JULIAN ASSANGE IS FREE

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]

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."

that's rich coming from an informant.

  • blast
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That (alleged) quote is disputed and unproven, and came from writers openly hostile to Assange.
> In his book, co-authored with Luke Harding, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, Leigh claimed Assange to have said in relation to whether the names should be redacted, "Well, they're informants. So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it."[63] In response to the book's publication, WikiLeaks posted on Twitter: "The Guardian book serialization contains malicious libels. We will be taking action."
If it has been leaked, then show me the name of one of the hundreds of names of Afghan informants that has been leaked.

You can't because no Afghan informant names were leaked.

The first half of your comment was alright, because a statement was made without proof. But your second then undermines it because you're making a statement without proof. All sources say "afghan informant names were leaked", but you are claiming they weren't - what is your source?

Anyway, Wikileaks was urged to hide / censor the names because it put their lives in danger: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/aug/10/afghanistan-wa.... Some were released, others containing most of the names were witheld by wikileaks and the partnered media outlets: https://www.wired.com/2011/02/wikileaks-book/, https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/701412231. Basically Wikileaks admitted fault and carelessness, and people died as a result: https://www.newsweek.com/taliban-says-it-will-target-names-e...

> people died as a result

Who died? Who was even named?

The web site you link to says information about Afghanistan was leaked, and no informant names published.
Yes it does, please read / search carefully before making an assertion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_documents_leak_o...

> [...] the detailed logs had exposed the names of Afghan informants, thereby endangering their lives.

You apparently didn't read carefully yourself. The names were never published. That the logs exposed their names to Wikileaks and other reporters is known.

If many names were published, what is one name?

1500 documents were published with thousands of bits of compromising information. They sent a request the the DOD to sanitize the documents, and the DOD basically said we don't negotiate with terrorists, so we will not attempt to mitigate.

The information included FOB locations, contact reports, and secret and classified documents. releasing these documents without properly sanitizing the information put american service men in danger.

Without a doubt, leaking classified information puts thousands of lives at risk. Julian Assage is a criminal. At some point you stop being a whistle blower and you become a terrorist releasing compromising information on troop movements, informants, supply constraints, and readiness assessments. Julian Assage is a terrorist and i'm sure he won't live very long now that he is out. He's pissed off too many dangerous people.

If you make your point in a more verbose and personable way it will be more convincing.
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1901 days in prison, after all that time since 2012 holed up in a room in the Ecuadorian embassy first.
He was in isolation in a high security prison without having been convicted of any crimes since 22 September 2019. He was only released after 'admitting' that he was guilty...

I think the UK and US should abstain from criticising any countries' courts and justice system after that...

> I think the UK and US should abstain from criticising any countries' courts and justice system after that...

Couldn't disagree more. By this logic, no country should criticize any other country's courts and justice systems because they all have problems and massive miscarriages of justice.

Do we want more scrutiny and criticism or less? I think the world is better if the US and UK aggressively criticize and pressure other countries to improve AND ALSO everyone else criticizes abuses by the US and UK and pressures them to improve.

IMO that is a much better world than one where nobody is highlighting abuses or asking anyone else to improve.

Abuse is always highlighted (or minimised) because of ulterior motives, not because of the abuse itself.

What I am highlighting is the hypocrisy.

> Abuse is always highlighted (or minimised) because of ulterior motives, not because of the abuse itself.

That strikes me as almost tautologically untrue. It simply doesn't seem possible that every decision about how much to highlight or criticize or ignore a country's abuse of their legal system could be based upon ulterior motives. It implies that there can never be genuine moral outrage, and honestly, for me, that just makes your whole point and outlook feel unfounded or uncommonly sad.

For example, how much of the criticism of Otto Warmbier's detention in North Korea is based upon ulterior motives? Is it all of it? Or is it like, 50% or 10% or less? And if it's a smaller amount, are you actually highlighting a hypocrisy that is meaningful enough for it to be the main thrust of your comment?

It feels like someone cooked you a gourmet meal and you said, "Food only ever tastes good or bad because of the salt."

There is no moral when it comes to national interests, that's correct.
Well if you object to the hypocrisy and want to advocate for something unlikely to happen, wouldn’t it make more sense to say the US and UK should stop doing bad things, rather than that they should stop criticizing other countries for doing bad things?
They indeed should do that and then maybe not use lawfare and unjust measures themselves.

But it is indeed questionable, why someone should submit to such pressure if there are no consequences in this case either.

When it comes to questioning another’s moral standing, it helps to have a leg to stand on
Plea deals and innocent people being pressured into accepting guilt is a huge problem in the US criminal justice system, but I'm not sure Assange in particular fits this. I think he did what is alleged. You could also separately argue that it shouldn't be a crime or that penalties should be less? I think that is a separate discussion.
> I think he did what is alleged

‘Think’ is the operative word here. Assange would not have had a jury trial if extradited without the plea deal, and for a jury trial, mere opinion isn’t enough to convict

Well yes, the fact that he was held without trial for a long time is worse than the fact he did a plea deal.
But certainly a causal factor in a plea deal being reached. Without the extended incarceration (and the threat of prolonging it) there would have been little leverage to get Julian to sign the dotted line.
Given that he was released with time served, I don't think US prosecutors gained much from allowing him to plea. What is the motivation for them to pressure him to do so when they are not seeking any additional outcome?
He is now a convicted felon. The US can avoid further diplomatic damage with one of its military and economic allies while still securing legitimacy for their protracted judicial overreach (across continents no less) and deterring whistleblowers in the future. In exchange, Julian gets to leave his shoebox.
This is totally symbolic. There's no practical downside to him being a felon in the US and a free man in Australia.
> totally symbolic

Err, yep. An effective symbol in all the ways I mentioned. Namely:

> securing legitimacy for their protracted judicial overreach

and

> deterring whistleblowers in the future

all while

> [avoiding] further diplomatic damage with one of its military and economic allies

Mission accomplished for the US "national security interest".

You are fear mongering for the first two, and the damage for the third was already done a long time ago, would not be undone even with a full pardon.

I'll be very honest. You have a bias. You will fit everything to that bias. You don't care about how the legal system works, or that the plea deal was a great deal for him compared to what they could have pursued. Note that when they got that guilty plea on ONE CHARGE which is inconsequential for him, they dropped a lot of other stuff.

> You are fear mongering for the first two

You're kidding right? This has had a chilling effect on journalists and whistleblowers worldwide. A large part of Julian's support base are journalists, including many of those that won awards from the published leaks that got him in trouble.

Blow the whistle, and then maybe be in solitary for 5 years? An agent from a three letter agency shows up in the middle of your investigation, and reminds you about your life, family, and friends, and what it might be like to not see them for a very long time. Or maybe just don't blow the whistle.

> You don't care about how [...] the plea deal was a great deal for him compared to what they could have pursued

Not sure where you got that idea. As you imply, it's not anywhere near as bad as, say, Julian had been locked up in supermax until he died, but I think 5 years in solitary has secured enough deterrence. And the conviction is the veneer of justification that the US needs to avoid admonition for blatant and prejudiced torture, while enabling them to cease the ongoing diplomatic hassle (and negative press).

> I'll be very honest. You have a bias.

I'll be very honest. You have a bias. /s

Actually, being honest, I don't even know that you do. But believing it doesn't make it true, and saying it here doesn't really further the discussion.

I'll leave you to have the last word

Isn't that the definition of a jury trial? That the opinion of the jury decides whether or not the defendant is convicted?
Yes, 'decide' based on evidence not 'opine'. The jury is properly instructed to only assess the facts of the case as presented by the defense and prosecution. There's some wiggle room as to what a 'reasonable person' might consider to be plausible, but ultimately juries will only convict if they can unanimously agree that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. This is clearly distinguishable from opinions of the public, or a potentially biased panel of judges in a military court.
The thing is, I'm not on any jury, and I'm expressing my opinion. I never claimed to be a juror, judge, or anything.

I'm saying it's my personal opinion that his case is different from the many people I've read about who were railroaded by the criminal justice system, pressured to plead guilty and serve time. Typically those look very different from an espionage act case or compromised government emails, or whistleblower-like scenarios, or questions of press freedom, whatever. Often it looks more like some African American dude you've never heard of being wrongfully accused of a violent crime or drug offense on flimsy evidence.

> Typically those look very different from an espionage act case [...] Often it looks more like some African American dude you've never heard of being wrongfully accused of a violent crime or drug offense on flimsy evidence.

I suppose? There's maybe some qualitative distinction to be made. But essentially I'd say that Assange was:

> railroaded by the criminal justice system, pressured to plead guilty and serve time.

Though time already served was factored into the sentencing. The pressure to plead guilty was the prospect of dying in solitary confinement.

I mean, this isn’t a jury trial, it’s a forum discussion, and opinions about current events are legitimate. If not, we should delete the entire thread.
Not quite what I meant. GP was suggesting Assange's just desert. My counter to that, is that it couldn't be known if it was just for Assange to be forced into a plea bargain using extended incarceration as leverage, as Assange would not have been assessed by an properly instructed jury, which is the best (least worst) way we have of knowing if someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt and in absence of bias that a military court might have.

> If not, we should delete the entire thread

TBF, I don't think 'I think Assange is guilty/not guilty' without any factual backup is really a worthwhile contribution to the discussion.

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"Following his arrest, he was charged and convicted, on the 1st May 2019, of violating the Bail Act, and sentenced to fifty weeks in prison."

So sure, given you said "since 22 September", but with a huge embassy-shaped reason why they didn't let him out on bail a second time.

That's right he was convicted of a crime and jailed. He should have been released from prison for that on 22 September 2019 but was instead kept imprisoned because of the extradition request by the US.

So from 22 September 2019 until his release now he was jailed in very strict conditions without having been convicted of anything, which to me is unacceptable whatever the extradition request situation. Especially now that we see that the instant he pleads guilty he is immediately freed...

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That is indeed the consequence of skipping bail after having lost an extradition hearing, yes.

What would you have done? "Oh, he ran away again, nothing we could have done, this was totally unforeseeable?"

Normally people get a tracking bracelet and they have to check in every few days but are free to go otherwise, given that you know, they haven't been found guilty of anything at that point - being kept in a tiny cell in isolation for 23 hours a day for 5 years is reserved for the worst of the worst criminals, people who even in prison are extreme danger to everyone else - it made zero sense to keep him locked up that way.
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Normally people don't go into an embassy for seven years and give speeches from the window to an adoring* crowd, leaving the police obliged to post an officer at the embassy door 24/7 just in case he leaves because they're not allowed in without permission that isn't coming.

Was he even wearing a tag on the first bail?

* at least, I assume those crowds were adoring rather than booing…

That's 5 years in jail (and in isolation 23h a day) without trial however you look at it...
I mean, you’re not wrong that the entire extradition system is a stain on justice. I just wish anyone cared when it’s not about someone accused of hacking.
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He wasn’t convicted of any crimes because he was avoiding trial.
He helped reveal far more serious crimes committed by US officials -- none of whom faced any consequences.
If I murder 2 people and reveal that john murdered 22 people and Bob murdered 36 people, does that mean I get to skip trial because I revealed bigger crimes? Sometimes, if I can get a plea deal, but this was not the case, so what is the problem here?
Really bad example when the war crimes revealed were actual murders etc. of many, many civilians, and Assange’s crime was telling the secret (by the rules of a country that he was not a citizen of, and of a country where he wasn’t located) that these war crimes happened and that nobody faced any consequences for them.

Revealing information about many murders is very different from doing murder.

The problem here is that Assange didn't kill any people, while Uncle Sam has killed hundreds of thousands for oil, revenge, and preserving the hegemony.
Assange is alleged to have released unredacted info that exposed informants in warzones. This while running a service - not an infrastructure, a service - for exposing information.

Arguing that he hasn't personally killed anyone is not a strong rebuke against such allegations.

Compromising informants working for a foreign government invading another foreign land is not a crime, nor much of a moral dilemma.

The risk inherent to collaborationism is also not one anyone but the informant must account for. Just as mercenaries operate in that same high-risk-reward / low-solidarity space, and accordingly join the cast of characters in war zones along with spies and informants without international sympathy.

Assange did not release unredacted information. The person he entrusted to clean it, did.
Getting a plea deal is contingent on the state caring about the larger crimes in the first place. See the problem?
One does not have to believe that the state is entirely corrupt to believe that Assange's treatment by the USG in the past decades has been highly inappropriate.

The upcoming 2024 elections in the US find both parties trying to court subsets of the population who mistrust the government, so surely freeing Assange was done for realpolitik reasons.

It is not too late for Mike Pompeo to end up serving time. Let's hope that he is brought to justice ASAP.

This is the thing though. The cables were extremely embarrassing to the US and damaged international relationships, but they didn't really disclose any new crime that was committed.
The Iraq and Afghanistan war logs revealed significant crimes. In my view, the worst was the significant misrepresentation of civilian casualties, the level of involvement of Iran in the conflict, torture and abuse tolerated by the US. In general, the war logs revealed that the US Government had classified information specifically because releasing it would have likely led to Americans opposing the war. There was no justification for classifying most of the information other than that the truth getting out would have turned public opinion against the war.

At the time, the US Government was prohibited by law (Smith-Mundt Act of 1948) from propagandizing the American people. This was repealed by the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 which allows US Citizens to be exposed to propaganda.

Notably, one US Government strategy for propagandizing is to disseminate/test the stories in the British press and wait for them to be picked up by the US press. This strategy is still used even though the Smith-Mundt modernization act makes it less necessary for legal compliance.

Wikileaks revealed that the US Government withheld and classified information solely for propaganda purposes. In other words, a small group of people deceived the public so that a very expensive and consequential war they wanted to have would not be interrupted by common sense insights that the public would have had.

The whole thread that emerged under mine is interesting.

The intention of my comment was a plain statement of fact. You can’t have an unfair trial if you never have a trial.

I had not been following wikilinks. Had he revealed any actual crimes?
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A helicopter gunning down civilians and journalists.
The Iraq and Afghanistan war logs were a highly significant piece of journalism that revealed significand (and in my opinion treasonous) misconduct by US Government officials. See my description in another thread:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40800817

Crimes he was definitely guilt of and could likely have plead to at any time, served a sentence and been free years ago.
My memory is the US was trying to extradite Assange to the US and was threatening to charge him with Sedition with a possibility of decades of prison time. That was at least the stated intent of the previous CIA director
i was never clear on how you can charge a foreign national on foreign soil with a US Crime but that doesn't seem to mater when your the US. dont piss of the US government and dont piss off the MPAA Kim Dotcom and Assange were both charged with breaking us law while not residing in the US, being from the US, or committing their alleged crime in the US.
Wouldn't he have to be a citizen of the US to be charged with sedition?
The US tries to charge foreigners of crimes all of the time.

Here's a slightly biased summary, but in this case I think the extreme outrage and bias is totally justified.

https://prospect.org/justice/julian-assange-espionage-act-19...

No. Until the recent convictions in relation to January 6th, the most recent US conviction for sedition was against an Egyptian for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He died in federal prison.
They could even murder him.
> He was only released after 'admitting' that he was guilty...

There is the deeply philosophical, mathematical (Bayesian estimates), legal and political question whether the fact that he admitted that he was guilty increases or decreases the probability/likelihood that he is actually guilty or not.

After that? US and UK should abstain from criticising any country since as long as one can go back. The only reason they could criticise and even meddle is because they are powerful, too powerful; at least USA is and UK is not anymore, not so much.
Yes, he would have been treated much better for being involved with the dissemination of classified material in... which country exactly?
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Swerving into flamewar like this is not ok on HN, regardless of how wrong someone is or you feel they are.

If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting here, we'd appreciate it.

Edit: we've had to ask you this multiple times before-

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28885166 (Oct 2021)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28319175 (Aug 2021)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26613766 (March 2021)

Which ones are truly authoritarian?
Russia and China both have authoritarian governments.

https://freedomhouse.org/explore-the-map?type=fiw&year=2024

That’s just a bunch of statements made by people in the US.. Maybe you should ask the Chinese and Russians for a list and compare lol.
I appreciate what you’re saying here, but it’s impossible to view the opinions of residents of an authoritarian state as unbiased and unaffected observers.

They know they cannot possibly openly share their opinions without the potential for severe penalty. This is exactly why Putin did what he did to Alexei Navalny; it reminds the populace to keep the opinions to themselves or die in the most horrible way possible.

The Chinese and the Russians could say the exact same thing about you and be just as convincing.
Trump and Biden are fucking useless and shouldn’t be in office. I think they both should be banned from the office of the president.

While we’re at it: George W. Bush is a war criminal and should be tried at The Hague.

Obama was the best Republican president we’ve ever had.

See? No.

What are you, waiting for a Chinese person to come here and post things about Xi? All you are practically doing is clowning around with those statements. Try doing what Assange did and see where that gets you lol.
And you don't think that what happened to some folks that said/did stuff that displeased the US and UK rulers might have a similar effect on their population? Like, for example, what happened to Julian Assange?
> Putin did what he did to Alexei Navalny

Using this logic we can say that Trump did what he did to Epstein?

Yes. Absolutely.
I think the country that imprisons the highest proportion of its own population in the world ought to qualify, but this list doesn't think so. Interesting.
Is it possible that they just commit more crimes?
Clearly it's not enough of a deterrent and we need harsher punishments, like prison camps in Alaska with a threatening name like "gulag".
So if a country has laws written by democratically elected bodies - and people break those laws, they shouldn't be imprisoned if the law calls for it?
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> 2x3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day

Why, though? I didn't even think that was a thing in Britain, at least if you're not some very high risk criminal convicted of violent crimes, which I don't think he is? Regardless of what one think about what Assange did that just seems extremely unnecessarily cruel unless he was a threat to guards or other prisoners...

Why? To punish and deter.

He exposed terrible things done by large powers, therefore he was persecuted absolutely.

Sure that's obvious (or not... depending on one's political views), but there must be some legal justification. Or can they put someone in permanent solitary confinement without giving any reason at all in Britain?

I'm reading at some sites that this isn't really true and that he wasn't literally held in a 2x3m cell for 23 hours every day. Although it's not very clear what were the actual conditions.

edit: https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2019/11/un-expert-to.... it's very vague and unspecific though..

Turns out when governments toss around the words "spy" and "espionage" freely and without regard to their actual definitions they can get away with things like this.
> Or can they put someone in permanent solitary confinement without giving any reason at all in Britain?

Well, who is gong to stop them?

He didn’t expose anything significant on Russia, for some reason.
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Wikileaks has published things about Russia: https://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/russia/

There are a lot of countries they have never published anything on. They have a smaller number of large leaks, so that is not necessarily out of the ordinary.

I think it is credible that Wikileaks were provided some documents from Russian state-sanctioned actors, who knew Wikileaks would publish them, and that the state-sanctioned actors did so to serve Russian interests. But the claim that Wikileaks as a whole is biased towards Russia doesn't seem likely.

Things? Correct me if I'm wrong but you're linking to 1 single publication. It doesn't seem they have anything else about Russia. From a quick glance a it, it reveals that Russia have infrastructure to control and monitor who in Russia is accessing what over the internet. Looks like a rather weak, insignificant leak to me. Which is what I was saying to begin with.
its obviously a conspiracy
Have anything to bring to the discussion?
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Could the reason be that no whistleblower came forward with files from Russia to Wikileaks? You're trying to make a point but missing the obvious.

Besides. The US and Europe and so have fairly free media, so the Wikileaks revelations reached a wide audience. Russia does not have free media, so if there were any leaks like it, it wouldn't reach the Russians as much.

> Could the reason be that no whistleblower came forward with files from Russia to Wikileaks? You're trying to make a point but missing the obvious.

Some people disagree with this, see https://x.com/joni_askola/status/1805628043760685317 and the whole thread

I don’t understand your point. One should get away with a crime because others are getting away with it? Even if Julian Assange was a Russian spy (which I highly doubt), what difference does it make regarding the crimes he exposed?

You can’t diminish facts depending on who is telling them - as long as these are facts.

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did he raid the fsb servers or the nsa? maybe it's because of the source?
His role in Wikileaks wasn't to personally raid servers. He was receiving leaks that were delivered to him via his platform, and then he decided what was worth publishing.

Either he never had been handed any significant leaks on Russia, either he chosed to not publish them.

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So for every crime by one state, he has to publish one from another state for balance? Is it not enough that one state committed a crime and he reported it?
The allegations I've seen floating around is that he deliberately withheld certain types of leaks. Thereby making Wikileaks no longer neutral, but politically-motivated.

> Is it not enough that one state committed a crime and he reported it?

It depends on what "it" would be enough for... but if he indeed actively surpressed damaging info leaked to him on par with the stuff he has released, yeah, that makes matters complex.

Another criticism I've seen is that the leaks did not do any redaction whatsoever - even when it clearly pertained to informants in war zones. For that, if the allegations are true, my view is simple: you shouldn't do that. And if you set up an infrastructure for leaking, it is reasonable to assume that you're capable of handling such an important and obviously necessary step.

So "isn't it enough?" - no, it is more complicated than that.

Neither of these is true. WL had a process of verifying leaks and would only publish those that it was assured were provided with full context. Typical news reporting will publish a leaked sentence or paragraph and add its own significant interpretation. WL would publish the entire source material (with appropriate redactions) once it was vetted and deemed complete, so that nobody could accuse WL of holding back part of the context that might change one's interpretation of it.

WL continued to redact information and expended significant resources doing so. If this faltered at all, it was only after the organization came under attack from multiple governments and had to undertake its mission with fewer humans available to perform that level of review. While not ideal, WL does not deserve criticism for it as WL was essentially stabbed in the back by the NY Times and other corporate news outlets.

WL wanted to team up with major corporate news outlets to ensure solid redaction and stewardship. They cooperated once before governments told them to instead publish smear stories against Assange. The timing of the diplomatic cables which embarrassed HRC was not ideal, since it led the US center-left (neocons) to get on board more fully in the character assassination campaign against Assange than would have been possible if GWB and the Iraq/Afghan war corruption was the major scandal impacting the USG revealed by WL.

> you shouldn't do that.

Never? I can easily come up with scenarios where I think you'd also make an exception; If he was a German journalist in 1940 and he discovered what really happened at concentration camps. I'd wager exposing those papers without any redaction would be acceptable.

If you agree, then the rest is just about how you weigh certain crimes by the government, how many and what kind of names you expose, etc.

Russia doesn't need much external help in fumbling their data lol
23 hour bang up isn't uncommon in the UK, mostly just because the prisons are overcrowded and underfunded and it's easier to keep things under control with everyone locked in their cells most of the time.

There are legal minimums for how much time prisoners have to be allowed out of their cells but they're pretty low and not always followed

It's used as a torture method
> Why, though?

Because he fucked with the powerful.

i love just your last line.
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He should not have spent all of this time being persecuted by the US government, but he should have been ostracized by the public long ago. I believe that if not for the prior, the latter would have occurred much more readily.

> A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. "Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths. They persuaded Assange to remove names before publishing the State Department Afghanistan cables. But Assange's disillusioned associates suggest that the failure to expose "informants" niggled in his mind.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/18/julian...

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Assange denies having said that, according to the article linked from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40786073. Is there proof that he did, such as a recording?

"Willing to hand death lists to psychopaths" is the language of a hit piece so your link seems a little biased.

Since this was written in the UK, couldn't he use their libel laws to sue if he hadn't said it?

The article states that there were multiple journalists who could be called as witnesses, and could testify as to what happened, one way or the other.

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"he didn't sue me for libel" is not much of an argument. Most false reports don't end up in a libel suit even in the UK.

I'm not saying it's false, I don't know, but the reporting on this has been hotly contested and there are charges of politicization all around.

If I was him, and never said this, I would fight tooth and nail to prove that this was the case. He certainly appears to have enough supporters to fund such an endeavor.
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In fairness, he's been busy with another legal battle that he appears to consider a matter of life-and-death.

(I don't buy the argument that it was actually that, but I'm willing to believe that he convinced himself that it was).

> In fairness, he's been busy with another legal battle that he appears to consider a matter of life-and-death.

Agreed, it will be very interesting to see how this particular thing goes forward from today. Ideally, he would defend himself. I wouldn't hate to be proven wrong, as heroes are few and far between.

However, post-release, becoming a main character in a certain political branch of the podcast-sphere might allow him to ignore any of these annoying factual issues and do just fine.

/cynical

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If "he didn't take it to court" is the strongest argument that the claim is true, that seems weak to me. I'd invoke "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" in that case.
Given the complicated relationship at least between David Leigh and Julian Assange of which I have personal knowledge: If there are not tapes or video recordings, I would not trust the memory or perception of even a group of people around Assange.

Assange had his own reality distorion field. Like inflating the number of servers wikileaks had, the numbers of active members, etc. etc. I could sense he and Daniel Schmidt aka Domscheid-Berg were making up things on the go, but I and others didn't speak up because we believed we were wrong (How could we doubt wikileaks in 2010ish?).

I personally met David Leigh during the offshore leaks investigation. Dumb & innocent as I was, I asked him right away about the password incident. For those who don't know: At first, the cables were only released in part and redacted, but there was an archive zip encoded with aes encryption and a very long password "ACollectionOfDiplomaticHistorySince_1966_ToThe_PresentDay#" that Leigh used as a headline in his book. Of course someone figured out it matched to that archive and so the cables became unredacted. Well, Leigh was really pissed about the question.

To his defense, Leigh said to me: he was under the impression that the password/archive were digital self destruct. I know, this does not make sense in any way and reality. But given how little Leigh knew about information security, encryption, tech in general - maybe he was told by Assange this as a prank, maybe he assumed it, who knows.

But boy, these people in that time - journos and hackers - back than, most of them were not thinking about any bad outcomes, it mostly about making a splash and spotlight.

And that was, is and will not be enough. I battled "on the hill" to protect a whistleblower and to block a release of information which may have resulted in people being prosecuted in countries with a death penalty. It cost me a lot, but if you're not willing to walk away from prestige and fame for other peoples lives, maybe you should find another job.

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What part of the US government or its decision-makers spent 10 years stewing in prison for bribing Afghans to expose themselves to that same risk of death, or straight up killing many more Afghans for no other reason that they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time? Does the US government have some special natural right to toy with the lives of Afghans that Assange does not have?

Unless you believe it to be so, it seems quite strange to assign any significant share of the blame to Assange for any hypothetical deaths that may occur as a result of him taking actions to reduce the US government's ability to kill people abroad, akin to blaming police who stop a hostage-taker because this might have prompted the hostage-taker to kill the hostage but holding the hostage-taker himself blameless.

> Does the US government have some special natural right to toy with the lives of Afghans that Assange does not have?

Your argument appears to boil down to the idea that two wrongs make a right.

Obviously there is more nuance than that. If police kill an active school shooter, is your response “Tsk, tsk, two wrongs don’t make a right”?
In your analogy, Assange publicly outing Afgan translators is equivalent to police killing an active school shooter? Maybe I am misunderstanding.
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The argument is simply that the ultimate responsibility falls on the entity that created the problem, and so it is inherently not symmetric. Whereas you made the assumption that two "wrongs" are symmetric and so have equal moral status. Another standard way for explaining this is that when judging something, one ought to account for the actual power dynamics between the conflicting parties. The problem is, prejudice, classism, and bigotry tend to distort what people think and perceive as the actual power dynamics, hence long and controversial news threads like these.
I really appreciate your reply. I learned a lot already. It might be best if I didn't reply, but I can't seem to help myself.

> Another standard way for explaining this is that when judging something, one ought to account for the actual power dynamics between the conflicting parties.

I was ready to get all riled up in response, thinking that Assange had much more power here than the Afgan translators.

> The problem is, prejudice, classism, and bigotry tend to distort what people think and perceive as the actual power dynamics, hence long and controversial news threads like these.

I am settled down now. Yeah, this is not an easy, I appreciate anyone identifying the complexity.

This seems like some real mental gymnastics. Not sure how true the above is, but your argument has some serious holes.

Does the bad entity that is doing bad things have a right to do bad things? No

Does a man exposing the bad entity have a right to do bad things? Also no

I suspect even the vast majority of decision makers in the US government wouldn't have a conversation like that. And even if they somehow did, how does that change how one should feel about what Assange said? "Well, he was psychopathically toying with people's lives, but so do other people."

Assange seemed virtuous at first but it appears he pivoted into an agenda-driven propagandist after Wikileaks grew more successful and he realized what could be done with it.

His "agenda" was exposing the crimes being committed by the United States in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. That's a completely legitimate and even noble agenda for a journalist to have.
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Neither you nor the other first-order responses seem to acknowledge that the two actions are not exactly independent - it's not like the US government did a bad thing, and then Assange went and did a completely unrelated bad thing. The problem (as also hinted at in kevinventullo's response to a different subthread) is that the USG set up a situation in which anyone revealing their misdeeds would basically have to reveal the identities of the translators, or at least pay a great cost (in effort, credibility (as they no longer can release quite "original documents") and possibly liability (if the "editorialising" can be spun by lawyers somehow)) to not do so. The situation is thus a lot more similar to someone shooting the hostage (except of course in this case the hostage was not even actually shot!) along with the terrorist that took it and was threatening to blow up the building, then someone shooting a random person because they are a psychopath.
The sources are out of context quotes coming from hear say sources; those sources being clearly politically motivated think tanks.
The source was Declan Walsh, who was a journalist for the Guardian and now the NYT.
So definitely not politically motivated!
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But would political motivation even be relevant? With how politically motivated assange was, political motivation is clearly not an issue in his context.

Or would it be a classic case of “it’s okay when my guy does it, but people I don’t like aren’t allowed to”

Political motivation is what makes hearsay bad. Wikileaks never relied on hearsay.
Don't forget being a tool for Russians leaking Democrat emails prior to the 2016 election.
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If this is true name a single Afghan that was killed
Didn't know that and yes, that is condemning. The conclusion for future leak prevention is clear, all sensitive data storage must be tainted with false positives, that only a need to know filter window exposes time and access sensitive.
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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.

Here's when their key expired in 2007: https://wikileaks.org/wiki/WikiLeaks_talk:PGP_Keys

From another below:

vikingerik

A canary goes something like "This website has not received or acted on any government orders to disclose or modify or remove material." When they ever do, then they remove that notice. The government enforcement usually includes a gag order prohibiting the target from saying that they're under orders, so the intent is that you can infer government gag pressure by the canary having been removed. Wikileaks used to have such a notice and no longer does, so we assume government enforcement is why.

I remember when canaries were useful as a deterrent: even with an apathetic public on balance the tech community was pretty vigilant.

These days Snowden is screaming into the void even as concerns HN readers, never mind that he was completely right at great personal cost the first time.

I still trust Moxie, and Carmack/Palmer/etc. seem to be taking a stand, there are others, but it’s getting thin.

The main problem with canaries is that it's dead easy for a government to remove them from existence, simply issue subpoenas to every website that has one.

The users could then decide to jump ship but realistically they won't.

I don’t disagree, but I’ll observe that governments used to be much less friendly with tech incumbents, at least in public.

Ten years ago it was a scandal that big tech interacted with the surveillance state at all: Zuckerberg drove an initiative around cross-DC encryption at ruinous expense because of the mere accusation that the NSA might have a tap.

Today they’re giving us the finger with NSA board members. It’s flagrant, arrogant, and anti-hacker anything: you will do nothing, because you can do nothing.

Today they're paying for the right to have social media companies do their bidding, according to the Twitter Files Drop a little while back.
Politicians have been largely able to convince that it's tech that it's evil, with their actions always being colored through a political lens, whether it's "helping pedophiles" or "spreading misinformation" or what have you.

The vassalization of these companies was imminent, and now, it is complete.

I don’t expect much from politicians, in my lifetime the political class has mostly seemed to be pretty nakedly self-serving.

I’m sad because so many of my personal heroes, the hackers I’ve admired, are just on board past any possible argument that it’s in the public welfare.

I learn in the same month that OpenAI is satisfying their voracious appetite for data with an NSA partnership as I do that the old-school FB infra braintrust is taking the money.

I’m embarrassed by all of this. I want to be remembered as part of something else.

This isn't binary. They are both evil. Neither group is your friend nor do they have your best interests at heart.
The government doesn't even have to remove them from existence. A judge most likely wont care how you leaked information you where told to keep secret and will just throw the book at you wether you used a canary to do so or not.
> The main problem with canaries is that it's dead easy for a government to remove them from existence, simply issue subpoenas to every website that has one.

Why can't social media platforms implement warrant canaries per user profile?

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Palmer... Lucky? A stand? As in starting a company to sell AI and Robots to the DoD? Huh?
Government employee Palmer???
Palmer?
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You know, the billionaire class who give money to Trump and use their techno skills to invent new and super deadly weapon systems thereby increasing their dragon-like hoard.

True patriots.

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I remember at the time that it expired, all of the moderators on their official subreddit also got replaced.

The insurance file also got changed out at some point as the hash changed.

The wikileaks subreddit was never official, and it was a train wreck. Two very dodgy Trump supporters "volunteered to help with the increased traffic" around the time of the Podesta releases and basically took over.
Didn’t those Podesta leaks turn out to be legitimate?
Absolutely, but that doesn't mean the "volunteering" moderators weren't super-sleazy.
> This website has not received or acted on any government orders to disclose or modify or remove material.

