Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested today in the United Kingdom pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer. According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange's alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States. The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.

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The damage wikileaks has done will last a century if not longer.

#1 | Posted by Tor at 2019-04-11 10:01 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Oh the damage. It was so terrible that Obama... pardoned Manning.

#2 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-04-12 06:34 AM | Reply

"Obama... pardoned Manning."

Actually no. Obama commuted Manning's sentence, which isn't the same as a pardon.

#3 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 09:40 AM | Reply

A lot of people owe Assange an apology, for claiming for years that he was irrational/paranoid/lying about his fear of being extradited to the US.

#4 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 09:46 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Amnesty International opposes Assange's extradition to the U.S.

www.amnesty.org

#5 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 10:00 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Actually no. Obama commuted Manning's sentence, which isn't the same as a pardon.

#3 | POSTED BY SENTINEL AT 2019-04-12 09:40 AM | REPLY

Not much of a distinction in this case. Commuted sentence to what had already been served, out free and able to run for the Senate in Maryland while making a living through speaking engagements across the country.

Shame she's back in jail for contempt over another Wikileaks case.

#6 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2019-04-12 10:30 AM | Reply

Julian Assange Got What He Deserved

Don't continue to fall for his phony pleas for sympathy, his megalomania, and his promiscuity with the facts.

www.theatlantic.com

#7 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 10:51 AM | Reply

#7, wow, that article isn't even trying to hide the fact it's a propaganda hit piece.

#8 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 11:14 AM | Reply

#7 This part seems pretty factual:

The indictment makes intelligible why a grand jury has charged him. Beginning in January 2010, Chelsea Manning began passing to WikiLeaks (and Assange personally) classified documents obtained from U.S. government servers. These included files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. State Department cables. But Manning ran into difficulties getting more documents, owing to the limitations of her modest security clearance.

At this point, Assange allegedly morphed from being a recipient and publisher of classified documents into an agent of their illicit retrieval. "On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist [Chelsea] Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Networks, a United States government network used for classified documents and communications," according to the indictment.

Assange allegedly attempted to help Manning do this using a username that was not hers in an effort to cover her virtual tracks. In other words, the U.S. accuses him of instructing her to hack the Pentagon, and offering to help. This is not an undertaking any working journalist should attempt without knowing that the immediate consequence will be the loss of his job, his reputation, and his freedom at the hands of the FBI.

#9 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 11:25 AM | Reply

Anyone remember this:

Julian Assange confirms he is willing to travel to US after Manning decision

WikiLeaks founder says Obama's decision to free whistleblower means he could submit to

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he stands by his offer to travel to the US following Barack Obama's decision to release whistleblower Chelsea Manning from prison.

Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London during a web broadcast on Thursday, Assange said there were many discussions about his future that could happen before Manning left prison in May, adding: "I have always been willing to go to the United States provided my rights are respected."

www.theguardian.com

He sounds like Trump when he said he was willing to be interviewed by Robert Mueller.

#10 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 11:30 AM | Reply

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Just like Trump who says one thing and then has his lawyers say another:

After Extradition Pledge, Assange Lawyers Say Manning Commutation Fell Short

Attorneys for Julian Assange on Wednesday appeared to cast doubt on whether President Obama's decision to commute most of convicted Army leaker Chelsea Manning's prison sentence met the spirit of a proposed arrangement for the WikiLeaks founder to agree to U.S. extradition.

www.nbcnews.com

#11 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 11:33 AM | Reply

#9, if people are confident that the allegations in the charges are factual, then pointing to them should be enough without having to resort to the petty and over the top personal attacks which seem to be trying to reek of ---- as much as they accuse Assange of.

#12 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 02:11 PM | Reply

#12 It's an opinion piece, not a straight news article. Weiss' opinion of JA is not a high one, and he explains why. Here's another opinion piece in The Atlantic that comes to a different conclusion, though not about Assange's likeability:

You Don't Have to Like Julian Assange to Defend Him

You do not have to spend a long time in a room with Julian Assange to realize that he will be difficult. It takes a little longer, though, to realize just how difficult dealing with him can be. This was the lesson I learned in 2010, working first with Assange, and then for him at WikiLeaks, as we published tranche after tranche of bombshell material, leaked by Chelsea Manning.

...

On a personal level, the editors and reporters did not warm to him. He would turn up in their newsrooms wearing a stab vest and no shirt, tell lewd jokes, and make high-handed demands. They complained -- sometimes in public. Yet these irritants were the least of their problems: News outlets quickly ran into serious ideological issues with Assange, primarily over the handling of material and how it would be redacted.

