Assange Case: U.S. Espionage Act Is Illegal, Says John Kiriakou

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While Ecuador is expected to extradite Assange to the US, John Kiriakou, a “reluctant whistleblower” considered the first US intelligence officer to reveal information about the American intelligence community’s use of torture techniques, comments the WikiLeaks’ founder case in the following talk with renowned journalist Edu Montesanti

“The only thing that can save Julian Assange is jury nullification,” says whistleblower John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee based in Virginia, in an exclusive talk to this reporter.


U.S. Justice Department is acting behind the scenes to have Assange extradited from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and prosecuted in the U.S. Criminal charges against WikiLeaks’ founder were accidentally revealed in early November, when Assange’s name was found on the court filing of an unrelated case, suggesting that prosecutors had copied a boilerplate text and forgotten to change the defendant’s name.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that

“due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

It is much likely that the Australian journalist, who in March 2017 released an archive of documents detailing the C.I.A.’s hacking operations known as the Vault 7 leak, is being accused by American prosecutors of violating the 1917 Espionage Act.

The Engineer Joshua A. Schulte, 29, of New York, had been the main suspect of providing WikiLeaks the documents revealing the sensitive CIA cybertools, has been accused by prosecutors of repeatedly violating the Espionage Act.

“Technically, jury nullification is illegal. That’s when a jury acquits, not because the defendant is innocent, but because the law itself is wrong. The Espionage Act is wrong. Julian Assange is a journalist. He should never have been charged with a crime, in the first place,” says Kiriakou, the first U.S. official who dered to speak out, in December of 2007, against George Bush’s torture program and remained 30 months in prison for that, from 2013 to 2015.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also calls the Espionage Act “a fundamentally unfair and unconstitutional law.” Kiriakou says he has argued over the years that “the Espionage Act is so overly broad as to be unconstitutional, although it has not been challenged to the Supreme Court.”

‘Investigating ME!?’: Mockery of Democracy

“A senior [C.I.A.] officer in the Counterterrorism Center asked me if I wanted to be ‘trained in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.’ (…) I declined. I said that I had a moral and ethical problem with torture and that — the judgment of the Justice Department notwithstanding — I thought it was illegal”, reported Kiriakou last March to The Washington Post.

Author of three books and one of the protagonists of James Spione’s documentary Silenced, in which John Kiriakou said that after his denouncements, “I realized they are investigating ME!?”.  John’s and Assange’s case have deep similarities not only for causing a reaction in their favor from people who represent a moral reserve, all over the world. “U.S. deeply flawed democracy”, as Kiriakou told this reporter in October 2016, is once again acting against free speech and justice, pillars of a real democracy.

While Kiriakou’s revelations – not sufficiently echoed by the mainstream media – have not changed anything in U.S. “policy”, inside the country and abroad as the Washington regime continue committing heinous war crimes, crimes against humanity and against the U.S. Constitution itself – under the mainstream media’s deafening silence -, the State criminals denounced by Assange intend to prosecute him: in the name of democracy and justice.

In his first public speech as C.I.A. director early last year, Mike Pompeo slammed WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” adding that “we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. Use free speech values against us”? So the First Amendment of the American Constitution is only valid while not contradicting the local establishment interests. In the U.S., there is clearly a historical limit to “democracy”.

Not an Espionage Act

Kiriakou predicts that the U.S. government will argue that Assange did exactly what the 1917 Espionage Act describes as espionage, that is, “[P]roviding national defense information to any person not entitled to receive it.”

The American whistleblower observes that “the issue here is that it is highly unusual, unprecedented even for a foreign national – Assange is Australian – to be charged with espionage when he did not steal the information. Assange was simply provided the information, which he then made public.” Kiriakou points out that Assange says that he was just a journalist doing his job: “No administration has ever charged a journalist with espionage for doing his job.”

