cover image Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange

Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange

Kevin Gosztola. Seven Stories and Censored Press, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-64421-272-1

Journalist Gosztola (Truth and Consequences) issues a stout defense of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in this searing polemic against the U.S. government’s encroachment on the freedom of the press. After Assange published more than a quarter million diplomatic cables leaked by former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning, the CIA retaliated by labeling WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” launching “offensive counterintelligence” campaigns, and hiring contractors to spy on Assange. Delving into the rise of an American security state after 9/11, the Obama administration’s use of the 1917 Espionage Act to “disrupt the flow of information from government sources to news reporters,” and the fates of Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, and other whistleblowers, Gosztola makes a convincing case that the American government has overreacted in the case of Assange. The argument is somewhat undermined, however, by the author’s tendency to drift into alarmism, as when he suggests that the U.S. might eventually use the Espionage Act against private citizens who share critical views on social media. Still, this is an in-depth overview of the case against Assange and an impassioned defense of the need to hold truth to power. Freedom of the press advocates will heed this full-throated rallying cry. (Feb.)