As Julian Assange faces a revised indictment, much ado is made in the media about an assault on the 1st Amendment. Let me be clear here, I think that Julian Assange is filth. Nothing he has done has accomplished anything he purported to be his aims. No hinted promise he has ever made as to something big happening has ever come to pass. He took advantage of his Ecuadorian hosts and repaid their kindness with disdain. That said, is the impending prosecution of Mr. Assange really an assault on the 1st Amendment?
In 1917, the United States had declared war on Imperial Germany. The nation was gripped in a patriotic fervor in which the Wilson Administration did not ask for citizen support, it commanded it. Congress passed two laws which made it a crime in the United States, punishable with imprisonment, to make a comment or display an attitude that was “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language against the Constitution, the flag, the Armed Forces, and American institutions.”
Now, had Mr. Assange committed is actions in 1917 you can see where things could have been a bit of a sticky wicket for him. But for Robert Goldstein, who was at least honest about his intentions, it was a nightmare from which he never recovered…
Over the last seven years, I haven’t had much to say about Julian Assange. There’s a reason for that. Mainly because he was never what either side as portraying him. He is neither an evil genius supervillain enemy of the State nor is he a 1st Amendment Hero of the Free Press.
Look, I get that Assange, Manning and Snowden have revealed things that we could not confirm before their actions. That doesn’t change the fact that (a) they most likely committed crimes or conspired to commit crimes to reveal these secrets; and (b) because Snowden and Assange ran away, we have not had the chance to debrief them. We actually have no idea the extent of the potential damage. Sure, they revealed things to us that embarrassed our government. What did they reveal to their hosts that we don’t know about?
The stupidity of the conspiracy theory that the US is just somehow going to disappear Assange is ludicrous. Bradley Manning participated in it all. He’s out of prison and ran for Congress. Assange is facing five years in a Federal lockup. And even that is a big assumption as many legal experts have already weighed in on the indictments inherent weaknesses. It is equally possible that a jury might never buy the governments arguments that he assisted Bradley Manning in successfully hacking into defense department computers. As it turns out, there is a line – thin though it may be – between investigative journalism and hacking.
He spent seven years living in a de facto jail cell inside the Ecuadorian embassy abusing their staff and property because, and again, I say this because I believe it, he is an ungrateful jerk and a moron.
At the end of the day, there’s a great deal of noise and commotion over Julian Assange. almost all of it unnecessary and meaningless. But – believe me – it makes him feel like he is the most important man in history.