May 20, 2017

“While today is an important victory and an important vindication, the road is far from over, the proper war is just commencing."

“The claim by the UK that it has a right to arrest me for seeking asylum in a case where there have been no charges is simply untenable.”

Said Julian Assange, quoted in The Guardian.
On what happens next, Assange signalled that he would remain inside the embassy for the time being, and that he was seeking dialogue with British and US officials...
... The UK refuses to confirm or deny at this stage whether a US extradition warrant is in the UK territory. While there have been extremely threatening remarks made [in the US]. I’m always happy to engage in a dialogue with the Department of Justice about what has occurred.
What are the "extremely threatening remarks"? Here's another Guardian piece, "Trump and Assange's friendship may come to a quick halt as US charges loom/The president and WikiLeaks founder were partners not more than four months ago, but now the US may charge him for publishing classified material":
A threat by the Donald Trump administration last month to imprison WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange might, from Assange’s perspective, seem ungrateful.

It was WikiLeaks that published a steady drip of awkward emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in the run-up to the November election. It was WikiLeaks that exposed plotting inside the Democratic National Committee to ruin the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. And it was WikiLeaks that Trump associates such as Roger Stone touted as the force that would finish off Clinton.

“I love WikiLeaks,” Trump himself said at a Pennsylvania rally a month before the election, brandishing a printout of a Clinton campaign email, to cheers from the crowd.
Why should Trump act grateful? He needs to look independent, not like he was in collusion or encouraging the law-breaking. Bursting out with "I love Wikileaks" at a rally may show how little Trump thought in terms of law, but it's not taking a legal position, just exulting at something that was producing a result that was helping him. 

51 comments:

J. Farmer said...

What crime did Julian Assange commit? And why wouldn't the publishers of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or any other periodical that regularly publishes illegally disclosed material not be guilty of the same thing?

mockturtle said...

Where do they come up with this stuff? It is clear that the media want to be--have been trying to be for decades--the shakers and movers of our culture. Never content to report the news, they want to create the news. Is there even a clear line between news articles and editorial opinions any more?

traditionalguy said...

I say cut him the usual deal. Free sex change and free lifetime medical care if he agrees to commit the real crime of Treason. Julienne is a great name.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Great question J. Farmer.

Is this multidimensional chess by Trump. Get the media all stirred up about WikiLeaks and file criminal​ charges with them hooting along.

Then charge the WaPo and NYT?

Nah. I don't believe Trump is that forward looking.

Lucien said...

Why would President Trump worry about Assange? Trump knows that the entrenched bureaucrats who despise him will keep leaking information that hurts him no matter what.

That means Assange, who might well leak information helpful to Trump, is not so much of a threat.

Trump and Assange are both disruptive tricksters.

David Begley said...

The U.K. has no duty to inform people charged with crimes in other countries if there are pending extradition warrants.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Partners? Evidence, please.

Oh, I forgot. Evidence is old-school reporting. The New Journalism has no need of evidence.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"The president and WikiLeaks founder were partners not more than four months ago"
Trump and Assange have never met, never spoken, or otherwise directly communicated with one another.
"The allegations by the Clinton campaign that everyone is a Russian agent are really disturbing," Assange said. "Why is that? Well, bizarrely, Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, has become, has positioned herself now, as being the security candidate. She's palled up with the neocons responsible for the Iraq War and she's grabbed on to this sort of neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia, and is using that to demonize the Trump campaign."
http://theweek.com/speedreads/645239/julian-assange-tells-megyn-kelly-why-wikileaks-isnt-releasing-dirt-donald-trump

Michael K said...

And why wouldn't the publishers of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or any other periodical that regularly publishes illegally disclosed material not be guilty of the same thing?

Well said.

Inga said...

His exultation of "Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks!" could be used to indicate what his intent may have been in some future criminal proceeding.

Etienne said...

Drop all charges, declare him a free man. The get some Vietnamese girls to rub his face with North Korean sauce when he exits the embassy.

Hagar said...

Winston Churchill is reported to have said that if the Devil would join the fight against Hitler, he would at least be willing to put in a good word for him.

