back to article Court doc typo 'reveals' Julian Assange may have been charged in US

An apparent cut-and-paste error has revealed that American prosecutors may have already filed criminal charges against cupboard-dwelling WikiLeaks fugitive Julian Assange. In what appears to be a unrelated case filed in a Virginia district court against someone accused of child molestation, a motion to seal that case – the …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    WTF?

    Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

    Wasn't this exactly what he said would happen?

    1. macjules Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      It must be terrible to know that he always was quite right, they really are out to get him.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      Er...

      Yes,.

      And the problem with that is...?

      The *RUBBISH* was that he would be forcibly extradited against the UK's will, or attacked or shot or killed or something.

      But charges were always possible and pretty much inevitable.

      To apply them to him, they have to apply for extradition. To the UK. Who approve or not based on law. Like everyone else.

      What you've done is taken his hyperbole and spin and applied it to "US charges someone who revealed US classified information, and then MAYBE asks for their extradition to face US charges". Which is totally non-shocking, non-news, and non-exciting.

      Assange, however, was claiming that he'll be "extraordinarily renditioned" or murdered. Which has been utter tripe. And that's obvious because the bloke is stuck in a VERY VERY public place that he cannot ever leave and gives interviews out of his balcony... hardly the actions of someone who fears being sniped.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

        Getting taken out by a headshot while standing on the Ecuadorian Embassy balcony in the UK is guaranteed to generate a shitstorm. Going "missing" under unknown circumstances after taking an unregistered private plane ride is another matter, especially if enough intermediaries are involved.

      2. rg287

        Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

        And the problem with that is...?

        The *RUBBISH* was that he would be forcibly extradited against the UK's will, or attacked or shot or killed or something.

        But charges were always possible and pretty much inevitable.

        To apply them to him, they have to apply for extradition. To the UK. Who approve or not based on law. Like everyone else.

        The problem of course is that these charges are sealed. The US has no business calling itself a free or democratic society if a person can be charged without actually being informed of those charges.

        Moreover, it raises the question as to the purpose of sealing the charges. In order to extradite him, the US would have to reveal those charges - even the lopsided UK-US extradition treaty doesn't stretch to "We want him. Because. We'll tell him about the charges after he's been extradited. Promise."

        Unless they were going to extradite him on one reasonable charge and then unseal a raft of trumped up charges the moment he lands, with the intention of dragging him through a show trial and setting an example. Because if there's one thing you never do, it's embarrass the US government by telling the world that their security is crap, they've been repeatedly breaking their own laws and don't have proper control or oversight over their own agencies. History tells us they'll be far more interested in persecuting the whistleblower than actually remedying their faults.

        None of which makes him any less of an arse, but he wouldn't get a fair trial in the US - a country where at least one Senator called for him to be brought to justice for treason, thus raising the question of whether he was so self-centred he assumed Assange to be American (because nobody has ever done anything worthwhile outside those borders), or whether said US Senator literally does not know the definition of "Treason" and why an Australian can't commit Treason against the USA (or indeed any nation other than Australia).

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

          "The problem of course is that these charges are sealed. The US has no business calling itself a free or democratic society if a person can be charged without actually being informed of those charges."

          They're only sealed at the point of being filed. They do that while they to prepare to collect evidence based on those claims, or because they're getting similar charges filed against others where revealing one means those connected know they're vulnerable.

          It's also used in more complex investigations, where you'll be accruing charges as time goes on, it might be charge A now, and then 3 weeks later as you're still processing the evidence, you might go through 3 other people and suddenly have a charge B to add.

          Before anything can be done about it, those charges become unsealed. Now, another fun thing is that indictments aren't permanent. They have a shelf-life, typically 180 days ('speedy trial act') before they expire. This clock doesn't run when they're sealed, but sealing is a 'special' action, and you really have to justify it to the judge why it's being sealed. If you lie about it, the indictment can be dismissed (especially if absent the seal, it goes over the time limit and thus violates the requirement in the constitution for a speedy trial.

          BTW, an indictment is just an initial step than the UK doesn't have. It's basically a process where a prosecutor presents whatever evidence they feel they want to show to a neutral party (the grand jury) to demonstrate that the minimum barrier of 'probable cause' exists. I don't do criminal law, but my belief is that in the UK, the equivilent step is the police officer's discretion.

          "Unless they were going to extradite him on one reasonable charge and then unseal a raft of trumped up charges the moment he lands, with the intention of dragging him through a show trial and setting an example. "

          Ohhh no. absolutely not. That's actually THE central pillar of all extradition treaties, and is called the 'Doctrine of Speciality'. There's two aspects to it, and usually it's the other one that Assange makes claims about being violated.

