Assange Update

The judge in the Assange extradition case just rejected an appeal and released him on bail. Assange is going to post $375,000 bail and have his movements tracked as he awaits extradition to be questioned by a Swedish prosecutor.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is trying to build a conspiracy case against Assange by showing that he “encouraged” Bradley Manning to leak documents. As far as I can tell, the encouragement Assange provided was on the level of source confirmation, something every journalist does when they receive leaked information.

This kind of prosecution would set a pretty awful precedent for our press, yet the only protest I’ve seen from the US media is a letter from some journalism professors. Contrast this with Australia, where representatives from major media outlets sent a protest to their prime minister.

165 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    Good to see that the Brits still take the notion of “justice” seriously.

    Wish my country would do the same.

  2. 2
    amk says:

    Pity the present aussie pm julia’s sympathy is more on the side of gobinment.

    Kudos to the brits.

  3. 3
    Bulworth says:

    America’s corporate media have spoken out about this–they are enthusiastically demanding Assange’s arrestprosecutiontorture.

  4. 4
    Peter J says:

    Consider what he’s suspected of.
    Consider that hasn’t been charged, and is only wanted for questioning.
    Consider that he cooperated with the Swedish prosecution in Sweden.
    Consider that he left the country only after the prosecution said it was ok for him to do so.

    A $375,000 bail?

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @geg6: The Brits have had their share of injustice with respect to their national security apparatus. Birmingham Six? Maze prison? DA notices? The US doesn’t have the market cornered.

  6. 6
    John W. says:

    Your fatal assumption here, of course, is that our media actually does any reporting.

    Why do the hard stuff when you can just talk about “the politics” and “the optics” of decisions instead?

    In a related story, I really hate David Gregory.

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You are correct. However, after the last ten years, I have seen more justice come from Britain than from the USofA. At the very least, they haven’t “looked forward” when it comes to the crimes their government committed. They have actually investigated Blair’s lies, if not prosecuted them. I know it’s crumbs, but it’s more than we’ve done.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    Oops! Looks like we have some more enemies of society who perhaps need to be assassinated.

    And what’s worse, they went to the caliphate-loving foreign Muslimanian media to launch their economic terrorism.

    Boeing Whistleblowers Uncover Possibility Of ‘Catastrophic’ Event In Al Jazeera Exclusive
    Boeing 737NG planes might not be as safe as expected: Al Jazeera conducted interviews with Boeing whistleblowers about key structural parts in planes that are flown by over 150 airlines, according to Al Jazeera.
    The whistleblowers claim that the parts in question were made by a Boeing subcontractor between 1996 and 2004 and were ill-fitting (so much so that they could lead to a “catastrophic” event) but Boeing used them anyway.
    These whistleblowers produced documents from within the Boeing corporation about their concerns, yet, according to Al Jazeera, Boeing continues to do nothing about it.

  9. 9

    I think mistermix is just asking for the grammatically-challenged hacker at this point. inb4 cudlips, wai ooda system-killer wecs explosion.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    El Cid says:

    The Guardian reports that it was British prosecutors, and not Swedish, who attempted to deny bail to Assange.

    Julian Assange bail decision made by UK authorities, not Sweden
    Swedish prosecutor’s office says it has ‘not got a view at all on bail’ and that Britain made decision to oppose it
    The decision to have Julian Assange sent to a London jail and kept there was taken by the British authorities and not by prosecutors in Sweden, as previously thought, the Guardian has learned.
    The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.
    It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor’s office told the Guardian it had “not got a view at all on bail” and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.
    Lawyers for Assange reacted to the news with shock and said CPS officials had told them this week it was Sweden which had asked them to ensure he was kept in prison.

    Prosecutors, for their part, verified the report but stated that it is always the part of the UK prosecutors to decide bail issues; but it might strike people as odd that this would not be coordinated with the foreign authority requesting the person’s arrest and extradition.

  12. 12
    John W. says:

    @El Cid:

    But it can’t be true if teh Arab press reported it!

  13. 13
    SteveinSC says:

    @geg6: Well so much for the Gipper’s “shining city on the hill.” Welcome to the frightened, cowardly, bankrupt United Security States of America. Justice? We don’t need no stinking justice! Next up, renaming the FBI the Sicherheit Dienst.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I think you were memetically selected to write that.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    the so-called MSM hasn’t been up in arms, because basically they know that, on whole, Assange has basically done THEIR job. these so-called journalists today are nothing but poseurs and frauds., who wouldn’t know how to investigate a story if someone put a gun to their heads.

  16. 16
    John W. says:

    The City on the Hill is shining because they have so many damn spotlights looking for illegal immigrants.

  17. 17
    Bullsmith says:

    Is there any significant media org that doesn’t simply defer to the wishes of the government these days and suppress or distort information rather than, you know, report it?

  18. 18
    homerhk says:

    If you read the NY article to which you link and then your post, it seems to me that your post is a little misleading. The article says that federal prosecutors are looking into whether they is any evidence to show Assange encouraged or helped the leak of classified information. The encouragement/help that they are looking for seems to me to go way beyond “source confirmation” (i presume this is merely about verifying the source is who he/she says it is) which is why they need to examine the chat logs themselves to see what’s in them. It is clear that the simple existence of the chat logs themselves are not sufficient to build a case of accessory to the leak.

    It is also made clear in the NY article that the focus is on the leak activity rather than the publication activity because they don’t want to and have little legal reason to go after the newspapers who published the information – that point seems to directly counter your point about an awful precedent for the press.

    At its heart, it is relatively simple. the person who leaked the information (whether you agree with it or not) did commit a crime. Any person who aided and abetted the leak can also committed a crime. All the NY article says is that federal prosecutors are investigating whether there is sufficient evidence to show that Assange aided and abetted the leak itself.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Peter J: Bail is designed to ensure that the accused shows up for trial. Judge, in the US at least, take into considerations factors including, but not limited to, seriousness of the alleged crime, ties to the community, assets of the accused, and flight risk. Assange does not have any real ties to either Britain or Sweden, and he appears to have a reasonable amount of money to support his activities.

  20. 20
    El Cid says:

    @John W.: Maybe there could be a few more accidental smart bomb strikes or imprisoning and beating their cameramen by US forces.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    @homerhk: That one’s pretty simple, and was pretty obvious from the start. It’s the leaking of information which is the crime, and I think it’s certainly possible, maybe even very likely, for Assange / Wikileaks to have helped Manning and/or whoever to carry out the leaking. Or maybe not.