As an organization that believed in radical transparency, WikiLeaks wanted all the material in the public domain. Journalists, meanwhile, wanted to redact information from the reports that could put people named in them, most of whom had done nothing wrong, at risk. The clashes became bitter, but having handed over the material already, Assange was chained to what came to feel like a doomed marriage with his publishing partners.



www.theatlantic.com

#13 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 02:37 PM | Reply

Interestingly enough, James Ball, the author of the second piece who worked for Assange, tells a similar story to the one Weiss does about Israel Shamir:

As if all of that wasn't enough, one of Assange's close associates, introduced to me and other colleagues and associates as "Adam," turned out in reality to be Israel Shamir, a pro-Putin anti-Semite who was photographed leaving the interior ministry of Belarus just days after being given 100,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. In a world that likes its morality to be black and white, that likes its heroes and villains to be distinct and discernible, Assange in 2010 gave no one what they wanted. He was both a confirmed annoyance and a possible criminal, but also a man who had enabled a new kind of journalistic collaboration and transparency, revealing previously unknown stories of the U.S. at war.

#14 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 02:45 PM | Reply

Conclusion of Ball's piece:

"Assange might be an -------. Scratch that; Assange is an -------. But we're going to have to stand up for him anyway."

#15 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 02:50 PM | Reply

So let me get this straight, people are grasping to bash Assange with Trump comparisons while simulatenously supporting Trump in going after him. Nobody's even pretending to care about the Swedish allegations anymore. Nobody can explain why the previous administration didn't prosecute him on this specific charge. Nobody is even acknowledging that Assange was painted for years as paranoid and delusional over fears of being extradited to the U.S. which now has been proven to be well founded. But hey, let's cheer on the guy we hate for going after a low hanging ------- as a distraction, because a weak old man who's been effectively imprisoned for 7 years is as much if not more of threat to democracy than Saddam Hussein.

#16 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 02:50 PM | Reply

"Nobody's even pretending to care about the Swedish allegations anymore."

That's not true:

Swedish prosecutors considering request to reopen Julian Assange rape case

www.usatoday.com

But as Ball explains:

On the surface, Assange has since made himself easier to categorize. Despite his protestations that he was fleeing U.S. prosecution by taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the case he was facing at the time came from Sweden, in connection to the rape and sexual-assault allegation against him. Having exhausted every legal avenue against extradition, Assange used the asylum process to evade arrest, denying two women their day in court. One case has been dropped. The other is unlikely to get going, as the U.S., which has filed charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, has taken precedence in extradition.

#17 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 02:55 PM | Reply

"So let me get this straight, people are grasping to bash Assange with Trump comparisons while simulatenously supporting Trump in going after him."

I won't say people. I did; so person. Also Trump isn't going after Assange. Trump doesn't know anything about him:

President Trump Says ‘I Know Nothing About WikiLeaks' After Assange's Arrest -- In Contrast With 2016 Campaign Praise

time.com

#18 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 02:58 PM | Reply

"Nobody is even acknowledging that Assange was painted for years as paranoid and delusional over fears of being extradited to the U.S. which now has been proven to be well founded."

That charge against Assange was put into place last March (2018) I believe, so one could say his paranoia was unfounded for many years.

#19 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 03:07 PM | Reply

"Also Trump isn't going after Assange. Trump doesn't know anything about him:"

LOL. So now you're taking what Trump says at face value. Incredible.

Trump ordered his DOJ to do this primarily to vindictively 'undo' one of a number of Obama era decisions. Is there really any doubt about this?

#20 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 03:13 PM | Reply

"LOL. So now you're taking what Trump says at face value. Incredible."

Don't be daft.

Interesting piece from Feb. 2016:

Why is Julian Assange still inside the embassy of Ecuador?

More than three years ago WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fled into the embassy of Ecuador in London. But why is he there, and will he ever leave?

www.telegraph.co.uk

Looks like Assange excelled in burning bridges:

Who has turned against him?

Jemima Khan, who helped pay for his bail - and then lost the money - has written a searing critique of his behaviour, explaining why she no longer supports him.

"I have seen flashes of Assange's charm, brilliance and insightfulness," she wrote in 2013. "But I have also seen how instantaneous rock-star status has the power to make even the most clear-headed idealist feel that they are above the law and exempt from criticism."

The Guardian, which published his early work, fell out with Mr Assange over his refusal to redact some of the material.


#21 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 03:18 PM | Reply

Here's a link to the "searing critique" mentioned above:

Jemima Khan on Julian Assange: how the Wikileaks founder alienated his allies

WikiLeaks – whose mission statement was "to produce a more just society based upon truth" – has been guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly.

www.newstatesman.com

#22 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 03:21 PM | Reply

Why are righties sticking up for an accused rapist who hid from authorities after helping someone hack into a US government server? He's being indicted by Trump's justice department. What stake do you have in this?