Never understood why gag orders don't just say "You can't say you received this order. Oh and by the way if we find you removed a canary, we'll just write that up as you having said you received this order".

Because the point of a canary is for it to be known beforehand. So the government surely knows about any canary too.

There must be some backwards definition of "speech" here which doesn't include all conveying of information (such as by removing previously published information), which makes it work, at least in the US (?)

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The typical canary contains a signed timestamp. Generally, the US does differentiate between forbidding an action (“do not remove your canary”) and compelling an action (“update your canary with a new timestamp” or “disclose the pass phrase for the signing key”).

I’m no expert, and I’m sure there are nuances, but the broad strokes behind the design of these canaries are that it’s harder for the government to compel an action than to forbid one.

The whole point of a canary is that it's passive, and for exactly that reason. All you do is stop updating the date.
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I'd encourage people to read this excellent piece in the London Review of Books by someone who was contracted to ghostwrite Assange's autobiography, and who initially felt very sympathetic towards the aims of Assange and Wikileaks: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v36/n05/andrew-o-hagan/ghost... I found it very insightful and nuanced when it comes to Assange and his motivations, presenting him as neither hero nor villain, but someone who started something that he couldn't really handle.
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Andrew O’Hagan's article on Assange is rather famous, not only for its contents, but also for being 25,000+ words in a magazine that still pays per word. The LRB can pull it off because they're subsidized by the editor's family funds.
Or like read the Mueller Report which paints him squarely as a villain. He worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election in Trump's favor and then tried to blame Seth Rich. I absolutely cannot fathom how so many people still worship him. He has done some good here and there, but the benefits of things he's leaked are vastly overstated and the harm he has done is very, very real.
> Or like read the Mueller Report which paints him squarely as a villain

That's simply not true, Mueller investigated Assange, but declined to prosecute due to lack of evidence that he was complicit or culpable in any crimes. He also didn't totally clear wikileaks or Assange, but noted there were 'factual uncertainties'.

I find it nauseating that Assange is being valorized as some champion of free speech/journalism, but with respect to Mueller, Assange was far from being a 'villian'.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/new-muelle...

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> He worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election in Trump's favor

That is not at all a conclusion you can safely take from the Mueller report. Which makes me question whether you actually read it or you consumed it entirely via 2nd hand media reports like Buzzfeed and WaPo.

There is no evidence he was colluding with them, he had encrypted conversations with a GRU agent who had concealed his identity as a hacker, contents of the messages which were never revealed.

Even if he eventually did learn the source why should Wikileaks care where a goldmine of documents comes from? As long as they are authentic.

There’s more than enough motivation for Wikileaks to leak docs by a figurehead of the post 9/11 nation security state, regardless of RU or Trump or petty politics.

I’m sure if the NSA sent him documents about some geopolitical matter they’d leak them too.

> and then tried to blame Seth Rich

He never once directly implicated Seth Rich, the worst thing he did was during a TV interview made a reference to Seths murder and then merely declined to talk about it more:

>> Unbidden, Assange brought up the case of Seth Rich. When asked directly whether Rich was a source, Assange said "we don't comment on who our sources are". Subsequent statements by WikiLeaks emphasized that the organization was not naming Rich as a source.

He also claimed he had physical proof of an inside job, which is entirely possible he was completely taken by the GRU agent who manufactured plausible sounding proof and Assange bought it. These agents are extremely clever and capable, and Assange was in a very poor mental state at the time.

His only true ‘crime’ is not talking about Seth after to appease crazies on the left who see RU conspiracy around every corner nor tamed the right looking to fan the flames on US gov conspiracy theories.

but let’s be honest, that wouldn’t have stopped the hyper partisans on either side. They don’t care either way.

All they want is black/white villains.

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I did read it and your comment is technically all true, but it's also a very charitable reading of the information. He most probably knew who they were and the Trump campaign was in the loop on his activities. He's never corrected the record to my knowledge. He has a pretty bad track record of protecting his sources, so offering a reward for information on who killed Seth Rich seems like a deliberate misdirection. The entire situation feels very intentional and you'd have make a bigger leap of logic to say he was so totally fooled rather than he knew and just didn't care.

I do agree that it's not constructive to say "he's a villain" but it seems the prevailing trend is "he's a hero" and he is most definitely not a hero.

It's so crazy how he flipped from a darling of the left to a darling of the right. Now that seemingly Biden is the one to let him out he's going to be a darling of the left. And when Trump gets in and pardons him to get back at Biden he'll be a darling of the right again.
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that is indeed an excellent read, thank you for sharing it
You're welcome. I dread these Assange threads on HN because they often seem to devolve into people shouting past each other, and this is the most thoughtful piece, with direct and lengthy access to Assange, that I've read.
[flagged]
I'm sorry. did you read the links you shared?

the vox article says one contradicting thing after another. "shamir got all the cable leaks... when shamir asked for the cable leaks he was denied" uh? "never leaked russian documents ... assange first contacted him to leak Russian documents in russia" uh?

I won't even click the second one.

EDIT: the first article from the parent comment was https://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/6/14179240/wikileaks-russia...

Those aren't quotes from the article and there is no reasonable way to read those contradictions from what's being said.

You seem to be really badly misunderstanding this specific passage:

>"Shamir was also a longtime friend of Julian Assange, who tasked him with helping to disseminate WikiLeaks documents in his native Russia in early 2010.

>“Shamir has a years-long friendship with Assange, and was privy to the contents of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables months before WikiLeaks made public the full cache,” James Ball, a former WikiLeaks staffer, wrote at the Guardian the next year. “Shamir aroused the suspicion of several WikiLeaks staffers — myself included — when he asked for access to all cable material concerning ‘the Jews,’ a request which was refused.”

>The first thing Shamir did with the documents was hand some off to Russian Reporter magazine, a Kremlin-friendly newsweekly."

I.e. Shamir, a Wikileaks employee, had access to some leaked US diplomatic cables. He was refused additional access. No contradiction.

This is also the only time that Assange's early relationship with Shamir was ever mentioned (read the article for yourself, find where I'm wrong) and note how it mentions leaking US documents in Russia.

There is no mention anywhere in the article of Shamir "leaking Russian documents in Russia", or what Assange "first contacted" Shamir for. There is also NOWHERE in the article that claims that Assange "never leaked Russian documents".

You're free to disagree with the article, but you're absolutely incorrect and completely misleading about its contents.

I don't doubt he's been partial/sympathetic to the Russians. But, would you rather:

a. Piss of both of the most capable countries capable of spying and "mysteriously" bumping people off, or

b. Accept a deal with the devil to not die, and make up any excuse afterwards to justify your actions?

The US unfortunately isn't a very nice or fair country to piss off when they go about bullying (even Assange's treatments have been anything but "fair and above board"), so I'm not sure he ever even had a chance. (Assuming he wanted to live, of course.)

This is exactly the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that I find really difficult. You could have stated this very differently instead of using sarcasm and we might have agreed on some points, but "is an odd way of saying" is so unnecessary. Did you read the article? You may find quite a bit to agree with. I personally have a pretty low opinion of Assange, and the article talks quite a bit about his narcissistic tendencies.

Your language also doesn't allow for the fact that although his actions might have helped Russian intelligence, it may well not be that he sat down at some point and explicitly said "right, how can I help the Russian government?" There's some fantastic literature about how well-meaning people can get dragged in some terrible directions, like Into That Darkness about Franz Stangl, the commandant at Treblinka. I'd encourage you to rethink the way you phrase things like this if you want to have substantive debate. If you just want to shout at people, fill your boots, but I'm not going to engage with it.

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That was indeed interesting, although his claim that the rape charges were a separate issue that had nothing to do with the US trying to get hold of him, and that Assange made a mistake by not going to Sweden to fight them, has aged pretty badly.
All around my neighborhood is the graffiti of "Free Assange, Oz hero". Just this morning I saw a large amount of it in a new place. Was thinking "I really hope one day it happens but I am doubtful".

And then I just saw this... wow! I am so glad to be wrong, to see my pessimistic side be completely wrong. Julian is free!

What’s the actual view on him in oz? We’ve got exiled Aussie politicians here in the U.K. saying that he’s universally reviled, and that nobody even sees him as a “real” Australian, and that Australians will never forgive him for violating their privacy (oh, the bleeding irony). No alternate viewpoints, looks like 100% of sampled Australians hate him?
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He is a much beloved gentleman rogue.

Invariably well-informed and well-spoken, even if somewhat self-centered or arrogant at times.

For him and his family, Im glad hes free.

Five years seems a pretty harsh sentence for publishing leaked information about governments behaving badly - isnt that what good journalists are supposed to do ?

The argument against is he conspired with the leaking.
A few months ago in Sweden we had a major news story about a journalist who went under cover as an employee of a political party media department in order to follow a story. They explicitly took the job in order to leak information which their employee contract disallowed. They will, practically guarantied, not get in legal problems for it.

People occasionally talk about this tactic as being a bit of a morally grey zone but under cover journalism with an intention of leaking information (if they get their hands on it) do happen from times to times.

> They explicitly took the job in order to leak information which their employee contract disallowed.

I get the feeling if they'd joined the Swedish military and leaked national secrets, things would not have worked out so nicely for them.

That's what Assange was accused of, not being in the military, but actively conspiring with the leaker to steal the documents rather than merely receiving the leaked documents.

Further, if that reporter claimed to be all "free the secrets!"

...but when handed documents from one another foreign government refuses to publish them

and then it becomes obvious that the leaks were targeting liberal Swedish politicians facing election versus conservative candidates favored by that same one particular other foreign government...

I don't understand why people don't see wikileaks as anything other than a proxy Russian foreign intelligence operation.

If they leak info against our opponents, they are free speech heroes and paladins of truth. If they leak info against our party, they are filthy dirty spies. I don't understand why people can't see it.
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Wikileaks has also leaked things the Russian political establishment almost certainly doesn't like, e.g. https://wikileaks.org//spyfiles/russia/.

Apparently Wikileaks were given documents that had already leaked elsewhere before and refused to publish them because their purpose is novel leaks, not repeating leaks from elsewhere. That has been spun into a narrative that they refused leaks because they are biased, without much evidence.

When there are a lot of disingenuous arguments like this being made to discredit someone that turn out to be unreasonable once you dig a little deeper, like we see with Wikileaks and Assange, it generally is a strong suggestion someone is trying to manipulate people into believing a false narrative.

We knew the US wasn't happy with Assange when he landed in prison.

You know that Russia isn't happy with someone when they end up dead. If the Russian files that Wikileaks published didn't make Russia happy, Assange would be in a box right now, and not headed home.

So, because Assange is not dead, he must be a “proxy Russian foreign intelligence operation”?
There is actually some funny history around that, since after the world war 2 there was laws restricting news papers from publishing national secrets. One case was a map that the military official accidentally leak themselves, but which was classified, so when the news papers published an article discussing the leak (including a image of the map) the news paper were charged with leaking national secrets.

The result from the political fallout was creation of one of the four constitutional laws that exist in Sweden, the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act of 1949.

One result of that is that if a military personal were to leak information to the press, the journalist would by law be forbidden to ever disclose who that person was. The journalist can be sent to jail if they just happen to disclose it, and must take active steps to prevent it.

The publisher themselves must have the intention to inform the public. If that is true, then the constitution allows the publisher to ignore any other Swedish law like national secret classification for the act of publishing (explicit right given in the constitution).

Legal professors were discussing the situation back during the initial periods when the leaks occurred that Julian Assange now has plead guilty for. The conclusion was that he can not get charged for disclosing national defense information. The constitution do not allow that. He could be charged for conspiring to steal documents (ie, hacking), if the original whistle blower did not have access to the documents in the first place and had material help from the journalist or if they paid the whistle blower to steal the documents (proportional to that action). Conspiracy charges are quite messy however, and since military personal are under different legal laws than civilians, the consensus was unclear if such conspiracy charges is possible, and what if any punishment is available for the courts.

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> They will, practically guarantied, not get in legal problems for it.

Maybe things are different in Sweden, but violating an employee contract seems like a civil matter, not criminal, which is hugely different.

Does it really matter?

We argue semantics around incidents like this when it comes down to: people doing bad stuff and trying to hide it.

If anything, these laws are completely broken. People should never be punished for exposing bad actors, period. Imagine if that ever happened. Maybe governments and companies would think twice before acting illegally/immorally.

Governments do not want these incidents to happen because they want to keep doing it in secrecy and they enact laws to make uncovering these schemes illegal. Arguing if that's illegal or not is missing the whole point. It will never be legal in a corrupt society like ours.

He has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act, it's no longer an argument, he's admitting it in court. He's going to go to a US court in one of our tiny pacific island territories to plead.

He directly participated in stealing a bunch of classified information with Manning.

A guilty plea faced with the choice of continued imprisonment in inhumane conditions or the risk of extradition to a country that might jail him for life or execute him does not end the argument of whether or not he is guilty of anything. It's a coerced plea.

It only ends the argument of whether or not there is still a legal case against him.

> a country that might jail him for life or execute him

I've always found this claim to be extremely shrill — and doubly so now. This is the same country that just agreed to let him plead guilty in exchange for, essentially, time served (~5 years). It's also the same country whose president commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence down to 7 years.

Your basic claim is not an unreasonable one: people plead guilty because they'd rather take the deal than face the possibility of a worse outcome at trial. But what will it take to stop the rhetoric about the U.S. wanting to lock him up and throw away the key?

It's also the same country that agreed to it only after it became clear that there was a real chance they might suffer the embarrassment of not getting an extradition and/or have to deal with a government after the election come the July 4 election that might - despite how I dislike Starmer - be at least somewhat less receptive to US pressure.

> It's also the same country whose president commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence down to 7 years.

The same country who may have a different president come November with a history of calling the Assange case a priority.

Why would anyone feel safe relying on the luck of the draw of the president at any given time to get out of what was an initial utterly extreme sentence?

> But what will it take to stop the rhetoric about the U.S. wanting to lock him up and throw away the key?

When the US stops sentencing people to 35 years like with Chelsea Manning's initial sentence, and there's been a long period without e.g. illegal rendition flights, when Guantanamo Bay has been closed for a few decades and no new camps have taken it's place etc. Maybe when a couple of generations have passed, in other words.

But what will it take to stop the rhetoric about the U.S. wanting to lock him up and throw away the key?

Actually acknowledging and prosecuting the war crimes that were exposed would be a good start.

I really would hope more people would understand this. Faced with indefinite detention and infinite legal cost would you admit to something you didn’t do to walk free? I’m pretty sure most people would.

It’s a difficult area of research, but there are various law schools[0] and charities[1] trying to help people who took pleas because they feared a harsher sentence if they couldn’t adequately defend themselves.

0 - https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/NRE.... 1 - https://innocenceproject.org/

If you are going to call his guilty plea an expedient choice then Assange should have taken Trump's more expedient offer of a pardon 7 years ago: less time, no felony.
I didn't call it an expedient choice. And it's easy to say 7 years later that it would have been better for him to have taken it than after years of imprisonment in inhuman conditions to soften him up.

People have breaking points.

> He directly participated in stealing a bunch of classified information with Manning.

and a good thing that was too, exposing our government's wrongdoing and lies

>and a good thing that was too, exposing our government's wrongdoing and lies

What exactly of value was exposed?

I am really glad that your government is gradually losing influence and power. I wouldn't have expected it 20 years ago, but I will probably live to see you completely lose your global hegemony and your fantasies of power become nothing more than embarrassing, self-castrating nostalgia, just like in the former colonial powers of Europe.
> will probably live to see you completely lose your global hegemony and your fantasies of power become nothing more than embarrassing, self-castrating nostalgia

And then you'll enjoy more experiences of aggressively-expansionist governments, Houthi-like groups, and the equivalent of Haitian gangs and Sudanese militias, all over the world, fighting to advance their leaders' own narrow parochial desires wherever they think they can get away with it. They'll be using WhatsApp, Starlink, and cheap drones in their efforts, and enlisting like-minded allies.

You'll find yourself looking back wistfully on the days of the Pax Americana, which for nearly 80 years has maintained a flawed but workable rules-based international order. That's even granting that the U.S. has done some bad things — on occasion, very bad things — in furtherance of its own perceived interests and those of some of its powerful interest groups.

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Put a pin in this comment and look back on it. Americans of all people should understand that people are willing to suffer worse material conditions for the sake of freedom.
> Americans of all people should understand that people are willing to suffer worse material conditions for the sake of freedom.

"Freedom" — to be ruled by armed gangs battling for territory (Haiti, Sudan)? To be imprisoned or even killed for disagreeing with the ruling regime (Iran, Russia, China, North Korea)? Or for not wearing the proper head covering as a woman (Iran)? To be poisoned or thrown out a window because you're on the autocrat's shit list? That's certainly "worse," but it's hardly "material conditions."

If you want real "worse material conditions," ask yourself whether North Korean commoners think that their "freedom" makes up for the deprivations that they endure.

The U.S. has been the de facto world policeman for going on 80 years now. Not entirely, but on the whole, the world has been the better for it. Sometimes police make mistakes. Sometimes police are venal or corrupt or vicious. But a world without police would be Haiti, writ large.

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> armed gangs battling for territory (Haiti, Sudan)? To be imprisoned or even killed for disagreeing with the ruling regime (Iran, Russia, China, North Korea)? Or for not wearing the proper head covering as a woman (Iran)?

Those are all conditions that exist in the current state of the world, so clearly US hegemony doesn't prevent them. The US intervenes only where it serves its interests to do so, and happily cosies up with equally vicious regimes (e.g. Saudi Arabia) when that serves their interests.

I'll take a world where my country has to pay for our own defence, even if it means higher taxes for me, over one where US personnel can kill someone like me and the US will give them a getaway flight with no repercussions.

> Those are all conditions that exist in the current state of the world, so clearly US hegemony doesn't prevent them.

By that reasoning, murder, robbery, etc., all exist everywhere, so clearly the existence of police forces doesn't prevent them — so sure, let's get rid of the police and other law-enforcement agencies. (Or more succinctly: Half a loaf ....)

> I'll take a world where my country has to pay for our own defence, even if it means higher taxes for me, over one where US personnel can kill someone like me and the US will give them a getaway flight with no repercussions.

If you can make such a world happen, you're of course free to do so. Until then, you might consider acknowledging that the U.S. — for its own mixed reasons, to be sure — provides the key support for an international rules-based order that, on the whole (and with tragic exceptions), has allowed billions of people to live better lives than they would have otherwise.

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> By that reasoning, murder, robbery, etc., all exist everywhere, so clearly the existence of police forces doesn't prevent them

Right, to justify police forces you have to actually show that they don't cause more crime than they prevent, and by a big enough margin to make it worth the trouble.

> you might consider acknowledging that the U.S. — for its own mixed reasons, to be sure — provides the key support for an international rules-based order that, on the whole (and with tragic exceptions), has allowed billions of people to live better lives than they would have otherwise.

Every gang chief or warlord (including some of the examples you specifically picked out as bad places to live) makes that kind of argument.

This! The US hegemony is flawed but:

1. There is no other country (not even close) that could be trusted with that amount of power (especially considering size)

2. Held up the (illusion of) “neutral” international institutions like the UN. They barely worked in the presence of a “benevolent” power, and will probably completely lose relevance to anarchy and the “right of the stronger” (on local levels), shall the US hegemony subside.

Then on the other hand the US has started undermining their own most important principles:

1. 1971: Removing the gold convertability from the $

2. 9/11: Starting to spy on each and everyone, eastern germany/soviet-style

3. Removing personal freedoms during COVID (not as severe as other countries, though)

If it weren’t for silicon valley, the us would already look like a stagnating state where the economy is mainly driven by government spending. The problem is larping EU socialism will only yield even worse results in the US, since the government seems to be even less efficient.

On the other hand the US is also one of the few countries that have turned around non-violently in the past. Attractiveness for international talent is still immense. So with a few adjustments I’m pretty sure it could be turned around

The illusion of a neutral global institution like the UN is a result of US hegemony too. They could not tolerate international courts but prosecute Assange...

I would go even further and blame the state of the developing countries on the west too, because their selfish competetivly oriented globalisation left them as vasals since the end of colonization.

This is actually the sadest part, what will remain of this hegemony: a world order made by and for the corrupt. Maybe china makes it better since they resisted IMF, WHO, etc but i have my doubts.

It's clear to me many of the European colonies post & during Monarchal Empires were exploited. But Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Phillipines, Germany, and a lot of the places that were sorta "vassals" of the United States faired well off-ish. I see a lot of examples in history where the United States actually played hardball with the colonial powers of Europe post WWII siding with the exploited more, forcing concessions on the European powers.

Not that the United States isn't flawed or doesn't do hypocritical or unilateral diplomacy (Israel or anything related to communism, & I guess installing/supporting dictators that support US interests), but is it too much to ask if you can provide me a few examples where the US acted like an exploitative colonial power that hindered developing countries (at least in the past 80 years)?

Besides installing dictators or at least manipulating political movements beyond latin america...

It looks like china is trying the same thing the west did after WW2: debt trap diplomacy. [0]

The linked article focuses alot on china in a negative way but the origin of debt trap diplomacy began with the bretton wood institutions (IMF, WHO, world bank) in 1944 and resulted in the debt crises of 1980s [1,2] and the globalized developing countries. These institutions where handing out massive loans meant for development but bound to sometimes very harsh economic reforms [3,4]. The effect was not the promised growth but the debt crises and the (imo intentional) economic opening of resource rich but otherwise poor countries to the well developed economies of the west.

Afaik the US did not directly acted as an expoitative power but hindered developing countries as a proxy for multinational corporations. Like for chiquita banana in latin america or for shell in nigeria [5,6].

This story is decades old, explains well the current corrupt-but-useful leaders all over the southern world and i dont even have to go into the petrodollar and its meaning for small oil exporting countries. The US/the west is imo very responsible for the global state of affairs and the gain of power/wealth is the only explaination for the development we took. This is my bridge to exploitation but propably not the smoking gun you where looking for. This topic is so vast to just focus on a single country.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-trap_diplomacy

[1] https://idl-bnc-idrc.dspacedirect.org/bitstream/handle/10625...

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_American_debt_crisis

[3] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_adjustment

[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20100226180656/http://www.africa...

[5] https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2010/12/10/how-shell-infil...

[6] https://academic.oup.com/jah/article/99/1/155/854916

> but I will probably live to see you completely lose your global hegemony and your fantasies of power

Not sure where you live, friend. And perhaps America never should have attempted to be world’s policeman. Neither an international awareness nor an appreciation for the subltiew of diplomacy have never been America’s strong suit.

But rest assured it is tired and over such a role, with two plus decades of military veterans having seen up close and personally how ugly the world can be in places.

Perhaps you are merely a troll but I’m guessing you have seen the most recent trendlines on this planet. They don’t look good. And it appears will get exactly what you seek.

Enjoy…

What's your background and what injustice did the US hegemony do upon you?
Personally, the USA has done nothing to me. I am in Germany and live a good life. The USA is simply so violent in terms of foreign policy that there is no comparison: Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq again. Assassinations of foreign heads of government, enemies of the state symbolically thrown into the sea from a helicopter. And all this with an unbelievably self-righteous conviction that they themselves are "the good guys". This strange view that the world is some kind of wilderness that needs to be civilized by a strong hand is completely baffling to me. Oh yes, one personal thing comes to mind: I have family in Cuba who have suffered massively under the US trade embargo for 65 years. "Communism evil!" Meanwhile, in the US, there are cities with 40,000 or 50,000 or 60,000 homeless people and people going bankrupt because of medical bills. Makes me wonder which side of that distinction lacks civilization.

I realize that other countries act similarly in terms of foreign policy when they can. Germany hasn't exactly covered itself in glory either. I'm not just referring to the Nazi era. But I am not at all as pessimistic about the multipolar future that probably lies ahead of us as some others are.

They've been ruining his life for longer than five years haven't they?
~14 years now
At least half of that he did entirely on his own. Nobody told him to hole up in the Bolivian (wasn't it?) embassy for seven years.
Much beloved? Maybe in your circle, certainly nobody i know considered him beloved. I mean, the guy admitted to a room full of journalists he was happy to burn a bunch of Afghan informants. The guy is a narcissistic wanker who put lives at risk.
> Mr Joyce, a former deputy prime minister, was part of a group of politicians across the political spectrum who had long campaigned for Mr Assange's release and visited the US to lobby legislators there on the matter.

> "There were so many people who were part of this process, and what it showed was people from both sides of politics, for different reasons, arrived at the same place," Mr Joyce said on Tuesday morning.

> "I don't agree with what he did, and I won't, but it wasn't illegal," Mr Joyce said.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-25/great-encouragement-j...

Fascinating. Here’s an equivalent snippet from the BBC, who are doing a good job of making it look like Stella is his only supporter:

> Former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer says "most people" in Australia do not see Assange as a journalist.

> “We can now… say he was guilty of a very serious offence," he tells the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

> “Most people in Australia would agree it’s not appropriate to steal national security information and publish it - governments have to have some degree of privacy in their communications."

> He adds: “I don’t think many Australians have sympathy for him. Just because he’s Australian doesn’t mean he’s a good bloke.”

The BBC has a laudable goal of trying to be "balanced" which unfortunately is often poorly implemented as giving equal credence to both sides of an argument, even when doing so paints a wildly innaccurate picture.

If you look at the totality of the BBC's coverage, it's clear that the general consensus is that he did a good thing for humanity that hurt some powerful people, and he's been unjustly punished for it, but that there is a small cohort of people (including some very vocal, powerful ones who get headlines) who disagree with that opinion and think that he did something negative and was justly punished for it.

The trouble is that when you summarise that argument, you lose the "general consensus" and "small cohort" bits and you just get the two points, which together make a rather different story.

> Former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer says "most people" in Australia do not see Assange as a journalist.

The Downer family have recent history in misjudging what "most people" in significant chunks of the Australian public think. Chunks, for example, like the electorate they're trying to be members of parliament in.

Well, i guess the same "most people".Where(p => p.money > 1billion) .. dont like friendly jordies and were part of a crooked clan the day there ancestors got shipped in. So Assange is in good company..
> do not see Assange as a journalist.

Sure, a "journalist" is somebody who works for a mega-corporation, preferably owned by a billionaire with political ambitions, and reports whatever the party that controls his outlet considers to be fit to print at the moment.

> he was guilty of a very serious offence

When somebody is caught on camera robbing or stabbing, the "journalists" always insist he is "allegedly" guilty until the court decision is made. These rules, however, do not apply to people who publish dirt on politicians.

> would agree it’s not appropriate to steal national security information and publish it

"Journalists" have done it many times though. And got prestigious awards for it. Of course, the situation is different here - his wasn't approved for anybody powerful and didn't benefit any billionaire with political ambitions, so no awards for him.

He sounds like a Downer with those statements.

I guess it is to be expected from a person whose power is threatened by people like Assange.

At least the PM seems like a more sensible person.

> "I don't agree with what he did, and I won't, but it wasn't illegal," Mr Joyce said.

One of the rare moment's I agree with Barnaby Joyce.

Surprising for me also.
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I live in the center of Sydney. Every Friday in the city for as long as I can remember there's been a small but dedicated group of peaceful protesters gathering outside Town Hall. They must be over the moon today.
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The Australian Ambassador to the United Kingdom is apparently flying with him today, so that should give some indication.

(It is probable that if those politicians had been particularly in touch with the views of Australians, they wouldn't have ended up in exile!)

Politicians and corporate journalists lie to you, and they hate Assange because he exposes their lies. That pretty much gives you your answer -- he is not universally hated by normal people at all.
Just googling around it seems Assange had support of the overwhelming majority of Australians (going by a 2023 poll conducted by a Sydney newspaper)

> 79 per cent of people said the Biden administration should drop its pursuit of Assange. Only 13 per cent disagreed. Eight per cent were unsure

> We’ve got exiled Aussie politicians here in the U.K.

Who are those? I can't think of any Australian politicians who are prominent in UK discourse, on Assange or any other topic.

I think he is viewed very positively. Australians appreciate law and order but we also love to see a rebel break through and restore common sense once in a while.

Australia has been a loyal US ally historically and so our politicians avoid criticizing US as not to jeopardize that relationship. It's been a thorny issue in the relationship though as it has made our politicians look weak/cowardly whenever the topic of Assange was approached.

My general impression is that Australians vary between neutral (they don't know and don't care what he did) to positive toward him.

Where I live (way out in the boonies), many people have told me that they have a lot of admiration for him. In some spaces in Melbourne, he seems to almost have a cult following.

I am sure he has his detractors in Australia but, so far, I have either not met any in person or they have kept their opinions to themselves.

I think politicians are more likely to dislike him than the general public does, which makes sense; after all, he targeted politicians and policy decisions.

>> We’ve got exiled Aussie politicians here in the U.K.

Does Australia actually exile people? I thought that was done away with long ago. If they are wanted for crimes in Australia then they would be extradited from the UK. Even informal exile only normally happens between countries that do not have extradition treaties. I suspect these politicians are simply expatriates living in the UK for professional or tax reasons.

This is meant jokingly.

Sometimes when a public figure fucks up their career in their home country, they'll move to another country where people don't know about the fuck-up.

This isn't a literal exile, it's figurative.

It might be turnabout. The settlers of Aus were exiles from England.
I'd say a fairly large percentage would be disappointed that we let a citizen get treated like that and we did nothing as a country to assist, independent of anything else. Maybe I am out of touch though.
Could you clarify for me how he violated people’s privacy?
Oz is like most places, there's a large number of people for whom thinking for themselves from an even vaguely informed position presents too much of a logistical challenge (re. literacy, education, breadth of interest, pretense to regular reading, range of sources, adequate life experience to judge bias, ready echo chamber availability, swamp of familiarity, etc.). The minority of people who are educated, do hold broad enough interests and are capable of critical thinking are almost all in support of Wikileaks, IMHO. Some of them have been done in by the smear campaign, unfortunately.
People are only capable of informed decisions in their specific area of expertise. Outside of that the difference in opinion between a university educated and a working class is irrelevant.

When the people whose specific jobs and lives revolve around the topic have a contrary opinion you should probably take more seriously. Those who don't and elevate their opinions are what we call cranks.

The entire earth is affected by Assange's revelations, and the legal wranglings thereafter. It is unclear which specific subset to which you refer, but I don't think their opinion is any more valid than others'.

Further, perhaps it is unwise to place much faith in the relevance of formal education to matters of complex political and technical insight deeply mired in populist information warfare and wiser to consider education level to be generally quite independent of formal training in most cases?

What is your area of expertise that facilitates knowing the truth of all of your claims here today?
[flagged]
Naturally. I'd suggest that - not in a hard-line way but in a soft centrism kinda way - there's certainly a core set of moral perspectives that one can really hold with any critical integrity, if really living with any awareness of one's surroundings, and many thinking people tend to converge on that set of morals through some avenue or other, and that tends to drive their take on the world above inane factors like nationalism and religion.

It's not a superior or single view per se, but it's probably a set of closely aligned views tempered by a greater breadth of thinking in terms of not being totally stuck in an isolate ghetto spacetime wallow / populist moshpit.

Yes I also think that everyone that disagrees with me is stupid and easily manipulated.... (not smart like me). Just expressing it in a few less words...
So just to be clear: let's have a constructive discussion on the internet by assuming bad faith. Let me know how that goes for you. I'll stick to assuming ignorance, and await evidence to the contrary.
When people make such wide-sweeping generalisations as you have, whilst flattering yourself at the same time, I dont immediately assume good faith. But as you say, I must be ignorant then (not smart and heroic like you).
Correct. You're a fast learner.
Yep.
What part of the world is your neighborhood in?
I'm thinking OZ hero implies Australia.
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It's actually quite rare for Australians to refer to Australia as Oz, at least in my experience. Seems to be much more a thing in the US and, to a much lesser extent, the UK.

If that graffiti were written in Australia, I think it would be far more likely written as 'Aussie hero'.

I am from the US originally, and I literally never heard anyone call Australia "Oz", and didn't even know what it meant, until I moved to Australia. Americans — at least all the ones I encounter — are almost always confused by the designation (they think you're making a reference to The Wizard of Oz).

I think that's because "Oz" comes from "Aussie", which Americans mispronounce (they say something like "ossy" rather than "ozzy").

It's uncommon for Australians to say "Oz" in my experience, but it's still definitely a thing (albeit mostly in ads/marketing rather than daily speech). And even the ones who never say it still know what it means.

I don't know what people say in the UK because I have never been there.

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Thanks for your comment. I don't know how ordinary US Americans refer to Australia and whether they use 'Oz' to do so but I am not surprised to hear from you that they generally don't. What I was talking about, and where I should have been more specific, is how Australia is referred to in the US media where I have quite often seen it called 'Oz' (and perhaps for the mundane reason of making for a shorter headline). This isn't nearly so common in the Australian media.

Btw, I agree with you that US Americans often mispronounce 'Aussie', but I can understand why, if they encountered the word in print before hearing it spoken.

we're certainly not in Kansas, at least not any more!
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:-)
Is anyone else here surprised that the reaction to him being free is so overwhelmingly positive? Assange certainly did great work to reveal government corruption and abuses of power. At the same time, some state secrets are best kept secret for national interests and Assange seemed to show a lack of regard for protecting this type of information. It often seemed that he was working in his own self interest rather than one that prioritized the interests of the US, humanity and civilization on the whole. I guess.. I just expected more nuanced discussion around this on HN.
I don't think Assange operated in any kind of self-interest per-se, I think he operated based on a principle of maximum transparency.

