UK Court Says US Can Extradite Julian Assange And Prosecute Him For Doing Things Journalists Do

from the DOJ-is-heading-down-a-pretty-dark-path-here dept

Julian Assange and Wikileaks did a lot over the past few years to destroy the goodwill they’d managed to accumulate prior to that by being a fearless publisher of leaked documents. At times, Assange has acted hypocritically and there’s some evidence he worked with Russian operatives to gather information in an attempt to damage the Democratic Party’s 2016 election hopes.

That being said, the on-again, off-again attempt to prosecute Assange over alleged Espionage Act violations threatens journalism as a whole. The DOJ occasionally appeared to recognize this, hence its stop-start prosecution effort. Attempts were made to get President Biden to drop the case, but there appears to be no turning back now. The US government has won its appeal of the UK court’s decision to refuse extradition.

Here’s a very brief summary of the UK court’s decision [PDF]:

Today, the U.S. won their appeal against a UK High Court ruling that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could not be extradited due to concerns over his mental health. Julian Assange can now be extradited from the UK to the U.S.

That’s courtesy of the ACLU, which also released this statement:

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, had the following reaction:

“The prosecution of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to press freedom. Bringing criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information establishes a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets. Any prosecution by the United States of Mr. Assange would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations. The government needs to immediately drop its charges against him.”

All of this is true. And it’s also true, as Marcy Wheeler points out, that Assange’s legal representation engaged in some bad faith arguing while trying to keep Assange from being extradited.

But the US is hardly without fault. It has made assurances about Assange’s treatment in prison, including a promise to keep him out of solitary confinement. Even if those making these assurances firmly believe them, the US prison system is far from willing to ensure Assange and his health conditions are treated humanely. The system does not work that way. Prisoners are considered interchangeable pieces of meat, stripped of their humanity as soon as they’re processed.

Here’s Wheeler’s take on the bad faith on both sides.

These two issues go to the dubious credibility of both sides. The High Court ruled that Kopelman did not give unvarnished expert opinion (he was in no way the only one of WikiLeaks’ experts to do so), but found that could not, at this point, affect the legal analysis. And it found that US assurances that US jails would treat Assange humanely were sufficient, even though I believe there is a high likelihood that Assange will do something that ends up getting him put in some form of isolation.

WikiLeaks has lied systematically throughout this extradition process — about why Assange was charged when he was, about what he was charged with, about how strong the case against him is, about what a Yahoo article actually said. I have described how a very close Assange associate ordered me, in advance of the first extradition hearing, to stop doing factual reporting on Joshua Schulte’s case because it would undermine the story about journalism WikiLeaks wanted to tell, which is one way I’m absolutely certain the lying is intentional. They have affirmatively told a story that was most useful to their propaganda effort, one they knew to be false.

[…]

That said, the US is little more credible. There’s scant reason to credit US assurances on jail and prison conditions. That’s true — and would be true for all international extradition cases — because our jails and prisons are shamefully inhumane. But it’s also true because a national security defendant like Assange would have little leeway before triggering more severe restrictions.

This is an example where neither side should be credited.

Without a doubt, Assange will soon find himself on the receiving end of the worst things the US penal system has to offer. Even at its best, it’s still pretty terrible.

Beyond the threat to Assange’s life and health, there’s the existential threat this prosecution poses to journalism. Assange faces 18 charges. Seventeen of those target things journalists do regularly. Sources with access to confidential and classified information are pursued. Leaked information is published. While the First Amendment tends to do a pretty good job protecting publication, it’s not nearly as helpful when it comes to the act of newsgathering, especially when the news is information the government would like to remain secret.

That these charges are being brought under the Espionage Act means Assange’s defense will be extremely limited. The newsworthiness of published classified information doesn’t matter and there’s no public interest defense to be raised. The prosecution makes its case and the defendant, for the most part, is expected to just sit there and take it.