  22. 22
    homerhk says:

    El Cid, precisely. I don’t think it’s helpful to decry the justice system when it is actually working as it is meant to. The NY article makes it clear that prosecutors have found it hard to find a crime that has been committed by Assange but that investigations are underway. They are not making up evidence, they are not making up crimes. They are investigating to see if a crime has been committed. That is the way the system is supposed to work.

  23. 23
    Dennis SGMM says:


    At its heart, it is relatively simple. the person who leaked the information (whether you agree with it or not) did commit a crime. Any person who aided and abetted the leak can also committed a crime. All the NY article says is that federal prosecutors are investigating whether there is sufficient evidence to show that Assange aided and abetted the leak itself.

    Why, oh why, can’t we look ahead instead of looking back?

  24. 24
    MattMinus says:

    Our elite journalists have internalized teh Mukasey line and believe that they are guilty of teh same crimes as Assange, but they are “too big to prosecute” and will be saved by prosecutorial discretion.

  25. 25
    homerhk says:

    Dennis SGMM,

    presumably a supposedly witty reference to lack of torture investigations/convictions. Well, first there are some (limited) investigations into torture. Second, I am in favour of investigating torture and war crimes and I don’t think that’s inconsistent with investigating other potential criminal acts, including Assange’s.

  26. 26
    Jay C says:

    Well, at least somebody in Australia has the brass to make an unequivocal stand against the call for violence against Julian Assange: there was a full-page ad in today’s New York Times from an organization called GetUp, claiming to have been signed by “92,897” Australians condemning the smear of Assange as a “terrorist”.

    I’m surprised they published it……

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    I think it’s time we dispel with the notion that the American media are anything other than PR flacks for the wealthy and powerful. They are not “useless”, “lazy”, or “stupid”. They are the enemy.

  28. 28
    Culture of Truth says:

    something every journalist does when they receive leaked information.

    If they did that lately, instead gushing over John McCain

  29. 29
    mk3872 says:

    This kind of prosecution would set a pretty awful precedent for our press

    I hope so. Stealing classified documents is something our press should NOT take lightly.

    Why do you all defend this legal activity?

    Perhaps if something better or enlightening actually came of it?

    But what has been the point and the vast uncovered conspiracy in stealing notes from U.S. diplomats?

    This is one of the instances where Assange’s ego is more the matter here.

  30. 30
    DBrown says:

    homerhk – if so, why is cheney and bush the boy toy still both free? They intentionally blew the cover of a critical CIA agent which in turn destroyed a critical network of informants that helped us keep track of countries trying to get WMD’s (the real ones – nukes).

    Also, the torture, which by our own laws were broken and the methods used were absolutely illegal by any realistic measure so these acts were illegal. All I can say is bullshit – our so called justice system is run by the elite for the welfare of the elite and is a total lie – the banks and those illegal and immoral loans that brought our economy to its knee’s. But then, how many blacks are in jail or being monitored by the so called justice system? Not only is the justice system a joke but it is designed to control and jail minorities at a huge rate – most are guilty of what? Minor drug usage! What a joke. Only money decides justice in the shit hole of amerika.

    Well, at least we are better than China or Russia … .

  31. 31
    Jay C says:

    ADD: GetUp LINK HERE (w. text of NYT ad)

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:

    Fancy that. DOJ is trying to build the case I have described in a large number of comments on this blog. Now if they would just arrange for Manning to be treated in accordance with our laws, he might roll over on Assange.

  33. 33
    JohnR says:


    Why do you all defend this legal activity?

    Ah, there’s the question, eh?

    Anyway, I take the media line on this sort of thing – if you’re not guilty, you have nothing to worry about.

  34. 34
    Jay C says:

    Hmmm .. linkee no workee…

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DBrown: Pointing out that the justice system is working as it should in some area does not constitute a blanket endorsement of the system as a whole.

  36. 36
    homerhk says:

    Dbrown, see Omnes’ comment which says it more eloquently that I could.

    I don’t disagree that the system has its biases, as it does btw in England, Australia and any other ‘civilised’ country where rule of law is supposedly paramount. That’s mainly because although the ‘system’ is quite well designed with rights of defendants, minorities etc, the system has to be managed by ‘human’s’ complete with their own prejudices.

    ETA: my original post was not in any event meant to be an endorsement of the justice system but rather to point out that the durm and strang of this post did not match the underlying substantive article from the NY times; this is one of my biggest bugbears because inevitably the NY times article itself will have been ‘sexed up’ to give it a more exciting slant and then this blog post linking to it doubles down on the sexing up so that an initial statement from federal prosecutors (probably in response to a question about prosecuting assange) to the neutral effect of “we’re investigating the evidence” gets turned into “the feds are on a crusade against the freedom of the press.

  37. 37
    Dennis SGMM says:


    The remark wasn’t even presumably witty. It was thinly veiled anger at the long-standing tradition that U.S. Presidents never investigate their predecessors and now their entire administrations – no matter what the damage they did. The attempt to make that sound noble was, to my mind, utter crap.

  38. 38
    The Republic of Stupidity says:


    Well… Russian reporters have been getting beaten up and killed w/ alarming regularity the last few years…

  39. 39
    DBrown says:

    Why is Manning not out on bail as he awaits the states trial – our so-called justice system says you are innocent until proven guilty … yet he is being treated to conditions that many countries use as torture but he has been convicted yet? or did I miss the trial (I really haven’t followed most of this until recently) ?

  40. 40
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    He also appears to have ample reason to run like the wind for his dear life… if I’m Julian, I’m very, very very worried about ending up mysteriously dead, the sad aftermath of a crime never solved…

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Peter J:

    It appears that you misunderstand the purpose of bail. The purpose of bail is to secure the arrested person’s attendance. In order to be effective, it must be a sum large enough that that person (and his or her financial backers) would not lightly forfeit it.

    Assange’s sources of financial support are not known (odd, that, isn’t it, the transparency advocate being less than transparent where his own affairs are concerned) but it is not unreasonable to surmise that they are extensive. If anything, 200,000 pounds seems low.

  42. 42
    me says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: I hope many people have the key to the insurance file.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:


    Manning is in the military justice system, which has no concept of bail, but has a different set of procedural safeguards for the accused.

    Google is your friend.

  44. 44
    jwb says:

    @Jay C: I’m rather sure wikileaks has been good for circulation and ad revenues.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: To be fair, if the Greenwald column from yesterday is accurate, Manning is being mistreated.

  46. 46
    homerhk says:

    It must also be added that the letter to the Australian prime minister is about the publication
    of this leaked material, not about the leaking itself. Again, I would say that the investigation into Assange relates to the leaking action, not to publication (obviously there would be no need to pursue an investigation as to whether wikileaks had published the information).

  47. 47
    geg6 says:


    Hmmmm, there’s something wrong with this comment. Let’s see…what could it be?