I definitely don't think that is always a positive thing but I struggle to think of anything which Assange leaked which I really disagree with. Probably some parts of cablegate should not have come out as they were very "inside baseball" talk between diplomats and were too easily construed negatively in the media, though, I think for the most part our allies realized that they said the same things about us in their private communications and there was really no major fallout from it.

Now, all that said, Assange did break the law and I don't think there should be no consequences for that but the way the US went about this (across 3 different presidencies) is just terrible. Nudging and cajoling and perhaps berating our Swedish allies to jin up a "rape" case against him so he could be extradited from the UK to Sweden and then obviously to the US, and, denying that we were doing that was just dirty on our part. I'm sure if there is a cablegate 2.0 we'd find we did some fairly terrible stuff to persuade our Swedish allies to prosecute this.

Ultimately the simple reason I think there is near positive reaction to this news is that everyone understands that even given what he did, it does not merit almost 15 years of prison in some really terrible conditions. Should he have walked away free? Maybe, maybe not but he should have had a fair trial with fair charges and faced a fair jury and he never got any of that, he was effectively extrajudicially jailed.

> he should have had a fair trial with fair charges and faced a fair jury and he never got any of that

Could he have had that if he turned him self when he was originally charged?

He would never receive a "fair" trial in the United States.

He was accused of espionage, which is in itself incredibly alarming, given that he's a journalist. The law he's being charged under comes from WWI, which was a low point in the history of freedom of speech in the US, and that law is most likely unconstitutional. The law would not allow Assange to argue any sort of public interest defense. Probability of conviction would be near 100%. The US government conspired to assassinate Assange when he was in the Ecuadorian embassy, and many American officials, from the president on down, have denounced Assange, called him a terrorist, called for his execution, etc.

The United States is claiming the right to prosecute any journalist of any nationality anywhere in the world if they publish information that is classified in the US.

I mostly agree worth you, except to nuance that it is not about "information that is classified in the US", but about classified US-documents.
> Nudging and cajoling and perhaps berating our Swedish allies to jin up a "rape" case against him so he could be extradited from the UK to Sweden and then obviously to the US, and, denying that we were doing that was just dirty on our part.

Dunno if there was any "nudging and cajoling and berating", but from all I saw, those Swedish women (yes, plural) seemed to legitimately have a case. As I understood it, the case was dropped only because there seemed no chance to get him to Sweden to stand trial.

So whether he should have had no punishment at all, or sixteen consecutive lifetimes of hard labour, for spying, he's sure no saint -- and quite possibly deserved jail time -- in other ways.

My understanding of the case was that he consensually visited prostitutes in Sweden, which is legal, where he engaged in consensual sex with them.

Again, consensually, he did this without wearing a condom.

However, under Swedish law, that is rape and the charge is against the customer (not the provider).

So, yes, the women agreed on the facts of the case (Assange showed up and we had sex without a condom) but it was entirely consensual though illegal.

While I do have some understanding of why Sweden has a law like this (to encourage condom use) I don't think it fits anyones conventional definition of rape and under normal circumstances this would not be an offense that the Swedish government would be extraditing someone for (it's a nominal fine in most cases).

Please if I misunderstood something let me know, because, it has been years since I significantly researched this and it's one of the most politicized cases in memory.

> My understanding of the case was that he consensually visited prostitutes in Sweden, which is legal, where he engaged in consensual sex with them. Again, consensually, he did this without wearing a condom.

Prostitutes have nothing to do with it; of the two women who reported him at least one was a political activist who was, AFAICR, originally supposed to guide him around at the organisation(s?) where he was to be a guest speaker, but ended up hosting him in her home. (I got the impression she was, at least originally, pretty much a groupie of the romanticized image of him.) The other one may have been a friend or acquantiance of the first, or otherwise a "similar type". Far from prostitutes.

> However, under Swedish law, that is rape and the charge is against the customer (not the provider).

> So, yes, the women agreed on the facts of the case (Assange showed up and we had sex without a condom) but it was entirely consensual though illegal.

Been a while since I lived in Sweden, but I go back there every year and nobody I know has ever mentioned any such bizarre law. It would also most likely have been mentioned in news media in neighbouring countries, so I'd probably know about it even without going there, if it existed.

> While I do have some understanding of why Sweden has a law like this (to encourage condom use)

It doesn't. You have been utterly duped.

> Please if I misunderstood something let me know, because, it has been years since I significantly researched this and it's one of the most politicized cases in memory.

Getting stuff so utterly wrong, it's really rather hard to believe you ever "significantly researched" anything about this, because the picture you're painting has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth. (Well OK, sure, for all I know he may have also gone to prostitutes, but that has nothing to do with the rape allegations.)

Your "research" sounds as if it must have come directly from some kind of cross between an Assange fan site and Incel HQ. Just try the other Wiki in stead -- -Pedia, not -Leaks. They're usually at least somewhere close to the truth.

Well, maximum transparency on why he never published anything significant on Russia would be great.

To me it's a very bad smell when you pretend to fight for press freedom and democratic values, but never say anything bad about regimes where presidents-for-life are extinguishing the free press and poisoning opposition leaders.

It's like these all the crazy conspiracy theories that flourished online during the last decade, that are somehow never hurting Russian interests...

But I must be paranoid, right?

What significant documents about Russia did you provide that Wikileaks refused to publish?
Rereading this, I should have added more context. Wikileaks can only publish what it's given, and there's no reason to suspect they receive much about Russia.

Imagine you're a Russian and you have information about the government that you want to leak. Would you give it to a primarily English speaking organization, with no Russian speakers on staff, that nobody in your community has ever heard of and has been alleged to have ties to Russian intelligence for years?

Or would you give it to a Russian speaking organization that has connections in Russia that could potentially help you if things get bad?

What evidence do you have of information about Russia which he refused to publish?
Well, would he still be alive if he’d published similar quantities of info on Russia? That’s a pretty simple explanation, he thought his chances of survival were better with Western leaks.
I think also you can’t really do reputational damage to an already well-known corrupt pariah state.
It depends, if you can convince people that it's the other way around, with counter-facts, embarrassing leaks and loud speakers... I'm sure you know the rhetoric, in which the US is the actual aggressor, supported by some big names, like Musk, Chomsky, Trump, and others, and then there are martyrs like Snowden and Assange.
> if you can convince people that it's the other way around

The US, the pariah state? In terms of geopolitics? In terms of economy? There's just no argument that could be made that that really is the case. What global players does Russia have any significant influence over? Who do they have substantial leverage over? A best some other pariah states. Now answer the same for the US. Not even in the same league.

> What global players does Russia have any significant influence over?

China, N. Korea, probably Vietnam, India'll listen to them, possibly more in s.e. Asia, and they're expanding their influence in Africa (by supplying mercenary armies).

They play the game differently than the US (at the very least: with other countries), but that does not make them a 2nd rate power.

> China [...] India'll listen

Russia is at the mercy of China. China can operate independently of them, same as India. They are trading partners, but it's a very asymmetrical relationship.

> N.Korea, probably Vietnam, [...] possibly more in s.e. Asia, and they're expanding their influence in Africa (by supplying mercenary armies).

As with all the countries they do have like some (though debatably not substantial) leverage over, they're in the global south, and most certainly not 1st rate powers.

> Russia is at the mercy of China.

Now, yes. Back when this happened, it was still closer to the other way around. (Well OK, China wasn't exactly "at the mercy" of Russia, but Russia was still generally regarded as the senior of the two. Perhaps mostly out of old habit.)

Basically the entire developed world has been in trade deficit with China for 2 decades now. The reality, which is slowly dawning on western countries, is that China has secured leverage – economically, financially, and in supply chains – worldwide. But this leverage all exists within the confines of globalization, and globalization is at odds with geopolitical discord, be they hot wars, cold wars, or simply the slow retreat to protectionism (and divestment to other rising powers like India) that US and some western allies are making. The world needs China, but China also needs the status quo to hum along.
check out John Mearshimer's recent content about the Ukraine / Russia conflict.

In my view: Putin is a patient, reasonable strategist who is trying to defend his country against significant aggression by US Neocons. US Neocons do not respect the maturity and sacrifice that led to the de-escalation of the cold war, and they want to incite conflict with Russia both out of ignorance of history and payments from Ukrainian oligarchs -- don't forget much of the wealth of the USSR was captured by a small number of oligarchs -- arguably including Putin -- and they don't all want Putin having all the power.

To be clear, the payments are not always direct, but across the US political spectrum there are many people who have set up shop as gatekeepers. Rudy Giulliani, Hunter Biden, and many many more are able to easily make millions a year doing the bidding of various eastern bloc billionaires. We are seeing the policy impact of their work at play in Ukraine now.

> defend his country against significant aggression by US Neocons

I'm skeptical of this argument, as a hot war or claiming of Russian territory is off the cards. Not just because of the nuclear deterrent, but because it's not really in the interests of any other country to engage in hot wars. Proxy wars between US and Russia have been a thing for a long time though. In reality, what is transpiring between Russia and the developed world is a battle for political influence, and they have, at least under their current right wing default, no interest in amenable relations with the west. And this is not because there isn't anything to be gained (particularly economically), but out of spite and injured national pride. A radical change of leadership would be great for the Russian people, its economic development, and also the border security of its neighbors.

Japan thrived post WWII because they accepted their position and made the best of the situation. And in spite of it's economic reputation, Japan is an excellent place to live, in terms of amenities. You pretty much have to be homeless on purpose. Though I think they are overworked (but much could be said of many Asian countries). Russia lost the cold war, through and through, but it still wants to live in the past, and drag everyone else down with it. The Russian leadership could just not start wars, and go back to economic development, and just in general have a less combative relationship with the rest of the world... but I'm not holding my breath.

US fighter jets flying formations around Lviv in 2016 was a clearly offensive move and was part of the strategy of trying to push the line further East and pressure Russia by removing Ukraine's neutrality.

The US will fight Russia this way till the last Ukrainian. It's a cynical policy and I feel badly for all of the people whose hearts are moved by the heroism of those in Ukraine fighting for their country. Alas the war was started by the US and the US does not care at all about Ukrainian suffering or Ukrainian lives. The whole project is just supposed to be a way for the US to harm Russia in a cost effective and politically feasible way.

US fighter jets flying formations around Lviv in 2016 was a clearly offensive move

Given that Ukraine was already quite openly invaded by Russia in 2014 -- these were, by definition, defensive moves.

> US fighter jets flying formations around Lviv

Still doesn't make an actual invasion more plausible in any real way. This is something that happens all the time. Jets from both sides fly near China and North Korea all the time. Again, their sovereignty remains and...

> was part of the strategy of trying to push the line further East

... their borders remain unchanged. As Russia (and the US) well knows, you can't change borders without sending the tanks in. And as the US has learnt the hard way, even then, it's probably not worth it.

> Rudy Giulliani, Hunter Biden, and many many more are able to easily make millions a year doing the bidding of various eastern bloc billionaires.

Yeah, I remember the big headlines about how Hunter Biden was going to build a huge luxury hotel in Moscow... Sheesh.

But hey, thanks for demonstrating how people who exhort others to listen to that asshole Mearshimer generally tend to come off as Putler trolls.

I hesitate to engage with your comment as it indicates a low level of openness to ideas. But I'll take a chance. Consider the following:

- Michael Flynn founded the Flynn Intel group in 2014 and was hired by Turkish interests, Russia Today, and is alleged to have worked on behalf of other Russian lobbyists.

- Rudy Giuliani founded Giuliani Partners and had clients in Ukraine, Qatar and Venezuela.

- The Clinton Foundation accepted numerous "donations" for alleged philanthropic work. Yet the donations dried up and the foundation dramatically shrunk after HRC lost in 2016.

- John Podesta founded the Podesta group which did lobbying work for Ukraine and Saudi Arabia

- Newt Gingrich has consulted for a variety of foreign entities.

- Bob Dole consulted for Taiwan

- John Bolton had a consulting firm that was hired by interests desiring Ukraine to join NATO

- Corey Lewandowski's firm sought foreign clients

- Paul Manafort did extensive consulting for Ukraine's pro-Russian political party

- Tony Podesta (John's brother) did extensive consulting for foreign governments

- Richard Gephardt has consulted for Turkish interests, among others.

- Jared Kushner had numerous foreign deals in play when he was a US official

FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act) was intended to promote transparency in these kinds of dealings. Of the people listed above, only Flynn, Manafort, the Podesta brothers and Dole registered under FARA.

The rest tread on the very large gray area of influence peddling. The thing to keep in mind is that all of the people involved in these kinds of schemes are easily bought for very little money when dealing with state-actor level budgets.

As you can see, the graft spreads across both parties and is generally concentrated a few degrees away from the ones holding current office. The Clinton Foundation was particularly ingenious and had the 2016 election gone differently would likely today be among the nation's most influential and financially successful NGOs.

"Low level of openness to ideas".

Oh, so _you_ have an open mind, I see. You must be a free thinker, free from propaganda and bias.

proceeds to parrot Putin talking points

Give us a break.

I am open to being shown errors in my thinking. So far you have used the tactic of name calling but haven't offered anything that indicates critical thinking. FWIW I have never heard Putin mention any of the points I've mentioned.

I'm not a fan of Putin but he is a superb strategist and a clear communicator who has sadly outwitted US leaders over the past decades, resulting in the US wasting a lot of money and keeping its eye off the ball strategically in other areas of the world.

In the same way that lobbyists are why soft drinks in the US contain harmful ingredients like corn syrup, lobbyists have led the US to spend a lot of money on pointless, strategically stupid wars that have weakened the US tremendously relative to its adversaries.

The talking points I'm mentioning is not this list of names, it's the good old "NATO agression/expansion", "Russia was threatened", "US forced Russia into war" bullshit.

So let's see, how was Russia threatened? Who on earth was going to invade Russia? They have enough nukes to destroy the planet. They were supposed to be the 2nd military power after the US. There already are 3 NATO countries right on the border with Russia, so if the invasion was about preventing NATO getting too close, it was a failure before it even started.

It's crazy the amount of mental gymnastic Putin apologists have to come up with.

So, if it's not about Russia being invaded, what else was so unacceptable with Ukraine not being barred from joining NATO?

Well, maybe, I know it's crazy, but bear with me, maybe, Putin had great plans for Ukraine and Russia, which would have fallen appart if Ukraine suddenly could not be invaded.

But that's too simple, right? It must be about US agression, CIA biolabs, nazi organ-trafficking pedophile satanists, combat pigeons, and Russia survival.

Seriously, what would have happened if Putin didn't invade Ukraine? Nothing. Russia would be fine. But Ukraine refused Putin's ultimatum to sign a treaty disallowing it to ever join NATO. Of course they refused. How could a sovereign country accept it? I mean, if you had a neighbor, already grabbing some of your garden, which insisted you agree to never get a bodyguard, would you accept it? Russia: WE DEMAND YOU STAY WEAK AND VULNERABLE TO AN INVASION. What a joke.

So of course Ukraine refused, even though it wasn't even in the process of joining NATO at the time. That provided Putin with an half-assed pretext to invade, so he did, and he made sure to lie about it, while the world was witnessing the amassing of 150K troops on Ukraine border. He lies. All the time, every time. That's who he is, that's what he does. He lies, we know he lies, he knows we know he lies, we know he knows we know he lies. But it doesn't matter, it's just the Russian mob way.

Anyway, you're also saying Putin is a 'superb' strategist? yeah, sure, but is he as superb as Hitler? If you admire Putin's strategy, you must be in awe when it comes to Hitler strategy, right? It's just too bad the guy is the worst war criminal of all times. Or maybe it's all Western lies too?

Now, the US is deep troubles internally. But it's not due to their wars. It's not about money. The Trump cult is just out of control. They are so close to become a full blown failed kleptocratic state it's mind blowing. If Trump gets back in the white house, it's basically over, he and his friends will literally loot the US, selling state secrets, selling the sabotage of the country. You must be deeply impressed by Trump as well, right? How can someone make the 1st world power self destruct like this, in just a decade?

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was supposed to be neutral. Within the United States post cold war, there has been a faction that has wanted to push NATO boundaries east and make Ukraine non-neutral. This is what happened.

Ending the cold war took a lot of discipline and sacrifice. It is hawkish neocons in the United States (the same people who architected the Iraq war, etc.) who have nudged the US toward aggression and have tried (successfully) to shift public opinion in Ukraine toward nationalism and favoring an anti-Russia non-neutral perspective.

Putin has been responding to the antagonism with bold and efficient use of force to advance Russia's national interest in the face of such aggression.

Putin has many, many problems (authoritarian, etc.) but he's not an idiot and the whole problem was caused by US neoconservatives who incidentally don't care if many Ukrainians die in the process of trying to weaken Russia.

As usual, the US propaganda machine paints Putin as irrational and insane, just as it painted Saddam and OBL. If anything, by now we ought to realize that when we hear US neocons saying that about someone that it's probably completely false.

It's very, very sad that the people of Ukraine have been victimized first by US propaganda and second by the US using them as human shields to avoid needing to spend dollars and lives sending US troops to fight more openly with Russia.

The extent to which the US has been weakened by following neoconservative warmongering impulses is staggering. First trillions of dollars flushed in the Iraq war. We emerge from the Iraq war with the defense industry tremendously enriched and with 100x the lobbying power it had beforehand. And now we find ourselves pushing Russia and China (and many other countries who will join) into an anti-US alliance that was completely preventable.

> Ukraine was supposed to be neutral

According to? It was supposed to be sovereign. It gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for guaranties of never being attacked... Russia can't be trusted.

>there has been a faction that has wanted to push NATO boundaries east

Well, NATO membership works like this: Countries ask for membership. It's not "NATO" deciding "hmmm, let's expand east". You must be confusing with Russia expansion, forcibly annexing land, with all the war crime and deportation. Ex-soviet countries know what it's like to be occupied by Russia, so they want to be part of NATO. I'm sure you can see the difference.

> Putin has been responding to the antagonism with bold and efficient use of force to advance Russia's national interest in the face of such aggression.

Bold and efficient use of force??? Like, bold torture? Efficient killing and starving POWs? Smart kidnapping and re-education of Ukrainian children to draft them to fight against their own people? Yeah, what a genius. You're nauseating. You're talking just like a nazi would.

I think I'll stop there, I don't think it's worth discussing with people who casually admire war criminals.

> It was supposed to be sovereign. It gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for guaranties of never being attacked... Russia can't be trusted.

The US was the first to violate the agreement, unfortunately.

> It's not "NATO" deciding "hmmm, let's expand east".

Lobbying groups from inside and outside those countries advocate for membership, etc. There are hawks in the US that don't care about Ukraine being neutral because they want to squeeze Russia.

> Bold and efficient use of force???

Putin has effectively used a much weaker military to thwart the US at every turn. He is a much, much smarter strategist (again, unfortunately). I am no admirer of Putin. Most recent US presidents most certainly qualify as war criminals, for what it's worth (unfortunately).

The sad part is that the US is encouraging Ukraininans to fight and die for a cause that the US has no intention of supporting in a significant way and has no intention of truly following through with. The US has been duplicitous with Ukraine and in spite of many US hawks wanting to go all in for Ukraine, it won't happen and they know it. The best they will do is donate weapons and let Ukraine harm Russia as much as possible while there are Ukrainians left to fight and while the conflict doesn't escalate to the point of endangering the US mainland.

Incidentally, it is quite likely that Putin will be nudged into attacking the US mainland at some point, either via cyber attacks that cost lives or actual munitions.

The US was the first to violate the agreement, unfortunately.

How, specifically? Facts only, please.

There are hawks in the US that don't care about Ukraine being neutral because they want to squeeze Russia.

That doesn't mean they are a dominant contingent or that this is a key driver of current policy.

Yeah, I know too well that rhetoric. That doesn't hold scrutiny unfortunately, and I think you know it, but it doesn't stop you from spreading it. You _sound_ wise, but you just assert things, like the "aggression by US Neocons", but you don't say what is the aggression. "Ignorance of history"? You don't say what history. You mention payments from Hunter Biden and Rudy Giulliani, but did you deduce this all by yourself, or do you have credible sources?

And then, I'm curious, what makes you think that Putin is a patient and reasonable strategist? What is patient and reasonable, exactly? Not only invading, but _annexing_ other nation's land? Throwing in jail for 7 years anyone who criticize the war? killing/poisoning your political opponents? Airing fake demonstrations of people demanding "we nuke Europe NOW"! Turning your country into a fascist military dictatorship, proudly putting assault rifles in the hand of children in kindergarten? Letting state-sponsored TV hosts say the most ridiculously fascist things like “Life is highly overrated”, "Ukrainians are not humans", "Ukrainian children should be drowned in the Tysyna", "We will kill 1 million, or 5 million; we can exterminate all of you". Pretend Ukraine is filled with nazi organ-trafficking satanist pedophiles? While you torture and starve POWs? Rewriting history? Pretending they fought the nazi since the beginning, while they invaded Poland hand-in-hand with the nazis, and were best friends until Hitler betrayed them. Only then they fought, for their survival, it was never a choice. Pretending they defeated the nazis alone, while the US helped them a lot with their logistics.

It's a sea of lies. You just have come up with big lies, repeat them again and again, and somehow it'll work. Textbook fascism, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie. And now, with open western social networks, it's super easy, super cheap. So, yeah, Putin is certainly not reasonable, he is just a "strategist", but he's just applying old fascist propaganda techniques, and let the useful idiots, bigots and opportunists do the rest.

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> Is anyone else here surprised that the reaction to him being free is so overwhelmingly positive?

Not really, though I am frustrated as it does feel like he's only popular because he's an underdog sticking it to The Man.

Even in isolation and ignoring the preceding case — for which he fled to the embassy in order to not risk the very outcome he's now facing (c.f. going to the USA, "Assange would appear in court in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S.-controlled territory north of Guam", even though that wasn't even on the cards at the time he fled) — many other journalists manage to publish damning evidence that seriously upsets their governments without having to solicit for it (AFAICT, no journalists have gotten into trouble for publishing Snowden's leaks, just Snowden himself), while some other journalists who broke the law to get their scoops also faced court for breaking the law to get their scoops: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_arrested_in_the...

There's a pretty big difference in breaking the law to get hot goss vs breaking the law to expose corruption at the highest levels of government.

There's limits of course, but whistleblowers should be afforded a lot of leeway, particularly because quite often doing things the "right way" is engineered to accomplish nothing.

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Sure, but that protection (that doesn't fully exist in practice but should) would still go to Manning rather than Assange.

Assange is to Manning as Glenn Greenwald is to Snowden. (Except for all the differences which make the legal issues in this case a thing in the first place).

> without having to solicit for it

Countless journalists solicit classified information all the time. They don't just sit there hoping a story falls into their lap. They make connections in government and actively seek out information, including classified information. This has been completely standard in American journalism for decades.

> At the same time, some state secrets are best kept secret for national interests and Assange seemed to show a lack of regard for protecting this type of information.

Julian Assange was an irresponsible arsehole. Doesn't mean his treatment was anything resembling just. While he probably put a lot of people at risk, I've not heard of anyone actually getting hurt as a result of his actions. Given that, and given his treatment in prison, he's more than served his time.

Closest thing I've found in this thread to my own thoughts. I do think Assange was arrogant, personally dislikable, and had a particular grudge against the United States. This is different than my opinion of, for instance, Snowden, who seemed more motivated by a desire to trigger positive reform.

Regardless, Assange has been punished enough, particularly given the distasteful manner in which he was found guilty and imprisoned.

> At the same time, some state secrets are best kept secret

Yes, war crimes committed by USA and its allies are best kept secret and those committed by others are best exposed, right?

He’s not American and America are not “the good guys”. For any given secret, consider if you feel that USA should honor a request by Russia to keep it secret for the best of Russian interacts, if you don’t feel the same then its best exposed.

It’s redicules that so many Americans feel that war crimes committed by it and its allies should be kept secret because “we’re the good guys” then turn around and argue that the reason “we’re the good guys” is because we don’t commit war crimes, or when we do we at least have the decency to try to keep it secret because we know it’s bad, unlike the evil enemy who commit war crimes and try to cover it up!

But of course it is positive. This is a huge deal, even if only one that will benefit himself. I don’t know anything about any secrets that he showed any lack of regard for, but I definitely know about the files he exposed that showed the US government is a bunch of cowards who manipulate people and then use the full force of the law to defend themselves when caught with their pants down.

Instead of making people guess what you mean by nuanced, you simply should go ahead and provide that nuanced perspective and see if anyone wants to engage it.

The US government needs to prosecute actors who infiltrate secure systems with the aim to leak state secrets as a way to prevent this type of behavior from happening in the future. Say what you want; even if the premise of leaking is seeking to enrich the interests of the public--there are many state secrets that are secret for very good reasons, such as protecting the lives of informants, diplomats, etc.

There were many documents that WikiLeaks released that seemed to have been released under the auspice of "full transparency" but really served no public good and inflicted a lot of harm. Releasing the names of afgan informants, cablegate, that airstrike video where journalists were killed (can't remember the name specifically), etc. I just don't know if I agree that the public should know everything.

Think about the case of the NSA--yes they were spying on Americans in egregious ways and overextending the scope of their mission and authority. But at the same time, we do want a lot of their methods to remain secret. They have thwarted many potential terrorist attacks since 9/11; and if we, and our adversaries, knew exactly how and who they were spying on--I'm sure Americans would be less safe.

> They have thwarted many potential terrorist attacks since 9/11

Is there a source for this claim that isn't just the NSA saying "trust us"?

Yes. There was a 60 minutes episode that went into pretty deep detail on the different types of attacks that have been attempted since 9/11; most of which the NSA and/or the FBI were involved in thwarting. There was a very high profile train bombing that was would have been successfully executed if not for the power of some of these 3 letter agencies.
The same three letter agencies which routinely give fake bombs to heavily egged on idiots incapable of building them on their own?
That information has been leaked and has the US been any less safe because of it. I would argue there is nothing to suggest it. Governments aren't above the law and the journalists that were killed and the spying was rightfully publicised. As was the Guantanamo Bay leaks. The public shouldn't know everything but if the public find out because the government act illegally and need to be held to law like anyone else, it is an unlucky consequence of the governments actions.
The US used to only prosecute the government employees who leaked the information.

Charging journalists with espionage for publishing classified information is completely new in the US. Trump and Biden's prosecution of Assange is the first time it has ever happened. It's also almost certainly unconstitutional.

You blend interests of US, humanity and civ with ease perhaps out of nationalism. The first is in its own.
The right time for a nuanced discussion of the material published by Wikileaks was actually before the US/UK imprisoned this innocent-until-proven-guilty individual, not after putting him in soletary confinement for 5+ years. So no, not surprised. If there's need for a nuanced discussion, a course of action like this will never be the way to go about it. The time for a nuanced discussion has been over for more than ten years, and the argument was lost by the people who incarcerated him.
> At the same time, some state secrets are best kept secret for national interests

a) This applies to nuclear launch codes, not to the kind of things that Assange leaked even if leaking this is inconvenient or embarrassing for the nation.

b) Many of us aren't Americans and don't really care that much about US "national interests".

In a democratic society, laws should exist to protect state secrets.

Assange’s imprisonment was widely considered to be caused not by democratically formed laws, but by the whims of politics.

> In a democratic society, laws should exist to protect state secrets.

Should USA really pass a law to protect Russian state secret? No? Why should Australia or England pass laws to protect US state secrets?

We need more of his type of self-interest and less of the kind shown in the Panama Papers and Epstein flight logs.
Same. Assange was an actor for Russia, and acted against American interests, whether by design or by accident. He played a role in the election of Trump and in the weakening of US standing and intelligence.

This soft-handed approach towards anti-American behavior is the culmination of multiple movements in the post-Soviet era where the remnants of Soviet-sponsored communists and other home-grown agitators align themselves with anti-western groups around the world (Russia, Iran, China, various terrorist groups, etc). These groups have a lot of influence in the left in general, and in the current US administration, so it's not surprising that now is the time that Assange gets a friendly deal. Between this and Manning's sentence being commuted, I think a lot of damage has been done to our security apparatuses. What's the dissuade the next kid with delusions of toppling the corrupt American empire from exposing state secrets in a noble act on behalf of our comrades in the benign and honorable states of Russia, China, and Iran?

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I would hardly describe the deal as friendly. He already did 5 years in a prison that was worse than where he would have stayed in the US. Also, there was a bunch of legal uncertainty over the case given the 1st amendment concerns. The government would rather take a guaranteed conviction than potentially lose. Uncertainty is the same reason the government offers people a better plea deal after they get a mistrial or some evidentiary thing goes in their favor. Also, there are literally drug kingpins who sold thousands of tons of drugs and ordered executions with lower sentences than Manning. Her sentence was unfairly high to begin with, which is part of the reason it was commuted.

You seem to have the impression that leakers are getting sweetheart deals. In actuality you have people like Reality Winner who got five years for leaking information that was pretty much already public. Natalie Edwards getting six months for the FinCEN Files is probably a little low. I am incredibly skeptical that given the number of news organizations with access to the documents that they remained private and that no one was tipped off. But she was actually doing it in an effort to put pressure on Russia!

> These groups have a lot of influence in the left in general, and in the current US administration, so it's not surprising that now is the time that Assange gets a friendly deal.

You lost me there. Assange got a deal because the prosecution needed a deal to resolve the case. They didn't do it out of the kindness of their heart, nor because there was any pressure from the administration to do Assange a favor.

Try not being a corrupt empire for a change? Unthinkable I know, choosing to not be guilty of horrible crimes for a change! So long as they engage in fucked up shit and cover it up there will be reactions against it in one form or another. Whistleblowers are the most benign form, and themselves are the result of internal channels just being honeypots instead of policing themselves. If they truly cared for their precious opsec they would have robust internal investigations instead of retaliation.
Calling the US corrupt when the world looks like this is just not something I can take seriously: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index
So funny, pro-western countries and their old colonies are all green. Looks like the founding members of TI felt a bit patriotic
Yeah, sounds like overwhelming positive opinions...

JULIAN!! The guy that embarrassed evil powers all over the world!

What evil powers? Well, the US, the US, and... the US.

I got down-voted by just mentioning he didn't release anything significant on Russia for some reason.

I wouldn't be surprise if some of the massive support we're seeing here in this thread is not completely legit.

Let me ask a question to downvoters. Actually, wouldn't it be stupid for Russia not to have folks monitoring popular social sites, like HN, subtly (or not that subtly) pushing their views? Western sites are open to the whole internet, anyone can comment in here, it's easy, it's cheap. Why would they not do that?
There are people here exhorting others to listen to Putin-Versteher John Mearsheimer, so yes, that seems plausible.
> What evil powers? Well, the US, the US, and... the US.

How dare you Julian? No Russia or China is on the list? No! US can't be evil, only Russia/China can.

Notice how I didn’t say that the US can’t be evil.

US certainly can be, but, why stop there? Why not mention other evil powers while you’re at it?

Why focus on the US while Russia is going for textbook land grab à la Hitler?

Invading a country is very concerning, annexing it should considered unacceptable. Russia is doing the later.

> Notice how I didn’t say that the US can’t be evil.

Yes, you didn't, but the vibe of your message looks like whataboutism defense.

> Why focus on the US while Russia is going for textbook land grab à la Hitler?

Why focus on Russia while Israel is going for textbook land grab à la Hitler?

> Invading a country is very concerning, annexing it should considered unacceptable. Russia is doing the later.

Annexing a territory is very concerning, silently stealing the houses and land using settlers while killing civilians should considered unacceptable. Israel is doing the later.

> Yes, you didn't, but the vibe of your message looks like whataboutism defense.

No, it didn't. What you're apparently not getting is that Wikipedia's message -- and, by extension, your comment -- look like a defense-by-contrast of Russia and China.

> Wikipedia's message

Eh, yeah... WikiLeaks, duh.

I’m all for pointing out bad actors. You want to bring Israel to the party, fine.

But then, you should stay on topic. Did Assange publish any leaks on Israel?

Yes? That’s fair. No? Then we’re allowed to wonder why. But clearly you don’t care, it was just to throw whataboutism at me to show how biased I am.

The whole saga is an interesting lesson in how a noble cause can end up helping anti-democratic forces.

Assange gave the public invaluable information that would not have been know otherwise, but he ended up playing right into the hands of the people who wanted to discredit Clinton.

Politics is complicated.

Clinton is not democracy. Anti-Clinton is not anti democracy. Being anti the US government is not anti democratic.

And no, letting USA or any other nation for that matter commit war crimes quietly does not support democracy.

If Assange showed any interest in also undermining Russia or other authoritarian regimes I would feel more compassion. I think criticization of the US foreign policy is fine and the press has a role. To me his case has always been grey. States have secrets its just the nature of the world.
> States have secrets its just the nature of the world.

So let’s just check your bias. Assuming an American journalist living in England exposes video of Russia gunning down civilians and shows they are covering it up. Would you say the right cause of action would be for that American to be procedures in Russia because “ States have secrets it’s just the nature of the world.” and apparently hiding war crimes and prosecuting journalists who expose them is also just states rights?

