• esnard 30 days ago

    Julian Assange is free. He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 days there. He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stanstead airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.

    This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations. This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalised. We will provide more information as soon as possible.

    After more than five years in a 2x3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars.

    WikiLeaks published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding the powerful accountable for their actions. As editor-in-chief, Julian paid severely for these principles,and for the people's right to know.

    As he returns to Australia, we thank all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom.

    Julian's freedom is our freedom.

    [More details to follow]

    • dang 30 days ago
    • RcouF1uZ4gsC 29 days ago
      > Court documents revealing Assange's plea deal were filed Monday evening in U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean. Assange was expected to appear in that court and to be sentenced to 62 months, with credit for time served in British prison, meaning he would be free to return to Australia, where he was born.

      I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. He is appearing in US territory before a US judge who is actually under any obligation to honor the plea deal. The judge could reject the plea deal and remand him to custody or sentence him to US prison.

      • throwup238 29 days ago
        IANAL but the judge can't both reject the plea deal and sentence him, since rejecting the plea deal invalidates the guilty plea. Rejecting it and remanding him to custody would cause a diplomatic incident.

        He's not out of the woods yet by any means, but if they reached a deal his lawyers are confident in, I wouldn't be worried about the judge. They are supposed to deffer to international law if US is a party to the treaties involved (which in the case of extradition, it is).

    • MOARDONGZPLZ 30 days ago
      > Julian's freedom is our freedom.

      A little too heavy handed. Yeah it seems like from the outside he was potentially overly punished, pending further details that may never materialize, but “his freedom is our freedom” is pretty extreme given what he did. He’s not relatable.

      • dmix 30 days ago
        Yes the world is clearly a worse place because of Snowden, without him just imagine the true power the national security state could have achieved and how much safer we’d all feel.
        • georgeplusplus 30 days ago
          I don’t know, did he really change really anything? It doesn’t feel like it at least.

          Outside of the tech community, he’s not really known except for being that guy who leaked things.

          • dmix 30 days ago
            You don’t have to become a celebrity that every random person on the street knows to try to do some good in the world, whether it works or not.

            And objectively the internet is a safer place thanks to the Snowden NSA leaks which were directly inspired, not just ideologically but technically in how it was done, by Assange. You can look at the mass adoption of encrypted messaging and HTTPS adoption statistics (which grew exponentially directly after the leaks to become near standard), and plenty of other metrics to see that.

            Wikileaks was the spawn of many good things, even despite it’s flaws.

  • whoitwas 29 days ago
    Can someone who has an accurate source post when Wikileaks cryptographic canary expired? I'm unable to find a source and it's important to know they shouldn't be trusted.
  • hi-v-rocknroll 30 days ago
    Never thought I'd live to see the day. After looking after his health and family, I hope he resumes interviews and podcasting.

    Today was a good day.

  • sackfield 30 days ago
    In an ideal world we would get to do a reverse investigation to understand which government officials were complicit in his very obviously politically motivated detention, action would be taken upon those individuals to ensure accountability, and the system itself would be updated so powerful interests can't abuse the law like this. How far are we from this world?
    • xkcd-sucks 30 days ago
      I was reminded of this joke:

      > A city slicker shoots a duck out in the country. As he's retrieving it, a farmer walks up and stops him, claiming that since the duck is on his farm, it technically belongs to him. After minutes of arguing, the farmer proposes they settle the matter "country style."

      > "What's country style?" asks the city boy.

      > "Out here in the country," the farmer says: "when two fellers have a dispute, one feller kicks the other one in the balls as hard as he can. Then that feller, why, he kicks the first one as hard as he can. And so forth. Last man standin' wins the dispute."

      > Warily the city boy agrees and prepares himself. The farmer hauls off and kicks him in the groin with all his might. The city boy falls to the ground in the most intense pain he's ever felt, crying like a baby and rolling around on the ground. Finally he staggers to his feet and says: "All right, n-now it's–it's m-my turn."

      > The farmer grins: "Forget it, you win. Keep the duck."

      • Buttons840 30 days ago
        The real life version is a company sues you for a stupid reason and after spending a couple hundred thousand dollars on your defense the company loses and says "our bad lol", and then the matter is settled.

        Or, in this case, after prosecutors hold someone in prison for a decade or two they offer a plea deal.

        • acer4666 29 days ago
          That's not what's happened here. His time in UK prison counts towards his US charges and is the reason he's not doing time in US prison. It's more like if "settling things country style" involved giving each other ducks, and after round one the farmer received a duck then said "forget it keep your duck".
      • paulddraper 30 days ago
        Reminds me of playing the game "who can punch the softest" with my dad
        • silisili 29 days ago
          Oh man, core memory unlocked. Only fell for that one once!
    • wmf 30 days ago
      There has been reporting on this. Apparently there was one zealous person in DOJ pushing the Assange case and everybody else thinks it's too weak to be worth it.
      • tyingq 30 days ago
        This article from the Intercept covers it pretty well. The prosecutor in question is Gordon Kromberg.


        Here's another: https://www.newagebd.net/article/226187/julian-assanges-gran...

      • doctorpangloss 30 days ago
        It's interesting, if you believe that one person can take down the system - as a whistleblower must - well surely, one person can buck the system's instincts and try to take down you.
      • alfiedotwtf 30 days ago
        Don’t forget Hillary was fixated on Assange for a long time, and was even quoted with “Can’t we just drone the guy?”.

        The direct spat lead to Assange helping Trump and the Russians publish Hillary’s email server spool.

        I don’t like that Assange ended up helping Trump and Russia, but you can’t blame him for helping the one person who can kick the person out of office who wants to Tomahawk you

        • CalChris 30 days ago
          • nullc 29 days ago
            Your link does not include a denial, it includes Clinton saying she did not recall making such a comment. Is there an outright denial elsewhere?
        • hipadev23 30 days ago
          Check your sources. Alex Jones doesn't count.
        • harry8 30 days ago
          I think this is nonsense?

          As far as I know there is zero evidence that wikileaks did not publish everything newsworthy that they were given regardless of who it helped or hindered.

          Anyone have anything credible showing they suppressed anything ever?

          • whoitwas 30 days ago
            Wikileaks canary died a long, long time ago. Nothing from them has been trustworthy for a long time.
            • GolfPopper 29 days ago
              I thought it was the warrant canary of their email provider (Riseup) that died in 2016. Did Wikileaks ever even have a canary?

              Riseup currently has a canary[1], they state that it would not trigger for "gag orders, FISA court orders, National Security Letters" which seems like it makes it pretty useless.

              1. https://riseup.net/en/canary

            • harry8 30 days ago
              This comment has no substance and such comments are against house rules here. This thread will be tough for poor old @dang.
              • throwup238 30 days ago
                Your comment has no substance and is against house rules:

                > Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work. A good critical comment teaches us something.

                > Don't feed egregious comments by replying; flag them instead. If you flag, please don't also comment that you did.

                Leave the moderating to dang, it's his job and he gets paid for it. If you have nothing to say, don't reply at all.

                • whoitwas 30 days ago
                  I would have to dig up a decade old computer or scour the web for years. THis is nonsense. It's 100% true that Wikileaks has a cryptographic canary that expired sometime after Julian Assange was incarcerated.
                  • harry8 29 days ago
                    Forgive me, I've never heard of a "cryptographic canary." Google tuned up nothing for me about what it is or how it relates to wikileaks. It gave me the strong impression of being nonsense. Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

                    Have you got a link for what it is?

                    My prior is that any evidence of substance that contributed to a belief in wikileaks being untrustworthy would be /very/ easy to find in many locations. Maybe it's not but I can't think why. Perhaps you know?

                    • whoitwas 29 days ago
                      Wikileaks information was trustworthy and accurate. It may still be that the information prior to their canary expiring is okay, but anything released after can't be trusted.

                      I'd assume that once the canary died whichever actors compromised them scrubbed it.

                      It's been over a decade now, but I do have a machine somewhere with evidence.

                      Some nerd bigger than me here certainly has evidence available in a dropbox or somewhere accessible. I don't.

              • whoitwas 30 days ago
                What? It's true. Wikileaks had a canary to let everyone know if they were compromised. The canary died and so they can't be seen as reliable.
          • rtpg 30 days ago
            I thought there was some story about Wikileaks receiving a bunch of stuff regarding Russian gov't officials and there was internal debate in the org and it ended up not being published. Was that just a made up story?
            • GolfPopper 29 days ago
              Foreign Policy: WikiLeaks Turned Down Leaks on Russian Government During U.S. Presidential Campaign


            • bardan 30 days ago
              It isn't made up. It was during one of the email leaks when the org was stretched to it's limits. Suddenly they get these documents that they don't have time to fully parse and don't look very interesting anyway. Immediately there are dozens of articles put out simultaneously about how Wikileaks refused to publish Russian documents. I guess they learned about the documents being passed to Wikileaks in the first place, wonder who let them know?

              The documents were later published elsewhere and nobody cared because they were uninteresting.

      • gbnvc 30 days ago
    • dboreham 30 days ago
      Responsibility has to be pretty defuse, right? You can at least begin with all the presidents in office since he was prosecuted, until N-1 since presumably the Nth just released him.
      • sackfield 30 days ago
        Diffusion of responsibility is definitely a defense in these cases, but the system should recognize this shortcoming and assign accountability (at least in an ideal world).

        Although I'm willing to bet that the true actors here weren't necessarily presidents (even though they would ultimately be accountable like you say). Would be interesting to see who demanded what and when.

