Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Former U.S. officials describe details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange (yahoo.com)
402 points by greatgib 70 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 258 comments

The real reason they were so pissed off at Assange seems to be in two parts: 1) The Chelsea Manning State Department cables. The video was all the hype, but just dig through the 'SECRET' cables on Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc. Zero interest in 'human rights and democracy', lots of interests in oilfields, pipelines, military sales contracts, etc.

2) Those Vault7 CIA leaks are incredibly embarrassing, it's like so closet criminal organization - and with a program to run cyberwarfare attacks using Russian/Chinese signatures in the code to hide atttribution? That's kind of insanely deceptive and criminal I think.

All told, those revelations make the State Dept. and the CIA look more like some kind of organized white-collar mafia outfit in the service of Wall Street shareholders than anything else. That kind of raw exposure makes the corrupt insiders in the US government very sad.

I'd guess they've got a lot more to hide, and are most worried about further eruptions of embarrassment.

> Zero interest in 'human rights and democracy', lots of interests in oilfields, pipelines, military sales contracts, etc.

Is this a shock to anyone? "Human rights and democracy" is the new imperial "white man's burden". We use it to justify invading, colonizing and stealing from others. When have we ever cared about human rights and democracy? I forget if it was chomsky or someone else who said that we've murdered more people, caused more human suffering and stolen more wealth in the name of "human rights and democracy" than nazi germany did in the name of nazism. Think about that.

I wish the non-western world would just collectively laugh at and mock any western leader when they talk about "human rights", "democracy", "western values", etc. How can they stand the hypocrisy? How can we?

It's not a shock to me in Hong Kong. Been called a wumao by so many virtue signalers for just saying it's an illusion: we're less oppressed than they say we are, americans are less virtuous in their attempts to "free" us than they say they are.

Why do you think even the pro-democracy forces in China see the US's support of "democrats" as a farce? Why do you think the images in HK of protestors with the US flag were seen as nothing short of treason, even among the liberals of China? The hypocrisy is so obvious, and the naked self-interest too glaring.

The US's foreign policy has set back the cause of democracy and liberalization in China by decades with its underhanded shenanigans. To recieve their support, even moral support, is the kiss of death in China.

There are numerous countries in the world that have becomes democracies inspite of the blundering and corruption of the powers that be in the west. Dont use the US and its dysfunction as an excuse please.

When US dysfunction includes things like regime change and election tampering, it can definitely be used as an excuse.

Yes, some countries have independently produced pro-Western democracies, but if they have enough value and start electing anti-Western leaders their democracy will become a target of Western attack. See the ~2002 US backed coup attempt against Hugo Chavez, or the recent Morales elections.

I've never heard of those, but I've heard of the countries whose dictators we propped up and helped (often by literally sending lists of names) to exterminate their secular opposition. Then when they have a revolution because the degree of crushing desperation of the populace exceeded the strength of internal policing, the only leaders left are religious, thereby turning the country into a theocracy.

Can you list some them? Bonus points if outside Western Europe.

Taiwan, South Korea, Japan.


See that's the thing, it's not that simple. The ruling party which controlled the parliament for a few years is corrupt. The president, who was democratically elected by the majority of the people, used the constitution to suspend said parliament, with the support of the people. It's definitely an unorthodox move but it relates to one of democracy's limitations; what could be done when an elected party represents its own interests and not the people's?

Lots of factors could be at play indeed. I'm certainly not an expert, but if I read correctly, the man has disbanded parliament and ruled by decree since two months, publicly announcing his disregard for the constitution. To me, that does not count as democratic anymore.

The former yugoslavia

The propaganda works. Look how many victims claim that the release of this information endangered people. Well, no kidding, innocent lives are on the line. The best way to prevent further damage there should be consequences and reflection on government interventions.

I 100% agree with everything you're saying.

However, let's not forget that 50/80 years were dominated by a two-headed fight for world hegemony under the threat of nuclear war and potential apocalypse.

In this fight, while the US was far more evil than anyone cared to admit at the time, and the USSR far less than the US propaganda would have you believe, RELATIVELY speaking one side did offer more freedom, liberty, and prosperity than the other. And the primary counterargument from the Communists was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

This remains true today with China. CPC apologists are all too happy to point out (factually correct) gaps in US integrity and freedom. But in the grand scheme of things, relatively speaking, for all it's flaws, "The West" still has due process, doesn't ban religious expression, and doesn't put millions of citizens into force re-education camps.

The most recent Chinese return of the 2 incarcerated Canadians in return for the Huawei executive is the most blatant current example that China will do absolutely whatever it wants.

Whereas even in this news story - where you have government agents freely discussing assassinating Assange - there are others working against them, Lawyers using legal guidelines to flummox the plan, and ultimately it doesn't go forward.

For all of the US's evils, Russia and China would not have hesitated to kidnap or execute Assange in identical circumstances if he was hiding in an Ecuadorian embassy on their soil. He would have been disappeared a decade ago.

Well put. This is the basic argument against these CCP and authoritarian apologists. Most likely they are going by "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" which is a simplistic thing to base your world view on.

> However, let's not forget that 50/80 years were dominated by a two-headed fight for world hegemony under the threat of nuclear war and potential apocalypse.

Nuclear war? And in that 50/80 years, only one side has ever nuked a city full of civilians. Twice.

> This remains true today with China. CPC apologists are all too happy to point out (factually correct) gaps in US integrity and freedom.

"CPC apologists". Did we have any integrity and freedom when we were colonizing china? You do realize that we colonized china for nearly 100 years. It was the "CPC" and the communists who liberated china. You do realize that right?


How anyone can claim a nation brutally ( and partly motivated by racism ) colonizing another nation is the one with integrity and freedom is beyond me.

> And the primary counterargument from the Communists was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

"Whataboutism" is a well-worn social media propaganda term used a few years ago. Nobody uses it anymore because it exposes the person who uses it.

> The most recent Chinese return of the 2 incarcerated Canadians in return for the Huawei executive is the most blatant current example that China will do absolutely whatever it wants.

China arrested two canadian spies/operatives in retaliation for canada kidnapping one of their spies/operatives? Shocking. What do you expect. It's statecraft. Tit for tat. Like when we kick out chinese or russian diplomats. They do the same. Or are you still pretending china arbitrarily locked up two innocent canadian tourists?

Strangely you aren't worked up about canada kidnapping a chinese national. Kidnapping chinese is fine but kidnapping canadians is wrong?

> For all of the US's evils, Russia and China would not have hesitated to kidnap or execute Assange in identical circumstances if he was hiding in an Ecuadorian embassy on their soil. He would have been disappeared a decade ago.

But two canadian spies were arrested and not "disappeared". Using your logic, china should be shipping two body bags right? China hasn't disappeared the dalai lama. How many chinese traitors hiding all over the west has china "disappeared"? Absolutely none.

You are just stating the same propaganda we've heard over and over again. It gets stale and boring. China bad. Russia bad. US good. Right. At least you didn't bring up anything about genocide.

