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Ecuador will hand over Julian Assange to the UK (theintercept.com)
348 points by sosa2k on July 21, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 276 comments

What I've wanted for Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning, and if Obama would have done it before leaving office, it would have earned him infinite respect:

Try them, possibly even find them guilty of something, but also award them with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

What these people have done is probably illegal, but it is unquestionably about the most American, patriotic act you could commit. Speaking out against perceived tyranny with no regard for your own wellbeing, is an incredible act.

It makes me profoundly sad how the world (or at least my world, mostly far left, liberal, educated, etc.) has turned so hard against Julian Assange. He's a hero in every sense of the word.

There's no way Obama, or any mainstream president, would have done that. He loved the intelligence agencies even more than Bush as it gave the US the same power projection without any of the dirty business being under public scrutiny. The "polite societies" way of do much of the same which was highly criticized in the prior administration. Despite the convenient optics I don't see him being any more liberal on the matter than mainline political angle (which is solidly against Assange / Snowden / etc).

The administration gave them tons of leeway (ie, ignoring the destruction of thousands of tapes of torture in the Thailand black site with zero repercussions for the agents involved) and made the strategic shift of the power/resources from the military towards the IC when he got in office.

He also famously prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president. Letting Manning go after 7rs in solitary confinement is the closest he got at trying to revise his history on the matter - at the last minute. So I don't see how such an action would make any sense in the context of his 8yrs of actions otherwise (rhetoric is another matter which people seem to value more in politics than action).

Nor is this is not a partisan issue. Both establishment parties are fully in support of doing the IC's bidding.

I know, and this is why it would have gained him so much respect in my eyes.

I think it's possible to both recognize the importance of intelligence agencies, and recognize why whistleblowing should be discouraged, but at the same time recognize the patriotism required to do it anyway.

Giving these people the Medal of Freedom, to me, would have been an acknowledgment of that. "Yeah, you shouldn't have done that, but you did it anyway, and you deserve to be recognized for that."

"I disagree with what you're saying, but will defend to the death your right to say it" and all that.

> and recognize why whistleblowing should be discouraged

It drives me nuts that whistle-blower has become a bad word. It is by definition good. The government has made laws to pay people for whistle-blowing, to help reduce corruption.

Definition of whistle-blowing: * a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity.

So if you catch Nixon breaking into the DNC and you report it, you're whistle-blowing (and the greatest hero possible). If you publish random private information online, that is merely leaking.

Leaking secrets is not a freedom of speech issue.

I would agree with you if Snowden narrowly leaked the details of the PRISM program. I think if he did that he would have been a genuine hero. But he didn't. He downloaded as much secret information as he could, and gave them to organizations that were openly hostile to American interests.

Consider the level of detail of methods and sources in the information leaked by Snowden. I think one would have to be extremely naive to believe that Russia and China did not get their hands on the Snowden leaks very quickly(and that's the most charitable interpretation). Therefore, the leaks weakened the US's geopolitical position and improved the position of their rivals.

For a command-in-chief to reward a person who did that with a Medal of Freedom would be a truly baffling choice.

Did Snowden give is data to organizations that were hostile to the US? I thought he gave it to journalists, and let them censor as they saw fit.

>organizations that were openly hostile to American interests.

Exactly which organizations are you referring to?

Yea I'd like to have this elaborated on. As is the GP makes The Guardian sound like Daesh.


Snowden went to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras who aren't with WikiLeaks.

This is true, but he also was financially aided, advised and accompanied by Wikileaks every step of the way.

Nonetheless, you are correct. I would edit the previous post if I could, as it's not especially critical to the overall point.

>This is true, but he also was financially aided, advised and accompanied by Wikileaks every step of the way.

Prove it.

Assange pays for Snowden's flight and hotel: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-security-reconstructi...

Assange advises Snowden to move to Russia: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/29/julian-assange...

Sarah Harrison accompanies Snowden on his flight to Russia: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/world/offering-snowden-ai...

Isn't it also naive to think China and Russia weren't fully aware of the NSA's capabilities? If anything the only effect it had on intelligence agencies is it accelerated the smaller countries towards this type of mass surveillance, they learned thoroughly what was possible - beyond what you can buy at miltech trade shows. And now we see many awful countries mimicking this type of stuff now, like in Ethiopia.

But otherwise for 99% of it the only one it was new and valuable to was the public.

As good as the FBI/IC is at counter-intelligence if Snowden can do this stuff I'm sure a highly trained spy recruited by any top tier agency could get similar access.

Also notably Snowden did not leak the really sensitive TAO stuff, which was well compartmentalized. He mostly leaked spreadsheets for the 'middle management' in NSA. I'm sure he only revealed a small portion of their top-teir capabilities. And the stuff he did leak was almost always very vague, often just a few bullet points in a spreadsheet was all we had to work with...

> Isn't it also naive to think China and Russia weren't fully aware of the NSA's capabilities?

The latest Mueller indictment suggests no.

I believe that the NSA's domestic surveillance programs were an egregious mistake. However, I do not think that "awful countries" implemented domestic surveillance programs because they read the PRISM documents. Nor does it explain why Snowden leaked details of activities that were not illegal and fully within the mandate of the NSA.

You may correct me if you know better, but I have not seen any information that was leaked that I didn't imagine Russia or China already being very aware of.

Was this information revealed to only Russia/China and kept from journalists? If so how do you know about it?

"They probably already know about it" seems like a weird standard to use for answering the question of if making a particular state secret public harms the National interest.

That is an issue of reputation or PR.

If I were Snowden I’d be really pissed to be in the same breath as Assange. Snowden gave up a good life to tell people about pervasive monitoring, while Asange was always a relentless self-promoter and scumbag who tried to have his cake and eat it too.

I agree, it really is a disservice for people to lump them all together. Whisleblowing is an important act and it needs to be protected. But there is more to whisleblowing then just revealing secrets. Snowden handled things better than Manning by being more focused in what was revealed and filtering things through journalists. Both of them are worlds better than Assange. Lumping them together will only help turn people with legitimate gripes against Assange against people like Snowden and Manning.

I'd argue that Snowden's leaks would have been better sent to Wikileaks. We've seen perhaps 5% of the information, and much of the illegal behavior is likely still going on.

The only hope that US intel agencies have to redeem themselves as working toward the interests of the people and not against them is to be totally transparent about all illegal behavior and to undergo a full audit to stop all of it.

Which is exactly my point. Whistleblowing shouldn't be done with a shotgun approach that reveals all secrets. Every piece of information should be reviewed and judged in a vacuum as to whether there is a benefit to the public for it to be revealed. Wikileaks just releases everything and doesn't care about the public value or any negative results from that release. That isn't whistleblowing. You are free to agree politically with Wikileaks, but don't pretend it is something it is not. That only ends up hurting the real whistleblowers.

I will continue to ponder your point, but I am inclined to disagree. Suppose we consider a two page document of classified information. Leaking one or two sentences from the document can be done in a highly misleading way.

In fact, our officials routinely leak information in this way, fed to reporters to spin a narrative that supports a political goal.

But seeing a trove of documents can make the broader malfeasance much more clear.

That isn't what Wikileaks is doing. They aren't releasing "a trove of documents [that] can make the broader malfeasance much more clear". They are releasing absolutely everything they receive. The simplest example is their refusal to redact the names of Afghani civilians who worked with the US government and therefore put their lives in jeopardy. That type of action by Wikileaks says that they believe their political opinions are more important than the lives of innocent civilians. That isn't whistleblowing.

The example you give is frequently used as an example of Wikileaks being the cause of atrocities rather than the one revealing the atrocities.

Wikileaks has been under attack by various governments for a long time, eventually resulting in Assange losing his freedom.

But more importantly, the big news orgs (NYTimes, WaPo, etc.) who had initially partnered with WL on the war logs were pressured into ending their journalistic cooperation with Wikileaks. Both papers went on to assassinate Assange's character at every turn after that, conveniently omitting the unique definition of rape in Swedish law, etc.

In case my point is not clear, the idea is that the NYT should have been proofreading the release to be sure that all of the appropriate redaction occurred, but it couldn't do this because it had already taken sides with the US Government and other corrupt governments against Wikileaks.

Worse yet, the papers follow the lead of US officials in focusing their reporting on Assange's personality while ignoring most of the actual information that was leaked. Regardless of what you think about Assange or WL, it's pretty hard to argue that the so-called journalists from our once-great newspapers did anything but a horrible and irresponsible job of covering the leaked information.

So strong is the intimidation created by the government that even the Snowden leaks could not be accurately published in The Guardian.

How is it possible that people don't see the obvious... things that WL publishes embarrass governments and officials because they reveal very serious crimes. But I suspect nobody will address this last point because like the papers, most opponents of Assange really want the story to be about Assange and not about the deeply concerning information that he heroically made available to us.

In what is Swedish law regarding rape unique?

In Sweden, two people can have consensual sex, during which time both parties consider it to be consensual, and then later, one of the parties can reconsider that view and accuse the other of rape.

That is what happened in the case of Assange. Who knows where Assange ranks when it comes to his level of compassion as a lover, but neither of the accusers claimed that he engaged in non-consensual sex with them. It happens that this after-the-fact rethink is called "rape" in Sweden. Most US publications published this detail in the fine print but proceeded with a character assassination campaign against Assange calling him an "accused rapist" without shedding light on the small detail that most people in the US consider rape to entail non-consensual sex.

Do you have a source for this (indeed peculiar) definition?

In France the information was that he had consensual sex first, then during the night he had sex without a condom unknowingly to her and/or when his partner was asleep (I cannot remember exactly) and it was this second case which he was accused of (which fits the description of rape)

It may not sound nice to say, but working with state actors (U.S. Mil) removes you from the "innocent civilian" column.

Regardless of whether you believe what the state actor was doing The Right Thing™ or not.

If that was the process, we'd hear about everything lumped together and quickly forgotten about in confusion. The way it was published instead, people have time to process specific revelations and let the whole thing stay alive for multiple media cycles.