          Basically put, a person extradited can only be taken to trial for the crimes listed in the extradition request. Country Alpha makes a request to country Zulu Person A is to be sent to country alpha, to face trial for charges 1-13. You can't slip person B in there, you can't decide that you'll send them on to country bravo, or add charges 14-42. That country, for those charges only, and afterwards, they get to leave the country.

          That's why Assange's claim of 'Sweden will send me to the US' is ludicrous, because it's specifically prohibited in all extradition treaties. That 'can' happen, but there's a specific process. Basically if it did happen, and Alpha wanted to send him on to Bravo, then it'd start a whole new process. In the claimed case, both the UK and Sweden would have new hearings, and we'd use the strictest aspects of the treaties (which is the Swedish treaty with the US by FAR) for both countries, and both countries would have to fully agree.

          that's why it doesn't happen EVER. ESpecially in Assange's case, since the Us-Sweden treaty prohibits extradition for 'political crimes', which these would be, so it'd be an automatic denial of extradition from both the UK and Sweden if the US asked SWeden to send him on.

          by comparison, the UK extradition treaty with the US is unique in that while the US has to show evidence to back up the charges and request in other countries, in the UK the DOJ just has to assert that relevant evidence does exist. It's an INCREDIBLY low bar and one the US would use if they had any desire for Assange during the 600+ days he was roaming free, before the Swedish extradition request became final (and thus no new request could be considered)

          That clear things up?

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      "Wasn't this exactly what he said would happen?"

      AFAICR this was his excuse for jumping bail despite the fact that he'd been in the UK for some time and no extradition had been filed. And despite the fact that the US would have found it much easier to file while he was in the UK than Sweden and the latter, because of the EAW, would have had first dibs on him. When exactly were these charges filed? We don't know but if this is a recent typo it's likely that it was recently. Back when he first painted himself into a corner he was far more likely to have been punished by being ignored.

      The situation now seems to be that Sweden would have to go through the EAW again if he was to emerge and in the meanwhile he'd presumably be doing time for bail jumping giving the US a chance to get its paperwork finalised for an extradition request. He could, of course, stay put for a bit longer providing he avoids giving Ecuador reason to shove him out and just hope that the next POTUS decides to simply treat him as a non-entity.

    4. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      Of course he knew, there is no mystery around how traitors and spys are treated.

      1. HereIAmJH

        Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

        Of course he knew, there is no mystery around how traitors and spys are treated

        We pay for their sex change and release them after 6 years?

      2. Stork Bronze badge

        Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

        Traitor he isn't, as he is not American. Spy is also a long shot. Aiding and abetting?

    5. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      He said it would happen SIX YEARS AGO. It is unlikely this "cut and paste error" was from a 6+ year old case, more likely he has been charged under seal in connection with the Mueller probe right around the time of this August 2018 filing. That probe has farmed out a lot of cases to the eastern district of Virginia where this was found.

      It would be ironic if in his fear that the US would charge him if Hillary was president, he committed a crime in the process of trying to prevent Hillary from becoming president.

      Mueller likely has a number of indictments under seal at the time - knowledge that Assange had been indicted would alert those he was conspiring with that their connections to him may have been exposed. There's little to be gained by keeping his indictment secret, since he's been in hiding for six years and seems willing to sentence himself to an unlimited time of self-exposed exile rather than possible justice for any crimes he may have committed.

      1. Andrew Norton

        Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

        A very good point.

        I was thinking of this entirely in light of the Manning case and investigation, but yes, it could indeed be Mueller related and to his contacts and actions regarding Trump and possibly the DNC leak.

        That would also explain a few things, like why it would be under seal, and why they'd be filing an indictment now when the facts have been known for 8 years (which would have made it the longest grand jury ever, I believe, beating the previous record of 6 years, and the only one to year the standard 3-year time limit TWICE)

    6. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      He’s wrong about the claim that going to Sweden would increase his chances of being extradited to the US.

    7. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

      Not quite what he said would happen. If he is being charged now (and we really don't know that at all), that is many many years later. He could have gone to Sweden, maybe gone to jail for a short time, flown back to Newzealand, all before charges were brought. Now it may be too late.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Well he's a bit of an arse, but...

        Well one hopes that The Aussies would have felt morally obliged to accept him - he is Australian after all

  2. LucreLout Silver badge

    Assange charged? Good! Hopefully this waste of (couch) space can sod off and give us all a well earned rest.

    I wonder what the cat-Ecuadorean for "Vapid, unintelligent, allegedly rapey personality vacuum" is, which presumably is the cats nickname for it's owner.