    Oh, wait. Assange completely cooperated with Swedish officials when he first was accused there. He didn’t run, he didn’t hide, and he turned himself in. Whoa, wait a minute! He did the same thing in England! Wow. Seems that if a guy was planning on running and hiding with the massive shadowy financial backing he so obviously has, he’d do it and not turn himself in, wouldn’t it? And I’m thinking that Bianca Jagger and Michael Moore and the dude whose giant estate he’ll be staying at are more than a little pissed that you don’t want to give them any credit.

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @geg6: And if he shows up like he is supposed to, the whole bail amount is returned. What do Bianca Jagger and Michael Moore have to do with Assange’s bail? I am really not sure where you are going with this. Burnspesq is quite accurate in his description of the purpose of bail. I noted some of the factors that go into a bail decision above. Bail isn’t punishment.

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:


    From your perspective, the principal thing “wrong” with the comment is that I wrote it. Facts and law are irrelevant to you. You can’t see past your personal animus. So I will give your comment all the consideration it doesn’t deserve.

  50. 50
    jwb says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s a big “if” given how Greenwald wrote his remarks. Greenwald knows what he is doing. Ambiguities over what was said by his unnamed sources and what was confirmed by Villiard are at the polemical heart of article, and his update is particularly precious in this respect. Given the nature of Greenwald’s charges, I would have preferred that he name his sources or at least give some indication what danger there is in naming them. He whacks people regularly for relying on unnamed sources, and yet here he is doing exactly what he condemns.

  51. 51
    The Republic of Stupidity says:


    And it better be one hell of an insurance policy…

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    He got bail. A judge ordered it.

  53. 53
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Fuck, at 51 posts in, I would’ve expected matoko to show up by now too…

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jwb: I don’t disagree. I said yesterday that, if and when there is independent confirmation of the story, I will be up in arms about it. Until then, I am going to hold my fire, or, at least, attach caveats to anything I say about it.

  55. 55
    penpen says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m sensing a logical stretch if not outright leap here; it’s not hypocritical to advocate transparency in the public sphere and still believe individuals deserve a degree of confidentiality in personal matters.

  56. 56
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: yes, i do think you and AWS are both stupid. you are obviously, empirically stupid.
    happy naow?
    shall i have alien-radio explain OODA loop performance degredation for you again? Are you too stupid to understand it?

    alien-radio: To massively simplify. Success is built on having a nice open functioning OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop. When A paranoid system adds layer after layer of security, bluffs, FUD, etc. at increasing strength as the core of the system is approached, Information flow across the entire system is compromised, and the OODA loops of the component parts start getting more and more out of whack,they respond to information more and more slowly, make decisions slower, or worse always make the SAME decision etc. This is how non linear information systems collapse.
    If you can complete your OODA loop faster than your opponent you will win.

    how many times do i have to shove the cattle prod of empirical data up your stupid bovine asses?
    it doesnt matter if you think Assanges design technically cant work or morally shouldnt work.

    For all U.S. troops: you can still access 2000 mirrors |
    about 20 hours ago via web
    U.S. Air Force bans troops from reading The New York Times |
    about 20 hours ago via web

  57. 57
    gizmo says:

    The same British judge who originally denied Assange bail had allowed an accused murderer to walk out of his courtroom on bail, just a couple weeks prior.


  58. 58
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Op, there we go. The world is set right again.

  59. 59
    MikeJ says:


    If anything, 200,000 pounds seems low.

    Keeping in mind England has a “special relationship” with a country of psychopathic loons 200k quid seems a small price to pay to get away.

  60. 60
    jak says:

    Manning is probably being held in torturous solitary confinement until he somehow implicates Assange in some kind of conspiracy. Sweden is complicit. (See Greenwald’s recent post on Manning.)

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: If Assange were interested in getting away, I doubt he would have turned himself in. If he skips bail, he is a fugitive and he or his backers are out $375,000. If he hadn’t turned himself in, he would be a wanted man and still have the $375K. It is unlikely that he is going to run; in which case, he gets the money back.

  62. 62
    Ash Can says:

    OT, but remember that federal judge in Virginia who ruled the ACA insurance mandate unconstitutional? Seems the only way he was able to reach that conclusion was to base it on faulty logic, thus exposing his decision to the very real likelihood of being thrown out. I guess there’s a reason the 14 other judges didn’t come up with a decision like Hudson’s.

  63. 63
    dr. bloor says:


    Is bail appropriately set based on the accused’s means or his crime? I noted in a quick Google search that William Kennedy had to come up with all of $10,000 in bail when accused of rape a number of years ago.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dr. bloor: Means and seriousness of the crime are factors to be considered in the decision.

  65. 65
    Chyron HR says:


    how many times do i have to shove the cattle prod of empirical data up your stupid bovine asses?

    Oh, golly. And here we thought you were some sort of internet bag lady, shrieking obscenities and incomprehensible un-words at random passers-by. How could we have been so mistaken?

  66. 66
    Ash Can says:

    Also OT (how can you tell I’m sick and tired of the subject at hand?): In a brief piece noting the passing of Bob Feller, who at the height of his pitching career missed several seasons to serve in WWII, TPM reporter Eric Lach makes an excellent observation:

    “Sometimes I imagine [how] we’d feel about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if LeBron and Derek Jeter were riding Humvees.”

  67. 67
    burnspbesq says:


    “why is cheney and bush the boy toy still both free? They intentionally blew the cover of a critical CIA agent ”

    Because you can’t prove those charges without Libby’s testimony, and he wasn’t given immunity or any other reason to roll over.

    Any other questions?

  68. 68
    penpen says:

    OT but: Scott Brown to vote yes on DADT repeal. Endgame?

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    “To be fair, if the Greenwald column from yesterday is accurate, Manning is being mistreated.”

    Absolutely. I think I said that at last twice yesterday.

  70. 70
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chyron HR: bzzzt wrong.
    im a griefer or a supertroll if you like….my hero Julian is a supertroll too.
    bag ladies dont get balloonjuice FP.
    you’re just another sad old closet-conservative trying desperately to pretend that the ground of cyber-space isnt buckling and erupting under the feet of the powerless hyperpower.

  71. 71
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    @burnspbesq: Your sneering ‘information’ defining bail reminds me of the phrase ‘we’re in business to make money’ as an excuse for any kind of wrongdoing by a commercial entity. Extraneous.

    And this:
    Assange’s sources of financial support are not known (odd, that, isn’t it, the transparency advocate being less than transparent where his own affairs are concerned) but it is not unreasonable to surmise that they are extensive.

    It is in fact unreasonable to surmise convenient points tailored to back up your opinion. You don’t know. You mix half-truths with made-up fantasies.