After being put under duress by many state sponsored attacks, Assange had to resort to a PR stunt strategy. Yes, it is unfortunate, but anyone who was under such attacks and was determined to make such a vital institution as WL survive would have done the same thing.

They attacked WL's journalistic partners, fundraising channels, even forced Assange to hole up in an embassy, as well as (likely) many other attacks.

Snowden isn’t without culpability. Yes it was patritic to illuminate the spying on Americans citizens etc., but he also revealed some things which i think he should not have.

Most people were in agreement with Wikipedia leaks until they thought he hrlped a political candidate they disagreed with. If Snowden tomorrow released some information which hurts Dems, I’m convinced hidden pitchforks woul come out from hiding too. Same for Repubs

If Assange is going to get anything from the USA is extradited to it and charged with trading in knowingly stolen material to undermine the candidate of the 2016 election he didn't like. Based on what was in the last Mueller indictment we'll see what happens between the US and the UK.

Yeah, Assange is no hero. His communications with Trump Jr and the leaked Wikileaks chats make that clear—as well as his meetings with people like Nigel Farage and Dana Rohrabacher. Assange has had a very clear agenda for some time now.

Assange has had a very clear agenda for some time now.

I thought his agenda was exposing privacy violations and the implications for authoritarian snooping without cause.

But it smells like you wanted to say something else and ran out of time while writing that comment?

>I thought his agenda was exposing privacy violations and the implications for authoritarian snooping without cause.

Keyword 'was'. In the run to the election after it, it became all about hating on one political party, colluding with the other, and influencing the election.

If you were Assange and you were trying to convince Trump Jr to hand over documents to you, would you pretend to be indifferent about the outcome of the election?

Assange wants to help reveal any secret information that will help fix the many problems stemming from secrecy and corruption of governments and institutions. Every one of his actions have supported that mission.

The focus on Assange's alleged political views and his personal life are an attempt to "shoot the messenger". We should really be 99% concerned with the information that was leaked and at most 1% concerned with anything about Assange's personality.

WikiLeaks sat on Manafort's group sex and blood money texts, but released Podesta's emails less than an hour after the Access Hollywood tape was published. His agenda was more than an act to get on Don Jr.'s good side.

>WikiLeaks sat on...

Source for them "sitting on" time sensitive material?

Podesta’s emails had proof of the Clinton campaign colluding with the media. You can not compare that with details of Manafort’s private life.

It’s clear why one would be in the public’s interest to learn about and the other is just gossip.

Wikileaks is no arbiter of what is and what is not relevant to the interest of the public.

If they choose to sit on information, they have an agenda, IMO.

It doesn’t matter if they have an agenda (which has definitely not been proven). It’s good that they get any information to the public. The Podesta emails were extremely valuable to the public, they had a right to know that the DNC was in bed with the media. Whatever else didn’t get leaked doesn’t matter. That info needed to be made public.

Well spoken. Thanks.

> Both establishment parties are fully in support of doing the IC's bidding.

It'a almost like we have a shadow government spreading Fake News. Trump may be an idiot but a broken clock is right twice a day.

Julian Assange does many things that seem to have the sole purpose of embarrassing the US. I don't see how he could be a candidate for any type of award from the US government. Any benefit Wikileaks has had on the US, primarily by helping spark a debate about domestic surveillance, is overshadowed by the harm they've done due to his radical anti-secrecy zealotry.

Take the Vault 7 releases for example. What was the public good done by that information being published? Those are our weapons, in my eyes it is not much different than if Wikileaks had published the blueprints for the F-35. There is a legitimate interest in the US having secrets, and there is an interest in our global adversaries not having them.

At least with the diplomatic cables and the DNC emails, there was some amount of public interest information in there, but why dump the whole set? To embarrass the US, and in the latter case, to affect the election. Are those noble goals worthy of the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

As for his personal character, recall two things: he screwed over his supporters by jumping bail in England, and he reneged on a pledged to acquiesce to extradition if Manning was released. These are not the actions of a hero to be celebrated, they're selfish and dishonorable.

>Take the Vault 7 releases for example. What was the public good done by that information being published? Those are our weapons,

They have gone out of their way to ensure that there aren't any unpatched exploits released with the info, even with most of the tech community being unwilling to help.

They are not "our weapons," they're a detailed rundown of what our weapons can do and how we use them. Our alleged "enemies" couldn't do any more damage with them than we do by ourselves.

Since the US is the most powerful nation, of course it will be the target of some of the politically motivated leaks.

With respect to Vault 7, once the secrecy of the tools was compromised they already had zero value to the US arsenal. In fact, I would not be surprised if the US Government leaked Vault 7 itself, to prevent the thief from being able to use them effectively.

Consider the value of the Vault 7 tools if they were known only by a small group of hackers with a halfway decent budget. They'd be worth many billions of dollars.

But once leaked, their value decreases substantially, since the zero days can be patched and the exploits mitigated.

Any state actor who stole Vault 7 would have no interest in releasing it to Wikileaks. Even Russia would benefit more by knowing about it and leveraging that knowledge than by leaking it in its entirety.

Also don't forget about the government hoarding zero days which put American firms at risk.

Per your last point, let's not worry too much about Assange's personality or character. The important thing to focus on is the leaked information, not the messenger.

> Per your last point, let's not worry too much about Assange's personality or character. The important thing to focus on is the leaked information, not the messenger.

The post I was responding to was saying they wished Assange were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Don't you think somebody's personality and character is relevant to that?

Obama unfortunately prosecuted the largest amount of whistleblowers. I doubt he would have done this.


Hmm sample size is too low to draw conclusions. 3 vs 8 over several years? Ehh.

But you're probably right for other reasons. He was a bit of an authoritarian despite talking like a cuddly bear. His relationship with the intelligence community is probably what allowed him to spy on the Trump campaign and more or less keep it on the down low for a while.

The gap between what he said and what he did was not small.


I'm definitely not saying Obama was an ally of whistleblowers. It seems like he was just mostly average in this realm. I mean, 8 is still more than 3, but again, that might not be his fault, whistleblowing might have just more than doubled. Hard to tell.

Here's my take. When you see your duty as a patriot to betray what's been entrusted to you because you think it's the right thing to do, you do it with the notion that you are "taking one for the team". And you pay the price.

What you do may not be proven right within your lifetime, but if you are eventually proven right, you will have earned the respect posthumously.

I don't think we can claim being a patriot is easy or comes free. Often times you have to pay a heavy price.

Of course that's no consolation for Snowden (or Assange).

I can totally agree with that. At the end of the day if a patriot is a guy standing between you and your leader and taking a bullet or on a field of battle losing a limb or pulling what Snowden did it's all a risk you take for participating in that level of game. It just is what it is and fairness doesn't enter into the equation.

This is such a contrasting comment I am curious if you remember how you consumed information back then to i.e. develop admiration for the whistleblowers, and retain the political operative narrative that Obama was somehow sympathetic and good to these causes.

Obama was not sympathetic to these causes. That's why it would have gained him so much respect from me.

I posted the quote in another reply, so sorry for repeating it, but: "I disagree with what you are saying, but will defend to the death your right to say it."

This value is probably the most important to me, and it is something that I think is fundamentally American. I would have loved to see Obama exhibit it.

Can you give an example in Obama's political tenure when he had ever done anything consistent with that sentiment or that strategy?

Politically, Obama's heroes are the progressives of the Wilsonian and Roosevelt era. Wilson jailed Eugene Debs for sedition, and ironically it took the era's conservative firebrand (H L Mencken) rabble-rousing about it in exactly that spirit and eventually Harding (not exactly a socialist) commuted Debs' sentence.

For that matter: Can you think of an example when any politician or political figure in power in the US in recent memory has done something like that? I'm not comprehensively knowledgeable about US politics, but the only one I can think of is Clarence Thomas voting against the majority in Texas V Lawrence, where he said he was opposed to laws forbidding gay sex, but he didn't think the supreme court should rule on it, and he would vote to strike down the law if he were in the Texas State Legislature.

H.L. Mencken wasn't really a conservative firebrand, more of an iconoclast. His position then could be likened to that of Trey Parker & Matt Stone today, i.e. shits on everything, liberal and conservative, for the lulz, and occasionally makes some very perceptive social commentary in the process.

that's very fair, although I would say he was more sophisticated than Matt & Trey, and his favorite enemy was FDR.

Ok, I can see where you're coming from. You are wishing a standing president would do a good thing. It's a nuanced way to form an argument or ideal because the leaders have become so politically charged (imagine trying to promote any idea to a left-wing audience and tying in Trump, most would shut their brains off and attack the messenger which isn't so different than what happened here).

Does the meaning of your comment change in any way if you replace Obama with Trump, or "a sitting president"? I don't believe in the "deep state", but I think all presidents are equally beholden to the intelligence apparatus, and none would dare provoke it.

I thought Trump actually did quite a good job provoking the intelligence apparatus just last week with Putin.

I would assume he used Obama's name because Chelsea Manning's conviction, and Snowden & Assange's exile, all happened during Obama's presidency.

I think it's likely that Trump, Bush, and all other sitting presidents would do the same thing, but the only other prominent example we have is Reality Winner, who just pled guilty last month, hasn't really occupied the headlines, and isn't the subject of discussion here.

Thanks for the reference, I hadn't heard about Winner and will have to read up on it now. (Also that's quite the name!).

That quote has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation, and it's being overused to the point of making it meaningless.

Are you so sure all these "leakers" aren't actually intelligence operations? Particularly Snowden. Didn't anyone else sense how stage managed it felt? I never bought the act, but it was a good act tho.

Strategically I think the limited hangout / power projection has utility: you get to watch who reaches for encrypted apps once they know, selectors "self-select" has to increase signal/noise ratio; and you get to start a debate about "privacy" which ultimately ends up targeting the tech companies (which it is in state interest to have leverage on, but it also works for tech companies because they get to be the "saviours of the people" when of course they are also collection partners); and you get to say "our intelligence services have been crippled" and ask for more money and legislation, particularly through the secret courts.

