Julian Assange has been hit with an indictment which includes 17 counts of violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 for committing 17 acts of journalism. For each violation, he could receive the death penalty.
Long before the indictments, the only Presidential Candidate speaking out against the charges surrounding Assange was Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Following his arrest in the UK, she immediately stated she saw his arrest as a slippery slope. Later, when questioned by Joe Rogan, she clearly stated that she would drop charges against Assange.
Though being heavily criticized by his own supporters for being silent on the arrest of Assange, Sanders came out swinging following the indictment. In doing so, he tweeted:
"Let me be clear; it is a disturbing attack on the First Amendment for the Trump Administration to decide who is and who is not a reporter for the purposes of a criminal prosecution. Donald Trump must obey the Constitution, which protects the publication of news about our government."
While at the same time attacking Assange by calling him a "bad actor" and falsely stating that he had harmed national security (something that has been disproven), Liz Warren expressed opposition to Trump's using the case to make war on the First Amendment. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said stated he was concerned about the precedent this set.
Former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel has regularly spoken out against the mistreatment of Julian Assange. Gravel has been a frequent contributor to the weekly show, Unity4J, aimed at educating the public with the truth, that Julian is a hero, not a criminal. It was Mike Gravel who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. Mike Gravel, though a declared Presidential candidate, is not expected to be in the debates. He has expressed his support for Tulsi Gabbard.
The indictments against Assange and the war the U.S. Government is perpetrating on people of Venezuelaare expected to have a major impact on the 2020 primaries. Tulsi Gabbard remains the leader on these issues, speaking out against War and sanctions on Venezuela. So far she is the ONLY Presidential candidate to speak out against sanctions that have already killed 40,000 Venezuelans and are expected to kill a great many more. Trump's latest planned sanction against the Venezuela CLAP food program that provides food to 2/3 of the Venezuelan people is targeted at starving and killing people and children simply because the Venezuelan people want to keep Nicolas Maduro, the leader they elected, as their President. Bernie Sanders has said he is opposed to military intervention but has yet to express opposition to the sanctions which are killing so many Venezuelans. Tulsi Gabbard was the only Presidential candidate to speak out in support of the Embassy Protection Collective, which was invited by the Venezuelan Government to protect that country's embassy in Washington D.C. On the issue of Venezuela, Bernie and Tulsi are ahead of the crowd of Presidential candidates who have either been silent on the issue or who support war. But beware of polls that only include those over the age of 50 and that do not include Tulsi Gabbard's name. Mainstream media polls are now a form of propaganda, rather than an indicator of popularity of the candidates.
If the British go against their own rule of law and extradite Assange to a country that has indicted him on charges that carry the death penalty, the best chance that Assange and all other journalists have to themselves avoid prosecution under the Espionage Act is a Sanders or Gabbard Presidency. As all the actions Assange was indicted for doing are actions that all journalists engage in, the indictments make journalism a death penalty offense in the USA. Even Rachel Maddow could one day find herself on death row for leaks she claims to have published. The indictments are not limited to American journalists. Julian is not an American. The charges make it clear that all journalists throughout the world could be prosecuted the Espionage Act and could be brought to the USA for execution.