Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been declared enemies of the United States. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents reveal that military personnel contacting WikiLeaks may face execution for “communicating with the enemy.”
The documents, which have been released under American Freedom of Information laws and published by WikiLeaks, were originally classified as secret and not releasable to non-US nationals.
Julian Assange said that the documents have been released just recently because of their sensitivity for some of the people involved in the investigation.
With these documents the “unusual position” and “difficulty” Assange and his organization face turn completely absurd.
“For example, that the US military should designate me and all of WikiLeaks as the enemy in its formal investigation, an investigation that carries a death-penalty offense into a person who was alleged to have come to my extradition hearing,” he said. “And in the same document it speaks about the victim being that of society, when there is no allegation that any documents have been released or published by us.”
Enormous wheels have been set in motion, with over a dozen different US intelligence and investigative organizations turning through this, Assange said. “Everyone sees that it is completely absurd and counter to the values the United States should be trying to present to the world,” he said, urging everyone to read the files.
The files covered a counter-intelligence investigation into a UK-based cyber systems analyst who allegedly supported WikiLeaks. The probe was trying to determine whether the analyst had disclosed any classified data to an “anti-US and/or anti-military group.” She was suspected of breaching article 104-D of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, which outlaws military personnel “holding intercourse with the enemy.”
The probe, however, was closed as the investigators failed to prove the analyst had leaked any information.
But US Army Private Bradley Manning was not so lucky, as he could face execution – though prosecutors have said they won’t seek it – to be decided by a military tribunal, as officials allege that he aided al-Qaeda by releasing classified documents through WikiLeaks.
And the fact that WikiLeaks was treated as an enemy of state would have serious implications in case Assange is extradited to the US, as he is likely to face military detention.
“It appears that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the ‘enemy,’” Michael Ratner, Assange’s US attorney, said. “An enemy is dealt with under the laws of war, which could include killing, capturing, detaining without trial, etc.”
Assange was once labeled a “high-tech terrorist” by American Vice President Joe Biden in December 2010, and a number of top US officials have openly called on the authorities to hunt the whistleblower down.
The diplomatic cables released over the past months reveal the true scale of the US Justice Department investigation targeting both Assange and WikiLeaks. Assange himself called the investigation “unprecedented.”
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation … now has, according to court testimony earlier this year, produced a file of 42,135 pages into WikiLeaks, of which less than 8,000 concern Bradley Manning,” Assange said in an address to a panel of UN delegates.