This is why Edward Snowden fled the country. As he pointed out then, if there was a chance he’d be given a fair trial, he’d return to the US and face the DOJ in court. But the Espionage Act makes a fair trial impossible. That’s why the charges against Assange are so dangerous. If they stick, the DOJ will have little reason — other than an equally on-again, off-again sense of decency — to not bring criminal charges against journalists who seek out and publish classified information.

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Comments on “UK Court Says US Can Extradite Julian Assange And Prosecute Him For Doing Things Journalists Do”

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58 Comments
K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Again, they’re doing some disingenuous fudging of facts.

He didn’t have a major stroke on Friday as the results came out, as you seem to think, He had a very minor stroke (Transient ischemic attack) on day 1 of the hearing, October 27th. If it were medically relevant, they’d have been shouting it at the time.
That they made the announcement when they did, shows its just for publicity, and sympathy, and to try and distract from what would be a major point in the reporting that – YET AGAIN – Assange’s defense team lied to the courts.

migi says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The US already admitted they had a plot to kill him.

Per the badly written Yahoo news article, the US never approved a plot to kill Assange. Pompeo was mad, and asked his staff for fantasies that would never get approved, in the same way you might build a nice house in the Sims that you’ll never be able to get IRL.
Pompeo said: "‘Nothing’s off limits, don’t self-censor yourself. I need operational ideas from you. I’ll worry about the lawyers in Washington.’"
His staff said: "“It was, this is a crazy thing that wastes our time.”"
Then lawyers at the CIA and National Security Council shot him down: "NSC lawyers were bulwarks against the CIA’s potentially illegal proposals"
Even Jeff Sessions was against it: "Even Sessions, Trump’s “very, very anti-Assange” attorney general, was opposed to CIA’s encroachment onto Justice Department territory"

And all this happened because of the role Wikileaks played in the 2016 election, AND the Vault 7 release in March 2017: "“WikiLeaks was a complete obsession of Pompeo’s,” said a former Trump administration national security official. “After Vault 7, Pompeo and [Deputy CIA Director Gina] Haspel wanted vengeance on Assange.”" It didn’t happen because of the releases in 2010.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Stop taking their claims uncritically. They’ve been caught lying too many times.

The stroke was a very very minor one (basically a bad panic attack) – so minor it happened in october and they only broke the news when they did to try and go for sympathy, because they know the court would have asked independent medical experts who’d have said ‘its nothing’. Or why else do you think they waited until after the verdict to release news of something that happened on day 1 of the hearing, that they claim impacts the hearing?

And the ‘assasination’ claim, its literally just ‘pompeo talking shit’. As always. EVERYONE else shot hm down, it wasn’t ‘planned’, or ‘plotted’, it was an insecure loser having a mastibatory fantasy. There was never any plotting or planning. Every claim there was is a fabrication of wikileaks, just like the whole ‘Clinton droning him’ thing, which was also a wikileaks invention.

migi says:

So are you planning on encouraging someone to hack in order to get a story?
Or is Russia about to spirit you away for ‘safe keeping’?
Both events were triggers which caused Assange to be charged.

That said, I read this passage rather cynically:
"It is difficult to see why extradition should be refused on the basis that Mr Assange might in future act in a way which exposes him to conditions he is anxious to avoid."
Because I’m sure whatever conditions he’s told he must meet to avoid the SAM or ADX would never be used to coerce him.

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Anonymous Coward says:

And it found that US assurances that US jails would treat Assange humanely were sufficient

That’s pretty rich, considering we weren’t capable of keeping the highest profile prisoner in at least 2 decades alive long enough to see a courtroom, even after a failed attempt on his life should have raised some kind of alarm.

Though I guess they might keep Snowden alive, since he won’t be allowed to testify regardless.

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Re:

we weren’t capable of keeping the highest profile prisoner in at least 2 decades alive

That was a special case of involuntary assisted suicide.