I think this is a grey area. If you commit a crime via the internet like fraud can a state go after you? I guess I think so. Should Assange have been prosecuted is a different matter. Can journalists be prosecuted seems also like a hard case by case question. In general if you are acting in the public interest and only act as a publisher IE do not recruit or gain secrets yourself you shouldn't be prosecuted. I also think it's 100% in an other nations right to deny extradition. So what I think is that this is a hard case with lots of grey area that isn't as clear cut as people pretend it is.
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States do have secrets. And when those secrets are grave and destructive, their citizens have a right to know about them.
This is obviously false. All states have intelligence agencies military secretes ect.
Of course they do. And where states' intelligence agencies or militaries overstep their mandates their citizens should know and act accordingly/
We also say children have a right to mot be abused yet there are many child abusers....
So you're saying the public not knowing the names of informants in Afghanistan is the same as child abuse?
Do you think that killing swathes of civilians and children from helicopter is 'the nature of the world'?
It was investigated the pilots followed roe.
> If Assange showed any interest in also undermining Russia or other authoritarian regimes I would feel more compassion

But russia is a democracy...

> States have secrets its just the nature of the world.

That's an anti-democratic worldview...

Democratic doesn't mean transparent. If the people represented by Congress make things secret that's still democratic.
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Personally as an American, I'm far more interested about the shit my government is hiding from me than getting yet another reason to hate Putin, what could possibly be leaked from Russia that would make their optics worse than it already is? This was true even pre-invasion.

The whataboutism surrounding this feels completely disingenuous to me considering much of what was leaked by Wikileaks was war crimes, media collusion with Clinton's campaign and embarrassing mistakes the government tried to cover up, that they had no business trying to cover up.

States have secrets, but that is a privilege granted to them by the people to protect national security, their abuse of this privilege has been completely unacceptable even if the reveal made your preferred candidate look bad for actions they were personally responsible for.

If Wikileaks accomplished anything, it was revealing the hypocrites and those who lack even an inch of integrity.

Its not like what wiki leaks did is new. The pentagon papers were published 50 years ago. The us government should be held to high standards and we need a press to do that. At some level however in a world of competing states if an organization is only interested in undermining one state it makes it less trust worthy in my eyes. I think Assange views the US as an evil actor and that informs what he thinks is worthy of coverage. Its why he could call Afghans who worked with the US as collaborators as in his eyes working with the US makes you evil. I think that world view is insane and naive.

However as I said there is real utility to publishing information which shouldn't be kept from the public. Which is why I think Assange is a hard case.

> If Wikileaks accomplished anything, it was revealing the hypocrites and those who lack even an inch of integrity.

It revealed some hypocrites who lack integrity. The main effect, if any, of their exposure was to pave the way for other hypocrites who lack integrity to take over the positions of power and influence of the former.

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I was specifically talking about the ones who wanted to crucify Assange the moment he revealed something inconvenient for their side after years of praise for what he did under Bush, which likely applies to you as well considering your twisted perspective on this.

Someone with integrity supports whistleblowers no matter who they blow the whistle on, I'm sure this revelation must be a surprise for you.

> Someone with integrity supports whistleblowers no matter who they blow the whistle on, I'm sure this revelation must be a surprise for you.

What does that have to do with anything? Assange never was a whistleblower.

This has the same energy as labelling any critique of Israel anti-semitic
Our problem isn't with the critiques of Israel, it's with the fact that the people critiquing Israel are almost universally singling Israel out for critique.
My overwhelming experience is that people who are critical of Israel's actions in Palestine are also critical of Russia's actions in Ukraine and, back in the day, were critical if the US's actions in Iraq. This comes from a generally anti-war (or anti-invasion/occupation) political philosophy.

There are also a lot of people in the Republican Party who go the exact opposite way: They support Israel's actions and Russia's actions, and they were also in favor of the US's invasion of Iraq (though they shut up about that now). They have a very hawkish political philosophy.

Then there is a third group of people I've identified, who confuse me: they oppose Russia's actions in Ukraine, but they support Israel's actions in Palestine. (I do not know what their opinions were in Iraq because this is a group of people I have only encountered online, not in person.) I do not understand their political philosophy at all because it is seemingly self-contradictory; most of my attempts to understand it suggest that it is not really a philosophy so much, but more about nationalism or racism — they like Ukraine more than they like Russia, and they like Israel more than they like Palestine, and that's all the thought they put into it.

The people critiquing Israel are almost universally singling Israel out for critique.

They're not, of course.

But labeling them as such is one of the myriad ways by which criticism of Israel gets automatically branded as you-know-what.

I love the "of course" you threw in. Do please try to appreciate the emotional toll of having non-Jews out there all helpfully informing us Jews what is, and isn't, antisemitism. It must be nice not having to endure that kind of thing in your daily life, to say nothing of having to bring my children past armed guards to get into synagogue.
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Do please try to appreciate the emotional toll of having non-Jews out there all helpfully informing us Jews what is, and isn't, antisemitism.

I have no idea what your essential attributes are. Nor do you have any idea as to mine. And I'm not telling you what to think about anything.

This thread is getting far from the original topic. Recommend we both close shop here, and move on.

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I wonder if you ever listen to the many, many, many Jews who state that criticism of Israel is not 'antisemitism' and that blowback from the state violence and the intensely evil persecution & genocide of the Palestinian people perpetrated by Zionist Israel over more than 70 years now is the single biggest contributor towards them ever feeling 'unsafe' as Jews?

Again, there are many, many, many such Jewish voices that have emphatically dismissed the format of your attempted victimisation play here.

I wonder if you have any idea what the term "tokenization" means.
When Russia enables it, amplifies it, builds their disinformation and propaganda machine around those facts and there’s no counter weight it gets into the realm of anti-democratic adjacent.

There’s nothing simple when it comes to international politics. But foreign meddling by an adversary is a pretty bright line.

The failure of the United States to provide a positive counterweight to propaganda due to launching two wars of aggression filled with warcrimes is not Russia's fault, nor Assange's.

The United States is responsible for sowing the good, not Russia for not hiding the bad.

"Not hiding" is a pretty disingenuous way of putting it.

"Being better at targeted propaganda" isn't really how I'd like our leaders to be chosen. Obviously that's where we are, but I wish we could do better.

I don't want domestic propaganda from government. I want policy from government that creates good will domestically and abroad. "Russia might use this against us" is a good policy litmus test to not do those things.
The US enabled it. If there were no wrongdoings, there would be nothing to leak.
Chelsea Manning leaded a bunch of random diplomatic cables and medical information on the families of servicemembers.

How does any of that constitute a 'war crime'?

Please, name the war crimes that Chelsea Manning exposed.

Manning leaked multiple files relating to the execution of surrendering fighters and murder of civilians. "Collateral Murder" being the big one.
The diplomatic cables contain all sorts of information about extraordinary rendition, about the use Turkish airbases, Irish complicity, etc.

This isn't small potatoes. Here in Sweden it wasn't just the extradition from Bromma in 2001, but the US flew multiple illegal flights with prisoners through Sweden, possibly to the US torture camps in Poland and eastern Europe.

I also think these cables revealed information about the Thailand black site, where the US was torturing some people.

fascinating how Swedes are so concerned about the small number of crimes committed by the US and want the US to withdraw.

Yet they remain steadfastly silent on the crimes committed by Russia and China.

Should the US withdraw from geopolitics and allow those other two to fill the vacuum?

Like Julian Assange himself - I suspect many Russia supporters are hiding in plain sight.

>fascinating how Swedes are so concerned about the small number of crimes committed by the US and want the US to withdraw.

Withdraw from what?

>Yet they remain steadfastly silent on the crimes committed by Russia and China.

How have we been silent on those crimes. We have been quite concerned, they are almost next to us.

I don't myself want to be part of NATO, but evidently the government is to afraid not to be, so now we are.

>Should the US withdraw from geopolitics and allow those other two to fill the vacuum?

The US has not gained anything of geopolitical value by storing people in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp or by flying suspect terrorist to torture camps in Europe, or by inhuman treatment of prisoners, as happened at Bromma. It hasn't gained anything geopolitically by going after people who revealed war crimes.

The US actions that I oppose are for the large part neither of benefit to the US itself, nor to me. On the whole these actions are just stupid.

To the degree that I want to avoid US troops in Sweden, this stupidity, these useless and harmful decisions that get implemented are one of the problems. Because if the US can this stupid on matters like Assange, or can desperately want to torture some random nobody, and are in such a hurry to do so, that they fly him through Bromma just because can refuel there, then they can do any kind of idiocy, and it can end up being me, or something Swedish that matters that pays the price.

The US can defend its interests in a more co-operative way and with greater respect for international law and for its partners.

>Like Julian Assange himself - I suspect many Russia supporters are hiding in plain sight.

If you're implying that I would like Putin, who I consider basically a Chechen-cuddler. I've had less problems with him historically, and I don't think I fully understood how vengeful he was until he did as he did against the Karabach-Armenians. I'm probably more pro-Russia than Zelensky is-- I don't hate the Russians and I like many aspects of Russian culture, including their mathematics tradition and some of their music.

I don't see the Ukraine war as per se very different from the Iraq war. This means that I view Russia and the US as closer on the level of morality than most people, who I feel have a bit of short term view of the world. These things 20 years ago are like yesterday to me. Details matter though, and scale, and many other things.

Rather, when it comes to support of Ukraine my view is not based on morality as such, although I do believe that the Ukrainians have a right to rule their country, but rather on Swedish defence needs. We Swedes need to support them and ensure that Russia does not expand and get a border against Poland or some other unnecessarily forward position. There is no reason why we should allow such a situation, which will only cause us problems.

> If you're implying that I would like Putin, who I consider basically a Chechen-cuddler.

Oh yeah, that's the big problem with him. Sheesh...

> I don't see the Ukraine war as per se very different from the Iraq war.

Yeah, I distinctly remember how Shrub denied that the Iraqi people exist, claimed they were all Americans anyway, and set out to annex Iraq to the USA. And who can forget the moving ceremony when he bestowed Statehood upon those four Iraqi provinces? Sheesh... Try as I might, I can't come up with any reason for why you would want to pretend to be this stupid, so...

> This means that I view Russia and the US as closer on the level of morality than most people, who I feel have a bit of short term view of the world.

Yeah no, that means it's you who are... If not morally blind, at least severely short-sighted.

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Every government/corporation has some "wrong doing" if it hadn't been the military there's plenty in the police force if not that then I'm sure there would have been cases of corruption.

Your statement doesn't add any nuance to said concerns.

“But Your honor! yes my client murdered his wife, but every country has murderers, so why should we punish him for that? Isn’t the true criminals his kids who went to the cops and thus caused permanent damage to his and therefore their chance of them having a happy household again?”

Not “adding any nuance” is suggesting that publishing the truth about warcrimes is worse than committing war crimes.

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That's a nice defense towards the straw man you constructed.

I'll repeat my point so maybe you can focus on that than the straw man.

It's not hard to find scandals, that's the whole point of having institutions meant to watchdog corporations and governments.

But of course governments/corporation will try and cover it up or deregulate said institutions, but this doesn't make an obvious adversary (Russia) a helping hand in holding the corporations /governments accountable because it's not meant to, it's meant to create cynicism and a feeling of hopelessness.

So no publishing truth is never bad, the issue is how you do it.

You take the self-contradictory position that “publishing the truth is never bad,” but in some cases “how you publish the truth” is bad. You weight the perceived interpretation by the consumer of information against the information itself. While consistent with in-your-face Russell-conjugated “news” stories and “accountability journalism,” this is practical nonsense, unjustifiable, unprincipled, and a loophole for terrible excuses that countervail the entire purpose of a successful free press.
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There's no contradiction as this example will show:

If I publish an internal report that has good undercover agents doing good things but also has bad undercover agents that are acting against the country's interest, it would be absurdly dumb and reckless of me to publish the internal report as is without redacting names that has nothing to do with said bad actors.

There are correct guidelines specifically about doing whistle blowing and failing to do so can and will cause lives to be lost.

This relies on an artificial and false morality. You reference “correct guidelines.” Please cite them, and what is definitely good and bad outside a local construct within a modern Westphalian political nation state. Separately: Should nationally critical information controls survive mere legal disobedience? If they don’t how much security theater fulfills your appetite?
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>This relies on an artificial and false morality Okay this says nothing, like me telling your comment is banana-split with cherry.

>You reference “correct guidelines.” Please cite them, and what is definitely good and bad outside a local construct within a modern Westphalian political nation state.

I just told you with my example, but here's ICC's guidelines about whistleblowing:

https://iccwbo.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2022/02/icc-gu...

Pretty much any whistleblowing guideline will have similar statements about whistleblowing.

>Should nationally critical information controls survive mere legal disobedience? If they don’t how much security theater fulfills your appetite?

Why do we have to present this as a black and white issue? The best is a compromise to ensure that the power abuse gets pointed out and the adversaries that are responsible be highlighted as the alleged perpetrators (as this is still something that a court has to decide on) without putting national security/innocent lives at risk/at harms way.

As mentioned, this highly-subjective, parochial, hegemonic view survives neither border crossing nor the reality that rules apply only to rule-abiders. It is non-viable in a cooperative, networked world. It enforces the lowest-common-definition of rights on the most vulnerable, while ignoring the practical reality of sophisticated malicious actors. Examine here what rules certain parties in Brazil seek to apply to X, or the contempt proceedings against Herridge domestic to the US.
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Your point makes no sense.

You throw examples that are not whistleblowing nor does these cases have anything to do with whistleblowing guidelines but laws regarding whenever or not sources should be disclosed.

Especially the herridge case which is part of a broader case of the federal government employees allegedly leading government documents of an innocent person's information (specifically information about them from the investigation)

Even more it's not even a shut case and what a surprise the judge is also following concrete guidelines.

https://www.rcfp.org/herridge-contempt-legal-question/

I suggest whistleblowing carries no particular journalistic weight. But you mentioned whistleblowing, not me. To reiterate for clarity: published truth is an unmitigated good.
You want me on that wall etc. He was the villain, you know.
That has nothing to do with democracy. On the contrary, a democracy needs the electorate to be informed and officials not having secrets or starting a war on the basis of lies.
Foreign meddling in what? Foreign meddling in the Clinton campaign’s lies and obfuscations?
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No one said Clinton is democracy that title goes to the dear leader Kim Jong-un.

That however does not mean you are the good guy for playing into the hands of an adversary that wanted to rig a democratic election.

Is people knowing more truthful facts to you considered “rigging an election”?
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No? Please point out where I said this.

But then if we care about truthful facts then why didn't Assange release rnc documents?

Wikileaks only leaked what they got handed to them. In the DNC case, it seems that the leaker was motivated by Clinton railroading Bernie in the primary. Meanwhile on the Republican ticket, the populist, Trump, was able to sweep aside the established Bush dynasty and other party insider favorites.
This article refers to something occurring in 2014 with State Department email credentials and somehow loosely connecting that with the 2016 DNC email leak.

Besides showing that email is not really that secure in the first place (and evidenced by Ms. Clinton's own maintenance of a personal email server), it doesn't show any evidence that Cozy Bear was behind the DNC leak.

Assange himself seemed to implicate Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was shot twice in the back in a mysterious murder in July of 2016: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/will-jul...

> This article refers to something occurring in 2014 with State Department email credentials and somehow loosely connecting that with the 2016 DNC email leak.

Thanks, that's a good point, I was motivated to read a bit more about it; the article I linked is indeed a bit vague.

The source for it is a de Volkskrant article, I found it in an archive: https://archive.is/S5KeI

This has more detail and contains the claim that the Dutch did observe Cozy Bear breaking into the DNC network.

However, elsewhere we can read that the emails were leaked to WikiLeaks not via Cozy Bear but via Fancy Bear, which is part of GRU; see the Mueller report Volume I, Ill. RUSSIAN HACKING AND DUMPING OPERATIONS, A. and B. page 44-56 in the PDF.

Both the SVR and the GRU infiltrated the DNC network:

"Cozy Bear" had access to DNC systems since the summer of 2015; and "Fancy Bear", since April 2016. There was no evidence of collaboration or knowledge of the other's presence within the system. Rather, the "two Russian espionage groups compromised the same systems and engaged separately in the theft of identical credentials".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_National_Committee_...

From what I've read that's a common way of authoritarian state organization: to prevent any security service from becoming too powerful and thereby becoming a threat to the dictator, there are multiple services with overlapping responsibilities and they compete with each other.

> Assange himself seemed to implicate Seth Rich...

Apparently Aaron Rich's defamation lawsuit got some results:

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/seth-ric...

It's worth noting that leaked messages (the irony) show Assange was knowingly misleading the public about Seth Rich:

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/kevincollier/assange-se...

Was that the same hacker team that created the fake laptop that is actually real and not from a hacker team?
Damning evidence is not rigging.
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Damning evidence is not a conclusion especially when said evidence is inconclusive.

And then I have to ask yet again, why did not Wikileaks release the RNC leaks?

Conclusions are for citizens to make once they see the evidence, regardless of whether it harms the chances of powerful people maintaining their grip on power.

I've already covered it in a different thread. It's most likely that the DNC leaks were from an internal source.

Assange implied Seth Rich. The emails that were leaked were largely about the DNC railroading Bernie to favor Hillary during the primary. That's not some state-level propaganda. That's how party politics work. A disgruntled Trump supporter would have little reason to leak RNC emails, since it was publicly known how much they hated him and since Trump won in spite of the RNC's antagonism.

Honestly though it doesn't matter who leaked it. It was standard faire political controversy. It was a much bigger deal that Clinton herself maintained a private server to conduct state department affairs. Hard for her to spin that one on the Russians though.

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I rather have courts look over it and have a fair and honest conclusion rather than everyone doing their 'conclusion'.

And according to the intelligence report it was Russia who indirectly hacked the DNC (via guccifer) so I don't know where this "internal source" comes from, would love to see a report that shows otherwise.

The irony is that Wikileaks allegedly did have RNC leaks, but Assange choose not to publish it.

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Yes, and politics is not about supporting only one side either. If transparency makes for more informed decisions, who’s to judge the better outcome? Meritocracies die in darkness and evidence of corruption scares lots of voters away. Especially the unaffiliated/independent ones that decide elections.
Weird that he had the hacked emails of two political parties in the US and only released one of them, then
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Are there sources for this?
Both the Mueller report[1] and the Senate report[2]. There is apparently some question whether Wikileaks even got the RNC data and didn't release it or just didn't bother asking for it in the first place[3]. Assange himself has discussed why he was only interested in hurting the Democratic party in the US[4].

1: https://www.justice.gov/archives/sco/file/1373816/dl

2: https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/docu...

3: https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/12/10/report-russi...

4: https://theintercept.com/2018/02/14/julian-assange-wikileaks...

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The intercept link is quite good in quoting his motivation, which is indeed quite contrary to the stated goal of Wikileaks being neutral.

But in [1] and [2], could you hint where in there that information is to be found? Those are quite long documents and wikileaks is not the main subject there.

It wouldn't have mattered in the RNC case even if it was leaked. It was well known that Republican party insiders disliked Trump, but Trump won anyway. The DNC leak was motivated by Bernie's treatment in the primary.
I don't see how one follows from the other. It's also rather well known that Bernie was disliked by much of the Democratic establishment, so shouldn't that, by your reasoning, mean that WikiLeaks shouldn't have published the DNC leaks either?
A shame there aren’t any other journalists that could have leaked the other party’s emails, clearly Assanges fault
I mean, yes, great example, that's the kind of sad argument Assange's defenders have to say with a straight face
This has been heavily disputed already... it's not clear that wikileaks even had access to the RNC data.
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Anyone else remember when wikileaks directly collaborated with the trump campaign, gave them advice, etc.? https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/14/563996442...

Also interesting that they didn't Wikileak these messages, some mainstream journalist had to do it for them. Probably they just hadn't gotten around to it

If he’s not actually a Russian agent then there are likely plenty of actual Russian agents doing a worse job of it than him.
If he is a Russian agent, Russia does more to help the US democracy than the US itself.
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How exactly has Assange help us democracy.
Leaking information about war crimes (1) deters from future war crimes (2) helps government transparency.
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1. This has been done before Wikileaks and after.

2. Doesn't seem to have made much difference beyond spreading cynicism as it was never appropriately published.

3. This would have been despite Wikileaks.

Sometimes. I think it was published just fine. If you admit it's a good thing or that it would have happened regardless, why persecute for 15 years?
He repeatedly inferred that Seth Rich was his DNC source even though his emails showed he continued communicating with his "source" long after Seth Rich was found dead (the source was Russian military intelligence). He was also messaging Donald Trump Jr. during that time period.

That's not journalism, that's dishonesty and activism.

You'll have to link sources on the above quote. But even if he was a Republican-oriented journalist, that would make him one of the most endangered species on the planet.
> He repeatedly inferred that Seth Rich was his DNC source...

ITYM he repeatedly implied that Seth Rich was his DNC source, so readers should infer it.

Speaking truth to power.
Information must be free.
I don't believe Assange ever believed in a noble cause. He did what he did for personal vanity and any good he did in the world is purely by coincidence. When he blamed the DNC hack on Seth Rich he had an opportunity to do the right thing and instead he impugned a victim of a heinous crime. Rich's successfully sued Fox for defamation over exactly the same thing Assange said.
The Guardian thinks the election loss had mainly economic and personality reasons:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/09/hillary-clin...

Then, Assange probably thought that Hilary Clinton really tried to drone him, despite denials:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/4/hillary-clin...

It isn't the first time that she made unwise statements:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-on-qaddafi-we-came-we-s...

I'm pretty sure that the charismatic Obama, even if he had had a similar email affair, would have won the elections. Personalities really matter.

Played into the hands? Didn't Assange personally hate the Clinton's, that seems less played into the hands of and more intentional?
That's really how that works, in practice. That would be why he proved useful and had a willingness to do what he did HOW he did it.
If you actually read all the material on the Clintons, it's hard to imagine anyone not hating them. That's just evidence the man's got a soul.
A rich demagogue getting elected over a rich career politician technocrat who was smeared by right-wing money for decades sounds like "democracy" working well as it's ever worked.

It's easy to blame one entity or another for these sorts of upset events, but national elections are media circuses largely run by private spending on the terms of private parties and blaming any one party seems like missing the forest for the trees.

Again, election "interference" is not unfamiliar ground for democracies or republics, liberal or classic, so it confuses me why people blame the electorate rather than the flaws in our implementation of democratic ideals (eg the citizens united ruling) that allowed private capital to run rampant over our election mechanics.

To illustrate how inevitable this is, the roman republic had statute stipulating the width of the halls leading up to the ballots to physically restrict voters from being harassed or intimidated. Otherwise the richer candidate would simply pay a mob to physically bully you into voting a certain way regardless of your original intentions—or perhaps they might outright buy your vote out if they knew which way your ballot cast. It was completely understood by all involved that voting (& armies) could be bought with sufficient money and ingenuity by even single people.

Why we are discussing anything other than restricting the ability of money to interfere with our modern processes when it comes to "democratic health" is beyond me.

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> Why we are discussing anything other than restricting the ability of money to interfere with our modern processes when it comes to "democratic health" is beyond me.

That's the point though, not that many people care about the implementation of a democracy, which itself is a form of democratic will (or the lack thereof). The problem with simply "more democracy" is we might end up with these contradictions.

People don't care much about the fine details of the implementation of their governance. In an ideal world, they would have voted in people who'd tear up these "money is speech" laws, but we live in a world where the average Joe only cares and are receptive to catchphrases.

A public officer running their own private email server and wiping it when authorities ask to see it is anti-democratic.
Road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Yeah, I see a lot of celebration here, but I don't see what part of this worked out well for anyone. Assange spent over a decade either running from the law or in prison. None of the charges against him are ever going to be heard either way, and the original issues he raised have largely been ignored. And over the period he and his fellow travelers have done a great job trashing their own cause by lining up beside genocidal dictators.
I'm prepared to celebrate if he gave up a lot of useful information on who he was working with, and who ELSE was in there with him. As I see it, Assange got used, by folks who are a bigger problem than his former idealism could ever be.
I hate to break this to you, but Trump was and is a participant in liberal democracy, not a March on Rome figure.
The events of 1/6/2020, and the proliferation of unfounded 2020 election fraud claims, would suggest otherwise. Not to mention his plans to "be a dictator for a day" and persecute his political opponents if elected this fall.

The man and those in his orbit have a hard-on for Putin/Xi/Kim-style autocracy.

> Trump was ... not a March on Rome figure.

Naah, he was only the March on the Capitol figure; so much better.

(FWIW, they had/have a Capitol in Rome too. That's what the American one is named for.)

I think the pressure from the Australian government had to do a lot with this good news[0][1].

0. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansar...

1. https://edition.cnn.com/2024/04/10/politics/biden-assange-au...

Wow. When I was in Sydney I was surprised at how many protests around there were about Julian Assange... didn't really understand why they cared about him or the US. Guess that worked?
He is Australian right?
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How can you commit treason against a foreign country?
From a another foreign country too.

It's pretty similar to the US claiming jurisdiction over Ukrainians running torrent websites from Ukraine. Or over random Afghanis who share their first name (something extremely unique like Omar or Abdul or Mohamed) with a supposed terrorist, enough to kidnap to torture them.

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If it's a foreigner it's possible, but it's called espionage or conspiracy
[flagged]
Any decent American patriot, anyone with any love for America and its people and its reputation, would want it to not be committing heinous war crimes.

The people who committed treason are the ones who dragged us into multiple illegal wars based on fabricated evidence.

Those war criminal fucks cost us trillions and trillions of dollars, and are responsible for milllions of deaths. Assange tried to prevent that, and has paid a terrible price for doing so.

You're not wrong about the wars, but Assange didn't care about any of that, as their own chat logs prove.

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/14/julian-assange-wikileaks...

> Assange didn't care about any of that, as their own chat logs prove.

You have a strange idea of what proof means.

"Hillary has so much slime on her shirt it is now hard to make dirt stick.” Lol.

Btw the author of your link, Micah Lee, has been lying to smear Assange for years [0, 1].

0 - https://contraspin.co.nz/beingjulianassange/

1 - https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeaks/comments/7o96ot/micah_lee...

You misspelled "conspired with a foreign intelligence service and then continued to do so, interfering in federal elections"

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/assange-offered-pardon-if...

https://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/6/14179240/wikileaks-russia...

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/julian-ass...

And there's even the internal wikileaks chat logs to prove they were working at the behest of the russian government, purposefully targeting Clinton, etc: https://theintercept.com/2018/02/14/julian-assange-wikileaks...

Why though? There locking up their own whistleblowers, Daniel McBride.
Maybe Assange got too much attention. McBride's attention dropped off almost immediately after he was locked up.

More than happy to locked them up unless it creates an image problem.

Unfortunately in this country, a whistle blower is a fast track to being punished.

I think you mean David McBride?
The first link is a motion spoken to independent Andrew Wilkie acknowledging supporters of Assange. The CNN article talks about the governments bid to have all charges dropped (they were not, he had to plead guilty on espionage).

Despite Mr. Albanese (the prime minister)'s election promise to bring Assange home, he's officially refused[0] to talk to Biden about it and has never answered questions on what they're doing about it.

It is great he's finally coming home, but forcing a journalist to plead guilty of espionage falsely, the decade of harassment and false imprisonment, the fake rape case... This should not be treated as "job done".

0. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-29/pm-says-biden-wont-in...

He was offered a plea deal seven years ago https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/assange-offered-pardon-if...

He refused it. Two years later, the Educadorian embassy kicked him out because they were tired of him smearing his shit all over the walls and assaulting female staff.

It's been extensively proven he was acting in collaboration with and in the interests of the russian government: https://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/6/14179240/wikileaks-russia...

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/julian-ass...

"fake rape case"? Take a look at Assange's history of misogynistic comments both in public and in internal wikileaks chats: https://theintercept.com/2018/02/14/julian-assange-wikileaks...

...and him assaulting female Ecuadorian staff

...and tell me again how it's more plausible that both Swedish prosecutors and the Swedish criminal court system up to and including their supreme court conspired with the US to fake an entire case around Assange sexually assaulting two women. And then the UK government joined in that conspiracy. And then Ecuador joined in that conspiracy?

Or...and bear with me here for a second...he's a misogynistic asshole who has so little respect for women he treats them as sexual objects?

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill: “You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing, after having exhausted all other options.”
Although often quoted as such, that’s not a Churchill quote. And the original quote itself isn’t actually about America. [1]

[1] https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/11/11/exhaust-alternative...

Forcing Assange to plead guilty is the right thing?

To me that plea creates a bad precedent.

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[flagged]
The first link is Hillary denying it and the second is a screenshot of a wall of text from thepundit.com, that claims sources said that she blurted out "Can't we just drone this guy." and everyone in the room laughed.

Not exactly damning evidence.

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The list for the Clinton's is about as long as the list ascribed to Putin.

Only for the Clinton's there's a book:

https://www.amazon.com/New-Clinton-Body-Count-Suspicious/dp/...

And for Putin there's a Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_Vladimir_Putin_i...

(look for the "†" marks and read to see if you think it was natural causes or accidents)

Killary?

No prizes for guessing where your politcal allegences lie.

Actually with the political landscape as it is at this point of time it's not so easy to guess.
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So, tell me then...
I am going to gamble and say you are "feeling the bern".
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I'd say he's one of the few decent senators you (plural) have there.

"there" as in I do not live in the US.

Why did they laugh? They drone kill plenty of people.
Joke or not, assassinating him was very seriously discussed at the highest levels.

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

"Very seriously", according to the article Trump floated the idea, and a few people suggested plans, while the lawyers said you can't do that. Which is something apparently everyone knew from the begining.
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.

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[dead]
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.
and the closure is likely a timed gesture to reinforce the point that those values are indeed still there and worth defending
Good, this was getting majorly embarrassing for all countries still involved with this legal mess. The man dying in prison stuck in legal limbo without any conviction whatsoever (innocent until proven guilty and all that) would have been a PR disaster for the UK. And of course there's also the issue that the UK is very likely to get a new government that would have likely been leaning to just letting the man go in any case. At least the current Labour leader strikes me as a decent man with some actual principles and backbone and this would fundamentally be a decent thing to do.

This would have been embarrassing for the US. One country doing something decent and calling another out on the whole indecency of the whole case. Not a good look after a decade plus of legal limbo with no end in sight. And of course the man actually being extradited (as unlikely as that would have been at this point) would just refocus the attention on all the embarrassing things that Wikileaks actually leaked that have caused this whole vindictive attitude towards Assange. All that stuff being rehashed in court rooms and the media for months on end was not going to end well. So, the US grudgingly finally doing the right thing via a plea deal seems like a good face saving compromise that just ends this now.

> At least the current Labour leader strikes me as a decent man with some actual principles and backbone and this would fundamentally be a decent thing to do.

(massive sidetrack, but I can't let this sentence go unpunished)

The current labour leader is the lamest duck in a group of wet blankets. His policies revolve around not being as corrupt as the Tories whilst doing virtually nothing else to better his constituents. His backbone has a restitution coefficient somewhere in the Oort cloud.

He is also personally responsible for the persecution of Assange. He was head of Crown Prosecution Services in the UK at the time we know (from Stefania Maurizi's FOIA requests) they actually threatened Sweden when Sweden wanted to drop the case.

Wet blanked doesn't begin to cover it. I honestly think he's an entryist trying to tank the Labour party on the behalf of some British spy-lord. He's failing, but that's more the Tories' fault.

> an entryist trying to tank the Labour party on the behalf of some British spy-lord

I'm far from following current UK politics, but I've heard the same thing about Liz Truss...

Do you happen to have these FOIA requests, and what kind of threats against Sweden were these?

My attempts to find them by searching the internet have failed.

The spy lord is Tony Blair
What is an entryist?
FWIW, I am one of his constituents in Camden, and he helped us out tremendously in a pickle with Home Office when the latest war in Ukraine broke out. The issue went from 6 months in limbo to being resolved within a week.

I am not commenting on the backbone, but he is definitely there for his constituents.

He's also got a background as a human rights lawyer. He probably has a lot of personal interest in cases like this.
He literally started the UK side of the persecution - starmer is a cop, always has been always will be....
I would genuinely love to know which media your parent watches and reads to come to such a conclusion. It is remarkable. I've never heard such a statement about Stamer, but it's clear that I don't read the same sources.
Labour just said they’ll enforce the warrant for Netanyahu’s arrest. You find that lacking backbone?
Yes. He's dragged his feet on the Gaza war and on this for as long as he possibly could, but has increasingly faced outrage in more left-leaning areas and areas with more Muslim voters and all his policy stances appear to be calculated on the basis of what will win more votes/lose fewer votes rather than any kind of backbone. Nothing happens until he has more to lose by doing nothing.
Keir Starmer is a human rights lawyer, would be a bit weird for him to suddenly have no regard for international law where many human rights (ECHR) come from and likely divide his party.

Not saying he's got a backbone, but he's just going for the easier option that keeps his party united.

