back to article WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet

Julian Assange has been formally accused by the US government of breaking the Espionage Act, expanding the legal case against him and raising significant free speech issues. The Department of Justice announced on Thursday it was effectively alleging the WikiLeaks founder acted as a foreign spy when he published hundreds of …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    I was fine with the first indictment

    If it really was true he induced / helped others to break into systems then he's guilty of a crime.

    But a lot of these new charges amount to "being someone we have decided we won't call a journalist", which would be quite dangerous - especially with a president who thinks he has the right to decide who is "fake news" and who isn't, based on how their reporting treats him.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I was fine with the first indictment

      It does seem typical of the US justice system though. Throw the whole book at them and see what sticks.

      1. revenant Silver badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        Throw the whole book at them and see what sticks.

        As if written on a block of Post-It Notes.

      2. Stork Silver badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        I just think it may be counterproductive (from the US point of view) in this case. Sweden has a ban, and perhaps even UK is reluctant to extradite persons for political crimes.

        The hacking charge may be accepted both places, but it is easier to argue that the more recent charges are political.

        Oh, and Mr. Assanges itenary still has to be resolved. Perhaps the best bet for US "justice" is a UK-SWE-AUS-US round trip? From Assange's PoW, UK-SWE-Equador (where he may disappear under strange circumstances). Fellah painted himself into a corner.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          Although this is an extremely serious matter - both for Mr Assange and for the rule of law and free speech in general - it will be amusing to see how the British and Swedish governments manage to square that circle.

          (By the way - I do know that squaring the circle has been proved to be impossible. But somehow politicians and business people keep on trying to do it).

          I would be prepared to place a substantial bet that those "bans" do not prevent them from sending Assange to the USA. (Although they might try to save face somewhat by pretending he has been kidnapped or some such nonsense. After the Skripal farce one can no longer imagine that they care about public opinion).

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          I think that's the idea.

          Trump doesn't really want Assange on trial in the US, no telling what sort of embarrassments that might lead to. What he wants is to pose as a tough guy for his followers, provoke the press into attacking him, maybe provoke Congress into impeaching him, and provoke the Europeans into defying him. All of which will play directly to his standard speech about how it's America against the world and no one but him will stand up to them.

          Assange himself is irrelevant, nobody except Assange really cares what happens to him. He's become a prop now. Potentially useful for all sorts of people and purposes, but only for what their posturing says to their own voters.

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        A better description of the "US justice system" would be:

        "Hang the jerk now, and we'll think about a trial later".

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          Hang the jerk now, and we'll think about a trial later

          "Hang 'em first, try 'em later."

          - Judge Roy Bean

      4. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        This is just the first tranche.

      5. GnuTzu Silver badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        "...see what sticks."

        At what point does it become harassment?

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: I was fine with the first indictment

      If it really was true he induced / helped others to break into systems then he's guilty of a crime.

      You give me a photo of the insides of the President's football, I'll give you a packet of popcorn. OK, a silly example, but it's something I've always wanted to know*. I've also been very curious about the 'journalist' aspects of Assange's case. If a journalist pays a source for a story, is that normal, or inducement? If a journalist obtains classified information, does that exempt them from official secrets, or espionage charges?

      Personally I think espionage may be stretching things, ie that's normally state sponsored, or sometimes corporate, and legislation seems to be worded that way. Then there's official secrets as a backstop. They're usually simpler bits of legislation along the lines of being in possession of classified information without lawful authority. Then it seems to be a case of hoping the authorities won't prosecute.

      So for me, it's where the lines should be drawn between potentially justifying publishing something on public interest grounds vs the need to protect sensitive information. If the balance sways too far, it'll be a lot harder for journalists to hold government accountable.

      *OK, I bet a packet of popcorn + some butter that it's not anywhere nearly as fancy as it's shown in most technothrillers.

      1. Barry Rueger

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        If a journalist pays a source for a story, is that normal, or inducement?

        Actually it's pretty standard practice in the UK. Your local practices may differ.

        1. Mongrel

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          Actually it's pretty standard practice in the UK. Your local practices may differ.

          Depends on the order things happened in, as I understand it;

          If the criminal act happened and then the perpetrator went to the press (paid or not) then that was part of the journalists job and printing that information is just the journo doing their job.

          If the journalist (or publication) paid a third party to gather the information illegaly then that's is a criminal act (see phone tapping & News of the World).

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          If a US government employee pays a newspaper or radio/TV station to publish a story - or even hands the story to them for publication without editing - that is certainly normal practice. And has been for decades.

          Why should citizens or foreigners have less freedom to know the facts?

      2. Anne-Lise Pasch

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        And if the journalist is crowdfunded, where is the limit of culpability...?

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: I was fine with the first indictment

      But a lot of these new charges amount to "being someone we have decided we won't call a journalist", which would be quite dangerous

      I agree, it would, and it should rightly cause concern, however, simply saying "No, it's OK, I'm a journo" should rightly not be viewed as a permit to do whatever you please. If being a journalist is to convey any leniency or privilege at all, then there has to both be some definition of what constitutes an actual journalist, and some oversight on their activities to ensure they don't overstep the mark (again).

      especially with a president who thinks he has the right to decide who is "fake news" and who isn't, based on how their reporting treats him

      That seems to me to be mostly borne of the fact that the left have decided, for reasons only knowable to them, to refuse to accept when they lose a vote. Democracy absolutely requires that the losers acknowledge their defeat and that they accept it. It simply cannot survive when the losing side pretend they might have won or simply want to obstruct whoever won the vote from implementing their mandate.

      If I had to venture an opinion on why, I'd have to guess it's because their group-think has led them to mistakenly believe their views occupy some moral high ground and that other perspectives are invalid or somehow nasty or evil. Emotive fascism, of a sort.

      From the article:

      But at the same time many of the methods he employs to get hold of information and made it publicly available are effectively the same, making it hard to draw a distinction.

      I've always considered Assange something of an egotistical tosser, but I'd given him enough credit to assume even he wouldn't stoop to journalist levels.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        "Democracy absolutely requires that the losers acknowledge their defeat and that they accept it."

        No it does not. Democracy allows the argument to be advanced again and again. Just about every advance to what we now accept as right and proper has been defeated democratically, possibly many times, and then, democratically, accepted.

        Losers resorting to violence after losing democratically is, of course, another matter.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          No it does not. Democracy allows the argument to be advanced again and again.

          It allows the argument to be advanced again yes, but it doesn't allow implementation to be aborted. Trump gets to be President. That doesn't stop Pelosi disliking his views or arguing against them, but it absolutely does require Obama hand over the keys to 1600 Penn Ave.

          You have to accept you lost the election. You can keep arguing, but you can't deny the result or pretend it didn't happen.

          Just about every advance to what we now accept as right and proper has been defeated democratically, possibly many times, and then, democratically, accepted.

          Yes, but power transitioned and the world moved forward because people accepted they had lost the vote and needed to rethink and reframe their argument.

          This pretense that Trump isn't president, the UK doesn't have to leave the EU etc etc it's all just destroying democracy and polarising and entrenching positions. It helps nobody.

          It'd be far more constructive to accept Trump as president, because he is, and argue that he's a bad president or that his policies suck. Nothing good will be achieved by the refusal to accept his democratically given right to the Presidency.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            This pretense that Trump isn't president, the UK doesn't have to leave the EU etc etc it's all just destroying democracy and polarising and entrenching positions. It helps nobody.

            Since Brexit has been dragged into this... the UK doesn't have to leave the EU, that's simply not how our parliamentary democracy works, and the reasons why are related to the way the vote was conducted being a terrible idea in the first place. With no plan on how the thing was to be implemented or timetable set out the outcome can only be regarded as a statement of intent. Now, having looked at what the finest minds of this country (!?) can actually deliver and how it stacks up against what was promised, if the democratic intent changes we don't need to leave and then re-enter as if there's some kind of democratic computational queue to be obeyed.

            The rush to trigger article 50 by the eurosceptics in the tory party as if they were thieves trying to escape with the loot has actually undermined any effort to get a sensible resolution to the thing. Though the cynic would suggest their personal goals aren't necessarily aligned with the best interests of the country anyway.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            "You have to accept you lost the election. You can keep arguing, but you can't deny the result or pretend it didn't happen."

            "Obama is not my President, I didn't vote for him, he's a Democrat"

            "Trump is not my President, I didn't vote for him, he's a Republican"

            Repeat ad nauseam every four years (names changed regularly to protect the guilty)

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: I was fine with the first indictment

              "Trump is not my President, I didn't vote for him, he's a Republican... and I'm im the UK" :-)

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                So, downvoter, I'm meant to call him "my president" even though I'm not American, and don't live there?

                1. Bernard M. Orwell

                  Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                  Well, clearly they expect Assange to do so.

                  Can't wait for the brain fart argument that the 1st amendment doesn't apply because he's not a US citizen, but the espionage laws do because he's a spy. US logic for you.

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        "Democracy absolutely requires that the losers acknowledge their defeat and that they accept it. It simply cannot survive when the losing side pretend they might have won or simply want to obstruct whoever won the vote from implementing their mandate."

        No.

        To quote Ian Hislop: “And suck it up? And what bit of it don’t I get? You lost. Loser. Failing. Sad. Hashtag ‘go home’. I know the arguments but I'm afraid no, I'm going on. As I keep trying to explain to people who are very, very upset about this, democracy works by people continuing to argue about the issues involved. When someone wins an election, the opposition doesn't say that’s it, thank you very much, we’re going home for the next five years. You continue with the argument because it is in everyone’s interests for you to present those points of view.”

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: I was fine with the first indictment

          Hislop - true to form - was cleverly confusing the issue. There are two separate propositions here.

          1. When an election has been held, everyone is bound by the results. That is, if the election chose a government or a representative, everyone concerned is bound to accept - if not support - that government or representative until the next election. The opposition is NEVER allowed to claim that the duly elected government is illegitimate - that's what the US-backed troublemakers routinely do in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, etc. That's why, in the UK, they are called "Her Majesty's LOYAL Opposition". They are allowed to argue and challenge in Parliament to the best of their ability, but they are not allowed to question the government's authority.