    I’ve recently realized how full of crap you are burnspq … you have a problem with truth-telling, not only in others but in yourself.

  72. 72
    bookcat says:

    @John W.:

  73. 73
    PS says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Bianca Jagger and Michael Moore volunteered to contribute to the bail fund; that’s their connection. In the end I don’t know if they did, since the lawyers were scrambling to collect the money in cash.

  74. 74
    jurassicpork says:

    Wait’ll you see where poor Julian Assange has to spend his brutal house arrest once he posts bail. I actually pity the poor bastard.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @PS: Okay. That makes sense. Thank you for the info.

  76. 76
    Roy G says:

    @homerhk you seem to be a reasonable, logical person, and have the same expectations of the US legal system. However, your message of ‘the system works’ is predicated on a non-existent impartiality.

    I would encourage you to think about this as you read Dianne Feinstein and Kit Bond’s letter to AG Holder which clearly presumes Assange is guilty…of something.

    It’s obvious that your view isn’t fully operative when Feinstein and Bond close their letter with this neat Orwellian twist:

    “If Mr. Assange and his possible accomplices cannot be charged under the Espionage Act (or any other applicable statute), please know that we stand ready and willing to support your efforts to ‘close those gaps’ in the law.”

  77. 77
    bookcat says:

    I thought the source’s of Assange’s bail $ was publicized yesterday? Michael Moore, Vaughn Smith, some socialite lady? Were there other contibutions not revealed?
    As for US media not supporting this- on the whole, yes. But there are journalists/bloggers etc here protesting this on grounds of free speech. True they are independent media and not MSM.

  78. 78
    retr2327 says:

    My thoughts exactly, and the NYT article supplies the rationale. The chat transcripts between Manning and Assange suggest (so we’re told, w/ the NYT dutifully passing on the gov’t line) that Assange conspired with Manning, thereby making him prosecutable without iimplicating the rest of the MSM. But those transcripts are hearsay, and will not support a conviction, by themselves.

    Therefore, what the feds need is for Manning to cooperate and testify against Assange. Given that, the conditions in which Manning is being held become less a matter of sheer vindictiveness, and more part of a program of systematic pressure to get him to flip.

    Which is all fair enough, within limits, but there’s at least some reason to suspect that those limits are being pushed pretty hard . . .

  79. 79
    THE says:


    Well far be it for me to distract you from your current passion.
    But in case you were wondering what other cool things were going on in this arm of the Galaxy,

    I noticed that they’ve started uploading the videos from the 2010 Singularity Summit.

  80. 80
    homerhk says:

    RoyG, ah but Feinstein and Bond don’t make the decisions about what to investigate and/or whether a crime has been committed. As far as I have been able to discern, this administration has been pretty good at allowing Holder and the DOJ the proper measure of independence (some exceptions aside).

    And, really, the historically the impetus for a lot of legislation is to “close the gaps” (things that might otherwise be called loopholes) which exist in current legislation. This is not to approve or disapprove of any new law that ‘closes the gaps’ (as ever, it will depend on the precise wording of the legislation and in any event will likely not be able to be retroactive). But, this is all how the system is supposed to work. I’m fine with it even as I acknowledge that there are flaws (as there will be in any system).

  81. 81
    homerhk says:

    Also, a couple of comments to those (inspired no doubt by the deeply conspiratorial and misleading GG column today) who suspect that Manning has been put in solitary confinement to get him to flip on Assange:

    – if any statement is obtained by pressurising Manning akin to torture (or even less) it is likely to be inadmissible due to it being a coerced statement. In any event, any semi-competent defense lawyer (to which I presume Assange would have ready access) would be able to disect any such testimony given by Manning (assuming that it is untrue, of course).

    – if it is true that Assange and Manning did conspire, trying to get one conspirator to flip on another is an asbolute staple of investigations and the criminal justice system. If you are happy for this to happen in the context of, say, drug dealers or arms dealers, why should it not happen in this case (where undoubtedly a crime has been committed, to with the leaking of classified material).

    – even if there is a hearsay problem with the chat logs, they can lead to actual evidence (such as the servers allegedly used by Manning to leak directly to wikileaks).

    In any event, my overall message would be to wait for the investigation to unfold and to run its course. If the government were really that desparate to indict Assange, they would have done so already even on a flimsy basis. They haven’t, the investigation is ongoing which demonstrates to me that the DOJ is entirely aware that on current evidence there is not enough to indict Assange with.

  82. 82
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chyron HR:

    I think matoko-kun’s notions of what constitutes “empirical data” might differ from yours or mine.

  83. 83
    burnspbesq says:

    @ornery curmudgeon:

    Pathetic. Is that all you have?

  84. 84
    Silver says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’d imagine you’d have a bunch of terrorists from Cleveland setting up IEDs in that case…

  85. 85
    burnspbesq says:


    And your point would be?

    The decision to grant or deny bail is based (or should be based) on all relevant circumstances. You’ve provided no basis on which anyone can undertake a reasoned critique of that earlier decision.

    When you do, if you do, then we can talk about it. Until then, you’re wasting everyone’s time and John’s money.

  86. 86
    El Cid says:

    Interesting points from Columbia School of Journalism faculty members—who, interestingly enough, are not Glenn Greenwald—sending a letter to Obama & Holder. about how the standards being applied to Assange and Manning would likely severely damage the ability of journalists to carry out their functions (in the ideal world in which they’re investigating and reporting).

    As faculty members and officers of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, we are concerned by recent reports that the Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against Julian Assange or others associated with Wikileaks.
    Journalists have a responsibility to exercise careful news judgment when classified documents are involved, including assessing whether a document is legitimately confidential and whether there may be harm from its publication.
    But while we hold varying opinions of Wikileaks’ methods and decisions, we all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables Wikileaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment. Any prosecution of Wikileaks’ staff for receiving, possessing or publishing classified materials will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in any publication or medium, potentially chilling investigative journalism and other First Amendment-protected activity.
    As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves.
    The U.S. and the First Amendment continue to set a world standard for freedom of the press, encouraging journalists in many nations to take significant risks on behalf of transparency. Prosecution in the Wikileaks case would greatly damage American standing in free-press debates worldwide and would dishearten those journalists looking to this nation for inspiration.
    We urge you to pursue a course of prudent restraint in the Wikileaks matter.
    Please note this letter reflects our individual views, not a position of Columbia University or the Journalism School.

    If this approach did happen to affect the ability to pursue investigative journalism, this would be a worthwhile sacrifice, because a lot of major news sources get tired of paying the extra money for investigative reporting anyway.