Have to see if they actually do it. Saying it means very little, it’s not a controversial position.
Starmer has absolutely no opinions on anything other than not rattling the cage of conservative voters. This makes him broadly acceptable, but long term nobody is truly supporting him.
Have you actually read their policies? There are plenty of big changes.

Maybe you are referring to them not stating that they will change taxes significantly? Well, yeah no shit. a) they can't, taxes are at their highest level since WW2, and b) they don't want to destabilise things like Truss did.

I think his biggest issue is that his voice sounds a bit wet and that makes people think he is wet.

The phrase 'do not mistake my kindness for weakness' springs to mind
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His biggest issue is that in Labour's first shoe-in election in my lifetime, he's U-turned on basically all of the left-leaning pledges that he made in his leadership campaign, such as:

- Scrapping private schools charitable status

- Ending the two-child benefit limit

- Ending tuition fees

- Increasing income tax for the top five per cent of earners

- Nationalising public services

- Reforming the House of Lords

He is Tony Blair / New Left all over again. Labour bleached from left wing policies. Nothing will change as they are on board to keep status quo. This (just like the New Left) will pave way for even more populist right candidates get in to power. Namely it paves way for Farage to be PM.
Good, Tony Blair / New Labour were amazing for the country.
I am always very curious of hugely enthusiastic New Labour supporters. Happy to share my own opinion, but what are the achievements you laude them for, and what failures are they to be weighed against?
Off the top of my head: saving the NHS from decades of under-investment; introducing the National Minimum Wage; putting in place a huge school repair programme; ending the Troubles in NI; writing off the debts of poorer countries; Scottish devolution; and, for the majority of their term at least, fiscal stability and consistent economic growth.

The other side of the coin is, of course, the Iraq War. We needn't debate that, because we'll surely violently agree, but let's not pretend the Blair/Brown partnership didn't lead to many positive things for the UK. It did.

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Introducing tuition fees is also firmly on the "other side of the coin", for many people that I speak to. And for me personally, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act is a huge misstep with ongoing repercussions.

Like the other commenter, I think that his interventions in the NHS were potentially short-sighted and ultimately more damaging than they were worth. It feels to me that rigorous performance metrics and PFIs contributed - along with subsequent under-funding by Tory governments - to running it into the ground.

I will concede however that the minimum wage and Good Friday Agreement are big wins!

I'm not sure about the NHS. They instigated outsourcing work to private companies.
New Labour more than doubled the NHS budget in real terms, and maintained that level over time [1].

Having worked in both environments, it's not particularly important to me whether work gets done by a private or a public entity, the most important thing is that money is spent efficiently. If the public sector is spending public money then efficiency usually means ensuring that pointless work is stopped, and that staff who have become ineffective are shed. If the private sector is spending public money then efficiency usually means hawk-like contract negotiations are required to prevent a good chunk of the cash from being siphoned off by middlemen.

[1] https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/insight-and-analysis/data-and-c...

“Namely it paves way for Farage to be PM.”

This is very much a minority opinion.

Let's see how really decimated tories will be. If will Reform get more votes than Conservative party then they become leading right wing party in UK and natural candidate for leading the country.
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The question is whether his backbone will grow back once he's in power. I'm in two minds. In our house I'm of the opinion that Labour should go "Full Left" and be strong and confident about it; my wife thinks they should get in using whatever means possible (including the slightly pathetic not-very-left agenda they're currently sporting) and then hope they'll make proper changes once in. Let's see what 4th July brings. At least it'll be the end of the current horrorshow.
> In our house I'm of the opinion that Labour should go "Full Left" and be strong and confident about it

Unfortunately the UK public doesn't seem to buy into that sort of thing. Sure, a large, vocal minority does, but enough to win an election against the hoards of basically-tory-supporting middle-englanders?

Not as far as I can see. Labour has to claim the middle ground to win, at least if it wants to win more than once. The next session is probably in the bag either way.

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We've also never before had a party like Reform splitting the right-wing vote in two.
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Going 'full left' is the exact reason Labour hasn't been in power for 14 years.

You are describing the recipe for a one-term government IMO - Elections are won from the center, and moving Left will open a center gap for someone else to claim.

The last time a 'full left' Labour government ruled was probably just after the war (i.e. Clement Attlee).

Firstly Labour went mildly social democratic, offering policies to the right of Nordic conservative parties in some areas. Just to contextualise what "full left" means in this respect. (A concrete example is parental leave, where the Norwegian conservative party is fine with far higher statutory pay than Labour would even dare suggest even under Corbyn)

Secondly, I see this, but at the same time Corbyn was the most vilified politician in the UK in a generation and he still got close to a win with that program. Suppose Corbyn could do that at a point where the Tories were not historically unpopular. In that case, it's clear Starmer could have stuck to his pledges to be "pragmatic continuity Corbyn" and walked this election - most of the actual policies in the 2017 manifesto were highly popular when polled, including with conservative voters.

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Agree.

I mean - from my point of view there are two glaring issues in this election that are just being coughed aside in a deeply disingenuous way, by all parties (with maybe the exception of the LibDems, a bit):

1) Brexit. For this not to be on the agenda when it has been the most ruinous decision made in the last 10 years of our political history is just ...well, weird at best, totally surreal at worst. Widely recognised [even by many? most?] of those who voted for it as now being a mistake, it just seems insane to leave any discussion off the table.

2) Tax rises. Everyone knows that for our UK standard of living to continue (or even - lol - rise), the money has got to come from somewhere. And that place can only really be taxes. All of the parties seem to be pulling out a magic hat full of magic money - an honest conversation would have all the parties in a room agreeing that someone, somewhere has got to pay for all this stuff.

Anyway, wow, gone well off topic. Sorry Dang!

1) It's politically toxic. As soon as anyone says anything they'll be accused of betrayal etc

2) The UK's in a bit of a hole that it can't really tax and spend out of. What we need is more like sane government and economic growth. Just not having something like Boris's "fuck business" and tearing up our trade agreements for a while would help.

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> It's politically toxic.

I think you're probably correct, as only the Green Party seem to be committing to moving back in (one reason I'm considering voting non-Labour for the first time in my life). I wonder though, do you think this will last forever, especially in the face of consistent polling suggesting that twice as many people think it was a bad idea as think it was a good one? [0]

[0] https://www.statista.com/statistics/987347/brexit-opinion-po...

My guess is Labour once in power will move to undo some of the more stupid bits of Brexit like having different animal health regs so you can't export fish or meat without great difficulty. I can't see full rejoining in the near future but maybe becoming more like Norway or Switzerland.
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I hope you're right about bringing alignment with EU regs, although I'm not optimistic, given how safe Starmer seems to want to play it.
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I didn’t vote for it, and think Brexit was bad, but also agree that the EU is overly bureaucratic, un-democratic, and doesn’t see countries as truly autonomous (eg tries to be redistribute wealth between the countries). The best scenario now is probably somewhere in the middle.

The EU today is significantly different to the original idea, but I can see the UK entering into the single market and military partnerships etc (contrary to popular opinion, there are lots of free trade agreements worldwide that don’t have full regulatory alignment!).

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I understand where you're coming from. I agree that the EU needs a lot of work. I'd just prefer if we were in it getting stuck in and spear-heading that transformation.

However, what I'm really wondering is whether (and when) there will be a gradual political shift in the UK towards rejoining.

RE 1, it was pretty much the sole discussion of the last election and the winning party slogan was "Get Brexit Done" (ie let's stop this endless talking about this).

There's very little public appetite to focus on it again for now. I disagree with Starmer on a lot but he's right to totally shut down discussion on this until after an election

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If labour ran on a manifesto of higher taxes and reverse brexit this election would be a shitshow.

I don’t actually agree that our taxes/spending have to increase in order to get a better standard of living - what we need is services which function better for the same costs.

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Just to put this in context, the last time as you say a "full left" government ruled, over the span of six years we:

- Built the NHS

- Decolonised India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Jordan

- Nationalised the coal industry, electricity utilities, railways and long-distance haulage

- Established a national childcare service

- Paved the way for the creation of National Parks and introduced public rights of way

There is a lot of progress that can be made with a genuine left-wing government with a majority, even in a time of economic upheaval. With Reform splitting the right-wing vote this is the best opportunity the left has had in my lifetime. But Starmer is in the lead, banning MPs from attending strike pickets and talking about how he's had to give up his pledges on the NHS in order to "grow the economy".

I really hate this line of thinking. Your blatently encorauging politicians to lie to voters.

Campaign on a platform of comprimise and sensible polices to attract moderate voters... And then just completely ignore everything you said you would do...

This is the exact opposite of what we should encourage from politics.

We're constrained by the electoral system. The UK desperately needs PR, and so does a certain former colony.
I'm not sure "get in using whatever means possible" and then switch to policies the voters dislike is terribly democratic.
I'm sorry, but I find this kind of ridiculous - Starmer is being pretty clear about the kind of man he is. Fervent capitalist, previous member of the CIA-linked Trilateral Commission, notorious U-turner, War on Drugs(TM) supporter, outright liar, genocide supporter, and absolutely completely beholden to Israel (he has even said he'll put Israel lobbiests into the highest echelons of gov - he's practically a foreign agent at this point).

He's telling you who he is, so please believe him - the idea that this man will become PM and then suddenly turn into Jeremy Corbyn is, frankly, delusional. I can understand why someone would want to believe that, but in all likelihood we're just getting more of the same.

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People on the whole don't want a Jeremy Corbyn anyway - he led his party to the biggest labour defeat since 1935.

Don't know why the labour party would want to replicate that shit-show.

He was smeared with false antisemitism claims, hence the massive defeat. One of those involved in the smearing was... Starmer.

Corbyn was never going to be "allowed" to be Prime Minister. Also, listen to his recent interview where he says he was asked by a committee if he would guarantee to be 100% behind any military action instigated by Israel.

If anybody is interesting in learning more about that smearing campaing: https://www.ajiunit.com/investigation/the-labour-files

> An investigation based on the largest leak of documents in British political history. The Labour Files examines thousands of internal documents, emails and social media messages to reveal how senior officials in one of the two parties of government in the UK ran a coup by stealth against the elected leader of the party.

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Politician smeared during election? Shock horror, it happens during every election.

Leader of the party can't unite their own party so there is a plan to oust them? That's politics.

Jeremy couldn't particularly unite the party, didn't take the center ground, and while I don't think he was a true antisemite there were enough mis-steps there that it meant that the claim could stick (along with the IRA sympathizer claims).

People on the whole want the policies, though.

That even Corbyn - the most vilified British politician of a generation - got that close to a win is a strong demonstration of that. Since then the Tory party support has collapsed to historic lows. A win on a program close in ambition to the 2017 manifesto - which was not in any way radical - should be a walk in the park for someone like Starmer in current conditions if he actually had dared try.

I think you're right - people are desperate for anything other than the Tories.

We have a political environment where the Greens are smeared as "crazies", people remember the Lib Dems for their deception, and mass media has many believing Reform will win if they don't vote for Labour. A Labour win is all but guaranteed, so Starmer doesn't need to be the other cheek of the Monoparty arse - he chooses to be.

But would the media have abandoned the Conservatives if Labour were offering something much different?
> genocide supporter

If Starmer is a "genocide supporter" for being tepidly pro-Israel, then Corbyn is a genocide supporter for his pathetic Russian apologism on Syria and Ukraine.

If that's where your line is, then there's no chance Corbyn hasn't crossed it either.

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To be fair, this is one issue on which much of the left splits from Corbyn. Even former shadow cabinet ministers such as John McDonnell and Clive Lewis are distancing themselves from pacifist rhetoric around Ukraine.
This is pure whataboutism, but to call Starmer - a rabid member of Labour Friends of Israel who has parachuted an Israel lobbyist into a safe seat, and who plans to staff his new government with pro-Israeli stooges - "tepidly pro-Israel" is beyond disingenuous.

I'd ask you to consider that the situations in Syria and Ukraine are not nearly as straightforward as the US would have us believe; indeed, the US and Israel are, as usual, the main instigators.

Regardless, Corbyn hasn't "crossed any lines" - he certainly hasn't publicly stated that it's OK to cut a civilian population's water supply as collective punishment, for example. Corbyn takes a more considered, nuanced, sensible view on world politics, which unfortunately doesn't play well with our right-wing press's simplistic "good guy, bad guy" gov-sponsored narrative. This is why Corbyn was smeared - he stands up for what's right, even if it means going against the US and Israel.

> I'd ask you to consider that the situations in Syria and Ukraine are not nearly as straightforward as the US would have us believe; indeed, the US and Israel are, as usual, the main instigators.

OK, you've sounded mostly reasonable in this thread so far, but that came to an abrupt halt here.

>he certainly hasn't publicly stated that it's OK to cut a civilian population's water supply as collective punishment, for example

neither has Starmer... also this never happened...

If you're going to rewrite history, and ask me to ignore what I've seen and heard with my own eyes, then this thread has reached it's end. I bid you adieu.
>Fervent capitalist

That isn't the own you think it is. It's the position of every single successful modern state.

>genocide supporter

Sigh...

>suddenly turn into Jeremy Corbyn is, frankly, delusional.

Brillant, people voted for him for exactly this reason.

> That isn't the own you think it is.

It is, however, a condition of membership under the rules of the UK Labour Party that you are a democratic socialist, and in favour of goals that include democratic socialism. Whether or not you think that is right, it is what Starmer signed up to when he joined.

> Brillant, people voted for him for exactly this reason.

His pledges when he was elected leader was to largely be "continuity Corbyn". A lot of the Labour membership voted for him for that reason. The extent to which he has been willing to lie and deceive his own party membership to get his position is quite scary given he'll likely be PM soon.

You're being pedantic; we obviously live in a capitalist world, but Starmer is fully inboard with taking orders from corporate overlords (lobbyists) in the same way as the Tories. More balance is needed.
>innocent until proven guilty and all that

To be fair, he was refusing to face trial. And he is expected to plead guilty, so he isn't innocent.

That said, there may be legitimate questions about whether the United States should be entitled to exercise jurisdiction over foreign nationals who are not physically present in the jurisdiction for national security offences.

Pleading guilty under the threat of either continued incarceration in inhuman conditions or extradition somewhere that could potentially murder you says nothing about guilt in anything but strict legal terms. It's a coerced plea.
Aren't all pleas basically coerced pleas though? The entire point is that you plead guilty to a lesser punishment in order to avoid the chance of a much more severe punishment.
When accompanied by promises of a less punishment: Yes.

And so I think even with a guilty please, there ought to be a requirement for the prosecution to prove the case. Maybe lower the bar a little bit, but not much. And that is indeed how pleas work most places.

Few jurisdictions have US-style plea bargains where the prosecutor can negotiate large "discounts" to the potential maximum sentencing and get judges to agree.

To me, a country that allows that and where they are frequently taken does not have a functioning justice system.

There's also a significant difference with respect to the coercion when sentences are long, and when the possible variation in sentence length is huge, and the US stands out as particularly bad with respect to both of those factors as well.

The usual standard in the UK is for a sentence to get a reduction of around 1/3 for a guilty plea. The situation I hear of in the US where people are threatened with a 537 year sentence if they plead not guilty or a 3 month sentence if they plead guilty is a travesty and surely leads to vast levels of injustice.
Did the US army or its participating individuals ever get charged for killing the “collateral murder” Reuters journalists? Or for doing the same to the proximate other civilians? Or for covering it all up?

The question who is guilty by a US court does not determine the guilt of an individual in any relevant or moral way under these extreme circumstances. It just indicates if you are part of the system or if you rather are uncomfortable and need to be silenced.

Definitely whataboutism, but the crew were investigated before the leak and it was found that the reporters were with armed fighters and were not distinguishable as civilian reporters. While its unfortunate, walking around in an active warzone with armed combatants and not taking steps to clearly identify yourself as a non combatant isn't wise. These things happen in war. They were not intentionally targeted and they weren't murdered. War reporters know the risk they are taking on and this is why they usually clearly mark themselves as press.
Victim blaming.

Yes the killed journalists were in a country that was being attacked by a foreign nation. This does not make it their fault that they were murdered.

While this might be a common occurrence in war, it does not excuse anything: if wars are fought in a way that these kill innocent people then they should not be fought in the first place. Something is not morally excusable only because it is expected when done.

Thirdly, sure the crew was investigated (here i admittedly only know what wiki has to offer) but there is no known outcome of said internal investigation.

I'm sorry but this is a ridiculous and unrealistic stance. People die in wars. That's just a fact of life. I have sympathy for uninvolved civilians who don't want to be there. But war reporters know the risks and willingly enter warzones to report on them. Its just like reporting anything else dangerous. There is a risk you will die. There is a risk you will die in a tragic and preventable way too. Things could have been done differently but the footage is public now. Watch it yourself, they were walking with armed combatants and didn't look any different. There is no way the crew could have known they were reporters. The US military's ROE in GWOT was very restrictive for reasons just like this. But that doesn't mean its perfect. Arguing that nobody innocent should die is some kind of realistic standard reeks of an easy life and first world privilege.
The first paragraph is whatabouttery, the second may be accepted, but the claim I replied to was he was legally innocent until proven guilty. That is what I was addressing, not some broader notion of morality.
Legal precedent is just what aboutism then. Doesn't make it any less important in a normal judicial system
> At least the current Labour leader strikes me as a decent man with some actual principles and backbone

You are speaking of the "human rights lawyer" who at best acquiesced in Starmer being locked up in Belmarsh.

You are speaking of the man who became Labour leader on the strength of six promises, all of which he repudiated as soon as he was leader.

He doesn't have a principled bone in his body.

The US treatment of Assange did a lot of damage to the reputation of the US government internationally and also within the US itself. It contributed to a general feeling of institutional decay, decay of the media, decay of law and order which has caused a loss of trust in the current system.
In the USA defendants are guaranteed the right to a speedy trial. I'm sure Sweden has similar protections. Assange denied himself that right by evading authorities and fighting extradition. The former is wholly inexcusable. The latter is his right, but to then complain about not receiving a trial places the justice system in a catch-22.

I do think it's right to accept a guilty plea and time served, but it's hardly a story of exoneration for Assange.

> And of course there's also the issue that the UK is very likely to get a new government that would have likely been leaning to just letting the man go in any case. At least the current Labour leader strikes me as a decent man with some actual principles and backbone and this would fundamentally be a decent thing to do.

If you knew anything about British politics you'd know that this is horseshit.

Yeah, now they can give him aggressive cancer without it looking too bad.
[flagged]
If you care about this news and you are able to do this financially, consider supporting Julian's fee for having have had to take a private plane for this entire process:

> Julian Assange has embarked on flight VJ199 to Saipan. If all goes well it will bring him to freedom in Australia. But his travel to freedom comes at a massive cost: he will owe USD 520,000 which he is obligated to pay back to the Australian government for the charter flight. He was not permitted to fly commercial airlines or routes to Saipan and onward to Australia.

Links:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/free-julian-assange

https://x.com/Stella_Assange/status/1805573781303308326

>He was not permitted to fly commercial airlines or routes to Saipan and onward to Australia.

Not permitted by who, and on what basis?

Once he was tried, convicted, sentenced and released in Saipan there can be no possible basis for restricting the mode of travel to "PJ or better".
Presumably either the US or UK as part of his plea deal or bail conditions. Maybe some form of house arrest where he’s not to be in public.
I would bet it is Saipan local goverment, they probably don't have (or dont want to expend) the resources to secure him.
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As an Australian citizen and taxpayer, I would ask that our government foots that $520k bill, and that they deduct it from the blank cheque being offered to (our?!) King Charles to pay all expenses for his planned visit down under later this year. I'm no accountant, but if my calculations are correct, "black hole of money" - $520k = "still a black hole of money, she'll be right".
How much of that price is real, and how much of it is grift?
A few searches for charter flights from England to Australia give figures roughly around this amount.
This man spends almost five and a half years in prison fighting for press freedom and now you think he is suddenly a grifter?

What planet do you live on or what U.S.Intel agency do you work for?

OP is implying government or its contractors is the one grifting, not Assange . Basically forcing a large bill on a person who has no choice but to accept .

It is not grift though, it does cost in that ball park for international private long distance flights in the 10,000+ mile range . Planes that can do this like say gulfstream V would seat 15-20 people , so like 25k per seat , it is not that much more expensive than a first class ticket cost wise if you think about it

I see no indication of that.
If you are going to beg for donations to pay for your private jet then I dont care if you are Mother Teresa, I am going to wonder if you are just grifting.

Wikileaks has $250mil in bitcoin, they could chip in a bit surely?

not the OP, but I think they meant to imply that the AU government is grifting. It does look like attaching a $520k bill to the man's freedom. Totally not part of the punishment...
I don't think they're accusing Assange of the grift here.
That depends how dangerous you want air travel to be. The world is currently spending way too much on air travel security, the number of deaths is too low compared to automobile travel.
With how much the AU gov loves to waste our tax money on useless crappy programs, this would be the one instance where I would wholeheartedly support giving the $500k of tax money away.
Congratulations! I share in the popular jubilation and sense of epoch-making reconciliation, that aligns with the stars, even tho I think Assange acted like an egotistical fool who squandered the great lens of transparency and accountability he had created through misjudged self-importance and vulnerability to manipulation by his sources for their own ends.

Hopefully his Second Act brings good fruits without the thorns and rot of the previous ages. Good luck to him!

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I hope he does something on X where he delivers dead drops given to him by whistleblowers on an episodal basis, and he grows big enough that he become _the_ place to go when you want to blow the whistle, whether it be rushed pharmaceuticals, govt morally dubious black ops, bad NGOs, front orgs, etc.
As soon as a whistleblower from one of Musk’s companies shows up you can guarantee he would get permabanned
Speech is free unless you are telling people where Elons jet is.
What's particularly silly about all that is it's actually Elons jet telling people where it is.

That's how aviation stays safe: the planes broadcast where they are, to anyone and everyone who tunes in to that public signal.

Agreed. Musk’s free speech is an intuition based on perspective
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X covers one spectrum and CNN covers another spectrum.
That sure was the dream, wasn't it?
Is this a joke? If so I don’t get it. You’re describing Wikileaks.
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With a personality and context, with guests to discuss. Wikileaks was dry and left up to other journalists to write stories.

Few journalists would do that today because most now toe the main line -or they think it’ll give the “other guy” cover. No one bucks the incumbents these days. See anyone criticizing any western government actions these days? It’s not like there isn’t any fodder.

This is an idiotic statement. The governments I'm most familiar with are criticised daily.

The most recent: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2024/jun...

All of this is petty criticism, it makes headlines one day and it's gone the next. You're allowed to say anything as long as it doesn't threaten to effect real change, you're allowed to protest as long as you do it at a scheduled time and place without seriously inconveniencing anyone, and you're allowed to expose crimes as long as they don't pose a serious threat to the institutions or people in power. It gives us an illusion of freedom of speech for the 99.9% while the heavy hitters are taken care of through persecution, false prosecution, torture, and occasional murder.
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'When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. "That is idiotic; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3.'

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

No one is perfect. But overall his actions were brave and he paid a terrible price. The worst part is probably that what he published ended up making no real difference.
It is difficult to see the difference but very few people are privy to the planning of the programs revealed. Only those who oversaw the entirety of the programs can really grasp the scope due to the compartmented nature of the programs. I think these disclosures helped arrest a rapid decay into a dystopian surveillance state. However the motivations and irrational belief systems behind these programs persist so the fight is not over. Instead the proponents of unchecked surveillance powers are increasingly on the defensive and face more scrutiny than their arguments and results can justify leading to a continued reigning in of their powers that seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future. I’m not satisfied with this state of affairs but I am unsure how to reach a better one with the power systems and officials at hand. If you have any ideas please share.
I don't think there's any way to "fight the system" or w/e without becoming the system, or a part of it, as the system will consume whatever is useful and generates more power for itself. It co-ops everything. It's a useful lesson from the book Gravity's Rainbow. The only thing you can do is to fly under the radar and not participate, or participate as little as possible, and build your communities and relationships outside of it.
Agree: engagement over activism for maximum effectiveness, thanks GM.
While your point is not without merit, some people can work within a system while resenting its existence, covertly rebelling, and fighting for change. I’ve known many to do just that - but they also tend to be intelligent enough to that broadcasting their subversive intentions would be harmful to their livelihood so they don’t. People like this aided in destroying the Nazis.

> The only thing you can do is

I’ll stop you there - reductionist arguments can be dismissed with the same casualness they’re made with.

>to fly under the radar and not participate, or participate as little as possible

So you’ve invented communes and the barter system. Tax time must be interesting.

>build your communities and relationships outside of it.

Pardon? Do you have a spaceship or space station? Wholly independent ship-city in international waters? If not you’re apart the system wholly and completely.

Doubt Assange arrested anything. The forces in league with survey are beyond government
Agree. But that’s the issue with modern discourse: no sense of values. We cannot discuss nuance without feeling desperate to reduce everything to safe binary moral surety
Couldn't have said it any better. People have polarized him and his actions but it is a marbled tapestry of right and wrong - good and bad.
Yes, we should whip him for not having a level head when the entire US government is against him. Someone like you and I would have been sure to keep humble and not be egotistical when seeking asylum and fair justice against an entity that has military bases all over the world
People are so sure he made the wrong choice when he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy, but I wonder how they can be so sure. At the time, his biggest worry was to get assassinated or get snatched off the street and end up in a secret CIA torture prison. Neither of these fears were unjustified. Add to this the belief that US maximum security prisons are blatant violations of basic human rights and the belief that the UK and Sweden are close allies of the US, and his actions made perfect sense. His notoriety and his choices saved him from either of these fates, albeit at a high price.

Did he make the right choices? Who knows. There is always a lot of counterfactual reasoning involved.

The worst choice he made in this period was to be a terrible guest and eventually be evicted. However he had going through psychological problems and honestly I'm not sure if he wouldn't be evicted regardless (the new president was aligned with the US and wanted him gone)
I think the person you're replying to is referring to the accusations against WikiLeaks of just dumping raw documents without at least removing information that could lead to identifying (and thus endangering) people who e.g. assisted the US in Afghanistan or who provided documents to WL in the first place.

Yes, there was a point in getting the information out as fast as possible, but I think it's fair to blame Assange for not putting in the redaction work.

If I recall correctly, the endangering information was not originally published by Wikileaks, but by other journalists (the decryption key was written in a book or something, my memory is fuzzy on this); and Wikileaks only published the whole thing once the cat was already out of the bag.

To sum this up, they were putting the redaction work, but someone else failed to, and at that point it was too late.

The material was shared with The Guardian and several other (including prominent US) media outlets, they are the ones that published it unredacted. Never was there any proof provided that those articles caused any harm to any personnel at any point in time.

Those media outlets that are in fact guilty of what Assange/Wikileaks was accused of jumped at the first opportunity to throw Assange under the bus.

Something tangential that I don't think has happened, but that I'd be curious to see the results of: an analysis of the number of people endangered by Wikileaks disclosures versus the number of people endangered by Americans abandoning interpreters and collaborators, or other action expressly consistent with US policy.

With how mad we are about him fcking over our people, surely we haven't fcked them over ourselves at a higher rate.

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If they removed that, the machinery of the US would come up with another angle to say what he did was very bad. This should be obvious.
Well you don't know what I would do (except for what I'm saying here where you can see I wouldn't do what he did! haha), but I understand if you're speaking for yourself.

I think precisely in that situation is when you need that kind of ability. But I wouldn't say we should whip him! Again speaking for yourself I suppose hahahahahaha! :)

I don't know there's a teapot on Mars either. But it's an easy guess.
The silence and arrogance of the HN COMMENTARIAT makes this point unwinnable for you.

You miss a key emotional boundary: to cannot know. You dismiss just undermines by revealing lack of empathy

I’m not sure if I care at all that he was capitalizing on it.

Frankly, I wouldn’t care if this info was dropped by the Kardashians on a very special episode. It was crucial public information and it needed to get out one way or another. If vanity is an incentivizing factor toward someone taking that risk, so be it.

What is it about someone being incentivized to be a whistleblower, in your mind, changes the validation of the act?

That’s not it, but valid point in your domain. It’s what happened to him after fame
53 points and counting
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?
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."

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.

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".
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That's like playing "who can punch the softest" with my dad
Oh man, core memory unlocked. Only fell for that one once!
At least you won :)
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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.
This article from the Intercept covers it pretty well. The prosecutor in question is Gordon Kromberg.

https://archive.is/E5KbI

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

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.
This doesn’t make sense because the Assange case has been a diplomatic issue between the US and Australia ever since Albanese came to power.

Ultimately the responsibility falls to the President since the DOJ isn’t responsible for international relations. Biden must have thought the case was important otherwise there’s no reason to harm relations with an ally over something like that.

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

1. Clinton neither admitted nor denied it. She only said she "didn't recall" making that statement.

2. In any case, Clinton has been very openly critical of Assange, saying the charges were not punishing journalism and that "he has to answer for what he's done." [1]

[1] https://youtu.be/Qc19Qk3KKCw?t=50

Snopes sourced that accusation to the far right True Pundit which had also contributed to the Pizza Gate conspiracy theory. I'm done here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_Pundit

For whatever role True Pundit played in spreading the rumor, Clinton played an equally large role via her "denial."

https://x.com/wikileaks/status/783424443070738433

Logical fallacy
Ad hominem is a fallacy if you are arguing hypotheticals and philosophy in a Greek salon.

In understanding how the world around us works, credibility matters quite a bit, and "I'm not interested in pretending True Pundit says true things" is a pretty reasonable shortcut.

Rather than just thought-terminate with "logical fallacy," the burden is now on the one bringing the evidence to bring it via a channel other than True Pundit.

Clinton has had a knack for knowing the real truth of a situation and either not wanting to share that with the public, or doing it in a haughty way where she's simply not believed. Knowing what I know about her in that way, such a quote is worrying.

It implies that she's being characteristically tonedeaf and screwing up the communication of some pretty serious concerns about Assange, but I think that's no mystery by now. You can always get Clinton to make it all about her and spin it in a way that can let you get away with damn near anything, but that's just exploiting personal failings on her part, where if you dig into what she knows it's unsettling how sharp she is.

You can't go by whether Clinton's screwed up the optics.

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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?
>Your link does not include a denial

I don't recall calling for or making detailed plans to assassinate the leaders of the G7 at their recent summit.

I also don't recall claiming that you were a pedophile, a murderer and a cross-dresser.

So does that mean you believe I have actually said/done the above, as I haven't denied them?

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No one reported you claimed those things and particularly not in an official meeting where there should have been minutes and would have been witnesses which could have boosted a lack of recollection to certainty.

Your examples also fail to continue with "but if I did it was a joke" -- a remark itself almost as damning as the act. We're not talking about mere defamation in the case of Assange: talking about the secretary of state-- who unambiguously has the power to murder foreign persons with a suggestion-- suggesting that she's would joke about murdering people. Not a great look.

So, no, your remarks are unambiguously not denials, but no denial was required in your case.

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Mate, this is the comment that they were directly replying to :

> At best unproven and denied.

Check your sources. Alex Jones doesn't count.
I don't think the issue is whether Clinton made this comment or not. The legend simply points out what every one is thinking. That this threw the election for her, and that is likely her entire perspective on this. The Trump admin was likely motivated to prosecute, so as to appear they were not in collusion with the release of the emails, and the current administration directly backed HC. People like Kromberg do not come out of a vacuum.
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?

Wikileaks canary died a long, long time ago. Nothing from them has been trustworthy for a long time.
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

This says nothing about it being a canary. All canaries are stated as such.

Instead, all I see is some debate about PGP.

I can believe that only one submission ever used it. PGP is not friendly to people who barely undersrand how computers work (99.999% of the population), and some panicking whistleblower isn't interested in taking a layman's course in crypto to send some docs.

So why would wikileaks renew their useless(from their perspective) PGP key?

Wikileaks in general (as a website) has been dead for years now. Just go look at the website.

Last update in the Leaks section is from 2018.

Last update in the News section is from 2021.

I'm interested to see if Assange brings it back to life.

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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.

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.
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?

A canary goes something like "This website has not received or acted on any government orders to disclose or modify or remove material." When they ever do, then they remove that notice. The government enforcement usually includes a gag order prohibiting the target from saying that they're under orders, so the intent is that you can infer government gag pressure by the canary having been removed. Wikileaks used to have such a notice and no longer does, so we assume government enforcement is why.

I'm not sure what the cryptographic part has to do with anything. I'd guess it was signed in a way that you can verify the government itself didn't tamper with the notice.

Their signing key expired 2007 source is them:

https://wikileaks.org/wiki/WikiLeaks_talk:PGP_Keys

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.

What is the canary?

Source?

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.
Again. What canary? Where is the source?
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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?
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.

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I mean all of their leaks are politically motivated, they are axiomatically a cutout. acting scandalized that someone tried to leak stuff is weird. I get the overworked argument in theory, but odd they didn’t publish it at all in the end.
As I mentioned they were in the middle of one of the biggest releases in their history, the submitted documents didn't look interesting and indeed when they were published nobody cared. Do you know what they were? Publishers won't just publish any old trash you send them.
Foreign Policy: WikiLeaks Turned Down Leaks on Russian Government During U.S. Presidential Campaign

https://archive.is/ztpnZ

There is no claim here of documents or a story being suppressed by wikileaks. The documents and one side of the conversation were provided to ForeignPolicy.com. The anti-wikileaks angle immediately fizzes in the opening paragraphs.