          The same goes for a referendum. When a clear majority of British citizens chose to leave the EU, that settled the issue for once and for all. Otherwise those in power could use the time-honoured EU tactic of simply having a new referendum annually until they get the result they like - and THEN there are no more referenda, of course.

          2. However, an election or referendum does not stop opponents of the winning side from continuing to argue their case. At that point, however, it is a lost cause - until the next election. And as referenda are one-off events, there should never be a second referndum on the same question.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            It was an advisory referendum, Parliament decided they wanted to follow said advice. The leave campaigns lied and cheated and don't even bother denying that any more.

            1. Oddlegs

              Re: I was fine with the first indictment

              It was an advisory referendum

              I'd have a lot of respect for any remain leaning politician who came out and simply said "the referendum was only advisory, we think it's a really bad idea so we're not going to enact the result".

              There's a reason they haven't though. It would be political suicide. You can't state "This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide" in an official campaign leaflet and then later just say "nahh, we were only kidding before when we said it was your choice". Far better for your career to try to convince the people that you're following their will by not leaving.

              1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                > There's a reason they haven't though. It would be political suicide.

                Reminds me of the old saying that politicians know the right thing to do, they just don't know how they'd get re-elected afterwards.

              2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                @Oddlegs: "It would be political suicide"

                It has been suicide. Cameron fell on his sword pretty quick. The 2017 election saw the Govt lose it's majority and forced a coalition. MPs have resigned their posts in droves. May is now falling on her sword. Brexit is political poison.

              3. Bernard M. Orwell

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                "I'd have a lot of respect for any remain leaning politician who came out and simply said "the referendum was only advisory, we think it's a really bad idea so we're not going to enact the result"."

                Vote LibDem then.

            2. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: I was fine with the first indictment

              It was an advisory referendum

              There's no such thing.

              The leave campaigns lied and cheated

              Ok, so what happened to the punishment budget? What happened to the immediate recession? The crash in house prices? The crash in the stock market? The rise in unemployment? And you think Leave lied??! I have a bridge you may like to buy. F.F.S.

              1. BigSLitleP Silver badge

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                It was an advisory referendum

                "There's no such thing." - https://fullfact.org/europe/was-eu-referendum-advisory/

                "What happened to the immediate recession?" - have we left yet?

                "The crash in house prices? " - Have we left yet?

                "The crash in the stock market?" - Have we left yet?

                "The rise in unemployment?" - Have we left yet?

                "And you think Leave lied?" - Nope, it's been proven that they lied.

                1. Oddlegs

                  Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                  To quote from the BBC:

                  George Osborne says he will have to slash public spending and increase taxes in an emergency Budget to tackle a £30bn "black hole" if the UK votes to leave the European Union

                  The Guardian states that the emergency budget would occur "within weeks of an out vote"

                  We were told those things would happen simply after voting to leave. Here we are three years down the line and the economy seems to be continuing in an ok fashion, better than most of the eurozone in fact. Could it have been even better following a remain vote? Well we'll never know.

                  Both sides stretched the truth during the campaign but the same could be said about literally all political campaigns ever. Read up on how the leave campaign broke electoral law. It was nothing to do with telling lies.

                2. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                  "What happened to the immediate recession?" - have we left yet?

                  "The crash in house prices? " - Have we left yet?

                  "The crash in the stock market?" - Have we left yet?

                  "The rise in unemployment?" - Have we left yet?

                  The remainer lies were not predicated on having left - these were just the day one after the referendum effects that were being bandied about.

                  But the biggest lie of all, the absolute whopper of the whole campaign, that the EU has kept peace in Europe since the second world war is both factually and readily demostrably a lie. Yet remainers seem to believe it.

                  Why only this afternoon I had one tell me in all seriousness that to vote to leave means every rEU citizen in the UK would be kicked out. Where do they get this nonsense?

                  1. BigSLitleP Silver badge

                    Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                    You keep trying to move the goal posts and no-one is having it.

                    The Leave campaign lied over and over again. The Leave campaign also broke campaigning laws. If everything else you have posted is so "factual and demonstrable" then please provide evidence.

                    The fact remains that Brexit promises everything and delivers nothing. It has no purpose.

                  2. Schultz

                    People being wrong or lying...

                    is part of human nature, so if course you can expect people on both sides, remainers and leavers, to do it. The more relevant question I have for you is whether YOU are trying to lie to me and whether you are smart enough to realize where you were right and wrong.

                    Making mistakes is normal. Being the in denial about your mistakes once they become obvious is just stupid or malicious. Take your pick.

                  3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                    Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                    "vote to leave means every rEU citizen in the UK would be kicked out"

                    Of course not. Just that a hostile environment will make most of them leave sooner or later. Good enough for you?

                    Don't worry, you'll have your decline as soon as Brexit happens. If it happens.

                  4. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                    And your lot keep coming out with the bollocks about the Lisbon Treaty.

                    https://fullfact.org/europe/viral-list-about-lisbon-treaty-wrong/

                    For lying, cheating, scheming, and manipilation, the leave campaign wins hands down.

                    And, following the Trump text-book, they've come out with lie after lie to scare the stupid and ignorant.

                    Also, like Trump, they don't seem to care how obvious their lies are. There are videos out there with the leave campaign saying "no-one is saying we'd leave the customs union."

                    And Farage said that "a 52%" majority would not be sufficient, it would require a further vote down the line.

                    And how about Turkey?

                    Still, they don't care, because still, morons refuse to see the truth in front of them.

                    So don't try and pull that crap. the leave campaign was built on bullshit from start to finish, and as for "EU citizens being kicked out", you'll find that was actually started by the jingoistic/racist hardcore alt-right brexitters... So "oops", a bit of an owngoal there.

              2. Bernard M. Orwell
                Facepalm

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                There's no such thing as an advisory referendum?

                Bullshit. Here you go:

                "The European Union Referendum Act 2015 – the law that allowed the referendum to take place – didn't specify what would happen in the event of a vote to leave. ... It said “because of the sovereignty of Parliament, referendums cannot be legally binding in the UK, and are therefore advisory”.11 Oct 2017"

                Now, before going all gammon faced, read that sentence again:

                "because of the SOVEREIGNTY of Parliament, referendums cannot be legally binding in the UK, and are therefore ADVISORY"

                How does that ruling by the EU, backing our SOVEREIGNTY, sit with your Brexit fantasy? Gotta be confusing that poor little brane.

          2. Valerion

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            And as referenda are one-off events, there should never be a second referndum on the same question.

            Why not? Sure, not immediately after, but after a few years it seems appropriate. Circumstances have changed. More detail is known. The population itself has changed. Many of the "facts" have proven to be lies (on both sides).

            Many argue that the original 1970s referendum wsa the defining vote and should never be challenged.

            I suppose the real problem is that we still don't know for sure what are facts and what are lies, and still have no idea what leaving might actually look like.

          3. BigSLitleP Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            "When a clear majority of British citizens chose to leave the EU, that settled the issue for once and for all."

            For a start, even Nigel Fromage himself said that a 2% gap can't be called a clear majority. Also, 35% of a population is not a clear majority. Secondly, no vote on anything settles an issue once and for all. Otherwise there would be no point having general elections every 4 years.

            "And as referenda are one-off events, there should never be a second referndum on the same question."

            There was a referendum on joining the EU years ago, so i guess we shouldn't have had one about leaving? Great! Let's cancel the whole stupid Brexit thing and get back to some sensible behaviour instead.

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: I was fine with the first indictment

              There was a referendum on joining the EU years ago

              WRONG! The UK never joined the EU. The people were never asked.

              The UK voted to join the common market, not the rest of the batshit crazy empire. Do try to keep up at the back.

              1. BigSLitleP Silver badge

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                "WRONG!" - Did you go to the Donald Trump school of debating?

                So we voted to join the common market...... that means we don't need a vote on leaving it then? So we should stay in it then?

                Get off your magic carpet, it's a whole new world full of people that think Brexit is a Jafar-ce.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                Even Wikipedia knows that political integration was from the start, a goal of the EEC and the ECSC before it.

                It's really weird that so many Brits still believe strongly that it was only some sort of purely economic agreement. It was never only that. But the UK did benefit a lot of the economic part, so maybe they forgot that there always was a strong political side, too.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Economic_Community#Background

                1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                  Yep - the very first bullet point in the Government leaflet from the 1975 referendum said:

                  "The aims of the Common Market are:

                  - To bring together the peoples of Europe"

                  image: https://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/objects/lse:div796mek/view/

                  leaflet: https://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/objects/lse:fug282yox

              3. Bernard M. Orwell

                Re: I was fine with the first indictment

                Dear god, you do like to split hairs don't you?! We didn't join the EEC, technically, we joined the European Community (the forerunner to the EU) and yes, there was indeed a national referendum on whether we should. It was held in 1975.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_United_Kingdom_European_Communities_membership_referendum

                Perhaps you should be trying to keep up at the back instead, but you seem to be too busy standing in the playground shouting to actually learn anything.

          4. Mike Moyle Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            "The opposition is NEVER allowed to claim that the duly elected government is illegitimate..."

            Do you mean as was done for the two terms of the previous President without valid cause (See: Birther, Merrick Garland, etc.) as opposed to the current self-dealing, fellow-traveling (if not actively conspiring), President (who actually lost the vote but won in territory held)?

          5. batfink Bronze badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            Bollocks. Back in 1975 the UK decided, via a referendum, to join the EU (well EEC as then).

            So by your logic, that should've settled the question and we should never have had a referendum about leaving it again.

            1. Blue Pumpkin
              FAIL

              Re: I was fine with the first indictment

              FFS read some history and at least get the basic facts correct

              The Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath, took the UK into the EEC in January 1973.

              The referendum of 1975, under Wislon's government, who backed leave, was whether or not to continue to stay in Europe.

              The electorate expressed significant support for EC membership, with 67% in favour on a national turnout of 64%.

              The referendum result was not legally binding - because referenda / ums are not, they are public opinion polls to assist parliament - however, it was widely accepted that the vote would be politically binding on future Westminster Parliaments.

