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US said to designate Assange 'enemy' of the state

Military who 'communicate' with WikiLeaks could face death penalty

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The US military has allegedly classified Julian Assange as an "enemy", a desigation that could make any member of those forces who communicates with him or WikiLeaks to be liable for the death penalty.

According to an article in Thursday's Sydney Morning Herald, this latest elevation of the charges against Assange was discovered in "declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents" obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The Reg can neither confirm nor disprove the existence of the documents, but according to the Morning Herald, they discuss a US Air Force Office of Special Investigations inquiry into whether a UK-based "cyber systems analyst" with top-secret security clearance and access to the US departments of Defense and State's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) had disclosed "classified or sensitive information" to WikiLeaks or its supporters.

If the Morning Herald's documents are genuine, and if the UK analyst did, indeed, disclose such secret information, she may be in deep trouble.

If Assange & Co. are, indeed, classified as "enemies", the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, specifically section 904, article 104, states that a person who "gives intelligence to, or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly," may be punished by "death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct."

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Morning Herald's disclosure came on the same day that Assange addressed the United Nations General Assembly – albeit by video from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought protection and was then granted asylum, avoiding extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges for which key evidence has recently found to have fallen apart.

"It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks," Assange says in the video, "to cease its persecution of our people, and to cease its persecution of our alleged sources. It is time for President Obama to do the right thing, and to join the forces of change – not in fine words, but in fine deeds." ®

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