Beginning in the summer of 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016.
The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails.
On August 9, 2016, the @WikiLeaks Twitter account posted: “ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.”
I've read the Mueller Report. I am diagramming its sentences and as I placed IMPLIED on the important pedestal created for the verb - the action - and I hang solo from it the word FALSELY, an adverb, I realize the importance of these words together. We call an adverb a modifier, but that is too modest. It is the explanation of the action. As a journalist I learned not to use modifiers like adjectives and adverbs unless they were necessary, and I'm sure that lawyers learns this same rule of brevity and to write in service of clarity and exposition.
False is one half of a broken-heart pendant and True is the other. In a time like ours when we understand that most everything is a spectrum, true and false are binary. They are the 1 and 0 of our computer code. In the Mueller Report, the office writing it made legible in English words only the fact they knew to be true in this binary sense. And yet they included truthfully the world FALSELY to the actions that Julian Assange took in the summer of 2016 regarding a young man who worked for the Democratic Party. He implied falsely a narrative that he wanted to appear like a banner from a hired airplane over a baseball stadium. Assange takes refuge in our democratic hearts and minds by calling himself a journalist and then speaks FALSELY.
I applauded Assange for revealing information that our government was hiding from us under the veil of National Security not because it really needed to remain secret but because if it was revealed to us it would make our government: our true-blue soldiers, our military, our patrimony look bad. This is not espionage - the practice of spying - he didn't do any information collection as a journalist does, not did he do it in secret - he published. Spying, as in the use of the word espionage, the practice of spying, is to secretly gather information. Assange did not gather the information; it was handed to him. Nor did he keep it secret.
When Assange, via WikiLeaks, released private emails that someone else had stolen and given him, he was breaking a law: invasion of privacy. People in the public eye - do we all now fall under that gaze? - politicians and celebrities are not protected in most cases by the constitutional right to privacy because their actions are considered newsworthy. Exceptions to this celebrity rule are where a person expects to have privacy: in one's own home, in bed and bath and surprisingly in our clubs. A group does not have to disclose its members to a government agency. Some of our most upheld privacy norms are in this vein, such as protection from government surveillance.The 4th Amendment to the Constitution is where you find this right to privacy. It states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..."
Assange is violated the 4th, and shouldn't be able to claim the 1st - Freedom of Speech - anymore than someone who spreads a voyeur's stolen photos. And then lies about them.
To lie is a sin named all the versions of the Ten Commandments. Lying is a moral crime, but only legally punishable when, as listed in the Mueller Report, you lie to federal agent, and other cases like: perjury, to lie under oath, libel, slander, mail fraud and health care fraud. To lie is protected under the right to free speech in this country, so just telling a lie is not a crime, except if you do it knowingly and maliciously. And this is why we use the word fraud. This is where we get the idea that some lies aren't so bad.
I learned that Joan of Arc never told a lie, even though she had to do some sneaking around. I read this in Mark Twain's novel about Saint Joan. She was put to death for wearing men's clothes. According to Twain, she only implied — lead people to believe - things that were not true, like that she was a trained soldier instead of a teen-age girl.
Bearing false witness could be libel or slander (depending on whether it is written or spoken), which is why Assange only IMPLIED. it seems he led a lot of people to believe him, and believe FALSELY, something that they wanted to believe anyway - that the Democratic Party killed someone who hacked their emails. Assange IMPLIED maliciously, knowing that Seth Rich was dead days before he received the trove of emails, and knowing that what he said was FALSE.