No one has suggested that made him "a partner" of the Devil.

Matthew Sablan said...

Wait -- the left told me that, per Chelsea Manning and Snowden, leaking was good. What changed?

Limited blogger said...

Eight more years of this too?

Matthew Sablan said...

"His exultation of "Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks!" could be used to indicate what his intent may have been in some future criminal proceeding."

-- No, it could not, as we cannot use previous statements from other politicians against them. I know you think that Trump shouldn't be freed by the same rules that freed Democrats, but, alas. That's not how rules work.

Lewis Wetzel said...


Blogger Inga said...
His exultation of "Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks!" could be used to indicate what his intent may have been in some future criminal proceeding.

Hillary said we should use a drone to assassinate Assange.

Bay Area Guy said...

I have grudging respect for Assange. Sure, he's probably a leftist. But, to his credit, he recognizes that the upper echelon of the Democrat Party in the US is a buncha wealthy, oligarch, treasonous a-holes who deserve to be taken down a peg or two.

It was wonderful to enlighten the world as to how the Dems treated Bernie behind closed doors. Bernie is silly and clueless on economic matters, but he's honorable and didn't deserve to have his political knees cut-off by the Dems.

Assange gets credit for this. And, if I had to choose between Wikileaks and the NYTimes, I'd take the former.

n.n said...

why wouldn't the publishers of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or any other periodical

Because journalists, their backers, and Democrat Party will close ranks and bring their substantial resources and leverage to bear in popular culture (e.g. Hollywood), in broadcast television (e.g. network channels, PBS), in schools (indoctrination of captive audiences), etc.

It was WikiLeaks ...

It was disenfranchised Americans, notably Democrats...

This is how they set the stage for a baby trial. This is how the press avoids responsibility through projection and paints their opposition for abortion.

Separation of Church and State in order to establish their Church. It has worked, but not completely. Americans are independent and skeptical of the internal, external, and mutual contradictions inherent to a Pro-Choice philosophy.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Matthew Sablan, that is so cute you think that.

Remember when we couldn't use Obama's statements that ObamaCare was not a tax when the government wanted to save it by saying it was a tax.

Now we use statements of nongovernmental supporters of Trump to rule his travel ban unconstitutional.

We are close to having two sets of rules in this country. One for the ins and one for the outs.

Matthew Sablan said...

Bill: That's why, despite the fact I personally am not a fan of Trump, I've been very clear that what he's doing, while bad, is no worse than the previous administration or the Clinton campaign, so... why should I care? Yeah, in an ideal Matt World, we wouldn't have Trump because the things he does are bad.

But... I just spent eight years being told it WAS NOT bad. Hence the reason I keep going back to the forest, laws and devil from A Man for All Seasons, hoping that the left will realize exactly HOW they reached the point that the right has decided, "Screw your rules."

Hagar said...

On August 1 1944 the New York Times published an article describing Eisenhower's bluff with Patton's fake army in Britain, which was still super-duper top secret classified material, and their behavior have hardly changed since whenever they have disagreed with the Government's policies.

So what is the difference with Wikileaks other than the medium of illegally disseminating classified material?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Good for you Matthew. Keep up the efforts and I hope they pan out. I've crossed over to complete cynicism and I'm just reduced to snark.

Matthew Sablan said...

The difference is Wikileaks is indiscriminate, while the tape of Obama speaking to donors is still sealed in the vault at whatever publication has it because they didn't think it was newsworthy.

Earnest Prole said...

"I love Wikileaks, but what's it done for me lately?"

Mountain Maven said...

Life without for those who release classified material. Assange is a career criminal so even if he skates, he'll reoffend and will be put away. Disgusting how his apologists ignore the rape charge.

AllenS said...

I believe that the rape charge has been dropped.

buwaya said...

Assange is Australian.
I don't think the US has standing to charge him with releasing US secrets, or even for espionage, and it would be improper to extradite him from the UK to the US on such grounds.
I am probably wrong here, but if there is such a law it is a bad one.
I suppose the UK can charge him with a local offense, but that would seem a bit of a reach.

William said...