        • ambicapter 30 days ago
          Diffusion of responsibility comes from diffusion of power, which is an intended goal of many stable systems of government. Cuts both ways.
      • etchalon 30 days ago
        A lot of Assange supporters are going to feel weird about giving Biden credit for his release, especially since Biden was part of the administration that initially decided to pursue Assange.
        • TallTales 30 days ago
          Also because he was forced into pleading guilty for doing journalism. A great crime has been committed against Assange and I understand why he would do this. I would never ask him to spend another day in a small Ecuadorian embassy room with no living facilities or in a medieval torture cell in England... He has suffered more for the free people of the world than we have a right to ask for but this is not a just outcome.
          • dools 30 days ago
            He wasn't "doing journalism". WikiLeaks just posted a completely unevaluated firehose of data fed to it by whomever, which is why they were such an easy asset for Russian intelligence.
            • rendall 29 days ago
              This is misinformation. Their policy was never to publish anything they could not verify, and the "asset for Russian intelligence" was only ever a DNC and US intelligence smear to discredit Wikileaks.
        • safety1st 30 days ago
          To quote the article: "“This was an independent decision made by the Department of Justice and there was no White House involvement in the plea deal decision,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement Monday evening."
        • kristopolous 30 days ago
          The Biden administration doesn't have a terrible track record with a bunch of things (bringing back net neutrality for instance) they just have a really bad marketing department.
          • rayiner 30 days ago
            I don’t know if Biden had anything to do with this, but he has some good old school democrat instincts. The problem is that he’s surrounded by globalists and progressives who can’t loudly promote the good things he did, like tariffs, getting out of Afghanistan, initially maintaining tight border restrictions, etc.

            I mean, even if Biden has something to do with this plea deal, his staffers won’t promote it because they think Assange is a kremlin puppet who conspired to help Trump get elected.

        • matthewdgreen 30 days ago
          My recollection is that the Obama administration was split on this, with DoJ officials enthusiastic but Obama purportedly being concerned about the political implications for journalism. The charges were only filed in 2018/2019 under the Trump administration, which presumably did not have major concerns about journalism. Am I wrong in this?
          • rootusrootus 30 days ago
            > concerned about the political implications for journalism

            As I recall, Wikileaks made the choice to take sides in politics, so the blame lies with them.

            • whatshisface 30 days ago
              Without starting the whole "is publishing documents received from an enemy of the state seditious," debate, I didn't think there was supposed to be a jail term on taking sides in politics. :-)
            • alfiedotwtf 30 days ago
              Hillary wanted to drone Assange, so you would expect Wikileaks to take her opponent’s side
        • roenxi 30 days ago
          In the sense that the US letting up on the poor man is a surprise, yes. But without having polled the pro-Assange crowd it doesn't seem like a special surprise that it was Biden. He's been the name on impressive things before, like ending the Afghanistan war (which at the time had been a political humiliation for the US longer than Assange had).

          Supporting transparency and good journalism isn't a partisan issue, and there are going to be good people in any administration. Plus Assange wasn't annoying presidents, he was going after people in the deep state.

    • hdbv6 30 days ago
      Well after a certain Kingdom hacked his phone a guy called Feff Pezos complained to the powers that be. What happened? Powers that be tell Feff pay us more than the kingdoms do, if you want to play game of thrones, or fuck off cuz they take care of us real well. Feff fucked off to his 500 million $$$ super yatch. This is how the elites work. You can see how much they care about the plebs in the man made killing fields all around the world. That will not change cuz there is nothing presently in the collective imagination to make it change.
    • dumdumdumdum 30 days ago
      • dang 30 days ago
        Since your comments have become repeatedly flamebaity and unsubstantive, and now appear to consist mostly of "LMAO", we've banned the account. HN is for something else.

        If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email [email protected] and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future. They're here: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

    • 29athrowaway 30 days ago
      There is a big overlap between political organizations and organized crime.
  • tptacek 30 days ago
    I don't understand how this could possibly be the case given the conventional wisdom that the US intended to have Assange extradited to the US in order to disappear and indefinitely detain him in defiance of the rule of law.
    • belorn 30 days ago
      It is the same conventional wisdom that held that the Swedish state prosecutor would never break Swedish laws in order to keep a prosecution indefinitely ongoing. Naturally the US had no plan to charge Assange the same day that the Swedish state prosecutor had to drop. Then a higher court actually found the state prosecutor breaking Swedish law, because as a state prosecutor is not legally allowed in Sweden to keep a prosecution going indefinitely. Conventional wisdom among Swedish legal professors at universities held that the behavior of the state prosecutor was a bit odd given that they know from a very early on that the whole deal was illegal.

      It is very strange. I wonder if it possible could have something to do with foreign affairs, which a state prosecutor is by law very much forbidden to take instructions from. That would be in defiance of the rule of law, but then, they were already in defiance of the rule of law.

      • vilhelm_s 30 days ago
        Surely you don't need any conspiracy for the US to charge him at the same time as the Swedish prosecutor drops charges? That can be done unilaterally by the US prosecutor.
        • teractiveodular 30 days ago
          If the Swedish prosecutor had dropped charges before the US got around to charging him, Julian would have walked free. So it's awfully convenient that the charges were "substituted", so to speak, on the same day.
          • vilhelm_s 30 days ago
            Hm, I just looked up the timeline, and I don't see any conincidence. It's like:

               6 March 2018, a U.S. grand jury charges Assange, but it is secret.
               11 April 2019, Ecuador expels him from the embassy, the UK arrests him for skipping bail.
               11 April 2019, the U.S. unseals the charges and asks for him to be extradited.
               13 May 2019, Sweden re-opens the rape investigation because he is now potentially available to be extradicted again.
               19 November 2019, Sweden closes the investigation because the evidence is too old.
            There is no "same day" coincidence at all, and Assange was never free to walk because he would always face criminal prosecution in Britain for skipping bail.
        • glenstein 30 days ago
          The conspiracy is in the coordination of charges to facilitate extradition to the United States. And it turned out there was in fact a sealed indictment in the United States this whole time.
          • Yossarrian22 30 days ago
            March of 2018 is hardly the whole time.
    • glenstein 30 days ago
      I guess that is one way of attempting to rehabilitate arguments, often made here on HN, that Assange would never ever under any circumstances be extradited and had no reason to fear extradition.

      Reframing that as being not merely about being extradited but being disappeared helps shift emphasis away from the other 90% of the conversation surrounding extradition fears, that proved in the end to be true.

      Edit: The fears about harsh treatment were legitimate as well. Look at what happened to Chelsea Manning, charged with similar crimes. Chelsea Manning was subjected to 23 hours a day of solitary confinement, put on suicide watch, checked on every 5 minutes, forced to be "visible" at all times while sleeping, and ultimately their treatment was investigated U.N. and condemned as inhumane.

      I don't understand what's so unreasonable about suspecting Assange would be subjected to harsh treatment when that's exactly what happened in the closest comparable case.

    • stevage 30 days ago
      It's hard to tell what your actual point is, but "the US" is not one singular entity with one singular purpose that never changes. Perhaps the thing you say was true for some people in the administration at some point, but not always true for all people.
    • femto 30 days ago
      There was a mood change in Australia, with all sides of politics wanting Assange's case to be closed [1]. Consequently in the last 12 months there has been pressure from Australia, on its "five eyes" US and UK partners, to close the case.

      [1] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/albanese-expresses-f...

      • marcus_holmes 30 days ago
        I'm not sure that the US gives too many fucks about Australian public opinion, or what Albanese says. I think it has more to do with US politics and the upcoming election.

        But whatever, I'm glad he's free and is not being extradited to whatever hellhole the US had planned for him. I hope he's able to get a beer and a swim and put his life back together.

        • femto 30 days ago
          I'm not so pessimistic. Each country will put their own interests first, but they do work together. Pursuing Assange isn't central to the US/UK national interest. Part of the reason Assange languished so long was because the Australian government didn't stick up for him earlier.
        • alfiedotwtf 30 days ago
          I hope Assange never has to buy a beer for the rest of his life.
          • fndhfichchsbsbd 29 days ago
            I agree.

            Because hopefully the rest of his life isn’t long enough for him to enjoy anything like that. The worthless contemptible partisan traitorous liar, who was completely negligent in protecting any of his sources. I hope he dies tonight.

        • FireBeyond 30 days ago
          > I'm not sure that the US gives too many fucks about Australian public opinion

          Public opinion, maybe. And not comparing the two in size, etc., but Australia holds a bit of a privileged place in terms of some of the US resources: Pine Gap and a lot of the classified NRO/NSA equipment, deep space and classified military satellite comms, and then one of the major relays / radio systems for US submarine communications.

        • sudosysgen 30 days ago
          The thing is that if Australia wants to deny extradition, they can, and the US presumably wouldn't want that precedent.
          • jeffparsons 30 days ago
            As an Australian, I would be blown away if our government ever tried to stand against the USA in that way. We rely too much on our alliance for defence; there's no way Australia can stand on its own militarily. So there's a lot we would tolerate to keep that relationship stable.
        • protocolture 30 days ago
          I mean we are one of a few places they have relays for their submarine comms.
    • tobyjsullivan 30 days ago
      > In May, two judges on the High Court said he could have a full hearing on whether he would be discriminated against in the U.S. because he is a foreign national. A hearing on the issue of Assange's free speech rights had been scheduled for July 9-10.

      At the risk of sounding a tad conspiratorial, it's possible the U.S. agreed to this deal specifically to avoid the upcoming trial. As I understand it, there remains an open question of whether (or to what extent) the US constitution applies to non-citizens and it's conceivably in the government's interests if that thread isn't pulled by foreign courts and in such a public fashion.

      To clarify: I don't believe the US was ever going to "disappear" him or whatever he and others hypothesized. Even outside that context, there's an interesting question of why the US suddenly decided to wrap this up after a decade of seemingly-relentless pursuit.

      • getcrunk 30 days ago
        I like how you think! I think it’s some combination of this and very recent bipartisan Australian sentiment to end it that combined into enough people having a slight shift culminating in “the system” deciding to let him go
      • tptacek 30 days ago
        It makes more sense that they agreed to the deal because Assange has spent 5 years in prison, which approaches or exceeds the likely sentence he would have received (even after applying the "TOP SECRET" sentence modifier) for a conspiracy liability charge. At some point there's no longer any purpose in pursuing the case.


        Moreso: assume Assange spends another year or two in UK prison, and then is extradited; the trial is complicated (for the same reason the Florida documents trial is complicated: because it involves evidence that has to be cleared for and during trial) and could easily run over a year, longer if Assange wanted to --- you're now running up to the maximum possible guideline sentence even if the prosecution could establish that he led the conspiracy, rather than just participating.

