ALA Council

 View Only
last person joined: one month ago 

  • 1.  Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 18, 2022 10:54 AM
      |   view attached
    Greetings Councilors,
    The following resolution has been received: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange
    Background information on the resolution is provided below.

    Resolutions Form background information
    Date: Tue, 01/11/2022
    Resolution author(s): Mark Hudson
    E-mail address: hudsonme@mac.com
    1. Title of Resolution: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange
    1a. Resolution File: Attached
    2. ALA Units and/or Committees Consulted (if any): Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT)
    3. Endorsements by ALA Units and/or Committees (if any): Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT)
    4. Fiscal implications: Specify the resources needed to carry out the resolution's directive(s).: None.
    5. List all parties to whom resolution should be sent: United States Executive Branch (White House, Justice Department)
    6. Impact on ALA Policies and Positions: Explain how the resolution supports ALA's Strategic Plan, its mission, and/or its core values.: The library profession historically has upheld the First Amendment and the values of press freedom, the freedom to read and the freedom to publish. As PEN International has noted, the prosecution of Julian Assange "raises profound concerns about freedom of the press under the First Amendment of the US Constitution and sends a dangerous signal to journalists and publishers worldwide."
    6a) ALA general policy or viewpoint: If the resolution sets forth a general policy or an ALA viewpoint, describe.: Same as 6.
    6b) Change in existing policy: If this resolution necessitates a change in existing policy, state the policy number and the change.: No change in existing policy needed.
    6c) New policy: If this resolution establishes new policy, describe.: No new policy established.
    6d) Policy conflicts: If this resolution conflicts with existing policy, state provisions for resolving the conflict.: Does not conflict with existing policy.
    7. Initiating Committee or Unit (if any): Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT)
    8. Pertinent Background Information, e.g. bibliography, citations, supportive quotes, URLs, etc.:
    9. Mover's Name: Tara Brady, SRRT Councilor
    10 Seconder's Name: Wendy Stephens, GNCRT Councilor

    ------------------------------
    -Aaron
    :-)'
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 19, 2022 05:33 PM

    Hi,

    Regarding this resolution, it does not look like Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) or Committee on Legislation (COL) were asked to look at it and provide constructive feedback.  This resolution does have legislative impact, if we are asking ALA staff to spend time, resources, and political capital (i.e. leverage relationships) to contact the White House and US Department of Justice on an issue that does not seem to directly impact libraries or librarians, or relate to the ALA legislative agenda priorities.  Before anyone jumps on me about First Amendment concerns, I see those – but I am also very aware that ALA has finite resources and a defined scope of areas that ALA can directly impact and influence, which is outlined in the annual legislative agenda.  

    Given the emphasis COL has communicated about coalition building over the past year, specifically to SRRT, I am perplexed why SRRT has not approached this from a coalition standpoint, which would be a more effective use of ALA resources and staff since there are other organizations (mentioned in the resolution) that can/should take the lead here. Those organizations also seem to have more extensive resources to "move the needle" on this issue than ALA does alone. 

    I raise these concerns here, before we get to Council floor, so that perhaps the resolution can be withdrawn prior to Council III and presented to these two committees for review and feedback before going back to Council for a vote either at a spring virtual meeting or in June at Annual. 

    Full disclosure – I am a member of COL, but since the committee has not been asked to review this resolution, there is no COL position on this.  My personal opinion is that this resolution should not go forward in Council until it has been reviewed by IFC and COL.

    Lori, NH Chapter Councilor



    ------------------------------
    Lori Fisher
    Assistant State Librarian
    New Hampshire State Library
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 20, 2022 10:33 AM

    I have a different concern about resolution.  It is my understanding Assange has three US indictments against him, and one of those is for criminal hacking. If this is in fact one of the indictments, then I don't support this resolution.  (Criminal hacking is not a protected behavior.) However, if this is not part of the indictment then I support this resolution.  (I guess I just need more information.)

     

    Lisa Scroggins

    Wyoming Chapter Councilor

     

     

     

     

    Logo

     

     

    Lisa Scroggins

    Executive Director

     

    P 307.237.4935 x115

    E lscroggins@natronacountylibrary.org

    307 E 2nd St, Casper, WY 82601

    natronacountylibrary.org

    facebook icon

    twitter icon

    youtube icon

    instagram icon

     

    E-Mail and correspondence to and from me is subject to the Wyoming Public Records Act and may be disclosed to third parties.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     






  • 4.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 21, 2022 07:41 PM
    Edited by Tara Brady Jan 21, 2022 09:56 PM
    Hello! Sorry for not getting back to you sooner: I touched base with the SRRT action council about this. Our understanding is that the hacking charges are baseless, and were really only added for the sake of tacking on additional charges to aid in prosecuting Assange for publishing documents and media which are in the public interest, but we've revised the title of the resolution to "Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop Espionage Act Charges Against Julian Assange" as that's what the resolution focuses on.