I think Snowden and Manning still have hero status among the left. Manning even has an oak leaf cluster. But Assange's star has faded. It's all very well to leak info harmful to American national security, but info deleterious to the DNC is a bridge too far......

rhhardin said...

A condom doesn't mean much with wikileaks anyway.

buwaya said...

If the tables were turned, you could easily have countries charging third-country foreigners in the US with violations of their security laws. Turkey, for instance, could charge Kurdish persons in the US for sedition or espionage, and demand their extradition to Turkey. This would be mad.

rhhardin said...

When the road is over.

Tough road to hoe.

Lucien said...

@Hagar my father's godfather kept the front page (sometimes more) of the NY Times for every day of WWII to settle a bet on how long it would last. If memory serves, the coverage of Operation Cobra in July '44 went several days before the Times identified Patton as commander of Third Army.

Lewis Wetzel said...


Top 10 Clinton scandals exposed by WikiLeaks
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/12/top-10-hillary-clinton-scandals-exposed-wikileaks/
1. Mrs. Clinton had cozy and improper relationship with the mainstream media.
2. The State Department paid special attention to “Friends of Bill.”
3. Mrs. Clinton argued for “a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.”
4. The Clinton campaign was in touch with Department of Justice officials regarding the release of her emails.
5. The Clinton camp was tipped off to the release of the Benghazi emails.
6. Mrs. Clinton admitted sometimes her public and private positions differ.
7. Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman mocked Catholics and evangelicals as “severely backwards.”
8. Mrs. Clinton admitted she has a hard time relating to the struggles of the middle class.
9. Mrs. Clinton campaign used Benghazi as a distraction from the email scandal.
10. The Clinton team strategized on how to delay releasing emails, knowing it was against the law.

Here's a WaPo story on the same theme, but the WaPo focuses on leaks that show Wasserman-Schultz (and her party's) efforts to freeze out Sanders:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/24/here-are-the-latest-most-damaging-things-in-the-dncs-leaked-emails/?utm_term=.6c29faf6026f

Assange has said that his leaks were meant to embarrass Clinton & the Dems over "fixing" the race for Hillary.
Suppose the Russians were interfering because their candidate, Bernard Sanders, was ill-treated by Hillary and the Dems? Sanders was actually pro-USSR.
This, FWIW, is supposed to be the Steele Dossier: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984/Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.pdf
The Steele report is supposed to have been used to create the Jan.6 "Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution" https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3254237/Russia-Hack-Report.pdf
The Steele report has since been widely discredited because Steele used paid anonymous sources within Russia itself, e.g., it may be a product of Putin's FSB.

hombre said...

"... charge him for publishing classified material...."

So WaPo, NYT and CNN have immunity?!

Robert Cook said...

"Life without for those who release classified material. Assange is a career criminal so even if he skates, he'll reoffend and will be put away."

It is not illegal for the press to publish classified material. It is illegal for the person taking the classified material to take it and sell or give it to another, but the press may legally publish it if they receive or obtain it.

Thanks to the First Amendment. It's a good thing!

cubanbob said...

Julian Assange maybe a scoundrel but if his leaks resulted in the the deplorables, the irredeemable, the rubes and Althouse Hillbillies not voting the liar, grifter, criminal and traitor Hillary Clinton then the man deserves a medal. Everyday Clinton isn't president is a good day. Even Trump can't screw up worse than Hillary.

Chuck said...

Oh fer chissakes, Althouse.

If Trump's crowing "I love Wikileaks!" didn't make your skin crawl at that time he said it, and if you can't find it laughably stupid now, I just don't know.

Sometimes I think you really are trolling. My head tells me that "trolling" is not your style, and not your intent. So I'll be careful with my language. Unlike the President.

buwaya said...

The first amendment does not apply to Assange, he is a foreigner living in a foreign land.

His real protection should be exactly that, as a foreigner he should not be subject to such US laws.

buwaya said...

Wikileaks is on the whole a healthy thing. The US has far too many secrets, much too much is going on under wraps. This makes the government, especially the bureaucracy, even more unaccountable. It also encourages tacit "secret treaties", of the sort that led to WWI.

