What was that Espionage Act?

The journalist Julian Assange has been under confinement of various kinds for the last decade, and is now held in solitary at Britain’s top security prison whilst the lawyers debate the appeals to his extradition. Now, as I understand it, the reason is that by releasing whistleblower reports that lifted the lid on government corruption, he is said to have endangered the lives of US operatives and agents, although it seems not to have been possible to produce any actual examples, and the chief witness against him turns out to be a self-confessed perjurer.

As a result, Assange is culpable under the 1917 Espionage Act, which allows no “public interest” defence, essentially meaning that the State can try in secret, and then bang up forever, whoever exposes their wrongdoing on the catch-all excuse of “national security.” It’s kind of like the Count of Monte Cristo, except that it is done by shadowy governments rather than shadowy individuals, and with the full cooperation of the UK government and its independent judiciary.

You may be aware that one of Assange’s claims was that the Afghan War was planned as a way to launder trillions of dollars of money from ordinary taxpayers, through arms companies and drug dealers, and into the hands of a ruling elite. This, of course, is pure fantasy, like Hunter Biden’s deals in the Ukraine, and the entirely unsuspicious death of Jeffrey Epstein. The ruling elite has, in fact, got progressively richer at taxpayers’ expense completely legitimately.

But the claim does invite a comparison between what Assange is accused of doing, and what the present US Government has admitted doing, which is that they gave a list of US citizens, Green Card Holders and Afghans who worked for the West to the Taliban, ostensibly to allow the latter to give them safe passage into the airport. Perhaps it wasn’t intended as a death list, though only an ill-informed fool would not judge it to be such. But then Assange’s information, far better vetted, was not intended to endanger lives either.

So I find it interesting to see that, in Assange’s case, he has been, and is being, hounded to an early grave or life imprisonment, whereas in the more recent case, those who have visibly endangered so many specific lives are still running the most powerful nation in the world (albeit with the apparent intention of destroying its power entirely). Indeed, those same people, rather than being charged under the Espionage Act for releasing sensitive information to America’s enemies, have relieved a Lieutenant-Colonel with 17 years of combat experience from his command for demanding that they justify their actions.

I read online that “The Act was created to protect the United States by prohibiting its citizens from supporting the nation’s enemies during wartime. It also made it illegal for citizens to obstruct military operations during wartime, including recruitment. For those who chose to participate in these activities anyway, harsh penalties were permitted, including the death penalty.” That seems to fit to a tee the handing of information about US and US-friendly people to the force that the war was intended to destroy, and which has in fact defeated the US. Sounds like slam-dunk firing squad stuff to me.

But on further investigation I see that the Act does not apply because only the government can bring charges under it, and it will scarcely charge itself, meaning there is one law for those ruling, and another for those ruled (or for Australians who can be brought under that rule by dodgy extradition proceedings). Not having an education in political science, it seems I have a lot to learn about the noble principles of constitutional democracy.

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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