To me, "Operation Snowden" was about strengthening US intelligence capability/posture, not weakening it. But of course, for public consumption, he must be called a traitor. I think for that reason, because he sacrificed himself to this narrative, he truly is a patriot, but just not for the reason most people think. :)

As for Assange, I think the guy is a fraud. Or at the very least an idiot who sacrificed what may have been a platform for reform / awareness for his own ego / sickness. Sad. A waste. That is all. :)

For what benefit?

Didn't you read the comment?

One blatant example: how do you think it'd benefit intelligence agencies to see who begins encrypting their comms after the news breaks?

If it's a topic of talking head discussion on the news, and nobody picks up arms, that's implied consent. "Well, that's just normal operations, we've been doing that since 20xx!"

Open secrets are ones you don't have to worry about leaking in ways you don't want. Being able to coordinate media reaction, social media reaction, and Gov officials' responses, is key, if this was indeed a limited hangout.

Thank you, for explaining it a second time to those who had trouble with the long sentences in the first comment.

Another advantage I omitted (for fear HN would not comprehend it) was simply the bragging rights: look at this awesome spy tech we have, wouldn't it be a shame if someone - used it to advance their national interests. And while you're all gawking at it, don't none of y'all get to thinking that Murica got weak. We're talking to you, "allies."

I didn’t have any trouble understanding it, it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and objectively wouldn’t have worked, at massive cost to their reputation. The is conspiracy nonsense worse than UFO believers and 9/11 deniers.

Hahaha, that's an interesting theory, but it conflicts with how I think about things. It's good to know that's what you believe, tho.

It's funny to think that the spies who know the biggest truths are also the ones who need to be the most emphatic in their denials of them. Must be such a weird life. To have a reputation as being unreliable in everything except lying. Crazy.

Thankfully regular people don't know their own beliefs are untrue. The counter-narratives are designed so well that regular people readily accept them, and vigorously self-censor dissenting ideas. The system works! :P

I’m never going to understand the praise for Julian Assange. He may have started out with good intentions, but his turns towards Putin and subsequent actions are pretty unforgivable in my estimation. I can’t see how a moral person could stand by his decisions, honestly. I think Pussy Riot summer him up best:

"But Julian Assange, he openly works with [Russia]," Nadya Tolokno told The Daily Beast in an interview Thursday. "It's not a secret. He's connected with the Russian government, and I feel that he's proud of it.

"I generally support the work that WikiLeaks is doing, but I'm not that thrilled about his decisions that are unethical, in my view, concerning his connections to the Russian government."

Tolokno said she visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London two years ago, saying their meeting convinced her WikiLeaks has ties to the Kremlin.

"He couldn't deny it," said Tolokno, whose full name is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. "He often works with the Russian propaganda machine, and he doesn't try to hide it.

"Julian Assange doesn't try to hide that fact because he hosts at the Ecuadorian Embassy the editor-in-chief of the Russian propaganda team, Russia Today, and he has projects with them," she added.

Tolokno added she confronted Assange about advancing Russian interests ahead of America's.

"I understood his position: He's in a state of war with the American government," she said. "He's smart and charismatic and will use any means to destroy the American government.

"And we had a conversation if it was really the ethical thing to do that with the hands of another government [Russia] which is, in fact, much worse and a real authoritarian government."


Unfortunately I agree completely. Assange and WikiLeaks might have been on the 'right side' of things years ago, but things have changed since then. Siding with Putin is absolutely unforgivable.

Why the assumption that Assange sided with Putin? Those of us watching the story closely know that no evidence has been presented of this. Co-aligned interests is not collusion. The source of the DNC leaks remains unknown. It's not even clear whether it was an external actor or a DNC insider.

I feel like the blinding hate for Trump has eroded people's ability to think critically. The Russiagate hysteria is evidence of that.

Edit: I'll soak up the downvotes. Keep em coming.

Did you miss the indictment of the DNC hackers that also detailed the DC Leaks being registered by GRU? You should catch up on that if so.

I'm aware of the well-timed indictment, despite the fact that the public's mind was made up well before then. An indictment is not a conviction, and its evidence comes from sources (intelligence agencies) that have been proven numerously to lie, fabricate, and falsify evidence for political ends. For context, Mueller was FBI director under Bush and during the Iraq war. Pretend that someone other than Trump won, and now tell me honestly -- do you trust US intelligence agencies and do you find the indictment's technical evidence compelling?

(edit) To bring the point of this post back to my earlier one -- where is the evidence that Assange "sided with Putin"? Siding with someone implies collusion, and mutual interest is not collusion. It implies Assange knew the source was a Russian state actor prior to publishing (whether it was is still speculation).

I apologise if this post seems long-winded and antagonistic, but I feel this is an important distinction that has been glossed over. I see Russiaphobia seeping into close friends who I consider to be rational and it worries me.

the only fact here is that he works with RT. rest is just random opinions of random people.

That's not a fact. He independently produced a show that RT bought and ran.

> I can’t see how a moral person could stand by his decisions, honestly.

I feel this way about anyone who attempts to deflect the USA from scrutiny, with regards to the war crimes it has flagrantly committed in the time that Wikileaks has become relevant. It seems that the USA can do no harm when it comes to war-fighting, and the American public remain, as ever, wilfully ignorant of the crimes being committed in their name - and for which therefore, they bear responsibility.

Without people such as Assange willing to stand up and decry these heinous acts of inhumanity being committed by a government hell-bent on maintaining the social fallacy that it is a "wholesale rights defender", when nothing could be further from the truth, there would be a whole lot more offences against innocent people occurring.

The USA and its allies have been wilfully destroying civilisation around the world, for decades. We need more people like Assange who are willing to stand up and point this out, and most important of all, the world needs Americans to take their heads out of the sand and realise that their nation is in fact a wholesale exporter of death and destruction, and you are paying for it.

Incidentally: The fact that Putin is right about Americas crimes, doesn't mean that wanting to do something about America's crimes immediately aligns oneself with Putin. That is just smear tactics and vitriol.

What's important is the statistics: one bomb dropped every 18 minutes, mostly on innocent people, murdering them - for the last 3 decades.


No one is saying the US doesn't have its own problems. None of that changes Russia's current behavior.

Ironic comment given that this thread is about a scandal about the US's poor behavior, and you are focusing on wrongdoings of the Russian government to divert attention from that.

This cynical automatic "but .. whataboutism!" is really just as much about deflection as anything else.

Assange and Wikileaks came onto the scene because the nature of the protection of the military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex through State Secrecy meant that real crimes were being committed in the name of the American people, yet they were being wilfully kept ignorant of this fact - and are, yet even still today. Wikileaks was a real, grass-roots, honest attempt to bring the military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex to justice for its real, honest-to-god crimes.

This has nothing to do with Russia - although Russia may also have its interests served by having Americas' crimes revealed to the greater public at large, it is irrelevant: The innocents having bombs dropped on them by America and its Coalition are also served by having the non-warfighting-addicted public enlightened as to their plight - does this automatically make them 'the enemy' and thus justify their wanton murder - in the same way that hatred-of-Russia is justified because "they clearly don't want whats best for America, which is war, more war, and endless more war"?

Lets not play the "whataboutism" card.

Lets just look at why this whole Wikileaks thing is embarrassing to the USA and its partners: it can no longer get away with committing real war crimes at international scale with impunity and safe cover, in the name of the American people, when those people are finally waking up to just how heinous the situation really is: an inhuman and deathly situation the warmongers have given the American public, to pay off financially as well as morally, for decades into the future.

The fact of the matter is, it is a good thing for the secrets to be revealed: because the corruption of government always begins with its secrets. The American people - as well the world at large - must never be complacent about the betrayal potential of state secrecy.

We must always demand the truth be revealed, especially when it involves Trillions of dollars of death, mayhem and destruction being enacted on the world.

And for all his faults, this is why Assange - and others just like him - will always be held high in my mind. Higher than any serving member of the military, anyway.

What about whataboutism?

This mindset isn't productive - these actions don't exist in a vacuum and to treat it as such pretty much absolves the other party of all guilt while the focus is on somebody else.

Hypocrisy isn't whataboutism.

So what does it mean for Assange to do something that favors one nation's interest over America's? Wikileaks is not meant to benefit "US interests" in the sense of pleasing US leaders.

The entire point of a transparency organization is to reveal information that helps the people of the country understand what their leaders are up to.

If it was revealed, for example, that Trump was a pedophile, the case could be made that US national interest was served by keeping it confidential and letting him carry out his presidential term without suffering (and forcing our nation to suffer) the indignity of having it revealed.

However I think it would be in the best interest of the American people for such information to be leaked so that we could decide how to handle it via the democratic process.

Secrecy has been granted to governments based on trust, and that trust has been widely violated. Assange shows us where our leaders have violated our trust. He's shown the people of other nations how their leaders have violated trust. He's not taking sides for or against any state, he's taking sides for the people of every state against corrupt leaders.

The parent is a logical argument yet nobody tries to refute it, only downvote it for political reasons.

You quote a political actionist, a member of a punk band, as if she were some kind of expert, investigative journalist or insider. She's not informed on the merits of the matter at all.

> It makes me profoundly sad how the world (or at least my world, mostly far left, liberal, educated, etc.) has turned so hard against Julian Assange. He's a hero in every sense of the word.

In my world, heroes don't run from sexual assault trials.

Is he afraid of prison, or of the sexual assault prosecution being a sham to punish him for what he published? Chelsea Manning was prosecuted and sentenced and more-or-less tortured for the actual things she leaked. She's a hero - she did the right thing for the country even though she knew what it would cost her. She didn't run. She was sitting in solitary confinement while Assange was tweeting in an embassy and claiming political asylum.

Someone who wants to change the world, who seeks prestige and power, and who gains fame from someone else's sacrifice can be many things (and perhaps many good things) - but I wouldn't call him a hero.

So if you manage to avoid being tortured or killed, then what you did wasn't a sacrifice and wasn't patriotic? Considering the definition of hero goes so far as saving somebody from a burning building and receives minor burns, I think it's rich to say that because that person didn't receive full body 3rd degree burns or die in the fire, that they're not a hero. They risked their life and did their best to avoid or mitigate the damage they caused themselves.