    1. CrispyD
      Joke

      Re: Vapid

      @LucreLout, according to google it's "Vacío, poco inteligente, supuestamente rapey, vacío de personalidad".

      Better yet, according to Translation Party, equilibrium is reached at "Sexual assault in the intellectual property rights, individual personality vacuum shit".

      I will no retire to the pub, and attempt to inject "Individual personality vacuum shit" into every conversation as my new favourite phrase.

      Bravo sir.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Vapid etc (4 Greengrocer LucreLout)

      cat's nickname for its owner

      8o)

    3. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      @Mr Lout

      Explain how Assange is preventing us from having a good rest. Are you really so obsessed with him that you lie awake at night fuming at his dastardly evasion of blind and pure justice? You need more love in your life. Get a cat.

      And because you dislike him so intensely you would like for him to be cast into the Kafkaesque darkness of the US security dungeons...On second thoughts, don't get a cat; it doesn't deserve you.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Assange charged? Good! Hopefully this waste of (couch) space can sod off and give us all a well earned rest."

      Unless the US really, really wants him and puts pressure on Ecuador to kick him out, then this changes nothing. And even if Ecuador do kick him out, the US is 3rd in line for possible court cases after Assange serves time for bail jumping, then gets sent to Sweden to answer their charges.

  3. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Could someone remind me who this bloke is, I've forgotten.

    1. Scorchio!!

      "Could someone remind me who this bloke is, I've forgotten."

      Umm. Isn't he a friend of that networking contractor who fled to Russia? Ah, Snowden?

    2. Jove Bronze badge

      "Could someone remind me who this bloke is, I've forgotten."

      A Massage Therapist, or something I think

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Could someone remind me who this bloke is, I've forgotten.

      He's an attention whore. If he doesn't get it, he generates it on his own. So ignoring him doesn't stop him.

  4. ukgnome Silver badge

    Fingers crossed we can get shot of this pound shop bond villain wannabe

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprise

    It can't be any surprise that the USA have an interest in him. He made it his job to annoy them,

    This just shows his tactical brilliance in getting himself into a situation where he has to leave a country with a weak extradition treaty with the USA, hot footing it to a country which has not often prevented extradition to the USA that also has an extradition treaty with Sweden, then infringing contempt of court in that country, something which is taken very seriously, by hiding in an embassy entirely surrounded by a country that now has a live arrest warrant for him.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: No surprise

      It can't be any surprise that the USA have an interest in him. He made it his job to annoy them

      And then made the tactical error of supplying information to Trump (probably thinking that it would make him one of Trumps friends). Trouble is, Trump friendship is about as reliable as going to sea in a sieve..

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: No surprise

        @Crazy

        But it's a good sieve, a great sieve. It's the best sieve ever and much better than Obama's sieve.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: No surprise

        i do hope you are not casting the jumblies in the same vein as orange hitler...most offensive.

        also...when did assange lose the 'tm' honorific?

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: No surprise

      " then infringing contempt of court in that country, something which is taken very seriously, "

      First (or subsequent) offence for contempt of court/bail breaches in the UK is most usually a severe telling off and a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket - EVEN for someone with a laundry list of offences and a string of prison terms. Sainted Jools of Asshattedness is only getting attention because he craves it and ensures he gets it. This resulted in Wikileaks becoming the Julian Assange Electric Revelation and Travelling Apparition.

      It shouldn't be a surprise that he has charges under seal in US court. They'd have to be unsealed in order to begin any extradition proceedings unless he was "extraordinarily rendered" - which would trigger a shitstorm that even the USA wouldn't cope with.

      Until fairly reecently one of Julian's larger risks is that the courts would reject the Swedish arrest warrant but immigration would declare him undesireable and put him on a plane to Australia via the shortest available route (LAX) - Now that would be a plane to Perth, but the Australians are highly likely to simply grab him and put him on a plane to LAX themselves. He's a multiply convicted criminal hacker after all and they've long been at the USA's beck and call (see: 1975 Australian Constituional Crisis)

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: No surprise

      "It can't be any surprise that the USA have an interest in him. He made it his job to annoy them,"

      And previously they punished him by ignoring him. Now they're rewarding him by actually paying him attention.

  6. Alister Silver badge

    That's unfortunate, it gives the whinging twat the opportunity for lots of "I told you so" smugness.

    I was hoping he would just whither away in obscurity.

  7. ici.chacal

    Guess he's screwed then, as he always knew he was...

    He's no choice but to stay in the embassy for the rest of his days then, or face an almost certain trip to the US. Could be worse though, at least he's not hiding in the Saudi embassy...

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Guess he's screwed then, as he always knew he was...

