Julian Assange was granted asylum by the Republic of Ecuador in August 2012 due to the ongoing attempts by the US government to bring a “conspiracy to commit espionage” prosecution against him over his role as the editor of WikiLeaks. Sweden and the UK continue to obstruct Mr Assange’s asylum.
It has now surfaced that the United States government via the NSA and FBI used ‘conspiracy’ and ‘espionage’ warrants carrying up to 45 years in prison to order Google to release personal communication data of WikiLeaks staffers. Google reports it fought the gagging order imposed on them since early 2011, unsuccessfully. Only a partial lift of this order has allowed Google to communicate in December 2014 to three WL staffers that they complied to such warrants in 2012.
From the WikiLeaks press release on the Warrant to Google:
“Once an offence is alleged in relation to a journalist or their source, the whole media organisation, by the nature of its work flow, can be targeted as alleged ‘conspiracy’. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief said: ‘WikiLeaks has out endured everything the Obama administration has thrown at us and we will out endure these latest “offences” too.’
The alleged offences are:
* Espionage: 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) – imprisonment up to 10 years
* Conspiracy to commit espionage: 18 U.S.C. § 793(g) – imprisonment up to 10 years
* The theft or conversion of property belonging to the United States government: 18 U.S.C. § 641 – imprisonment up to 10 years
* Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: 18 U.S.C. § 1030 – imprisonment up to 10 years
* (general) Conspiracy: 18 U.S.C. § 371 – imprisonment up to 5 years”