Are you saying that the rescuer who fails to save the person and dies in the fire is more of a hero because they screwed up, or chose to give up and be burned alive? What about the rescuer who saves the person and intentionally runs back into the burning building and dies to gain "hero points"?

Yeah, the case against Assange in Sweden was just to get him to go back so Sweden could extradite him to the US. That is something legitimate to run from. I believe it is foolish to maximise the amount of damage to one's self, for many reasons least of all that it hampers one's ability to achieve their goal.

If you'd read the article, you'd know that the sexual charge was dismissed

Yes, I did read the article (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html) and it says that the investigation was closed (not that the charge was dismissed), because the prosecutors determined he had successfully run beyond their ability to prosecute them by claiming asylum for years, and they didn't see a point in keeping the case open. That's basically the opposite of justice.

> In May, 2017, Swedish prosecutors announced they were closing their investigation into the sexual assault allegations due to the futility of proceeding in light of Assange’s asylum and the time that has elapsed.

He is still wanted for what the article calls the "minor bail violation" of crossing multiple international borders to flee trial for those charges.

The investigation was dropped because Sweden gave up:


> “In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him. We cannot expect to receive assistance from Ecuador regarding this. Therefore the investigation is discontinued.

> “If he, at a later date, makes himself available, I will be able to decide to resume the investigation immediately.”

There are lots of reasons why prosecutors dismiss charges unrelated to whether the accused is guilty. "The defendant is currently enjoying the protection of the government of a foreign country" is high among the list of reasons why a prosecutor might choose to do so.

There is no doubt in my mind that Assange is a rapist (as well as a useful idiot at best in service of Russia's interests).

He fled from a second questioning about a rape allegation and then broke his bail conditions. Your benchmark for "hero" is different to mine.

Obama pardoned (or at least freed) Chelsea Manning.

> He's a hero in every sense of the word.

I think we can have an intelligent discussion of his conduct, but let's not waste time and attention with hyperbole. We all know that some people believe he is and some believe he's not; what substantiated, well-considered knowledge can we add?

That second link appears to just go to the Wikileaks Wikipedia page now, the section may have been removed? This article covers the same content:


Some reason the period at the end of the URL gets deleted when I try to post it. It's supposed to go to the section right above the first link.

I assume so many people post a url then a period immediately after it to end the sentence, that HN strips off the period at the end of the url, assuming it's not part of the url and was instead meant to end the sentence. I can see that the period in your comment is not linkified, so HN considered it not part of the url. By doing this, HN is going against RFC 3986 which says that the period is an unreserved character and is valid in fragments (and paths) without being escaped.

You can work around HN's behavior by escaping the period as %2e


You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. That's what happened to Assange. WikiLeaks did some good in the past. Then he became a Russian puppet, and tool of the Trump campaign.

By that logic, we'd have to give this dude


the Presidential Golden Eagle of Infinite Liberty.

I agree, they are hereos, but leadership cannot award misbehavior as it undermines the system. We need better watchdogs.

Turning yourself into a tyrannical government is the most unpatriotic thing you can do.

One of these is not like the others. Snowden and Manning seem genuine. Assange may have been genuine once but it's quite clear that in recent years he was either compromised, turned, or himself adopted some kind of rather loathsome fascist ideology.

Just a curiousity, is “far left” and “liberal” even related? Seems like the far left and far right are two sides to the same totalitarian coin. Liberal implies a respect for the freedom of individuals while “far left” puts the collective over the rights of the individual. The word liberal has lost its meaning. The far left (and far right) is incompatible with freedom. Cases in point: Venezuela, Cuba, the Soviet Union. The far left closer to fascism than liberalism.


I think parent uses far left like far left in US politics or average European, not like Venezuela or Soviet Union. The latter two were of course incompatible to freedom just as the extreme right. I do believe that the "almost far left" are much more compatible with freedom (think Sanders on steroids) than the "almost far right" (I guess current GOP?).

It could be that this is just incidental in that the public are currently more aligned with what the left wants so the right currently has to be anti-freedom if it wants to get elected. If public opinion shifts drastically maybe DNC would resort to trying to restrict voters instead of encouraging them?

It seems "left" and "right" can be used differently in different countries / times. In the US today, left is synonymous for liberal (typically democrat), and right for conservative (republican).


You might like the website The Political Compass, a quiz/self-test where authoritarian / libertarian are on a separate axis from the typical left / right of economic planning. It at least shows the lack of nuance in trying to reduce all politics to a single "left & right" dimension - and that by doing so, we ignore ways where both "sides" may actually share common views.


It's also rather biased in questioning

in the US, the left uses liberal institutions because being far left is tolerated by liberal society in a way that being far right is not

Could you clarify - are you saying that being far right isn’t tolerated in the US? Or that being far right isn’t tolerated by liberal society in the US?

the latter

Traditionally there are three political groups: conservatives, liberals and socialists.

"Far-left" falls under socialism, along with anarchism and communism. The idea that ties them together is this concept of trying to fight against and eliminate some hierarchy in society. Often times, wealth inequality. There is no such thing in the US.

To say that you are a liberal far-left is indeed a misuse of terminology.

Fascism falls under conservatism along with monarchism and any other traditionalist or reactionary political ideology. Standing opposed to "the left", the chief idea that ties all these ideologies together is that some hierarchal structures are beneficial to society.

Interesting to note that Republicanism is a liberal ideology, not a conservative one. Liberalism is a much more well defined ideology than the other two. Briefly speaking: "all men are created equal" (hence Republicanism), small government and free markets and capitalism.

> Traditionally there are three political groups: conservatives, liberals and socialists.

That's not even approximately correct. There are a lot more groups than that, and those aren't even on the same conceptual level.

> "Far-left" falls under socialism, along with anarchism and communism.

Socialism is one of many leftist ideologies. Communism is, yes, a subset of socialism; OTOH, anarchism is not a subset of socialism (anarchism is a distinct ideology.)

> > The idea that ties them together is this concept of trying to fight against and eliminate some hierarchy in society. Often times, wealth inequality. There is no such thing in the US.

The first part is not horrendously inaccurate but not really useful correct, either.

I don't know if you are trying to say that the far left, socialism, anarchism, communism, social heirarchies, or wealth inequality doesn't exist in the US, but, in any case...no.

> Fascism falls under conservatism along with monarchism and any other traditionalist or reactionary political ideology.

Reactionary ideologies have the same relationship to conservatism as radical or far-left ideologies have to liberalism.

> Interesting to note that Republicanism is a liberal ideology, not a conservative one.

Small-r republicanism is an ideology that is neither inherently liberal nor conservative, though the most common modern form is liberal. Big-R Republicanism J's just attachment to an American political party that doesn't have a single clear ideology but covers a range of liberal to reactionary ideologies.

> Liberalism is a much more well defined ideology than the other two.

Socialism is, while still a fairly broad umbrella, both more specific and better defined than liberalism.

> Briefly speaking: "all men are created equal"

That doesn't actually differentiate it from socialism, nor is this really essential to liberalism (a belief that all men are created equal undergirds some liberalism, but isn't essential to liberalism; another basis is that equallegal treatment allows people to reach the different positions appropriate for different inherent worth.)

> (hence Republicanism)

Neither Republicanism nor republicanism is inherently attached to an egalitarian ideology.

If you actually tried studying these topics instead of going behind shallow propaganda, you'd see how misguided you are. But actually liberals are not leftists, there's no left in USA.

I don't think they are related.

The Left is generally in favor of socialism of some sort: common ownership of the important stuff.

The Right has two wings: fascists and the sneaky, slippery moralizers known as Liberals. Liberals are content to wring their hands about minorities while reaping the benefits of very violent, command economies which extract wealth from the poorest (including within the USA). Their obfuscation of the true nature of capitalism and relatively less appalling public statements on minorities helps to keep a lid on things. Fascism only becomes overtly necessary when capitalism is having a periodic crisis and Liberal lies are not cutting it any more.

So, in short, no, nothing to do with each other.

Assange is a hero? Last I checked he was working with Russia to support the Trump campaign.

Used to respect him a lot, lost all my respect for him and WikiLeaks when he got involved in trying to influence elections. That was not that site's mandate.

Can you elaborate on that? Provide sources etc. Genuinely curious


"Assange also accused the Clinton campaign of stoking "a kind of neo-McCarthy hysteria" about Russia's alleged role in the DNC hacking and Moscow's purported links to the Trump campaign."

Meanwhile a recent federal indictment has accused Russia of doing exactly that: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/13/rosenstein-says-1...

The indictment is here: https://www.justice.gov/file/1080281/download

More info here: https://www.2016activemeasures.org/#involved

Everyone can be accused. That in itself doesn't mean anything. Also, Ex FBI Director Comney testified that the FBI didn't get access to the DNC server. Instead, the DNC hired itself people to verify their claim that they were hacked. How can they be serious if they aren't even trying to secure the main evidence? It is also pretty clear that they are not on Trumps side by announcing this directly before the summit.


This is a site populated by technical people, so please don't characterize technical security audits so simplistically ("what about the server" is a complete red herring).

There were 140 servers, not "the server." Regardless, the interesting data was found in the network gear of the data center that housed the servers (i.e. meta data/ connectivity logs). Trump was given the choice as to when the latest indictments were announced.

I don't know why you seem to be so triggered. I only wanted to discuss an alternate viewpoint. Science is about asking questions not accepting only studies that validate your own viewpoint.

I didn't know that there were 140 servers involved. Interesting. So did Comney lie and the FBI actually did get access to everything, including the physical Hardware. The thing is even if you have found proof that Russian Spies got access to the system it only implicates spying not publishing. The leak could still have come from someone inside the DNC. So to examine everything is essential. Also usually Police at least try to look impartial and not only look at evidence that supports their desired outcome. Looking only at the network gear like you said is the opposite of that.