      He wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up the toilet there, he would have been flushed down it long ago.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Guess he's screwed then, as he always knew he was...

      "Could be worse though, at least he's not hiding in the Saudi embassy."

      Is Trump friends with the Saudis or not at present (it's hard to keep track)? If so maybe he'll ask them to send a deputation to visit him.

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Guess he's screwed then, as he always knew he was...

        Yeah, murder by the state is always a good thing; especially for those with character flaws such as, oooh, lets think, quite few sociopaths in this very thread. You beautiful people you.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Why is he screwed?

      Given the location of and likely timing of the indictment (note the August 2018 date on the filing here) this is almost certainly in connection with the Mueller probe. That is, for his role in colluding with the Trump campaign on the timing of releases of damaging information about Hillary.

      Not sure what the penalties would be, but we're only talking a few years in a 'country club' prison that's probably not much worse than the room he's currently in at the embassy. And if he cooperated he might get away with probation or a simple ban on future entry to the US. Sentencing himself to life in the embassy would be his choice, he wouldn't be facing hard time or a decades long sentence even if he refused to cooperate - and I don't know why he would refuse, it isn't like he had any prior relationship or allegiance to the anyone involved.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Guess he's screwed then, as he always knew he was...

      "Could be worse though, at least he's not hiding in the Saudi embassy..."

      I was having similar thoughts, but you neat me to it :-)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh

    Too bad people judge him for the character he is and not for what he has done. No, I don't mean the alleged rape case which Swedes closed (after they questioned him). And so conveniently reopened later on.

    He showed what US think of the rest of the world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      Too bad people judge him for the character he is and not for what he has done.

      What, you mean breaking in everywhere and than quickly making it look like it was for some worthy cause to avoid being charged like everyone else who has been caught?

      If there was ever a good reason for Wikileaks, St Jules™ has pretty much destroyed that with his antics.

    2. Andrew Norton

      Re: Meh

      "No, I don't mean the alleged rape case which Swedes closed (after they questioned him). And so conveniently reopened later on."

      That's true, if by 'closed' you mean 'prosecutor thought the women wouldn't go through with it" and if by "conveniently reopened" you mean "women got a lawyer and appealed her decision to close it to a more senior prosecutor who agreed that the first prosecutors reasoning was stupid".

      Or do you mean 'conveneiently ' in the sense of assange fleeing SWeden the day before an interview that had been planned more than a week before, just hours after his lawyer was told he'd be arrested at that interview? or do you mean convenient int he way that said lawyer said he never talked to Assange, between arranging the interview, and the day after the interview and didn't even try?

      Or do you mean convenient like how at his first extradition hearing all his expert witnesses were strongly denouncing the treatment of Assange based entirely on what Assange's lawyer had told them? (fun fact, they basically turned on him when they had evidence that Assange's lawyers had delibereately - 'conveniently'? - kept from them.

    3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      > Too bad people judge him for the character he is and not for what he has done.

      Or to put it another way, it's too bad that Assange took something good like the ideal of transparency driven by Wikileaks and then tainted it horrendously with his own character.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're so vain...

    you even think this court order is about you...

  10. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    That cat has secrets! A campaign to persuade the Ecuadorans to take the cat to a shelter must be set in motion soonest.

    Then, a special team of fur-work experts can spirit the cat to a secret location where it can be plied with tuna, shrimp, long pieces of string and all the catnip mice it can sniff in an effort to loosen its tongue.

    We may yet have found the chink in the vile Assange's armor!

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      a special team of fur-work experts can spirit the cat to a secret location

      So, theoretically speaking, would the contact details of an elite squad of former military felines who escaped from unjust imprisonment and now roam the country solving crimes be of any interest?

      Not that I know about such a team though. Obviously not!

      (I have no wish to face weaponised hairballs being aimed at me)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        "So, theoretically speaking, would the contact details of an elite squad of former military felines who escaped from unjust imprisonment and now roam the country solving crimes be of any interest?"

        The C Team?

      2. gc23

        Re: Bah!

        If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the F-Team.

        (*cue rousing music*)

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      "Then, a special team of fur-work experts can spirit the cat to a secret location where it can be plied with tuna, shrimp, long pieces of string and all the catnip mice it can sniff in an effort to loosen its tongue."

      The above probably would not work with this cat; it has clearly been sold a duff villain when it would have been expecting to have the run of a hollowed out volcano and a tank full piranhas to taunt.

      Embassy cupboards would not rate that highly as a des res for a cat.

    3. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: Bah!

      The Cat is a plant - it has been recording Assange's every move since it arrived.

    4. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

      Re: Bah!

      a special team of fur-work experts

      Your mission, should you choose to accept..no.

