back to article Cuffing Assange a 'priority' for the USA says attorney-general

United States attorney-general Jeff Sessions says the Trump administration will make it “a priority” to arrest leakers, including Julian Assange. Sessions on Thursday toured the US/Mexico border and later gave a press conference in El Paso. Towards the end of that conference, at about the 15:40 mark of the video below, …

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Wikileaks probably is in the clear for the DNC and Clinton campaign leaks unless it can be proved that Wikileaks members participated in the various activities that resulted in their acquiring them. The first amendment generally shields those who publish in the US, and Wikileaks is not a US organization in any case. I am not aware that anyone has been charged in connection with publication of the material Snowden took from NSA despite the fact that much of it undoubtedly remains classified.

It is not so clear in the case of the Manning materials, since there have been claims that Julian Assange or others associated with Wikileaks may have participated in their theft. What I recall seeing, however, is that they might have provided technical advice about transfer to them or a destination to which Manning should deliver it, and that probably does not rise to culpability in taking it unlawfully from its repository. There might be an indictment, and following that a request for extradition. If Assange or others were extradited, it could be quite hard to convict them if they have a competent lawyer unless Manning helps the prosecution rather a lot.

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Anonymous Coward

The first amendment generally shields those who publish in the US, and Wikileaks is not a US organization in any case.

Doesn't the latter contradict the former, even if we for a moment consider them publishers rather than malicious hackers with a publicity front end?

That said, you're only focusing on the US in itself. If WL is not a publisher in the press sense (which it isn't due to a clear lack of neutrality), it reverts to being a publisher/doxxer for malicious ends - in other words, a criminal outfit that pretends to do good to evade the law. IMHO it became WL only to give a more glossy flag for Assange's past hacking activities, and with its clear partisan activities during the US election it has pretty much burned that flag.

I also have a feeling that some people will assume any kind of fair process for Assange ("fair" as in convicting him for deeds with evidence as opposed to deciding the outcome upfront. IMHO the outcome ought to be identical, but only one path is actually proper due process). Don't forget, this is now a country with a rigged Supreme Court, and a president absolutely desperate to divert the attention from his connections with less savoury countries and outfits, and he appears to think that biting the hands that fed him (sorry El Reg :) ) will do the trick. Hence the attack on Syria and, now that is in a media lul, addressing Assange's "assistance".

You're not dealing with a legal system here, you're dealing with one man who is still allowed to act as if the rules don't apply to him (pretty much like Assange tried under the false flag of being a "reporter") and to keep him in place, his cronies will bend any rule that has even the smallest amount of flex in it or simply replace the bothersome ones.

That said, a rule bender mauling a rule bender ought to make for interesting television. Buy your popcorn now.

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I wonder if that is it: that Manning agreed to assist in exchange for release from custody. She certainly has a personal reason to want to see Saint Jules in chokey and not just because he still owes her $35,000 of the $50,000 he promised.

Still, looking forward to hearing AC/DC blasted out at maximum volume outside the Ecuadorian Embassy until they hand over Assange.

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Still, looking forward to hearing AC/DC blasted out at maximum volume outside the Ecuadorian Embassy until they hand over Assange.

LOL, "Highway to hell" - I like it :)

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No contradiction in that. Wikileaks is not a US organization, nor has it, so far as I am aware, any meaningful US presence. Aside from the fact that its publication activities would not be legitimately subject to prosecution if they occurred in the US, that lack of US presence provides additional shielding for their activities, whether or not they are to be considered reprehensible.

"Lack of neutrality" has absolutely nothing to do with the standing of either an organization or a person as "the press." Breitbart and The Intercept (and the New Yorker and New York Times and Fox) plainly are not neutral, yet have all the immunities of "the press."

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Boffin

U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 - 18 U.S.C. Ch. 37

> The first amendment generally shields those who publish in the US

It does not.

The U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 is so broadly worded that charges can be brought under this Act against anyone, for publishing classified material, regardless of how this material was obatined, and regardless of whether or not the publisher is a bona fide press organization claiming protection under the First Amendment.

> I am not aware that anyone has been charged in connection with publication of the material Snowden took from NSA

Edward Snowden was charged with espionage by the Obama Administration Department of Justice, under the US Espionage Act of 1917.

For more details about how the Espionage Act works, and how it was used in the past, there's a Wikipedia entry.

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AC/DC blasting Out

"Still, looking forward to hearing AC/DC blasted out at maximum volume outside the Ecuadorian Embassy until they hand over Assange."

It's right next to Harrods!

I rather think the neighbours might object.

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Re: AC/DC blasting Out

Give or take 300 yards I am one of those neighbours. I am so looking forwards Thunderstruck being belted out at Noriega levels in Knightsbridge.

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Pint

Re: AC/DC blasting Out

Give or take 300 yards I am one of those neighbours

Good. Keep an eye on him for us, thanks.

I'll come and get you for a beer next time I'm in London :).

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Theft (pwerhaps) about illegal activities

Is theft (alleged) that uncovers constitutionally illegal/unlawful activity even a crime ???

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Re: U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 - 18 U.S.C. Ch. 37

Classified, but constitutionally unlawful material. Hmm.....................