It is hard to prevent such a thing, particularly if the cameras, personal observation, and cell door locks all fail simultaneously. When that happens, the assistance team may operate without risk or interference. And it is important that such things happen smoothly so as to avoid nasty gossip regarding people much higher up in the system.

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Anonymous Coward says:

You forgot to mention the second indictment – which was served without giving Assange the possibility to defend himself. And it is curious how you write about the bad faith of his lawyers and you do not mention that part of the accusations come from a convicted fraudster paid by the CIA. The same CIA who also plotted to assassinate him. This is not a trial, and freedom for journalists is completely secondary in front of the fact that the US are torturing a man, for years, like they are doing in guantanamo and other places. The only difference is that this torture is happening in front of the cameras.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You never get a chance to defend yourself in an indictment, thats how they work.

And the ‘accusations come from a fraudster paid by the CIA’ is a claim made by wikileaks, and wikileaks only, and not based on any evidence.

"The same CIA who also plotted to assassinate him."
Yeah, they didn’t. It’s a constant claim by the social media accounts tied to Assange, but they all reference back to the same yahoo story, the story that no-one reads past the first paragraph or two it seems. Because if you’d read down to the meat of the story, you’d see that the ‘assassination’ was an idea spitballed by trump and pomeo, and shot down at every turn by those it’d have to pass. Basically, it was on the ‘bleach and rectal lights to fight covid’ level of consideration.

In short, there’s basically 3 people that have strongly and repeatedly talked about assassinating Assange, Pompeo, Trump, and Stella Morris, and the first two stopped talking about it after being told it wasn’t going to happen, but with the intensity and ferver she’s been going on about it, it’s almost like she’s wanting it to happen.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

You never get a chance to defend yourself in an indictment, thats how they work.

You never get a chance to defend yourself in a trial under the Espionage Act, either. I recommend to read up on the Daniel Ellsberg trial transcripts: when he or his lawyer tried just that in court, they were shouted down and shut down by the judge. A defense is not admissable in a trial under the Espionage Act. Only a denial of the claims. Which makes no sense for whistleblowers.

Ellsberg only got out because the prosecution overplayed its hand, burglared his physician’s office to get at medical records and wiretapped client-lawyer communication. He wasn’t acquitted (that would not really have been in the books) but the judge threw the case out of court since he said that the prosecution misconduct made rendering justice impossible. As if it were possible in an Espionage Act trial anyway.

So this is a trial prewired to a "Guilty" verdict with no allowance for having any mitigating motivations or actions admitted into the record or the sentencing.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Only a denial of the claims. Which makes no sense for whistleblowers."

Good thing Assange isn’t a whistleblower.

To be a whistleblower, means to be aware of conduct through your position, and then to ‘blow the whistle on it’ by revealing it to the public as an insider.

Worse for your claim, the timeline REALLY doesn’t fit. Manning had cables/notes they tried to sell (!) to newspapers but they didn’t want them, because they were nothing. ended up giving them away to wikileaks, who then wanted more, and so they got more, and eventually this video, which they edited to push the narrative of a "warcrime" by decontextualizing parts of it to give the desired narrative.

If it were whistleblowing, it’d be "manning finds video and wants to blow whistle on warcrimes shown in it, manning releases video to Assange who publishes it unedited"

When your justification for actions is claimed to be whistleblowing, but you don’t get the thing you claim to be blowing the whistle on until after you’ve been pushing out other things, it just doesn’t work.

Also, you don’t seem to understand ‘defense’. you don’t get to defend yourself in an indictment because you literally don’t. The defense is not there, the defendant is not represented because its only purpose is to show there’s enough probable cause of a crime, no exculpatory counter-testimony (thats for trial)
What you’re talking about is a particular kind of defense, a "public interest defense", which is also known as ‘justification’. a "yes I did it but this is why’ thing. Yes, thats not permitted under the law. But you do get a defense, you can question witnesses and evidence, undermine the process of getting them, question their accuracy.
You absolutely get a chance to defend yourself.