It's not really accurate to say he was trying to influence elections. His goal is to publish verifiable documents that bring transparency to important political issues. He did not take sides whatsoever in the 2016 election, and obviously would have loved to publish information about Trump if any had been leaked to WL.


WikiLeaks promoted false conspiracy theories.

I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that WL promoted those theories.

Clearly if you watch the full statement Assange makes, he's simply establishing a universe of possible sources of the leaks. Statistically, a disgruntled employee is significantly more likely to attempt sabotage than many/most of the other explanations being floated at the time.

Also, FWIW anyone can weaponize a system like Wikileaks, and we should reasonably expect that to be a major source of the leaked data. But keeping in mind that WL is something that can be weaponized, there are many different attacks that can be delivered through it.

> and obviously would have loved to publish information about Trump if any had been leaked to WL.

I don't think that's clear, since they were in seemingly friendly contact with Donald Trump Jr and Roger Stone. When caught, Assange claimed they were only pretending to be friendly with them. If Wikileaks has no credibility, the explanation is unbelievable, if the explanation is believable it means they are willing to lie and deceive to achieve their goals, which in turn loses them credibility.




Just as any journalist might spend hours hanging out with a source, developing sympathy and rapport, WL has to use some of the same strategies.

It's a tactic used by detectives, journalists, psychotherapists, etc. It is appropriate in some fields and is part of the professional standard and is not a reflection on credibility.

I do not think we have to look far to assess WL's credibility. When is the last time that significant source material has been provided to some other, competing transparency organization? WL is the market leader and in spite of having been under attack for years has not been left in the dust of some other competitor. In that sense WL has tremendous credibility.

When is the last time someone has leaked a trove of data to the NYTimes after WL sat on it for months waiting for the perfect moment to deploy it? This simply hasn't happened.

All it would take would be one big story where the leakers publicized that Assange said no to the story or that he sat on the information. I think it's quite obvious that Assange actually would publish any significant story at the earliest opportunity.

Snowden chose not to go to WikiLeaks for his own personal reasons and because he wanted to be extra cautious about how aggressively the information was disclosed (to protect national security). Wikileaks is specifically not willing to heavily editorialize the leaked information (by omission or actively) because doing so would create doubt about why he suppressed information, and such doubt would actually harm WL's credibility.

Something like WL can easily be weaponized by state actors, disgruntled employees, estranged partners, etc. Because of that, the decision not to suppress any significant stories is crucial. WL won't publish paraphrased rumors, it publishes the actual source material so that there is no need to make inferences or imagine what was kept back.

It's ironic if not a bit absurd that Assange was asking Don Junior to turn over damaging information about his own father and that his remarks are used as evidence that he wanted Trump to win the election.

On a related but tangential note, it's remarkable to me that nobody has leaked Trump's tax returns yet. I'm also surprised nobody has posted a bounty on Ethereum for the first person to send the tax returns to Wikileaks and publish the decryption key and checksum in a public ledger.

One other thing that I'll mention is that I think that people who like one of the two major parties are much more likely to perceive someone else's behavior as being motivated by partisan loyalty.

> When is the last time that significant source material has been provided to some other, competing transparency organization?

The Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers were both released to the ICIJ. I don't think you would consider them a transparency organization though.

Considering only a "transparency organization" as Wikileaks competition is wrong though I think. Wikileaks' competitors are conventional producers of journalism, they just have different approaches to how the information will be presented.

Assange now supports Vladimir Putin over the US, and there's no amount of whatabouting that can defend Putin's actions.

(And I hope you're aware that Assange isn't American!)

It makes me profoundly sad how the world (or at least my world, mostly far left, liberal, educated, etc.) has turned so hard against Julian Assange. He's a hero in every sense of the word.

If this Assange guy hadn’t gone all-​in on supporting Trump, Russia, & co., he would still have a broad base of support among liberal Americans—many of the same people who lobbied for Chelsea Manning’s release. Epic bad strategy on his part.

Also, beyond partisan alignment, another reason I view him more dimly than I used to is his habit of dumping entire inboxes. Compare to something like the Panama papers that was vetted by journalists...


You're saying it was purely the sexual assault, and nothing to do with becoming a puppet of Putin?

If you drive somebody out into the cold and he starts to carve himself a igloo in the snowman, what was there first?

The Traitors, who shoved a good man into a hostile environment or the bad deal of someone who refused to die for principals, neither of us would risk his neck for.

If you are hunted and stateless, you are breathing thin air - and cant choosy with your allies. Ideals are not calories, ideals dont warm at night, ideals are what got you into the trap in the first place.

If you where selfless enough to throw away your social life, for ungrateful people, who wouldn't even protest for ideals, why not make a deal with the devil to at least not become a martyr?

Don’t care; he allied himself with Putin to spread disinformation. He tarnished his own reputation, and has no one but himself to blame.

It really shows the non-liberal bias here at HN that the above comment has more down than up votes. Because if you are liberal, there is statement concerning Assange that is more true.

You don't get a medal for being a Russian asset unless you're in Russia.

Assange is a Russian agent. Snowden most likely as well. They both deserve execution & infamy, not praise.

The death penalty. How civil of you.

> least my world, mostly far left

I'd be careful using that term, unless you're explicitly into violence towards anyone who disagrees with you.

Couldnt upvote this more. Imagine sitation in which you drive on highway and on the other side of median you see a car crashed with people burning inside. You drive by without stopping because pulling over on highway, leaving unatended cr and jaywalking across highway lanes is illawful. What kind of society one would live if we would never engage in any action because of blank asumption that eventual parsonal liability outweights our nobility.

I don't see how this analogy works for Assange, since he's done everything he can do to avoid liability.

It is very, very simple to understand the difference between Assange vs Snowden/Manning

Assange is an anarchist. He didn't use physical guns or bombs but rather selective release of information to selected parties at very selected times to cause as much damage as possible.

Snowden & Manning on the other hand loved their country so much they were horrified to learn what was being done in our name so they exposed that information in the hope that someone, anyone, could make things right and prevent it from happening again. There was no scheme otherwise to their actions.

So yeah they all dealt with exposing secrets but WHY is the very critical difference.

This is less a news story than a coat rack Greenwald uses to hang a bunch of loosely-related political arguments he wants to make:

* That Ecuador under Moreno is subservient to western powers, this according in part to Correa, who ran the previous Ecuadorian administration, which was widely considered one of the most corrupt in the western hemisphere (I have no idea if Moreno's was as well). OK? None of us are equipped to litigate the question of whether Ecuador is well-governed, and I doubt Greenwald is either.

* That the UK might (based on no evidence presented in this article) be wrangling to convict Assange under contempt statutes, because, I don't know, the UK is super corrupt and out to get Assange.

* That the US almost surely plans on prosecuting Assange because, despite the fact that US law makes it pretty difficult to prosecute Assange and despite the fact that it is extremely unlikely the UK or any EU country would extradite him, there are politicians in the US that really don't like him. OK? And?

The one morsel of "news" in this is the intimation that Moreno is about to revoke Assange's asylum. Of course, people paying attention have known this was coming for months. Greenwald has an unnamed source saying the details are being finalized now. Great.

The rest of this is basically a very... impassioned... op-ed piece. Infowars does this stuff better, or, at least, more entertainingly.

> That the UK might (based on no evidence presented in this article) be wrangling to convict Assange under contempt statutes, because, I don't know, the UK is super corrupt and out to get Assange.

The UK police basically besieged the embassy for 8 years, spending literal millions of GBP to do so[1]. The prosecution already talked about "contempt of court"[2]. But yeah, it's all in Greenwald's and Assange's head.

As for "corruption" in the UK, Greenwald might be a bit biased[3]. If your partner is essentially taken into Sippenhaft to bully you, you might be too. And it's not like the UK even extradites it's own citizens to the US, so why would Assange have any reason to worry given he is not even an UK citizen?[4]

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31159594

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/world/europe/julian-assan...

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwal...

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/nov/14/amber-rudd-appro...

Your comment is less an incisive analysis of the article than a coat rack to hang a bunch of loosely-related ad hominem attacks on the author along with unsubstantiated and unbelievable attempts to cast doubt on the article's thesis.

Namely that Assange is a political prisoner, likely to be transferred from eight years of effective imprisonment in the embassy to an actual prison, and to remain imprisoned for a long time, all without being charged of any serious crime.

While I agree in theory to your argument that Assange has been "Imprisoned" for ~8 years, the fact remains that, during time of the accusation of rape or assault in Sweden through today, he has maintained his innocence in the matter and if he had turned himself in he would have likely spent less time awaiting trial and proceeding through the trial than he did during his voluntary imprisonment in the embassy.

He turned an every day occurrence into a spectacle that gave him the perception of guilt.

Coupled with the fact that the indictment last week from Mueller's team all but implicates WikiLeaks as the distribution pawn for much of the 2016 election season's stolen emails, if he's so afraid of being extradited to the USA, why is he still poking at the US Government with sticks? If I don't get along with my neighbor, and my neighbor has the capability of ruining my life forever (whether that is justified or not is not the argument), I don't take every opportunity I have to take a shit on his lawn. Established journalistic publications like the New York Times or Washington Post or Wall Street Journal take care when publishing classified materials that have been leaked to them by redacting irrelevant information and personal details. WikiLeaks seems to want to jump on that same bandwagon, but they aren't paying the fare by cleaning out information that is irrelevant to the story they want to push. There have been numerous instances of personal details like Social Security Numbers, Personal phone numbers, and street addresses being retained in the documents they release. By not paying the price to be a publisher of information in the public's best interests, it's not surprising that many in the Justice Department don't view what they do to be covered under the 1st Amendment and are not protected from certain laws.

A UK judge ruled last February[0] that the arrest warrant for Assange will remain active on grounds of his contempt of the court despite Sweden dropping the case. I don't think it is unreasonable to assert that Assange will wind up doing time in a UK prison for his contempt of their courts.

[0] https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/julian-assange-ruling/

> That the US almost surely plans on prosecuting Assange because, despite the fact that US law makes it pretty difficult to prosecute Assange and despite the fact that it is extremely unlikely the UK or any EU country would extradite him, there are politicians in the US that really don't like him. OK? And?