    • arp242 30 days ago
      "Conventional wisdom" is just wrong. "The US" isn't a monolithic entity; the Obama administration explicitly refused to charge him, and he wasn't charged until the Trump administration. The Trump administration tried to strike a deal way back when, which was ruined by Assange doing the Vault 7 leaks in the middle of that, after which they were fuck you and all. There's a lot of inertia to these things after the ball gets rolling.
    • nekoashide 30 days ago
      Time served, look at how he's been treated, the dude isn't worth any more effort to prosecute. Doing so would look incredibly bad at this point.
    • protocolture 30 days ago
      Well the territory that he will be tried under is a hair better than continental USA from this perspective, but extraordinary rendition would still be a concern.
    • hiddencost 30 days ago
      Priorities change. He's not really a threat anymore. They've thoroughly scared people who might copy him.
      • netsharc 30 days ago
        And haven't they broken his brain anyway with all the solitary confinement...

        Ah, Western Democracy and the rule of law and humane treatment of prisoners, how we love thee. That sounds like I'm pro-Russia or China, but no, I don't like them either.

        • jeffparsons 30 days ago
          To make your point even more explicit:

          The kind of imprisonment that Assange was subjected to is unambiguously torture, and was unambiguously administered for the purpose of revenge.

          There is no natural "need" for the conditions he was subjected to (e.g. the cost of a larger cell is negligible), and no natural purpose other than to punish.

          I am deliberately ignoring the question of guilt here, because I don't believe that we should torture _anyone_, regardless of the crime. The fact that we do this is a giant ugly stain on civilisation.

        • pezezin 30 days ago
          I don't know why you are getting downvoted, your comment is spot on. The way this man has been treated should be an embarrassment to all the leaders of the so-called free world.
      • gilgoomesh 30 days ago
        Assange wasn't really a threat on his own. He was merely an outlet for others (Chelsea Manning, Russian propagandists). The question was whether he encouraged others.

        Snowden showed that leakers didn't need Wikileaks for Chelsea Manning-like releases and the Russians have just switched to directly releasing on Twitter.

        • dralley 30 days ago
          >the Russians have just switched to directly releasing on Twitter.

          Or more frequently just making shit up. Enough people will believe it anyway if they're politically inclined to do so, plausible details are not a required element.

      • lolinder 30 days ago
        This is how conspiracy theories are so resilient. Everything is evidence of the conspiracy.

        Someone gets arrested? The conspirators had it out for them. They later get freed? The conspirators simply changed their mind!

        It's not that you're wrong, it's just that your argument is entirely unfalsifiable.

        • soulofmischief 30 days ago
          What's the conspiracy? He was a known whistleblower and the U.S. was upset that he assisted in the acquisition of certain documents. All of the motivations have been quite open.
        • ipaddr 30 days ago
          Part of that statement is public knowledge. Wikileaks was a trusted entity who you could release documents to that would publish and keep you private. That reputation and threat has disappeared making wikileaks a tainted brand. Assange is also tainted and has lost power. The deal he signed also restricts him.

          I'm not even sure it's a conspiracy anymore as each legal procedure by nation states played out in public.

          The conspiracy in principle is always a layer deeper than public view.

          • dralley 30 days ago
            >Wikileaks was a trusted entity who you could release documents to that would publish

            Unless you submitted Russian documents to be leaked. Those get sent to /dev/null.

            • carlosjobim 30 days ago
              Where did those documents get published?
    • perihelions 30 days ago
      It's well established [0] that the CIA director asked for options for assassinating Julian Assange around 2017. That the US government ultimately did not do that does not exonerate them, or refute people who feared things like this.

      [0] https://www.yahoo.com/news/kidnapping-assassination-and-a-lo...

      - "This Yahoo News investigation, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange — reveals for the first time one of the most contentious intelligence debates of the Trump presidency and exposes new details about the U.S. government’s war on WikiLeaks. It was a campaign spearheaded by Pompeo that bent important legal strictures, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work toward prosecuting Assange, and risked a damaging episode in the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally."

      - "The CIA declined to comment. Pompeo did not respond to requests for comment."

      • akoboldfrying 30 days ago
        Style tip: You claimed "options for assassination", linked to an article presumably backing that claim up, and then quoted a part of that article that does not mention "assassination", but only the much weaker "abduction". I did eventually skim the article, and indeed it does contain the stronger "assassination" claim, but I very nearly didn't bother because, from your choice of quote, I was almost certain that you were merely wildly extrapolating from "abduction" to "assassination".
    • 2OEH8eoCRo0 30 days ago
      > given the conventional wisdom that the US intended to have Assange extradited to the US in order to disappear and indefinitely detain him in defiance of the rule of law.

      Because this is a BS conspiracy theory assumption.

      • faeriechangling 30 days ago
        Assange was blatantly targeted by a US intelligence conspiracy against him and it's blindingly obvious that Sweden wouldn't have had an arrest warrant against him without their meddling. The US also brazenly suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the GWOT and was absolutely indefinitely detaining people. The secret CIA black sites that were part of the same GWOT were also very well covered. Beyond what others have said, it's already public knowledge that the possibility of assassinating Assange was discussed by US officials.

        I'm not saying this would have been Assange's fate, I would expect things to play out more like the Manning case. Still if somebody makes themselves an extremely prominent enemy of US intelligence, regardless of if you're an islamic terrorist or a whistleblowing journalist, it's very reasonable to theorise that there might be a conspiracy against them.

        Usually the problem with conspiracy theories and why they're so mad is they presume thousands of actors act in concert with no clear motive to do so and all can keep a secret. This is a conspiracy which didn't really need to be kept all that secret, with a pretty blatant unifying motive - taking down Assange meant stemming leaks both directly and by making an example of him.

    • stale2002 30 days ago
      • tptacek 30 days ago
        In response to the last thread I participated on about Assange, 3 months ago, in which I predicted this outcome (which was easy to do, since it's been in the offing for like 6-9 months now), I was told that all these plea agreements were just a trick to get Assange onto US soil so they could execute him. Hey, maybe that could still be the case! They're flying him to the Northern Mariana Islands for the hearing, prior to releasing him in Australia. That could be where the disappearing happens.

        I don't know what this link is supposed to represent, beyond the fact that I've never been a supporter of Assange's, since long before the 2016 election shenanigans that cost him so much of his support among American nerds. I'm sure at some point I've said I didn't buy that he was a major prosecution target --- that was before I read the indictment that spelled out his conspiracy liability for computer intrusions, which, as it turns out, does make sense: you can't safely instruct people to hack into DoD computers any more than you can safely instruct henchmen to murder people in America. I'm not a lawyer, I read some stuff, I updated my take.

        • stale2002 30 days ago
          • tptacek 30 days ago
            Could you maybe provide a more specific search through my comment history to make whatever point you're trying to make? Because "tptacek assange" isn't nearly enough, and I'm not going to do your archival research for you.
      • rconti 30 days ago
        is this supposed to read "_wasn't that_ the US was going to bring any charges at all?" Either way, I don't follow, but at least it would grammatically make more sense.
      • DANmode 30 days ago
        You need to have an operable understanding of the definitions of “conspiracy” and “conspiracy theory”, if you’re gonna flame people like this.
      • jhgvh 30 days ago
        Your response is extraordinarily obnoxious given the actual search results, which include tptacek talking about charges being possible nine years ago and about him not being certain.

        Your lack of integrity indicates that you should be ignored on all topics for all time.

        I don’t know what your issue is, but you are extraordinarily dishonest.

  • nabla9 29 days ago
    Despite what his defenders claim, he went beyond journalism and actively engaged in process to obtain and disclose national defense information. Now he will pledge guilty for that.
    • MrVandemar 29 days ago
      > Despite all his defenders, he went beyond journalism and actively engaged in process to obtain and disclose national defense information.

      "National Defence Information" ... is that what we're calling "War Crimes" these days?

  • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
    How do plea deals work for precedent? As despite the constant claim that he was only being charged for assisting in hacking US computers, the plea deal is over violations of the Espionage Act specifically about receiving and publishing classified documents. Or basically his acts as a journalist.

    Can this be used to indict other journalists who receive and publish classified information? As if so, this feels like a huge loss, though I can hardly blame Assange for not continuing the fight.

    • jjmarr 30 days ago
      Journalists generally avoid asking for classified information. The belief is that (in the US) a journalist that passively receives classified information & publishes it isn't committing a crime due to the First Amendment. The actual crime itself was committed by the person leaking the information.

      Julian Assange actively solicited leaks of information. That's where the espionage claim comes from.

      There's not much precedent on this though and making a plea deal avoids establishing one. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Generally, precedent is established when someone appeals their conviction, and a higher court determines that the conviction is lawful. Higher court decisions bind lower courts, so e.g. if a circuit appeals court says the law is "X", every district court within it has to agree.

      Since generally, you wouldn't appeal a plea deal, there probably won't be legal precedent from this.

      That being said, I wonder if the USA will informally say "we got Assange; we can get you" the next time a similar situation comes up.

      • slg 30 days ago
        >Julian Assange actively solicited leaks of information.

        This phrasing makes it sound like Assange asked "Do you have this?" when the accusations have always been closer to "Can you get me this? Here is how you could go about doing that." That takes it out of the realm of journalism in at least the legal sense.

        • lokar 30 days ago
          When you encourage someone else to commit a crime, and then use the results of that crime in your own work you really should not be surprised that law enforcement comes after you.
        • Cody-99 30 days ago
          Assange played an active role in breaking into government systems. He wasn't asking "can you get this for me?".
        • dialup_sounds 30 days ago
        • FireBeyond 30 days ago
          Right - Assange was running password crackers, IIRC. And "here's how you could cover it up".
      • AdamJacobMuller 30 days ago
        > I wonder if the USA will informally say "we got Assange; we can get you"

        I can't imagine we haven't been saying that since the day Assange set foot inside the Ecuadorian embassy.

