partners met to ... More>>

    ALSO:

    World United States: US Must Now Recover Moral High Ground In Torture Allegations

    Mr. Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news