  87. 87
    burnspbesq says:

    @dr. bloor:

    As noted in my previous comments, the purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant’s appearance at trial, and the decision to grant bail, and the amount, should be an all-facts-and-circumstances inquiry.

    Based solely on recollection, with no opportunity to do any research, I don’t think it would have been implausible for a judge to conclude that Mr. Smith was not a serious flight risk. I don’t recall whether the Senator made any express representations to the court at the time, but it is not difficult to imagine a judge assuming that he would make sure his nephew showed up, because the political blowback if he didn’t would be enormous and uncontrollable.

  88. 88
    Perry Como says:

    I love our justice system. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it, even if it takes the Attorney General of the United States and his staff months to research if someone can actually be charged with a crime. Even though the best prosecutorial minds in the US may not know if you have done anything wrong, *you* should.

    Kafka was not writing fucking instruction manuals.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Perry Como: They are not necessarily researching whether or not a crime was committed, but rather researching whether or not they will be able to prove that a crime has been committed.

  90. 90
    Mike M says:

    I wonder if Ethel and Julius Rosenberg had passed the secrets for the atomic bomb onto WikiLeaks instead of the the Soviets (had WikiLeaks existed in the ’50s) would we be defending a subsequent release of the information from WikiLeaks as freedom of the press. Certainly, the Rosenbergs would still have been guilty of espionage, but what responsibility does someone who receives government secrets have? No doubt, many believe the NY Times to be a tool of the US government, but I think they take their responsibilities very seriously to be judicious on how they treat confidential information of all sorts, and are careful not to expose individuals to harm. Until recently, WikiLeaks has seemed to be operating under a different set of rules.

    I thought that the NY Times did an excellent job today of explaining the issues involved in determining whether WikiLeaks/Assange conspired with Pfc. Manning in obtaining the release of confidential government information. If WikiLeaks was just a passive recipiant of the information, I think that they are blameless on an accusation of conspiracy. If instead they facilitated and ecouraged Manning to steal a trove of confidential information, then they were complicit in the crime. Even in that case, I would feel they were acting ethically if they were working to expose a specific instance of government malfeasance rather than seeking instead to collect and release a huge cache of confidential and secret information.

  91. 91
    AAA Bonds says:

    A conspiracy charge?

    That’s ridiculous. Here’s something I never though I’d say, or read outside of Eric Holder and the Obama Administration are making us look to all the world like Chavez’s Venezuela.

  92. 92
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Mike M:

    Here’s the difference: Manning and Assange are both on your side, and are willing to suffer for it. I thank them for myself, and for you.

    The New York Times is on the side of the elite and the government – on the side of the people who want to keep information from you – and I can guarantee you that they will be there UNTIL they begin to suffer for it, at which point they will suddenly ALWAYS have been on your side.

    I’d suggest you do away with any impractical illusions about who is responsible to you. Identifying with the Attorney General and the Times on this one is, in this case, siding with the enemy.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AAA Bonds: Why is it ridiculous?

  94. 94
    burnspbesq says:


    I don’t disagree with the principle you are espousing, but in my view Assange made his finances a legitimate topic of public discussion when he applied for bail.

  95. 95
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I can go ahead and answer it for ’em: the only people who will ever believe a crime was committed is the same media figures who believe everything they say, whenever they say it.

    This excludes the Justice Department folks who are cooking up the false charges to come. They definitely do not actually believe a crime was committed.

  96. 96
    burnspbesq says:

    @Roy G:

    Dianne Feinstein and Kit Bond’s letter to AG Holder

    Umm, isn’t the operative principle here “consider the source?”

  97. 97
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Because if it happens, it’s a trumped-up lie created by people scrabbling and struggling to charge a journalist with the crime of publishing information from a whistleblower.

    You can’t possibly believe that the U.S. government is pursuing a legitimate interest beyond its ongoing information war with the public.

    We can call it “The War Against You”.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @Roy G:

    Your “neat Orwellian twist?” Umm, there’s something in the Constitution about ex post facto laws. If we can’t get Assange under a law that was on the books at the time he acted, tough noogies on us.

  99. 99
    AAA Bonds says:

    I’ll just repeat the words of Pvt. Manning, the true national hero in all of this, when explaining to walking bag of slime Adrian Lamo why he didn’t sell the secrets:

    Manning: i mean what if i were someone more malicious- i could’ve sold to russia or china, and made bank?

    Lamo: why didn’t you?

    Manning: because it’s public data

    Lamo: i mean, the cables

    Manning: it belongs in the public domain -information should be free – it belongs in the public domain – because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge – if its out in the open… it should be a public good.

    . . . frankly, if we had about a hundred Americans who thought like that in the right places, we’d have the advantage over the government in the information war waged against us.

    I can only hope that more brave souls will follow Manning’s example and defect to our side.

  100. 100
    Perry Como says:

    Why is it ridiculous?

    Because it criminalizes investigative journalism. Real journalists go after sources and try to uncover information. But hey, the powers that be would love to shut down real journalists and just keep the stenographers.

  101. 101
    burnspbesq says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    They definitely do not actually believe a crime was committed.

    Just curious: who at DOJ have you spoken to.

    We’ve gone over and over this, but I’ll do it once more just for you.

    If there was an agreement in place between Assange and Manning, before Manning stole anything, that Wikileaks would publish whatever Manning could steal, that’s a conspiracy, in violation of 18 USC 371.

    If Assange represented to Manning that Wikileaks would publish whatever Manning could steal, and Manning acted in reliance on that representation when he stole the stuff, that’s a slightly closer call, but it’s probably also a conspiracy.

    Aiding and abetting the theft of government property is a violation of 18 USC 641(a), to the same extent as if the aider and abetter stole the stuff himself or herself.

    Receiving stolen government property is a violation of 18 USC 641(a), although there are two problems here: the possibility of a “we didn’t know the stuff was hot” defense, and the need to balance First Amendment values.

    If you think I’ve misstated the law, please come back with Supreme Court or Fourth Circuit cases on point.

    If you don’t like that the law is what it is, that’s your problem, not mine.

  102. 102
    AAA Bonds says:


    And I will respond in the most polite way I can:

    This is a conflict over freedom of information. Assange and Manning are on your side.

    Holder and the Justice Department are on the other side. I certainly have not talked to any of them, because they are out to stop freedom of information, and I have no desire to give them any information about me.

    They do not have a legitimate case to make, or it would have been made. They seek to silence a voice that tells you what your government is actually doing.

    Your defense of them appears as chickenhawk-style strutting: you are arguing, as though you were a Justice Department shark, for trumped-up reasons why a journalist should be shipped across the world and go to jail for telling you the truth, for completely free.

    Wake up.