Talmyr says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Note: I really don’t like the man. But this is still a travesty of "justice" when someone who is not an American citizen and who didn’t commit crimes in America is going to be railroaded through a fake and rigged kangaroo court.

The US has no moral ground after Mega, nor after murderous US "diplomats" in the UK.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

What's a little torture of prisoners among nations?'

With how the US treats normal prisoners any considerations regarding extradited prisoners and the treatment they may receive should immediately go against US demands for extradition, when you add in that he’s someone the USG has a real hate-on for the UK might as well be shipping him over to north korea or a similar country.

I don’t care how dishonest his defense against extradition has been on other counts when it comes to whether he’ll be treated humanely should he end up in a US prison there is not a chance in hell of that happening and that alone should have been enough to refuse.

Ninja says:

Re: What's a little torture of prisoners among nations?'

It’s very sad that he sucks as a person as far as I can tell. Because a ton of people, including a lot of commenters here, would rather see an idiot punished and freedom of press destroyed than admitting he is being persecuted and harassed by the US govt. Idiots are entitled to their rights as much as people we like.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What's a little torture of prisoners among nations?'

Do you remember when Gawker went under because they refused to take down a sex tape after a court order, and then the free press died?

Oh wait, thay didn’t happen. Gawker got killed, it’s come back under new management that isn’t subhuman muckraking filth, and newspapers and news sites aren’t getting sued left and right.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: What's a little torture of prisoners among nations?'

Seems someone has severe problems distinguishing between a civil suit and the government using the Espionage Act to fuck someone over.

Also, a single case doesn’t decide the fate of the free press – but a constant chipping at what is considered the free press will kill it in the end.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: What's a little torture of prisoners among nations?'

Is the freedom of press being destroyed though?

What Assange is being accused of is not what any responsible journalist would do. It’s something journalism schools specifically say not to do… for this reason.
A lot of those making these claims are doing so on faulty information, treating wikileaks as an honest source, forgetting that they’ve been caught lying about their own cases in court too many times to count.

And this isn’t the first time this kind of journalistic prosecution has gone on. It was a huge topic in the UK a few years ago, leading to government enquiries etc. Yes, the News International phone hacking scandal. Even ended up with an attempt to get Rupert Murdoch publicly pie’d in the face (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/rupert-murdochs-foam-pie-in-the-face/2011/07/19/gIQA8Ct0NI_blog.html).

Multiple journalists went to prison, a major UK newspaper shut down. no-one claimed the ‘end of a free press’ then. why? Probably because News International didn’t lie to other reporters as wikileaks has done.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"They’d be less likely to roll over and hand him to the Americans than either the UK or Australia, that’s for sure."

Well yes, that was his whole reason for applying for residency there. If only they didn’t have those petty sex crime laws….

In fact (as he well knows) they absolutely don’t extradite for these crimes. Had he been in Sweden, extradition would have failed, as they did for Eddie Howard, the only CIA officer to defect to the US. In 1991 he was arrested in Sweden in connection with espionage charges in the US for extradition. He was let go. That’s despite him being a US citizen, and the espionage case being much stronger, PLUS it was 91 and Sweden was relying heavily on US protection if the soviet fall went really bad, OH, and can’t forget that old ‘presidential pressure’, because what it was in Howard’s case is like nothing else. Bush was working a re-election campaign, had been VP when Howard defected, and Ford’s head of the CIA. Eddie Howard was PERSONAL to Bush.
And again, Assange knew this, he mentioned it at his press conference announcing his application for residency. It’s what made his claim that he was fleeing to the embassy because of ‘swedes handing him over to the US’ so laughable (that and extradition law precludes handing people on)

Assange’s problem is that he doesn’t like being held responsible for his actions. he’s always considered himself a genious, and if things went bad, it’s someone else’s fault, not his, so why should he have to pay the price. He’s doing the work of God (himself) and how dare mortals with no vision get in his way. It’s why wikileaks has had such a high turnover of people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Firstly, me staying anonymous has nothing to do with this "conspiracy theory" and has everything to do with Singapore being an authcap shithole, where any criticism of the executive branch, president or judiciary can result in harassment first, then a legal challenge, then getting arrested. Regardless of the merit of the criticism.