He's making the point that the rule of law is very weak when it comes to the items in this bullet point.

In my view, Assange is a hero precisely because he's shown not just some classified information that has revealed many of our leaders to be highly corrupt, but because he's driven them to make fools of themselves in their vigor to destroy him.

Mike Pompeo will go down in history as one of the great villains of our age. His comments on Assange will be used to illustrate his abhorrent views. Those views aren't perceived by most people as abhorrent today for the same reason that the actors on cable news channels are widely respected and considered thought leaders. It's just easier that way.

Comparing to info-wars is either really ill-informed or an act of rhetoric. I see nothing in this piece even remotely on the level info-wars (e.g. claiming Sandy Hook was staged).

I think Ecuador was happy to host Assange for a while but genuinely found Assange's from of activism (just picking a phrase there, call it what you'd like) less tolerable as it went on.

The Intercept has a lot of issues but Infowars is a whole other type of disgusting thing.

yes, because harassment due to alex jones is so very entertaining...

Jesus christ... Yeah i’m sure he’s been in the embassy all this time because he definitely isn’t going to get arrested the second he leaves.

And as a south american journalist who focuses a lot on assange i definitely do think greenwald knows more about the ecuadorean government than you. And you’ve already admitted you aren’t equipped to litigate it.

Hey you just described Greenwald's whole song-and-dance rag. You got that guy pegged. Good job!

I'm sorry to say, but Democrats really lost the election. Greenwald must be falling over from laughter in Brazil at the reception he gets based on purely partisan ignorance.

I don't know who you're responding to, but it isn't me.

>because, I don't know, the UK is super corrupt and out to get Assange

The UK attacked another country on a false pretense causing, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. Then turned a blind eye to the Iraqi (puppet?) government routinely torturing civilians including women and children - which was exposed by WikiLeaks by the way. I would say the UK government IS super corrupt.

None of us are equipped to litigate the question of whether Ecuador is well-governed

False. This can be trivially derived from Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zermelo–Fraenkel_set_theory

I've always considered this bit of writing from 2006 to be Assange's (and Wikileaks') central thesis:


"The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance


The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption."




I still believe that this will bear out in the long-run, and has already begun to bear out in smaller-scale cases, but it is becoming apparent that in many cases this is like a "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent" situation, and has really barely begun.

As for Assange personally, I still kinda believe in him, though I recognize that is on shakier ground than it may once have been. After 8 uninterrupted years of however an honest and empathetic person might describe his conditions, I would not be surprised, nor would I particularly fault him for losing it a bit, and letting his personal situation (... being fucking personally targeted for destruction by an unfathomably powerful global-scale system of secretive injustice) compromise his personal pretence towards the objective neutrality on which his thesis's large-scale fruition is predicated.

John Young from Cryptome helped Wikileaks get started but then decided to distance himself from Assange and co.

Why was this?


Fundamentally the difference was that Wikileaks was all about making money, to pay for Assange and co to go about their special way, living life as kings in their own special world. Plenty of charities operate this way but John Young thought it would be more of a collection of people working together on the task in hand, not a revenue generating operation.

John Young's Cryptome website costs hosting fees and, although people can donate, this is paid for out of pocket, no vast network of fundraisers needed, no 'bitcoin' needed, no deal with Visa/Mastercard/Paypal needed. It is down to earth and not inflated with an Assange sized, planet sized ego.

I know people have got to eat, however, I personally found that the money making ambitions for WikiLeaks left a bad taste in my mouth. Assange's little difficulties with women and some of the silly things he may say are okay to me, not everyone has a squeaky clean character but luckily most of us don't have people sharing gossip about us with the press. But making money out of other people by presenting a 'saintly' self on a mission to do great things 'if only the funds were available' is not how I like my freedom fighters to roll.

Furthermore, throughout this whole saga it has always been about him. Assange with the planet sized ego. In some ways further theatre and charades and time in jail is what his story 'needs' for Assange to get the 'martydom' that he 'needs'. Let the spectacle begin.

> Assange's little difficulties with women ... not everyone has a squeaky clean character

To be clear about his "little difficulties", he's been accused of intentionally breaking a condom he was using when having sex with one woman (both of them have stated that the condom broke) and continuing a sexual encounter with another person while refusing to use a condom. As the article states, he's escaped trial because he hid from Swedish authorities and they weren't able to have the case tried in a timely fashion.

I will think it's a failure of our justice system if Assange is prosecuted in the US for leaking information (especially if, as described by the article, it's by Sessions et al. as a precursor for a leaking crackdown) and not tried for the sexual assault case that he's actually been on the run from for years - because it means that anyone who's in a similar position to Assange can now get away with sexual assault, claim asylum for their political activities, and have the world ignore their "difficulties with women."

What is the evidence that happened?

What is the evidence that these are the accusations, or what is the evidence that the accusations are true? I obviously don't know that the accusations are true. Swedish prosecutors think they have evidence of that. That's what I was hoping a court case would decide. I think the government should treat him as innocent until proven guilty, of course, like any civilized person, but like any civilized person I also think trials should happen.

If you're interested in evidence that these are the accusations, see e.g. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Sex-accusers-bo... or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assange_v_Swedish_Prosecution_... or https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange... or http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-14/julian-assange-to-be-i... or really a Google search for 'assange condom'.

> Swedish prosecutors think they have evidence of that.

Some Swedish prosecutors, rather. The accusations were originally dropped, then picked back up by a more politically-oriented prosecutor. It was very, very iffy from the start.

You can find some of the relevant evidence summarized in English in the original UK ruling on the EAW:


Assanges position at the embassy is similar to being in prison, so I wouldn't say he got away with repercussions.

I was not sure how to best describe the 'little difficulties', my personal opinion is that he was less than a perfect gentleman, but I was not there.

I do wonder how much his 'heroic freedom fighter' demeanour tied into his bedroom ambitions. Why be a groupie wanting to bed the lead singer of the band when you could become one of Assange's baby-mamas?

He wouldn't be the first male to have greedy desires regarding the ladies, but, had he read Che Guevera's Guerrilla Warfare, and, had 'freedom fighting' been his true ambition rather than a means to further his rock star ego, then he would have kept his little head to himself.

Although Che Guevera mansplains from a different era, he wrote about how that the true revolutionary - assumed to be male - needs to stay away from women until the revolution sought for is achieved. I know everyone seeks a partner - it is human nature to do so - and that 'behind every great man is a great woman', with Assange he should have known that there were basic 'operational security' risks in doing so. It takes months to work out if that lovely lady is narcissistic and likely to play the victim card in some police cell with a 'he said/she said' situation that can't be controlled.

Had there been one incident then you could imagine that she was just an attention seeking liar, to give him the benefit of the doubt. I remember being on this page with Mr Clinton, but, when the numbers add up and a pattern is revealed you do have to wonder.

"Rapist" is a pretty good term for it.

And yes, I think that the personality of wanting to be a famous and powerful man and is often correlated with the personality of wanting power over women at any cost. I wasn't there either, so I don't know if that's what happened here, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time those have lined up. However, I'm not sure that this is really about a "partner" - the accusers are two different women who had sex with him within weeks of each other, not someone who he was in a long-term relationship with who then went to the police.

(And yes, I do think that "rapist" is an appropriate term for Bill Clinton, too, but that doesn't seem particularly relevant.)

My theory for this is simply maturity and age. John Young is now quite old (and was indeed of advanced age in 2005). I don't think he cares about going to cocktail parties, being known in rarefied social circles, getting laid by groupies, speaking to major news media outlets, or all of the other things that Assange engaged in before the assault allegations against him surfaced. He certainly never seems to have cared about puffing up his own ego.

John Young is a retired architect who lives a very quiet, non-public life and seems to have always wanted to keep it that way.

Good. His lies about the Catalonia situation were Russia Today-tier of disinformation and fake news. It’s completely normal that an ally of Spain doesn’t want to cooperate with that.

What claims did Assange make in regards to the Catalonia situation?

Too many tweets to listen, but some of the most egregious claims he made:

- Spain were going to physically invade Catalonia and cause a Tiananmen Square-like situation

- The president of Spain wanted a "1000 year Reich" (ironic since that president was ousted by a no-confidence vote around a month ago. Guess the Reichs in Spain don't last long)

- Spanish federal Police warned jihadist terrorists that Mossos were following them (Catalonia police)

- Spanish people routinely mob Catalonians with total impunity

- And my "favorite" one, the one time when he said that there's 7.5 millions of Catalonians and if they were mobilized they could oust Spanish armed forces. So yes, basically asking for a civil war.

>- Spain were going to physically invade Catalonia and cause a Tiananmen Square-like situation

>The president of Spain wanted a "1000 year Reich"

>- Spanish federal Police warned jihadist terrorists that Mossos were following them (Catalonia police)




He's posting links, he's not the one making these claims. The jihadist story is straight from a Spanish newspaper.

>- And my "favorite" one, the one time when he said that there's 7.5 millions of Catalonians and if they were mobilized they could oust Spanish armed forces. So yes, basically asking for a civil war.


If this is the tweet you are referring to, I don't think that's a very honest description. He's clearly talking about their ability to keep polling stations running, and not calling for a civil war.

What difference does it makes that these are links? Is okay to publish anything if it’s a link?

The guy lost his mind. Shame because I actually respected him before this.

It makes a huge difference, you attributed these claims to him. He did not make the claims. If he's truly the person you claim him to be, it shouldn't be very hard to find lies that actually originate from him.

Honestly, one almost gets the feeling that you're only reading the El Pais interpretation of his tweets.

>The guy lost his mind. Shame because I actually respected him before this.

What did you respect him for? What changed? Assange has always been about fighting the western powers. I don't see how his behavior has particularly changed, only his portrayal.

I guess I don't get it. So you're upset with him for posting conspiracy-theory-esque tweets?

Have you been on twitter? Everybody, president included, tweets out ill-informed politically-motivated garbage.

Why do whistle-blowers need to be held to this absurd standard of absolute moral purity (that none of our politicians have) to not be seen as criminals?

