1. Start with the set of all potentially serious journalists.
2. Filter out the ones who put forth arguments which downplay the dangers to the press of prosecuting Assange.
3. Filter out the ones who don't explicitly argue against prosecuting Assange on 1st Amendment grounds.
Follow the small group that survives #3 to get a variety of (probably) high-quality perspectives from serious journalists.
Use set from #2 as a casual guide for when to prick your ears up and listen to the news.
The next time I get caught trying to hack the government I'm going to try the "but it was for journalism" defense.
In fact, why can't I hack companies and claim I was just trying to get information to leak to the public?
"It's just journalism, you can't arrest me..."
By nature, I don’t think discussing password cracks, without a ton more context than what has been shared, is not criminal. There are many forum posts with system and programming questions that are purely hypothetical (eg, “so I’m trying to determine if my security is appropriate, is it as easy to crack as this dod password, etc etc”).
I think criminal acts and conspiracy to commit criminal acts require quite a bit of information and would like to learn more how you would use this as a claim of journalism.
To my knowledge, Wikileaks has never actively participated in the hacking or cracking required to access restricted info. They serve as a Dropbox for others who do that.
> To my knowledge, Wikileaks has never actively participated in the hacking or cracking required to access restricted info.
But that's exactly what this is about. There are records of Jabber messages where they were conspiring (planning) to crack the password for Manning. I don't know how they determined that Assange was involved and not an unfortunate pawn of his, but whatever evidence they have was enough to convince a grand jury to indict him.
And, btw, an indictment isn't a verdict. He still has a chance to defend himself in trial even if he's extradicted. But this would mean that the US has a chance to prove his guilt.
But now we just wait and see if they have enough evidence to convince the UK to extradite him. And if that happens we'll wait and see how the trial and sentencing plays out.
Shouldn't it if that access revealed information about war crimes? Or an artificial conflict that cost about 500.000 lives?
That should remain undisclosed because computer sabotage is bad? This is missing perspective left and right.
Would it still be journalism, if they hacked the database and didn't find evidence.
Should the fact that the information released, put many lives in danger when it compromised many people aiding our government?
Morally his actions can be debated, but not from a legal one, so he should be arrested and it should be up to a jury to determine if is moral reasoning and actions out way his crimes.
To take a direct example, a Swedish TV crew smuggled a person through several nations in order to report on experience a person went through during the migration crisis. The maximum punishment for human smuggling is 6 years in Sweden (and this is not counting all the other countries which this TV crew traveled through), and the verdict was of course a small fine (basically one month of pay) after going through two courts.
When you have a person with no priors, low risk for repeat offense of the specific crime they are accused of, for the intent of journalist reporting, and a single offense, what you get is a small fine.
The US do not do extraditions from other nations when the expected punishment is a small fine.
We don't need to make a whole new set of legal principles where people automatically get off for claiming journalism. In this case the people (here and around the world) were able to learn a lot of valuable information. Assanges actions are justified.
But that doesn't excuse him from the framework of our laws, if you break the law, even for a good reason, its a jury that decides.
But the fact that some people get away with crimes doesn't mean we should ignore all crimes and adopt a system of anarchy.
Who said it would be worse?
Where you asked before adopting the current system? Or you were just expected to sit and accept it?
Any why would a system that takes into account actual benefit to the public or not, to absolve someone of something that is otherwise a crime, would be tantamount to "anarchy"?
Without a clear set of laws things get messy really quickly.
We do allow for subjective peer input in a trial, that's exactly why the jury exists.
But to say that someone shouldn't even be put in front of a jury just because you think they broke the law with good intentions is undermining the purpose of law. Who are you to decide what was a "benefit to the public"?
There were people who thought that Guantanamo was a "benefit to the public" so should they be allowed to torture people?
There were people in the NSA who thought that mass collection of metadata from phone companies was a "benefit to the public" so maybe we shouldn't investigate those things.
That's not how I want the law to work. We should investigate all of those things, regardless of what you think is beneficial, under a strict set of rules of law. And we use democracy and international order to shape that set of rules.
If you think this is crazy and oppressive you should look around at how non-western countries handle these things.
Maybe it's time to adopt a more aggressive stance against immoral laws, don't you think?
Can cops be justified breaking into your house without a warrant, so long as they find evidence of a crime?
There is a huge difference between the state and the poeple. And they should be trated respectively.
What Julian Assange did was for the best of all poeple, not for the state.
It also follows that the state are made of the poeple, for the poeple. So anything that is "good" for the poeple, the state should do.