Secondly, if you haven’t caught on, I am implying that Assange is at least a useful Russian psyops asset. He has collaborated with Russian Intelligence before, and probably earlier than 2016. Wittingly or unwittingly, that’s for you to decide.

Thirdly, it won’t be the CIA who will finally do Assange in, it’ll be Putin and the FSB, assuming he doesn’t try to blab about who helped hi.

Lastly, 1991 isn’t 2021. Geopolitics is essentially a dirty game, where the goal is to screw the other guy guy before he screws you first, Russia is massing a fuckton of troops at the Ukranian border, and China isn’t gonna do shit but let the Europeans and Americans fight each other…

If I’m wrong, feel free to disprove me. I am more than happy to correct my thinking, regardless of how obnoxious the source is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And while we’re discussing Eddie Howard, or Edward Lee Howard as he’s called in the news…

You conveniently left out that he was alledgedly a KGB agent and that Russia was shielding him for "services rendered to the Soviet Union".

It’s a fact Sweden didn’t find him guilty of espionage… on Swedish soil. As to why they did that, no one knows, especially considering how mercenary Sweden is regarding their "neutrality". The Swedes stil told him to buzz off, though.

It’s also true that Assange has not done any spying on Swedish soil, of course. Mere technicalities, but important ones, nonetheless.

That does imply he might just want to finally just fess up to being a douche to prostitutes, though.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"They’d be less likely to roll over and hand him to the Americans than either the UK or Australia, that’s for sure."

Google the "bromma extraditions Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery". Suffice to say that Sweden has, in the past, on the mere request of the US attache, brought asylum seekers in handcuffs and blindfolds, to CIA-registered planes where in front of the swedish personnel the asylum seekers were fitted with adult diapers, trussed like chickens, and flown off to some hellhole egyptian prison.

All with neither trial nor investigation. Sweden was later sued by one of the survivors and as it turns out years of torture and permanent harm was caused to two innocent men because in the "war of terror" it proved expedient by "allied" nations less concerned with human rights to just hand a list of dissidents to the US ambassador and claim they were Al-Quaeda terrorists.

No, if Assange had gone to Sweden his feet wouldn’t have touched the ground before he was shipped off to gitmo.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"…he was never in any danger of being quietly whisked away had he gone back to Sweden."

That depends entirely on whether an american attache decides to strongly urge the swedish government to give him up. The last PM we had who was willing to stand up to the US was probably Olof Palme.

Swedish PM: "We are not extraditing Mr. Assange to the US under these circumstances."
US Ambassador: "We’ll treat him nice. No waterboarding. Cross my heart."
Swedish PM: "The optics are really bad, you know"
US Ambassador: "We’ll get you a white house photo OP"
Swedish PM: "Woof! ????"
US Ambassador: "Good dog!" ????

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"yeah, no, wouldn’t have happened."

Easy to say when we have the facts in hand that yes, Sweden does, in fact, bend over backwards and break its own laws in order to shove people on board CIA planes to undeclared destinations at the slightest request of Uncle Sam.

It’s an old tradition of Swedish "neutrality". Whenever a large enough neighbor makes a demand, we deliver. Thus why under the second world war we supplied nazi germany with large amounts of steel and allowed unfettered passage of prison trains back and from Norway to pass through swedish territory.

And why we under the cold war persistently supplied intelligence to the US about russian movements in the baltics. Etc.

So I’d posit the other question; Do you have any grounds for your assertion that Sweden would somehow not do what it has always done?