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Truth

is enemy number one

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth

Truth

is enemy number one

For a second here, I did read it as:

Trump

is enemy number one

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth

Works both ways, depending on whether you are Trump or not...

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Anonymous Coward

Leeks

Mae oedran y idiot

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Leeks

In Welsh, the word for a well known orange vegetable is 'moron'...

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El Reg - can you stop reporting on this cockwomble?

The idiot lives for publicity.

Ignore him and eventually he'll get bored and stop running from the law, face his rape allegation, be convicted or not, and then he can go to prison for jumping bail.

Detention isn't deliberately self imposed and doesn't offer access to Twitter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: El Reg - can you stop reporting on this cockwomble?

If the US make no attempt to arrest/hold Assange, what happens to Assanges credability?

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Re: El Reg - can you stop reporting on this cockwomble?

@Richard12 That's fine for Trump. But what about Assange ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: El Reg - can you stop reporting on this cockwomble?

If the US make no attempt to arrest/hold Assange, what happens to Assanges credibility?

That hasn't made a difference over the 7 years he's been feeding that myth. Those blinded by Assange's BS will continue to believe the Messiah no matter what, and those who saw through that from day one don't have any reason to change their position either, and never the mane shall tweet..

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Anonymous Coward

Curious how Assange thinks the UK government is detaining him.

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"The government has detained me without charge for seven years"

He has detained himself and is completely free to leave at any time. The government don't charge anyone they aren't part of that process, that is left to law enforcers and the judiciary. I'm pretty sure there is a charge against him, there is definitely an arrest warrant which will immediately lead to a charge in court of skipping bail. He is bang to rights for skippings bail and has never denied it, so likely to be proven guilty.

You can't use a conspiracy theory against another country to evade facing the law on for something you are guilty of in the UK.

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I do rather wish he would step outside the embassy door, so he can find out what detention really feels like.

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"Curious how Assange thinks the UK government is detaining him."

Especially as he isn't even in within UK jurisdiction.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, yes, I nearly forgot about him

Leaving Assange to dig his own hole was an intelligent decision, so it stands to reason that that approach will no longer be followed.

Add to that that Trump is so desperate to bury any affiliations that he's apparently even considering starting a war with North Korea and yes, I think St Jules™ and Ass do have something to worry about.

Well, more to worry about, because now it's clear that WL is not a press outfit (it lacks a certain je-sais-quoi, namely neutrality) they have reverted in status to what they have always been, hackers. Even that diversionary tactic no longer works. Past deeds are becoming due too.

He may even have to wash..

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Re: Ah, yes, I nearly forgot about him

Well, more to worry about, because now it's clear that WL is not a press outfit (it lacks a certain je-sais-quoi, namely neutrality)

And you count the Daily Mail and Fox News as press outfits because off what?

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Boffin

Re: Ah, yes, I nearly forgot about him

What's all this guff about press outfits being neutral?

Either you or me are living in some sort of infinitely improbable universe.

What's the probability of one of us finding out who's the lucky bastard?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah, yes, I nearly forgot about him

And you count the Daily Mail and Fox News as press outfits because off what?

Touché, although they never pretended to be anything else, or act for the good of humanity.

You can also sue them for getting it wrong. Ejecting misbehaving staff is a bit harder if we, for instance, look at Bill O'Reilly's career, but then again, the BBC had Jimmy Saville :).

If you ask WL to be accountable they either hide or threaten with more hacking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah, yes, I nearly forgot about him

"And you count the Daily Mail and Fox News as press outfits because off what?"

Not committing actual crimes to have something to report on? Hmm, no, given the News of the World intercept scandal that doesn't 100% work either, but at least it's not a default.

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Re: Ah, yes, I nearly forgot about him

>>Touché, although they never pretended to be anything else, or act for the good of humanity.

Yes they do. SInce when do Daily Mail or Fox News preceded their outpourings with "but keep in mind we're biased." Ditto for pretty much any news outlet that isn't purely focused on a financial audience (who care more about information than being told what is right or wrong).

If your criteria for being a journalist or a news organization is being unbiased, you're going to have to discount the vast majority. So either change your criteria or accept that it doesn't single out Julian Assange how you'd like.

Really, what should matter is if what Wikileaks publishes is true, which it is the case is it not?

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Administrations go after leakers

With a ferocity in proportion to the amount of illegal and unethical actions they want to hide. It is a bad sign for a new administration to go after leakers before their first 100 days are up. Usually it takes a few years to have big misdeeds you want to keep covered up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Administrations go after leakers

Usually it takes a few years to have big misdeeds you want to keep covered up.

That's because most administrations don't start with something to hide..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Administrations go after leakers

> That's because most administrations don't start with something to hide..

Seems like a strange assumption to make.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Administrations go after leakers

> That's because most administrations don't start with something to hide..

Seems like a strange assumption to make.