At the end of the day, everyone has done good and everyone has done bad. But one has done far more evil than good while hypocritely pretending to be the world's beacon of good. This hypocrite not only colonized one of the "bad", it also invaded the other "bad".

It's the hypocrisy that's just unbearable. I don't remember china claiming to be the world's beacon of good. Don't remember russia claiming to be the epitome of freedom and democracy.

Essentially you're wrong because you're drawing a false equivalency between the US and CCP/Russia. Your argument is that because the US has done bad, made mistakes, etc... they are in the same grouping as CCP/Russia. Which is an un-nuanced argument that the OP explained was wrong.

Basically your argument is an un-nuanced "muh US is evil". Even though you can simply look at the countries aligned with the US and factually see that they are the freest, have the least corruption, and have the most open elections.

factually they are also the most violent and warmongering, and have caused the most global chaos, both in the past and the present.

the benefits of unrestricted freedoms and open elections have also never been as questionable as now, so you should not be surprised that others do not also believe that those are universally considered good.

both china and russia have ridiculous claims for every day of the week just as well.

at some level all political claims are ridiculous but all countries mentioned in your post are pathological liars, they just lie about different things in different ways.

You ignored that China limits religious expression and puts people in re-education camps. That’s not propaganda, that is the actual situation. They also make an enormous point of trying to portray themselves in the best possible light. That’s why their news media is extraordinarily censored. That’s why people trying to spread virus information by text had to use ridiculous circumlocutions to avoid the automatic banned-phrase detectors.

Russia has sham elections where Putin always gets 99% of the vote. It absolutely tries to pretend it’s a democracy.

There is an obvious moral appeal to democracy that is inherent to the idea. Likewise guarantees of human rights. China and Russia could embrace these ideals for real and have the same moral high ground, but that is obviously not the state of things, and the fact that they are both run by leaders not accountable to a real vote is why I they are unlikely to change soon. At least the US has means to course correct.

Canada arrested a Chinese national under the court system on legitimate charges. China arrested random canadians on trumped up revenge charges.

Whataboutism is not a propaganda term from a few years ago. It's a decades-old term from the Soviet union using LEGITIMATE criticisms of the US (the US civil rights record should have been/was an international embarrassment for Americans and humanity) to deflect OTHER Legitimate criticism of the USSR's appalling human rights and civil liberties concerns that ultimately were worse than Americans. (e.g. the number of black americans lynched in the US was DWARVED by the number of soviet citizens killed by the system in the gulags, etc)

This remains the case today. Regardless of the US actions, any sensible impartial observer (from a non-US or even non-western perspective) can see that the PRC is far more of a reprehensible civil rights abuser than any country in The West. This is not up for debate.

When was the last time the Dalai Lama visited China? My point is that China and Russia would have treated Assange differently if his equivalent was on THEIR soil like Assange was on British. There would have been no respect of rule of law, or international sovereignty of diplomatic missions. He would have been gone.

Lastly, I'll give you some credit on one point. The US nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a reprehensible and unforgivable act by any ethical code. It was not needed to end the war. There is no defending it. That does not change the reality of the next 50 years of nuclear deterrent.

> At the end of the day, everyone has done good and everyone has done bad. But one has done far more evil than good while hypocritely pretending to be the world's beacon of good. This hypocrite not only colonized one of the "bad", it also invaded the other "bad".

> It's the hypocrisy that's just unbearable. I don't remember china claiming to be the world's beacon of good. Don't remember russia claiming to be the epitome of freedom and democracy.

Personally I don't care about hypocrisy, just objective actions - positive or negative. The US has done plenty bad, but overall has been a net good for the world - both for increasing the liberty/quality of life for their citizens, and for the rest of the world by establishing overall peace and prosperity through globalism (which improved the quality of life for Billions).

China has also done the same. But the costs to it's citizens seem higher.

>>>It was the "CPC" and the communists who liberated china. You do realize that right?

Depends on what you mean by "liberated". The bulk of the fighting against the Imperial Japanese military was done by the KMT Nationalists, under Chiang Kai-Shek. The KMT lost the civil war afterwards due to still being a shitty unpopular government, and then the CPC went on to "liberate" tens of millions of Chinese from their corporeal bodies during the Cultural Revolution.

>>>I don't remember china claiming to be the world's beacon of good.

The Chinese government is VERY good at information operations.[1] It is usually more subtle than America's ham-fisted chest-thumping. The CCP uses a lot of proxies to sing its praises, like this: [2]. But Xi Jinping is generally assertive in casting China as a model for the world. From [3]: "China will become more assertive on the world stage and believes its governance model is attractive to other countries will likely raise all sorts of alarms in Asian and Western capitals. Xi declared that China "has become a great power in the world" and "it is time for us to take center stage in the world and to make a greater contribution to humankind".

[1] https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/bridge-ii_fullreport...

[2] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-05/31/c_139980463.htm

[3] https://sinocism.com/p/welcome-to-the-xi-era-sinocism-weekly...

> while the US was far more evil than anyone cared to admit at the time, and the USSR far less than the US propaganda would have you believe,

Have you not heard of Stalin? Many more murders than the fascists / Nazis / holocaust.

> Many more murders than the fascists / Nazis / holocaust.

Really can't believe I'm about to defend Stalin, but if you hold the Facists/Nazis responsible for all the deaths in WW2 (Which I think you have to), they were responsible for more deaths.

Purely direct victims in concentration/death camps, yes Stalin killed more people.

But let's not forget, that was all in the 30's. The Cold War started AFTER WW2, after Stalin's death, and the narrative of The Evil Empire vs The Land of The Free all occurred then.

Why can’t it be both? Since when are people or countries only motivated by one thing?

If you think the US went to war with Nazi Germany for purely altruistic reasons you’re sorely mistaken.

But at the same time an evil fascist dictatorship was defeated because the US got involved.

The world is a messy complicated space and human actions are messy and complicated.

Zero interest in 'human rights and democracy', lots of interests in oilfields, pipelines, military sales contracts, etc.

You can go to the cable archive and type 'human rights' in the search box and see this isn't remotely true. Whatever one might think of US diplomacy and its goals, the cables are mostly of historical interest and cause for mild embarrassment. They don't really show some diabolically clever empire cynically manipulating the world. They mostly show it pursuing its publicly stated goals and interests - one can have a pretty dim view of these goals and interests but you don't need the cables to develop or support that viewpoint.

Sorry, that's an abysmal argument. The fact that human rights are mentioned is not at all proof that US intelligence cares about them, when there is clearly no regard for them in the actions.

Hegemony is a publicly stated goal of the US. What do you think that entails? What do you think is necessary for a nation of 327 million to be the hegemon over 7.5 billion?

I'm not sure what argument you're responding it, it doesn't sound like it's one I made. The point I'm making is about how these cables are characterized by the OP, not US policy. What they reveal is much closer to The Quiet American than, I dunno, Star Trek's Cardassians and that's an easy thing to check by looking at the cables.

> Hegemony is a publicly stated goal of the US.

Where? Stated by whom?

A president? We’ve had 46 with wildly conflicting public statements and goals. A Congress? We’ve had 117 sessions of Congress.

