US designates Assange ‘enemy of state’


blog Various US Government representatives have long been protesting that the country’s law enforcement authorities don’t have an interest in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who’s still holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. But there’s fresh evidence this week that that claim is … well, a load of hogwash really, with Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Philip Dorling uncovering the fact that the US has designated the Australian citizen an official target (we recommend you click through to read the whole, somewhat shocking article):

“The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States – the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency.”

Suddenly, Assange’s fear at being extradited to the US to face a grand jury and the idea that the Wikileaks founder could be targeted by a US military drone strike sounds less and less like a conspiracy theory and more and more like a legitimate concern. I’ve previously believed that much of the histrionics around Assange have been just that, but in light of this new evidence, I am starting to head towards believing the argument that the Australian Government needs to do more to look after this particularly rebellious citizen.

Image credit: New Media Days, Creative Commons


  1. FYI I have also received the following statement from the Greens on this issue:

    Assange fear of US rendition vindicated by ‘enemy of the state’ brand

    Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam. 27 September 2012.

    Australian citizen and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange would face a military show trial if extradited to the United States, the Greens said today.

    “It is time Foreign Minister Bob Carr got on the right side of history and took every diplomatic measure possible to bring Julian Assange back to Australia,” said Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.

    “We have long argued that Washington intends to drag Mr Assange to the United States and throw him into the same anti-legal black hole in which Private Manning and Guantanamo Bay inmates now languish.

    “The Greens have urged the Australian Government to do everything it can to prevent the rendition of Mr Assange to the United States to face a show trial, but our efforts have mostly been met by obfuscation and second-rate theatre. It has long been known a US Grand Jury has been empanelled to seek an indictment on Mr Assange, but the shadow boxing from our own Government has continued.

    “Now, declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under American freedom-of-information laws, have revealed the US military has designated Mr Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States – the same legal category as al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

    “Our Government has repeatedly denied knowledge of any American intention to charge Mr Assange or seek his extradition, but Australian diplomatic cables released under freedom of information over the past year-and-a-half have shown there is an unprecedented US Justice Department espionage investigation targeting WikiLeaks.

    “It’s time for the Australian Government to take a strong public stand against Washington’s plans to destroy an Australian citizen because he revealed embarrassing truths about America’s politics and America’s wars.”

    • ahh ok.
      So going by history, he may be expected to be visited by a black ops team or a drone strike…?

      bet he’s crapping himself at the moment.

      • This is getting out of control.

        The US, whether the government there wants to give this impression or not, is painting itself as the bully boy of western civilisation.

        Don’t they give any consideration to the powder keg they could create for themselves. There was rioting in the streets over the denigration of an Islamic figure, what does the US hope to achieve by putting citizens of it’s own allies on ominous sounding terms such as Enemy of State.

        Moreover, what the hell is our government doing? Step out from behind the curtains please and tell us how you are contributing here to represent an Australian citizen, not simple “we are providing help as we would any other citizen”.

        If America has no qualms about loudly talking tough about their “Enemy of State” then we should have no qualms telling them publicly to pull their heads in and submit to due process.

        • They’ve been slowly strolling down the path to a fascist dictatorship for the past decade.

          I know, it sounds very dramatic, but let’s do the highlights:

          * Rendition.
          * Indefinite detention with no right to a fair trial. (Guantanamo)
          * Oppressing dissent (Occupy Wall st)
          * Torture (waterboarding)
          * War without declaration or consensus (Afghanistan, Iraq, plus drone strikes elsewhere)
          * Assasination (Al-Awlaki)
          * Cronyism (Bailing out and essentially being subject to the will of corporations)

          There’s not a lot left to go before they’re literally a fascist state.

          • You forgot the subjugation of other sovereign Nations, of which our Nation obviously is already one. Isn’t it time to be rid of these Fools on the Hill in Canberra? Both sides of them (which really are the same, but play Punch and Judy).
            Next election, maybe we need to remember that no matter what our flavour of politic, for one term we could utterly fragment the Parliament into anything, but these sycophantic duopoly of Oligarchic-Plutocratic Sideshow Circus that distracts us with dross and schism it into hundreds of different pieces (Independents and minor parties) and let them create a loose coalition to Govern for a short time. That would be all that is required in order to quickly rehash financial and a few other laws back into an Australian egalitarian flavour (we used to have) with responsibility on ALL and place our nation back on track to be what we wish it to be and not Wall Street nor London’s City’s desire for us, for them.
            I know I have seen enough to know my Parliament is not healthy and not working in my interests. Last thing I want is to continue down this path that is falling into the places exactly to what brought about WWII. Different names, different Countries, same reasons, same desperations. Soon as someone clutches at that last straw, like the German people once did, any straw, to do anything but the only outcome of Serfdom (Treaty of Versailles), this is when we ramp up for the finale. We remember the horror. But are we willing to avoid it.
            The writing is on the wall. I pray I am wrong, but history shows us the mistakes and what to watch out for. Let’s not do the same thing again. Please. Money is not everything. It is a tool, but not life.