        • jfengel 30 days ago
          I sure can't imagine anyone thinking "I'll get off scot free, just like Assange".
      • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
        >belief is that (in the US) a journalist that passively receives classified information & publishes it isn't committing a crime due to the First Amendment. The actual crime itself was committed by the person leaking the information.

        Even if you think Assange did more than this, this plea deal is very clearly over passively receiving classified information.

        The precedent information is good to hear, thank you.

      • llm_trw 30 days ago
        The short answer: making a plea deal avoids establishing one.
      • zgcarter 30 days ago
        There is a precedent from the Pentagon Papers:


        As the last paragraph points out, not a clear victory for the free press, but the Assange prosecutors know this case very well and you are absolutely right that they want to avoid another one.

      • alfiedotwtf 30 days ago
        Hopefully the next Wikileaks will have better OPSEC and will be completely out of reach from ALL governments
    • tptacek 30 days ago
      They don't. Generally: lower court decisions don't create binding precedent.

      Further: Assange wasn't simply charged with "receiving and publishing classified information"; he was charged with being instrumental in that information being exfiltrated in the first place.

      • frognumber 30 days ago
        Legally, no.

        Practically, yes.

        I've been in situations where there was no precedent, and in asking what would happen if this went to court, decisions were made based on how lower courts ruled. Legal analyses, law review articles, customary practice, etc. all /influence/ courts.

      • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
        "Generally" is one of those somewhat troubling terms on a case that has severe First Amendment implications, but that's good to know.

        >Further: Assange wasn't simply charged with "receiving and publishing classified information"; he was charged with being instrumental in that information being exfiltrated in the first place.

        Those charges were (presumably) dropped as part of the plea, and his plea did not mention them. The plea is only about receiving and publishing.

        • onionisafruit 30 days ago
          What action is the court taking that you are worried about setting precedent? I haven’t read more than the linked article, but it appears the only role the court will play is accepting a plea deal.
          • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
            The article links the court documents detailing what charges he is pleading to. It's receiving and publishing classified information.
        • dhx 30 days ago
          News reports indicate a single alleged offence per 18 U.S. Code § 793 (g)[1] for conspiring with at least one other person in the conduct of an offence described in (a) through (f).

          By way of comparison, the former US president who is also in current poll results more likely than not to be elected as the next US president is presently alleged to have conducted 40 of these 18 U.S. Code § 793 offences.

          [1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

          [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_prosecution_of_Donald_...

          • idlewords 30 days ago
            Is there a former non-sitting US president? Did someone just beaver away at a standing desk for four or eight years?
            • dhx 30 days ago
              Typo fixed
        • tssva 30 days ago
          The plea deal is about conspiring to obtain them which is not receiving and publishing.
          • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
            The plea is linked in the article, it very clearly says it's over receiving and willfully communicating classified documents.
            • alistairSH 30 days ago
              Are we reading the same document? It clearly states Assange “knowingly and unlawfully conspired with Chelsea Manning to commit the following offenses against the United States…”

              The case isn’t about Assange simply receiving classified material from Manning.

              • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
                >“knowingly and unlawfully conspired with Chelsea Manning to commit the following offenses against the United States…”.

                Why are you quoting that part rather than any of the actual offenses? He undoubtedly conspired with Manning to receive classified documents for the purpose of publishing them, which is what the plea details.

                Part (a) even says he "received or obtained" classified documents from a person knowing that they were illegally obtained. It doesn't say he helped with the illegal obtaining.

                • tptacek 30 days ago
                  It doesn't list any of the overt acts, because it's a plea agreement, and the defense stipulates to the conspiracy; there's nothing to prove, except that the prosecution and defense agree.
            • tptacek 30 days ago
              The article links to the plea document.
        • tptacek 30 days ago
          The standing indictment at the time of the plea deal is very easy to find on Google. And the plea is not only about receiving and publishing; what I think you're not seeing is the explicitly enumerated "overt actions" you would have seen in a full trial, but those "overt actions" are the things that connected Assange to his criminal liability in this case. But the conspiracy charge is right there.
          • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
            The standing indictment was over 18(19?) charges, he plead guilty to one. A conspiracy charge, stemming from his role publishing violating the Espionage Act. Not the Computer Fraud and Abuse charge that many, including the DoJ's press release, said was the focus of the indictment.

            The "overt acts" part you mention is over Title 18 793(g) which basically says if two people work together in one part of a conspiracy they're both guilty of any actions their partner made.

            • tptacek 30 days ago
              In any conspiracy charge, the "overt acts" are the specific things the accused did to further the conspiracy. Here, the distinction is being made between receiving a random document and publishing it, the way you would if you got, like, military information about Estonia, not caring what Estonia thinks about the classification of the documents, and joining a conspiracy to deliberately take the documents from Estonia.

              By way of example: the murder-for-hire accusations against Ross Ulbricht were listed "overt acts" in his conspiracy charge.

              • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
                Again, the overt acts reference a specific clause of title 18, and it would allow punishment of Assange for literally anything Manning did. It doesn't seem to be about anything further Assange did.

                >By way of example: the murder-for-hire accusations against Ross Ulbricht were listed "overt acts" in his conspiracy charge.

                Yes, the supposed murder for hire was something he wasn't charged with and wasn't mentioned in his sentencing. It was not a part of his trial.

                • tptacek 30 days ago
                  No, conspiracy liability makes Assange liable for for whatever the charged conspiracy, which included Manning, did. The "overt acts" are those things the prosecution can prove Assange himself did. They're the glue that connects Assange to the conspiracy.

                  "Title 18" is almost the entire federal criminal code. Saying "a specific clause in title 18" is like saying "somewhere, in the entire US federal criminal code, it says...".

                  As I just said: the murder-for-hire scheme --- which I believe was in fact part of Ulbricht's sentencing --- was an "overt act" in Ulbricht's conspiracy charge.

    • tssva 30 days ago
      The plea deal is for “conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information”. Having documents dropped in your lap and then publishing them is different than conspiring with someone to illegally obtain them in the first place.
  • chaoskitty 30 days ago
    It amazes me that so many people care more about the act of whistleblowing, which informs us, the citizens, about what our governments are doing that's illegal, than about the illegal activities themselves.

    What does that say about those people? Are they easily led by emotion? They certainly don't care about the rule of law, if breaking the law by others can so easily be ignored. They aren't particularly patriotic, if they think that subverting the checks and balances in their preferred kind of government is fine.

    I'm glad this partiular episode will be finished soon.

    • slg 30 days ago
      >It amazes me that so many people care more about the act of whistleblowing...

      This is true in both directions and Assange is the perfect example of that. Someone being a whistleblower is not a get out of jail free card and there are still laws regarding how whistleblowing should be handled and what qualifies. Assange leaked a lot of important stuff that qualifies, but that wasn't all he leaked or did. A shockingly few number of people seem willing to engage this issue with the nuance that is requires and either label Assange a hero or a villain when he clearly is somewhere in between.

      • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
        First, Assange isn't a whistleblower, nor a leaker. He was a publisher. Wikileaks received leaked documents from whistleblowers and published them. Or at least received documents from somewhere and published them.

        In the beginning Assange tried to vet the leaks he published. He contacted the US over the Manning leaks to go over them so he could publish without risk, the US refused.

        So Assange set up a huge team of journalists to comb through the documents to see what was safe to publish. One of those journalists working for The Guardian proceeded to publish the key to the entire database, ensuring everything was leaked

        Shortly after, he ends up in embassy and was unable or unwilling to do similar things.

        • slg 30 days ago
          >Shortly after, he ends up in embassy and was unable or unwilling to do similar things.

          Are you suggesting with this "unable or unwilling to do similar things" part that he should be excused because he tried to do it initially? Should we forgive a lapse in journalistic ethics from that point forward because he started out on the right path and just couldn't stick to it?

          • StanislavPetrov 30 days ago
            Being forced into taking refuge in a tiny foreign embassy because the country whose war crimes you exposed is trying to lock you in a dungeon for life and/or assassinate you isn't, "a lapse in journalistic ethics". Our government has been the bad guy every step of the way in this whole affair.
            • slg 30 days ago
              > because the country whose war crimes you exposed is trying to lock you in a dungeon for life and/or assassinate you

              Maybe the plea deal should be an opportunity to reevaluate these hyperbolic claims regarding the potential punishment that awaited Assange.

              >Our government has been the bad guy every step of the way in this whole affair.

              And that was the exact lack of nuance I was criticizing. One side being a bad guy does not make the other side a good guy. There is no excuse for the way Assange eventually abandoned any form of journalistic ethics.

        • akoboldfrying 30 days ago
          There's nuance here that I didn't originally appreciate, thanks!

          Interested in any links you could provide, too.

      • gizmo 30 days ago
        Julian Assange published evidence of war crimes committed by the US Army. Both the leaker/whistleblower (Manning) and Julian Assange got their lives ruined over it. What is the lesson here? That if you value your life you should look the other way when you come across evidence of serious malfeasance? That killing innocent people is not a real crime but embarrassing those in power is the worst crime imaginable?

        This is much bigger than Assange.

        • rootusrootus 30 days ago
          > What is the lesson here?

          At least part of that lesson is that if you engage in partisan politics with your 'journalism' then you instantly become a great deal less sympathetic with about half the population. That includes a bunch of people in positions with enough power to make your life complicated.

      • protocolture 30 days ago
        I am not aware of anything he has leaked being problematic. In fact, the US couldnt demonstrate that he had lead to the death of any soldiers or spies. And in a lot of cases, the spying was certainly unjustified.

        I find it troubling that people dont have the nuance to identify that hes a bit of a smelly housemate and problematic manager but ultimately a clear net benefit to mankind.

        • slg 30 days ago
          >I am not aware of anything he has leaked being problematic.

          I hesitate to even bring it up because it tends to poison any online discussion, but the DNC leaks were a pretty obvious one. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt that the leaks were truly whistleblowing despite not actually revealing any illegal behavior, the way he continued to insinuate that Seth Rich was his source despite Assange still being in contact with the source after Rich's death should make it clear that Assange was not acting ethically.

