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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 3:43am

    ...if she would like, and claim...

    ...if she would lie, and claim...

     

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  2.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 5:10am

    Countries have rebelled against their corrupt governments for less than what the US government ignores the laws and rights of their own citizens.

    My point is the US government is opening breaking their own laws and rights citizens have. Why on earth would they stop doing these illegal acts when asked nicely by human rights organizations.

     

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  3.  
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    DOlz (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Ya know

    In all fairness when Obama ran on the slogan “Change you can believe in”, he never said it was change for the better.

     

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  4.  
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    drewdad (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 5:31am

    We have always been in litigation with East Asia

    Perpetual "investigation" when you know that you will never have to present an actual case.

    Sounds like a perfect job for a few associates who create billable hours and worthless paper. A creative law firm wouldn't even need actual associates.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    Oops. Fixed. Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 6:21am

    A Reporter's Job

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

    Well there you have it. Of course, a reporter's job is to report what the government tell them to. Yeah, I see how that works.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 6:27am

    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.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 6:44am

    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.”

    That statement was taken totally out of context. At the time, he was talking about Josh Earnest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Violynne (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 6:59am

    143 Years Is Long Enough: The DoJ Should Stop Abusing The Constitution.

    A much better title, if you ask me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Secret charges have been filed under seal against Julian Assange. That's why the investigation is still ongoing. If he ever leaves the embassy he's currently in. He'll be extradited to the US and will face those secret charges inside a secret court of law.

     

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  11.  
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    Whatever, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 8:09am

    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.

     

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  12.  
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    David, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 8:22am

    But while we have the Grand Jury assembled:

    How about an indictment for Clapper's repeated perjury?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 8:30am

    Re: Issues

    You are backwards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    David, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 8:30am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    zip, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 8:46am

    "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.

     

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  16.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 8:52am

    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.

     

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  17.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Like that will happen

    Probably they should end the investigation, yes.

    But they're not ending it until everyone thinks WikiLeaks is some kind of plumbing fault, and everyone associated with the site is in Guantanamo.

     

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  18.  
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    AnonCow, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 11:01am

    What you can't tell from reading the quote is that Holder was making those air quotes with his fingers when he said "reporter".

    Assange is not considered to a be a reporter by this administration.

     

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  19.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Anyone else feel like this article would have been much better timed either right before, or right after, the last article covering Wikileaks?

    Almost could have been a two-part thing 'The DOJ should stop it's grand jury investigation...' '... but actions like this are why it won't.'

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 12:33pm

    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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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Issues

    So you're hoping that eventually someone will jump out of the frying pan into your fire.

    Your strategy depends on your mark being a retard with no foresight. Ha ha, sorry, but not everyone is as silly as you'd like them to be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Jun 24th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    Coincidence?

    Here's an interesting coincidence for you. At the same time this happened Sweden decided to drop their investigation of Assange in regards to the rape allegations.

    If it's one thing Snowden has taught me it is that you can't be too paranoid...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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