However, in the Manning prosecution, the focus was on the wrong enemy. Manning might not have directly aided al Qaeda, the enemy in question in the recent prosecution, but he certainly aided WikiLeaks. Wikileaks is a movement that views itself as an enemy of the United States, so why shouldn’t U.S. law see it in the same light? WikiLeaks is an anarchist movement dedicated to, in Assange’s own words, “the total annihilation of the current U.S. regime.” It does not by any stretch of the imagination, constitute “the press,” as the ACLU claims.

In my view, Assange’s political ideology is an intellectual descendant of the nineteenth century anarchist thought of figures like Mikhail Bakunin, who once wrote, “History tells us that while small States are virtuous because of their feebleness, powerful States sustain themselves only through crime.” In his 1866 “Revolutionary Catechism,” Bakunin called for “[a]bsolute rejection of every authority including that which sacrifices freedom for the convenience of the state.”

In a 2006 essay, Assange insisted that there were new ways to challenge “authoritarian regimes.” He called attention to “technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.” Assange apparently views the United States as an authoritarian conspiracy composed of interconnected nodes.