Four Years Is Long Enough: The DOJ Should End Its Grand Jury Investigation Into Wikileaks

from the file-charges-or-drop-it dept

For many years, it’s been widely known, if not officially confirmed, that the DOJ had a grand jury investigation going on against Julian Assange and Wikileaks. As far back as early 2011, it was already quite clear that they didn’t have enough evidence to actually make a case against him. They were so desperate that they tortured Chelsea Manning and offered her a plea deal if she would lie, and claim, falsely, that Assange “conspired” with her. Last fall, we noted that some in the DOJ were finally admitting that they had no case, but as of the end of April, the investigation was still happening.

A very long list of human rights and press freedom groups have now sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to end the criminal investigation and admit that nothing criminal was done by Assange or Wikileaks in relation to publishing classified information leaked to it by Manning (and, potentially, others).

In a recent meeting with media representatives, you promised that “as long as I am attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.” Yet, the continued criminal investigation and other persecution of WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange puts them at serious risk. Well-respected legal scholars across the political spectrum have stated that a prosecution of WikiLeaks or Mr. Assange for publishing classified material or interacting with sources could criminalize the newsgathering process and put all editors and journalists at risk of prosecution.

There is growing international recognition that new media organisations are creating new channels for political debate and play a crucial role in maintaining transparency and democratic forms of government. The US Government made freedom of expression on the Internet one of the priorities of its foreign policy; this commitment must not be limited to the international arena. Thus, we are concerned that actions against Wikileaks undermine the commitment of the US Government to freedom of speech

It’s doubtful that this will do any good, but it’s important to keep highlighting issues like this, and how the administration has failed, badly, to live up to its promises. Unfortunately, rather than actually doing the right thing, all too often, the administration seems to decide to double down on its strategy.

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Comments on “Four Years Is Long Enough: The DOJ Should End Its Grand Jury Investigation Into Wikileaks”

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22 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is why everything… and I mean everything eventually devolves into someone killing or imprisoning people over things.

Might makes right! Show me any place on Earth where people do not need a police force to ‘Protect’ themselves with!

That’s right… it was a good ole West… no longer a Fad in the US. We no longer mount up posses and go after dirt bags… we really should return to this behavior.

David says:

Re: A Reporter's Job

?as long as I am attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.?

There’s a reason the executive has bargained for permission to kill on American soil on presidential order.

Of course, “on presidential order” will be subject to interpretation like “judicial warrant” is. You cannot pester important people for every bad guy you are going to take out.

It’s the spirit that counts. Trust them, they are professionals.

Whatever says:

Issues

There are still outstanding issues. Bradley “call me Chelsea” Manning is one of those outstanding issues. It’s been said that he has implicated Assange in some manner, which could be enough for at least an accessory type charge.

As long as Assange hides in the embassy looking incredibly guilty, the grand jury will likely not be shut down. His level of concern about being extradited to the US really suggests that he feels that there is enough there for charges.

It’s like chess. Julian will very likely get bored of his self imposed prison a long time before the US government gets bored of waiting for them to come out to play.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Issues

“It’s been said”

Rumors mean nothing.

“His level of concern about being extradited to the US really suggests that he feels that there is enough there for charges.”

I have no idea if he feels that he has broken the law or not. I do know, however, that given the political landscape in the US right now, were I in his shoes I’d react exactly the same way even if I were as innocent as a newborn baby. There is zero reason to believe that people who have caused the US embarrassment will get anything remotely close to a fair trial.

zip says:

"double down" ... or martingale?

“Unfortunately, rather than actually doing the right thing, all too often, the administration seems to decide to double down on its strategy.”

The Obama/Holder “betting” strategy seems much more than simple double-down (as in blackjack) it’s grotesquely martingale: sinking ever-increasing amounts endlessly through loss after loss after loss, in the hope of eventually prevailing — rather than just accepting one’s loss and moving on.

It’s ironic that “double down” often gets used by writers to describe a process of stubbornly dragging something out, since doubling down in blackjack shortens the game by bringing it to a quick end.

Anonymous Coward says:

just like the Dotcom fiasco, that wont happen. the DoJ have made such twats of themselves, all to please certain political figures who want to please their industry friends, they have to keep on now for saving face! had any sense been used from the start, things would never have gotten off the ground. think how much better that would have been!!

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