          6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            "2. However, an election or referendum does not stop opponents of the winning side from continuing to argue their case. At that point, however, it is a lost cause - until the next election."

            Get a group of 5 Brexiteers together and ask them what Brexit should look like and you'll get 350,000,000 different answers on the side of a bus!

          7. Stork Silver badge

            Re: I was fine with the first indictment

            In the case of Venezuela, the current president (Maduro!) did his best to disadvantage the opposition at the elections to the legislature but failed. He then invented a new and more obedient one.

      3. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Democracy absolutely requires that the losers acknowledge their defeat

        So why doesn't the White House cooperate with the democratically elected lower house then?

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Democracy absolutely requires that the losers acknowledge their defeat

          So why doesn't the White House cooperate with the democratically elected lower house then?

          The democratically elected senate block the bills?

          1. Truckle The Uncivil

            Re: Democracy absolutely requires that the losers acknowledge their defeat

            Like the Republicans blocked the appointment of two Supreme Court nominations and delayed and delayed until they had the opportunity to appoint them (in disregard of all tradition) ?

      4. Palpy

        Re: "..mostly borne of the fact that the left..."

        Wrong. Here's the quotes:

        "...especially with a president who thinks he has the right to decide who is "fake news" and who isn't, based on how their reporting treats him..."

        LucreLout: "That seems to me to be mostly borne of the fact that the left have decided, for reasons only knowable to them, to refuse to accept when they lose a vote."

        Nope.

        Trump keeps up a constant drumbeat of lies -- "China is paying huge tariffs that go straight into the US treasury", for one incredibly stupid recent (and ongoing) instance. And he promotes those as truth -- "true news" if you will. And then he turns around and calls fact-based, verifiably accurate reporting "fake news".

        It has nothing to with losing or winning elections.

        It has everything to do with Trump's war on facts.

        Look, if we will not distinguish between facts and lies, then we cannot make intelligent decisions. Tariffs are a tax paid by the importer of goods, not by the country the goods are imported from. If you know that fact, then you have one piece of information about how economics works. And you can begin to make informed decisions about tariffs, trade pacts, and international economics.

        But when the press reports the facts -- that China doesn't pay Trump's tariffs, American importers do -- and then Trump calls that "fake news", you have a leader who is undercutting his own nation's hold on reality.

        From the standpoint of the national interest, what Trump is doing is incredibly damaging. From the standpoint of getting himself re-elected, it's smart: if you can destroy voters' understanding of what is true and what is a lie, then you can get them to vote against their own self-interest, you can get them to vote against what's good for the nation, you can get them to cheer for stupidity. And vote for it.

        The constant propaganda drumbeat from the right "Oh, all this criticism is just because the left lost an election, otherwise everything would be peachy" is le merde of the bull. The criticism is about facts and lies. It's about the way Trump attacks the truth and promotes lies.

        -------------------

        Once I thought Wikileaks was a good thing. I don't like governments using secrecy in everything as a standard policy. That way lies black-ops torture as a standard operating procedure, gunrunning, political assassination, and a host of other evils.

        But if someone is going to shine a light into that secrecy, it turns out that they will wield great power. More than I thought about. If Wikileaks were to publish really scandalous, damaging information about the government of the UK but nothing about, oh, say Germany, then international relations would be affected. Perceptions would be changed, imbalances created.

        And it turns out that foreign intelligence agencies can use Wikileaks to do that. The Chinese Ministry of State Security can feed intel to Wikileaks in order to torpedo alliances between other nations, for one hypothetical. The CIA can feed Wikileaks intel discrediting Boris Johnson just before the upcoming election, for another hypothetical. (Why they would do that is beyond me; Johnson seems... um... less than credible to me anyway, but I'm a damned yoink so I know nothing, really.)

        So Assange, if he was really guiding Wikileaks, has done a good job of making the organization a lightning rod and a bad job of keeping it from being a tool for snot-balls.

        That said, I t hink the US charges are harassment. Somewhere I read an opinion that "The US Department of Justice wouldn't bring these charges if there was no credible chance they could win a conviction." Again, le merde. The hell they would not. Such things are done to throw The Fear into someone, to make their lives harder and their wallets lighter, to discourage others from doing something similar, to show that the US will respond to insults even if it's not really a criminal matter, and so forth.

        Popcorn? Hotdog? Licorice rope? Going to be a long show...

    4. macjules Silver badge

      Re: I was fine with the first indictment

      Which on one level is perfectly true – he does not act as a conventional journalist in that he doesn't produce or edit stories.

      Call me Mithter Thtupid but isn't what he did exactly what a journalist does? He received information from a confidential source and indexed it and redacted it onto WikiLeaks in order to make it available. Perhaps it is because he didn't put it behind a paywall or cover the data with adverts? And if he induced / helped others to break into systems then he is most certainly a journalist .. well, of the Murdoch calibre anyway..

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I was fine with the first indictment

        "Call me Mithter Thtupid but isn't what he did exactly what a journalist does? He received information from a confidential source and indexed it and redacted it onto WikiLeaks in order to make it available."

        A journalist normally takes the information and the creates a "story" using his or her judgement as to what is fact, what is speculation, what is hearsay and what might be dangerous to publish. Wikileaks are more like a library and they didn'r redact the detail that quite possibly put people lives at risk.

        I'm not defending the US seeming attack on journalism and the charges they are bringing based on discredited law, but since you are basically asking "Is Assange a journalist", I'd say based on at least this specific case and the actions of him and wikileaks, no he's not. He's a librarian who made banned books available.

    5. streaky Silver badge

      Re: I was fine with the first indictment

      Well no they've now accused him of espionage in the strictest sense. They haven't even got to the GRU/Trump stuff yet..

  2. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It begins...

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    This will be fun to watch...

    There's probably going to be a big issue with using the Constitution and the Amendments by both for the prosecutors and the defendant since he's not a US citizen. While the Espionage Act can be used, the Constitutional protections afforded journalists may not apply. We really need a popcorn icon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This will be fun to watch...

      We've had plenty of other cases* where judges have determined that the protections given under the US constitution & its amendments don't apply to non-US citizens. If that's his only defence, it's going to be a short trial.

      *I think the last one I saw covered the extra-judicial killings that we employ for "terrorists". I seem to recall a couple concerning the PoWs held in Guantanamo Bay as well.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        We've had plenty of other cases* where judges have determined that the protections given under the US constitution & its amendments don't apply to non-US citizens. If that's his only defence, it's going to be a short trial.

        Also I'm guessing part of the espionage act(s) given traditional spies are often foreign agents. Plenty of those have been charged and imprisoned.

    2. StephenH

      Re: This will be fun to watch...

      It seems to me (not an American) that the US Constitutional protections do not only apply to citizens but to all.

      The are some rights identified as only for citizens (voting for example) but the free speech, due process and self-incrimination ones are not so restricted

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        Therein is the argument, do they or don't they. This one will probably end up in the Supreme Court due to notoriety.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: This will be fun to watch...

          Therein is the argument, do they or don't they. This one will probably end up in the Supreme Court due to notoriety.

          It'll certainly set up some interesting legal debates:

          Do American Constitutional rights apply to non-citizens?

          If so, do they apply only on American soil?

          What has primacy, American law, or the law of your country of citizenship?

          Let's say the free speech thing applies to non-citizens, and lets say it applies only within the USA. What happens if I got to America and exercise my free speech to say, label a leader of a political party a spy due to leaks from former handlers? Why do my own countries laws regarding libel not apply just because I'm on holiday?

          Lets say constitutional rights do not apply to non-citizens of the USA. What rights then do apply or are they without rights during a visit? That one really might call into question my willingness to travel there at my employers request.

          This one is going to run for decades while all the test cases and appeals filter through. The dogs of law must be wagging their furry little tails this fine morning.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: This will be fun to watch...

            I think you will find that the answers are:

            "Do American Constitutional rights apply to non-citizens?"

            That depends on what suits the US government best on any particular occasion.

            "If so, do they apply only on American soil?"

            That depends on what suits the US government best on any particular occasion.

            "What has primacy, American law, or the law of your country of citizenship?"

            Obviously American law is the only one that matters, wherever you are. The laws of shithole countries count for nothing when they conflict with American interests.

            (If you are confused, remember that ALL countries except the USA are shithole countries).

      2. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        It is also my understanding that criminal law does not make a difference between foreigners and citizens. Though I suddenly think that in one case in particular, which is treason, the law is probably more strict with citizens than foreigners... I guess?

        1. Kernel Silver badge

          Re: This will be fun to watch...

          "Though I suddenly think that in one case in particular, which is treason, the law is probably more strict with citizens than foreigners... I guess?"

          Can a person actually commit treason against a country they aren't a citizen of?

          I can't see how - in fact, it's not entirely unheard of for a citizen of country A to be required under threat of punishment to carry out actions against country B which make them a hero in country A but a traitor if, as a citizen of country B, they took the same actions against country B.

          1. ST Silver badge

            Re: This will be fun to watch...

            > Can a person actually commit treason against a country they aren't a citizen of?

            He isn't charged with treason, he is charged with espionage.

            In the US, the maximum penalty for treason is death, which would be to Assange's advantage: it would guarantee that the UK will never extradite him to the US.

            Yes, foreign citizens can be charged with espionage. Many spies are foreign citizens working under diplomatic cover.

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: This will be fun to watch...

              I'm not sure it's still in "play" but the US did at one point in the 50's execute spies for espionage.

              1. james_smith

                Re: This will be fun to watch...

                The Rosenbergs were executed for espionage. They couldn't be tried for treason as the Soviet Union was officially a US alliie when the crimes were committed.

            2. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: This will be fun to watch...

              In the US, the maximum penalty for treason is death, which would be to Assange's advantage: it would guarantee that the UK will never extradite him to the US.

              Not so. They'd require a written guarantee that the death penalty would not be applied, but that isn't a blocker on sending him.

            3. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: This will be fun to watch...

              "Yes, foreign citizens can be charged with espionage".

              Indeed.