          • I like the sentiment, but it is easier to be convincing with clean, simple rhetoric.

            I wonder what it would be like if political parties themselves were banned, and everyone was independent.

    • Bringing him to Australia would make it just as easy to disappear him as going to Sweden would.
      By virtue of being in the Ecuadorian embassy in the middle of London, which by virtue of his presence is now a nice and high profile location with lots of ‘witnesses’ the odds of ‘a random drone strike’ or ‘black ops assault team kidnapping’ are pretty much as close to zero as he can get.

      Moving him any long distance alone or with small escort is pretty much making him a much tastier target for any group that does want to get him in a way that can look even half legitimate. The USA wont start a war over him, but look at how they got away with sending in a black ops military assault team into Sovereign Pakistani territory without the countries permission, something that is pretty much an act of war… they got away with it. Not saying that particular mission was bad, just that the USA threw its weight around like a sumo wrestler and Pakistan didnt kick up a stink…

      Personally I think Australia would fold faster than Superman on laundry day if he was on Australian soil and the USA had overseas operatives ‘take possession’ of him and I don’t think Ecuador is much different. The UK is less likely to be tolerant of this sort of thing and has ready to fire nuclear weapons so its in the ‘big stick nuclear club’ and less likely to be considered ‘safe’ for such extrajudicial operations.

      • I think you’ll find, if you know how to use Google, that Pakistan did “kick up a stink”

        • They complained, but did nothing, they didnt put up any sort of fight.
          It was ineffectual posturing by the country to maintain face after the event had occurred.
          But you are right, they did complain. I was more trying to say they didn’t treat the issue like a country the USA wouldnt ‘mess with’ would treat it, like I would imagine they never would have tried the same trick if he was hiding in China.

      • At least the Brits were sufficiently principled to get their detainees out of Guantanamo Bay when John Howard couldn’t be bothered in the case of David Hicks. And Julia Gillard can be pretty JWH when it comes to the US.

    • The link didn’t last long.

      “with Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Philip Dorling uncovering the fact that the US has designated the Australian citizen an official target (we recommend you click through to read the whole, somewhat shocking article):”

  2. So just what does “enemy of the state” mean?
    Who else in history has had that title and what did the US do to them/about them

    • other well known (non-US) enemies of the state from history include the jews in nazi germany and the undesirables in stalinist USSR.

    • Its actually doesn’t mean anything for Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

      What it actually means is that its illegal for Military Personnel/citizens to communicate with Assange or Wikileaks. People such as Private Manning can be charged with communicating with the enemy if they leak information to Assange or wikileaks.

  3. It’s been obvious to me and anyone with even a passing interest in this whole saga that the Yanks, having been massively embarrassed (through their own security incompetence) by Wikileaks, that they’re doing everything in their power to string up Assange, for good.

    No charges have actually been made against him by the Swedish authorities, but they want to ‘interview’ him on their home soil under their bizarre and closed legal system (when it comes to prosecuting ‘rape’ cases). What falls under the category of rape would not do so in any other Western democracy, including the UK and Australia.

    What’s more, the original ‘rape’ complaint was dismissed and dropped, but was later resuscitated after the whole US Wikileaks fiasco exploded.

    The Yanks even tried, through various torture, er, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ to coerce Manning into saying that Assange approached him and told him to steal the diplomatic info, so that they would have a strong case against him.

    Furthermore, of late Sweden has become a bit of bitch of the US through trade agreements, enforcing draconian copyright laws and data surveillance. They’d give up Assange in a heartbeat, make no mistake.

    Gillard has also acted shamefully in this regard, from her initial proclamation of ‘illegal’ activity, when none was established then (or even now) and her subsequent indifference to Assange’s fate. And then later using such weasel words as “I have no ‘specific’ knowledge that the US is interested in Assange”. Yeah, Australia is America’s bitch too.

    If Australia gets the security council seat, it will be down to US pressure, most likely. I’d hate to think what new freedoms we’ll be signing away in the exchange.

  4. I find this hilariously ironic. First the Australian media were reporting that the U.S. authorities weren’t interested in Assange anymore, then strangely all of a sudden they make a big deal of him being an enemy of the state? I guess those trumped up sexual assault charges weren’t going to get Assange extradited to Sweden then back to the U.S. so now the U.S. had to force its hand in order to get Assange.

  5. Pretty sure unapproved free speech has been the enemy of the state for quite awhile now.

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