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February 28, 2021

US Congress hears WikiLeaks is ‘fundamentally different’ from media

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department would have no problem distinguishing WikiLeaks from traditional media outlets, if it decides to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act, a former federal prosecutor told lawmakers Thursday, according to wired.com. “By clearly showing how WikiLeaks is fundamentally different, the government should be able to demonstrate that any prosecution here is the exception and is not the sign of a more aggressive prosecution effort against the press,” said Kenneth Wainstein, former assistant attorney general on national security, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act on Thursday.

The hearing was the first to publicly address WikiLeaks. It consisted of testimony from legal scholars and attorneys as well as former Green Party presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Testimony focused primarily on whether the 1917 Espionage Act should be revised to make it easier to prosecute recipients of classified information.

As the hearing took place, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was freed on bail and sent to stay at a British country mansion, a defeat for prosecutors who wanted to keep the 39-year-old Australian locked up as he faces sex-crimes charges in Sweden. At the same time, a 68-page confidential Swedish police report that sheds new light on the allegations of sexual misconduct that led to Assange’s legal troubles was leaked to the press. The Swedish report traces events over a four-day period in August when Assange had what he has described as consensual sexual relationships with two Swedish women.
sudan president bashir ‘siphoned off millions’

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been accused of siphoning off up to USD 9 bln of his country’s funds by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Luis Moreno Ocampo told the BBC that President Bashir had hidden the money in personal accounts outside Sudan. Ocampo’s suspicions originally came to light when a diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks was published by the Guardian newspaper. Sudan has forcefully denied the claims.

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