              It seems very likely to me that the US government (and US corporations) do more spying than any other nation in the world.

              So when was the last time you heard of a highly publicized trial of an American spy in a foreign country?

              China? Russia? Iran? Pakistan? Syria? Libya? Afghanistan? Iraq? Germany, for God's sake? The UK? and on and on and on.

              (I admit that Afghanistan and Iraq are borderline cases, because I'm not sure if you can be accused of spying on a country that you are illegally occupying after invading it in an illegal unprovoked war of aggression).

              1. ST Silver badge

                Re: This will be fun to watch...

                > It seems very likely to me that the US government (and US corporations) do more spying than any other nation in the world.

                Maybe. Probably. We learned this from the British.

                Not sure we aren't sharing the top spot with Russia and/or China though. I don't have access to the classified spying budgets of the US, China and Russia, so I can't compare. But maybe you do.

                And? What are you going to do about it? Complain on the Internet?

                Spying is a fact of life. It's the second oldest profession in the world.

                Deal with it, and stop pretending that posting risk-free Internet comments about US spying automatically grants you some sort of moral superiority. That was precisely Assange's motivation.

                Your government - whichever it happens to be - spies too.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This will be fun to watch...

                > So when was the last time you heard of a highly publicized trial of an American spy in a foreign country?

                Gary Powers?

                Tom Hanks even starred in a film about the case.

                1. Archtech Silver badge

                  Re: This will be fun to watch...

                  Gary Powers was shot down when overflying the USSR in 1960. Any bids from less than 59 years ago?

            4. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: This will be fun to watch...

              "He isn't charged with treason, he is charged with espionage."

              This part of the discussion has escaped specifically the topic of the article and now is considering treason and related legal frameworks from a theoretical perspective. Nobody is arguing that he has committed treason; they just want to know whether a non-citizen can be charged with treason given its definition. In fact, some are arguing that it would be impossible for people in his situation to commit treason.

          2. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: This will be fun to watch...

            Generally in order to be considered treasonous one must have committed an act against a country, monarch, organisation or person to whom they owe allegiance.

            Since Assange is not an American citizen he can't by the usual definition of the word be charged with treason against the US,unless at some stage he has sworn allegiance to it.

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: This will be fun to watch...

              All probably true. Didn't help Lord Haw-Haw though.

      3. Alan Johnson

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        "It seems to me (not an American) that the US Constitutional protections do not only apply to citizens but to all."

        You might reasonably think that but this was settled as part of legal challenges to Guantanomo non-US citizens are afforded none of teh protections of the US constituition so can be treated however the US government wishes. This is in sharp contrast to the ECHR which makes rights universal and not dependant on citizenship. Something to bear in mind when entering the US.

        The idea of prosecuting a non-citizen operating outside a nations border with espionage is very odd and clearly political. Assange or any other foreign national has no responsibility to protect the confidential information of a foreign state. This would be a terrible precedent and would open the door for every unpleasant regime in the world to seek to extradite anyone who has embarassed them by revealing their activities.

        Assange was clearly a dishonest t*t over skipping bail rather than facing charges in Sweden but his apparent paranoi about the US seeking to imprison him in retrospect seems justified.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Spy vs Journo

          The idea of prosecuting a non-citizen operating outside a nations border with espionage is very odd and clearly political. Assange or any other foreign national has no responsibility to protect the confidential information of a foreign state.

          Not odd at all. It's pretty much the standard definition of espionage. Technology has made it more challenging, ie the ability to hack & spy from remote locations via the Internet. But the act is the same, gaining access to things you shouldn't.

          Second part is the whistleblowing/journalism challenge. So as the BBC puts it-

          If successful, the justice department would have not only the ability to prosecute but to investigate a wide array of journalists. This danger is made all the more acute in an administration headed by a president who routinely calls the press "the enemy of the people".

          Fair point, but then there's a lot of people in the US who regard their President as their enemy. And have possibly done some dubious investigation & journalism of their own to get Trump.

          For me, the issue is about balance, ie journalists being able to investigate and hold politicians to account, be it Watergate or Austria's Ibiza Affair.. But journalists also need to be held to account, if their actions cause harm. So one of the accusations against Assange is he published agents or assets names, putting them in serious danger. If this is risk free to the publisher, it then gets a whole lot harder for governments to protect their people and secrets. That's also something that's challenged goverments before, eg in the UK, Duncan Campbell's ECHELON & other reporting.

          1. stiine Bronze badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Spy vs Journo

            re: But journalists also need to be held to account, if their actions cause harm.

            No. You are not only incorrect, you are dangerously wrong. It is the individuals/organizations who performed the reported statements/actions who cause harm, not the journalists and/or their publishers who exposed them. Was the Washington Post responsible for Nixon's resignation? Was Bob Woodward? No, Nixon was responsible for his own resignation, the Post only exposed the deeds that he had done.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Spy vs Journo

              Person 1: "But journalists also need to be held to account, if their actions cause harm."

              Person 2: "[Y]ou are dangerously wrong. [...] Was the Washington Post responsible for Nixon's resignation?"

              If I understand both of you, you're arguing different points. Person 1 was saying that journalists who cause problems should be held to account, which would not include things like a resignation; that was a result of revealing facts. If, instead, the result of the leak was that someone died (E.G. location of person targeted by assassins), then there would be a more serious problem. Meanwhile, person 2 is worried that "cause harm" is a very general term that can be defined more broadly than it should. Again, I may be misunderstanding the points here, but I think there's something valid in both.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Spy vs Journo

            Second part is the whistleblowing/journalism challenge. So as the BBC puts it-

            If successful, the justice department would have not only the ability to prosecute but to investigate a wide array of journalists. This danger is made all the more acute in an administration headed by a president who routinely calls the press "the enemy of the people".

            I read that article too. It was interesting, but it was written from the default assumption that Assange is a journalist, which is a major point the US is disputing.

        2. ST Silver badge

          Re: This will be fun to watch...

          > The idea of prosecuting a non-citizen operating outside a nations border with espionage is very odd and clearly political.

          No, it's not. There's plenty of legal precedent for this, and not just in the US.

          If an individual A causes demonstrable material harm to a sovereign state X, then state X has the right to prosecute individual A, pursuant to state X's own laws, and regardless of where the offense occurred. This is a prerogative of every single sovereign state, not just the US. Some sovereign states choose to pursue this prerogative in practice, others don't. That does not mean that the prerogative does not exist.

          Usama Bin Laden directed the 9/11 attacks on the US. He personally claimed responsibility for the attacks in 2004. A.k.a. confession.

          Bin Laden was not a US citizen. The fact that he was a resident of Afghanistan on 9/11/2001 did not create an implicit grant of immunity from prosecution for Bin Laden.

          Espionage is no different. Read Wikiepdia's definition of Espionage.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: This will be fun to watch...

            "If an individual A causes demonstrable material harm to a sovereign state X, then state X has the right to prosecute individual A, pursuant to state X's own laws, and regardless of where the offense occurred".

            Well, according to that doctrine a hell of a lot of US citizens should have been prosecuted in other countries over the years, for crimes ranging from espionage and fraud to murder, mass murder, torture, illegal unprovoked wars of aggression, destruction of property on a massive scale, and genocide. Oh, and trying (often successfully) to overthrow duly elected governments and replace them with US puppets.

            Odd that so few trials have taken place.

            1. ST Silver badge

              Re: This will be fun to watch...

              > Odd that so few trials have taken place.

              You don't know whether or not trials of US intelligence agents are taking place in foreign countries. Neither do I.

              There is a widely publicized trial of an alleged US spy going on these days in Russia: The trial of Paul Whelan. He is accused of spying for the US by the Russians. Yes, BBC News.

              Mr. Whelan has not been convicted of any crime in Russia. He is accused of committing espionage. Yet, he is in a cage.

              We, in the West aren't used to seeing defendants in cages. At least not in the US.

              This trial is the exception, not the rule. A good exception. Obviously Putin is after some PR. This is the same country and the same Putin that tried to poison the Skripals in the UK.

              Yet, you are willing to go out on a limb and assume that countries such as Russia, or China, or Cuba, or North Korea are open enough to always try US spies in open Court, allow international monitoring of the trial, a real legal defense team, US Consular support, etc.

              You should know better than that.

              For US spies operating undercover in countries such as those above, the best outcome, if they are caught, is that they are traded. If there is no trade to be made, they end up dead. Maybe, but not necessarily, after some kind of joke of a secret trial.

              The country doing the killing will not publicize what they did, and the US - as a matter of policy and law - never publishes the identities of US intelligence agents, or what has happened to them. Disclosing the real identity of a US intelligence officer operating undercover is a felony in the US. Scooter Libby - Dick Cheney's Chief Of Staff - went to prison for doing just that - see the Valerie Plame story during the George W. Bush administration.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Bernard M. Orwell

            Re: This will be fun to watch...

            "Bin Laden was not a US citizen. The fact that he was a resident of Afghanistan on 9/11/2001 did not create an implicit grant of immunity from prosecution for Bin Laden."

            Oh. So, as they had a perfectly legal claim, upheld by international law, for arresting OBL, they didn't actually *need* to run that covert operation to his compound in Pakistan to snatch him in the dead of night at all, did they?

            Silly America, going to all that trouble.

        3. dew3

          Re: This will be fun to watch...

          "but his apparent paranoi about the US seeking to imprison him in retrospect seems justified."

          Err, no. The current US prosecution attempt is only a few months old. For almost all of the time he was claiming to be hiding from the US in the Ecuadorian embassy, the US was not interested in him. If he had simply gone to Sweden at the start and (if convicted) taken his lumps (news reports say max 4 years in prison), he could easily be living today in some country without a US extradition treaty.

          I'm pretty skeptical of the US charges, but this mess is mostly an own-goal by Assange.

      4. Sanguma

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        "the US Constitutional protections do not only apply to citizens but to all." "the free speech, due process and self-incrimination ones are not so restricted"

        And you'd be right. The United States through the medium of a group of rectal cleaners known otherwise as the Organization of american States, has given birth to an American Convention on Human Rights

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Convention_on_Human_Rights

        which in keeping with standard US practice, it refuses to ratify - because, horror of horrors, the victims of US interference in the Americas over the past century or so, might want to take it up with Uncle Sam, and Uncle sam doesn't like having his feet held to the fire ...

