Julian Assange Faces New Criminal Charges

The US Department of Justice has filed a new indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The updated indictment explains Assange's alleged crimes and includes more serious accusations that he conspired and tried to recruit both Anonymous and LulzSec hackers to carry out classified data theft.

His supporters and some journalists have criticised the US for prosecuting Assange, claiming he was merely reporting on leaked documents and was entitled to First Amendment protection. 

As well as recruiting hackers, the indictment accuses Assange of gaining unauthorised access to a government computer system of a NATO country in 2010. The charges assert that Assange conspired with the leader of notorious hacking group LulzSec to get access to secure databases and steal documents although, ufortunately for Assange, LulzSec were at that time co-operating with the FBI.  

  • Assange is charged with endangering national security by conspiring to obtain and disclose classified  documents from databases containing about 90,000 Afghanistan war-related activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related reports and 250,000 State Department cables. 
  • He is also accused of conspiring with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, in what US prosecutors say was “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States”. 

These broadened charges come to add to previous accusations that Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning to crack a password for an Army computer in order to obtain classified material, which he later published on the WikiLeaks portal. The new indictment says that Assange a WikiLeaks associate sought to recruit hackers who could locate classified information, including material on a "Most Wanted Leaks" list posted on WikiLeaks' website.

His legal team has argued the charges are politically motivated and an abuse of power, as well as asserting that he was doing legitimate journalistic work.

According to the new indictment, Assange told would-be recruits that unless they were a member of the US military, they faced no legal liability for their actions. 

An extradition hearing to remove Assange from a British prison and send him tp the US to stand trial in  is due to take place on September 7.

US Dept. Of Justice:    Yahoo:        AlJAzeera:      ZDNet:            Hindustan Times:       World Socialist

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