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For the sake of not confusing things here, forget about the data they leaked, they already had access to it. They were trying to crack the password of DoD accounts to cover up where they got the data and possibly access more data.

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.

Edit:

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.




>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.

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?


It's really up to the UK whether to extradite, but yeah extradition is a thing that several allied countries do to prevent people from being able to commit crimes in other countries without consequence.

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.


I'll admit that last question was poorly related to this situation. The idea that the US claims jurisdiction to enforce laws against vaugly defined actions like this conspiracy law on an Australian citizen for a violation that took place in Sweden with very little evidence by extraditing from the UK seems to indicate all citizens of any nation can be governed by US laws and will be labeled as conspirators if the US government is pissed enought.

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?


Well, think of it this way: imagine that you were trying to help someone else hack the Australian Department of Defense. Should you face an investigation and trial for it or are you immune because you're not Australian?

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.


If what I did is a crime under US law then yes, in the US. If what I did involved accessing servers in Austrailia, from the US, then again, only if what I did is a crime under US law then yes, in the US. If I claimed in an online chat that I attempted to derive a password from a hash and failed, while I was located in Mexico then no.

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.


It sounds like you don't believe in extradition at all, but there is precedence for this and most western countries are on board. It's not just the US, UK, and Australia.

And the conspiracy wasn't just cracking the password, it was explicit intent to crack it for unauthorized access to classified military intelligence.


In limited cases I support it but I believe some type of consent to be governed is required, I consider physically visiting a sovern nation as implicit concent to be governed by their laws. I'm opposed to the notion that any government be able to determine the authorization for information access and excerpt authority on foreign citizens.


And that decision is up to the country who has him in custody, which is the UK right now. They've refused extradition for hacking before in the case of Gary McKinnon [1] due to fears that he could end up in Guantanamo so we'll see, now that Guantanamo is effectively closed for entry.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_McKinnon#Extradition_proc...


It's interesting that you present Butina's case as having been a fair trial. Her "crime" was basically naive, opportunistic networking with influential people (all of which was done publicly and even documented publicly on social media, so hardly consistent with a conspiracy). Hordes of people do that on a daily basis without registering as a foreign agent. But she's Russian, and in the age of Trump/Russia hysteria, that means you get selective enforcement of vague laws. Add a few months of solitary confinement and you arrive at a guilty plea.


> Her "crime" was basically naive, opportunistic networking with influential people

Yeah, under the direction of Russian officials, as an unregistered agent on their behalf.


If we want to be pedantic about it, then it is enough that a person who lives in a area where weed is legal and they consider to visit a area where it is not legal and don't explicitly declare that they intend to leave the weed at home. You don't need to add the "massive amount" aspect, as it would be a crime if they made the trip, which then makes it a conspiracy.

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.


US government extradited an Australian citizen from Australia to USA. A country he had never been to. After his release, he was arrested for being an illegal alien. Then deported and banned from USA.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hew_Raymond_Griffiths

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.


Canadians smoking weed isn’t a crime against the United States.




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