        And then there's the European Convention on Human Rights

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Convention_on_Human_Rights

        which given that Assange is a resident in one of the signatories, happens to apply. Not forgetting that Assange is an Aussie, and the Commonwealth of Australia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civil_and_Political_Rights

        which again Uncle Sam has signed but refuses to ratify.

        There is a very strong presumption that Uncle Sam is violating the plain words, let along purpose, of the US Constitution by arguing that publishing information on illegal US activities is espionage, when it seems to me it is merely being a middleman between the suppliers of the information and the journalists who use it. As far as I can see, the case most similar to it would be the Pentagon Papers one, the NY Times versus Uncle Sam, in which Uncle Sam got roundly trounced.

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: This will be fun to watch...

      In that case the Australian government will look really, really terrible. It will be sitting there, fat, dumb and happy, while one of its citizens is extradited from one foreign country to another to face judicial lynching.

      If that were to happen, Australia's claim to independence and sovereignty would crumble. There could be no more craven submission back in the days of the British Empire.

      1. The Mole

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        Why? He's chosen to go to another foreign country he's got to follow their rules and laws. If the situation were reversed the UK wouldn't do much either unless the death penalty was involved.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: This will be fun to watch...

          >Why? He's chosen to go to another foreign country he's got to follow their rules and laws.

          And which country exactly was Assange in when the supposed espionage events took place? I suspect it wasn't the USA...

      2. Truckle The Uncivil

        Re: This will be fun to watch...

        Yes and no. In 1975 the US (CIA) conspired to overturn the duly elected Australian government. This was shown to be true by evidence gained under an FOI request. For a fictionalised version watch "The Falcon and the Snowman". Otherwise Duck Duck Go is your friend.

        So all the Aussie governments since 197 have known that Australian sovereignty is extremely limited.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: This will be fun to watch...

      >since he's not a US citizen.

      Which means was whatever Assange did, was it legal/illegal in what ever country the transaction took place... To me it does seem that this is clearly a case of the US trying to extend its local laws to the rest of the world.

    5. macjules Silver badge

      Re: This will be fun to watch...

      No, this will not be fun to watch. This is going to be like some horrendous, dramatic blending of The Bonfire of the Vanities and the worst of Roland Freisler.

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    These new indictments could help Assange ...

    fight from being extradited to the USA. The UK (or maybe Swedish) judges who approve/deny the extradition request might decide that he will not get a fair trial in the USA and so not make him go there. That is if the judges have not been told what their decision should be.

    If he evades going to the USA - what can he do, where does he live ? He can't go back to Australia to see his kids as the Oz government would ship him straight to the USA.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

      So where will he end up? The UK doesn't want him and probably Sweden doesn't either. Switzerland maybe?

      1. aberglas

        I think he got an Ecuador passport

        He should have run to Sweden as soon as he got that. Then jump to Ecuador.

        Waited too long.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I think he got an Ecuador passport

          "He should have run to Sweden as soon as he got that."

          Via HMP for bail jumping which would have given the US chance to set up extradition proceedings assuming they wanted to at that time. His best plan of action if he wanted to avoid extradition to the US would have been to have stayed in Sweden, even at the risk of spending time in a Swedish prison although where he'd have gone subsequently would have been a matter of some doubt - would the Swedes have deported him?

          1. Lars Johansson

            Re: I think he got an Ecuador passport

            Yes, we most likely would, back to his native Australia.

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: I think he got an Ecuador passport

          No, the sad fact is that there is literally NO country in the entire world that would willingly give Assange permanent asylum.

          He is doomed for two reasons:

          1. No one is willing to piss off Uncle Yosemite Sam by helping him.

          2. When push comes to shove, no government is even in favour of freedom of expression. They all hate it like the gates of hell - the way businessmen hate competition. Just ask Sir Humphrey.

        3. Amentheist
          Mushroom

          Re: I think he got an Ecuador passport

          To Ecuador? Assange in any south american country will be disappeared by the CIA.

          1. alain williams Silver badge

            Re: I think he got an Ecuador passport

            CIA disappearing Assange: this is what I first thought, but part of the reason that they want him is to make a highly visible example of him in the hope that the fear of a long time eating porridge in the USA will frighten anyone else who is thinking of exposing some truths about the USA government.

          2. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: I think he got an Ecuador passport

            Actually, he is likely to be disappeared by the CIA in any country whose government doesn't have:

            1. Backbone;

            2. S-400s.

            3. Large, capable and determined armed forces.

      2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

        The Swiss government are too scared (not to mention loath )to take him. They Swiss government come down very heavily on whistleblowers. There was panic in the corridors of power in Bern some years' ago when it was suggested that Edward Snowden be given political asylum.

        One of the Swiss government was summonsed to Washington D.C. some weeks' back and he is hopeful of obtaining a free-trade treaty from the U.S. president. The party of the aformentioned Swiss minister has its base in the Swiss countryside, is against anything that reeks of Socialism and is very cosy with Big Business. This should put his political outlook into perspective. This party have also been exposed to demagogues long before Agent Orange ever rose to political prominence.

        If Assange™ goes to Switzerland, it will be as a part of an onward journey to the Land of the Free™.

      3. eldakka Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

        As he is an Australian citizen, in the end he has a legal entitlement, no matter whether the government want him or not, to return to and live in Australia.

        Although, as it is likely the Australian Government would honour an extradition request from the US, he may not want to take up that particular option.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

      If he evades going to the USA - what can he do, where does he live ?

      Ecuador, I presume. As far as I know he hasn't been stripped of their citizenship.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

      As I understand it, you can't apply for extradition on the basis of one charge and then throw a bunch of additional charges at the subject once you've got your hands on him.

      At the very least, this presumably makes the current extradition request procedurally invalid and it would need to be refiled with an amended list of charges.

      Although I could have seen Assange being sent to the US on the basis of the original charge, this could make it rather more attractive for the Home Secretary just to send him to Sweden and dump the problem in their back yard.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

        "As I understand it, you can't apply for extradition on the basis of one charge and then throw a bunch of additional charges at the subject once you've got your hands on him".

        As I understand it, you are - quite understandably - under the misapprehension that the US authorities give a flying fuck about any law, constitution, treaty, agreement or moral principle that doesn't give them what they want.

        They don't.

        1. Uffish

          Re: Flying Fucks

          Everyone knows the American way of doing things. But this latest bit of drivel from the US only serves to weaken their chances of getting an extradition. I suspect that they don't really want to get him into their legal system because it is so tediously nit-picking about things, and the good ol' boys can't deal with nit-picking.

        2. Stork Silver badge

          Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

          I think they for practical reasons may have to stick to the agreements. Otherwise the US could run into resistance next time they try to extradite someone on less controversial grounds.

          Btw, I wouldn't be surprised if this goes to the ECHR.

      2. Andrew Norton

        Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

        You are correct, it's called Speciality.

        HOWEVER, your timeline is slightly off. The US filed the initial request, but have another week or two (until June 10 or thereabouts) to file the full formal extradition request paperwork, and in that time can submit superceeding indictments to replace the existing one. Once the extradition paperwork is filed though, then speciality kicks in, and they'd have to drop the request and start again.

        And yes I note all the edgelords going 'but the us doesn't care about law' nonsense, when yes, the federal judges do care, and will throw things out. Federal judges aren't going to take that kind of shit though.

    4. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: These new indictments could help Assange ...

      Well, "judging" from his recent courtroom experiences, the judges have either been instructed or chosen so that they don't need to be instructed.

      The nice thing about our legal system is that sufficiently advanced lawyers and judges can always mould it into any shape they want. While prosecutors stand by with the nuclear options of deciding that "prosecution would not be in the public interest" and threatening century-long sentences unless the accused confesses to "a lesser crime".

  5. D. Evans

    He's not a journalist

    Plain and simple: did he review the data and distil it in anyway or add value to the data. Even his own opinion?

    No!

    So he not a journo, he's just a very naughty boy. The only question is who get their pound of flesh first: Sweden or Uncle Sam?

    1. rsole

      Re: He's not a journalist

      Where does the definition of a Journalist state you need to actually add value? If this were the case it would seem that many jobs would be at risk.

      1. Anne-Lise Pasch

        Re: He's not a journalist

        I don't think I add value in my own job, but I'd better not let my boss find out. (But, then, he's a manager. He definitely doesn't add value.)

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: He's not a journalist

      I find the whole Sweden throwing their hat back in the ring a bit childish. They dropped the case that was, let's face it, probably manufactured or embiggened in the first place. Didn't the paid for woman also recant then was hard to find for further questioning?

      If he goes to Sweden, he will be hotfooted over to the US in record time.

      I think he'd prefer to be between the rock and the hard place, as where he's at now is much worse.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: He's not a journalist

        They dropped the case that was, let's face it, probably manufactured or embiggened in the first place.

        No, they didn't drop it, it was put on hold until such time as Assange became available. And there's only conspiracy theory to say that the case was either manufactured or embiggened.

        Just for a moment, consider that the case might be genuine. Why should Sweden not re-open it, and re-apply for extradition, so that Assange can answer to the charges?

        The likelehood that he will be extradited from Sweden to the US is much less than from the UK, which is why his original excuse for running from Sweden to the UK so as to avoid extradition was less than believable.

      2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: He's not a journalist

        I'm torn on the US aspect because of the free speech and public interested stuff, but I'm in no doubt that he should go to Sweden to stand trial. It's not about persecuting him, but about justice - either for him or the women he is alleged to have assaulted. You shouldn't be able to pick and choose the laws that apply to you simply by running away and hiding.

        1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

          Re: He's not a journalist

          You shouldn't be able to pick and choose the laws that apply to you simply by running away and hiding.

          Yes you can and you should. This is called requesting political asylum. If someone is persecuted for being gay in a country where this is illegal, that person can and should be able to hide from forces that attempt to persecute this person.