          >but ultimately a clear net benefit to mankind.

          And this was exactly my original point. This isn't how the law works. We don't throw the good and bad on the scales of justice to see which side is heaviest. He did plenty of good things. He committed some crimes. The good things don't excuse the crimes.

          • 6502nerdface 30 days ago
            > This isn't how the law works. We don't throw the good and bad on the scales of justice to see which side is heaviest.

            Shoot, there goes the argument I was planning to deploy against Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.

        • sanderjd 30 days ago
          > In fact, the US couldnt demonstrate that he had lead to the death of any soldiers or spies.

          Isn't "it's difficult to prove that people literally died because of his actions" a pretty low bar to set?

          • protocolture 30 days ago
            Not when the claim being made was that his leaks would lead to death.
            • dralley 30 days ago
              Julian Assange, on his leaking of the names of hundreds of Afghan civilian informants into the hands of the Taliban:

              "Well, they're informants. So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it."

              I personally don't see much moral need to, for example, somehow obtain proof that the Taliban actually killed people based specifically off of his actions. He obviously doesn't actually care if they did.

            • sanderjd 30 days ago
              ... no, "possibly didn't actually get anybody killed" is still a low bar, even when the claim is that it might.
    • duk3luk3 30 days ago
      No, this is actually extremely simple to square up: In order for the rule of law to be protected, and to allow the public to hold government accountable for what it does in their names, it is necessary that the actions of the government are held to a much higher standard of legal scrutiny than individual citizens or the public.

      This means that whistleblower immunity should be extremely strong and anything the government wants to do to prosecute whistleblower should have to pass many hurdles.

      This doesn't conflict with the concept of checks and balances, rather it has to be an integral part of the checks and balances.

      In fact, this rationale is so simple and self-evident to anyone who asks themselves how the rule of law can be upheld in the face of the potential for unlawful conduct by government actors that one should ask themselves if coming to the opposite conclusion does not require a strong dose of motivated reasoning.

    • wmf 30 days ago
      I wish the US had offered whistleblowers reasonable plea deals and they had taken them. Unfortunately that's not the world we live(d) in. The US pursued a policy of vindictive and extralegal punishment against "enemy combatants" that made a lot of people doubt whether they could get fair treatment.
    • kyleyeats 30 days ago
      Julian's not a whistleblower, he's a journalist. Whistleblowers are people within the organization.
      • FireBeyond 30 days ago
        And only sometimes. Other times he was a political campaigner. "Hey Don Jr, let's talk and coordinate the release of a bunch of DNC material when it can most benefit your dad's campaign. And don't worry, I'm sitting on the RNC material, it's safe."
      • threeseed 30 days ago
        He's also not a journalist by traditional definitions i.e. no formal training, no accreditation, no redaction to protect innocent parties, no protection of sources.

        He's more akin to an activist.

        • caseyy 30 days ago
          Hmm, this is the definition — https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/journali...

          > a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television

          • Ylpertnodi 30 days ago
            This is 'a' definition.

            Cambridge.org needs to wake up.

            The various yt auditors around - especially in the US - all class themselves as journalists.

          • threeseed 30 days ago
            By your own definition this doesn't apply to Assange.

            Simply dumping files on a website doesn't make you a journalist and US courts agree.

        • colordrops 30 days ago
          The law doesn't care about "traditional definitions". Anyone in the US can act as a journalist by simply publishing.
        • grecy 30 days ago
          > He's also not a journalist by traditional definitions

          The year is 2024 and we've had the internet for a good while now.

          I think it's safe to say that "tradition definitions" are long, long dead and we need to get on with what the reality actually is.

          Who cares what "journalists" were defined as in 1980.

    • NoPicklez 30 days ago
      I think people like the idea of whistleblowing because we have a lack of trust in Governments and corporations. Whistleblowing "lifts the lid" so to speak on potential large breaches of trust and breaches of the law to a greater degree of perceived damage than whistleblowing.

      Essentially uncovering hypocrisy in the way our Governments and corporations works.

      People can both care about the act of whistleblowing and the illegal actions incurred as a result.

      But it's all nuanced, there's whistleblowing and then there's whistleblowing in a way that puts other innocent people at risk.

    • tene 30 days ago
      You've got it exactly right, many people in the US care far more about compliance with and respect for authority than they do about rule of law.
    • olalonde 30 days ago
      Which illegal government activities did the Manning/Assange leaks uncover? The only thing I can recall is that "collateral damage" helicopter footage but it was an isolated incident and was deemed legal following investigation.
      • instagib 30 days ago
        “On April 5, 2010, the attacks received worldwide coverage and controversy following the release of 39 minutes of classified gunsight footage by WikiLeaks.[6] The video, which WikiLeaks titled Collateral Murder,[7][8] showed the crew firing on a group of people and killing several of them, including two Reuters journalists, and then laughing at some of the casualties, all of whom were civilians.[15] An anonymous U.S. military official confirmed the authenticity of the footage,[16] which provoked global discussion on the legality and morality of the attacks.”

        From: https://wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007,_Baghdad_airstrike

        3 attacks. Two 30mm cannons and one hellfire.

        There is tons of video out there and sometimes leaked of the drone strike recordings. The hostage video section of high side is creepily advertised also for inspiration or idk.

      • Ylpertnodi 30 days ago
        I remember that footage.

        "Deemed illegal", sounds rubber-stamped.

        The fact that you put "collateral damage" in quotes, has the same value as me putting "Murdered by COD players, just for carrying a camera" in quotes.

        I stand to be corrected regarding the video in question.

    • photochemsyn 30 days ago
      It's safe to assume that 'so many people' includes a whole lot of covert actors trying to peddle the government's point of view on Assange and Wikileaks.

      Regardless, the exposures are exactly what journalists and publishers should be doing - government agencies went out of control under the umbrella of the Patriot Act, and the results, from fabricated claims of WMDs in Iraq to who knows what, have been disastrous.

      Also, Wikileaks did pretty responsible journalism for example on the explosive Vault 7 leaks:


      > "Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks."

    • doubloon 29 days ago
      when your whistle blowing only reveals secrets of one side, then i am very skeptical of motivations.

      where are the dumps from north korea. where is kim jong un's private communications with Xi Jinping. Where is Putin's communications with Lukashenko. Where are internal memos from the people's liberation army. Where are the leaks from the Ayatollahs.

      Also yes the targets were western governments. What about western corporations? Where are leaks from Boeing about their issues? Where are leaks from Facebook about PTSD of their moderators? Where are the leaks about Peter Thiel or Elon Musk or whatever?

      The targets WL chose were basically the "evil west", you know, the only reason Ukraine has not been reduced to a prison complex.

  • zogrodea 30 days ago
    Am I the only one who feels suspicious about this and would hesitate to trust the persecuters? Maybe that's not a entirely a reasonable reaction (I just woke up about 10 minutes ago) but it's how I feel currently and I'm wondering if anyone else would feel the same.

    The U.S. as a national entity certainly isn't above lying, as leaks regarding them have shown.

  • stainablesteel 30 days ago
    if everything written here actually happens, i suppose this is as satisfying an ending that everyone can get

    i really hope this man will be free. there's still a really bad precedent set that they will imprison you first, make you serve your term, then get your day in court to go free.. its a bit crooked and i really dont like this

    part of me thinks this is happening now because the presiding dominant western political establishment is losing power everywhere and they don't want the growing adversarial camp to hold freeing him as a victory while being able to set the precedent of his guilt to someday have in their back pocket the ability to do this again without the perceived unfairness

  • ggm 30 days ago
    Politically shrewd for each of the 3 primary governments involved, removes the issue from the agenda. I'd say its zero-sum outcome for any player: as many people will be angry as happy he's freed. the point being it can't be weaponised as easily as having him in the cell.

    Sweden may differ of course. I don't think either of the 3 primaries care what Sweden thinks.

    • searealist 30 days ago
      Sweden does as the US tells.
      • carlosjobim 30 days ago
        The people downvoting your comment are ignorant on reality. It is common knowledge that Sweden has been used by the CIA as a black site. Sweden has been a satellite state to the US for a long time, just as other countries are or have been satellites of Russia.

        Edit: Your down votes do not change reality. More important countries than Sweden have been satellites, such as East and West Germany.

  • tamimio 30 days ago
    He is a legend and should inspire future whistleblowers. Both his leaks and trials exposed how corrupt the justice system is.
    • fastball 29 days ago
    • drewcoo 30 days ago
      > should inspire future whistleblowers

      I'd think his treatment might dissuade future whistle blowers.

      • rfoo 29 days ago
        Well, it would be depressing if we have to rely on The Shadow Brokers-style "whistleblowers" in the future.
    • ffhhj 30 days ago
      The world changed a lot, now our computers are surveilance tools.
    • FireBeyond 30 days ago
      What, by picking and choosing what content to release to push a political agenda?

      Like getting leaked data from the DNC and RNC and coordinating with the Trump campaign to time DNC leaks for maximum effect (I have no love for the DNC) while not releasing RNC content sent to you?

      • harry8 30 days ago
        >What, by picking and choosing what content to release to push a political agenda?

        I think you've confused wikileaks with the new york times there. The times definitely pick and choose. I have seen no evidence that wikileaks suppressed anything ever. Link if you have it as that would make them more like the times.

      • whoitwas 30 days ago
        I think Wikileaks stopped being reliable long before this occurred. I can't find and exact date, but their canary died more than a decade ago.
  • cletus 30 days ago
    So I have a couple of thoughts on this. For context, I'm a big fan of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Julian Assange is... more interesting.

    Imagine you're a journalist and someone hands you a shoebox full of SD cards with classified materials including video evidence of war crimes. Most of us would agree it is the ethical thing to do to publish that and you're definitely a journalist.

    Now imagine you had a contact in the military with acccess to classified data. What if instead of simply receiving that information, you tell that person what you're interested in. Are you still a journalist?

    What if you procure tools for that person to bypass security procedures? What if you instruct them on methods they can smuggle out that information from a secure facility? Are you still a journalist?