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Ah the Agiza case, it always gets held up as some kind of weird justification.
You did misstate the details of the case though (no worries, many who refer to the case do, it comes because they’re repeating what they’ve been told, not what happened)

So, they were asylum seekers, which failed (one using forged documents) so they were sent back, after getting assurances from Egypt.
That’s not the same as guy there, looking to be extradited to the US (possibly) for espionage charges.
literally the only thing in common between that case and assange is ‘they were sent overseas’ – not even the method is the same, trying to conflate repatriation with extradition.

By contrast, the Howard case is damned near spot on in terms of ‘case on point’, and the only difference is Howard was american, Assange is Australian.
You’re trying to call a dog a hippo, because it also has 4 feet and a mouth, because there was a hippo 20 years ago, and a very similar dog was 30 years ago.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Ah the Agiza case, it always gets held up as some kind of weird justification. "

For a reason. Here in Sweden it made a lot of waves.

"So, they were asylum seekers, which failed (one using forged documents) so they were sent back, after getting assurances from Egypt."

Nope. They weren’t "sent back". They were handed over to american agents and transported via a chartered private jet courtesy of the US government.

Later investigations by the UN determined that Sweden had, in fact, violated its obligations and eventually both men were awarded settlements.

I mean, the fact that Sweden violates international convention at the request of foreign powers has been pretty well established. You could argue that the US had threatened sanctions if the extraordinary renditions didn’t proceed, but the fact is, Sweden caves every time some big enough bully starts making threats.

We chickened out of opposing Hitler, we chickened out opposing the USSR and we chickened out opposing the USA. Assange may be a douchebag but I have no faith that my country will hesitate for five minutes before putting him on a gulfstream headed across the Atlantic.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

And yet you still seem to ignore that the most absolutely on-point case – someone wanted by the US for violating the espionage act in a matter that was very personal to the US President at a politically sensitive time for him, was told to pound sand.

I mean, call me Mr Silly if you want, but I’d think that when we’re talking about "Assange being extradited to the US for Espionage charges", the case of "American being extradited to the US for espionage charges" is a bit more relevant than "Egyptians being sent back to Egypt (with unproven US assistance) on the basis of some Egyptian allegations"

I mean, in one the only difference is the nationality of the subject (which makes the case – and precedent – stronger, while the other has the same sort of correlation you’d find between a facebook homeopathy group and the FDA on how to treat covid (the vaguest of similarities, but every detail and fact different)

It’s not that you’re trying to compare Apples and Oranges, it’s that you’re trying to compare Apples and Hay, and saying they must be similar because horses eat both.
I get why, as it was made a big deal of 10 years ago, when all this blew up, so it sticks in the mind, but it’s a poor comparison at best, and if that is the best you can do to substantiate the position, that’s not very strong, is it?
Also, it’s almost always ONLY swedes that bring up the case. I can understand why – you feel a bit of shame for it – but trying to jam it into cases with little relevance to the ones at hand (especially when there are better ones) seem like nothing more than a weird form of flagellation.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Yeah, this espionage act thing is a joke. What a misnomer. Assange is not a spy except if you count that he spied for the American public, but since when is the American public the enemy of the American government?

I have yet to hear about people actually being harmed or killed because of Assange’s actions. I notice there is no mention of anyone harmed or killed in this legal paper shown above.

This thing about putting people "at risk" sounds vague and subjective, and I note the government is not merely saying people but has to add "innocent" to "people". its not putting people at risk but putting "innocent people" at risk. Are the people doing the government ‘s dirty work "innocent people" and what are they innocent of, I wonder. How is the government going to prove that their "innocent people" were truly endangered by Assange?

And since "innocent people" working for the evil government exist, it imply that there are "guilty people" working for the government. I notice Assange is not in trouble for putting the "guilty people" working for the government at risk because apparently that’s fine, like the government throwing them under the bus. LOL

You notice I call the government evil. Yes, for its own deplorable actions in Iraq that Chelsea Mannings and Assange helped to expose. It was certainly no force of good or the good guys in Iraq. The government was not innocent nor their people involved in war in Iraq innocent. To call them innocent is just offensive to the many innocent people they put to death in Iraq!
Theres no innocent parties here.