Jesselyn Radack, Director of the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program and one of Kiriakou’s attorneys, wrote in a 2014 op-ed entitled Why Edward Snowden Wouldn’t Get a Fair Trial: “First Amendment arguments have failed, largely because they would criminalize the journalism made possible by the ‘leaks.’ The motive and intent of the whistleblower are irrelevant. And there is no whistleblower defense, meaning the public value of the material disclosed does not matter at all.”

Despotism in U.S. Judiciary

Another serious obstacle that Assange would face is Judge Leonie Brinkema, according to the former C.I.A. agent. Brinkema handled his case, as well as C.I.A. whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s, and has also reserved the Edward Snowden case for herself. “Brinkema is a hanging judge,” regrets Kiriakou.

“Brinkema gave me literally no chance to defend myself. At one point, while approaching trial, my attorneys filed 70 motions, asking that 70 classified documents be declassified so that I could use them to defend myself. I had no defense without them. We blocked off three days for the hearings. When we got to the courtroom, Brinkema said, ‘Let me save everybody a lot of time. I’m going to deny all 70 of these motions. You don’t need any of this information to be declassified.’ The entire process took a minute. On the way out of the courtroom, I asked my lead attorney what had just happened. ‘We just lost the case. That’s what happened. Now we talk about a plea.’

He describes the sad end of that court, when Judge Brinkema told him to rise pointing her finger at him, and saying, “Mr. Kiriakou, I hate this plea. If I could, I would give you ten years.” John Kiriakou labels her comments as “inappropriate, but that’s Brinkema. That’s who she is.”

Declared War against Humanity

Barry J. Pollack, one of Assange’s attorneys, said when the name of WikiLeaks’ founder was found on the court filing of an unrelated case:

“The government bringing criminal charges against someone for publishing truthful information is a dangerous path for a democracy to take. The only thing more irresponsible than charging a person for publishing truthful information would be to put in a public filing information that clearly was not intended for the public and without any notice to Mr. Assange. Obviously, I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.”

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said prosecuting Assange is a “priority” for him. There are some in the West fully convinced that Assange deserves to be tried, and thrown in jail for “threatening” US national security and “undermining” its so-called democratic processes – the system Assange himself, in a bitter irony, has proven to be a total lie. Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden have called him a “terrorist”, as Assange’s job, delivering information of a high public interest, is a revolutionary antidote against fake news and dark politics, which is served by the people rather than serving the people.

All this, while more and more bitter truth Julian Assange brings to light are a clear message that the so-called West democracy must be submitted to a radical transparency process. WikiLeaks lets no doubt, Vault 7 is the last example, that intelligence services all over the world, starting by the terrorist C.I.A., must be stopped as demanded by President John Kennedy, as a non-democratic tool just to preserve the power of a minority though coercion.

According to US lawyer and civil liberties advocate Ben Wizner at the American Civil Liberties Union:

“Any prosecution of Mr. Assange for WikiLeaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations”.

The mainstream media must be blamed by an Assange condemnation and by this total distortion of scenarios as it not only has never pressured these criminals of the Washington regime to break into smartphones, computers and internet-connected televisions anywhere in the world, and even to make it look like those hacks were done by another intelligence service. Also, the mainstream media never deeply covered Assange’s information in general, never gave WikiLeaks the seriousness it is worthy. On the contrary, has little by little forgotten the organization.

So who judges the CIA?

Who protects people from being hacked?

Another bitter irony is that a likely Assange condemnation will endanger the very foundations of the free press, the press, especially the Western media which claims to be free but never gave Assange the attention his job deserves – as the media inaction speaks about itself, he also has proved through documents all these years, that the corporate media is not free, at all.

  • Telling the truth has become a crime while telling lies is fine.

    War is peace — Freedom is slavery — Ignorance is strength …Orwell

  • Steven Ginn

    The whole US of Israel judiiary is just a Judeo-fascist cabal, not worth pissing on if they were on fire in the gutter!!

  • Only the prosecution would try claim that this is espionage – far as I’m aware the information wasn’t even hacked but leaked by a former insider.