“The US” isn’t a single entity. I don’t think you can make any blanket statements across that much time and that many people much beyond “they are all humans.”

I'm not sure if I agree with the OP that it's publicly stated but the bipartisan hysteria towards China, Russia, or even one or two generations ago Japan (interesting historical piece[1]) is kind of constant. With very few exceptions American politics, however divided internally is generally unified in some McCarthy style campaign against this or that perceived foreign threat.

The prospect of the US having to live in a world shaped by forces it has no control over is melting brains across the board. Americans, and yes this is a generalization but not a wrong one, cannot imagine a world that is run on values utterly foreign to them.


Ah, I did qualify that statement with the search term 'SECRET' (classification level box) on the CableGate archive.

Yes, there are unclassified and even classified cables discussing human rights initiatives - but I'm guessing 'SECRET' is what they really care a lot about, and that stuff in my experience of reading literally hundreds of cables (okay I was leaning more towards energy research) that's just not an issue anywhere I've seen. For example, Syria? It's all about forcing Assad to cut ties with Iran and get into the Saudi-Qatar gas pipeline deal. UAE? Huge arms deals. Ditto for Saudi Arabia. For grim laughs, look up Raytheon and Yemen.

It's really not very flattering, although the writers seem intelligent and well-informed.

Oh I see, I misread it as scare-quoted secret rather than specific classification level but there are also piles of SECRET documents/cables that are about human rights, promotion of democracy, etc as well.

I don't think it makes much difference either way because I think you're over-interpreting the classification level as some sort of extra level care. All of this stuff was readily available to a Private First Class stuck on a forward base in the Iraqi desert. And I think my point still holds - whatever views one might have on US foreign policy, one can form them and support them just as well by simply reading the news. Besides piles of detail, the cables don't tell you anything different. They're basically this but for diplomacy:


Really? You have specific sources? Pretty sure last time I checked there wasn't much 'SECRET' communication about Saudi human rights abuses for example. Not anywhere really. . . I mean, we want to ban solar panels from China 'cause 'human rights' but where's the ban on Saudi oil imports?

Doesn't explain the heavy handed procecution then.

> That's kind of insanely deceptive and criminal I think.

That just seems like standard for spy agencies along with a pretty mild black propaganda angle. Even books about WW2 propaganda cover the topic.

I think people just underestimate what spy agencies actually do and how dirty it’s always been.

"I think people just underestimate what spy agencies actually do and how dirty it’s always been. "

They do. But maybe they do, because of being told by the governments and in schools, that the CIA and co only fight terrorist and evil empires.

Those leaks showed the general public more of the real picture, not the fake official one. And sure, they do not like that.

The real source of embarrassment of the leaks (ESPECIALLY the state department ones) is how much these services are basically at the beck and call of the elite, and how all the dirty shit that is done for those power brokers then blows back on us.

Most of the time that blowback is the gradual, steady erosion of America's soft power, ideals, and "good guy image"

Sometimes it is planes crashing into skyscrapers.


I absolutely love this nick

How is making it look like one adversary hacked another adversary when it was really the CIA evidence against them fighting evil empires? It is exactly what I would expect them to do against an evil empire.

> because of being told by the governments and in schools, that the CIA and co only fight terrorist and evil empires.

That's not their image in the US at all and that's not how formal education about the CIA works in schools in the US. The opposite is closer to the truth.

You're maybe aware of the common American conspiracy theory that JFK was murdered by the CIA? As retribution for the Bay of Pigs, among other things.

Every other Hollywood movie in which they make an appearance has portrayed the CIA as up to no good for decades now, especially when it comes to topics like the war on drugs and terrorism. They're frequently portrayed as duplicitous and incompetent. That's because that's how the culture views them at this point. They do not have a good reputation with the American public.

See: American Made (2017), Kill the Messenger (2014), Syriana (2005), The Siege (1998), The Jason Bourne movies, among many others

There has been some shift in cultural perception, true (even though "Day of the condor" is even from 1975)

- but the official picture and the ones painted by a common movie, is still a very different one, from reality. I mean take James Bond for instance. Glorification of the noble spycraft par excellence. (but I have not watched the latest ones, maybe there was change, too?)

And I have no first hand experience with US school education, but here in germany we kind of were educated about our intelligence agencies(and about the ones of the US) in a very friendly way. One that does not match reality.

James Bond is a fictional British spy who works for MI6, not the CIA. American cultural perception of the CIA is not great.

Yeah, I know that. I think we were talking in general about spycraft and the perception of it in the west and not just about the CIA.

"I think people just underestimate what spy agencies actually do and how dirty it’s always been. "

Funny you use 007 as an example bc the early films were funded by mi6 as pro spy propaghanda, its a good example of how they would like to be percieved

>I think people just underestimate what spy agencies actually do and how dirty it’s always been.

They certainly do, and that is one of the reasons we are seeing a massive authoritarian crackdown on free speech. The last thing the spy agencies and the rest of the deep state want is for people to understand what they actually do and how dirty they actually are.

A false flag cyberattack - an act of war in the modern world, many say - is pretty far beyond what peacetime intelligence agencies have historically gotten up to.

I mean, if you left Russia fingerprints on, for example, a CIA-led cyberattack on a nuclear reactor, that could start a major war. It's pretty reckless in my opinion to even make such tools.

Formerly there were consequences if a spy gets caught, even one of your own nation. This just brushes it off...

It's always funny that every big revelation has dozens of comments of people coming to the realization that the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc are not friends of democracy.

We are fortunate that they need to bathe themselves in the trappings of democracy, unlike, say, Putin's services.

It's instructive that they view the third world and the UK as different rules. They get to shit all over the third world and know they can get away with it. Assassinations? Abductions? All A-OK in the brown countries.

This isn't me characterizing things, the quotes are from the officials in the article.

As for the mafia, the founding basis of all mafia romanticism is that government is just another source of power and abuse, and the mafia are simply another competing source.

That would be ridiculous, but the security agencies of the feds certainly do their best to make it plausible.

> and with a program to run cyberwarfare attacks using Russian/Chinese signatures in the code to hide atttribution? That's kind of insanely deceptive and criminal I think.

Uh… I assume you can see how leaving a note saying “CIA was here!!!” might run counter to the goals of a spy agency. You might separately not like some of the missions they are tasked with, but this is what they would be doing even if they spent all their time rescuing orphans and their puppies from North Korean salt mines.

Perhaps one of the missions they were 'tasked with' was ramping up tensions with Russia (for the benefit of the arms dealers) by launching a lot of bogus false flag attacks on US corporations, with attendent hysterical media coverage?

The CIA is more of a propaganda outfit than anything else in my opinion, although their dirty banking and drug dealing games are right up there to. Their 'intelligence role' on important issues could be entirely subsumed by the DIA. Should have been shut down in the 1960s like JFK wanted to do. Useless failure agency on 9/11, too. And, the CIA was behind all the dirty Iraq/Afghanistan torture programs, were they not?

I'm reading "The Secret History of The American Empire." Recommended. It's difficult to believe Perkins - after his initial book - was still around to continue to tell the tales.