If your justification is that regardless of his actions the net result was "good" for the people. You run into an undefended slippery slope.
If we murder everyone in the US, that has deadly communicable diseases, or hereditary genetic disorder and we wipe the diseases out, that's "good" for the people, and the harm when compared to the whole is trivial as long as you kill less than say 30 million people. We can never hold ourselves to this sort of standard and claim we have any form of justice.
On the other hand, the law is far to ridge without the human factor, and hence the jury, a jury can nullify a case if they so choose, and simply agree that this person violated the law, but did it for a reason that his peers felt they deserved no punishment.
I'm not saying that Assange, so go to jail, I'm simply suggesting that he has to have his day in court, if what the state is saying is to be show through evidence to be true, or false. And that if his group of peers feels that after hearing all the specific details of the case from both sides, determine if what he did is right or wrong.
We currently have the notion of exigent circumstances, that if the police have a lawful reason to enter your house without a warrant (such as believing that someone is in imminent danger) and they find in plain sight in the course of that entry evidence of a crime, it's fair game.
A case like this is how we determine if journalists are allowed to hack into government databases. This precedent will be instructive to future activists regardless of how it turns out.
Which, considering the broad definition of "journalist" here, might mean that we're free to hack anything as long as we publish it.
Would I have the right to hack your web service and leak that data because "journalism"?
And if I get caught hacking something could I simply say that my intent was to publish it?
Nor do I see how you are suggesting what I'm talking about is some sort of proposal for a double standard.
I'm not saying out legal framework is perfect, and certainly not saying that injustices don't happen because there are bad people, doing horrible shit to innocent people.
I'm saying that you can't abandon the rule of law, just because someone did something that you see as a net positive.
I'm also against this train of thought when the government attempts to use this logic with eminent domain cases for example.
"Exigent circumstances" are, from the perspective of the law, the equivalent of a warrant, thus making any proofs legal.
If the defense challenges, and the state can not convince the judge that there was a probably threat that material evidence will be destroyed before a warrant could be obtained, then it will very likely be thrown out, and can not be used in the case at all.
And even if the judge allows it, and defense loses its an open door for an appeal.
There are literally volumes of text on this subject, there is not blanket a statement that makes incorrectly gather evidence moot, as any defense attorney, it's their first line of attack.
And one of the most common ways the defense can win a case.
So much FUD and dangerous hypotheticals to justify /their/ crimes. At this point accountability and transparency need to be held far higher because the alternative is so much worse and corrupted.
If you don't want whistleblowers there is an easy answer - not being so fucking corrupt and they will have nothing to whistleblow on!
How about starting with the solid facts, that what was unearthed is justified to be unearthed?
>Would it still be journalism, if they hacked the database and didn't find evidence.
We could just say no -- or, if they did find evidence, yes.
This keeps the risk of violating the law, but makes it OK if you indeed unearth something beneficial.
You know, as if we can make rational value judgements given the end result, and not give everyone a free pass, or condemn everyone from the start.
But as I've said, this is the human element, and is why we have a jury, if the jury feels that his actions though criminal were justified.
They can hold him free of punishment, this is why our judicial system is structured this way, because the letter of the law, doesn't understand the context of a situation, and a jury can.
Who in your opinion makes the choice of "what was unearthed is justified to be unearthed?" A judge, a police officer, a prosecutor, or a jury of his peers?
That value judgement you are talking about is literally the roll of the jury, but to get to that point, they have to be arrested, and prosecuted.
Well, that's bad. And it has been known to be bad since the time of Les Miserables at least...
>Who in your opinion makes the choice of "what was unearthed is justified to be unearthed?" A judge, a police officer, a prosecutor, or a jury of his peers?
The jury of peers. But we're still on the court of public/pundit opinion, and many are making arguments as if the technical aspects of the law outweigh any benefits -- in fact as if breaking the law itself is morally condemnable whatever the circumstance. So I wanted to counter that.
Besides, are the people which will be jury really "peers" when the act might benefit humanity at large, but they are tied to a particular nation state (one he doesn't even belong to)?
"Peers" original intention was to be people "related to the community/society the accused lives in" with the same public interests (and moral ideas).
My disconnect is because I think I already know the value judgement the law will end up making.
But the court has the burden to prove that the person is guilty of a crime, to 12 different people. You are required by law to be given a lawyer to assist in your case if you can't afford one.
That is a better shake than probably 75% of the world right there. Hell its better than you get in the military in the US.