          The only question you should be asking is if Assange falls in a category that should be offered the same type of safe harbour.

          1. Andrew Norton

            Re: He's not a journalist

            This was asked, and the answer was 'he does not'.

            There is no class that excuses rape, it's not his religion (unless you buy into his belief in his own godhood), or any other protected class. As much was said in June 2012 when he ran to the embassy, that what he was claiming was not something recognised. Being on the run for something you did, from a justice system you'd earlier said was incredibly fair and now says is biased against you, then lying to people about it, is not a valid refugee status.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He's not a journalist

        I can see a flight plan being filed from Brize Norton to Stockholm via Norfolk, VA.

        The second leg wil naturally have zero cargo or passengers.

    3. Zolko

      Re: He's not a journalist

      @D. Evans : "He's not a journalist"

      let's accept that for the sake of the argument: so what if he's not ? Does the 1st amandment about free speach specify that it only applys to journalists ? No it doesn't, so why do you try to twist reality ?

      This guy published war-crimes committed during an illegal invasion of a far-away country under UN supervision (the country, not the invasion) with pretextes built on lies. This guy is a hero, the same way as Snowden and Manning are, and history will remember them as such.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: He's not a journalist

      "However, the US government is likely to argue that Assange is not in fact a journalist."

      Having a press card does not make you a journalist. With respect to be able to gather information and publish it, every person can be a journalist, and with the rise of blogs, twitter etc, every person has the capability to do so. The only countries who only allow 'licensed' journalists to practice a journalists are those totalitarian states who don't want nosy people poking around asking awkward questions.

    5. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: He's not a journalist

      Where do you get your definition that a journalist must distil or add value - beyond the intrinsic value inherent in the data in question - to the data collected and published? Is that a personal definition or something documented somewhere from a reputable source (e.g. legislation, published commonly accepted training material for journalism courses in places like universities)?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: He's not a journalist

        Well, it sure needs to more than just publishing the facts or the data. Otherwise the guy who puts the phone book together would be a "journalist" too.

  6. Dr.Flay

    Who made him into a journalist ?

    It seems that the more times you say he is a journalist the more true it apparently is.

    He is not a journalist and never was, and he has not claimed as such.

    Releasing information that other people hand you does not constitute journalism.

    Tweeting about data dumps does not make you a journalist either.

    Even if he was a regular blogger calling him a journo would be a thin stretch.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Who made him into a journalist ?

      A journalist he never was. However I think a case could be made that he was the "publisher ". Not sure where that would fit into the scheme of things in this case.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Who made him into a journalist ?

      Releasing information that other people hand you does not constitute journalism. .... Dr.Flay

      Oh? Since when is it not and cannot be? Do journalists agree? What say El Regers?

      Dr.Flay, a Purveyor of Snake Oil? J'accuse.

      1. John G Imrie
        Terminator

        Re: Who made him into a journalist ?

        That made sense, all hail our AI overlords.

    3. steward
      Boffin

      Re: Who made him into a journalist ?

      From the Oxford English Dictionary, "journalist":

      1. One who earns his living by editing or writing for a public journal or journals.

      2. One who journalizes or keeps a journal.

      That's all there is, despite what the Monied Mass Media would have you believe. A journalist is self-made by what the person does, not by outside parties.

      1. dew3

        Re: Who made him into a journalist ?

        "That's all there is, despite what the Monied Mass Media would have you believe."

        +1 to that.

        You may never read this in a US newspaper (though you can find it in law journals), but US federal courts do not recognize any kind of official status for the institutional press. The US constitutional guarantee of a free press has historically been ruled by courts as mostly the ability of anyone to freely own press implements (like a printing press). Most of what the big mass media companies claim are "free press" court cases in the US actually get decided on free speech grounds. Example #1: NY Times vs. Sullivan, a famous US libel case that US reporters (and especially the NY Times) like to go on about - if you read it carefully (not just the Wikipedia summary) the US supreme court did not give any special bonus to the NY Times for being a "press" organization. It was decided as a free speech case that protects everyone in the US and not just the press.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The man is a shit

    I think I have said this before but I will say it again.

    This "man" jumped bail and landed his friends with large bills to pay, as they put up the bail money to keep him out of prison.

    In my book, if you shit on your friends you will shit on anyone. And should never be trusted by anyone again.

    I could not care less what happens to the alleged rapist. The man is a twat.

    Cheers... Ishy

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: The man is a shit

      Quite true, a shit of the lowest order. But US justice? We’ve seen how well that works......

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: The man is a shit

        Ditto. He's a narcissistic arsehole, who's only interested in himself, but this is clearly over-reach from the US government.

        Let him finish his sentence for bail jumping, then hand him to the Swedes, and tell the yanks to do one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The man is a shit

      Being "a twat" or "a shit" is not a crime, no matter how much you dislike the man. He was rightly imprisoned for the crime of bail jumping, and he is due to face justice in the Swedish courts for his alleged crimes committed there, however, given these latest accusations, it is questionable whether the US government is seeking justice for a genuine crime committed, or revenge for causing them major embarrassment. I'm sure you can appreciate the difference.

    3. Zolko

      Re: The man is a shit

      @Ishtiaq : "The man is a shit"

      ah, and because Ishtiaq said so it is so, and it's reason enough to be put into prison for the rest of his life ?

      "I could not care less what happens to the alleged rapist"

      yet you do care enough to comment on him and exhile your venom. And a "rapist" who has dinner in public with the "victim" smiling by his side on the next day is a rare phenomenon

      You should get out more often and meet real people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The man is a shit

        @Zolko

        Oh dear, you always get one don't you?

        I notice how you have picked out certain phrases from my post, but have coveniently missed my point.

        I will repeat it. He is a shit because he shafted his friends and therefore cannot be trusted. So, perhaps you will tell me why you would befriend him? I hold being called a friend as just about the nicest thing anyone can say about me. Neither me nor my friends would do such a thing to each other as assange did to his friends. Maybe you should get out more and try to find real friends. It is easy, all you have to do is be a real friend to them.

        And as for all the downvoters... I hope that you never get a "friend" like assange(sic).

        On a (hopefully) lighter note, given that I am a ghost dj, and so go out seven nights a week, I am not sure how I should "get out" more.

        Cheers... Ishy

        1. Zolko
          Mushroom

          Re: The man is a shit

          @Ishtiaq : "He is a shit because he shafted his friends and therefore cannot be trusted. So, perhaps you will tell me why you would befriend him?"

          you do realize that we're on ElReg here, and not LikeBook, don't you ? And that you're commenting on an article about spying and war crimes and going to prison, not being friends with people we don't know ? Even if you were right about him being shit - and I have a feeling I'd much rather be friend with Assange than with you - being shit is no reason to go to prison.

          "I am a ghost dj, and so go out seven nights a week"

          explains a lot: I'd definitively rather be friend with Assange than with you

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The man is a shit

            @zolko

            Quote "explains a lot: I'd definitively rather be friend with Assange than with you" Unquote

            Your loss and I think you mean... "definitely"

            Cheers. Ishy

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The man is a shit

        "And a "rapist" who has dinner in public with the "victim" smiling by his side on the next day is a rare phenomenon"

        Really not sure where you're going with that comment but there is a long line of abused women who can very easily admit to being in that exact situation - appearing in public as if absolutely nothing is wrong or has happened.

        Is that supposed to be "evidence" that an abuse has not taken place? I really and sincerely hope you're not thinking so.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The man is a shit

      yes, he's shit and a twat, and a pompous prick and (and idiot, because his overgrown ego has turned the public against him). Yet, with wikileaks exposures, and now, with this extradition circus, he provided invaluable pubic service, i.e. made the world fully aware that the US is anything but a cuddly and firm supporter of "democracy", "fairness", "freedom of speech", and whatever other "American values" circulate but - quite the opposite - the largest, nastiest bully in the block that will stop at nothing, when exposed.

      Ironically, by going after Assange with such a brazen "fuck the rules, we're gonna get him anyway!" attitude, the US are turning him into a martyr. Short-term goal achieved, sure, people will be ever so much less willing to expose the bully in the future. But longer-term, if all the pretences of Mr Nice are gone and you're left with nothing more than a Big Bully (embodied by Mr Trump), the US soft power is gone, all that's left is threats of violence (be it economic or military). And, at one point, the bullied will switch sides and rally behind the other Big Bully, once he's strong enough, and who's going to play Mr Nice Guy to the little ones, by building cheap transportation links and selling them useless "consumer goods".

      1. stiine Bronze badge

        Re: The man is a shit

        He really should have hired Kim Dotcom's attorney.

        Hell, maybe they can record an album after this farce is over.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First they came for the Journalists ...

    [except for their Fifth Columnists in the Fourth Estate].

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: First they came for the Journalists ...

      And that is what people really mean when they allege that Assange is "not a journalist". They mean that he is a real journalist, not an unprincipled, well-paid hack who has sold out to the powers that be and writes only what they want to be published.

      As so often, the truth is easy to find: it's the exact opposite of what the authorities tell you.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, back in the Neoconalithic Stone Age ...

    The Future’s Orangutan.

  10. Voidstorm
    Black Helicopters

    Governments hate having their secret naughty behaviour made undeniably public, right?

    That makes me look at the so-called criminal prosecutions of this fellow with a very jaundiced eye indeed; he's publically shamed the whole US government, who were up to no good, and now they are hitting him with the biggest stick they can find.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell
      Stop

      Despite the fact there here, in these very forums, so many people posted to the effect that Assange was NOT wanted by the US, without a doubt, and was a fantasist for going into hiding in the first place, was simply being paranoid or seeking to inflate his own ego or importance.

      Then, of course, there were the posters who claimed that Assange/Wikileaks hadn't released any information of value, that is was all doctored/edited footage and they hadn't revealed any crimes or other dubious activities of the US at all; that the NSA spying was for our own good, that no US forces had killed any innocents or reporters.

      I seem to recall a LOT of such posts.

      Well, where are you now, critics? It turns out that the US most certainly, definitely and decidedly want Assange in their mucky paws. What for, I wonder? Maybe because he keeps revealing some measure of truth about their crimes?