  103. 103
    burnspbesq says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    That you have a triple-A rating is just further evidence that S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch are continuing to not do their jobs correctly.

  104. 104
    AAA Bonds says:

    And, by the way, Manning didn’t “steal” computers, or body armor, or RPGs, or even pencils. He “stole” data – copied it, actually, since there’s no way he could have deprived the government of it – and he did it to help you out.

  105. 105
    AAA Bonds says:


    Look, man, I just want to tell you something you should repeat to yourself in the mirror: pretending to be aligned with the rich and powerful will not align the rich and powerful with you.

  106. 106
    burnspbesq says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    You must be new here. My views on this matter are well known.

    Manning is a criminal.

    Assange is a non-state political actor. By no stretch of the imagination is he acting with my best interests at heart. He could care fuck-all about me. He has unilaterally decided what’s best for the world, and he is trying to implement that vision, while placing himself outside and above the law and refusing to submit to any kind of democratic accountability. His own “manifesto,” which I assume you have read, makes this unmistakably clear. If Assange had articulated any vision of what world he plans to erect in place of the one he is trying to destroy, that would be nice; however, he appears to care fuck-all about what happens after he breaks all the shit he is currently trying to break. I’m not buying his black box until I see what’s inside it.

  107. 107
    AAA Bonds says:


    Well, then, you have chosen your side against the American people. I hope you at least got your thirty pieces of silver.

    How you can possibly do the mental contortions to characterize as conspiracist and “black box” the man and his methods – which have been completely transparent – is beyond me.

    Are you uninterested in the opaque box that the government is keeping locked in a vault, the one that contains all the nastiest things that have happened in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or the one, maybe, about exactly how Iran has benefited from our invasion of Iraq?

    Personally, as someone who hasn’t thrown in with the enemies of freedom, I would very much like to see inside THAT black box, and I hope Assange’s people can grab it, crack it open, and share it with all of us.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: If wikipedia had an image for “douche” they would solicit your picture.

  109. 109
    burnspbesq says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    Look, man, I just want to tell you something you should repeat to yourself in the mirror: pretending to be aligned with the rich and powerful will not align the rich and powerful with you.

    Umm, not to put too fine a point on it, but you know nothing about me.

    Why are you assuming that I’m not rich and powerful? There’s no more basis for that assumption than for any other assumption you’ve made here this morning.

    News flash: facts matter. Process matters.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    @AAA Bonds: He has. Isn’t that obvious from everything he posts here?
    It should be.

  111. 111
    burnspbesq says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    Well, then, you have chosen your side

    Yes I have. I am opposed to stupidity and naivete in all of their many forms, and you are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

  112. 112
    AAA Bonds says:


    I mean, if you work for Justice, you’re probably part of the problem, yes.

    If you’re some thumb-twiddler in private practice, any fantasies you have about being someone with power, clout, or influence are empty.

    Although now I know for certain that you entertain such fantasies at least some of the time, which explains your eager defense of authoritarianism by the right people.

  113. 113
    AAA Bonds says:


    You’re fighting “stupidity” while I provide “aid and comfort to the enemy”. So you’re not a conservative, but an outright public authoritarian. I never thought I’d actually meet one. I suppose I haven’t, yet.

  114. 114
    Calouste says:

    @Roy G:

    Nice to see that US Senators are openly admitting they are willing to break the constitution.

    Article I, section 9:

    No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

  115. 115
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:


    Generally, I think the system is that you know a crime has been committed and then you go looking for a culprit, rather than first finding your culprit and then seeing if there’s a crime you can pin on him.

    Of course, I live in a country under the rule of law – YMMV…

  116. 116
    Perry Como says:

    @burnspbesq: Weird, here I was thinking you were a run of the mill internet fucktard, but it turns out that you are actually an authoritarian psychopath. No wonder you hate Wikileaks.

  117. 117
    AAA Bonds says:


    By the way, it’s pretty easy to find the massive gaping hole in your fastidiously half-assed “case” here, which is that when your plan is to look around hurriedly and sweep those pesky “First Amendment values” into a dustpan before anyone notices they’re a factor, in what will assuredly become a Supreme Court case if it is heard . . .

    Well, you’re demonstrating why you’ve fallen short of the level of personal achievement that would have you making arguments in front of the Supreme Court.

  118. 118
    RoyG says:

    @homerhk your naivete is outstanding!

    but Feinstein and Bond don’t make the decisions about what to investigate and/or whether a crime has been committed. As far as I have been able to discern, this administration has been pretty good at allowing Holder and the DOJ the proper measure of independence

    The letter was sent to Holder, so obviously they are making their wishes known. If you think he’s not listening, then say hi to Santa Claus for me.

    Your second point is a real howler as well, because according to your logic, Holder has decided independently to continue to policies of the Bush DOJ, and even go beyond them, by prosecuting whistleblowers, not to mention declining to investigate Bush era war crimes.

    Newsflash: Holder is the new Alberto Gonzalez, just more competent looking.

  119. 119
    RoyG says:

    @Calouste: yep, remember that quaint old pre 9/11 motto?

    ‘We are a Nation of Laws, not Men.’

  120. 120
    geg6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Late to the party but Bianca Jagger and Michael Moore and the dude with the huge estate, among others, put up his bail money. Funnily enough, apparently, even with the huge pile of top secret funding you think Assange gets from some shadowy terrorist organization or something, he didn’t have enough funds to pay his bail and supporters, who voluntarily outed themselves, have provided the funds.

    Jeebus. Do you people ever read anything other than BJ?

  121. 121

    […] at the big picture, Mistermix at Ballon Juice also doesn’t see a big different between traditional media organizations and […]

  122. 122
    geg6 says:


    So Bob Woodward should be right in there with Private Manning and Julian Assange? How about Dana Priest? Every single one of them have and continue to encourage their sources to provide classified information. That’s their jobs as investigative reporters.

    Honestly. I am beginning to seriously doubt your legal bona fides.

  123. 123
    Jason In the Peg says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: They are not necessarily researching whether or not a crime was committed, but rather researching whether or not they will be able to prove that a crime has been committed.

    Are you saying that a crime was committed?

  124. 124
    benjoya says:

    not to point out the glaringly obvious, but it seems some folks need it:

    investigative reporters solicit classified information from government sources all the time. (i know holder is going after risen of the NYT, but where’s the two-minute hate and imminent prosecution of bob woodward? he’s an american for crying our loud; a treason charge would stick in this environment.)

  125. 125
    El Cid says:

    @geg6: I don’t think newspapers should be allowed to escape punishment for things the government would prefer not to be disclosed, much less secret documents.

  126. 126
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “Manning and Assange are both on your side,”


    “and are willing to suffer for it.”