    What if you run someone off the road so they have a car accident and they miss their shift and that person is in charge of facility security, making it easier for your contact to smuggle out classified materials? Are you still a journalist?

    This can go on and at some point you're no longer a journalist.

    My point is that Assange was allegedly more of an active participant in acquiring these materials so there's an argument to be made that he wasn't a journalist, legally speaking.

    But here's where I think Assange really hurt himself: by playing politics in selectively releasing the Podesta and DNC emails to try and sway the 2016 election. This demonstrated that Wikileaks is not, as it portrays itself, a vessel for unfiltered publication. This mattered in the court of public opinion because that's what would ultimately have to come to Assange's aid.

    Now make no mistake: the US government did what it set out to do, which was to create a chilling effect on journalism that exposed US government secrets. Assange has essentially spent 12 yaers in confinement between the Ecuadorian embassy and Belmarsh awaiting extradition.

    • CSMastermind 29 days ago
      I would add to what you wrote that I personally have reservations about revealing the identities of confidential sources, activists, etc. He willfully published not only the sources in active warzones who were feeding information to the US, risking their deaths, but also the secret identities and conversations of activists in Belarus who were summarily imprisoned or killed.

      And it's not that they're committed to always releasing everything, they painstakingly withheld information about Russia's financial backing of Syria during one of their releases.

    • po 30 days ago
      I agree with you and I'm a bit surprised that more people don't see the difference between what Manning and Snowden did and what Assange was up to (including apparently Snowden himself).

      At the time, I was initially a person who thought that what Wikileaks was doing was a net good for the rule of law, but changed my mind when I learned about the selective nature of what they publish. The fact that they were playing politics, pushing conspiracy theories, and actively coordinating with the Trump campaign completely discredits any moral high-ground they had. You can say that what happened to him is unfair and that may even be true but Assange is no hero.

      • marssaxman 30 days ago
        If we consider other forms of journalism, it seems quite normal that a newspaper or TV station offers a specific political perspective, the news it publishes being selectively curated by its editor. Perhaps the issue is not that Assange had an editorial slant, but that his publication stood alone; we had no whistleblower's equivalent of CNN or the New York Times to consult for contrast as Wikileaks began playing the part of Fox News.
        • fastball 29 days ago
          Did they "begin" to play the part of Fox News, or was Julian Assange a Russian asset the whole time? Because he certainly acted like one.
    • dietr1ch 30 days ago
      If only government secrets were just their grandma's recipes.

      Why do governments are given special treatment when some of their secrets are crimes that are disclosed too late to get anyone involved in a trial, and happened too long ago to do anything about it.


  • pharos92 30 days ago
    This entire case was a catastrophic show of hand in how the justice systems across the west have been weaponized and used against the values it proclaims to protect.
  • mikemitchelldev 30 days ago
    What could he possibly do next (if he avoids a prison term)?
    • rsingel 30 days ago
      Get a gig with a Russian media outlet, again... See if Roger Stone has any work for him to do? See if GRU has any more deliveries it needs him to make?


      • doubloon 29 days ago
        oh how his fans are going to get an awful taste in their mouth when they realize which side he is on
      • rootusrootus 30 days ago
        Yeah I was gonna say, there's all sorts of media opportunities on the right for him. He will be fine.
    • anigbrowl 30 days ago
      Write a book, be an internet pundit
      • adventured 30 days ago
        The Edward Snowden route more or less, with his own twists.
      • karmasimida 30 days ago
        Set a podcast
      • admissionsguy 30 days ago
        > internet pundit

        public intellectual*

    • protocolture 30 days ago
      If his brain still works he could take another tilt at the Senate.
  • funOtter 30 days ago
    Why is this case located with the United States District Court For The Northern Mariana Islands?
    • cypherpunks01 30 days ago
      The case is federal, it's not confined in jurisdiction. But the plea deal is being entered there because of "defendant’s opposition to traveling to the continental United States to enter his guilty plea and the proximity of this federal U.S. District Court to the defendant’s country of citizenship, Australia, to which we expect he will return at the conclusion of the proceeding"


      • teractiveodular 30 days ago
        Interesting. So he'll have to physically be present in the CNMI? Presumably he'll fly London-Tokyo-Saipan, since this is just about the only way to get there without transiting the US (including Hawaii).
      • r24y 30 days ago
        > proximity of this federal U.S. District Court to the defendant’s country of citizenship, Australia

        This is a little disingenuous, and made me chuckle. It's faster and cheaper to get to Australia from the US mainland than it is from Saipan. Yes, it's physically closer as stated, but does not confer the claimed benefits.

        • beaeglebeachedd 30 days ago
          That was my thought too. It's outside the mainland customs zone though which is full of fascist angry CBP agents at the ports of entry. Maybe CNMI immigration is easier? It's also faster/easier to escape maybe, although USVI is also outside mainland customs and easy to slip out of.
  • worstspotgain 30 days ago
    I suppose this concludes the dark-comedic odyssey that began when he flew to Stockholm on 8/11/10 [1], just shy of 14 years later. In its totality it reads like something Kafka might have written as a teenager.

    Whether or not his work had any worth to it, it's hard not to conclude that he was a de-facto Russian agent, IMO. The most pungent data point is probably that Rohrabacher [2] was mediating a pardon deal between him and Trump. [3]

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assange_v_Swedish_Prosecution_...

    [2] https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/maddowblog/kevin-mc...

    [3] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/19/donald-trump-o...

  • stale2002 30 days ago
    Crazy that this has gone on for so long.
    • pkaye 30 days ago
      Most of that time was spend escaping the Swedish arrest warrant.
      • paulryanrogers 30 days ago
        By narrow definitions of escape. He was essentially under house arrest, unable to leave the Ecuador embassy for years.
        • arp242 30 days ago
          Or he could have just faced up to the charges... That house arrest was entirely self-imposed for the first five years or so.
          • ranger_danger 30 days ago
            I don't think you understand what would have really happened if he did that, or where he would have really ended up.
            • DSingularity 30 days ago
              A good chance dead.
            • arp242 30 days ago
              Probably nothing much. During the 60s at the height of the cold war? That might have been different. But the cold war has been over for many decades.

              And if you think you're in such a precarious and vulnerable position then maybe you shouldn't go around raping people.

              • beaeglebeachedd 30 days ago
                Yeah the rape accusation timing, for which he was never convicted, was quite convenient wasn't it.
      • protocolture 30 days ago
        I mean he was proven justified there, the grand jury having been in place secretly for ages.
    • ngetchell 30 days ago
      Wasn't there a tape accusation as well? I don't see why it wouldn't be both.
  • kylehotchkiss 30 days ago
    I'm curious if there are any Australia <-> USA deals here too, in terms of restrictions he may have upon arriving to AU
  • 2OEH8eoCRo0 30 days ago
    > Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, agreed to plead guilty on Monday to a single felony count of illegally disseminating national security material
  • animanoir 30 days ago
    I hope we see the day when USA is convicted for all the atrocities it has made to the world.
    • munificent 30 days ago
      > when USA is convicted

      What does it mean to convict a country? Do all of its citizens serve jail time, proportioned out by how much taxes they paid?

      • animanoir 30 days ago
        don't take it literally, my friend, tho you understand the point (hopefully).
        • munificent 30 days ago
          I truly do not.

          I understand the desire for justice, but I honestly don't even know what "justice" means when the actor involved is a state. This is, I think, one of the fundamental challenges of the modern world. We've gotten so good at building huge organizations of people (states, corporations, etc.) that can harness the efforts of thousands or millions of people.

          But the result incredibly powerful entity has a diffusion of responsibility that confounds our notions of morality, right, wrong, and justice, which were all developed under the assumption that the primary actor is a person.

          • Davidzheng 30 days ago
            But isn't the problem that the state produces so much good as well as the bad. If the moral scale were so clear-cut, then being a state or not does not really excuse at all. Many people can image what justice can be for ISIS or Nazi germany for example. It is maybe a similar question as when you ask how should Google, Apple, or Amazon be punished when they violate laws/behave in bad faith.
    • doubloon 29 days ago
      Right. As soon as we convict China, Russia, Germany, Japan, Chile, France, and every country from doing exactly the same things or worse.
  • epa 30 days ago
    I hope he takes his future security seriously. They are always around the corner.
  • h2odragon 30 days ago
  • java-man 30 days ago
    Yes, let's spend 6 trillion dollars replacing Taliban with Taliban, and destroy the life of one foreigner just to make an example.

    And who was punished for killing journalists in [0]? The whistleblower.

    [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007,_Baghdad_airstri...

  • novacancy 30 days ago
    I wonder what legal repercussions could follow from him "admitting" to have commited whatever they want him to admit
  • nemo44x 30 days ago
    Considering he served 12 or so years I’m not sure he won anything. But it’s great he’s free, or it sounds like.
  • cyberlurker 30 days ago
    Probably the best outcome that could be expected for all involved. What a bizarre story though. Even if it causes a chilling effect on future leakers it did not make the US government look better at all, from my view.
  • andy_ppp 30 days ago
    He must be enemy number one for a lot of states who want to make the US look sub human and engage in conspiracies.
  • vr46 30 days ago
    Well that was all worth it
  • usernamed7 30 days ago
    I never thought they had it in them. Never thought in a million years they'd let this go. It gives me some faith that the US govt. was able to move on from this. When democracy itself is at stake, this wins important favorability. Good on the biden administration.

    Less persecution of those that benefit society, more persecution of those that seek to undermine it, please.

    • DSingularity 30 days ago
      Good on Biden? It was only Assange good fortunes that his bail hearing coincided with Biden polling so terribly that they were probably forced for release him. I’m sure they believe themselves to be hemorrhaging votes and unable to risk any more negative publicity with the left. So they decided they don’t want to receive him any more.

      Is that too cynical of a view? I mean this is an administration that is supplying the most destructive weapons to Israel so they can kill and dismember Palestinian women and children — what’s the freedom of one innocent man to such people?

      • rootusrootus 30 days ago
        > coincided with Biden polling so terribly

        Do you think this helps Biden? Assange is a right winger, helping him out isn't likely to convince moderates to go for Biden.