      Embarrasing the USA is not a crime. Assange is not a US citizen.

      They just want to duck accountability and damage to their quickly fading reputation as a shining beacon of freedom and justice for all. This is damage limitation, petty revenge, and an attempt to silence independent media, nothing less.

      Assange is still a prick, personally, but this is about something much larger and we should not be distracted by ad hominem arguments. I'd use a black helicopter icon, but its not a conspiracy theory when its actually happening right before our eyes.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Despite the fact there here, in these very forums, so many people posted to the effect that Assange was NOT wanted by the US, without a doubt, and was a fantasist for going into hiding in the first place, was simply being paranoid or seeking to inflate his own ego or importance.

        That's because, at the time that he ran away from Sweden, there was no extradition request from the US, and they showed no sign of interest. The charges that they are now wanting him for were not raised until 2018.

        Again, he claimed he ran from Sweden to England to avoid extradition by the US, but in fact Sweden was always less likely to allow that to happen than the UK was.

        On balance then, he still comes across as a paranoid egotistical fantasist.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Alister, Assange did NOT "run away from Sweden". Instead, he remained there for weeks - when he had a lot of other important things to do elsewhere - just in case the Swedish authorities decided they wanted to interview him or charge him.

          They chose to do neither. So he eventually went back to London - at which point they immediately leaked to the media the false story that he had "run away to escape charges".

          1. He did not run away; he waited longer than he had to, to see if he was needed.

          2. There have never been any charges.

          3. Leaking that story to the media was highly illegal.

          1. Alister Silver badge

            @Archtech

            Where on earth did you get that load of twaddle from?

            Not one of your 3 points beares any resemblance to reality.

            1. Truckle The Uncivil

              Probably the same place I did. Reading as much news as I could find about it day by day as it happened. That "load of twaddle" matches my emory of the time perfectly.

          2. Andrew Norton

            Sorry boyo, but all those 3 points are crap, and were admitted, BY HIS LAWYER to have been a lie they made up to make him seem better.

            1) sorry, but the lawyer admitted under questioning in 2011, when confronted with evidence, that there was frequent communication with the prosecutor over interviews, and that dates were set. It was also established that just hours after the prosecutor informed the lawyer that Assange would be taken into custody, Assange left Sweden for the UK, where he promised to keep coming back.

            So, when your argument is absolutely destroyed by the defendants own lawyer admitting in court it was a deliberate lie, that's a pretty big thumb in your eye.

            2) under which definition of 'charges'. Do you mean the Swedish one? Then so what? He hadn't been charged, because he wasn't in custody and about to go to trial. No Swede would see that as unusual. You're no longer able to run away when you've been charged under Swedish law.

            Or did you mean as in the US/UK meaning of charged? Sorry, the UK High Court addressed that in November 2011, and said 'yes, he was charged under our definition of charged', if not when Ny arranged things with Hurtig (Assange's lawyer) then CERTAINLY had by the time that Hurtig had appealed the case to the Svea Appeals Court.

            Basic Facts...

            3) The leak appears to have come from Hurtig's office. Those nasty Swedes, having his defense lawyer's office leak things to show how evil the police were being...

            Look, I get you read his defense site, but given that his own legal team lied about the facts to judges, and their own legal experts, and admitted it, you think they're honestly going to tell the truth on their own website?

        2. Robert D Bank

          'paranoid egotistical fantasist.' - come on that could be applied to many of the nutters in the top echelon of US politics. And worse, they are dangerous zealots who believe their own lies, and have untold power to abuse.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        The Abiding Risk of the Curse of Real Unintended Consequences @Bernard M. Orwell

        What do you imagine will be Parliament's and the PM's reply to a US Presidential type request for Assange's extradition/extraordinary rendition out of the UK and into the clutches of an outed fake friendly incompetent combatant enemy?

        Do they themselves then render themselves legitimate targets for particular and peculiar attention?

        One would have thought that autocratic politics in a democratic system of electoral shenanigans would already have far too much on their plates to deal with in worlds being turned on to their dodgy operations.

        Whatever are they thinking? Indeed, do they ever do any great thinking at all and put it into universally popular action? What are they good for, if not employed to provide such future paths?

        1. Cliff Thorburn

          Re: The Abiding Risk of the Curse of Real Unintended Consequences @Bernard M. Orwell

          I wonder if such activities extend to ongoing psychological torture operations with mass stalking, resulting in the shepherd being led by misdirected sheep into alternative misdirection, and mass panic?

          Certainly is food for thought is it not?

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "It turns out that the US most certainly, definitely and decidedly want Assange in their mucky paws."

        It might have escaped your notice but the US changes its government from time to time. Past US governments might have decided not to stroke his ego by making a fuss about him. We now have a US president who will stroke his own ego by making a fuss about anything at all.

        Assagne's best option might have been to indicate his preparedness to leave for Sweden of his own accord as soon as Trump was elected and hope that he wouldn't be delayed in the UK long enough for Trump to get into power and get round to his case.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          "It might have escaped your notice but the US changes its government from time to time".

          True but utterly irrelevant. A snake changes its skin from time to time, but it remains exactly the same snake with the same preferred diet and hunting methods.

          As Mr Putin has observed from time to time, US presidents come and go but US policy never changes in its essentials. Why would it, when the presidents and elections are purely ornamental?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shovel the shit

    and something will stick. UK will be happy to oblige, given the choices they have got (not). And, once Assange is on the plane heading west...

  12. davcefai

    Assange's REAL 'crime' is embarrassing politicians. Personally I love watching politicians squirm.

    I believe a few years ago he was a hero. Irrespective of any personal habits or characteristics he has done the world a favour.

  13. Rupert Fiennes Silver badge

    Journalists "constitutional protections"

    There aren't any. Journalists of whatever stripe are just citizens like anyone else, although some US states have laws that allow a journalist to legally refuse to name sources, and there's some whistleblower protections that can apply to them too.

    Think about it: if you want journalists to have some immunity against laws that would be applied to the rest of us, you clearly need the government to accredit them and have the ability to terminate their employment.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Journalists "constitutional protections"

      Which applies the other way round: all citizens enjoy all the legal rights and protections that journalists and editors enjoy.

      That is why the laws of decent countries give all citizens rights such as that of free expression.

      Unfortunately, no way has ever been found of forcing a government to obey its own laws. Mostly, they don't when it doesn't suit them.

  14. kneedragon

    "The American Government" is going after Assange, to Guantanamo Bay, to water-board him for the next ten years for showing their nasty communications, which made them all look like a$$holes. So as a result, Donald Trump, who probably wouldn't be there without Russian meddling and manipulation, delivered (in part) through the convenient channel provided by WikiLeaks, is going to burn Julian Assange at the stake... Is it just me that sees this as a supreme act of hypocrisy and betrayal? One of those two men should be burned at a stake, yes. But it's not Julian Assange.

  15. _LC_ Bronze badge
    Alert

    Where are all the "journalists"?

    What is going down here is appalling. How easy it has become to destroy an individual publicly. So few journalists standing tall ... most of them just ducking away.

    I'm still a little perplexed about the collective amnesia in regard of Jamal Khashoggi. Hello?

    Dear "journalists", don't you realize that this can be you in a few years? You can eat humble pie and lick boots as much as you want, one day this monster may still turn on you - and who's gonna defend you then?

  16. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Big Brother

    American Espionage Act

    First they came for the Communists, but I didn't stand up as I wasn't a Communist

    Then they came for the Terrorists, but I didn't stand up as I wasn't a Terrorist

    Then they came for the Foreigners, but I didn't stand up as I wasn't a Foreigner

    Then they came for the Traitors, but I didn't stand up as I wasn't a Traitor

    Then they came for the Citizens, but I didn't stand up as I was roped to a waterboarding table.

    Good luck America, you've elected these politicians, and you continue to support these politicians, Don't question the Authorities, or the Authorities will question you!

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: American Espionage Act

      Don't forget the child abusers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: American Espionage Act

      For fucks' sake stop paraphrasing stuff written by other people. It is boring and just says that you are out of ideas.

      Cheers... Ishy

  17. a pressbutton

    Hopefully there is enough 'cruel and unusual' in the US's treatment of Chelsea Manning - effectively imprisioning her until she agrees to testify against assange that the judges will stop extradition without this having to go to a politician.

    No prospect of fair trial etc.

    Land of the free...

    ... yuh.

    1. Cxwf

      Bradley ‘Chelsea’ Manning owed loyalty to the US, and betrayed that loyalty in the worst way possible. He deserves everything he got.

      Julian Assange, on the other hand, never owed us anything so there couldn’t be any betrayal. I don’t LIKE the guy, but I see a fundamental difference in his case, and I honestly hope the UK rejects the extradition request.

      Maybe you could split the difference somehow and make an agreement that the extradition is only valid for the computer hacking charge, and the espionage charges would be on hold until after he was released back to the UK following any sentence? Not sure if that works but it’s a thought.

      1. a pressbutton

        Manning was pardoned.

        Then a grand jury was constituted. Then she was jailed for refusing to testify. Then that jury ceased. Then she was released for a few days.

        Then a grand jury was constituted. Then she was jailed for refusing to testify.

        This is the nature of asymmetric 'justice' (well, it isnt really justice is it)

        $ millions spent on prosecuting Assange / Manning

        $0 on even investigating the things she leaked.

        I used to think spending £191m on the Saville / Bloody sunday enquiry was wasted, but now I see it as a tribute to the quality of justice in the UK. Might not have made the republicans / army etc happy, but at least they had a good look at ourselves.

        1. Andrew Norton

          Manning was NOT pardoned.

          Manning has been jailed for refusing to comply with a court order. It's real simple.

          And what manning leaked, had already been investigated. A report on it was released 6 months before manning made contact with Assange, as was a book where a whole chapter was about that incident. Reuters wrote about it shortly after it happened, and saw parts of that video.

          I know the narrative now is that Manning exposed warcrimes, but at the time, the narrative was about the attitudes of the pilots, as we already knew of the incident. It's great Retconing, but it's not true.