Oh hello, welcome back to the world. It must look strange to you after so many years in a cave. We now have a UK PM that wasn't voted for but has at least continued in the age old tradition of the self-beneficial U turn (as she called the early election she was positively never going to do), and we have someone manning the top seat in the US who by all accounts is under so many investigations already (yes, even before he was 100 days in the job) that it's a question how both FBI and DoJ have time for anything else, and the core question there is just how much money the US people will be able to claw back after they find out just how fast he's been stuffing his pockets, given that he has plenty foreign assets and owes quite a bit of money to foreign banks.

Have a look around. We now have a thing called the Internet, but without having to bother with screechy modems (the screeching is now mainly done by so-called "fake news" outfits), and with a bit of common sense (I hope you didn't leave that behind when you vacated your cave) you should be able to form yourself a picture of just what a fantastic mess we got ourselves in.

We also have a thing called Global Warming, and despite a number of people denying it is happening I'd still advise you that you learn how to swim while you can, and go and live somewhere at least 100m above sea level. Just in case.

Enjoy, and make sure you apply sun screen.

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Re: Administrations go after leakers

So just so I understand your position.

1) You hate the Prime Minister because she wasn't the leader of her party at the last election.

2) You hate the Prime Minister because she has called an election.

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Headmaster

Re: Administrations go after leakers

Half of all the Prime Ministers in the UK in the last hundred years have entered office without being elected. Src: https://fullfact.org/news/unelected-prime-ministers-common-or-not/

Really, most of us don't ever elect Prime Ministers. We vote for a Member of Parliament for our constituency, and whichever party holds the most seats (or can form a coalition) then picks one of their MPs to be PM. So unless you lived in Witney and voted for Cameron, you never voted for him as PM (for example).

If you want to vote directly for your country's leader, then you're going to have to go somewhere else I'm afraid.

(This does give rise to the possibility that the tories could win almost every seat in the UK, but if May didn't win in her constituency, then she could not be PM. As far as I know, this has never happened yet)

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Re: Administrations go after leakers

"We now have a UK PM that wasn't voted for"

Oddly enough, I've never voted for a PM. Just like the vast majority of the UK population. That's now it works in the UK. We don't do presidential elections here. I do wish people would stop trotting out that tired old line.

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Re: Administrations go after leakers

So far, the administration preceding the present one has an enormous lead in prosecuting leakers, as against whining about them. It also is the clear leader (off topic here) in deportations, and at least one article reported a year on year decline in deportations for the first full month of the present administration, despite the great agitation about the Muslim bans that actually were not bans and applied to about 10% of all Muslims.

We often get wound up in current discontents to the point of losing all reason and context. Trump will pass, as all earlier presidents have done, and most likely without doing major permanent damage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Administrations go after leakers

> Oh hello, welcome back to the world. [...]

You seem to have seriously misunderstood my point.

My point is that sure, the current US administration is obviously dodgy... but that doesn't mean the previous one's were squeaky clean from the start either.

As far as I can see, in the last several decades they've all been rotten... it's just a matter of degree.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Administrations go after leakers

So just so I understand your position.

1) You hate the Prime Minister because she wasn't the leader of her party at the last election.

2) You hate the Prime Minister because she has called an election.

No, no, you make it too complicated. I'm just not terribly impressed by Theresa May. It's not "hate", though, that word is overused in my opinion. It's merely "dislike".

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Happy

Re: Administrations go after leakers

"Global Warming, and despite a number of people denying it". Lets add Sessins and some fun to it like here, at 11:39

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK0R_06zOOY

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Why would he go after Assange?

Trump probably owes him the election result.

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Re: Why would he go after Assange?

Well the USA has traditionally had a rather novel approach to debt. Namely, if you can invade / overthrow / imprison the person you owe money to, you don't have to pay them. (Libya springs to mind).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why would he go after Assange?

Namely, if you can invade / overthrow / imprison the person you owe money to, you don't have to pay them. (Libya springs to mind).

"Invading a person" (Assange springs to mind)

Sorry, that was too obvious to leave be on a Friday :)

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Re: novel approach to debt.

I think if you pry into the first quarter of the second century of Great Britain as an Empire nation you might also find some pretty nasty ideas on the subject too.

Young empires are built on agression. They mature into tolerance, then fall apart either through apathy or the inabililty of the infrastructure to deal with a wide-reaching catastrophe. Charlemagne died and his empire was pulled apart by his kids. Comms lag did for the Romans. In a way it did for us British too, though complacency was a big factor.

And though I live in the USA and will probably die here, I still harbour a secret wish that Britannia would find some way of rising ascendant again to become a world leader in some tangible way other than by weight of history, though how that can be acheived via Brexit is a bit of a puzzler I have to admit.

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Black Helicopters

Deportation

So absolutely no chance of being deported to the USA (via Uzbekistan) the moment he steps outside the embassy, then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deportation

Not initially. He has some custodial time to serve in the UK first for his undisputed crime of absconding from bail and not attending his court hearing.

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FAIL

Re: Deportation

If he'd gone to Sweden when asked and had been found guilty, he would probably be out and free by now, and beyond the easy legal grab of the Merkins.

But no, his publicity is more important than the truth.

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Re: Deportation

He, probably quite rightly, feared that the moment he was in the custody of any country, he was likely to find himself on a plane to the USA either before or after the sentence.

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