      Wanders off and commences own licking genitals

    5. gc23

      Re: Bah!

      I don't know if the cat has Assange's tongue or not but it could be a cat-tastrophe...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't Virginia the home of the CIA ?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Hard to say. They have offices in Virginia and Maryland.

      1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        They have offices all over the place, maybe some of them are even publicly acknowledged! But the headquarters of the CIA are in Virginia.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      The feds can file in any federal court they like. But probably do use one close to home.

    3. Andrew Norton

      Eastern District

      The eastern district federal courts are split into 4 divisions, one of them, Alexandria, includes Quantico (FBI training base) and Langley, which is the CIA headquarters. Also Arlington Hall (former NSA hq, and now where the national foreign affairs training center, where they train people for the Foreign Affairs Institute to become diplomats).

      Generally, all foreign-related cases go there, rather than clog the DC federal court, which tends to focus more on domestic cases involving the government, especially executive agencies.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't do the time? Don't do the crime....

    Time to face the music...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Can't do the time?"

      He's demonstrated pretty well that he can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's not doing time when you have a choice... he doesn't have to stay in the embassy... that is his choice.

        No one put him in this position other than himself...

        If I commit a crime and then lock myself in a five star hotel room for a few years, can I then exit and claim I've served my time?

        No, didn't think so...............

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why the thumbs down?

      Whilst what he enabled may have been a good thing for the wider world - he knew exactly what he was getting in to and nobody made him do it - in fact, he decided to be the face of it - he could have achieved the same goals anonymously.... So if he isn't willing to do the time for his crimes, then he is a fool for letting himself in to that position.

      Why should he get a get out of jail free card? Nobody else would...

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        so its taken the US 8 years and a change of president to charge him in secret? It took weeks to tey to get snowden.

        Now im no fan of the bloke and its never going to shut him up now that he was right all along.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          > so its taken the US 8 years and a change of president to charge him in secret? It took weeks to tey to get snowden.

          As others have noted in the thread, it's more than likely this charge relates to the Mueller investigation rather than Assange/Wikileak's earlier antics. It's in the right district to be related, and the timing's right (rather than years late).

          But, yeah, either way, he's never going to shut up now. But then, he never was

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Why the thumbs down?

        Maybe because no-one knows what, if any, crime he has committed?

        He is not American, therefore there can't be any treason/traitor-type crimes.

        He hasn't entered the US during the times (AFAIK, could be wrong) of any alleged spying, therefore he hasn't committed espionage.

        As far as I'm aware, the only thing he has done is publish classified documents that were given to him by 3rd parties, you know, the sort of thing news outlets like NYT, Reuters, etc. do all the time.

    3. Stork Bronze badge

      @ac: please specify which crime(s). Treason it isn't.

  13. Not Enough Coffee

    "The news that criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr Assange is even more troubling than the haphazard manner in which that information has been revealed"

    Yeah too bad they didn't post it on Wikileaks which his lawyers don't consider a "haphazard manner" to reveal information.

  14. Jove Bronze badge

    Has an agreement been reached?

    So what exactly prompted this move?

    Has something been agreed to make such an exercise worth the effort?

    This development would suggest that some form of action or agreement has facilitated Assange becoming accessible to USA Authorities.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Has an agreement been reached?

      "So what exactly prompted this move?"

      This was accidentally published, somebody tried to save time by copying the document for use in a different case and forgot to change one instance of his name.

  15. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It's the cat I feel sorry for.

    Jules can sit and rot in Ecuadorian comfort for another six years of well earned, self imposed isolation for all I care.

    Hope he does, then the idiots at the embassy can continue to enjoy his aromatic company and paying for his living expenses, which they so well deserve.

  16. Steve 114
    Happy

    Read what you sign

    'Kellen Dwyer', we're looking at you.

  17. Andrew Norton

    it may be something, may be nothing

    Here's the thing, we've no idea what the document this copy-paste came from could be.

    It could be an actual application for sealing, it could be a training case study, it could be from a book. It could have been from an old application from 2011 that was denied, and someone was reading over and copied bits from.

    Thing is, the copied bits don't make sense. his whereabouts are known, he's claimed there's indictments against him so there's no surprise needed to obtain evidence that someone aware of an indictment might destroy..

    So the justification for sealing doesn't fit reality, which means no current judge (or indeed any judge in the last 5 years) would grant it as it provides no benefit. Unsealing and using it to lodge an extradition request from the UK (not ecuador, because while he's in their embassy, he's still in the UK) would materially change nothing.

    So while it may be something, what that something is, is probably a big nothing.