    2. Bernard M. Orwell

      Yeah, I'd not count on that. Or any form of justice. The US practices only punishment and vengeance, not justice.

      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/27/conf-m27.html

      TL;DR - Man dies after 35 years in solitary confinement. Lights on 24/7, minimal food, no access to outdoors. No human contact. - You'd be better treated by just about any other nation in the world.

  18. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    The next question is...

    Will Trump be demanding to take him home on Air Force One when he comes to visit next month?

    Personally, I hope that he stays away but he loves being in the limelight and there is an election to fight in a short time. What it is 17 months away. That's like tomorrow.

    Cynical? You bet.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    also, also...

    he's got a rather conspicuous beard. And you know who else's got beards, don't you!

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: also, also...

      Gay guys with female friends?

  20. Rich 2

    But he's not American

    I'm no fan of the Wiki man but (stating the bleedin' obvious) hes' not American.

    I wonder how America would respond if (say) one of its citizens was accused of spying (in say, Iran), escaped back to the US and then Iran came knocking asking for him back because he's a spy?

    If Assange were American then they could argue a treason charge, but he's not and unless he's in the US and has been caught there, they should fuck off.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: But he's not American

      We all know very well how the US government would respond if one of its citizens was accused of spying (in say, Iran). It would threaten to destroy Iran until he was released - regardless of his guilt or innocence.

      If he escaped, of course, they would just laugh at requests for extradition.

    2. Mark Nelson

      Re: But he's not American

      And the Charge is not Treason but Espionage. Treason is done by a Citizen giving Classified documents to a Foreign Power. Espionage is a Foreign Agent Acquiring by whatever means Classified Documents

  21. SolidSquid

    "It also noted that WikiLeaks published "the unredacted names of human sources who provided information to United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to US State Department diplomats around the world.""

    I could be wrong, it's been a fair while since the documents were released, but didn't he (or wikileaks at least) offer to retract the names of anyone who might be put at risk and the state department refused to assist with it because it would lend credibility to the leak?

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Robert D Bank

    this is 100% about chilling any journalist, or whistle blower, or anyone, from outing information the Gov't doesn't want you to know about. That is even where it is murderous, illegal, anti democratic and downright dangerous.

    Assange is the one that will feel the brunt of this, but the knock on affects to journalism and in fact democracy as a whole are terrifying.

    And yet all the other media outlets who fed off Wikileaks for years republishing a lot of the same material are walking away scot free.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't about Assange, its about terrrorizing whistlblowers

    This is the most evil part of the US government doing its (next to) best to keep people from exposing criminal actions by the worst of people (that are screwing the US over) in government. None of the criminals exposed have faced any charges, but they have done just about everything except execute (well, maybe a few) everyone that exposes corruption.

    This is not about Assange, it's about terrorizing good honest people to keep them from exposing criminals.

  25. Daedalus Silver badge

    Everybody is a journalist, and nobody is.

    Sorry, all you east-of-the-ponders. The First Amendment may use the word "press" but it doesn't define anybody as being a member of the capital-P "Press". It basically says you can't be prosecuted just for printing something, no matter who you are.

    As far as the Feds are concerned, journalists, self-styled or otherwise, are not a special class of people. Some US states have special laws that "shield journalists". Some countries do. Good luck to them. There are Federal court precedents that give publishers (note, not journalists) defenses against lawsuits for libel etc. especially where public officials are concerned. But there's no "get out jail free" card handed out to reporters. They can take their risks, and take their lumps too, and good luck to them.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Everybody is a journalist, and nobody is.

      Wikileaks has been awarded prestigious journalism awards for the very things the US state is now prosecuting it for.

      Pentagon Papers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everybody is a journalist, and nobody is.

      ... which is especially important given that the advance of technology has made everyone with an Internet connection capable of being a publisher, in contrast to the "good old days" when you needed to either own or be employed by a newspaper with a mammoth offset printer, or a radio or television network.

      ... The protections of the First Amendment are available to all who stand before a US court. Their reach is not limited by the citizenship of the protected party. It is a _limitation_on_government_power, not a special privilege given to either an elite or the general population of citizens. Unlike the Roman Empire, the US doesn't divide its justice system between special courts for citizens and foreigners. As Assange is now being prosecuted in the US civilian court system, the question of whether those protections would apply in a US military tribunal for enemy combatants, isn't at issue (although before the dust settles too much in this century, we're going to need a reconsideration of both those commissions and administrative immigration courts).

  26. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    As I see it:

    The initial charge, of offering/attempting to help Manning crack a password to access a computer that she had no legal access to, was a valid claim. Publishing material unflattering to a government isn't -- or shouldn't be -- illegal, but conspiring to commit a crime is, well, conspiring to commit a crime.

    The new charges, however, are -- it seems to me -- a direct attack on freedom of the press that the other was not, since the crux in the new is the publishing of unflattering, etc.

    What makes it particularly worrisome is the appearance that the target was chosen because he is -- to be generous -- an apparent narcissist, egotist, and all-around annoying self-serving dick. First thing that totalitarians do is go after the low-hanging fruit that pretty much everyone can agree is slime. Once that level has been cleared, the obvious next step to take to Keep Society Safe is to go after the ones that aren't as obviously scum, then the ones who might arguably be if looked at from the right angle, and just keep moving from there.

    So, while I believe, as I said, that the initial charge seemed valid, I deeply worry about the goal of the second set of charges.

    Personally, were I a cynical sort of individual -- which, of course, I'm not! -- I might suspect that if Assange is extradited to Sweden, his (as far as I can tell) reticence at publishing anything unflattering to Putin's Russia, might get him a Snowdonesque passport and a late-night boat trip from an isolated fjord across the Baltic to St. Petersburg.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playing Trumps

    Looks to me like the US is trying to make their charges look more serious than the Swedish ones, in order to get the British courts to hand him over to them first.

    They may well believe that by upping the quantity of charges and emphasizing they are after a really, really, really dangerous SPY (nothing fake in that now is there), they might just Trump (pun intended) the Swedish rape charge.

    I wonder which country they thought he was spying for, Sealand?

    1. _LC_ Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: Playing Trumps

      Do we have to keep pretending that Sweden's got anything to do with this? Even after Ecuador's new (corrupt and criminal) government has handed over Assange's belongings DIRECTLY to the USA?

      It doesn't get more frank than that. Therefore, let's stop all of this silly pretending, please.

  28. Dedobot

    Thats a strange situation. If he was a real thread CIA had to smoke him years ago.

  29. Sulphurcocky1
    Meh

    A Journalist or a journalist

    Is a bad journalist a Journalist ?

    Is there a distinction in Journalism between a good Journalist and a bad one ? - eg 'an old hack'.

    Is a self styled journalist a journalist ?

    The argument may rest on was Julian Assange a Journalist ? Even if it was just him thinking he was and doing whatever self styled Journalism ideas fitted.

    Saying Journalist over and over does not cement the idea of Julian Assange being one any firmer in my mind.

    Journalists can spy, even if it is to publish later, they fulfill their own ideology

    suppose its how you play the game

  30. grumpy-old-person

    Takes two to tango

    While Assange et al are probably guilty of some or other crimes, it seems that the US has MASSIVE security problems that allow secrets to be taken so easily!

    I wonder what the security spending by the US is? Probably make one's eyes water - yet very poor value for money, it seems

    1. _LC_ Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: Takes two to tango

      "While Assange et al are probably guilty of some or other crimes ..."

      Because repeating known lies and vague allegations continuously turns them into facts, as Goebbels propagated?

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Takes two to tango

      "While Assange et al are probably guilty of some or other crimes"

      Where? In what jurisdiction?

      Or is USA the World Police now? (We know they want to be, with UK as their little lapdog. That doesn't mean we should just accept it.)

  31. Danny 2 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Dumb and dumber and then me

    Maybe it's just me but this thread is poor compared to debates on Wikileaks and Assange we've had in the past. Or maybe I'm getting stupider.

    The level of vitriol has increased, which I feel may be partly due to Brexit and Trump since this actually became a Brexit debate at one bizarre point. Context is one thing, but the Tory party Battle Royale is maybe more relevant to the topic.

    Admittedly in previous discussions there were those who claimed Assange was at no risk of extradition to the US for unfair and inhumane punishment. You know who you are, and events have proven you wrong. Accept that, learn from it and move on.

    Read The Flipping Manual

    EXTRADITION TREATY BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND

    Article 4 Political and Military Offenses

    1. Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.

    2. For the purposes of this Treaty, the following offenses shall not be considered political offenses:

    (a) an offense for which both Parties have the obligation pursuant to a multilateral international agreement to extradite the person sought or to submit the case to their competent authorities for decision as to prosecution;

    (b) a murder or other violent crime against the person of a Head of State of one of the Parties, or of a member of the Head of State's family;

    (c) murder, manslaughter, malicious wounding, or inflicting grievous bodily harm;

    (d) an offense involving kidnaping, abduction, or any form of unlawful detention, including the taking of a hostage;

    (e) placing or using, or threatening the placement or use of, an explosive, incendiary, or destructive device or firearm capable of endangering life, of causing grievous bodily harm, or of causing substantial property damage;

    (f) possession of an explosive, incendiary, or destructive device capable of endangering life, of causing grievous bodily harm, or of causing substantial property damage;

    Personally I think the fact this treaty is written in American English rather than just English speaks volumes. It should be scrapped as one sided. However, Assange's extradition is clearly a political offence and should be judged so in an English court.

    1. Sanguma

      Re: Dumb and dumber and then me

      "(b) a murder or other violent crime against the person of a Head of State of one of the Parties, or of a member of the Head of State's family;"

      "(f) possession of an explosive, incendiary, or destructive device capable of endangering life, of causing grievous bodily harm, or of causing substantial property damage;"

      Right. We;ll believe it when we see the US hand over the US Customs officials who routinely let the Provisional IRA smuggle their weapons into Northern Ireland.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bang to rights

    Lock the pasty toad up.

  33. JCitizen
    Paris Hilton

    How is it going to be any worse???

    Than the jail sentence Chelsea Manning received? The next Democratic president will just give him a pardon anyway.

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