    Who the fuck elected them? Who fucking gave them the authority to leak shit about what’s been told to our government, by other head of government and by tribesmen working with our troops, told us in confidence and with the belief it not appear for all to see on the fucking internet? Exactly how much trust do you think our diplomats’ assurances that a conversation will be treated as sensitive and not shared will be now?

    Why should Hilary Clinton have to fucking apologize for the shit an E-2 and a pounced up software engineer pulled? Hilary Clinton got appointed by the President. She’s accountable to us in that Obama can fire her when he wants. Manning and Assange are accountable to no-one. Which is why I’m glad Manning is experiencing the joy and pleasure of the UCMJ.

    If any of you thought after 9/11 or the Iraq Invasion that “the problem with the US is that we don’t use diplomacy enough, or our awareness of what really going on sucks (like the 9/11 report or the Duelfer report indicated), then congratulations: Manning and Assange made it more difficult for our diplomats to find shit out. There will be a war that will result from the degradation in our diplomacy and ability to gather information because of this.

    Assange and Manning don’t give a shit about that because they’re poseurs in the Hollywood Movie in their heads, but the rest of us should. Fucking think beyond the headlines, and mythology of the Heroic Individual Taking on The Man, and think what this really does institutionally to our nation.

  127. 127
    matoko_chan says:

    @Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan: ha. ha. ha. another butthurt petulant rant from an american exceptionalist.
    /golf clap

    it doesnt matter if you think Assange is immoral.
    he gotz the power, and the keystone kops of Amerikkka do not.
    it doesnt matter if you think Assange and WL are good or evil.
    he is doing it because he CAN.
    all our dirty laundry is going to be hung out to dry for the world to see.
    and the powerless hyperpower cannt stop it.

    Mirror List
    Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 2194 sites (updated 2010-12-16 17:45 GMT)

    cant stop the signal.

  128. 128
    matoko_chan says:

    @burnspbesq: well..i give linkage.
    you just pull shit out of your ass.

  129. 129
    TimmyB says:

    Its really quite simple–Obama is having Manning tortured to provide lies about Assange, same as Bush had people tortured so they would tell lies about Saddam.

    Same shit, different day.

  130. 130
    geg6 says:

    @El Cid:

    Boy, I hope this is snark. Because, if not, we are much further down the rabbit hole than I previously believed. It’s really hard to tell any more.

  131. 131
    geg6 says:

    @Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    Oh, please. Even Biden said that this did no damage to the US other than embarrassment. Talk about your drama queen crap.

    Personally, I think we need to think a hell of a lot less about “what this does institutionally to our nation” and a hell of a lot more about what is our nation institutionally doing to us.

  132. 132
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    Who the fuck elected them? Who fucking gave them the authority to leak shit

    What is it with douchebags like you and burnspbesq that keep asking nonsensical questions about “who elected them?”
    Good sweet Christ could you be any more dense?

    I’m not sure when this is going to become clear to other people here.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jason In the Peg: I was not saying that Assange committed a crime. I do not know enough of the details of any agreements between any of the parties involved to make a call on this issue. I would posit that no one on this site knows enough to make that call. I was saying, in response to a suggestion that the laws are so complicated that even the DOJ takes months to decide whether or not they have been violated, that the months of investigation may involve something more than a simple determination of whether or not a crime was committed. It would, in my view, be foolish of the DOJ to prosecute Assange if there was any possibility that they would lose.

  134. 134
    RoyG says:

    @Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    Yes, everything has been going Aces the past 10 years, until that fucking WikiLeaks had to fuck it all up.

    The purpose of whistleblowing is to expose crime and illegal activities. The people crying the loudest are the ones who are worried their crimes and conspiracies will be exposed to the light.

    It’s real simple, like they told us when we found out the US govt was spying domestically: if you didn’t do anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear.

    Those who are committing crimes in the name of the United States should be rightfully, and righteously exposed, and that’s what Wikileaks is doing.

    Corrupt institutions need to be exposed and cleansed, and that includes our own government.

  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @geg6: What is your problem? I asked a question about something you had written.

  136. 136
    burnspbesq says:


    Honestly, I’ve stopped caring what you think.

  137. 137
    burnspbesq says:


    you just pull shit out of your ass.

    Really? Be specific. Find one thing that I have posted in this thread that misstates current law or is factually incorrect, or where I have mislabeled speculation or hypothesis as fact.

    Take all the time you need.

    Or not. You can continue to rave if you prefer. I may not be able to stop the signal, but I can turn off my receiver when the program is nothing but garbage.

  138. 138
    burnspbesq says:


    Do you not understand the distinction between aider-and-abetter liability and receiver liability that I made in comment 101, or do you reject the idea that there should be a distinction?

  139. 139
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @burnspbesq: I thought you had stopped caring what geg6 thinks?

  140. 140
    matoko_chan says:

    @burnspbesq: you do that, cudlip.
    your conspiracy argument is isomorphic with Yoo’s redefintion of “torture”. The Bush admin suborned the juduciary to allow torture, and now the Obama admin is apparently going to suborn the judiciary to redefine “conspiracy” so it can prosecute Assange.
    Why? the intel is loose on the world wide web…it cant be walled off, it cant be stopped– there are over 2k PUBLISHED mirror sites and gawd knows how many secret ones.
    You are pulling shit out of your ass just like Yoo pulled shit out of his ass to justify torture.
    You are an assclown of the first order.

  141. 141
    burnspbesq says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    sweep those pesky “First Amendment values” into a dustpan

    Umm, reading is fundamental, and that’s a blatant misreading of what I said. Which part of “there are two problems here” did you fail to comprehend?

    If you paid attention in any of your classes, you know that the courts have never interpreted “Congress shall make no law” as meaning “NO law.” No First Amendment rights are absolute or immutable. There is a balancing that needs to take place here between two legitimate needs, and since 1800 that balancing has been done by the judiciary. If a media outlet can sell a District Court, a Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court on the notion that its First Amendment rights are more important than the need to punish people who knowingly receive stolen government documents, so be it. I may or may not think that that’s the right answer, but it will be an answer from the people given the Constitutional authority to come up with the answer, and I will learn to live with it. That’s the way our system is designed to work, and if you don’t like the design your beef is with guys who have been dead for almost 200 years.

    Look, I’ll hang around and play all day if you’re serious about engaging on substance, but I won’t play Calvinball with people who want to make up their own reality.

  142. 142
    burnspbesq says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    One last time, for old times’ sake. The Balloon Juice equivalent of breakup sex.

  143. 143
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States

    If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.

    This is the US Code section on conspiracy.

    ETA: FYWP for the irrecoverable blockquote fail.