    1. doublelayer

      Re: it may be something, may be nothing

      I was thinking it could be someone being overeager with the automatic spell checker suggestions, assuming of course that Assange is a popular enough term for some spellchecker to think that's a likely term to use.

      1. Andrew Norton

        Re: it may be something, may be nothing

        That was my first thought, but it's a copy-paste, because the two paragraphs that include his name don't make sense with the surrounding paragraphs and the case as a whole.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some of the "justice" expressed on this forum

    looks like something from the 18th century...

  19. Obesrver1

    He could have been a hero of truth

    If Assange had copped the shit from the U.S. he would have scored world goody points. and been a hero, enduring the hardship for truth.

    but instead he has spend 6 years, is it 6 years now or more, hanging out with the Ecuadorians in their embassy. and now also needs to cop it for swapping accommodation without the Brits permission.

    Eh, a real saga, yawn.... What's on telly ?

  20. Danny 2 Silver badge

    For what it is worth

    The secret US indictment isn't about Swedish allegations of sexual misconduct. It isn't about helping Trump or hacking the DNC emails. There was a secret federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, all over him since 2010. This is just confirmation of that.

    It's about Wikileaks releasing important factual information about the Afghan and Iraq occupations. That is journalism, as used by international media such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, etc. You might not like Assange, understandably, but if Trump gets to imprison him then the next week it will be Jim Acosta, or Serge Kovaleski, or Ben Jacobs.

    1. Andrew Norton

      Re: For what it is worth

      it's unlikely to be that. They know that he had very little involvement in the leaks, compared to the others they were investigating - he literally just wrote hte press releases (what, you thought he actually did the work? he has acolytes for that, while he decides how to 'maximise impact' and 'control the message'.

      Those that did the actual work have travelled in and out of hte US for years without a problem.

      Another fun thing, the longest known Grand Jury investigation is 6 years. Are you telling me they spent 8 on this, when a lot was prety clear cut, and if they'd wanted to try for an indictment, it would have been easy enough to get one back in 2011 with what they knew.

      Plus it'd require someone to be really sloppy, given none of the prosecutors involved in the the case these paragraphs were in were invovled in the Manning investigation, while they have been working cases referred by Mueller.

      Also, you probably don't know US law that well, but the paragraph that was included about the reasons for sealing, yeah, that doesn't make sense in context with the Manning case, but does for the Mueller case. You have to prove a need to seal it, and since Assange has been claiming there's a secret indictment about the manning case since 2012 (only, coincidentally, starting the day after he lost his final appeal and was told he'd be sent to sweden in 2 weeks, not a peep about it for the 600+ days he was in the UK and the US could have filed an extradition request, or easily snatched him)

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: For what it is worth

        Hiya Andrew,

        I'm a Scot and I do not know US law at all. I recently decided to go to jury duty for the first time and I'm busy researching Scottish law - the history of the 'not proven' verdict is mind blowing. The Killing Time? My school history skipped the 17th century.

        That's an aside. Yes, I do believe that a secret grand jury charged Assange in 2010, and I see no reason why that indictment lapsed or was withdrawn. Perhaps it has been reinvigorated by Mueller, and perhaps for good reason - Assange has made a series of poor choices, to put it charitably.

        My point is the unstated US charges against him will be against his journalism, and that is not good enough. This indictment presents a risk to every journalist, and therefore a risk to every democracy.

        You have to protect your journalists, even the scummy ones, maybe especially the scummy ones.

        Also, don't believe the press! I read about the UKs longest trial, lasting twenty months, just after I endured a twenty month trial.

        I knew of Assange long before Wikileaks, I used to use one of his network stressing tools to help secure my employers networks. I am dismayed by some of his subsequent behaviour but am more dismayed by my governments response and think the sensible path is to deport him to Australia or Ecuador rather than waste more MET police time on him. You have a knife crime epidemic in London and cops are still tied up watching him? Daft.

        No disrespect to you, I enjoy your comments here.

        Dan

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: For what it is worth

          ok, here's how we know it's not from 2010.

          Because compared to the others investigated by that grand jury, Assange did the least. It's well known he didn't do any work ont he actual docs, that was others (like Birgitta Jonnsdotter who worked on the collateral murder video). also, said people have come to the US since then and left (I wish I could have met up with them - was invited but I was nowhere near NYC at the time)

          Second, if they had done it back then, the idea time to unseal it and use it for an extradition order was between december 2010 and July 2012, when he was out and about int he UK. the US has a very lax extradition treaty with the US. It has a very strict one with sweden. Once the Swedish order was final (no futher appeals possible) there was no chance of US extradition. That point was 2 days before he ran into the embassy.