That's not how the legal system works and that's not how ANY legals system COULD work, because it would require the process to be finalized and the outcome known before any legal enforcing to happen).
Basically you're bringing an utterly irrational viewpoint to the discussion then you end up with " we can make rational value judgements".
Actually that's how many regional and "local customs" legal systems works all around the world.
And it's even part of standard roman-legacy law, to take into account the outcome (and also thinks as intentions, circumstances, and so on).
That's because your formulation of the principle is too general. If everyone acts on their own subjective law then collective law would break down. But no one is arguing for that.
Wikileak's defenders would do better to point to the particular conditions that have led to mass whistle blowing: permanent wars in the Middle East and North Africa (the US is in seven wars right now); the creation of a massively powerful surveillance state; and the lack of legitimate channels for political and military transparency and accountability.
The case for whistleblowing hinges on that reality.
It's not about whistleblowing it's about hacking a DoD account to access classified military intelligence.
Given Gitmo and the practices disclosed from there the US government seems to follow that rationale
Remote is hacking. If it’s something that was handed to them from a source then that seems like legitimate journalism.
Also “wikileaks” and Assange are very distinct entities. Are there jabber records of (provably) Assange stating that he was trying to hack a remote server belonging to the DoD or was it some hanger-on doing the typing?
But that's not important, from a legal perspective. Cracking those passwords with the intent to use them for unauthorized access seems like conspiracy, and that's what WikiLeaks was offering Manning in the Jabber records (to crack the passwords for her).
I don't know the details about how they know Assange was involved but it was compelling enough for a grand jury indictment. It's up to the UK now to decide whether a request for extradition is valid, so the US needs to make a case for this indictment. We'll see where that goes and what evidence is presented.
And I'm pretty sure the charge of conspiring to hack defense systems is also a crime in the UK so the grounds for extradition aren't so shaky.
It's also really important to note that they can't just extradite for this hacking charge and then do a trial for the leaks or whatever the 1st Amendment concerns are. The extradition will have to be specific to whatever charge the US is bringing (which so far is only the conspiracy to hack). Also, if found guilty he can't be charged again for leaking or anything without ANOTHER extradition claim and that would be very unlikely. So whatever they decide to extradite him for in the next 60 days will be the kind of charges he faces.
The jurisdictional overreach of my government (US) in this case concerns me. Some questions we should consider:
Is it a crime in the UK for an Australian citizen residing in Sweden to offer help cracking a password over online chat to a US citizen residing in Afghanistan and then report that they were unsuccessful? In the US?
Should we start extraditing Canadians for weed?
I get the concerns, but the charge is of conspiracy and that's exactly how it works... If you get caught planning to hack the DoD but you don't accomplish it, those plans can be used against you in a conspiracy charge.
> Should we start extraditing Canadians for weed?
That's up to Canada, but on the face of it that's not even a crime (Americans can go to countries with legal marijuana, the crime is possession in the states). Now, if someone in Canada was conspiring to traffic a massive amount of weed into the US that could be different.
Is it different if China extradites an Italian citizen from Thailand for conspiring against them by, while in South Africa, assisting a Chinese citizen, who's located in Australia, participate in circumventing Chinese censorship technology by helping root a device?
The US might extradite you if Australia could make that case. Especially if it could be proven that you would receive a fair trial and no cruel or unusual punishment. That's what's happening here. The UK can still refuse to give him up if they don't make a good enough case.
For context on the issue of "fair trial": look at cases of worse charges than conspiracy to hack, like Maria Butina, for instance. She still received a proper trial and chance to defend herself against the evidence. Our legal system is broken in many ways, but mostly when it comes to racial or income inequality and local law enforcement. On the larger stage the rules for these things are pretty clear.
If you want to see some contrast take a look around at other large nation's justice system.
The idea of a government's authority being derived from a consent to be governed was expressed very early in the US of A's declaration of independence to Britian: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" and I think this is a reasonable stance.
And the conspiracy wasn't just cracking the password, it was explicit intent to crack it for unauthorized access to classified military intelligence.
Yeah, under the direction of Russian officials, as an unregistered agent on their behalf.
But that is not how the law get enforced, and people don't get extradited for crimes like that. They don't even get extradited when you have evidence of committed crimes like speeding, which maximum punishment is longer than cracking a password.
If you're Australian, don't expect the government to give a shit unless you're rich. I expect the Australian government to offer as little as they can to Assange.
"Hacking companies" is not the same as a journalist at his own location using the material received from its source to guess the information from the material which could help the protection of the source.