Hagar said...

I think buwaya is right; as an Australian citizen publishing on the internet, the US Gov't could ask Australia to find something to charge him with on the good old Lavrenti Beria principle of "show me the man and I will find the crime to charge him with," but that is about it.

Robert Cook said...

"The first amendment does not apply to Assange, he is a foreigner living in a foreign land."

"His real protection should be exactly that, as a foreigner he should not be subject to such US laws."

Well, the First Amendment does apply to Assange in that, if the U.S. were to prosecute him, which would require he be brought here, he would be under U.S. authority, and the Constitution applies to anyone under U.S. authority. Which is to say, just as a terrorist from a foreign land tried by the U.S. is subject to the same Constitutional protections as an American citizen, so would Assange if he were tried by the U.S. for publishing the material he has published, (which reveals a great range of America's crimes).

It was the (failed) attempt to get around this constitutional reality that prompted the Bush Administration to detain suspected terrorists, (the vast majority of whom were innocent) at Gitmo. Remember, the Constitution does not grant rights to Americans so much as it prohibits the government from violating the rights inherent to all.

Now, it's possible Assange could be tried under the Espionage Act, but some legal authorities suggest this might collaterally endanger press freedoms, so...who knows how it would play out?

Personally, despite his personal foibles, whatever they might be, I think his efforts with Wikileaks are to be lauded. At least in that area of behavior, he is a hero.

Earnest Prole said...

Sometimes I think you really are trolling. My head tells me that "trolling" is not your style, and not your intent. So I'll be careful with my language.

You're making it sound like trolling is a Bad Thing.

Rusty said...


Little Chuck said,
"Sometimes I think you really are trolling. My head tells me that "trolling" is not your style, and not your intent. So I'll be careful with my language. Unlike the President."

the irony.

mockturtle said...

Rusty observes: the irony.

Yep.

Michael K said...

the Bush Administration to detain suspected terrorists, (the vast majority of whom were innocent) at Gitmo.

Cookie, I was starting to think you had acquired some sense.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Michael K said...
the Bush Administration to detain suspected terrorists, (the vast majority of whom were innocent) at Gitmo.

Cookie, I was starting to think you had acquired some sense.

5/20/17, 3:42 PM

They all said they were innocent!

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K and @Lewis Wetzel:

If either of the two of you have evidence that everyone held at Gitmo is guilty of a crime, I'd love to see it. Or do you both subscribe to the notion that we should just take the government's word for it?

Michael K said...

Farmer, there were probably low level guys confined there but innocent ? I very much doubt it.

Maybe the Uighers.

I would be much more likely to take the word of a military person below O 6 than any FBI (except my daughter) or CIA employee.

My daughter, who is the lefty but who announced she would not vote for Hillary last September, was arguing that KSM should have a criminal trial in New York which was nonsense.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Farmer, there were probably low level guys confined there but innocent ? I very much doubt it.

So then your answer to my question is "no." You have no evidence but you have a hunch. We already know that hundreds of innocent people were taken to Gitmo and subsequently released with no charge. Lawrence Wilkerson, former US Army Colonel and Bush State Department official also believes many are innocent. What do you guys know about these detainees the he doesn't?

From March 2009:

Ex-Bush Official: Many at Guantanamo Bay Are Innocent

Robert Cook said...

"'...he Bush Administration to detain suspected terrorists, (the vast majority of whom were innocent) at Gitmo.

"Cookie, I was starting to think you had acquired some sense."


Even the military, at the time, admitted most of those brought to Gitmo were innocent of any terrorist activities. (What does that even mean, in context? We invaded their country. If any of these men were fighting back, does that mean they're terrorists, or just citizens fighting an invading foreign force? However, most were not even that. Most were just picked up in dragnets or bought from bounty hunters who brought in whatever bodies they could find to earn US booty.)

Michael K said...

We already know that hundreds of innocent people were taken to Gitmo and subsequently released with no charge.

Do you have a link to that ? I'm not saying you are wrong. Just that it is not my understanding. We did release people and about 30% went back to jihad.