          Also, under the thing known as 'doctrine of specialty', only the things and crimes int he extradition treaty can be tried in the country asking for htem. You can't add more charges, you can't send the person off elsewhere. had the Us wanted Sweden to sent them assange, then they'd have to do a whole nother extradition request and court battle, using the strictest laws, and it'd have to be approved by both the UK and Sweden. Oh, and Sweden doesn't extradite for political crimes, as Assange knows well (he referenced that when he annoucned he was seeking residency in Sweden, specifically that they don't allow extradition to the US for political crimes.) Sweden actaully refused to even consider extraditing the one and only CIA officer to ever defect to the USSR, whats more it was when NATO power was important because of a destablised russia, and where the president was in a re-election bid, had been vice president when the guy had defected, and had also been head of the CIA. Trump and obama's claimed motivations were NOTHING on Bush Snr's, and yet Sweden still told them to naff off.

          Third, indictments only have a certain shelf life, usually 180 days. if you don't use it in that time, it's lost. The clock doens't run if it's sealed though, BUT to get it sealed and continue keepign it sealed, you ahve to convince a judge that awareness of the indictment will jeopardise evidence and cause witnesses/suspects to flee. In the massing case, since we know it wasn't before 2012 (because it wasn't acted on) it was after he was in the embassy, saying there's an indictment for me on these charges, and every relevant person was known. There is no justification to seal it (because if it were unsealed for use, it would be trivial to prove improper sealing, and thus a violation fo the speedy trial act, and it'd be thrown out and the prosector explaining his perjury to the judge.

          So thats how we know it's nothing to do with the Manning stuff, and must be mueller.

          Now, onto other things. You didn't endure a 20 month trial. you may have had a trial which spanned 20 months, but that's not uncommon. Hell, the civil trials for prenda took a lot longer. by '20 month trial' they meant continuously heard. not 'here's a hearing, adjurn for 6 momths and another hearing, then a continuouance, and another hearing 9 months later, which would be 3 days of trials over 15 months.

          Also, no, no cops are watching him, and haven't been for years. And deport him to australia or ecuador on what basis? Right now the UK courts want him (abscondment) and then if it's before 2020, Sweden will want him for the rape charges (they were suspended because they can't pursue the next step, which is arrest and charging, not because they don't think there's a case)

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: For what it is worth

            You are correct, I didn't endure a 20 month trial, I did have a trial which spanned 20 months. 13 times I had to appear, three days I had to sit in gaol, I got no expenses and had to pay for my travel, and it was dismissed the first time I was allowed to talk. You'll be pleased to learn that after advice from this forum I am about to be a juror on a serious case, although I won't be compensated financially.

            I don't think you've proved your case on Assange, and I note other people have voted you down - I won't because you put some thought into your reply even if you are incorrect.

            Cops are obviously watching Assange, rightly or wrongly or remotely, at cost to the UK tax payer. If I was Home Secretary then I'd assure him he wouldn't be deported to the insane and barbaric US 'justice' system, and would only have to sit in a UK prison for a few weeks, that'd save us all a wad. As is though, if I were him then I'd stay put.

            1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

              Re: For what it is worth

              @Danny 2: the fatal flaw with your hypothesis is the need for specificity of the crime. What, exactly, did Assange do in 2010 that was worthy of indictment, and yet not extradition? The issue is that non-Americans publishing stuff outside of the USA which embarrasses America is not a crime inside the USA; it's easy to mock the US legal system, but the First Amendment is probably the most significant bit of law in the world today.

              But interfering with an election inside the USA is a US Federal crime, no matter where you are.located.

              I know, the conspiracy theory is so much sexier, but it's nonsense.

              Lastly, lots of people have whined about sealed indictments, but there's nothing morally or practically wrong with them. Quite the contrary: they are absolutely necessary in any judicial system where the subject may choose to, say, lock himself in a broom closet of a foreign embassy in order to escape arrest. Personally, I think the pro-Assange nutters are deliberately conflating the idea of a sealed indictment with that of a secret trial-in-absentia.

            2. Andrew Norton

              Re: For what it is worth

              I'm not worried about the down-voters, there's always gonig to be his true believers that will defend him no matter what. The sad fact is they constantly point to just one source as their justificatoin, that being assange's own website.

              That site ignores a lot of facts (the 'lie by omission') sensationalises others (it likes to call the opinion by the UN working group - which was written by 2 people of a 5 person committee, with the other 3 seats consisting of a vacant seat, the one who was opposed and called the opinion lunacy, and the last member who was also opposed to the opinion but had to recuse themselves because they were Australian like Assange - a 'UN Ruling' [which it's not] with the force of law [it isn't].