The government partly is to blame for Assange or Chelsea Mannings and Ed Snowden because of their cover-up and actions to prevent people exposing their illegal actions and evil actions thus making the three felt necessary to do what they had to do to stop the government This should be factored in when condemning them.

Methinks it’s the guys with plank in their eyes criticizing the guy with little speck in his eye in this legal thing. The government ‘s sins are so great that it has no business to go after Assange.

I don’t see legitimate harm with Assange’s actions except if you call exposing the government’s dirty laundry and embarrassing the government a legitimate harm, which I don’t in this case. Frankly I think this is not about justice but about the American government’s vendetta . The government wants to punish Assange for exposing and embarrassing them. That’s what the fuss is about. The government is pretending this is not the case, and I don’t buy it.

I hope the jury will see that the government is pretending and refuse to condemn Assange for this legal bullshit. I wonder how kangaroo-ish the trial going to be.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Editing footage and words in a video of an attack helicopter attacking terrorists to make it seem like a war crime was being committed when it really wasn’t, providing assistance to someone to hack gov’t computers, and helping a fascist asshole like Trump get elected by selectively leaking documents? Those are not things that I would consider journalistic. Let Assange suffer. He deserves it for inflicting upon us the death of democracy. Also, he has the option to serve his sentence (if convicted) in an Australian prison, so the “WHADDABOUT HOW BAD AMERICAN PRISONS ARE?!?” (and yeah they’re shit) is moot.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

"Editing footage and words in a video of an attack helicopter attacking terrorists to make it seem like a war crime was being committed when it really wasn’t…"

Two chopper pilots playing a game of taking potshots at a visibly unarmed fleeing civilian while laughing? The one multiple times proven unedited?

11 civilians killed because two chopper pilots decided that it was the hilarious thing to do.

"Let Assange suffer. He deserves it for inflicting upon us the death of democracy."

Nice try gaslighting. Assange may be an unpleasant asshole but what he deserves for publishing evidence of war crimes is a pulitzer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Lol, you still think that the video as it was was real?

Let’s talk about this footage that has gotten you so much attention recently. This is footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007. The army described this as a group that gave resistance at the time, that doesn’t seem to be happening. But there are armed men in the group, they did find a rocket propelled grenade among the group, the Reuters photographers who were regrettably killed, were not identified…You have edited this tape, and you have given it a title called ‘collateral murder.’ That’s not leaking, that’s a pure editorial.

Assange, meanwhile, did not appear to be at all put off by the tone of the questions, admitting that the point of the video — including the editing and the title — was to gain as much political impact as possible. In fact, he goes on to point out that the full unedited material is available to the public in order that they may draw their own conclusions.

“I admire that,” says Colbert, noting that by putting ‘Collateral Damage’ on the first thing the public see “you have properly manipulated the audience into an emotional state you want before something goes on the air.”

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Lol, you still think that the video as it was was real?"

What was real about it includes the record of firing a 30 mm vulcan at an obviously unarmed civilian on the ground.

After that it doesn’t matter if the rest of the video had been doctored – which it hadn’t. You can certainly skew a perspective by editing, cutting some sequences while leaving others in, but both the edited and the unedited version show the exact same thing – a pair of chopper pilots killing civilians for shitz’n’giggles.

So your argument becomes nothing but the sad exculpation that the US army can do no wrong and god help the infidel journo who dares imply otherwise.

The exact same argument was made about the ones reporting on My Lai during the vietnam war. Difference being that at that time the journalist got a pulitzer instead. Because the US at that time consisted of people unwilling to blind themselves to the wrongs of their own damn army.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

[Addendum]

And here you can google the details of the unedited event; ‘All lies’: how the US military covered up gunning down two journalists in Iraq.

Anyone trying to exculpate the two sociopaths in the chopper who decided to end it all by firing through a car with children in it to get to the last journalist is just pure evil.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s been a while, but didn’t the USAF eventually rule that, while regrettable, they were in a c9mbat zone and the call was justified?