Hopefully he wasn't bullshitting with those insurance files. I have been waiting for some quality leak drama for a long long time now.

Assange and bullshitting, wouldn't be the first time... he said he had info that was going to bring down big US banks for a while... didn't do anything.

But let's say he had some such files, release them and he has nothing.

I'd imagine those insurance files being insurance against murder, torture, life imprisonment et al more so than being kicked out of political asylum, but I'm just speculating.

True about Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Not so true about Assange. And it’s not just the legality. He didn’t simply release documents, he collaborated (as far as it is understood) with another country, to undermine the governments that imposed sanctions on it for the crimes it has (still does) committed.

> he collaborated (as far as it is understood) with another country, to undermine the governments that imposed sanctions on it for the crimes it has (still does) committed.

Can I explain? Did I miss something?

In terms of legality, I think all that should matter is whether it is legal for a particular party to leak a particular document or not. Making collaboration a determinant of the legality of the leak makes the determination of legality far too politically subjective.


People seem to be downvoting opinions here and the discussion is all turning so pale it's hard to read. Maybe just live with the fact that there will be statements you don't agree with and perhaps post a comment explaining why, if the counterpoint has not yet been made.

Why does Greenwald believe that a prominent world leader in a wheelchair attending a conference on people with disabilities is a smokescreen for this Assange business, instead of, you know... _something he actually cares about?_

>highly unlikely that Moreno...will obtain a guarantee that the U.K. not extradite Assange to the U.S.

I'm not remotely convinced that Moreno had any capability to obtain such an assurance. By what mechanism can a foreign agent nullify terms of a treaty between two unrelated states, even if the subject were an ecuadorian national?

It is a standard clause in most extradition treaties: if country A extradites person X to country B for a specific crime, country B is not allowed to to extradite person X to a third country, or even try them for a different crime (except crimes committed after extradition).

In the case of the treaties covering the European Arrest Warrants, you can be extradited to country C with consent of country A and country B. Of course, that means you can take things to the highest court in both countries before anything can happen.

The response in the Assange case has always been about Sweden either violating treaties or about the US performing an extraordinary extradition.

But that's not what's happening here, is it?

It used to be that Assange feared extradition to Sweden, and then Sweden would send him to the US. You covered this.

Now, since Sweden has dropped the charge, his fear is that the UK will send him to the US. This is a different scenario.

In either case, though, how does Ecuador intervene?

I recall years ago (I believe it was [0]) the US gave guarantees they wouldn't prosecute under threat of the death penalty and totally reneged. Stuff like this makes it harder in the future to get cooperation from other countries because they see US guarantees as basically worthless.

What's that saying... "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

[0] https://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-supreme-court/1360678.html

Not really an excuse because I agree with the intent of what you're saying, but the federated system of the US means that the state department or president or whatever DOESN'T have the authority to tell the state of Washington whether or not to pursue the death penalty. That would have been the Federal government promising the actions of a third party it has no control over... which is pretty bad but a little different from outright intentional fraud.

Journalists love to argue that journalists should enjoy special first amendment rights, and a central theme of OP is the government prosecuting whistleblowers but not the media companies who publish the info. Even the most Snowden friendly outlets seem to write like that. That seems super weird. The exceptions should be due to public interest, not due to being a newspaper.

In the US, whistleblowers like Snowden are able to be prosecuted because they agreed to not disclose confidential information. The speech itself is protected.

Julian Assange is not "effectively imprisoned". He can leave the Ecuadorian embassy any time he chooses. Ecuador is under no obligation to provide him domicile.

If you spend 8 years confined to a small space, unable to travel freely due to a well-grounded fear of physical harm, you're most definitely "effectively imprisoned".

Plus, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has also found that he is in arbitrary detention... in 2016. The UK has conveniently ignored this breach of human rights.

Whatever Assange did or didn't do, and whatever this media and political spectacle is, it isn't justice.

How is it the UK's fault that Assange chose to hide in the Ecuadorian embassy? They can't make him come out.

UN working groups have no legal authority.

Yes, apparently. And that somehow makes it okay to ignore?

Meanwhile, the UK continues the farce, costing a disproportionate amount of taxpayer money given the accusations.

Yes it's okay to ignore the recommendations of working groups. The UK is under no obligation to take them seriously.

You already said that. Anything other than "we don't need no ethical opinions from nobody!" to add? Like if it is actually ethical? Or a giant waste of money?

But then... is he really fearing for his life? Is it really about him knowing secrets or him trying to avoid the rape charges in Sweden?

Sweden withdrew their arrest warrant.

Ecuador granted asylum not to shield Assange from justice in Sweden, but to prevent the US from using the Swedish case as an avenue to extradite him to the US.

The warrant was only withdrawn because without being able to interview Assange, the investigators cannot move forward. They have also reserved the right to reopen the case should Assange return to Sweden before the statute of limitations expires in 2020.


He also wasn't charged with rape, he was sought for questioning. And he consistently offered the Swedish Prosecutor to answer all questions from London, which the Swedish Prosecutor declined.

>He also wasn't charged with rape

He couldn't be charged without first being arrested. That's why Sweden issued the EAW.

Again: the EAW was to arrest Assange for questioning.

Well yes, obviously, they would question him and then determine whether or not to charge him. The point is that they couldn't charge him without first arresting him.

And the point was they could have questioned him any time and refused to.

Yes, the prosecutor can prosecute the case as they see fit. They're not obliged to question Assange on his own terms.

From the original ruling on the EAW (p. 20):

>Here is it necessary to focus clearly on the facts of the case. Clear and specific serious allegations have been made against Mr Assange in Sweden. Attempts have been made by the Swedish prosecutor as long ago as September to interview him. He has not been interviewed. The Swedish system anticipates detention and early questioning in allegations of this type, but this has not taken place. Mr Assange is not known to have returned to Sweden since September. I have no doubt that this defendant is wanted for prosecution in Sweden. On the information before me I cannot say when or what step was taken that can fairly be described as the commencement of a prosecution. What I can say is that the boundary between suspicion and preliminary enquiries on the one hand, and prosecution on the other, has been crossed. It may be that after interrogation and further enquiries the matter will not be pursued. As Ms Ny says, a formal decision to charge is taken at a later stage in Sweden than it is here. In this jurisdiction a person can be charged with rape or sexual assault by a custody sergeant and may then wait many months before the case is discontinued. In Sweden the decision to formally charge is followed very shortly by the trial itself, if the defendant is in custody.

Yes I know the prosecutor can persue the case any way they want to.

I find it odd that you don't understand this, but the point is very simple: if the purpose of the Swedish Prosecutor was to investigate a potential crime, they would have interviewed Assange. Instead they refused to.

>if the purpose of the Swedish Prosecutor was to investigate a potential crime, they would have interviewed Assange.

I don't see how you are drawing this conclusion. There would have been little point in interviewing Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy, since it would not have been possible to arrest him following the interview. More broadly, complying with Assange's demands would also have sent the wrong signal to anyone else trying to escape the justice system.

> There would have been little point in interviewing Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy, since it would not have been possible to arrest him following the interview.

To determine his guilt, and answer the questions the presecutor needed?

You surely know this - my general feeling at this point is you're simply asking questions to antagonise anyone who disagrees with you. Hacker News needs a block function.

> More broadly, complying with Assange's demands would also have sent the wrong signal to anyone else trying to escape the justice system.

Most people don't have a US Home Secretary who wants them tried with treason (ie, potentially dead) and an bizarrely increased amount of attention compared to any other similar case, from a country that's been revealed as a covert member of Nato.

Also most rape victims aren't excited to go to a crayfish party with the person who just supposedly raped them 24 hours ago.

>To determine his guilt, and answer the questions the presecutor needed?

The reason that they needed to interview Assange was so that they could proceed to arrest him and charge him. That is why the EAW was issued. The interview was a procedural formality, not something that would have been particularly useful in its own right.

>Most people don't have a US Home Secretary who wants them tried with treason (ie, potentially dead) and an bizarrely increased amount of attention compared to any other similar case, from a country that's been revealed as a covert member of Nato.

How is that any concern of the Swedish prosecutor? It's not their problem if the US tries to extradite Assange. (There is, of course, no evidence that the US is going to do this beyond Assange's paranoid fantasies.)

>Also most rape victims aren't excited to go to a crayfish party with the person who just supposedly raped them 24 hours ago.

It's actually pretty common for rape victims to remain on more-or-less friendly terms with the people who raped them. (You can see a similar phenomenon with domestic abuse.)

> The interview was a procedural formality, not something that would have been particularly useful in its own right.

No, it was to assess the facts and see whether the case had merit. The police do not arrest someone on every accusation of crime (although in this case the victim made statements saying they didn't wish Assange to be charged).

> Assange's paranoid fantasies

By that do you mean Hillary Clinton's repeated statements on how Assange should be dealt with?

Additionally, this wasn't a domestic abuse case. Aardin and Assange were having casual sex, not a long term relationship as is typical in domestic cases.

>No, it was to assess the facts and see whether the case had merit

No, it wasn't. See e.g. the quote from the Magistrates' court judgment above.

>The police do not arrest someone on every accusation of crime

The Swedish prosecutor had a strong presumption in favor of arresting and charging Assange in this instance, as the court judgments make clear. That was on the basis of the evidence already available.

You may not be taking into account differences between the Swedish and US/UK justice systems. Formal charges are brought much later in the Swedish system, as the court judgments explain. The investigation into Assange had proceeded to a stage where charges would most likely already have been filed in the US or UK. The investigation was well beyond the stage where they would have wanted merely to talk to Assange.

>By that do you mean Hillary Clinton's repeated statements on how Assange should be dealt with?

Clinton has no power to extradite Assange. It doesn't matter what she says.

>Additionally, this wasn't a domestic abuse case. Aardin and Assange were having casual sex, not a long term relationship as is typical in domestic cases

As I said, it is not uncommon for people who are raped to remain on friendly terms with their rapists. The fact that they were not in a LTR doesn't change that.

Right, because investigation and prosecution of an alleged crime is impossible without the suspect's testimony.