              Assange could also provide some evidence to back his claims he didn't flee Sweden. Really simple stuff in fact. He could provide a ticket stub for his trip to the UK, showing when he went, and when he booked it to show it wasn't booked right after his lawyer had been told he was going to be arrested the next day. They could show some evidence of his business in the UK that had been negotiated before that time too. That would bolster his case incredibly, yet he's refused to do it. Even bak in Feb2011 he refused to share his travel details with the court to support his own claim that he wasn't fleeing after his lawyer was told of the arrest. he couldn't point to a single act in the UK that wasn't arranged after he got to the UK, or the evening of his travel (basically he can show no reason why he had to go to the UK)

              there's just so many holes and contradictions in Assange's own statements, and claims that it's hard to take him seriously. Remember, he was in the UK for 600+ days, taking the same daily route each of those days along a rural country lane, on foot, at a fixed time, to a rural police station to report for bail. It was only when the threat of US extradition was removed (by a final order being handed down by the SCOTUK) that he suddenly worried about US 'snatch squads', and 'US extradition', despite the demonstration of Lee howard that he mentioned in August 2010 when he announced that he was seeking residency there (lee howard was the only cia official to defect to the USSR. Sweden refused to hand him over to the US, despite the president having a reelection fight, being the VP during the defection and a former CIA head..

              There's just nothing to Assange's claims, and never have been. And I've discussed this with a few friends, including some that were also investigated by this same grand jury (and came to the US to visit without any problems in 2013) and another who has visited Assange in the embassy a few times.

              There's just nothing to his claims, and never has been, except 'I'm julian assange, and laws shouldn't apply to me because I own a website where other people provide the content"

  21. wrangler

    While the article considers only that the reference to "charged" is retrospective, it could also be prospective, the sealing being requested in case Assange is later charged. I wouldn't rely overmuch on reading meaning into the lawyers' ability to avoid awkward conjugation.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A cat for a pet?

    He should have an Irish Wolfhound.

    Then he could dress as one and walk out.....

  23. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "So the justification for sealing doesn't fit reality, which means no current judge (or indeed any judge in the last 5 years) would grant it as it provides no benefit. Unsealing and using it to lodge an extradition request from the UK (not ecuador, because while he's in their embassy, he's still in the UK) would materially change nothing."

    Although the Ecuador embassy is in the UK, the UK authorities have no jurisdiction to enter the embassy to arrest and extradite him. What makes you think that an extradition application from the US to the UK holds any more weight to enter the Ecuador embassy than the UK's own arrest warrant that was issued for him breaching his bail or when he was wanted in Sweden on sex offence charges?

    1. Andrew Norton

      I never said it did.

      However, he's not in ecuador, he's in the UK.

      That an extradition order can't be enacted, doesn't mean it can't be applied for.

      It can't be an extradition request placed on ecuador, because he's not there. now they can make a request to have him leave the embassy, but still the extradition request would have to be filed with the UK, because as soon as he steps outside the flat, he's libel for arrest, no matter whose custody he's in.

      thats why

  24. fpx
    Angel

    The Cat Angle

    Ecuador is doing the kitty a favor by keeping Assange around. It fully deserves round the clock attention by its resident can opener. They're absolutely right to demand that Assanges takes proper care of his cat! Cat abuse to be punishable by extradition.

    On the other hand, if Assange proves himself worthy of the cat, a nice Ecuadorian pasture to both of them!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know if this is relevant...

    ...but I was reading about Frank William Abignale Jr. a few days ago, and found out that during his paperhanging days, he spent time in prison in Sweden.

    After his time in Sweden, he was supposed to be heading off to serve time in Italy.

    The U.S. did some kind of thing which forced Sweden to hand him over to the custody of the U.S at the end of his sentence.

    I guarantee the same thing would happen here.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: I don't know if this is relevant...

      @AC, you guarantee it, do you? For offense?

      The "some kind of thing" was "revoke Abignale's US passport", which meant that he couldn't travel to Italy (to face trial there), only to his country of citizenship (the USA). Italy could have applied to the USA to extradite him back to Italy to stand trial, but they obviously thought that 12 years in a US prison pretty much covered it (and likely that the Italian equivalent of a statute of limitations would have expired while he was in the American prison, so those charges would expire). And it's entirely possible that, once he agreed to help the FBI, they asked the Italians to hang fire on any charges that might still have been outstanding...

      So how, exactly, would that work with an Australian/Ecuadorian citizen? You assert that the "same thing" would happen, but I don't see how (a) the USA could revoke an Australian passport _or_ an Ecuadorian one, and (b) even if they could, "the same thing" would result in deportation to Australia and/or Ecuador.

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