While it’s galling to think that there’s actual psychopaths enjoying the murder of civilians mixed in with enemy troops, war in and of itself is just that awful.

And it doesn’t help that a jerk like Assange is trying to use that event as a means of shaming the US.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"…but didn’t the USAF eventually rule that, while regrettable, they were in a c9mbat zone and the call was justified?"

See, the problem I have with that is that according to the US army, My Lai was similarly justified. Until, that is, the exact specifics started leaking.

"And it doesn’t help that a jerk like Assange is trying to use that event as a means of shaming the US."

Assange may be a jerk but what really shames the US is that the USAF came out with the situation as "justified" after the conversation held by the chopper pilots was exposed.

That’s not something you get to exculpate with a "war is bad" assertion. Actual psychopaths enjoying murder is beyond just shameful to suffer within an army.

If for no other reason than that it makes it really hard to point at, say, China and Russia misbehaving when the would-be complainer can’t claim moral high ground themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So you’re defending a fuckwit like Assange who admitted that he edited the footage to make it as fomenting as possible?

Bill Keller of The New York Times wrote, "But in its zeal to make the video a work of antiwar propaganda, WikiLeaks also released a version that didn’t call attention to an Iraqi who was toting a rocket-propelled grenade and packaged the manipulated version under the tendentious rubric Collateral Murder."[4] The New York Times wrote that "Critics contend that the shorter video was misleading because it did not make clear that the attacks took place amid clashes in the neighborhood and that one of the men was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade."

It was edited the same way Guiliani’s ‘fake votes in boxes’ video was from the Georgia election earlier this year – to cut out bits that give context and change the narrative.

And like Trumpers and Q idiots who’ve been given clear evidence that that election footage was edited, you don’t give a shit that Assange edited the footage to paint as dishonest a picture as possible.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"So you’re defending a fuckwit like Assange who admitted that he edited the footage to make it as fomenting as possible?"

I’m defending the part of the footage which is incontrovertible and which has been fairly well established – that two american chopper pilots fired a 30 mm at a car containing children to get to a person who was obviously unarmed. The unedited film was also available – and paints just as damning an image in that regard.

After that it really doesn’t matter that Assange is a fuckwit.

But let me guess, facts don’t matter because you dislike the source.

"And like Trumpers and Q idiots who’ve been given clear evidence that that election footage was edited, you don’t give a shit that Assange edited the footage to paint as dishonest a picture as possible."

You’re missing the point. That the unedited imagery is also available. And it presents the exact same situation. Two chopper pilots getting their rocks off killing a guy by firing into a car with children in it.

Assange may be a fuckwit and a douchebag but if I had to make a choice between him and the guy currently trying to explain away child killers then that’s a no-brainer.

Anonymous Coward says:

2 points that were not obvious from the article…
1) There is no LEGAL reason for the UK to refuse the extradition request. There may be plenty of moral ones but as the US has pinky promised not to be horrible to him, there is no issue about sending someone to be tortured. If the US reneges on this deal, there will be precedent to prevent future extraditions. As there is no legal barrier, it comes down to the UK Home Secretary to answer the more moral side of this. Unfortunately Pritti Patel is the latest in a long line of sociopathic Home Secretaries and is totally devoid of any moral compass – no chance there!
2) The US has agreed that Assange can serve out his sentence in Australia so he will not necessarily be in a US prison for the long term. Technically, this puts him under Aus jurisdiction for parole etc. The US can sentence him to 200years but Aus may decide that 10 is enough. No guarantee but it certainly looks better than life in a super-max

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ethics takes a backseat to realpolitik, unfortunately.

The British government needs to make AUKUS work, defend Brexit and stave off the eventual Chinese hegemony.

Assange is just some asshole that trahsed the Ecudorian embassy and would like someone to foot the bills. And take Assange’s cat to the RSPCA for rehoming.

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