Wikileaks founder Julian Assange hit with 17 new criminal charges by US

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The Justice Department has indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for revealing government secrets under the Espionage Act.

"Manning was in direct contact with Assange, who encouraged Manning to steal classified documents from the United States and unlawfully disclose that information to Wikileaks", the U.S. indictment reads.

The Department of Justice is defending he charges against Assange.

Prosectuors, LMT reports, say Assange "repeatedly encouraged sources with access to classified information to steal it" and wanted the information he received to have potential "political, diplomatic, ethical or historical impact on release".

Swedish and American authorities both are asking London to extradite Assange in view of their own criminal charges.

Court documents described a series of chats between Assange and Manning in March 2010 in which Assange allegedly encourages Manning a few times to obtain documents. The charges stem from Wikileaks' acquisition of more than 725,000 classified documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2010.

"It may be that Sweden's further interest in this case means the USA has had to up the ante", he says.

It comes after prosectors in the U.S. on Thursday announced 17 additional charges against the WikiLeaks founder for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Assange is not charged simply because he is a publisher", Terwilliger said.

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A selection of private medical files published by transparency website WikiLeaks as part of their global crusade to expose government secrets. In the initial arrest warrant, the US government described Assange as "encouraging" Manning, helping him to hack further into a classified database in order to get better material. WikiLeaks did hide some names but then published 250,000 cables a year later without hiding the identities of people named in the papers.

But others note that the events date back to 2010, long before the 2016 presidential election campaign, when WikiLeaks published documents about the Democratic Party obtained by Russian intelligence.

They include allegations that Assange violated the Espionage Act provisions that prohibit a conspiracy to obtain, receive and disclose national defense information; charges related to the attempted cracking of computer passwords; and unlawful receipt of sensitive information such as State Department communications and Defense Department logs.

For Floyd Abrams, a prominent constitutional law specialist, "the question, I think, should not be whether Assange is a journalist but whether the First Amendment protects his conduct". News organizations around the world widely used the Manning material, which provided previously unavailable information about the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and global diplomacy.

Assange is now being prosecuted for releasing documents that many reporters found inherently newsworthy.

While the U.S. seeks to extradite Assange so he can stand trial, Sweden has also reopened a rape investigation into Assange, who is accused of sexually assaulting two women in 2010.

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11, 2019 in London, England.

"The Department of Justice just declared war", Snowden tweeted.

"It has not and never has been the Department's policy to target them for reporting". Last week, Chelsea Manning was jailed for refusing to comply with the subpoena. Manning served seven years of a 35-year sentence for her role in the leak; Barack Obama commuted her remaining time in January 2017.

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