        • DSingularity 30 days ago
          Yeah. Avoiding the persistent enmity of the traditional liberal left — you know the anti war, pro freedom of speech crowd that used to represent the fundamentals of being liberal in the US — during the election cycle almost certainly helps Biden.

          Or do you think traditional liberals ripping Biden non-stop when most liberals are demoralized by everything happening is going to help Biden somehow?

          The only people who think this hurts Biden are people that think Clinton was a better liberal candidate than Bernie.

  • m3kw9 30 days ago
    So basically he done his time
    • tptacek 30 days ago
      Yes, and voluntarily, at that.
      • ein0p 30 days ago
        The Belmarsh thing wasn’t voluntary in the least
  • anarchy_matt 30 days ago
    information should be free, exposing US war crimes shouldn't be illegal
    • sanderjd 30 days ago
      I'm personally glad that the Allies were able to keep the information about their plans to land on the beaches in Normandy from "being free", in order to catalyze their victory in WWII.

      But I think, charitably, what people mean when they say things like this is that more information should be free. And I think agree with that. But I'm not entirely convinced it applies to everything Assange is responsible for releasing.

      • kobalsky 29 days ago
        Does this qualify as some sort of variation of Godwin's law?

        Keeping war crimes classified until everyone responsible is dead is not the same as keeping plans secret during a war.

        Hard to mix those two up to the point I'd say it was done in bad faith.

  • DSingularity 30 days ago
    For those who don’t know the obvious reason behind his persecution is Wikileaks revealing embarrassing US secrets (re: embassy cables and Bradley/Chelsea Manning) and publishing IS war crimes in Iraq (re: collateral murder).
    • edgineer 30 days ago
      The first years of his persecution, according to the legal system of various countries, was for a sex crime.

      He had sex in Sweden with a woman who consented to having sex, but not without a condom, and at some point he took off the condom.

      As I remember, that led to England seeking his arrest to be extradited to Sweden for this sex crime. Since he was stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Britain stationed officers outside it for years in case he stepped out. Ostensibly, for justice in this sex crime.

      Everyone knew the real reasons were to extradite him to the US, but the US was totally silent on him, until minutes before the statue of limitations would have run out.

      The US' charge was that Assange offered to run John the Ripper on a hash Bradley Manning gave him. Which, I mean, who among us have never run a hash in john the ripper?

      It's been astounding to see such incongruity between the heft with which the US can use its muscle against a target, and the thin veil of weak crimes the legal systems would admit to investigating.

      If Sweden, the UK, and the US would have been transparent that they were colluding to imprison him for publishing, I wouldn't have become so cynical.

    • thallium205 30 days ago
      And publishing DNC and Podesta emails.
    • Cody-99 30 days ago
      Turns out taking an active role in breaking into government systems is a bad idea. The whole situation is funny because he would have been out years ago had he not done everything in his power to avoid a trial haha.
      • jiggawatts 30 days ago
        Everybody keeps repeating this without actually knowing specifically what his "crime" was.

        Here it is: He was sent a Windows NT password hash, he ran hashcat over it, couldn't successfully reverse it, and gave up.

        That's it.

        Prosecuting him for this "heinous crime against the state" has cost US and UK taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

        At the time of this "crime" occurring he was not physically in the USA, not a citizen of the USA, and hence not subject to its laws.

        Unless you think the USA is the world government and can police anyone, anywhere, for anything?

        A link to the "tools of the crime": https://github.com/hashcat/hashcat

        • Cody-99 29 days ago
          >He was sent a Windows NT password hash, he ran hashcat over it, couldn't successfully reverse it, and gave up.

          Yeah..? He played an active role with his conspirator lol. He doesn't pretend to be some fool who accidentally got involved so there is no reason for you to do so on his behalf by trying to deny his crimes.

          >At the time of this "crime" occurring he was not physically in the USA, not a citizen of the USA, and hence not subject to its laws.

          An abused claim. Plenty of Russian hackers aren't US citizens or in the US when they commit credit card fraud or launch ransomware attacks but obviously they are still able to be charged under US law (or the law of any country they attack). And no one can seriously argue otherwise. Sitting in a different jurisdiction doesn't mean you can't be charged with a crime. For example, the South American drug lord isn't free to traffic drugs into Europe just because he isn't in Europe or a European citizen. That would be stupid and isn't how the world works.

          >Unless you think the USA is the world government and can police anyone, anywhere, for anything?

          US law can apply to the whole world if the US wants to enforce it (and so do most countries for plenty of crimes like cybercrime, terrorism, money laundering).

          >Prosecuting him for this "heinous crime against the state" has cost US and UK taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

          I mean sure; trying any person for a crime cost money. Not really relevant.

  • konfusinomicon 30 days ago
    still no word of what happened to his beloved pet guinea pigs during his time at the Ecuadorian embassy.
    • seeknotfind 30 days ago
      WebMD > "The average guinea pig lifespan is between five to eight years"
  • bdjsiqoocwk 30 days ago
    Assange freed, didn't have that on my bingo card.
  • faeriechangling 30 days ago
    He was already effectively a political prisoner. The US made enough of an example of him I guess. Expose US war crimes and this will happen to you.
    • dralley 30 days ago
      Much like Snowden, people attach to whatever the highest-profile thing they released was, and act like that's the only thing they released. It's not, it's just what got the most attention. It's maybe 0.5% of the portfolio if you're being generous.

      Both Snowden and Assange went far beyond "blowing the whistle" in what they leaked and/or solicited.

      • protocolture 30 days ago
        Yes and they are great for releasing all that extra information. Its a fantastic public service they have provided.
        • sanderjd 30 days ago
          The details matter because most people don't think everything their governments do should be public knowledge, but also don't think everything they do should be a secret. So most people will judge something like this based on how close they think the leaker got to hitting the right mark with what they released.
      • lupire 30 days ago
        OK, so Snowden ann Assange deserve punishment.

        Where is the punishment for the people commiting the crimes and treason that Snowden and Assange exposed?

        • sanderjd 30 days ago
          They deserve punishment too.
        • TacticalCoder 30 days ago
          > Where is the punishment for the people commiting the crimes and treason that Snowden and Assange exposed?

          Other funny things have been exposed too and nothing ever happens.

          Like for example $12 billion, in hundred dollars bills, being send by a military cargo plane to Iraq, after the Iraq war. Of these $12 billion, $9bn are totally unaccounted for: it's not even clear if they ever made it to the plane. That is well documented.

          Just imagine the number of crooked politicians and military officials involved in such a highway robbery: robbing the people, to enrich themselves.

          "Which fraud are we going to commit today, we didn't steal enough money: we need to choke on more money, what's our plan?" "I know, I know, let's make $10 bn in hundred dollar bills disappear!"

          It is also very likely, but probably too soon to be exposed/revealed, that such similar shenanigans happened with SBF/FTX and the funding of the war in Ukraine, where monkey business happened with US donations that probably never made it to Ukraine.

          To me it's no coincidence that all the charges against SBF concerning the bribing of politicians have been dropped: that's quite the can of worms for it's certainly related to money which disappeared while supposedly going to Ukraine.

          Another really funny one too is the government refusing the audit of the (missing) gold in Fort Knox (yeah, no, if out of $12 bn we know that $9bn vanished, I guarantee you there's no way all the gold supposed to be in Fort Knox is there). "It's too complicated to do an audit". I read: "a sizeable amount of that gold indeed vanished, like those $10 bn in $100 bills".

          That's my main reason for wanting to pay as little taxes as possible: it makes me puke to know I encourage crime.

          Now although these traitors and petty thieves shall never ever be send to jail, at the end of the day there are more important things, like having a clear conscience and being able to look your kid in the eyes.

          So let these traitors choke on their ill-acquired wealth, they deserve to be the miserable cockroaches they are.

    • jpz 30 days ago
      He worked as a conduit for Russian interests.
      • dijit 30 days ago
        Bad faith.

        He acted in the interests of everyone who doesn't like the US, you could justifiably say the same thing about him acting in China's best interest, or Iran.

        Absolute codswallop that you can't hold a government to account else you are criticised for aiding their enemies. Does that mean we should just sit down and take it because it makes us look bad?

        I'm the first in line to criticise my government (UK) but that doesn't mean I'm intentionally working in the interests of it's enemies.

        Sod off with these bad faith attacks espousing an opinion that no reasonable person could possibly hold.

        • dralley 30 days ago
          I mean, he literally had a show on, and was paid to do so by, the Russian state media. And then later on failed to publish a set of Russian documents that were leaked to him, and also coordinated with (not just received leaks from) someone who turned out to be GRU.

          Reasonable minds can differ here, I don't think it's bad faith to suggest he might have been acting specifically towards Russian interests - if not originally, then later on.

      • protocolture 30 days ago
        He released public interest information during an election.

        It has never been proven he had some killer stuff on trump and failed to leak it.

        Its not his job to selectively withhold information during an election to make demo voters happy.

        And trump is basically immune to bad press anyway. What more could you say about him that hasnt been said.

        This claim never held water and still fails to.

      • defrost 30 days ago
        and stole classified documents.

        Wait, Assange or Trump?

  • ChrisNorstrom 30 days ago
    They think their harrasment of him is going to deter future whistleblowers but the only thing they've done is encourage future leakers to "go all the way, leak everything no matter how damaging, and then kill yourself to be a martyr. They should have just pardoned him and let him go.
  • funkhouser 30 days ago
    Hilarious that he was counting in Trump to get him released, but it wound up being under Biden.

    You can tell it’s election year for the USA. Probably hoping for a little extra PR from it all for being the Good Guys (tm)

    • senectus1 30 days ago
      Trump was never going to release him.

      Assange was just a soundbite for him to dogwhistle.