Capitalism Enforcement Agency :)

If you own a bakery, the ingredients you use need to be transported to your bakery. Once there, they have to be processed by some form of equipment. Your employees and customers need to physically go to your bakery...

Every activity in that bakery, in one way or another, depends on energy. That is also true for any other economic activity.

By selling energy you effectively have a share of everyone's business.

Also, if you control the fuel supply, you can control entire economies.

Are you trying to say we can’t have energy and care about human rights and decency?

The United States has plenty of domestic energy reserves and the capability to build a lot of renewable energy and nuclear energy. There’s zero reason to be catering to Middle East despots, other than corruption and cronyism.

I never said anything related to that.

But governments and organized crime have a lot in common.

I can’t see clear to what other point you could possibly be trying to make in this context. Perhaps you should clarify what you meant then?

If you don't know what I meant then why assuming malice as your first reaction?

The only reason I can figure you would make those points in this context is malice. You don't seem inclined to clarify or correct me, either, so...

> 2) Those Vault7 CIA leaks are incredibly embarrassing, it's like so closet criminal organization - and with a program to run cyberwarfare attacks using Russian/Chinese signatures in the code to hide atttribution? That's kind of insanely deceptive and criminal I think.

I can’t tell if you’re being willfully obtuse or you’re just an extremely histrionic, but it’s clear you didn’t reach that conclusion through principled reasoning.

I don't see how anybody could read this and then pretend that Assange has any chance of a fair trial in America. Not only were his communication constantly monitored for years, already a breach of client attorney privilege, the US considered flagrant assassination as a potential way to handle him.

I've heard many people say that Assange committed actual crimes and it's time for him to face the consequences of those actions. While I personally disagree about whether he's done anything illegal, even if he has it impossible for him to get a fair trial and justice to be served. Everything being done to him is an effort to get revenge on the person who embarrassed the military and intelligence communities.

So what's the alternative? Don't make people you like stand trial?

The alternative is to let people stand trial when they've violated legitimate laws, in front of a jury of their peers. The Unconstitutional, Orwellian Espionage Act that Assange is accused of violating is a stain on the US "justice" system and an affront to everyone who believes in free speech and the Constitution.

Isn't it claimed that he assisted people who were committing cybercrimes? That's not journalism. If only there was a way to figure out the truth- a trial perhaps.

It’s ridiculous to this non-US person that the United States thinks they should have jurisdiction here. This is an Australian citizen who published in the UK and Europe. The whole case is baseless, he’s not subject to the US’s Espionage Act. And of course the ‘assisting hackers’ stuff is nonsense that was tacked on when it looked like the initial indictment wouldn’t stick because of the rules about not extraditing for political crimes.

But the core point still stands - the general consensus remains that it would be impossible for Assange to have a fair trial in the US legal system.

IANAL but I've been told by a lawyer that international law is messy. The US has jurisdiction if your host country says that they do. Countries are also free to tell the US to pound sand.

I'd just like some answers. I'd like it to be tried in court. I don't think the trial would necessarily be unfair. These conversations go in circles because we are all denied the truth so we argue hypotheticals.

What answers do you want? The "assisting people with cybercrimes" shit you brought up was already covered in Manning's trial. Manning asked Assange to crack a generic Windows account so she could theoretically access data she already had access to more secretly.

Assange said he'd try. The only answer unknown is whether he did try, and I doubt the US has any evidence showing that he did. That's it.

The trurth to all his charges is basically already out there.

What he supposedly did isn't relevant in the arguments being made. His right to a fair trial has already been compromised, and there's ample reason to suspect the US will continue to ignore that right.

Don't flagrantly violate an accused's right to a fair trial. My opinions on the person aren't relevant, though I hardly like Assange.

How were they violated?

> Not only were his communication constantly monitored for years, already a breach of client attorney privilege, the US considered flagrant assassination as a potential way to handle him.

Not sure how OP could be more clearer


Did they try? The US also "considers" invading Canada. Consideration means nothing. And the US monitors people suspected of crimes all of the time. I'm tired of hearing about hypothetical "unfair" trials.

Once again, the alternative you guys seem to want is a world where people that you like can do whatever they want. You like Assange and because of his celebrity status no trial can be fair- very convenient. Nobody famous has ever stood trial?

My 2 cents

Consideration means planning.

If you caught a policeman planning to shoot an innocent African American, or if a neo-nazi was found to be planning to blow up a synagogue, would you not suggest taking legal action?

If I planned to kill someone just like the us govt did, I would be in prison the next day.

Assange should be given a fair trial. But the government spying illegally and planning to kill him doesn't give anyone confidence in that.

> But the government spying illegally and planning to kill him doesn't give anyone confidence in that.

Planning to kill him is terrible, but was the spying actually illegal? With all the permissions the government has on spying, I have such a hard time determining if any single instance of spying is illegal or not, regardless of whether it's ethical.

They presumably violated Ecuadorian law, very likely violated international law, and arguably US law. I am not 100% certain that attorney-client privilege applies to someone facing sealed indictment, though I suspect it does. IANAL

Also "illegal" may not be the right term. Similar actions by intelligence operatives led to the Ellsberg case being dropped, but no charges were filed as a result of those actions.

>And the US monitors people suspected of crimes all of the time.

Even when they have a warrant allowing them to monitor a suspect, which they do not seem to have acquired here, those do not allow the breaking of attorney–client privilege.

My "alternative" is that the US obeys the limits placed on them, and conducts fair trials of alleged criminals.

And again, I don't like Assange. What I like is the right to a free press and a fair trial.

Well, now that he’s been capture by the USA, we’ll soon know whether he committed anything thanks to his trial, right? Wait, has it been more than a year without trial already?

Erm, last I checked the U.K. justice system wasn’t the “USA”.

The U.K. just denied the US extradition request, so the US isn’t even close to “capturing” Assange.

Even if Assange's extradition request is granted, his court case won't show whether he has committed anything. I suspect much of the prosecution's argument would be secret, and like in Ellsberg's case Assange would not be permitted to present a defense.

The interesting bit I didn't know was the article says that Wikileaks did not publish the complete contents of the Vault 7 materials they had. Not sure whether they just published shasums of the bits they didn't, or if they proved some other way they had parts they were holding back as leverage.

It's odd to read what was really at stake. Pompeo's team was ready to assasinate Assange in London, and the only thing stopping them was the justice dept and only nominally the office of the President. What WL (and Snowden) did was show to the public the intelligence community, who was ostensibly accountable to them, for what they truthfully were. The news media took a bigger credibility hit for their history of spiking these stories and delivering hit pieces than the spies ever did.

Most people saw how the sausage was made and decided they still liked sausage. Not only do we tolerate what these services do, but now that we know about it and have done nothing to change it, we have acknowledged it and rewarded them for it all. Snowden's story practically created the ability for retired generals to accept pulpits from tv news where they can armchair QB the issues of the day, and they should thank him for the minor television celebrity and speaker circuit fêting they now enjoy. Whether that undermines the credibility of their institutions is still to be seen, but all that plotting to kill Assange just to sustain some lame narrative about a bureaucracy seems like it was just a fatal distraction from the real unseating of western power that we are clearly into the endgame of today.