WikiLeaks declined to publish a wide-ranging trove of documents — at least 68 gigabytes of data — that came from inside the Russian Interior Ministry, according to partial chat logs reviewed by Foreign Policy.

The logs, which were provided to FP, only included WikiLeaks’s side of the conversation.

“As far as we recall these are already public,” WikiLeaks wrote at the time.

“WikiLeaks rejects all submissions that it cannot verify. WikiLeaks rejects submissions that have already been published elsewhere or which are likely to be considered insignificant. WikiLeaks has never rejected a submission due to its country of origin,” the organization wrote in a Twitter direct message when contacted by FP about the Russian cache.

404 not found
Fixed, ty.
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No evidence of Russian hand. Most likely a DNC insider work.
A DNC insider that set up a very large trail indicating external phishing?

Edit: at the time I think this was considered to be a pretty comprehensive description of what happened. Not sure if new information has come to light since then.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/mg7xjb/how-hackers-broke-int...

Anything is possible. Don’t underestimate the stupidity of the party members.

Hillary ran her own email server that trafficked classified information and that was maintained by a couple of Pakistani dudes.

This is a lie. Guccifer 2.0 has been clearly identified as Russian.

Julian Assange lied about Seth Rich, and never excused himseéf to his bereaved parents. He is no better than Alex Jones.

> has been clearly identified as Russian

Identified by the same people that have lied about pretty much everything else?

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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.
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.

It's not to lionize Assange, but these are almost crimes against humanity, they stole peoples tax dollars and then built a surveillance state used against the citizens. When that was revealed they then used the same tools to destroy a single human being for the purposes of creating a decade long chilling effect for anyone who might consider doing the same.

There shouldn't be any diffuse responsibility for participating in this farce at any level. When the information was released the public never clamored for it to be investigated and for people to be hunted down and jailed for releasing it. It was entirely a captured administrative state claiming for itself rights it demonstrably never had, such as claiming a foreign national committed treason, or that he could be viewed as an "enemy combatant."

To have gone along with this willingly deserves the same scrutiny we gave German officers at the end of WWII.

> There shouldn't be any diffuse responsibility for participating in this farce at any level.

I would argue there should, no exception. Not even WWII. While keeping in mind that the responsibility was so gigantic to begin with, that even diffusing it might end up putting most participants in jail, some of them for a long time.

Diffusion of responsibility comes from diffusion of power, which is an intended goal of many stable systems of government. Cuts both ways.
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.
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.
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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.
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I agree they have no idea about journalism. I remember they had put a big pile of emails sent to some government agency in Turkey. It was all some people complaining about daily things, reporting issues in their cities etc (emails were not anonymized of course), They just dumped them and claimed they were exposing the corrupt government.
Does it not count as whistleblower? You see wrong doing and tell a bout it.

"I'we seen bad thigs, this is all i got, lets look at it together."

There were hardly any wrong things uncovered in the cables though. The most shocking part of them is American civil servants are pretty good at prose.
I'm not exactly disagreeing because it is a factual view. But there are some knotty issues that go a lot deeper.

1) The US was doing a lot of things wrong. Going off the 2011 cables [0] they were spying on various people they weren't meant to be, there were one or two things that look war crimes to me but who knows technically and a few gems like "Der Spiegel reported that one of the cables showed that the US had placed pressure on Germany not to pursue the 13 suspected CIA agents involved in the 2003 abduction of Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen".

2) It wasn't obvious in that leak that the US was doing anything counter the interests of the US. But Assange isn't a US citizen and wasn't in the US at the time, so that isn't a reasonable standard to hold him to.

3) Even internally to the US though there is a reasonable argument that he was helpful. If US citizens don't have easy access to this sort of information, how are they supposed to effectively exercise democratic control on the government? People are going out and doing terrible things in their name which, arguably, are counterproductive and they would probably not want done. Accountability requires sunlight and they can't debate whether there is enough sunlight without people like Assange.

4) It turns out that the US does have a huge probably-illegal certainly-ill-advised spying program that was being sniffed out by leakers. The response to Assange seems likely to be part of a campaign to keep material information on such topics like that out of the public sphere.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_diplomatic_cable...

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Let's assume there was stuff that needed to be leaked in the public interest: we have a perfectly good counter example which is Snowden.

You know who didn't go to jail? Glenn Greenwald.

I could somewhat follow you until (3). Throwing the confidants and allies under the bus for idle public curiosity is absolutely not an acceptable trade-off.
If I dig in to the Saudi Arabia section of wikipedia I get to "Diplomats claim that Saudi Arabian donors are the main funders of non-governmental armed groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)". That is a quintessential staunch US ally. It probably is acceptable to throw them under a bus, metaphorically speaking and it is more useful than mere idle curiosity be useful to have that sort of information in the public discourse. The spending and liberty-backsliding done in the name of terrorism has been material to date.

It might help you to follow the perspective if you consider it is plausible that the US's current diplomatic strategy is ineffective and needs pressure to reform. Especially after discounting the heft of their domestic economy. From what I've seen of the game theory, generally speaking best policy is to be scrupulously open and honest with very short bursts of sudden backstabbing when it makes overwhelming sense. The is, happily, a strategy that is highly compatible with radically transparent democracy.

There isn't a way to run this sort of institution without transparency. The incentives don't tend to work out.

I'm not following. Do you think that a confidant or a source from within Al-Q, Taliban or Saudi govt in general should be thrown under the bus?
Lets pick on the one I think is easy here - a Taliban source. The US spent 20 years in Afghanistan, wasted trillions, murdered almost a million. Opportunity costs even bigger than the needless waste of course.

How much is that Taliban source worth vs. greater transparency that could have ended the war earlier? The biggest problem was publicising which interest groups in the US government were responsible for prolonging the inevitable. Just keeping all meeting minutes on a website unredacted would have been a lot more valuable than having a source.

The tricky one is the Saudis. How much is a Saudi source worth vs. full transparency of voters into the US-Saudi relationship? The issue here is ... we can't debate that, the necessary knowledge is secret. But since large organisations are generally dysfunctional, and there is no reason to believe that the Saudi source is more valuable than more transparency into what is actually going on in the Middle East.

The issue to me is that secrecy makes democratic institutions ungovernable - they can't be assessed without full information and therefore voters can't even attempt to make rational decisions. Full transparency is probably more valuable than the net influence of secret sources [0]. The value of long-term secret sources is highly questionable. If there is a source or confidant in some foreign organisation you want to protect, give them a passport and set them up in Texas. Problem solved.

I'm struggling to figure out how wikileaks works as a russian intelligence asset in a way that somehow doesn't apply more aptly and openly to western media as a whole. Hell our entire elections are built around directly and indirectly paying media to run content ("ads").

There is no genuine concern here over some deep vulnerability our society has to russians or anyone because of wikileaks. Assange (nor snowden) caused any material harm remotely proportional to the blowback they've received since. This is about punishment for circumventing state-level controls and embarrassing the state. To think that Trump would somehow be more lenient on either is unthinkable—he's part of the same class of people that Clinton is that is most sensitive to the health of systems Assange threatens.

Oh, but it does, and that's also a problem. Key Western media, for instance the NYT, are seriously compromised due to being poster children for what's called 'MICE' (Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego): if the NYT, like all newspapers, is going broke in the age of the Internet, it's got all of that as vulnerabilities, especially Ego as it sees itself as the bulwark of truth, yet it can't pay its bills.

Enter Russian oligarchs, just like they bought up London, and then control the oligarchs by force when you can't simply direct them by shared ideology, and you've got pretty much the most powerful propaganda outlet you could possibly have, until you exploit it so heavily that you burn its former reputation to the ground. Which you do, because you yourself care nothing for its well-being: it's a tool for your political aims in fighting NATO and furthering your empire.

Sure, it applies to western media as a whole, from the bottom to the top.

If WWIII had stayed entirely in the infosphere, and Russia had not invaded Ukraine and tried to make good on their preparations, nobody would ever have known WWIII had been waged in the infosphere. That's how well it had been going. It ran aground when physical countries had to be annexed.

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.
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It's not just "DNC and US intelligence." Wikileaks tried to influence the 2017 election in France among other examples. See https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacronLeaks. This partially backfired when the dump of e-mails they published was found to contain russian-language messages.

That Wikileaks systematically favors the russian government, and never does anything contrary to the interests of the russian government, strongly suggests they are an asset of russia.

Tell me and be honest: is that link to a politically-motivated, unproven allegation that will be believable only to those who want to believe, because the "evidence" will be a rabbit warren of innuendo, emotionalism, question begging, circular citations, and talking head pundits assuring us all that they have seen the evidence and "it's extremely credible"? Because that's all the anti-Assange people have so far.
Exposing corruption mainly in the anglosphere is not some systematic error if that is what you do best and where most of tge organisation live and know people.

You could claim Wikileaks is a Thai or South African asset too on those preconditions.

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."
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?
The DOJ and the Obama administration were in agreement that you would have had to prosecute the papers and journalists who had previously run stories on the Bush era leaks revealed through Wikikeaks as well.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julia...

I'm trying to work this out myself. Julian's wiki page has

> He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012[10] on the grounds of political persecution and fears he might be extradited to the United States.[11]

It seems to me like the Trump administration simply mainted the status quo of what came before them. One theory could be the timing of the charges was more aligned with Ecuador changing PM/kicking Assange out of the embassy. https://thegrayzone.com/2019/04/14/lenin-moreno-julian-assan...

> 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.

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. :-)
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No, but there may be jail terms for assisting your source in accessing computer networks in order to leak that information.
Hillary wanted to drone Assange, so you would expect Wikileaks to take her opponent’s side
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.
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.

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You are not wrong. Nor are they.
Some of the Bernie people managed to sneak their way into the Biden administration in a few minor departments.

They were too virtuous to run an election but they seem to make pretty decent policy decisions

Right it's all little Bernie elves, nothing can be credited to the sitting president at all.
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Biden is a potted plant. I saw him at a small campaign event in Iowa five years ago, where all the candidates delivered a speech. He made it through the speech okay (like his SOTU) but they accidentally started playing the transition music early and he completely derailed. He started saying random things like “support the troops.” He was not there anymore in the moment.

Voters backed Biden in the primary because he was a throwback to an earlier version of the party. But the Elizabeth Warren bots ended up running the administration anyway.

Or: nothing really interesting happened here at all, the USAO figured they were 2-3 years out from wrapping up a trial on these charges, that the only toothy charges they had for Assange were conspiracy charges for which Assange's active participation was weak, and so the sentencing guidelines would likely have left him at "time served", which is not a good use of the prosecution's time.

But, I mean, sure, maybe Biden directed DOJ about an open case, and AG Garland just rolled with it, because he sure seems like the type.

I’m just responding to the person giving Biden credit above. I don’t know what happened. But the DOJ is under the executive, so why wouldn’t Biden be able to direct the DOJ about the case? Even if to say “I don’t want my administration prosecuting whistleblowers?”
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.

This isn't Biden being decent though.

They're forcing Assange to 'confess' to a crime in the US, where he has never been and which creates enormous problems. It should be remembered how severe what the US was doing at the time. They got some people handed over to them here in Sweden, who they agreed to not torture, and then started already at the airport. They had torture facilities in Poland, where people almost certainly died, etcetera.

What Assange did was legal and what the many activities the US was engaging in to obtain people abroad etc., illegal. He has no duty to the US, because he is not a US citizen or permanent resident.

Consequently even this is not a friendly act from Biden. It ends Assange's imprisonment, but it is a use of threats in order to obtain something from him, namely his 'confession'.

Oh boy, very far, unfortunately.

What you say we need badly as it keeps every government employee accountable for what they did.

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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 hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future. They're here: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

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Cheers. what say you to Navalny’s torture, detainment, and death?
Corrupting legal processes with a combination of weasel talk and bureaucracy is always the first step towards a Navalnyj situation. When that happens to political dissidents how ever bad they are we should all feel great concern.

But I might missunderstand you.

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1. I agree with you. 2. Assange is a Russian asset and the West’s (esp USAs) emphasis on freedom of speech puts us in a very difficult situation with respect to information dissemination. 3. This blind spot is being heavily leveraged to alarming success and Authoritarian regimes are gaining momentum with their goals. Mainly To destabilize democracies and make us all like them. We also want them to fail and be reborn as democracies. 4. I do not know how to navigate this challenge in an ethical/moral way. But i want to make sure we all recognize the biggest genuine threat to our descendants’ freedoms.
I don't know a lot about it, on the face of it I think its terrible. Why do you ask?
Most reasonable people would denounce BOTH. You seem to be pushing toward the idea that "if they do something evil, my evil is no longer evil".
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No, absolutely not. The West must be held to a higher standard and we have a duty to hold ourselves there, but too many are failing to understand the biggest threat to all the world’s freedom. Hint hint, it is the actual authoritarians.
There is a big overlap between political organizations and organized crime.
> action would be taken upon those individuals to ensure accountability

Out of genuine curiosity: what "actions" do you want taken and what accountability are you interested in? I mean, to be blunt: you think this is a crime, right? You want someone charged and prosecuted in a court, with due process, in front of a jury of peers, yada yada.

So... what if your imaginary prosecutor jumps ship to somewhere else where they get arrested and detained, and then refuse to come back to the US to face trial. Are they not then a political prisoner? Why not?

The point being: Assange wasn't thrown in jail without trial, he was thrown in jail because he refused trial. And there's an important difference.

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.

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.

i have a very, very hard time feeling sympathetic to the elements put in danger here.
What do you have against anti-Taliban Afghans or anti-Lukashenko Belarusians?
I'm afghan, so i can only talk about the caliber of US-cooperating, calling them anti taliban is a distinct misnomer, afghans I’ve met, and they are quite literally some of the very worst and amoral people I’ve ever met. They aren’t motivated by moral objections towards Islamic extremism, they have found a big daddy to lend them authority and maybe solves a few unrelated vendettas for them. Most concerning opium and warlordism. Let’s also not forget where the taliban got their supplies from. …and the fact that the sudden US retreat, and especially backtracking on guarantees of citizenship, killed more pro-US afghans than assange ever could have. People don’t hold onto a departing planes landing gear for nothing, that’s something you do with your back against the wall. Kandahar skydiving club it jokingly was called by US troops, how about yall don’t feign sympathy.
I'm the precise other way around.

Snowden and Manning had a duty to the US. They were US citizens, they even worked for the military or spying apparatus.

For them to release information, no matter how justified, is obviously a crime, but Assange isn't American, not US permanent resident, and he has no duty to be loyal to the US.

This is why I feel that the prosecution is so insane. Assange getting extradited to the US is like Russia getting somebody extradited to Russia. Now of course, you can't expect better from the UK, which participated in the same war he is most famous for publishing stuff from, and him going to the UK was incredibly stupid.

But acquiring material actively is something you should obviously do. If you're a citizen of a third country and have a chance to obtain material of public interest, of course you should, and it shouldn't concern you whether the country whose material you obtain regards that as a crime.

I think you are both right.

Snowden and Manning broke the oaths they took.

Assange is guilty of espionage.

> but Assange isn't American, not US permanent resident, and he has no duty to be loyal to the US.

That's besides the point, for example if a CIA agent is in China gathering intelligence on classified things, he is clearly guilty of espionage. You don't have to be a citizen or a permanent resident or have a duty to be loyal to a country to be spy.

edit: typo

Yes, but that doesn't mean that the CIA agent is a criminal.

Consequently, if arrested in, let's say, Thailand and handed over to China he will presumably not confess to espionage, just as Assange should not. He will instead presumably regard the procedure as irrelevant and say nothing.

By entering into a guilty plea he is participating in a legal procedure which is bullshit, and by legitimising it he causes harm to others who would seek to obtain information about war crimes from foreign countries.

The CIA agent is not a criminal in the US. For the Chinese government he is a criminal.
Of course, but from his PoV he is not, so he should not participate in or legitimise a procedure in a Chinese court.

Consequently, entering a plea, and particularly a guilty plea, should not be done.

I think framing the ethical considerations of this based on geographical borders is unnecessarily limiting.

Political borders should not be relevant to evaluate the ethics of what each person did.

Manning & Snowden ultimately to me acted ethically (And subjectively history has not been kind to the things that Snowden has had to do or chose to do since he got asylum in Russia)

Assange ultimately acted UN-ethically by being selective in some cases (leaking DNC data but not RNC), and "non partisan" in others (Leaking data that contained info on US war crimes; while also risking the lives of unrelated US intelligence agents and informants NOT complicit in war crimes)

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Here in France, as an individual, you can provide proof in a justice case, regardless of how you got them (that is, they are valid even if acquired through illegals means).

I believe illegal acquisition of proof shall be punished only if the underlying case is denied.

In the US, the Right to Freedom of the Press has NOTHING to do with "journalists" and everything to do with the freedom for ANYONE to write, publish, and distribute whatever they'd like.

If I as a US citizen didn't sign a contract agreeing not to publish something and if that something isn't libelous, I should be free to publish it.

The law on this is not at all that people can publish "whatever they'd like". It's a complex mishmash of written laws and legal precedents that have accrued over a long period of time. The end result is somewhere in the middle. There are legal ways to publish more information than the government or others would like, but there are also things that are arguably "press" that are not legal to do.
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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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_r...

In the animal farm, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
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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.

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.
Yeah all the famous, immortalized people we look back on in history have had a bias. The dude has a bone to pick with the Democratic party. So what. He exposed corruption deep in government regardless. Saying "yeah he exposed crimes, but he mostly only did it to spite the liberals, so does was it really a good thing?" is bizarre.
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>Are you still a journalist? If he were an american citizen then the answer is yes as nothing much would stop him from being a journalist. You can speak and journal from prison there.

What your asking implies is was he more an agitator or conspirator. Well he is about to admit to as much out of necessity, more to the point, will the next round of international journalists feel so much grey area hunting is necessary to bring us the truth about governments acting in the red area? I suspect many a journalist would go back in time and spill coffee on Hitler if it helped unearth those state secrets.

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My view of him changed when I saw a recording of him in a documentary saying that murdered Iraqi translators who worked with the US military got what they deserved for working with the enemy.
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There is no such recording.
"Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it."

https://archive.is/rSL9K

This is a quote, not a recording. Assange disputes the accuracy of the quote.
That's not a recording. I'm willing to accept he said something similar but the linked article appears to be a hitpiece with quite a lot of motivation to stretch the truth.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/18/julian...

David Leigh and Luke Harding's history of WikiLeaks describes how journalists took Assange to Moro's, a classy Spanish restaurant in central London. A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. "Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths. They persuaded Assange to remove names before publishing the State Department Afghanistan cables. But Assange's disillusioned associates suggest that the failure to expose "informants" niggled in his mind.

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Yeah Afghans too "Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/18/julian...

I'm ambivalent about his jailing. If you are going to get heroic people killed then you can't cry too much if you get jailed a bit.

There's nothing heroic about supporting a government that institutionalized pedophilia (Bacha Bazi), ran entirely on corruption, and passively accepted the sale of opium out of kickbacks from warlords. Especially not one installed through a foreign invader.

The Taliban are awful, but they're the awful legitimate government of Afghanistan. And they've already ended two of these problems. If you inform against a paramilitary that has no concerns with rule of law, you're already inserting yourself into their war and accepting the risk of being outed.

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Well, his words were unfortunate, but considering how the Americans left Afghanistan in total chaos a few years ago is even more unfortunate, to put it mildly. They threw most of their allies and collaborators under the bus. The American government has NO moral superiority. And they just need to shut up.
"his words were unfortunate"

Many you really couldn't possibly sanitize the situation any more. He said an absolutely heinous thing out loud that reflects values I definitely don't want from someone running a "neutral" dissemination platform for secrets

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I didn't say the American government had moral superiority, I'm saying he thinks it's alright to kill people who worked with the American government. He supports transparency in government but at the same time supports killing people for the alleged crime of working for their enemy. No judge, no jury, just murder. This calls into question what exactly he stands for.
It's a weird vibe going on in this post. A lot of people are cheering the withdrawal from Afghanistan. I wonder how many know that the Taliban has all biometric/financial data that the US left behind enabling them to round up anyone who ever helped the US.
Do you have a source for that? It seems pretty hard to believe
The US government responded to popular will and left Afghanistan. We abandoned far too many, in an incompetent withdrawal.
Considering what America did to Iraq, I think that's an understandable viewpoint.

However, Assange has always displayed a great respect for human life, and so, this doesn't sound like him at all.

I can't find any clip of this, nor anyone discussing this, and have never heard of it before your claim. Care to bring receipts?

Edit: Looking more into it, I found the source - people said that Declan Walsh said that he heard Assange say this at a dinner party. You really ought to be a little more discriminating when using a single quote to try and completely dismiss someone.

What makes you think he values human life? He sent his buddy with the cables to my home country to share with KGB prior to the public release.

I hope the rest of his life is equally miserable now that he is a free person.

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KGB? Please can you expand on this, I'm genuinely interested (see my comment above).
Here's a summary: https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2011/02/wikileaks-belarus-...

It was reported in several major publications as well at the time.

From your link:

> Wikileaks response:

> A representative of Wikileaks responded, ‘We have no further reports on this “rumour/issue”. Another Wikileaks representative told Index “obviously it is not approved”.

Following back the Guardian story linked in the above, there's this:

> Assange subsequently maintained he had only a "brief interaction" with Shamir: "WikiLeaks works with hundreds of journalists from different regions of the world. All are required to sign non-disclosure agreements and are generally only given limited review access to material relating to their region."

As far as I can tell, it looks like Wikileaks paid Shamir ~$2,000 for reviewing a batch of documents, but he maybe broke his NDA and tried to sell the docs (even the evidence for this, as far as I can see, is purely circumstantial).

It's all a far, far cry from "Assange gave cables to KGB". Small wonder this isn't even in the top 3 attempts to smear Assange as 'linked' to Russian agents (all of which have never had a shred of direct evidence btw).

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One of the things about the whole asssange wikileaks affaire that always bothered me is how many people would pick a sides and then consider anything the opposing side to claim to be suspect and likely false, while taking everything “their” side said at face value without inspection. It was nonstop extreme confirmation bias on display.

Of course wikileaks/assange aren’t going to admit to doing something terrible. Whether or not it’s true, they’re going to give the same answer!

I haven’t looked into that Belarusian thing, so I don’t know what evidence there is but it doesn’t make sense to take Wikileaks at face value - it’s obvious confirmation bias. Even if one doesn’t want to accept that it’s confirmation bias, one should be aware that it comes off as it to everyone else.

The whole wikileaks thing was so annoying because it was 95% of the time of two different choirs preaching opposite sermons based only on faith not objective facts.

It was in Belarusian govt news at the time where they openly bragged about getting the cables. Really really doubt they wanted to frame Assange for anything as just as Russians they are entirely sympathetic bunch.

Notice also how I never said "Assange gave cables to KGB" but that his buddy did. Are you going to bicker over whom Shamir got the cables from?

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Looks like someone did my homework for me, see the comments above.
This is almost bringing me to tears today. I am happy he's finally going to be free but I am still in deep sadness because this is not the world we are supposed to living in. With all of our knowledge and technology we are still doing horrible things as a civilization and we have lost control of our leadership. This scares me a lot because it is a growing problem and every day it seems like humanity is losing more and more of itself to evil and greedy powers that be. Assange did a great thing by exposing corrupt and criminal behavior at the highest levels and got such a inhumane treatment from the most powerful organizations on earth. He should not have been punished, he should have been protected and praised and his case should be a matter of study on every school on earth.
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This is beautifully articulated. I myself thought for a long time that if the day ever came that Assange walks free, I'd cry, but instead I feel a strange emptiness inside. The world isn't the one I'd imagined for this day.
Very understandable. There is an emptiness because it should have never come to this.

The last line of Chapter 31 Tao Te Ching sayings it right.

"Fine weapons are instruments of misfortune; all creatures fear them. In peace we favor creation; at war we favor destruction. Weapons are tools of misfortune, not the tools of the wise. The sage uses them only as the very last, with calm restraint. Victory is no cause for rejoicing; victory comes from killing. If you enjoy killing, you can never be fulfilled. When victorious, celebrate as if at a funeral."

Indeed. Though it is still inspiring that there are people like Assange who are willing to face personal hardship in the name of democratic values such as press freedom and government accountability / transparency.

None of the US leaders whose crimes were exposed by Assange have faced any consequences whatsoever, and many of them remain influential, lauded figures in American society.

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I think we have vastly enough material to criticize Russia, we don't need more.

Our societies are already convinced those are dictatorships.

But it took Snowden and Assange to show us how deeply messed up our societies are.

It's very possible they are both Russian assets, but what they reported have been verified, and we needed to know it.

The way you are reacting is close to a religious interpretation of the world. It's not us VS them. It's not a football match.

We have a society to build, and it's been taken from us, one piece at a time. If we don't want to end up like Russia, we need all info we can get.

And given the huge price they paid for it, yes, I consider them heroes. And I think history will remember them as such.

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Well, might it be that Assange did never receive something comparable to the US cables? You do remember he used to run a platform to publish whistleblower files, right?
I still remember the day they arrested him and how awful it felt. He is an incredibly strong person to withstand that level of isolation and see the light of day.
Read some Steven Pinker. Your observations about our present state are not wrong, but seriously consider every other point in human history and realize we are not worse off in any measurable way. In fact, much better.
I see two sides:

- we're better off because there is less human suffering "per capita" for lack of a better word.

- we're worse off because technology has allowed us all to instantly see and learn about every human (and animal) atrocity anywhere in the world.

I'm sure if I keyed up a gore site right now I could find the latest mexican cartel atrocity, or a necklacing in Africa, or someone somewhere else being cruelly hurt. But in the 1950s you had to pay for a paper which was excessively rate-limited and narrow in scope.

In that argument, Pinker is playing the role of court academic.
I have no doubt Steven Pinker is very well off indeed.
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Please make your substantive points thoughtfully and without calling names, regardless of who is a moron or you feel they are.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

In "Better Angels" he chooses "healthy, wealthy and wise" as his three benchmarks. We live longer (and suffer less violence). We have more wealth. We are smarter. That's what "better off" means. You can argue that's not what "better off" means, but you'd be arguing that we should strive for shorter lives, more poverty, and increased stupidity.
What does wise mean here? Because it seems to be the same as intelligent, which is not how I would describe wisdom at all. Wisdom and intelligence are not the same thing, and while our age is definitely "smart" it seems to have a complete and total lack of wisdom about pretty much everything.
To simply dismiss Pinker as a moron either means you haven't at all read any of his books, or you yourself have a rather moronic definition of stupidity. You can disagree about many details in "Better angels of our nature" and debate future trends in interesting ways, but it's definitely not the work of a stupid individual. All the contrary, it's well thought out and highly robust in its arguments.

Also, "everything is relative" is an idiot's way of saying something something meaningless while trying to make it seem incisive. Yes, many things are relative to others, but there are also objective measurements and visible differences between material aspects of the world, past and present especially. Feel free to live with the violence and material resources of a 16th century peasant, with no access to modern amenities for a few months and see how you rethink "better off" when considering most of mdoern life (even for a majority of poor people)

Probably he is indeed a moron, or perhaps the shrewd academic.

The peasant who used to get one square meal in 3 days now gets one square meal a day. So objectively we are better off. ( And the HN idiot will gloss over the stats to point out how fortunate we are to have software jobs)

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How is that different than my dad saying the cliche "Back in the day we had it much worse?" It's just a book to make the same conservative point. Since when did any child of a parent hearing that ("Back in the day, we didn't have food / shelter / etc.") respond in agreement? Talking about how much worse things were back then is beside the point, because it is the wrong category of comparison to make. It just shows the person - a parent, a teacher, Prof. Pinker - saying it is out of touch and doesn't understand the actual complaint in todays' context. It's just paternalism expressed with more words.

In fact I can answer my question in another way. We do not exist as a hive collective and nor ought we individuals compare our lives to an alternate life living in the past. A historical societal fact that is technically does not apply to the problems of individual people living today. It was wrong of Pinker to inconsiderately apply those historical facts on the level of societies by further making his implied political points about the individual needs of the marginalized and the oppressed today, but in public that is what he has constantly done.

It is different because one is a human mind falling prey to selective memory and sympathy, and Pinker's book is about facts and data.
The entire point was to embarrass the US, not to take some high minded stance. Wikileaks has shown some extreme bias, after refusing to expose dirty secrets of the Kremlin. They are hardly some do-gooder organization. If it came out in 15 years that wikileaks was Russian funded, I would not be surprised. Spreading false rumors and misinformation, failure/refusal to fact check sources, anti-semitism, possibly editing or doctoring videos.

The list goes on, they are not the BBC or Al-Jazeera. The DNC hack/wikileaks release timeline is absolutely disgusting and shows the true nature of the organization.

Just such a bizarre take completely divorced of reality.

This fact isn’t stated often enough.

Not to mention the usually cited helicopter video is highly edited and anything but impartial, with an American Bradley fighting vehicle under ambush a block away as can be heard in the audio. And I can’t fathom why a journalist, accompanied by men with AK’s themselves, would be pointing what obviously looks like an RPG from a distance at troops in a firefight- not to mention bringing women and in children with him in the minivan.

If this highly edited footage was the worst that could be found in such a large dump of documents- I’m highly underwhelmed.

Evidence of war crimes? Hardly. A chance to see how ugly these conflicts are and another reason why Americsn troops perhaps should never have been there in the first place? Yep, absolutely.

But my hunch is that the entire event is a Rohrschack test where most people will take away from it the same perceptions that they walked in with.

It wasn't the worst that was found but it did show a war crime. It wasn't the only one by any stretch.

It showed a cover up of the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan which had been caused by American Troops.

It showed significant horrific human rights violations against innocent and untried inmates at Guantanamo Bay. (As if just the existance of that wasn't enough.)

It showed illegal spying by the NSA on governments around the world.

Plenty of good done by wikileaks.

I don't think it materially changed anyones perception, maybe gave fuel to the fire and reminded people it was still going on

"Torture At Abu Ghraib" was published in 2004, Collatoral Murder not until 2010. Were there still fence-sitters at that point? I honestly can't recall the prevailing attitude of the time, besides Assange being an enemy of democracy who deserved to be brought in and shot. I think the reaction was most telling, the continued bloodlust for traitors who are doing little more than advertising the US's incompetence and aimlessness in that war. If collateral damage didn't make me any less patriotic, seeing our politicians harass an australian for treason (???) certainly did

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2004/05/10/torture-at-abu...

2004 was only a year after the war started, so yes many wouldn't have been swayed of their patriotic view. It was still too soon to know definitively it hadn't been worthwhile going to war. By 2010 it was extremely clear the Iraq war was a mistake and wikileaks only added to that.

Saying the above, the reason to release wasn't to sway patriotism, it was to get the truth out. For that reason it was the right decision even if it ended up with a portion of society disliking Assange for his so called 'treason' (which of course it wasn't as he isn't an American).

Anyone that has blind patriotism without any doubts, to the US military, after Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib can't be helped.

The "edited" version's edited. The unedited version, released by WL at the same time, isn't. The entire war was a crime and killed 150K+ innocents. If the release of video of a fraction of those deaths puts attention on that; excellent journalism.
> And I can’t fathom why a journalist, accompanied by men with AK’s

I don't remember the bystanders to the camera man being armed?

Also, the camera might look like a RPG barrel on the ground, not from the helicopter.

Did you really watch the helicopter video and think 'wow the US military is definitely in the right!'. I was young when the video was released, and it was a huge step in my journey to becoming critical of imperial powers.
Embarrassing the US is worth being jailed for years or being extradited to a country where you don't reside and are not a citizen and being tried for sedition in said country?
> The DNC hack/wikileaks release timeline is absolutely disgusting and shows the true nature of the organization.

in my experience people who condemn wikileaks for this almost universally praise wikileaks for other releases (just so longs as the other releases happened to paint their political opponents in a bad light).

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Even if everything you say is true (and FWIW I think you're exaggerating a lot), so what? None of that makes them not journalism or not free speech. They're clearly not a spy agency. They published important facts and that's something we should be grateful for; that they did so for their own purposes, and may have chosen not to publish other important facts, does nothing to diminish that.
I share the general disappointment but to steelman a positive outlook: People in power have always done horrible things and orgs like wikileaks and some from the media counterbalance this. While this was a tragedy, if not for such a strong light being shined on Assange, he surely would've disappeared. At least he is getting freedom now, at least he exposed many important things with his organization and at least he inspired many people to do similar things. It's true I've never really felt worse about the future. Maybe because I was blissfully ignorant, or maybe because things are actually worse. I try (and struggle) to stay positive because it is so easy to be cynical and detractive and I think that ultimately makes things worse for the world AND my own mental health.
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> we have lost control of our leadership

In what locale and at which time did humans have control of their leadership?

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> How can you be pure toward him when he is fine getting informants and others killed, and asking for and telling how to go about getting classified info. Are the facts in dispute?

No they are not in dispute, they are simply not facts.

From [1]:

The head of the IRTF, Brigadier General Robert Carr, testified under questioning at Chelsea Manning's sentencing hearing that the task force had found no examples of anyone who had lost their life due to WikiLeaks' publication of the documents.