That is what the journalists are supposed to regularly do.
And that is what is claimed that Assange did. And that was known for years, and previously legal experts concluded that it is not a correct basis to a charge.
But then the US president becomes somebody who deeply doesn't care for the freedom of the press. And the Democrats still don't want to admit that they lost the election because they actually did many wrong things, like not being democratic in their own party before the elections. So the pressure started:
The fact which was somehow inconvenient:
The deleted part was exactly about that pressure.
Note also that Greenwald wrote: "The claim that Assange tried to help Manning circumvent a password to cover her tracks isn’t new. The Obama DOJ knew about it since 2011, but chose not to prosecute him. Story on this soon. Holder chose not to prosecute Assange based on the same info Trump DOJ cited."
and Assange's lawyer:
"While the indictment against Julian Assange disclosed today charges a conspiracy to commit computer crimes, the factual allegations against Mr. Assange boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identity of that source. Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges."
Those indictments come from a group of people who hear only one side, there is no one there to question the validity of what they are told, and they are basically being asked to let it go to court and so I don't think they see it as so bad if they are wrong, it can work out in trial.
"Well if a grand jury wishes to bring charges, it must be a legitimate charge, or they'd not bring it to them."
It's akin to the idea that if someone has charges for a crime, that because they were charged they must have did it.
While that may be true, DAs don't like to lose in court, so why would they bring spurious charges? In this case, they would bring spurious charges because of the politics, but in general, they need a motive to take things to court that are obviously not even suspicious.
Please define "hack the government" in a way compatible with what the indictment describes Assange having done.
> 7. On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers
Nevertheless, hacking-related laws are a disgrace to our freedom.
> The Justice Department has been enamored of this conspiracy approach since the time of the Pentagon Papers. In that case, Richard Nixon’s DOJ attempted to enjoin the New York Times and, later, the Washington Post from publishing a forty-seven-volume Defense Department study of the history of US relations with Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, which had been classified top secret. I led the team of lawyers who defended the Times in that case.
> Should Trump’s Justice Department succeed in prosecuting Assange, the only safe course of action for a reporter would be to receive information from a leaker passively. As soon as a reporter actively sought the information or cooperated with the source, the reporter would be subject to prosecution. National security reporting, however, is not done by receiving information over the transom. It is naïve to think that reporters can sit around waiting for leaks to fall into their laps. In a recent interview, the longtime investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told me that he obtains classified information through a process of “seduction” in which he spends time trying to induce the source into giving up the information. If he isn’t allowed to do that, he says, “It’s the end of national security reporting.”
> It’s clear that the Justice Department believes such “seduction” creates a conspiracy between the leaker and the reporter. In its prosecution of the State Department employee Stephen Jin-Woo Kim for leaking classified information about North Korea to a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, the DOJ stated, in a sealed affidavit, that it considered Rosen a “co-conspirator.” The DOJ filed the affidavit with the D.C. District Court in 2010 to gain access to Rosen’s email, which showed him persuading Kim, asking for the leak time and time again until Kim finally relented. The affidavit was unsealed three years later, to the shock of Rosen and many other journalists. When Fox News angrily protested that Rosen’s First Amendment rights prevented him from being a co-conspirator, the Obama Justice Department assured Fox that it would not prosecute him. If this type of conspiracy theory were to be applied in a criminal trial, a court would end up examining every effort by a reporter to obtain information. It would criminalize the reporting process. Reporters and their publishers would argue that the First Amendment protected news-gathering efforts such as Rosen’s, but the result would be in doubt in every case.
> If reporters can be indicted for talking to their sources, it will mean that the government has created the equivalent of a UK Official Secrets Act—through judicial fiat, without any legislative action.
If they don't pursue this crime I can literally start hacking people/companies/governments and publishing my findings because it's just "journalism".
Filtering out everyone who happens to disagree with your opinion is a good way to get stuck in an echo chamber.
Since I'm forced to interpret your comment in the most generous way, I'll reply with yes. Step 4 is living in a bubble where obviously incorrect interpretations of the world don't waste much of my time and concentration.
But even if I were wrong on the facts of this particular case I wouldn't end up in an echo chamber. I simply end up reading a variety of op-eds and articles written by people who vociferously defend freedom of the press. AFAICT those writers cross ideological lines.
Spread by Mr. Assange himself for political purposes.
Leading to https://rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/john-pod...
A lot of "journalists" are actually just parrots, depending on access to have "exclusive" things to say.