> Most people saw how the sausage was made and decided they still liked sausage.

I'm not sure that's really true. All of the stuff Snowden and Assange leaked was very much down-played by the popular media - it felt like it was very under-reported and even then with a fair bit of bias.

If you ask some people about how they feel now, they'll say that it wouldn't affect them "because they haven't done anything wrong", or "but Assange is a rapist!", or even "that's just movie stuff, conspiracy bullshit".

I really believe that the population at large either don't believe what the CIA are doing, are in denial about it, or just don't care because it largely affects brown people in far off lands.

> Most people saw how the sausage was made and decided they still liked sausage.

> I'm not sure that's really true. All of the stuff Snowden and Assange leaked was very much down-played by the popular media - it felt like it was very under-reported and even then with a fair bit of bias.

It was not at all played down, especially not Snowden, it was rolling 24 hour news for weeks, they still try and drum up some drama over it whenever they get a chance.

The problem is, people dont care. I feel genuinely sad that Snowden blew up his life, and outside of a few privacy communities nothing has changed. Everyone agrees it is wrong, but they dont care, you are a traitor if you dont believe it has to be done.

He should have won a Nobel prize and been given a ticker tape parade for blowing the whistle, but instead he is holed up in Russia, the illegal spying goes on, and the people call for more spying at every turn.

The story that was rolling on the 24 hour news for weeks wasn't about the contents of the leaks. It was all about Snowden.

If you wanted to know what the leaks said, you basically had to go to the source materials. If you wanted to hear some talking head give his opinion about whether or not Snowden did "treason," who more often than not said it was, you didn't have to work very hard.

You must watch fox "news" all day.

You missed the bits about 'the NSA had a direct pipe into google, microsoft, yahoo, att and hoovered up everything you said, did and wrote'

The fact that he leaked "sensitive and classified" information about "NSA collaboration with major tech companies" was about the maximum extent that most outlets reported when they were pressed to. The framing was to make it look like "this is their mission anyway" and to focus on the "leaking of these classified reports" rather than attempt to report on the specifics on how the natsec state undermines our rights as citizens.

This wasn't just a case of the partisan press with whom you disagree. This was the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

I was rather young at the time so maybe I didnt capture all of the media coverage. But I remember the media coverage of Snowden was more of a 'where in the world is snowden' rather than actually about the content he published.

The population at large has been trained not to think about things like what their government does on their behalf; them's terrorist thoughts. Support da troops. One must give the appearance of being a team player by timidly ignoring Uncle Sam's glaring failures to operate within its claimed principles.

It's basic cognitive fatigue, the basis of the success of the big lie.

If American's don't adopt the big lie, then all of a sudden they need to accept:

- the US enacted genocide on Native Americans and still effectively does via reservations and enforce poverty

- the US started the vietnam war and would need to realize that we did in fact do the Gulf of Tonkin

- the US has strongly backed dozens of repressive regimes that have collectively murdered millions of people. By strongly backed, I mean trained, advised, and directed these operations to kill and torture political opposition "inconvenient" to the US.

- the current Mexican cartel leaders were formally trained by US operatives at the "School of the Americas", as part of the program to strongly back repressive regimes

- the Iraq War was a massive scam from its inception to the end

- the Afghanistan War was a massive scam for 90% of its period

- the CIA and other security agencies have a 100% functional total information awareness and infrastructure for complete totalitarian control of the US. All it needs is one president to decide to activate it on a whim. It's basically a switch sitting in the Oval Office.

and so so so many other transgressions.

The CIA out to be fully disbanded with anyone who participated in illegal actions like assassinations or torture prosecuted. You can't fix an agency that believes in its institutional guts its above moral and criminal law. I don't know how you possibly get from here to a government we can actually be proud of instead of ashamed.

It would already be nice to know whom they serve. It doesn't seem to be the executive part of the United States government. That would mean they completely lack legitimacy for their actions.

With this, the idea that Epstein was suicided is not so far fetched.

One major issue with Assange is prosecuting him. Honesty most of the 17 charges are quite week and it remains to be seen how they even apply to a foreign national.

Assange received classified material and published it. This has been done countless times by journalist and it’s a pretty far stretch to somehow apply criminal charges just because he published it.

Honestly from the CIA perspective it would probably have been better to assassinate him. This sends a message to other journalists on what the US will do to protect its interest. A trial just further embarrasses the US since everyone knows the outcome and that it is largely a farce

If a journalist receives classified material, is that different than if the journalist coordinates the acquisition of that classified material, or offers resources to aid in the acquisition of that classified material, or participates in the placement of resources to gain access to those classified materials...?

I think that's the difficult part of this, right? It's a spectrum with many levels of gradation, that each imply different levels of legality and illegality.

Is it really a farce? Give me one US paper that would report critically on it. If a writer would take this on his colleagues would probably excommunicate him. So they could just prosecute him without too much notice. Some of these papers were complicit in selling wars of aggression to the public. But I don't think guilt and bias are even needed to give a prediction on reporting.

> Assange received classified material and published it.

This gets repeated a lot but is not what Assange is charged with. He didn't just "receive" classified information. He's alleged to have not only communicated with Manning to direct her to grab specific information and tried to help her break into systems.

He'd have a much better case if he had just been a passive publisher of information. You can't be involved in a crime and then claim journalistic protections after the fact.

Assange is not a journalist. He's a wannabe spymaster and muckraker. Zero percent of his case has anything to do with real journalists as none of them would have participated in the exfiltration of classified documents.

I disagree. Chelsea Manning bears the overwhelming fault from a US Legal perspective. He was a member of the armed forces under oath and knowingly shared classified information.

Assange has no oath to the US and despite his interest in the material it is quite a stretch to somehow suggest he “made” Chelsea share this info.

I never said he made Manning do anything. He directed and assisted Manning. A journalist doesn't help a source get more material. They don't because they know it's illegal.

>He didn't just "receive" classified information. He's alleged to have not only communicated with Manning to direct her to grab specific information and tried to help her break into systems.

One of the seventeen charges is about this. The others are all solely to do with publishing classified information.

If all of the other charges were dropped, maybe you'd have a point but it's clear that the entire thing is primarily about his work as a journalist publishing documents.

At this point, what is the difference between a hardcore criminal and the intel agencies?

I would trust an everyday criminal before one of these organizations, and I'm being totally serious. The ordinary criminal does not harm me.

What value, other than terrible things like deception, do we get out of these agencies in a free society?

It's amazing to me how willing the UK is to be totally complicit and offer assistance to the US in this ongoing effort to deny Assange his human rights.

He's been imprisoned for nearly a decade without trial now.

Did anything useful come out of the "Vault" revelations? I mean for examples improvements in the WWW, PC hardware/software, browsers, etc.

The wikipedia page on the vault 7 mentioned a number of specific vendors that patched their software, cisco for example [0]:

> Cisco quickly reassigned staff from other projects to turn their focus solely on analyzing the attack and to figure out how the CIA hacking worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using similar methods.