Edit: fixed link.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#:~:text=The%20h....

I'm unsure where the purity claim comes from. Parent said people should praise him for his actions. Nowhere it's stated ALL his actions, or that he is pure in any way, shape or form.

Nobody is perfect and he's no different, all that they're expressing is that making the hard moral choice to expose bad behavior should be applauded instead of punished.

I know the vast majority of us (including me) would not have the courage to risk personal retaliation to expose bad behavior. We all love to think we would, but we all witness corruption everywhere and never say a word for a plethora of reasons.

If they were claiming "purity" as you imply, I'd agree. But that's not what was written, and it seems a lot of people have the same flawed interpretation. Yes, he's flawed, but that doesn't make what he has done any less brave.

I don't understand why Assange should be treated more harshly for putting people's theoretical lives at risk than the people who were actually murdering civilians and committing war crimes?
Revealing war crimes easily qualified for declassification of government documents. It’s a straightforward of course the end justified the means situation
And the other 99.999% of documents that didn't allege any war crimes?

I'm glad the darker side of the US operations came to light, but it would have been better if the leaks went straight to an actual news organization that had enough ethical standards to ensure names of informants and activists at risk were properly redacted.

Snowden's leaks were far better handled.

Right, news organizations are all about ethics unlike Julian Assange. They don't even have advertisers.
> Snowden's leaks were far better handled.

And didn't lead to any change.

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Even ignoring all the public changes to the tech industry, wouldn't we need another whistleblower to even be able to tell that there hadn't been any internal change to what they considered acceptable behaviour?
> he is fine getting informants and others killed

The US testified in court that his disclosures didn't get anyone killed, this is misinformation stemming from early propaganda against him by the political establishment that was humiliated by WikiLeaks' publications

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

The US’s testimony makes it barely better given the quote (I’ll take your word for the testimony) and leaves me equally puzzled regarding his admiration.

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I had never seen this purported quote before. And I found it extremely dubious that he said such a thing. Seeing as you didn't provide a source I went looking for one. I found first a recent NYT piece [1] with the purported quote. Here's the first paragraph of that piece :

> Fourteen years ago, at a human rights conference in Oslo, I met Julian Assange. From the moment I encountered the wraithlike WikiLeaks founder, I sensed that he might be a morally dubious character. My suspicions were confirmed upon witnessing his speech at the conference, in which he listed Israel alongside Iran and China as part of a “rogue’s gallery of states” and compared the Guantánamo Bay detention facility to a Nazi concentration camp

I think it's pretty obvious from that opening that it's a hit piece on Assange. Anyway, that piece links to an earlier Guardian piece [2] for the source of the quote. That Guardian column is another, and even more obvious, hit piece on Assange. Here's its first paragraph :

> You did not have to listen for too long to Julian Assange's half-educated condemnations of the American "military-industrial complex" to know that he was aching to betray better and braver people than he could ever be.

Vomit. But finally in the Guardian piece we find the source of the purported quote. It's from David Leigh and Luke Harding's "history" of WikiLeaks. I think most people who have closely followed the Wikleaks story will understand how unreliable and compromised both David Leigh and Luke Harding are to serve as 'witnesses' or sources for any reporting on Wikileaks and Assange. But they've served their masters very well as yellow journalists engaged in a state backed smear campaign against Assange.

[1] https://archive.md/FV0N0

[2] https://archive.md/5kSgB

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

Did he say that? It's a secondary witness from someone who hate him. You need to double check sources.

Is a non-US citizen culpable for publishing US secrets?

In sincere good-faith: is there even a US law about publishing the names of undercover informants? Isn't that what Dick Chaney and the New York Times did?

This reads like AI generated rage bait.
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There is no dilemma! We need a harsh societal reminder that you are not responsible for the actions of other people. It’s a moral fallacy to say that JA would be responsible for getting informants killed (if any were actually killed—they weren’t) by exercising fundamental inalienable freedoms. If somebody kills an informant, that is on them. This mindset of culpability for consequences of exposing evil is literally how evil festers and wins. Don’t fall victim to evil’s rhetorical agenda.
tangential but ultimately the same mentality that thinks enacting collective punishment is okay
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.

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.

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>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.

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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.
The work was not for profit and in the public interest.

Did he actively encourage people to do things they didn't want to do, or did people actively seek the necessary advice from him?

Would Assange's problems been solved a single cut out? "I can't answer that but I can put you in touch with people who can."

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> The work was not for profit and in the public interest.

Any bit of classified information can be reasonably considered in the interest of someone in the public.

Public interest can only mitigate the illegality of what you're doing, it doesn't just magically make the act illegal.

> Did he actively encourage people to do things they didn't want to do, or did people actively seek the necessary advice from him?

False dichotomy.

If you want to rob a bank, and you come and ask me to be the getaway driver, we're both going to hang. It doesn't matter who had the idea for the crime, what matters is that he materially assisted in carrying it out.

Now, if you robbed a bank, and just dropped a million dollars on my porch, that would be a different story. That's the defense journalists use when they receive illegally obtained information.

> If you want to rob a bank, and you come and ask me to be the getaway driver, we're both going to hang. It doesn't matter who had the idea for the crime, what matters is that he materially assisted in carrying it out.

Flawed analogy.

He didn't help them rob the bank. They asked "what is a good way to get away from a bank robbery." He answered "here are some ideas that have worked in past bank robberies."

And it's not a false dichotomy. The law considers mens rea to be a very important factor. The law isn't a black and white application of imputed standards to our social order. You can tell this because we allow juries to decide what happens in them.

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Juries are finders of fact, not finders or interpreters of law.

Judges interpret law, and give juries specific instructions for which facts to make a determination on.

In the case of computer crime, the law treats 'getting away with it' as more or less the same act as doing it. Exfiltrating data and covering your tracks is all under the umbrella of unauthorized use of a computer system. Knowingly consulting for a particular instance of it makes you part of the conspiracy.

>The work was not for profit and in the public interest.

And so, in your world, if I rob a bank and give all the money to really good charities that measurably make peoples' live better, it's not illegal?

Or if I kill a known pedophile/child rapist to keep them from hurting more children, is that not illegal?

Is that what you believe? If so, why bother having laws at all? We just need to ask our modern-day Solomon -- akira2501, that is -- if something can be justified, and as such, is legal. Or am I missing something?

Assange played an active role in breaking into government systems. He wasn't asking "can you get this for me?".
Right - Assange was running password crackers, IIRC. And "here's how you could cover it up".
> 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.

I sure can't imagine anyone thinking "I'll get off scot free, just like Assange".
>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.

There is a precedent from the Pentagon Papers:

https://firstamendment.mtsu.edu/article/new-york-times-co-v-...

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.

The short answer: making a plea deal avoids establishing one.
Hopefully the next Wikileaks will have better OPSEC and will be completely out of reach from ALL governments
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If he went back to even thinking about touching classified material again in the future he would deserve to be jailed just for the stupidity of it alone after this. The takeaway here isn’t “better opsec”.
So you’re for or against the First Amendment?
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For reading comprehension
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.

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.

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> Legal analyses, law review articles, customary practice, etc. all /influence/ courts.

Correct. As a general rule:

- When the "black-letter law" dictates a result (that is, a statute or binding precedent), a judge will generally follow it — unless the judge really wants to achieve a particular result and is willing to do mental-gymnastics rationalizing or to try to get the law changed.

In other situations, judges are typically very busy but they still want to get it "right," in accordance with whatever their personal mental model of life suggests, and they don't like being reversed on appeal. So they (judges) look for support — and try to anticipate possible counterarguments — from a variety of sources, as suggested by the adversaries' counsel battling each other's arguments — each of whom is motivated to help the judge do what counsel want by finding the sorts of things mentioned above.

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"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.

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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_...

Is there a former non-sitting US president? Did someone just beaver away at a standing desk for four or eight years?
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Typo fixed
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.
The article links the court documents detailing what charges he is pleading to. It's receiving and publishing classified information.
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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

I had referenced the specific clause, 793(g), in my previous post to you. It is also referenced in the plea. I didn't think I needed to do so again. I can quote the section

>If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

No. 18 USC 793(g) is the conspiracy charge. One of the elements of a conspiracy charge --- any conspiracy charge --- is one or more "overt acts" that demonstrate the accused was not merely associated with other members of the criminal group, but also actively participated in it. That's what the "any act" in your quote refers to --- those are the "overt acts". None are listed in this plea stipulation.

Here: a Ken White article that is almost entirely about how "overt acts" work in conspiracy charges, along with their historical purpose:

https://popehat.substack.com/p/overt-acts-and-predicate-acts...

So basically, the overt acts are evidence of the crimes he plead to, which again, was receiving and publishing classified documents. The violations of 793 a, b, and c mentioned in the plea, though you're right, those aren't overt acts.

I still don't see how the plea is about anything else. That if this charge went to trial they may have brought up his supposed violations of the CFAA as some kind of evidence of his conspiracy doesn't really change things.

There are two subthreads about the structure of the plea deal, but they're both closely related; both are about the question of whether the plea stipulation drops the notion that Assange had a direct hand in the conspiracy that produced Chelsea Manning's document trove, rather than just being a passive receiver who published documents he had no real duty, as a non-American, to protect.

In both threads, the answer comes down to: the plea agreement says otherwise. Assange has stipulated to his culpability in the conspiracy --- the 793(g) charge you brought up. The plea agreement doesn't list the overt acts that substantiate the charge, and would make clearer the reasoning behind Assange's active participation. But that's because the plea agreement is a stipulation, for which the only evidence needed is that of agreement between prosecution and defense.

The superseding indictment is much more explicit. Had the case ever gone to trial, you'd have seen at its conclusion jury instructions that would have made clear the evidentiary threshold --- the overt acts, what acts qualify, etc --- to convict on the conspiracy.

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The plea deal is about conspiring to obtain them which is not receiving and publishing.
The plea is linked in the article, it very clearly says it's over receiving and willfully communicating classified documents.
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.

>“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.

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The actual offensive says he knew the documents had been and “would be” obtained illegally. The key phrase is “would be”. Once he knew documents would in the future be taken illegally and agreed to receive them and publish them it entered the realm of an illegal conspiracy to obtain classified material.

This differs from for example The Pentagon Papers where the material was delivered to reporters after already having been taken. They had no foreknowledge that they would be taken.

The original indictment goes much further than that! They didn't have him on a technicality; they had him as effectively the orchestrator of the conspiracy. Who knows if that would have held up in court; I think the case wasn't all that strong on anything more than a minor role for Assange.
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.
Then why does it list violations of 793 c, d, and e? Those are clearly "overt acts."
No. Overt acts are not themselves criminal charges; they're evidentiary requirements for a conspiracy charge. Individual overt acts don't even have to be backed by statutes; an "overt act" in a conspiracy might not itself be a criminal violation at all. I think you're trying to work back from some faulty first principles here.

What you should do here is compare the plea stipulation to the superseding indictment, and note that the "overt acts" of the conspiracy charge refer back to the "general allegations" section. Or: you could go track down any other conspiracy indictment (Ulbricht's is a fun one) and see examples of "overt acts" listed explicitly.

The article links to the plea document.
Yes, I said that.
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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.
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If Australia truly loved Assange they would've done the thing Russia does where they start their own bogus competing extradition proceeding in order to repatriate the person. Not to mention that they stuck him with a $500k bill!
Seeing how much censorship Australian govt wants on it's own public, "love Assange" is a far cry from reality.

Also Australia is beholden to US and has deep ties with it.

Australia is on an America-led course to humiliate and destroy whistleblowers. Our governments were upset in public, but no doubt cheering on Assange's treatment in private. Just look at what they did to David McBride.
> Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, agreed to plead guilty on Monday to a single felony count of illegally disseminating national security material
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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.

Sweden does as the US tells.
One example which comes to mind:

"Swedish papers illuminate CIA renditions" https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7915747

"Sweden Violated Torture Ban in CIA Rendition" https://www.hrw.org/news/2006/11/09/sweden-violated-torture-...

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.

Sweden was not used as a black site.

The US promised to not torture three guys who were handed over to them, and then started torturing them, illegally at Bromma airport, but this was restricted to things that they did not regard as torture, such as drugging people, putting things into their colons, use of 'restraints', etc.

There were no black sites in Sweden. There was torture here, but only for one afternoon, on an airplane that soon left our territory.

> this was restricted to things that they did not regard as torture, such as drugging people, putting things into their colons

What the fuck? Amazing I never heard about this, even doing my best to follow the 'extraordinary rendition' atrocities.

It's a lot less bad than the worst stuff, so it's easy to miss. Sweden lost a case in the ECHR due to this one, and we didn't really participate and instead had obtained guarantees that weren't held to.
My comment above is wrong, it wasn't ECHR, it was the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Still waiting on the rebuttal to this. Own up or shut up.
"Common knowledge" and "black site" have never made sense together in the same sentence unless you are a conspiracy nut.
I suspect and hope that you're not such a person in real life as you give the impression here of being.

- Mainstream media of all political alignments have reported on CIA black sites.

- The Red Cross has investigated CIA black sites and delivered reports to the White House on them.

- The Council of Europe has investigated CIA black sites:

"A June 2006 report from the Council of Europe estimated 100 people had been kidnapped by the CIA on EU territory (with the cooperation of Council of Europe members), and rendered to other countries, often after having transited through secret detention centres ("black sites") used by the CIA, some located in Europe."

- The European Parliament officially criticized (after a vote) the European nations (including Seden) who:

"...have been relinquishing control over their airspace and airports by turning a blind eye or admitting flights operated by the CIA which, on some occasions, were being used for illegal transportation of detainees"

This is not some "conspiracy nut" stuff. This stuff has been widely known for decades and reported everywhere. If you didn't know about it, you haven't read the news. You can look into it on Wikipedia if you want, of all places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_black_sites

Is there any risk that he could face further charges in Australia?
The Australian government brokered the deal [0] after their parliament voted for him to be freed [1]

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2024/apr/10/biden-assange-...

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/feb/14/austr...

Interesting, I’m guessing he didn’t expose many Australian secrets? Their government is fresh off of jailing a whistleblower (David McBride) ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶s̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶l̶i̶f̶e̶ 5 years who exposed a so called war hero as someone who actually committed war crimes.
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> who exposed a so-called war hero as someone who actually committed war crimes.

Worth mentioning that this wasn't David's intentions. He leaked the documents as he thought special forces soldiers were being "unfairly" restricted via tighter rules of engagement & defense oversight in order to protect civilians. He wanted the ABC to tell everyone that special forces were being kept on too tight of a leash, not report on war crimes.

What you're talking about is a smear campaign from ABC:

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/a...

This story about McBride's motivations really only makes sense if you're motivated to come up with some kind of post facto reasoning for why McBride is a bad guy for leaking the documents, while ABC reporters are heroes for selectively publishing them. Never passed the pub test, thanks for the link.
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I'm not splitting hairs about if he's a (accidental) whistleblower or not (which is what that article seems to be about). He's never denied that his initial intentions for the documents were completely different than what transpired.

"He told another media outlet at the time that it was a “different story to the one I wanted. They (ABC) published something about SAS soldiers shooting people by accident, which I found disappointing.”"

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The phrase used by the attorney general was “enough is enough”. He was found guilty today and sentenced to time served, which was 5 years 1 month. David McBride seems to have been sentenced to 5 years 8 months. Where did you read he was jailed for life?

I don’t agree with either sentence, but they do not appear at odds with one another.

Ok, before he was sentenced he was told he was looking at life, I didn’t actually know about the sentencing. Thanks for the correction.

I disagree on the lack of connection.

He broke no laws in Australia.

But the fact he is pleading guilty to a serious crime will have further implications for his life e.g. preventing travel, not allowed to apply for certain jobs etc.

The fact his name is assange already makes him ineligible for a bunch of things, and his connections and popularity already open lots of doors for him that aren't open for you and I.

I think he'll be fine.

I think most likely his life is already over and he's being allowed to return to remaining years of psychological and physical ordeal following an experience most of us have no context to imagine.

I'm glad he's going home to his family, but this is a least-worst outcome to an awful miscarriage of justice that destroyed many lives.

I doubt he'll ever be fine after what he's been through.
Julian Assange clearly was operating against the west, for the benefit of authoritarian powers.

Had he done what he did to China or Russia, he probably would not be a alive.

He is not a character worth celebrating.

His liberty is a triumph of western values. We don’t off our dissidents.

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.

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>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.

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.

There's nuance here that I didn't originally appreciate, thanks!

Interested in any links you could provide, too.

The Wikipedia article handles it adequately, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks#Unredacted_cable_rel...

If you want a deeper dive, I'm sure something exists but I don't remember where it would be.

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>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?

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.
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> 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.

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"One of those journalists working for The Guardian proceeded to publish the key to the entire database, ensuring everything was leaked"

It might have been somewhat leaked before, maybe because of misscomunication/individual action. But it was not known widely before - still, Wikipedia made the decision to publish all unredacted on their own:

"WikiLeaks said that on 2 September it would publish the entire, unredacted archive in searchable form on its website"

The key had unquestionably leaked, and though it wasn't wide spread at the time, it inevitably would be. Things were already starting

Wikileaks said their decision to publish was to prevent third parties from tampering with the leaks creating false stories, but it was likely primarily that Assange and Wikileaks wanted the credit for the leak. Not a noble reason, but it still wasn't their fault they were in that shitty situation.

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"Not a noble reason, but it still wasn't their fault they were in that shitty situation."

Not so sure about that. I recall some of the journalists working with him on the release said, they were shocked to here, that Assange said he does not care at all about the life of the informants, as they were working for the US. (source, some article from "Spiegel", would be quite some work to dig that up)

So I do not trust, that he seriously was concerned about their lifes, making serious security considerations.

There was disagreement about the decision, but again the leaks were already out there. As you mentioned, Wikileaks published them on the second. Cryptome published them on the first.

Every possible decision after the keys were leaked was shitty. Maybe Wikileaks could have picked a less shitty one, but they were still in a terrible situation because of somebody else's actions.

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My point is, if he would have been concerned, he could have used better security in the first place.

"In February 2011 David Leigh of The Guardian published the encryption passphrase in a book;[6] he had received it from Assange so he could access a copy of the Cablegate file, and believed the passphrase was a temporary one, unique to that file"

Assuming David Leigh was not lying, Assange should have been more clear with the security implications. (then again, I see no reason to publish the temporary key in the first place). Still at that time it was not not known, except for maybe some intelligence organisations. So if really concerned, one could have done many different things to protect informants, delay the time, instead of publishing it officially for the whole world to see.

I won't claim Assange had great security, I don't think even he would. Still, publishing any key you get without express permission seems suspect.

The key was public and the database was public. If you're an informant, would you rather be completely unaware of that while the local intelligence organization is already digging through it or have the whole world know including people that could help/warn you? I don't think "sit on it" is obviously the best choice.

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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.

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"Julian Assange published evidence of war crimes committed by the US Army."

I assume you mean the famous "collateral murder" videos?

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

That is my biggest issue with the whole wikileaks thing. Because it might borderline a warcrime by being careless - but it was no murder. Yet it was framed as the US army just killing journalists for fun. But it was not at all like this.

There was active fighting, the journalists that were killed were embedded with active fighters - and their camera misstaken for an RPG. Those things can happen, especially if the journalists do not mark themself as journalists.

"The cameras could easily be mistaken for slung AK-47 or AKM rifles, especially since neither cameraman is wearing anything that identifies him as media or press"

The second attack while civilians evacuated and the children killed in the van - that was the bad thing. But it was still in the context of US troops receiving fire. So not at all allright, dirty war in a urban area - but not intentional murder. It was collateral damage in a wrong war.

Yeah okay, your comment reads like every single war crime apologia ever written. Obviously when it's your side there's always nuance and good intentions. I'm not going to give the benefit of the doubt to an army that was invading a country based on lies and that destroyed said country for 2 decades.
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Why do you need a benefit of doubt? The audio of the helicopter gunners is recorded.

And my general judgement of the war was quite clear I think.

So if you come to a different conclusion about the facts, then I am interested in your arguments.

When Assange went on Colbert he said WikiLeaks would release another video showing dozens of civilians being murdered.

I'm familiar with the video. Unfortunately, I don't see that WikiLeaks ever did publish that one.

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Have you seen that video yourself?
There was actually a war crime though, namely the double tap.

All the other stuff in the video is either legal or something which could be an honest mistake.

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You mean the second strike?

I tend to agree, the problem is, this was not a conventional war, for which the concept of war crime was made for.

The combatants were not wearing uniforms. The van was not marked as an ambulance. All civilians and some had weapons - and on the other hand US soldiers thinking only in terms of conventional combat, where there might have been an rpg still around for an enemy to retrieve and fire at them.

"Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle"

But they happened to live there. They did not visited a battlefield for fun. So yes, the video showed quite well to the world the reality of urban fighting against an uprising. Dirty as hell.

Yes.

But partisans and resistance movements are normal part of war and something you have to accept when you invade and occupy a foreign country. It is permissible to use all means available to one when resisting foreign occupation.

The Van wasn't an ambulance. It was, I suppose you say, people helping wounded people, and those people are protected, whether they are marked or not.

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Yes, I said I think it was a wrong war and that the "ambulance" wasn't marked as one because it was just some civilian trying to help people.

But otherwise there are some rules for engagement in partisan warfare. For example they must be marked as combatants by uniform or some other clear sign.

Exactly for this reason, to be able to divide between combatants and civilians. The more the partisans ignore that, the more civilians will die. Which is why it is also frequently used as a dirty tactic to raise more civilian uproar and more joining the partisans.

I think we've gotten to deep into the threading, so I can't respond to your comment where you actually bring this up, but it is permitted, because there's a precedent, namely Skorezeny.

It is at least permissible to order the use of enemy uniforms for sabotage operations, provided that they be taken off before direct attacks.

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Well I agree that we got too deep here in an OT, but you can always click on the "2 minutes ago" and then you can reply directly.
Ah, I see.
The purpose of partisan warfare isn't to protect civilians, but to drive out invaders.

One does have to put on a uniform or sign while performing direct attacks, but it's not required during sabotage operations. Then it's even permissible to use enemy uniforms.

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"Then it's even permissible to use enemy uniforms"

No it is not. At least not under common international law. (And a sabotage mission is a direct attack)

"Not all uses of enemy uniforms are prohibited therefore; only “improper” uses. For example, wearing enemy uniforms in order to flee the fighting or escape capture does not run afoul of the law. On the other side of the spectrum, engaging in attacks while wearing the uniform of the enemy is flatly prohibited"

https://lieber.westpoint.edu/combatant-privileges-and-protec...

> 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.

Almost every newspaper or channel is partisan...
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.

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>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.

> 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.

> DNC leaks

Assange is a journalist. The DNC leaks were public interest. The fact that they occurred during an election heightened that public interest. They were 100% justified in the US in moral and legal terms under 1A. Unless you are still tilting at forgotten politicians its really really weird to keep harping on about.

>This isn't how the law works.

What has law got to do with morality, other than often standing in the way of morality?

He has consistently maintained that the crime they charged him with "Soliciting covert information" should be protected under 1a. Or at least otherwise protected as journalism. He isnt even a US citizen mind, but US law doesnt give a shit.

Law should follow morality. Any normal right thinking human bean should understand that its literally the job of journalists to solicit and expose public interest information. If the government is committing crimes, if the government is acting in a way counter to their domestic narrative (which you base your vote on), if the government is treating its foreign partners especially shittily, the public has a right to know.

That the US had made doing so a crime, is a matter for the US electorate to deal with. They should remove the dumb as dogdoodoo law, or remove the government that opposes removing that law, physically if necessary. That he failed to abide by a set of stupid rules in doesn't suddenly make his actions amoral.

Its not that on balance he did some good and some crimes. Its that his crimes were in the public interest, so the law that made his actions criminal, is at fault not he.

I actually don't understand why this has to be brought up. I don't understand why people cling to law as a substitute for morality. Governments are very often wrong.

We kind of do look at the big picture when deciding a proper punishment.
I’m pretty sure your founding fathers committed what would be considered by the law of the land at the time to be treason and sedition. So did people like Nelson Mandela and Ghandi.

And on the other hands there are Nazis who just followed legal orders.

> 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?

Not when the claim being made was that his leaks would lead to death.
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.

Well put. This is the point I was trying to make, but I was more glib. It is perfectly reasonable to criticize someone for jeopardizing peoples' lives, without waiting to find people who were provably killed as a direct consequence.
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... no, "possibly didn't actually get anybody killed" is still a low bar, even when the claim is that it might.
"Could not demonstrate with 15 years to gather that data and present it" is a bit more than "Possibly"
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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.

Julian's not a whistleblower, he's a journalist. Whistleblowers are people within the organization.
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."
What US journalist isn't?

My impression that partisanship in reporting is incredibly strong.

It absolutely is. But there are dozens or more comments here about how Assange and Wikileaks were "above all that", and "impartial sources, without fear or favor".

When no, he was and is as partisan as anyone else.

Yes, but he was still a journalist.
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.

Journalists consider Julian to be a journalist.

> WikiLeaks wins top Australian journalism prize... The Walkley Award is one of a number of journalism prizes won by WikiLeaks in recent years, including Amnesty International’s UK Media Award and the acclaimed Martha Gellhorn Prize. The latter award is given to journalists who reveal “an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda.” These prizes undermine the Obama administration’s claims that Assange is not a journalist and that the publication of thousands of secret US diplomatic and military cables is illegal.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2011/11/assa-n30.html

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

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.

This is 'a' definition.

Cambridge.org needs to wake up.

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

I am a trillionaire.

Saying it doesnt make it true.

The law doesn't care about "traditional definitions". Anyone in the US can act as a journalist by simply publishing.
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> 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.

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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.
Plea deals aren't a solution. No matter how reasonable.

This agreement itself is a plea deal, but involves the agreement in principle that Assange has committed a crime by publishing this information. That in itself is an enormous problem for people seeking out government wrongdoing.

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Yeah, it's not at all clear to me that Assange did anything illegal and if he was offered a deal 12 years ago he probably would have rejected it. But Snowden and Manning definitely broke the law and I don't think it's a good look for anyone involved to have Snowden being a fugitive and cause celebre in exile for life.
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.

The Wikileaks affair opened my eyes. I used to think an informed public was a good thing. Turns out it just means they vote for Morton Downey Jr.
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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.
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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.
“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.

The gunship crew literally talk about how annoying it is to have to wait for them to pick up a gun (at which point they aren't civilians)
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.

Yeah "collateral" and "isolated" incident.

They hate you because of your "freedom" anyway.

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:

https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

> "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."

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.

The motivations of a person who disproportionately helps western governments is troubling to you? Or is it that you don't consider exposing criminal conduct helpful?
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

It will be great to have him back in Australia. This is a win for press freedom and hopefully the beginning of rehabilitation of the political system.
> and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars.

Well thats fascinating. Were his kids somehow all born after he was imprisoned?

I was somewhat surprised as well at the phrasing here, and had to look it up. During Assange's time in the Ecuadorian embassy, he fathered two children by a female lawyer hired to be on his defense team. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stella_Assange#Personal_life_a...

Not sure how I missed the timing in that Wikipedia note, thanks
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The youngest was born in 2019, the same year he was incarcerated (April 2019). Pregnancy lasts 9 months, so even if the child were born in early 2020, there would be no reason to assume infidelity.
I wasn't assuming infedlity, I could have been more clear there. I really was just curious on timing how none of his children could have met him before he was imprisoned.
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I'm curious if there are any Australia <-> USA deals here too, in terms of restrictions he may have upon arriving to AU
Crazy that this has gone on for so long.
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Most of that time was spend escaping the Swedish arrest warrant.
By narrow definitions of escape. He was essentially under house arrest, unable to leave the Ecuador embassy for years.
Or he could have just faced up to the charges... That house arrest was entirely self-imposed for the first five years or so.
I don't think you understand what would have really happened if he did that, or where he would have really ended up.
A good chance dead.
I don't think you do either?
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Yeah the rape accusation timing, for which he was never convicted, was quite convenient wasn't it.
> for which he was never convicted

Uh, what's this thread about, again...? He "was never convicted" because he evaded trial by hiding out for seven years.

I mean he was proven justified there, the grand jury having been in place secretly for ages.
Wasn't there a tape accusation as well? I don't see why it wouldn't be both.
What could he possibly do next (if he avoids a prison term)?
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?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-t...

Wikileaks had no "gig" with Russia Today. They produced the series tthemselves and it was picked up by various news channels - just not any mainstream Western ones (what a shock)
According to the article you link which was posted before the series aired, but not according to IMDB or Wikipedia which anybody could have edited with sources in the 12 years since:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2223847/fullcredits

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Tomorrow

(Or if you actually have a real source for "RT funded it" then you should update Wikipedia and IMDB)

A real source? Reuters is one of the world's premier news agencies, and the piece literally has RT crowing about funding the production.

Never ceases to amaze me the hoops that Assange cult members will jump through to deny inconvenient facts about their hero.

Can only imagine what you come up with to justify Assange's pathetic insinuations about Seth Rich and his blatant anti-Semitism.

You could retreat into invective or you could point me to a better source than an article that came out before the show even aired. Assange has enough fuming and frustrated detractors that a verifiable source saying his show was funded by RT would have made it into the Wikipedia and IMDB pages a decade ago.
What a bunch of whataboutism horseshit.

I edited the first event press mention of WikiLeaks at Wired.

I covered the early Guantanamo leaks and the Iraqi Apache attack.

I've interviewed Assange, likely before you ever heard of him.

I broke the story that wikileaks' submission system broke and its SSL failed, the first external sign of the internal dissent where its tech lead literally made off with the server because he didn't trust Assange.

I pointed you to an extremely reputable source showing what everyone knew at the time, which is that a Putin controlled media outlet paid for and claimed credit for funding his "talk show."

His Russian connections after that were perfectly clear, including routing Snowden through Russia and later being the handmaiden of GRU in the DNC leaks.

Keep putting your head in the sand with dumbass arguments like it's not in IMDb.

It's a fine line between being a fanboy and being complicit and it's pretty clear which side of that line you're on now.

Lol. If you weren't just repeating bullshit, why isn't information about the Assange series being funded by RT reflected on these sites? You have given me a line in an article that came out before the series aired, got upset and now... you have decided to list your "credentials"...

Ahem... hrm...

Edit: Haha is that you editing the Wikipedia page?

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=World_Tomorrow&di...

Just took your suggestion to edit Wikipedia with a reputable source. I guess it's true now since it's in Wikipedia.

Enjoy your cult of personality.

Amazing. I have never witnessed anything so pathetic, or such a level of projection. Thanks for exhibiting that buddy, it was quite a show.
oh how his fans are going to get an awful taste in their mouth when they realize which side he is on
Yeah I was gonna say, there's all sorts of media opportunities on the right for him. He will be fine.
Write a book, be an internet pundit
The Edward Snowden route more or less, with his own twists.
> internet pundit

public intellectual*

Set a podcast
Why would he have a prison term in Australia?
Find a job.
If his brain still works he could take another tilt at the Senate.
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...

Now that he's free to speak truth to power, I hope someone leaks the details of Putin's secret bank accounts.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/17/wikileaks-turned-down-l...

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/wikileaks-syria-files-syria-r...

  • r721
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LIVE: Julian Assange arrives in Saipan for his court hearing [Reuters]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFZI0YIqeAE

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.
YES!!!!!!!!!!

REJOICE!!!!!!!!!!!

Woooo!!! This is incredible news to wake up to.

Meanwhile, Ola Bini has been jailed for a year in Ecuador? I remember him for his work on jruby.

https://peoplesdispatch.org/2024/04/08/activist-ola-bini-sen...

Legally speaking, my understanding is that he did something that the US does not approve of (and is presumably a crime in the US).

Then the US requested the countries he happened to be in to extradite him to the US.

If this is correct, if he were in Australia (his country) when the US issued their request, he would have been free, right? (without the possibility to travel I guess as other countries may follow the US request).

I wonder how people would have felt if, instead of releasing stuff about the USA, he had released it about your country's doings instead.
If we were torturing people, I sure hope someone would leak it.
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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...

I have trouble being happy for a man that was bought off to facilitate Russian intervention in my country’s government.
Also here;

Julian Assange leaves UK after striking deal with US justice department

https://www.theguardian.com/media/article/2024/jun/25/julian...

Julian Assange reminds me of Martin Luther. Both men struck a devil's bargain with autocrats because they feared persecution by a powerful empire, and in doing so, they sacrificed the more utopian elements of their political/religious project.
Why is this case located with the United States District Court For The Northern Mariana Islands?
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"

https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nmid.64...

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).
Yes, he'll be in court in Saipan on Wednesday morning to enter the plea. Apparently he's already left London, according to WikiLeaks twitter account and other reports. Don't think he's flying coach though : )
Ah, it's a private jet (Bombardier Global 6000), not commercial aviation. Then again, after all he's been through, it would hardly be fair to subject Assange to the horrors of cattle class on United.
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> 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.

It's a chartered flight, so it will be faster and cheaper (assuming it continues to Australia).
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.
Because it's about as far away from the US mainland as you can get and relatively close to Australia where he's going. Also it's conveniently very far away from any journalists. At least, I can't imagine those shipping out in large numbers on short notice.