    ------------------------------
    Tara Brady
    Teen Librarian
    Queens Public Library
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 20, 2022 10:42 AM
    I agree.  This should go to COL and IFC for review.  I'm also concerned because this is exactly the kind of thing that was brought up yesterday--focusing on things like this instead of issues that libraries and ALA are actually facing.  If we're looking at this as related to libraries because of freedom of information, then it really needs to go to those committees since they are able to give it the attention it needs before coming before the Council.

    ------------------------------
    Sonnet Ireland
    Branch Manager
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 20, 2022 11:17 AM
    I agree that this should go to COL and IFC for review.



    ------------------------------
    Anchalee Panigabutra-Roberts
    Head of Cataloging
    University of Tennessee Libraries
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 24, 2022 01:49 AM

    I tried to look for more information on the charges against Assange and I found some additional information that maybe useful as the context for this resolution as you will find below.

     The DOJ's press release:

          WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Charged in 18-Count Superseding Indictment

    Charges Related to Illegally Obtaining, Receiving and Disclosing Classified Information

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-charged-18-count-superseding-indictment (10 years per count)

    Per the attached indictment to the above press release (https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1165556/download ), the counts are all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 793(b)and 2) (The U.S. Criminal Code Title 18: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/USCODE-2009-title18/USCODE-2009-title18-partI-chap37-sec793 )

     And there is this additional charge related to hacking in another press release:

     WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Superseding Indictment

    New Allegations Assert Assange Conspired With "Anonymous" Affiliated Hackers, Among Others

     https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/wikileaks-founder-charged-superseding-indictment

    These charges are very strong and they would depend on the evidences provided through the court process that we do not have access to at this time.

    While I  support the freedom of publishing and disseminating information, this case has to do with how the information was obtained (illegally per the charges).

    I think the best we can do is to support for his fair trial, given the severity of the criminal charges above and the evidences we do not know about except for what have been provided in the indictment. 

    I'd also welcome others' input as I'm no expert on this matter. I'd just simply try to understand the context of this case. 

    Respectfully,

     Joy~



    ------------------------------
    Anchalee Panigabutra-Roberts
    Head of Cataloging
    University of Tennessee Libraries
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 24, 2022 11:00 AM

    Dear Joy,

     

    One of the problems with the Espionage Act is that there is no ability to defend against it, which the resolution clearly states. So, although a trial surely would take place if Assange were extradited to the U.S., you would only hear one side of the argument, that of the prosecution, i.e. the U.S. government. Meanwhile, the hacking and espionage charges that had been considered but ultimately dismissed by the Obama Administration  were picked up again  in the Obama successor's Administration when the CIA, in collaboration with the DOJ),  allegedly wanted revenge for part of their secret programs being published by WikiLeaks.

     

    During the current UK extradition hearings we're finding out how thin and political, i.e. trumped up the espionage/hacking charges are.

     

    https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/assange-extradition-cfaa-hacking/

     

    Also see:

    Attorney: US Case Against Julian Assange Falls Apart, as Key ...

    https://www.democracynow.org › julian_assange_extra...

    Will alleged CIA misbehavior set Julian Assange free? | TheHill

    https://thehill.com › opinion › criminal-justice › 47793...

     

    Regardless of one's opinion of the person Assange, this case would create an extremely dangerous precedent wherein publishers/journalists could be accused and charged with, simply by obtaining embarrassing evidence of government malfeasance, espionage by having conversations with their sources and receiving classified information.  This would have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press and First Amendment.

     

     

     

    Mike L.  Marlin

    Director, California Braille and Talking Book Library

    ALA Councilor at Large

    Sacramento, CA

    Email: mmarlin33.3@gmail.com

    Mobile: (916) 243-9778

     






  • 9.  RE: Resolution Calling on the US Executive Branch to Drop All Charges Against Julian Assange

    Posted Jan 24, 2022 11:24 AM
    Thank you so much, Mike, for your additional information and insights. They helped clarify some of the questions I have while thinking through this resolution.
    Much appreciated,
    Joy~

    ------------------------------
    Anchalee Panigabutra-Roberts
    Head of Cataloging
    University of Tennessee Libraries
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------