    How does that fare compared to the ongoing NSA global data harvest?

    It’s only a week ago that The U.S. Justice Department arranged for Canada to arrest the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou who likely to be used as a bargaining chip in order to manipulate Huawei providing the NSA with back doors to its equipment [I had no idea Huawei was that good]

    Now who should charged with attempted espionage?

  • chetdude

    Not to mention how completely the corporate media ignores the reality of USAmerica’s YUGE teams of hackers, de-stabilizers and “intellectual property” thieves employed by the alphabet soup of agencies in the National Security Snooper State.

    And seldom is heard a discouraging word about the USAmerican Empire’s legions garrisoning the Planet…

  • Exactly !

    The MO of the MSM is to function as an propaganda outlet for the Deep Sate – real investigative journalism simply isn’t their forte.

    The pompous Pompeo was recently trying to order the UN, WTO and the ICC about – [the media should be yelling this from the roof tops – crickets instead]

    [No link they trigger moderation and slow us down] – Look out for this article – Pax Americana: Pompeo tells UN, WTO, ICC to bow and comply with US-led world order [RT]

  • Jon

    Yes, leaked, and as publicly admitted, received by Craig Murray, former UK ambassador, and by him delivered to Assange! That refutes this:
    “The Engineer Joshua A. Schulte, 29, of New York, had been the main
    suspect of providing WikiLeaks the documents revealing the sensitive CIA
    cybertools, has been accused by prosecutors of repeatedly violating the Espionage Act.”

  • The switch and bait is in play, they’re accusing the truth-tellers of exactly what they have been doing themselves.

    The masses need to woken from their propaganda induced slumber.

  • Jon

    As is happening! Notice France now, Egypt in 2011, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Women’s movement, South Korean ouster of a bad president, Crimea’s self-organized referendum, etc, but we also have setbacks (no need to mention) so no straight line.

  • The French authorities might have anticipated the response – the french authorities might have deliberately chosen the winter months to introduce these measures since the cold weather would keep many people indoors – right now a cold snap is not exactly on the side of the protesters.

    So It’s all happening at the wrong time of the seasons – yet this is to the advantage of the french authorities.

    They’re well aware that It’s far too cold to stay out for any length of time during the winter months only to get drenched by the Gendarmes water cannons.

    The authorities can choose the time of introducing these measures, while the response cannot wait.

    On top of that Macrony hasn’t even had to courtesy to meet with them, which only made things worse.

  • Jon

    Good points, Southern. Another independent news org that is doing an excellent job of covering French events is WE Are Change, with Luke Rudowski on the scene. Along with this PR coverage are my main sources of alternate news.

  • This is what search reveals about Luke Rudkowski, (born 1986) is an American investigative journalist, right-wing activist, conspiracy theorist and founder of “We Are Change”.

    Are you a right winger as well?

  • Jon

    Good god NO,I’m not. This is an unfair characterization of Luke*, who reports very well, and fairly, but is rather from a Ron Paul type of perspective. I am far left. Luke is opposed to nearly all that we on the left are as well. (in short, in agreement against the ruling class)Try actually watching him. I also go to The Real news Network.

    * Because he, like us who have been paying attention, know that the government narratives on 9/11 and other major issues are bogus

  • kevinzeese

    I agree, Jon, Luke is more complicated than the simple left – right division.

  • Jon

    Thanks for the back-up, Kevin. i really appreciate your input. I regard him as an honest man, but like all of us, with a perspective that colors what he says.

  • My bad then – I like far left – I might have stumbled onto a negative review – however I’ve just watched an interesting video from 2013 where someone was trying to set him up, Luke was too smart and used a different PC.

    ” Attempted Setup of Luke Rudkowski” Published on Jul 3, 2013 on YT

  • I’m just watching – Loose Change Final Cut Full Length – We are Change is mentioned at 52 minutes 25 seconds.