      • funkhouser 30 days ago
        Absolutely. Did you hear Trump recently saying he’d get Dread Pirate Roberts guy released or something like that? The silk road guy?
  • wumeow 30 days ago
    Kudos to the Biden administration for putting an end to yet another long running US boondoggle.
    • Ylpertnodi 30 days ago
      Guantanamo should be next.
      • beaeglebeachedd 30 days ago
        If you're referring the prison, no one will take most the people there, that's probably why it "can't" be closed. They should be released if they haven't been convicted by now... The question is to where?
  • jeswin 30 days ago
    Julian Assange's years of torment (14 years, which in many countries exceeds the length of parole eligibility for a life sentence) affected how I viewed the world and my political leaning. It wasn't clear how what he did wasn't journalism. Daniel Ellsberg who was bound by US laws didn't suffer like this; and Assange is not even a US citizen.

    Remember the people who didn't stand by him: The entire left. Most European Governments, who were collaborating in a decade of torture; that he had to be protected by Ecuador is an utter shame. Of course WaPo, NYT, et al. Now every time I hear a high pitched social justice squeal from these folks, I realize that it's selective and merely self-serving.

    Sorry, political rant because this is a political topic.

    • kasey_junk 30 days ago
      I don’t have a strong opinion on Assange’s initial actions but a big chunk of his “years of torment” were a legal tactic on his part. A legal tactic that appears to have worked!

      He could have engaged with the various legal processes being held against him, but he chose extra-legal protests instead. None of us know if that approach is better or worse than what he did, but this wasn’t torment without agency. It was a direct outcome of his own choices.

      • jeswin 30 days ago
        > a big chunk of his “years of torment” were a legal tactic on his part

        One man (and a bunch of supporters) against several governments with limitless resources. If something didn't stick, there would be another. Let's not judge his legal tactics looking back.

    • Cody-99 29 days ago
      >who were collaborating in a decade of torture; that he had to be protected by Ecuador is an utter shame.

      Oh come on. No matter your opinion on the whole situation you can't say sitting in an Ecuadorian embassy is torture lol. Dude had his girlfriend, internet, and pets. Calling the self imposed stay torture is beyond absurd. BFFR

    • Davidzheng 30 days ago
      Yeah it's absolutely insane how the American left depicted him. Admittedly controversial in discretion of disclosure and some election related effects--but to view your own political agenda above morality and their ostensible caring of human rights and war crimes just shows the depth of the hypocrisy. (Obviously American right wing is no better...)
    • forgotmypwlol 30 days ago
      You’re confusing Liberals for the left. Virtually the entire left that I’m aware of has championed his cause around the world, including in America. Think Chomsky and Democracy Now, not Jake Tapper and the NYT.
    • napierzaza 30 days ago
  • adolph 30 days ago
    Assange was charged by criminal information — which typically signifies a plea deal — with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, the court documents say.

    What a waste of a life over a pointless and vindictive prosecution. Here’s hoping all prosecutors involved go the way of Stevens’


  • morkalork 30 days ago
    • pkaye 30 days ago
      He better be careful in Australia being a whistleblower.


      • 2OEH8eoCRo0 30 days ago
        • thrance 30 days ago
          He was morally justified in exposing war crimes.
          • defrost 30 days ago

            Exposing war crimes was an unintended self own for McBride.

            He was British Army (Northern Ireland) through and through, came out to Australia, failed to make the SASR and worked instead as an army lawyer.

            He leaked documents with the intent to "expose* how "increasingly restrictive Rules of engagement and the nature of investigations into members of the special forces" were making things worse for the poor squaddies doing their job.

            What happened was journalists looked into all his leaked documents and focused instead on the poor squadies kicking "bad guys" off cliffs, blooding new soldiers with execution kills, etc.

            His stated goal for leaking was to impede | stop investigations into war crimes:

                Justice David Mossop stated "the way you’ve explained it is that the higher-ups might have been acting illegally by investigating these people too much, and that that was the source of the illegality that was being exposed."
          • scheme271 30 days ago
            That's fine, what he's not morally justified in doing is publishing the material without vetting and exposing people in Afghanistan and Iraq to harm from islamic radicals.
        • Sabinus 30 days ago
          Maybe don't classify evidence of war crimes?
        • blast 30 days ago
          Daniel Ellsberg is widely considered a hero for doing that. Before he died he was arguing strongly that Assange did the same thing he did.
        • protocolture 30 days ago
          Maybe dont commit war crimes lmao. Maybe make it legal for journalists to report on government atrocities.
        • richrichie 30 days ago
          There is no such thing as legal leak. Only if you leak for the right cause, which is typically to damage an inconvenient thorn of a person for the state apparatus. Then you are fine.
    • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
      Would he need to fuck up? It wouldn't surprise me if they brought up some kind of charge over the DNC leak, I just don't know how good that would look politically right now.
    • protocolture 30 days ago
      The best move would be for his supporters to disappear him to somewhere in the hills asap tbh.
    • 9659 30 days ago
      heard that he has a tax issue that he will be hit with as soon as he returns to the mother country.
      • rsingel 30 days ago
        Maybe related to the mysterious disappearing $200M+ in bitcoin donations supposed to go to Wikileaks?

        "WikiLeaks wallets now contain only 3.265 BTC ($168,000) compared to 4,079 BTC total inflows. Overall, it appears Bitcoin users have donated $1.62 million in BTC to WikiLeaks since it opened donations 13 years ago. If held until today, that BTC would be worth $210 million.

        As for what WikiLeaks does with its crypto donations, the group previously said the funds would pay for “WikiLeaks projects, staff, servers and protective infrastructure.” Last week, WikiLeaks made its first transaction in two years when it shifted 10.459 ETH ($31,200) to another address."


        • lupire 30 days ago
          You can't count the future investment performance when measuring the value of currency. If the Bitcoin were converted to dollars, they wouldn't have appreciated 100 fold.

          Especially considering that a substantial part of the value of BTC is the fact that a lot of it has been accidentally destroyed.

      • ra 30 days ago
        I think spending 12 years as a political prisoner will be enough to grant him some breathing space for that.
    • westpfelia 30 days ago
      • perihelions 30 days ago
        Iraq, not Afghanistan; and it wasn't an ambulance—it was private vehicle with an uninvolved civilian, and two children. You can read one account of it here (from the PoV of one of the soldiers):


        We can't be a "beacon of democracy" so long as we're shooting children from helicopters, covering it up as "national security", and prosecuting journalists who disclose these things to the US public. Democracy is premised on its people understanding the things its government is doing in their name.

      • aaomidi 30 days ago
  • anonymouse008 30 days ago
  • required-field 30 days ago
  • ein0p 30 days ago
    • wmf 30 days ago
      Fellas, is it "based" to become a mouthpiece for Russia?
      • Culonavirus 30 days ago
        The real question you should be asking is if it's "based" to persecute your political opponents and whistleblowers to such a degree that they can only turn to the most ideologically opposed (and nuclear armed) country there is for "safety". I'm sure Snowden is REALLY HAPPY to live in Russia. Dare I say positively glowing. Ahem...
        • anigbrowl 30 days ago
          I don't have a strong opinion about Snowden, but I do not think Russia was his only option by any means. From Wikipedia's article about US extradition treaties:

          The United States does not have an extradition treaty with China, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Vietnam, the GCC states, most African states, and most former Soviet states, among others. Some countries with US extradition treaties have refused to extradite includes: Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Iceland, Pakistan, Egypt, Switzerland, Venezuela, Zimbabwe etc.

          There's also a map if you prefer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_extradit...

          I can think of a lot of places I'd prefer to live besides Russia, while still offering a decent level of social/technological development.

          • boomboomsubban 30 days ago
            Snowden was fairly famously stopped in Russia as his passport was revoked during a layover to Ecuador. He didn't really choose Russia.
            • ein0p 30 days ago
              He’s a Russian citizen now. He could have gone to Ecuador after he got citizenship, and possibly even before, but I think because he’s not a moron he correctly assumed that he’d end up at a CIA black site within a week of leaving Russia.
      • ein0p 30 days ago
        Is Snowden a “mouthpiece for Russia”? I don’t think he is. I don’t see why Assange would be either. I just don’t see how he’d be able to continue his work _anywhere_ in the West. We have so much “freedom” these days that we imprison foreign citizens on foreign soil and fabricate rape accusations against them.
      • M2Ys4U 30 days ago
        For people who unironically use the word "based", yes.
  • xs83 30 days ago
    • tptacek 30 days ago
      OK, we've just worked out the funniest thing Assange could do at this point.
    • Cody-99 30 days ago
      Why are some many people here spouting conspiracies lol? Manning, his partner in crime, has been out of prison and living a normal life for years but Assange is going to get disappeared for some reason? If the US government wanted to keep him in a hole they could have not offered a plea deal and kept going through the extradition process in the UK (where he would have stayed in jail since he has a history of fleeing).
  • gettodachoppa 30 days ago
    I think it's clear what's going to happen in the near future.

    Assange will do the only job that will earn him a living: become a podcaster with an anti-establishment bent. The MSM and other establishment shills (aka lib Twitter) will point to anytime he expresses a commonly-held 15yo belief (such as belief in freedom of speech, not "deplatforming" people, not wanting MtF trans to participate in women's sports) as "see, we told you this guy was a piece of shit". Former colleagues who have had to toe the line over the years to keep their jobs will distance themselves from him, condemn him.

    Boomer conservative sheep turned on him when he revealed war crimes in Iraq, millenial liberal sheep turned on him when he revealed dirt on Hillary Clinton, and combined together that's pretty much 90% of political discourse.

    Get ready to have to justify your support of him.

    • saalweachter 30 days ago
      What dirt did Assange release on Hillary Clinton?
      • instagib 29 days ago

        >The emails and documents showed that the Democratic Party's national committee favored Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders in the primaries.[6] These releases caused significant harm to the Clinton campaign, and have been cited as a potential contributing factor to her loss in the general election against Donald Trump.[7]

    • contingencies 30 days ago
      Heh. Get ready to be proven wrong.
  • hi-v-rocknroll 30 days ago
    The Nelson Mandela of news publication and abandoned by the mainstream, corporate media establishment.

    Him dying in HMP Belmarsh would've been a bad look for the Tories and Biden. The former of which is barely hanging on by a thread, while latter is going full Ruth Bader Biden.