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:


    You [burnspbesq] are an assclown of the first order.

    Actually, he’s a third rate assclown. But to make up for it, he’s a first rate authoritarian bootlicker.

  145. 145
    burnspbesq says:


    Obama admin is apparently going to suborn the judiciary to redefine “conspiracy” so it can prosecute Assange.

    Fail. Your ignorance of the law is showing. No “redefinition” of the law of conspiracy is needed to prosecute Assange for conspsiracy if the facts are as I believe them to be.

    My challenge to you is the same as my challenge to AAA Bonds: if you think I’ve misapplied or misinterpreted the applicable statutes in my comment 101, bring us a Supreme Court or Fourth Circuit opinion that says so. If you can’t …

    As you yourself said, empirical data roolz. Go find some, if you can.

  146. 146
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And here’s the underlying offense:

    Sec. 641. Public money, property or records

    Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof; or
    Whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted–

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; but if the value of such property in the aggregate, combining amounts from all the counts for which the defendant is convicted in a single case, does not exceed the sum of $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

    The word “value” means face, par, or market value, or cost price, either wholesale or retail, whichever is greater.

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: I actually doubt that the government will be able to make a case stick against Assange, but, if they go for it, it will not be frivolous. I also doubt that it would be a good idea to do it.

  148. 148
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s easy to construct a hypothetical set of facts that would be almost a slam dunk on conspiracy. What no one, other than Manning and Assange, knows at this point is how close the actual facts come to that hypothetical set of facts.

    As much as I’d like to see Assange go down if he’s guilty, in the larger picture the case against Manning is more important. I don’t think megalomaniacs like Assange can be deterred, but misguided E-2s can be. In that sense, Assange walking is not a horrible outcome; it sends a message to potential future Mannings that all of the heat will land on them, and them alone, if they get caught, and their so-called friends will desert them in their hour of need. See, e.g., the delinquent payment from Wikileaks to the Manning defense fund.

  149. 149
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Yes, I think Manning is toast and I don’t feel particularly bad about it.

  150. 150
    eemom says:


    cudlip! assclown! authoritarian!

    nothing personal — I was just worried that the blog might explode if two sane people were able to engage in a dialogue longer than 4 comments without interruption.

    carry on.

  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom:Sane? I think I resent that. ;)

  152. 152
    matoko_chan says:

    @eemom: and you are a dumbass subsapient cow that is too stupid to feel the jackboot on your throat.
    enjoy the police state.

    Columbia Journalism Faculty call for Government to recognise Wikileaks’ First Amendment Rights |
    6:05 PM Dec 14th via web

  153. 153
    matoko_chan says:

    all my comments are now marked as spam.
    thnx mistermix!
    fucking freedom of speech, how does it work?

  154. 154
    eemom says:


    for shame little twerp!

    and JUST when I was starting to think you were sorta cute….

  155. 155
    THE says:


    I think it works when you have too many links in one comment (I believe more than 3 including any “Reply” link),
    or if you have certain forbidden words that trigger the spam filter.
    e.g. the dreaded sociaIism word.

  156. 156
    burnspbesq says:


    Omnes and I disabled the self-destruct mechanism using matoko’s nanotech. It is definitely not WAI.


  157. 157
    burnspbesq says:


    all my comments are now marked as spam.

    Definitive proof of the existence of God!

  158. 158
    burnspbesq says:

    This is an extremely smart post by an extremely smart woman.

  159. 159
    matoko_chan says:

    @burnspbesq: GG.

    In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Federal investigators are “are looking for evidence of any collusion” between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning — “trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped” the Army Private leak the documents — and then “charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.” To achieve this, it is particularly important to “persuade Private Manning to testify against Mr. Assange.” I want to make two points about this.
    First, the Obama administration faces what it perceives to be a serious dilemma: it is — as Savage writes — “under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking,” but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law. Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism. Thus, claiming that WikiLeaks does not merely receive and publish classified information, but rather actively seeks it and helps the leakers, is the DOJ’s attempt to distinguish it from “traditional” journalism. As Savage writes, this theory would mean “the government would not have to confront awkward questions about why it is not also prosecuting traditional news organizations or investigative journalists who also disclose information the government says should be kept secret — including The New York Times.”

  160. 160
    matoko_chan says:

    @burnspbesq: i cant link Sewer at the American Prospect for some reason.

    Charlie Savage reports that the Department of Justice is planning on charging Julian Assange with conspiracy, which is about the least terrible path for the government to take having made the bad decision to prosecute him in connection with his publication of said material at all.
    Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system. If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.
    I say this is merely the “least terrible” because, unlike simply charging a person with publishing classified material in the public interest, conspiracy would theoretically require some sort of active collusion between the publisher and the leaker. If Assangem say, explained to Manning how to smuggle the files out, that might weigh in favor of a conspiracy charge.
    But that line is less clear than it seems. The government could argue, after all, that Wikileaks, by advertising the fact that they publish secret information, was actively soliciting it and encouraging leakers to commit crimes. That may seem reasonable, but it’s not, because reporters, on some level, make their interest in secret government information known simply by being reporters, or by being the type of reporter whose beat involves matters of national security. What counts as “conspiracy” under such circumstances? If a source offers a reporter information both know to be secret, has the reporter engaged in conspiracy by agreeing to receive it?
    While at first glance, this seems less disastrous for the First Amendment and a free press than charging Assange under the Espionage Act, in actuality, the slippery slope is only the slightest bit less steep.

  161. 161
    matoko_chan says:

    @burnspbesq: what u dont seem capable of unnerstanding Mr. Burns, is that the powerless hyperpower is behaving conformant with Assanges system-killer design.
    Paranoia induction results in paranoia reflex, and America becomes one step closer to the eventual police state that will cause system collapse.
    the systemskiller is WAI.
    ekshually……..Assange is doing in cyber-space EXACTLY what OBL did to America in meatspace.

  162. 162
    THE says:

    The Australian Federal Police have advised that Assange is not in violation of Australian law.

  163. 163
    THE says:


    Also an interesting article on CNN (5 pages) that provides several examples of the worsening diplomatic environment caused by the diplomatic leaks.

    I think you are over-focusing on the US impact and underestimating the international impact of the diplomatic leaks.

  164. 164
    matoko_chan says:


    an extremely smart woman.

    meh. another cudlip sniffing Assanges crotch. who fucking cares?
    meanwhile the systemkiller hums quietly along.
    drip drip drip go the diplo cables and all the countries of the world get to see who America really is.

  165. 165
    matoko_chan says:


    and JUST when I was starting to think you were sorta cute….

    pet me again an’ ill take your arm off at the elbow you dumb cow.

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