> On 20 March, Cisco researchers confirmed that their study of the Vault 7 documents showed the CIA had developed malware which could exploit a flaw found in 318 of Cisco's switch models and alter or take control of the network.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vault_7#Cisco

I dont think so, certainly nothing on the scale of the original Snowden stuff which by all accounts shook up google et al.

>Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”

No idea why Assange feared to be extradited from Sweden to the USA./s

My "holy shit" moment was this :

  received “sketches” of plans for killing Assange and other Europe-based WikiLeaks members
CIA planned to kill some of my friends

They likely keep the plans up to date, and have one for you too, if they're your friends.

"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." -- James Mattis, former secretary of defense

I think at this point, if you haven't had any US government entity trying to come up with plans to hurt you, you've probably done something bad (beneficial to the US government). They seem to frequently want to be on the wrong side of history, so if you're on their list/been on their list, you're doing something right.

The “to the USA” part is separate from the “from Sweden” part. He’s currently fighting an attempt to go to the USA from the UK, so it’s not like the country of origin is making much difference IMO.

I remember the Assange fangirls back in the day claiming that he couldnt be extradited from the UK to the US which is why he had to fight so hard ... a little inconvenient that the UK loves to extradite people to the US like the good little lapdogs they are.

I would be surprised if the CIA didn't have all the options studied and planned out, ready to present should that option be selected by 'management'. It's what they do, and not a surprise that they did it in this case.

> As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process...

I clipped it at an unfair point, but remember Anwar al-Awlaki? Obama ordered the execution of a US citizen in a foreign country without trial.

If I'm not mistaken this is allowed by the US law.

Eh, only sort of. The Supreme Court only ruled that no one had standing to sue, either before or after it happened.

Allowed probably isn't the best-fit word. Based on what I've read, the then HW legal team found a legal loop hole (or sorts) and shoved the action through. Given the general nature of the situation it's unlikely anyone was going to step forward and make a legal challenge otherwise. And the media naturally sided with the WH.

It's illegal and was probably on its face grounds for convicting Obama along with a laundry list of former executives except nobody has the political will to do it.

Well, Biden just murdered an innocent family in Afghanistan with a drone strike on a car to score cheap political points, to be shown doing something in response to the bombing at the Afghanistan airport that killed US soldiers during the evacuation. It's hard to figure out if any lines exist at this point, legally, for the President when it comes to commiting war crimes (and obviously George W Bush and numerous of the people in his administration should be in prison).

After Biden was done murdering innocent people in Afghanistan, then he stabbed our oldest ally - France - in the back to such a degree they pulled their ambassador in anger.

Good thing we got rid of Trump, he was super damaging to the US reputation and relationships in Europe and around the world.

We have every reason to believe that the drone strike was undertaken based on faulty intelligence and was launched with the intention of preventing an attacker from bombing innocent people.

Stating that we just launched an attack on an innocent family for PR is doesn't stretch credulity it explodes it.

Insofar as France nations don't have friends they have interests. The France/Austria sub contract was first posed 5 years ago and they haven't delivered much but the projected price has balooned from 40 to 60 Billion and the original proposal was finally signed 16 months later than the proposed 2018 deadline over concerns about the suitability of the French design and concerns about the process.

The most recent milestone was this January and France again failed to meet requirements.

France is like the guy who thinks he's doing a great job who absolutely everyone knew was going to get fired. Ego alone demands that they be shocked at this.


In the list of goals of the leadership of nations nowhere is it written sacrifice substantial national interests in order to maintain ephemeral good will exchangeable not even for carnival stuffies at the local fair. As long as our interests align with France and they have reason to believe that our actions will consistently align with those interests we will continue to find common cause.

That is why Trump's inconsistency, love affair with dictators, and unpredictable persuit of personal interests was so damaging. It gives nations cause to doubt whether their long term interests and values are aligned at all and whether long term strategic alignment will therefore pay dividends. Chaos discourages investment of literal and political capital.

I wonder if the UK would trade Anna Sacoolas for Julian Assange.

Difference here that she is guilty while he is not.

Assange needs to keep going. The Mandela moment is only a couple of political cycles away.

It depends what you mean by a couple of political cycles away.

The Democrats and Bill Clinton considered Mandela a terrorist.

It was George W Bush who in 2008 lifted Mandela from the terrorist watch list - although he waited till the end of his second term and for Mandela to approach the age of 90.


> The Democrats and Bill Clinton considered Mandela a terrorist.

> He explained that the original purpose of the law, introduced during the 1980s while Ronald Reagan was president, was to fight terrorism. "So we're pleased that we could make this correction to what is otherwise a good and important piece of legislation," he said.

>> Their original placement on the list occurred during the Reagan admininstration.


Nah. He has no uMkhonto we Sizwe behind him, nor a nation state financing, training, and arming his comrades, nor a wave of public opinion nor a wide international boycott of his enemies. Just a lonely guy rotting in prison.

> Nah. He has no uMkhonto we Sizwe behind him,

You can change that

MK was spectacularly ineffective

  Sowing discord within the group seemed an easier route to success

2017 fits the period in which one hacker of the group was publicly accused of sexual harrassement by a female employee of the Tor project

i went back and checked and it looks like this took place in 2016; appelbaum had two accusers, one of whom later accused a bitcoin core dev of sexual assault and was sued, which i believe settled out of court for an apology. afaict appelbaum has completely dropped off the net in the years since

This is the definitive reporting on the subject: https://github.com/Enegnei/JacobAppelbaumLeavesTor/blob/mast...

Weren't two guys removed from Linux kernel development that uncovered the NSA trying to put a backdoor in it multiple time?

That is why you need some fervent believers in some arbitrary COC. Worked for the church, why shouldn't it work for intelligence agencies. Just get some crazy something to stick it to the patriarchy. You always find tools like that.

While we are at it, is Biden going to pardon Snowden?

Joe Biden had an innocent father and his 7 children killed as a way of distracting from his horrible, disinterested withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has yet to acknowledge this in any way other than calling it an “mistake” via his press bureau.

He has spent his life lying about his credentials, and then selling the influence he gains in the us government to foreign countries.

No, I don’t think Biden will be pardoning Edward Snowden.

Drone strike: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/17/us/politics/pentagon-dron...

Disinterested: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/08/25/fac...

Joes plagiarism: https://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/18/us/biden-admits-plagiaris...

More lying about law school credentials: https://apnews.com/article/cd977f7ff301993f7976974ba07c5495

Selling influence: https://news.yahoo.com/independent-source-confirms-authentic...

Don't forget that he wrote the bill that became the Patriot Act.

And the Clipper Chip:


"One fine day in 1991, an ambitious senator named Joe Biden introduced legislation declaring that telecommunications companies "shall ensure" that their hardware includes backdoors for government eavesdropping. Biden's proposal was followed by the introduction of the Clipper Chip by the National Security Agency (NSA) and a remarkable bill, approved by a House of Representatives committee in 1997, that would have outlawed encryption without back doors for the feds."