#23 | Posted by JOE at 2019-04-12 03:47 PM | Reply

What does any of this have to do with the charges against him? Does it prove he's guilty?

#24 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 03:49 PM | Reply

My guess is after Assange does his time at GITMO for his computer crimes on behalf of the Russian FIS(SVR) he'll be shipped to Sweden to account for his rapist tendencies.

#25 | Posted by babyhuey at 2019-04-12 03:58 PM | Reply

What does any of this have to do with the charges against him?

The article this thread is based on is about the charges against him. What do you wish we were talking about?

Does it prove he's guilty?

No. The indictment (had you read it) quotes an email from Assange stating that he was working on cracking a password to a secure US govenment server. Unless he was lying, that's a felony. Do you think people should be charged for trying to hack into secure US Government servers or not?

#26 | Posted by JOE at 2019-04-12 04:21 PM | Reply

To which Edward Snowden replied, " The weakness of the US charges against Assange are shocking. The allegation that Assange tried and failed to help crack a password has been public for nearly a decade".

Won't matter to the US Government, which is always prepared to Trump up charges and convict the innocent in a kangaroo Court when they are liberals that have embarrassed them.

#27 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-04-12 04:42 PM | Reply

If Assange were a Corporation he would already be free, since the Courts ALWAYS let Corporations off the hook when their crimes result in no harm done. But those same Courts NEVER do that for human beings. More proof Corporations have more rights than human beings. Welcome to our Fascist State.

#28 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-04-12 04:47 PM | Reply

"What does any of this have to do with the charges against him?"
The article this thread is based on is about the charges against him.

The comments in this thread are filled with red herrings about his personality and links to dubious allegations about the way he treats kittens.

"Do you think people should be charged for trying to hack into secure US Government servers or not?"

I'm skeptical of charges that are arbitrarily made and apparently for political purposes, and you should be too. If this evidence existed during the previous administration, then why wasn't it followed through on then? I'm also not a fan of prosecutorial overreach and abuse, which this whole thing has stunk from since the beginning.

#29 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 04:52 PM | Reply

"I'm skeptical of charges that are arbitrarily made and apparently for political purposes, and you should be too. If this evidence existed during the previous administration, then why wasn't it followed through on then? I'm also not a fan of prosecutorial overreach and abuse, which this whole thing has stunk from since the beginning."

I made this comment in another thread with regard to the former Assange supporter whose article I linked to in #22 in this thread, but these are questions I think all Assange supporters should ask themselves:

"The article was written in 2013, so I wonder now in light of the things that have come out about Assange's work with Russian Military Intelligence and his contacts with members of the Trump campaign and commentators like Sean Hannity, how the author views Assange today."

Maybe they are prosecuting him now because of info they uncovered during Mueller's investigation that shows Assange isn't the transparency-advocating journalist he claims to be.

#30 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 05:01 PM | Reply

I'm skeptical of charges that are arbitrarily made

Proof this is arbitrary? How many other people are you aware of that have attempted to hack secure US government servers and not been charged?

If this evidence existed during the previous administration, then why wasn't it followed through on then?

Who says it existed then? And even if it did, why would they bother charging until they knew Snowden had lost the protection of the Ecuadorian government?

#31 | Posted by JOE at 2019-04-12 05:07 PM | Reply

"The comments in this thread are filled with red herrings about his personality and links to dubious allegations about the way he treats kittens."

Bull schitt.

#32 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 05:10 PM | Reply

I quoted people saying Assange has never wanted to play by journalistic standards, which is relevant to the charge against him:

"Yet these irritants were the least of their problems: News outlets quickly ran into serious ideological issues with Assange, primarily over the handling of material and how it would be redacted.

As an organization that believed in radical transparency, WikiLeaks wanted all the material in the public domain. Journalists, meanwhile, wanted to redact information from the reports that could put people named in them, most of whom had done nothing wrong, at risk. The clashes became bitter, but having handed over the material already, Assange was chained to what came to feel like a doomed marriage with his publishing partners."

"The Guardian, which published his early work, fell out with Mr Assange over his refusal to redact some of the material."

#33 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 05:15 PM | Reply

"I quoted people saying Assange has never wanted to play by journalistic standards, which is relevant to the charge against him"

How so? The legal charge against him is not related to "journalistic standards". Is it?

#34 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-12 09:35 PM | Reply

"I'm skeptical of charges that are arbitrarily made and apparently for political purposes, and you should be too. If this evidence existed during the previous administration, then why wasn't it followed through on then? I'm also not a fan of prosecutorial overreach and abuse, which this whole thing has stunk from since the beginning."