So, they get to rubber stamp this and get it over with without too much scrutiny in the media before the man starts giving non-stop interviews in Sydney or wherever he is going in Australia.

Not sure how many at HN saw the Apache gunship mowing down civilians and journalists with cannon fire. Assange did a great service to shine light on the barbarians in action under the guise of saving freedom and democracy and paid a heavy price.
I saw it. I also saw the scores of other Apache videos mowing down legitimate targets (people launching rockets and mortars from vehicles)
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What are you trying to do with that comparison?
There is such a thing as war crime. US may be exempt at this moment, but things will change. They always do.
The mainstream press are all over this now, seemingly sharing the jubilation.

Where were they in the dark days of the semi-secret travesty of a trial in London?

Thankfully people like Craig Murray stepped up to the crucial fourth estate role they abdicated, to witness it for us.

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It would be ludicrous to say that justice won, but I'm glad he is finally free.
Remember that a site like this only exists in the sphere of US hegemony. If we lived in NK, Russia, or China and debating decisions by the government... whelp that wouldn't exist there.

Wrong and right are not absolutes.

That's something to drink to - tomorrow. Still can't believe US/UK government thugs would just let him go after torturing in prison 15 years for something every journalist out there should be doing.
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information should be free, exposing US war crimes shouldn't be illegal
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.

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.

When you are talking about military secrets and making the unqualified assertion that information should be free, it is on topic to mention times when successfully keeping military secrets was critical for a better outcome of a conflict.

It's also worthy of outrage when keeping secrets leads to monsters escaping accountability.

But don't pretend it isn't the same thing! It would be very nice if all military secrets that get leaked were only of the "exposing war crimes" sort, but all that information is all mixed together with the "jeopardizing people and plans" information.

It's just not this clear cut "leaking is always good because information should be free" thing that a lot of people want it to be. It also isn't the clear cut "people who leak information are bad" that a lot of other people want it to be. It's a mix of good and bad and the details matter.

The commenter you are replying to is not the one who mixed those things up. Julian Assange did that.
calling a war a war shouldn't be illegal, but it is illegal in russia.
And justifying more than a decade of home arrest to deactivate that tick bomb before the new elections. The man looks 40 years older.
Congrats to Mr. Assange! He paid a high price for showing us what our governments are doing in our name (i.e. war crimes).
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What are the chances he “commits suicide” now?
I wonder what legal repercussions could follow from him "admitting" to have commited whatever they want him to admit
The article states what's going to happen. He'll be charged and immediately released, because he made a deal.
he has spent a long time resisting, what makes you think he's admitting to what "they" want him to admit to?
FINALLY! 12 years stuck in embassies and jails. Such a shame no one will be punished for making him go through that.
Should not have skipped that bail, could have saved a lot of time.
It’s wild that Julian Assange is going to do five years in prison and Bush Jr and Dick Cheney are walking around free.
when was Snowden a head of state?
I am going to hold the celebrations until we are sure there isn't anything else on the horizon. He isn't getting a pardon and being declared free and clear of charges in the US is very difficult. Who knows what state prosecutor might want to bring new state charges. He may also be wanted as a material witness. If I were him I wouldn't set foot outside Australia ever again.
My understanding is that a pardon cannot be granted without a conviction.
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Marc Rich was pardoned while a fugitive for much more serious crimes.
Assange wasn't pardoned. He agreed to a deal to plead guilty with retroactive detention which meant no additional imprisonment.

A pardon can cover previous crimes with or without conviction.

there is no such constitutional restriction. A pardon can be issued for crimes that are not even known to have occurred or are purely imagined.
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Richard Nixon would like a word with you.
You can definitely get pardoned before getting convicted. Trump pardoned Stephen Bannon after he got indicted wire fraud and money laundering, so he never went to trial for that.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/05/25/steve-b...

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The pardon power seems to be very broad, and is most likely constrained by politics more than by statute. Set aside the idle speculation about a president pardoning themselves, pardons have been granted to whole classes of people for crimes you have yet to be charged with. Consider Jimmy Carter pardoning draft dodgers or Abraham Lincoln pardoning soldiers who fought for the Confederate army.
Absolutely. But if we're going to give our president a power that could be used too liberally, it's good that it's the power to let people go free instead of the power to imprison (or worse) anyone for anything he wishes.
He is getting a conviction. This is a plea deal. He will be admitting to the crime of conspiracy after which he will be a convicted by the court. He will then be a convicted felon and could be pardoned, but I doubt that is really an option. (Not 100% on the felony thing, I haven't seen how this is being charged.)
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Trump strikes me as far more likely to grant him a pardon than Biden. Biden is neoliberal, which are just as hawkish as neocons (they’re functionally identical). Trump is more of a populist, anti-war, “anti-deep-state” (i.e. intelligence agencies) sort, who has at least entertained the idea of a pardon.
Trump had 4 years to free Assange but did nothing. He will say anything to get elected. It's surprising how people don't see it. In Texas we call that 'All hat, no cattle.'
Biden has also had 4 years, I simply said who was more likely to pardon.
Right and presumably the guy who actually freed him, vs just talk, is going to be more likely to pardon him?
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Trouble is, as part of the deal he is headed to an US territory next to Australia, right?

Seems like the perfect place to kidnap him

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That would be a great way for Biden to blow the election for no reason.
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I think you're dramatically overestimating the percentage of US voters who give a flying shit about Assange.
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Or perhaps you are overestimating how many votes will need to flip
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AFAIK the only proven meddling from Russia was stirring stuff up in a party- and faction-neutral way. They were trying to cause chaos, not try and get one party or another elected. Their agents would, for example, organize a protest on Facebook, then organize the counter-protest at the same location.
I'm not clear what you're arguing against, but you seem to be making an argument about a previous election and not a future one.

Do you believe that Russia benefits equally from the election of either candidate this time around?

Also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russian_assassinations

Do you believe that's a meaningful metric? Because it's not.

The distinction between Biden and Trump is that Trump is opposed to the machine that's been responsible for decades of disastrous foreign policy, while Biden is the face of that very same machine.

Putin is far from the only foreign leader who would prefer Trump. It's silly to attempt this framing.

I mean, sorry if you're one of those "electricians on the Death Star" just trying to pay your mortgage, but your downvotes aren't going to put that toothpaste back in the tube.
Kim Jong-Un and Xi Jinping would prefer Trump as well.
>> They were trying to cause chaos, not try and get one party or another elected.

But what if the decision is between a stability candidate and a pro-chaos candidate? I think then that Russia would take a side. And I doubt many would debate that one candidate is clearly more pro-chaos than the other.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_20...

It went far beyond a couple of artificial protests.

Russia did support Trump in 2016 (and beyond), Trump was quite happy about it.

Maybe. And yet it did rather work out in their favor.

If you were Russia in 2016, would you have preferred that the next US President be someone competent with significant foreign policy experience, or a Putin-idolizing fool with zero foreign policy experience?

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The Cold War never ended and criticism of Russia is not criticism against Russians.

If the Cold War was truly over when the wall fell, we'd have welcomed Russia into NATO. That would have been a huge mistake, as Russia has proven to be antithetical to democracy and an aggressor against the interests of the West, despite dressing up in its skirt.

Instead we've engaged in proxy war after proxy war with very little changing in the best part of 40 years or so. That's no accident.

Suggesting otherwise IMO is to take talking points from the mouth of the Kremlin. I get tired of the "Russia is being bullied by the mean ol' United States" narrative, they're malignant and hostile. I think you're right to raise this point.

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| If the Cold War was truly over when the wall fell, we'd have welcomed Russia into NATO.

This was offered by NATO: Partnership for Peace, NATO-Russia Founding Act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia%E2%80%93NATO_relations It's Russia that wasn't interested.

When one of the parties of a "war" elects not to leave that "war", can you argue the "war" ever truly ended, even if one side sent an olive branch?
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Absolutely. Most Western leaders (though not all) deluded themselves thinking Russia wanted better relations and that all the problems were somehow the fault of the West. Countless confidence-building measures were taken. Most Western countries reduced defense budgets. Russian leaders, ridiculously claiming that they were threatened by NATO, were dishonest the whole time. As the USSR collapsed, Russia surrounded itself with, and fueled, many "frozen" conflicts: Transnistria in Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan, Japanese Islands. Gestures of goodwill, escalation management, appeals to political solutions were seen as weakness by Russia. Putin attacked Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 and 2022 not because he felt threatened in any way, but to the contrary because he thought that no one would do anything about it.
I'm pretty sure he spilled the beans, I don't think he has to worry about prison, staying alive is his new main story line.
Yeah, everyone made this a comment about a specific candidate. But objectively one candidate is pro-supporting Ukraine and one is against it this time around. Regardless of your prior beliefs, Putin benefits far more from a specific candidate this time around.

And they have repeatedly been caught meddling directly in Western countries (see i.e. multiple assassinations in the West).

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Exactly. I treat anyone suggesting Russia should be treated with kid gloves with suspicion. The sentiment that they are being bullied is flatly offensive. Russia made its bed in the 90s and complains about lying in it.
Oh boy. How about we do just don't have this here?
ewww.. horrible comment.
I get that your comment is a hyperbolic jab at Trump supporters but why is a pro-Russian candidate actually bad - besides the tiresome comparisons of Putin to Hitler and similar claims? It seems like NATO didn't disband or let Russia join after it asked to multiple times because we have a military industrial complex that requires perpetual war to sustain itself. Why risk nuclear war over vague political goals like "containment" and "spreading democracy" when engaging Russia in this way will mean Russia is fighting for its survival. Honestly asking because I don't understand.
George Kennan (Diplomat, "Architect of the Cold War Containment Policy") - Criticized NATO expansion as a severe mistake in a 1998 interview with the New York Times .

Henry Kissinger (Former U.S. Secretary of State) - Expressed concerns about NATO expansion increasing tensions with Russia over several years, particularly noted in discussions and forums during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

William Perry (Former U.S. Secretary of Defense) - Voiced apprehensions about the strategy and pace of NATO expansion, particularly in the late 1990s during his tenure and in reflections thereafter.

Sam Nunn (Former U.S. Senator, Co-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative) - Warned of strategic miscalculations and heightened conflict risks due to expansion, prominently during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Jack Matlock (Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union) - Criticized NATO expansion for potentially setting the stage for conflict with Russia, in articles and public lectures, particularly during the 1990s.

And?
These people were/are credible pro-western. They weren't propagandized by Russian agents to take the stances they took. They were generally opposed to escalating proxy conflict with Russia after the cold war and also generally opposed to expanding NATO eastward. They made credible warnings about pursuing hawkish policy decades before tensions along Russia's border reached their current level.
you would give russia a platform in NATO? I think russian wars with its neighbors speak for itself (and not just with Ukraine) to keep them out. NATO is for instance needed to keep russian imperialismus away from europe. It's also a deterrent against China, North Korea, Serbia etc
Putin is compared to Hitler because he is like Hitler. You are not honestly asking. This, and the rest of it, has been explained to you countless times before.
"This, and the rest of it, has been explained to you countless times before."

Yes, that's how propaganda works. But in the face of new information, that propaganda has to be tweaked or abandoned. To keep hammering the same message produces quickly diminishing returns.

I'm earnestly and honestly asking. Is there some good source material you can point me to that explains how this is in US citizens' interest? All I can find is hyperbolic nonsense that seems markedly similar to the kind of information that was available during the invasion of Iraq. I really would rather feel good about US/Western foreign policy.
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Just_asking_questions

If all source material that you can find is hyperbolic nonsense, then you have made up your mind before looking.

Like actually why the fuck would I be pro-Russia? What's in it for me? Seeming edgy or something? Do you assume I'm unable to read the room? I'm a liberal computer nerd from a highly liberal locale. It's obviously so much easier to just agree that the US is bringing democracy or freedom or greater security to eastern Europe. Why would I bother unless it was actually deeply disturbing to me the more I earnestly dig into it? Have I been brainwashed by Russian agents through the internet or something? I am willing to accept this I just don't think that's actually the case upon close inspection.
Many people are pro-Russia because the Russian government pays them to be. Many others are pro-Russia because most of what they read or hear is from the first group.
It seems naive to imply the US has a less effective propaganda apparatus than Russia within its own direct sphere of influence. The idea that a country with 1/10th the GDP of the US outcompetes the US in propaganda delivery on its own pay-to-play media platforms doesn't make a lot of sense to me personally. Seeing any kind of anti-war dissent as influenced by pro-Russian agents seems like low-effort thinking. Being weary of an escalating proxy war with a high-manufacturing capacity, energy-rich superpower that historically has sacrificed large percentages of its population in total war is not inherently a pro-Russian stance; it's a common-sense stance that values life.
It seems equally naive to assume the opposite, given that some people are so eager to dismiss all material against the interests of Russia as "hyperbolic nonsense".
I'm not eager to dismiss all material against the interests of Russia. I'm highly incentivized to see the Western sphere in a positive light. It's simply difficult to do so given the facts of the conflict at my disposal. What material are you referring to here? I'm motivated to change my opinion on this because the intelligent and sensitive people around me all seem to think the West is doing the right thing and at the very least I want to fit in while maintaining basic integrity.
I haven't, and I'm familiar with this page. I am honestly worried about the US foreign policy. I'm not JAQing off. I want some credible source material from a community I trust. I'm sure other people reading this do too.
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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.
> Considering he served 12 or so years I’m not sure he won anything.

He didn't serve 12 years. He locked himself in his room for 7, then he actually served 5.

I think that qualifies. 12 years of no freedom. Happy he finally gets to move on with his life. A real brave journalist who actually spoke truth to power.
> I think that qualifies. 12 years of no freedom.

It absolutely does not quality. Being on the lam is obviously not the same as serving time in custody.

You can only sum up to 12 by making false equivalencies and ignoring important differences. It reeks of having a self-serving preordained conclusion (or being downstream from one) then distorting everything until it fits.

The enemy of my enemy ... is an asshole.
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(That's the NYT piece, for those keeping track. We merged https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40782258 hither)
ungh this is going to bring the crazies out -- im glad hes finally out although nothing is going to undo the suffering he's had to go through. I guess he can maybe be thankful hes still alive? unlike the people he originally called the US out for murdering.
This isn’t getting front page news on CNN, Fox, or WNYC radio. This is concerning.
This has nothing to do with the merits (perceived or otherwise) of Assange's case.

Assange was never going to be extradited to the USA, because of the US Govt's behaviour in the Harry Dunn case (finally closed this month):

Harry Dunn was a UK teenager who, while riding his motorcycle was struck and killed by a car driving on the wrong side of the road close to a US Airforce base. The driver, Anne Sacoolas, was reported to be the wife of a US Intelligence Officer. Under the UK- US Govt agreement, Intelligence Officers could be prosecuted locally, but their husbands / wives had diplomatic immunity. The US Govt asserted diplomatic immunity (probably aided and abetted by the UK Govt), and Sacoolas was swiftly hustled out of the UK on a private flight by the NSA or CIS). Anyhow, after a long campaign for justice by Dunn's family, it turns out that Anne Sacoolas is herself a senior US Intelligence officer, so should not have had diplomatic immunity. Charges were brought in the UK, but the US Govt refused to extradite, despite a direct request from the UK Prime Minister (Johnson) to the US President (Trump). There has been huge and sustained public sympathy in the UK for the Dunn family in their quest for justice, and the UK legal system and civil service was seriously angered by the attitude of the US Govt. Anne Sacoolas finally pleaded guilty over video link to charges of causing death by dangerous driving earlier this year. The inquest on the death of Harry Dunn (which was delayed until the conclusion of the criminal case) concluded earlier this month.

The UK was not going to extradite Assange as the US Govt refused to extradite Sacoolas. There was enough noise around the conditions that Assange could be held in, or the possibility of him facing the death penalty, for UK judges (who have a lot of independence) to raise questions on Assange's possible treatment in the US, and refuse an extradition request - it had already been going round in circles on this question for years.

Everyone wanted a face saving resolution - and with the possibility of a Trump presidency next year, the UK Govt did not want to have a point of contention with Trump, and his severely transactional approach. So, this is a face-saving compromise for the UK and US Govts. Assange pleads guilty (so the US says they have brought him to justice), Assange goes home (not to the US), and the UK Govt gets a nasty diplomatic problem resolved.

whatever happened to the r--- allegations from Sweden, I understand that Sweden has dropped the charges but.. can we get some closure about that as interested followers of this entire saga? Hope that's not too much to ask..
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He fled and let the statute of limitations expire. His excuse was Sweden might extradite him to the US, but the UK wouldnt.
> Sweden might extradite him to the US, but the UK wouldnt

An excuse that was always made zero sense.

It later emerged that at the time of the Swedish investigation, there was no indictment from the US.

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And you do not think, that would have changed the minute, he was in jail in sweden?
> but the UK wouldnt

The UK routinely extradites people to the US (and facilitated extraordinary renditions from UK soil). The claim he could not leave the UK for fear of being extradited to the US was always a nonsensical lie.

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I did not comment on that. But it seems he was right that he was in fact not extradited to the US after all while being in the UK.

(there was no claim that the UK does not extradict to the US in general, but in this specific case they might not)

> it seems he was right that he was in fact not extradited to the US after all while being in the UK

He is on his way to US soil right now and will appear in US territory before a US judge, he has been extradited.

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"the only reason he is not "extradited" is he is surrendering himself."

He was already in prison. Usually you do not let people go out to let them extradict themself.

It is a weird comprimise to put an end to this farce.

It is perfectly normal - If the judge orders the person's extradition, he must remand the person in custody or on bail pending the extradition. He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.

In reality he is not "free" till the judge slaps their hammer down.

No, I don't think that would have changed, because the decision making of the Obama administration and DOJ at the time is now known.
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No more than if he was in the UK.
You can say "rape". It's not a dirty word.
So many people are trained nowadays to self-censor certain words so that "the algorithm" won't shadowban their comment. Thankfully, HN is one of the few websites on the modern internet to not have such censorship algorithm.
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Some things have become pretty dystopian these days.
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Is the secret word "rape"?
Yes.
Liberal abandonment of Assange for 10+ years was completely fucking shameful.
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.
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My guess is that the US government will have him killed within the year.
Prometheus Bound deserves modern reinterpretation starring Assange
I'd still like to see a full pardon and record expunged.
I'm still holding out hope that the next guy pardons him.
Wow that's the greatest news of this year! Congrats Julian!
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I am amused they are flying him from London to "a remote Pacific island" and announcing it in public and pointing out his route and stopovers along the way. Sooo many "wrongness" buttons being pressed, haha. Assange is among a small set of Westerners who I've assumed that if they dont end up in US prison would either end up in Russian exile or have an "accident" arranged for them, or disappeared by Russia. Snowden is in this set -- and he's already fled to Moscow. Trump is in the set too. A few others. Though Trump is a special case becsuse of the complexities of his US SS protection. But they are all the kind of traitors/assets that either Putin would want to keep a close eye on if they couldnt off them entirely.
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I always imagine what his first meal is gonna be like
Bitcoin sell off happened around the release of JA
Doesnt mean anything
Assange freed, didn't have that on my bingo card.
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Lets not forget this dude colluded with Russian intelligence to interfere with 2016 US elections. He's not freedom fighter he's an assets to some intelligence service.
Interfered by publishing real, truthful documents. Right.
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.
> 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?

False. What they are charging him with is a brief speculative chat discussion about potentially having Manning provide the hash of a password to Assange to help crack it. But this discussed behavior never actually happened and was never referenced by them again.

That's the conspiracy charge they indicted Assange for. If you don't believe me then read https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/wikileaks-founder-julian-assa... . If you say that's too long to read then just read the last 4 paragraphs.

They've bent over backwards to charge him here over something that literally did not happen and was only discussed as an option in passing. If they had anything else to charge him with they would. But they don't and rely on people like you propagating falsehoods.

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True according to Assange himself. Keep up with the events.
You're still confused. In order to not be imprisoned forever Assange admitted to the charges which are outlined in the above justice dept. link and summarized by myself. He did not admit to guilt for anything you're making up or imagining.
Spying on foreign countries, especially when they are engaged in war crimes and torture, is not illegal.

Assange is not and has never been a US citizen or permanent resident. What he did is perfectly permissible.

He made a huge mistake in traveling to the UK though.

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Quite literally this is the best news of 2024.
It's sad to see that Julian Assange, through all his suffering, has achieved so little. I'm not only talking about whether he was able to bring accountability to governments and policymakers.

Here on HN, people tend to think highly of "journalists", especially those involved with foreign policy-related stories, as being some sort of guardians of democracy. Yet Julian Assange has shown that many journalists are in fact working closely together with governments to generate consent for war. To this day, journalists are still actively misleading the public with fearmongering for the Next Big Enemy(r) with whom who we should go into war with next. And a large part of the public — including the HN crowd — are still falling for this.

In the centenary year of Kafka’s death.
still no word of what happened to his beloved pet guinea pigs during his time at the Ecuadorian embassy.
WebMD > "The average guinea pig lifespan is between five to eight years"
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The damage to freedom of speech is already done. Any free society can't afford to not investigate the way the justice system has been abused in multiple democratic nations to achieve a punishment without conviction. The people who carried that out should be held to account.

I get that the US has (had?) an interest to make him pay and that the only thing that really counts in geo-politics is power — but I don't see why my country should be allied with a nation that punishes the people uncovering their war crimes instead of (at least: also?) punishing those who carried them out.

That being said I can't shake the feeling that it would also be to some degree in the self interest of US citizens that their government respects the rule of law. Hard to claim to be the good guy while you are the driving force behind such things or propaganda campaigns against vaccines¹ or all² the³ other¹¹ things¹² the¹³ has¹¹¹ done¹¹²

¹: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-covi...

²: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-67582813

³: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor

¹¹: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=MKUltra

¹²: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1953_Iran_coup

¹³: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Chilean_coup_d%27%C3%A9...

¹¹¹: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_Brazilian_coup_d%27%C3%...

¹¹²: You get the point, also not all superscript numbers seem to be supported on HN

The timing of this less than 2 weeks before the UK gets a new Prime Minister can’t be a coincidence.

I don’t believe that Starmer would have actually have dropped extradition proceedings against Assange as he’s extremely stingy with his political capital, but I guess things look different on the other side of the Atlantic. Easy to see a “left wing” government incoming and think “oh shit we’d better agree a plea deal”.

As a fellow aussie I'm proud of Assange. I am kind of surprised other Australians feel the same because we're kind of a nation of bootlickers. I'm curious what happens now though. If he returns to Australia. Is he actually going to have real freedom and privacy? Or is this going to be kind of superficial where everything he does is monitored by like 5 different agencies and he can't even use the Internet. Like, I've got to see the result to believe it...
we arent bootlickers, thats just our politicians and business leaders.
How do the politicians get elected then? You're not (on average) bootlickers but do prefer to be ruled by bootlickers?
people on average are naive about politics, even when they declare they dont trust politicians. they fall for the same tricks every time: fear and greed mostly. they then go and vote based on what they think will maximise their returns and the people they vote for turn around and start bootlicking while ignoring domestic concerns until the next election cycle. so no, we arent bootlickers, stupid yes, bootlickers no.
You're probably right given ned kelly and all
Reminder, for context, since news stations that should know better are parroting the narrative that he published unredacted stuff as soon as he got it, instead of What Actually Happened:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110901064746/https://wikileaks...

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So basically he done his time
Yes, and voluntarily, at that.
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The Belmarsh thing wasn’t voluntary in the least
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Well that was all worth it
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.

Hopefully he will not have a mysterious accident not too long after returning home.
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?

> 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.

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.

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It's bittersweet. It seems likely to me that the US government didn't really want an open trial due to the possibility of scrutiny and that indefinite detention without trial followed by setting the legal precedent that aiding and abetting legal whistleblowers is a criminal conspiracy was their goal.
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What was the deal?
Amazing to see!
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The lack of support and lack of agitation by the Australian Government on both sides of parliament is a testament to how bad Australian politics is.

He was an Australia citizen left out to dry.

Disgraceful.

Aus can hardly antagonize us/uk
Don't help our own citizens in trouble, in case we offend a foreign country?
Depends on the foreign country. It's the US, so yes.
Just go look up former prime minister Julia Gillard address US congress.

I cringe every time I rewatch.

(Then again thanks to Wikileaks we now know US were “assessing” whether Gillard would be a good replacement to Rudd a year before it all happened… so I guess that made her a fan!

Our core military strategy is to suck up to naval superpowers in hopes they'll include us in their own defense strategy. It's sound policy, but it means that ultimately we can't afford to piss them off.
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Yup. It's a bit like the relationship between Belarus and Russia - perhaps even more supplicative.

Aus sent troops to the invasion of Vietnam too. You dont do that unless you badly want to suck up to the US. Even the UK who will do virtually anything else for the US didnt do that.

oh geez, youre right. cant stop shaking my head. i always knew we were terrible at being independent (we voted to keep the monarchy ffs).
How appropriate you have the same monarch as other countries with the same relationship with the US though. I am British and feel the same about our relationship with the US.
Why does Australia need help with defence though? I don't remember any country having conflict or issues with Australia, and it is a remote, hard to reach island anyway.
Anywhere in south east Asia is within China’s grasp, In Asia, which is Next Door and closer than New Zealand, strongly dislike Australia due to supporting East Timorese independence.

Part the Random Caps I use iOS voice dictation

> I don't remember any country having conflict or issues with Australia

During WW2 we were bombed by the Japanese.

Is this comment sarcastic or a joke or something? China...
It's not just a foreign country, it's their boss.
Australia is a long time critical ally of the US that has accumulated significant political and social capital and can expect any requests to be considered seriously.
Well, I hope we all learned a lesson about whistle blowing.

Keep your name and any trace back to you out of it.

No idea how but I have yet to see a story of a whistleblower not getting fucked over.

Probably the answer is to not bother and try and destroy the system from within.

The celebration is premature. The deal could fall through. Don't you remember what happened last year with Hunter Biden, he had a deal until he didn't.
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Amazing news.

#FREEDASSANGE

Special thanks to Donald Trump for spooking the current admin so much that they actually did something good!
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’

https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedeta...

I'm happy that he's been freed from Belmarsh because being locked up for 5 years without a conviction is madness.

However, I won't cheer for Assange, the person. He's using the guise of impartial journalism to be anything but impartial.

His selective disclosure of leaks, with a heavy bias towards NOT disclosing Russian caches, is pretty damning. Assange was shouting from the rooftops that WikiLeaks "doesn't have targets", but at the same time chose to focus on the DNC campaign leaks and decline to publish 2016 caches showing Russian involvement in Ukraine, and Wikileaks declined to publish documents revealing a 2 billion euro transaction between Syrian regime and a Russian bank. WikiLeaks also handed information on Belarusian dissidents to the Lukashenko regime.

Not to mention the infamous leaks of Taliban informants details, to which Assange was quoted saying: "Well, they're informants, so if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it.", as well as the 2015 Saudi leaks which revealed the virginity status of multiple Saudi women, several Saudis suffering from HIV as well as being arrested for being gay.

The level of care and privileges he's had while being imprisoned weren't afforded to the many Afghan informants, Belarusian dissidents and the LGBTQ members in Saudi that he's exposed.

(TL;DR - if Assange was on modern Twitter, I bet he'd be a Assad-loving, anime-pfp-displaying, Putin-bootlicking tankie)

Couldn't have said it better
What's your point? That journalism is biaised? Sure! The important part was that it uncovered important stuff. Saying "what about the Russian documents!!" Is just that, whatboutism
He must be enemy number one for a lot of states who want to make the US look sub human and engage in conspiracies.
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...and the most important WikiLeaks will be published sooon... (in a web-wide-shut near you).
Kudos to the Biden administration for putting an end to yet another long running US boondoggle.
Guantanamo should be next.
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?
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I hope he takes his future security seriously. They are always around the corner.
Good for him, and I'm glad he's out. But this remains a lesson to whistleblowers: "we. will. make. you. suffer". At least he's alive.
What whistle did he blow?
Weird how many people could downvote this and how few people could give an example of him blowing a whistle on something
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.
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.

Yes and they are great for releasing all that extra information. Its a fantastic public service they have provided.
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.
OK, so Snowden ann Assange deserve punishment.

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

> 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.

1e13 dollars is not that much money, it's just 10 Instagrams, or a quarter of WhatsApp.

It's not enough to move the needle on the dollar value, it's barely more than a buck per person om earth.

They deserve punishment too.
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He worked as a conduit for Russian interests.
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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.

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.

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.

and stole classified documents.

Wait, Assange or Trump?

Russia hacks the DNC, Wikileaks distributes the hacked emails, Trump gets elected. Assange is a POS.
The fact that he has to plead guilty even to one charge is so disappointing and also inconsistent. Assange just published others’ leaks. This is just journalism right? Would the NYT or WaPo get in trouble for publishing leaked private information? For example recently with Trump’s tax returns. The way Assange has been vilified and confined and threatened is disgusting.

Still, I hope he finds happiness and peace.

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My issue is that he was influenced by Russia. Aka they threatened his life and he then proceeded to leak information about the US but keep Russian secrets.

I mean I don’t blame him for not wanting to be murdered by Russia but he isn’t a freedom fighter when he only leaks things for countries that don’t directly threaten his life.

>he was influenced by Russia

This argument is completely nonsensical, this idea that who revealed the crime matters more than the actual crime.

What does it matter who "influenced" him, if the information was legit? And is it your opinion that none of this information should be released unless it covers all countries equally? Do you honestly think he should have thought, I can't reveal this crime until I find an equal Russian crime, for equality. What a wonderful, open world that would be! Utterly ridiculous.

This is the same stupidity as "Hunter's laptop". It allows the Idiocracy to dismiss anything because "the Russians!".

> What does it matter who "influenced" him

Because they may have influenced the timing and content of the leaks to further their own ends. Revealing sensitive information is not a neutral act. It has consequences far beyond the exposure of bad actors.

Again, the fundamental argument is that the bad actors still had time, chance and opportunity to own and be accountable for the misdeeds but chose to hide them instead. Any ability to influence the timing of the release is still a direct consequence of their underlying malfeasance.
I don't dispute that. But just because it is good to expose bad actors does not mean that any mode of exposing bad actors is an unalloyed good. The exposure of bad actors can (and usually does) have ancillary effects, and those ancillary effects can be bad. They can in some cases be bad enough that they are arguably worse than the original malfeasance of the exposed bad actors. Assange's release of Clinton's emails, for example, may well have swung the 2016 election in Trump's favor, but it would be a stretch to claim that the emails contained evidence of bad acts that merited this outcome.
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Then maybe you shouldn't commit atrocities that can then be used against you. I already know the government of Russia is evil. They're not accountable to me. The American government, ostensibly, is. I want every single evil act they ever willingly partake in exposed with the maximum possible impact, because that's my tax dollars being used to murder people.
This “my tax dollars” argument is so facile. Does this mean then that your employer gets to control your actions because it’s their dollars funding your actions? The money changed hands - it’s the governments.

The underlying principle is the rule of law and the Constitution codifies the powers of the government with legislation codifying more details. That’s why the government is accountable to you, not because of your tax dollars. If you are a citizen who doesn’t need to pay any taxes, the government should be as equally accountable to you as to the very wealthy because of the rule of law and everyone being equal to it.

  • causi
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  • 3 weeks ago
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Does this mean then that your employer gets to control your actions because it’s their dollars funding your actions?

...yes. That's what a job is. There are also off-duty codes of conduct employees must adhere to.

That’s why the government is accountable to you, not because of your tax dollars.

I didn't say my taxes are why they're accountable. I said my taxes are why I want any and all evil actions taken by them exposed.

You should want transparency as a matter of the rule of law - you can’t know what laws are broken or what changes to the law need to be made if there isn’t transparency.

Again, we’re aligned on that. But the “ma taxes” argument is facile because for nearly 100 years there wasn’t even income tax so it was secondary taxes through purchases or tariffs. As for off duty codes, there usually aren’t any meaningful ones and they generally are very constrained by the legal system (eg they can’t punish you for political activity). It’s the same reason someone standing up to a politician and screaming “my taxes fund your salary” is blatantly incorrect. The economy is a circular dependent system. For example, government tax dollars pay corporations which then pay your salary which you then get taxed on. You’re over privileging your personal role in the economic system when you make this argument and then the next follow up argument is “well I pay more taxes than you so I should get more of a say than you in how government is run”. It’s a flawed premise that leads to all sorts of directly harmful lines of reasoning. Just argue that we’re a country based on the rule of law and no one is above that. That’s literally the founding principle of the country.

  • causi
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Again, I am not and have not said my taxes are the reason I do or should have a say over the behavior of the government. I'm saying my taxes are my personal connection to the actions of the government, that they are why I care, nothing else. The taxes are my emotional motivation to assert my Constitutional rights.
Your personal connection is the society you, your family, and your friends live in and voting in said democracy and participating to protect it. I’m not sure connecting money to emotions is a healthy endeavor.
  • causi
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  • 3 weeks ago
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Money is a proxy for life and time. If my money is used to hurt someone, that means the product of my time and my effort was used to hurt someone. That makes me angry.
It’s a tool. It’s an important tool no doubt. Perhaps the most important tool in our lives. And you have to know how to wield it appropriately. But do not mistake a tool that enables you to sur