The man is an authoritarian, him playing an absent minded nice man of advanced age and his empty SJW phrases don't change that. You can get real glimpses of the personality like him "losing patience with the unvaccinated" lately.

Firmly embedded in the swamp.

I actually believe that he is absent minded man of advanced age... Which makes whole USA political system even funnier from outside. Only if they didn't have nukes... Not that he doesn't deserve full punishment for all the crimes he has commited.

Biden is indeed a dangerous authoritarian who has worked tirelessly to erode civil liberties for decades. Even his VP is a prosecutor who started her career by ending a deferment program and ratcheting up prosecution of non-violent crimes.

Honestly I think that's too strong.

It's hard to define someone in a phrase, but I just view him as a half-bright grifter with backers. The backers are the people to be angry at. His views on civil liberties are probably more taking the easy road (or easy money) rather than being for or agin'.

His appeals for tougher sentencing and weakening privacy have been consistent since the late 70s, and have outlived their popularity even with the kinds of people who fund him. He put a lot of work into what became the Patriot Act for over a decade before it became a reality. Very few politicians stick to something for so long and work so hard to get there. I'm inclined to believe that his actions demonstrate his revealed preference, as the Austrian Economists would say.

In fact, it would have been politically expedient last summer for him to say the 1994 crime bill was a mistake in hindsight, but he did the opposite. I think this is who he really is.

Can it be worst, that enemy number one, consider you so incompetent, that would tell his followers was not even worthwhile threatening you?

"In the letter dated May 2010, the al Qaeda 9/11 mastermind wrote he had no assassination plots against Biden because he deemed him “totally unprepared” to lead the United States."

"Bin Laden warned in 2010 letter that Biden would ‘lead US into crisis’"


What possible advantage would there be in doing so? Biden would gain nothing but criticism, be accused of supporting a traitor and so on. Doing the right thing is rarely politically sensible.

Honorable people do the right thing even when they personally do not benefit.

Honorable people are not attracted to politics

They sometimes are but they tend to get filtered out at the lowest levels.

Then the answer is no. It’s almost a tautology that career politicians are not honorable.

I know of a couple of very good examples in us politics.


This guy sent helicopters full of swat teams to arrest a single guy - Kim Dotcom. The whole thing was super illegal and almost hilariously over the top. "Almost" because there was nothing amusing about the whole thing. It was ugly

Honorable, no. Funny, yes. Deserved, certainly.

Let's not forget that Kim Dotcom is a miserable piece of shit who rats on his friends and used his position of trust to snoop through people's data and then snitch to governments and criminals for profit.

Not enough people know his real history but the guy is a pure scumbag, credit card fraud criminal and con artist masquerading as freedom-loving CEO.

He's exactly the kind of person that should be thrown in a hole somewhere and not heard from again and if you knew anything about him you would do it if you could.

I knew some dodgy things about that guy, but you seem to have more information, care to share? I would be most interested to read it.

Ask his former business partners that he burned and other hackers. This isn't hidden knowledge, you just have to have been around the scene long enough. Part of why he ended up in NZ is because he literally burned everyone he could in Europe. He used to run shell boxes and brag about snooping on his customers and ratting them out to government agencies and shutting down carder rivals. He even used to boast "why would anyone trust me with their data?". This is long before Megaupload.

Kim funded Megaupload largely off of his fraudulent gains on carder forums and a legitimate business that he scammed money off of.

Well, guy is no saint but the way the whole thing was handled speaks volumes. He pissed off powerful people and illegal actions were taken getting him. Apparently that's ok

I didn't say it was okay. I just said that it was funny and that he deserved it.

Kim is the kind of person that deserves to have his asshole tickled with glowing hot metal rods...but that isn't an endorsement if somebody goes and does it.

It's fine to be outraged at the US & NZ governments, but it's not fine to spare the man a shred of sympathy.

Traitor? Was he ever a US citizen?

Snowden yes. Are you confusing Assange with Snowden?

Yes, misread the OP and thought we were talking about wikileaks and assange as that was the article too.

Biden seems to be clearing up older issues. Reminds me of someone closing out bugs in jira without looking to see if the work has been done. I could see him closing another chapter of history.

As an outsider, I don't expect the American government to ever pardon people like him. Presidents come and go but they all play nicely with the military powers that remain after their terms. When presidents promise to do things the rest it the government doesn't like, those promises only get broken. Trump didn't complete his wall, Obama didn't close Guantanamo Bay, and so on. Presidents aren't kings, their actions will follow them and have consequences even after leaving office.

Biden might pardon Snowden at the end of his term, but don't count on it. I haven't seen a single sign that Biden (or any American presidential candidate for that matter) would side with anyone for leaking government secrets. The government is sitting on many more juicy details that'd upset the global political balance and transparency is not in the USA's interests.

Establishment Democrats hate Assange. Assange published things that hurt the Hillary / 2016 Democrat elections.

It’s not just “Establishment Democrats”. He literally acted as a stooge for the Russian government in publishing DNC emails but suppressing damaging information on Republicans.

This is false. A single republican’s personal laptop got hacked and a years-out-of-date outlook db was stolen.

The DNC had their email server itself hacked, which is an entirely different level of compromise.

Of course, they crafted a narrative that “republicans were hacked too!” which of course is true but highly misleading (typical of such propaganda campaigns).

This was highly effective, as it’s still popping up in discussions like this one 5+ years later.

There's also no evidence the hacked laptop's data was offered to Wikileaks.

>He literally acted as a stooge for the Russian government

Based upon the talking points at the time, establishment Democrats very much wanted this to be true. This makes sense since the Russians are a convenient scapegoat.

>suppressing damaging information on Republicans.

They wanted this to be true but it didnt happen:


"On July 6, 2016, WikiLeaks again contacted Guccifer 2.0 through Twitter’s private messaging function, writing, “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.” The Guccifer 2.0 persona responded, “ok . . . i see.” WikiLeaks also explained, “we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”".


This suggests they wanted Bernie to win.

In any case, hitting up sources for leaks is, well, journalism.

No, it only suggests that they did not want Bernie supporters to solidify behind Clinton. The strongest suggestion is that they did not want Clinton to win.

Yeah, he did. Disliking Clinton does not make him dishonest, a Russian spy or somebody who acted against the principles of wikileaks, however.

It makes him a journalist who doesnt appreciate being threatened with a drone strike by a sitting secretary of state for practising journalism.

The fact people give him shit for this is pretty unbelievable.

Excusing Russian style journalist assassination is not compatible with respect for Democracy.

At the time Assange was aware that as secretary of defense Hillary Clinton had suggested using a drone strike to assassinate him in the UK.

Do you expect him to have been neutral on her candidacy?

It shows they wanted to prevent Hillary from building supporters to hurt her campaign and were explicitly strategizing how to achieve that end:

"if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters"

They explain their interest in a Bernie angle as a result of Trump, in their minds, having a low probability of winning:

"we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting"

Yes, they were. Fox News hate democrats. CNN hate Republicans. Assange hated Clinton ever since she said "wouldnt it be easier if we just drone striked him?".