This could be the answer to your question, "If this evidence existed during the previous administration, then why wasn't it followed through on then?":

Ellen Nakashima @akashimae (National security reporter for The Washington Post.)

SDNY in 2011 had started to develop a hacking conspiracy case against Assange but they were told to stand down to permit EDVA to pursue an espionage act case against the WikiLeaks founder, former law enforcement officials say.

After years of debate, Trump administration chose to pursue criminal case against Assange

American officials had debated bringing charges against Julian Assange almost from the moment in 2010 that his organization WikiLeaks dumped onto the Internet a historic trove of classified documents, including internal State Department communications and assessments of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

www.washingtonpost.com

#35 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-12 11:55 PM | Reply

It should be obvious the repeal of Assange's political asylum was timed with the unveiling of hacking charges in the USA. Rafael Correa had initially granted Assange asylum in Ecuador's London Embassy. So the USA first had to remove him. Ecuador is not a sovereign State, just another banana Republic that does what it is told, one way or the other. Bernie has been silent during the entire episode, any position loses some votes I suppose, over such a controverial issue. But not Jeremy Corbyn, who has the honesty and temerity to say the right thing. Here's hoping the British people are able to put Corbyn in charge. By now they must be very sick and tired of the useless Teresa May.

#36 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-04-13 01:34 AM | Reply

This opinion article makes some valid points:

www.emptywheel.net

"DOJ made the risks worse by language describing the matter and means of the conspiracy to include operational security like using Jabber and deleting chat logs and -- worst of all -- "Assange encourag[ing] Manning to provide information and records from departments and agencies of the United States." I think all this language, which describes the techniques many journalists working in classified areas may use -- could become important to DOJ's larger project down the road. But I also think including it in this bare bones indictment unnecessarily exposes DOJ to claims that it is trying to criminalize core journalistic behaviors. It also exhibits DOJ's long-standing suspicion of civilians, of any sort, who take reasonable measures using legal tools to preserve privacy. DOJ is effectively making a normative judgment about privacy tools when it is in the business of making legal judgments.

"Moreover, including these descriptions of non-criminal conduct legitimately opened DOJ up for justifiable panic among journalists, who are focusing on this language rather than the password cracking language that is the overt act alleged in the conspiracy, that this indictment sets a dangerous precedent. This is not an indictment for publishing true information that a source broke the law to provide, as many responses to the indictment are claiming, but the press can be excused for describing it as such because of this extraneous language that does relate to core journalistic functions... "

#37 | Posted by sentinel at 2019-04-13 08:44 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#37 Ha. I was just going to post a link to Wheeler's article. I also read another article by her this morning that includes excerpts from the chat logs between Manning and Assange as well as a link to the lengthier logs (which I haven't read):

The Logistics of the Julian Assange Indictment

www.emptywheel.net

#38 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-13 11:44 AM | Reply

#37 Here conclusion of that article:

Had DOJ done it differently, it might have gotten a different response to the Assange arrest, but now, because of its bone-headed suspicion of civilians using privacy measures and premature invocation of the Espionage Act, DOJ rightly lost the initial round of PR in what will likely be a long campaign and caused justifiable panic among the press.

But as I said above: this indictment is likely just the first installment of a larger set of descriptions of what Assange has done.

#39 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-13 11:46 AM | Reply

Unlike nation States Wikileaks has a perfect record of reporting the truth. This is a series of actions the US Government is determined to punish.

#40 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-04-13 06:42 PM | Reply

The lesson here is that if you have asylum in an embassy be a good guest. He overstayed his welcome. Now he will need to face those rape charges in Sweden. I think there's something in the US he may need to face after that.

Had he been given the maximum sentence on the US charges, he would have been free by now. I do not know the maximum sentence for rape in Sweden.

#41 | Posted by Nuke_Gently at 2019-04-13 06:48 PM | Reply

I do not know the maximum sentence for rape in Sweden.

10 years.

#42 | Posted by REDIAL at 2019-04-13 07:08 PM | Reply

"Unlike nation States Wikileaks has a perfect record of reporting the truth."

You sound like Sean Hannity:

Hannity Rallies to Assange's Defense: WikiLeaks Has Better Track Record Than ‘Fake News Media'

The Fox News host defended the WikiLeaks founder, cited the Pentagon Papers, and railed against Robert Mueller.
www.thedailybeast.com

Seth Rich.

Julian Assange Lied About a WikiLeaks Data Dump on National Television
gizmodo.com

#43 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-04-13 10:19 PM | Reply

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