It was a trumped-up allegation. The timing and nature of it alone should have raised flags. Whatever truth there is to it does not warrant the diplomatic circus this has become.

> It was a trumped-up allegation

You’re quite callously dismissing two womens’ rape allegations.

No, I'm not.

Whether their claims have any merit or not is not for me to say, but how many other womens' rape allegations result in an international extradition effort...just for questioning?

The government wanted him already. Now they had a reason to bring him in, by making a bigger deal out of allegations they would otherwise ignore.

Most people don’t flee their country’s legal system, and if they do they’re quietly pursued. Even fewer loudly defy their country’s legal system, but when they do they tend to be loudly pursued as a deterrent. It doesn’t get more public and defiant than taking shelter in a foreign country’s embassy while declaring both your innocence, and that your home country is corrupt and lying about you. Very few countries would take that lying down.

Then you add the prexisting desire to nab him, but only then.

So everyone who is sought as a suspect in a crime is "effectively imprisoned", in your view?

Remember: Assange sought asylum to avoid an interview with Swedish law officials concerning allegations of sexual misconduct in possible violation of Swedish law.

Assange is a naturalized citizen of Ecuador[1].

Now the question is whether Ecuadorian law allows to extradite it's own citizens to the UK, and for a minor UK charge of "failure to surrender".

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/11/julian-assange...

"its own citizens", now for the issue of extradition, I'm not sure it even counts as an extradition in the case of an embassy (though theoretically at first glance it would count)

He can leave the Ecuadorian embassy any time he chooses, which would immediately lead to him becoming... effectively imprisoned.

Perhaps "effectively under house arrest" describes his situation better.

Also, Ecuador may have no obligation to provide him domicile as such, but it does have a duty to grant asylum to legitimate asylum seekers. Without a way to safely transport him from their embassy to their country, I think there is a logical (if not moral) obligation to provide him domicile in the embassy where he claimed, and was granted, that political asylum.

How about nominally imprisoned absent fair treatment upon extradition?

How will we know he won’t get fair treatment upon release until he’s actually released?

That isn't how prosecution for high crimes works these days.

No nation exerts so much effort recovering someone with a bench warrant for failure to appear unless there's an empty cell in a black site with your name on the door. They even tried playing the "...but he's a filthy rapist!" card to turn the public against him. It's disgusting.

There are actual murderers on the lam who aren't being pursued as aggressively as this. They want him this badly and they don't even have any substantial charges to bring. It's an unfair fight by any measure.

Because he's wanted by the US?

Ok how about i tell you that if you leave your house you’ll be killed instantly. Are you free to leave whenever? Under your logic yes.

Along with this being tremendously sad due to what I perceive to be a service provided for the privacy conscious people of the world (validation that, yes governments were unjustly spying on people in their own country and abroad), it makes me extra frustrated because what a waste of time and money this whole thing was. From the US, Swedish, UK and Ecuador governments.

I am genuinely surprised by the amount of positive comments here about Assange. It is clear that at a bare minimum he was used as a tool by Putin to sway politics in the US and is it seems likely he was a willing and active participant in that plan. For people who still view Assange positively, do you simply not care about that fact or do you just think the good outweighs the bad?

EDIT: This comment is currently sitting at -3 points. I couldn't care less about the points, but it shows that at least four people have found problems with this question. Is it too much to ask that you engage in a conversation if you think this question is ridiculous?

I don't like him and his delusions of grandeur or his conspiracy theories about the world (some of which turned out to be plausible, though), but at least as far as this embassy business goes, his election meddling doesn't seem relevant as his imprisonment in the embassy began way before the US election, back when Obama still was president.

It was a time where the US/UK were pretty paranoid about the Snowden affair and even pressured journalists (e.g. Greenwald's partner, not even involved, was held for hours in London) and it seemed relatively plausible that they could try to get their hands on Assange for political reasons. In an Orwellian age of secret courts and secret warrants, it seems prudent to be better safe than sorry.

And who knows, maybe that time in the embassy radicalized him into unhinged person he is now? In any case, what he did _after_ being confined for this embassy for years (possibly cooperating with Russia to sabotage US elections a bit) is not relevant for the case.

I can't downvote, but in my mind to engage with this question is to lend it legitimacy. The debate then is unwinnable. See, if we frame our discussion on your terms (Was he a willing conspirator with Russia and Putin or merely a fool) then anyone with the beliefs like say, "Assange did the world some good by releasing documents the US government didn't want released" or "Assange was a powerful force for government transparency" then we have lost. I can't tell you why three people downvoted you, but my best guess is your comment is perceived as bad-faith.


How is the question illegitimate? I don't think it is controversial to say that Wikileaks was part of Russias plan to influence US politics. (Whether they were a unwilling or willing participant is immaterial at the moment). If simply establishing that as a fact makes your side of the debate "lost" and "unwinnable", maybe that means you should rethink why you fall on that side of the debate.

Hey, now I've got downvotes too! My opinion is unpopular, and it was just questioning why other people downvoted you, so I retract my previous guess, as it was clearly wrong. It turns out people just don't like things they disagree with What can ya do? :)

My comment mostly reflects how interesting I find it that people can justify anything they like based on their previous beliefs, cherry-picking facts that suit what they'd prefer to believe.

I am guilty of this too, we all are. I try to attack my own beliefs by reading and attempting to understand other points of view, but I'm not super-human, I have blind spots.

One thing I'm somewhat good at is seeing how language can frame things in such a way to make the counter-argument more difficult. Its all about perception, because language is so imprecise.

For example, You said

>...Wikileaks was part of Russias plan to influence US politics

That is likely true! But your point could be taken to mean that Wikileaks was complicit in this plan. It could be taken to mean a whole lot of things, and while we're debating the veracity of those things we don't even get to debate on other things, such as the content of the leaks, and about the US government's persistent attack on whistleblowers.

Indeed, it frames the mind in such a way as to ponder whether the US's desire to prosecute Assange is proper given the circumstances.

Do you see what I'm trying to say? I may be pretty good at picking up on the nuances of speech but I'm piss poor at explaing myself.

I see what you are saying here, but I think that is a different argument than the one you made in the first comment. My question still remains, do people who view Assange positively not care about his involvement with Russia or do they think it is excusable because the ends justify the means? Whether Assange was a willing participant in that involvement would likely impact people's answers, but I don't think that unknown invalidates the question. I also don't think the question loses legitimacy just because I might not have chosen my words carefully enough in the setup to the question.

ah, and here I'll apologize for my inability to properly express myself previously.

rather, i was trying to guess the motivations behind your downvoters, based on my own reasoning, a hazardous proposition at best. i meant to distance myself from any critique/judgement of your position but my own opinion was made clear, wasn't it? oops.

you've guessed it, i don't wish to discuss your question at all, no offense. i believe it's a distraction and of little importance. This belief, though i am confident it is a product of my incredible intellect¹, more likely comes mostly from my distaste the US government due to the things I've read in the leaks, and my belief that the US government would do anything to bury wikileaks, up to and including slander and libel.

¹clearly sarcasm, for those invisible down voters

"It is clear that at a bare minimum he was used as a tool by Putin to sway politics"

Can you provide evidence or sources for this claim? It's not clear to me, although the majority of Western news-media seems to be pushing this speculation.

I just pulled up the Wikipedia page for Guccifer 2.0 [1]. You can click through from there to find plenty of sources. That page opens with the following:

>"Guccifer 2.0" is a persona which claimed to be the hacker(s) that hacked into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network and then leaked its documents to the media, the website WikiLeaks, and a conference event. According to indictments in February 2018, the persona is operated by Russian military intelligence (GRU)

The available evidence suggests the Russians hacked the DNC and then used Wikileaks as the primary method of distributing that hacked data. I don't know whether Wikileaks was aware of their role, but either way Wikileaks clearly was used as a distribution tool by Putin and the Russians.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guccifer_2.0

last April, Trump’s then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now his Secretary of State, delivered a deranged, rambling, highly threatening broadside against WikiLeaks.

I watched the video linked and I wouldn't describe it as "deranged" or "rambling". Just because the author disagrees with Pompeo does not make him deranged. When reporters write blatantly political things like this, it really makes me question the fairness of the rest of the article.. what else did they mischaracterize to fit their political views?

As support for his claim that Assange is "essentially imprisoned for eight years," Greenwald's opinion piece (I wouldn't call it a news article) also links to a 2011 Telegraph article about Assange's then-current stay in an opulent manor while fighting extradition to Sweden to face sex charges.

Greenwald seems to have a thing for peppering his writings with links to sources that fail to support his claims. I guess he thinks spurious links make his screeds seem more credible.

He's not a 'reporter'.

Glenn Greenwald isn’t a reporter? I’m sure that’s news to him

He's not. This is not a piece of reportage, it's an op-ed half-heartedly masquerading as such. We have regular 40123 comment threads dissecting the potential biases of actual reporting from the New York Times and other news outlets. This thing is almost completely overt, it seems silly and weird to ponder whether some subtle lean or scale-tipping can be gleaned in it.

I wonder if the parent is being a pedant here, and meaning to say: "Glenn Greenwald is a journalist, not simply a reporter."

no, I wasn't being pedantic. I don't care enough about him to have any opinion either way, just that I'm pretty sure he defines himself as a journalist.

I think he's actually a lawyer, turned blogger/writer/editor/pundit.

> He received a BA in Philosophy from George Washington University in 1990 and a JD from New York University School of Law in 1994.


No, I mean that what he does is advocacy. Paul Krugman and Tucker Carlson are also not reporters or journalists.

This is the most ridiculous comment in the whole thread. Greenwald broke one of the biggest stories of the century (Snowden). In what universe is that considered anything other than being a reporter?


>Literally (2): in effect : virtually —used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible

As you say, this whole thread is pretty heavy. Not really in a thoughtful way, sadly. That said, I love your "literally literally". Is it meant to help the reader understand that you mean "literally" in its original form rather than its recently updated definition? :)

Right. Literally-literally as opposed to figuratively-literally :)

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