He still didnt conceal any leaks in pursuit of that goal and he wasnt a russian spy. Nonetheless, both claims are frequently made in the mainstream media linked to Democrats.

They are lies.

He had his own show on Russian state television way back in 2012. He was quite literally being paid by them.

Know of any western TV channels that would offer him a show?

lol I kid. Literally 0% chance CNN will give him one.

Every establishment critic faces the same choice:

1) appear on PressTV or RT

2) face ridiculously hostile interviewers

3) dont appear on TV

Mostly they go for a mix of 1 and 2.

Surely, as a non-American he could chose any side he felt like?

Much like I can - randomly or otherwise - choose any faction in the Nigerian elections.

Or is their some planet-wide law that he fell under?

I don't understand your comment. Whether he should be pardoned or not is separate from him picking sides and making adversaries of the democrats.

Are you suggesting that people shouldn't take the actions of others into account?

> Whether he should be pardoned?

How do you pardon a foreign citizen?

He can side with whoever he likes. Doesn’t mean anyone has to like him for it.

Furthermore, as Assange isn’t an American citizen and doesn’t get to vote in the USA, none of them have no reason to put personal dislike aside and defend him or his actions.

Hell, he might have been a lot better off now if he was a USA citizen, or even if he’d been officially working for Russia.

Right now, he’s a conveniently unlicensed hot potato: held personally liable by the powers, not even really seen as a journalist even if he was one.

> He can side with whoever he likes. Doesn’t mean anyone has to like him for it.

Indeed, hate away.

But its a big jump to imprisoning (or as some would like killing) him.

Just as - and focus here - its not ok to extradite atheists to Saudi Arabia for heresy committed in say New Zealand.

Its after all just a wee election.

'Choosing a side' is what ceased to allow him to claim he was an impartial leaker and/or journalist.

Huh, DJT didnt seem to have an issue executing snowden for a long time until right before election. Im not saying establishment democrats don't hate Assange, but that your argument is purely one sided and bias when in fact this hate is across a spectrum of politicians. Establishment Republicans hate Snowden and even Trump hates snowden. It is just surprising right before an election he mentions a potential pardon when he had 3 years to consider a pardon.

[1] https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/ct-nw-nyt-tru... [2] https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-said-considering-pardo... [3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/05/16/tr...

Some more from 2016 Republicans hopefuls.


I think this shows on either side of the aisle, there is little love for Snowden and people alike.

That’s short term thinking and a failure of government. Working WITH Snowden will benefit the country more than working against.

If it wasn’t Snowden it would have been someone else, matter if time.

Here’s what the gov should do:

1.) Pardon Snowden publicly 2.) Work with Snowden as public front, to build a better (more privacy conscious) surveillance network and win back the public’s trust

Will this ever happen? Probably not

Chelsea Manning got her sentence commuted to 0, which is almost like a pardon.

I wouldn't count on Biden administration to do anything remotely close. The whistleblower of the drone strike that killed 7 kids and 3 adults, all innocent, was convicted [1].

[1] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/leaker-of-drone-secrets-ge...

Didn't deep throat get a pardon?

Reagan did in 1981

"rest of the government"

No need to steer away from "deep state" so hard you go hyperbolic.

Maybe use "Multiple competing power cabals", if you prefer?

The government is not just the president and the buddies he brings in. There are many departments that need to operate after the president and his crew leave office. All of those have a vested interest in keeping their jobs and being able to operate after the next election.

It's no deep state conspiracy that the Pentagon or the CIA have their own opinion on world politics. If anything, the Trump administration has shown that there are still some restraints to the president's power. At some point details were made foggy or even left out in Trump's security briefings out of fear they might get leaked to Twitter. The end result of this process isn't to keep the elites in power or to control the people, it's much more tame than that. People don't like change and when a new guy rolls in and decides that the way some government body does something is wrong, people will naturally resist.

There is always a power balance, usually in favour of the democratically elected officials, between the elected government and the government that sticks around. When push comes to shove the elected officials always have the power to overrule the unelected ones, but any future endeavours related to these parties would become difficult once you force matters.

The CIA, FBI, DoJ and FDA don't get a complete reshuffle every four years. The figureheads and even organisational top can get replaced, but there are many layers of middle management below them that have cemented their ways in difficult to change processes, workflows and office culture.

The system has its advantages, notably that the country doesn't collapse after giving a complete lunatic the reigns for four years, but also a great many disadvantages, notably elected officials being worked against in their quest for improvement and change. This effect can be increased or decreased, but it won't ever go away and denying that there is more to politics than elites at the top is just nonsensical in my opinion.

> it wont ever go away

It will erode away as American influence does. Just ask the Brits what happened with their War Office, India Office, Colonial Office etc etc etc. No one thought those were ever going away either.

I hope not.


> The committee unanimously voted to endorse the report, and all members signed a letter to President Obama urging him not to pardon Snowden.

At this point, if you can't see how fucked up the US legal system is, I am sorry.

Federal court has in the 90 percent conviction rate. Is it because they have such air tight cases and evidence to follow? No, it's a purely political kangaroo court.

Someone would do well do wipe this cancerous 'judicial' system off grid.

Eh how is it purely political kangaroo court with jury convinctions? And for sure they only bring cases they think they can win they admit to this.. for sure having money helps get you better defense. But a purely political kangaroo is a pretty big stretch. Unless you are talking about the secret FISA courts sure. What is way more scary is the whole killing USA citizen via drone strikes in foreign countries no court cases at all.

Peremptory challenges?

Couldn't read the article as Yahoo news is such a cluster-f*k of mess on-screen.

Too many distractions, bad layout, autoplaying videos.

...and this is with heavy ad blocking.

As it was my first visit to Yahoo news, it gave me the options on which kind of cookies/tracking I want to accept. Obviously I select "none". I shudder to think what would happen if I had selected "accept-all".

Sorry for the rant - but I can see why Yahoo is in decline if this is what they offer. No idea if the article's content is actually any good - I feel bad for the people who wrote it.

Looks good in reader mode.

Nice - I had to install an extension to add a reader mode in Brave:


This extension apparently uses Mozilla's open-source Readability implantation.

> Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him.

> One of those officials said he was briefed on a spring 2017 meeting in which the president asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him “options” for how to do so.

I don't understand how this can be legal. Cannot such a request be considered a conspiracy to commit a murder? Or some people are "more equal" and the law doesn't apply to them?

There is a fancy name for kill lists:


Assange, Wikileaks, and Snowden. If these people did the same thing to Russia/Putin or the CCP, they would be gone without a trace right now. It's really sad, these false equivalencies gone wild.

Doing something bad or making a mistake doesn't make the actor bad. That's just an un-nuanced world view.

Wasn't Wikileaks supposed to have been the means by which Russia took the election from Clinton? Why would the Trump administration be so unhappy with them? Were they perhaps continuing the previous administrations' "sweetness and light" approach?

By killing him you close the loop?

In reality hawks in the miliary have wanted him since the video release showing that bombing at the wedding.

He made enemies of both sides.

If you think about it both sides play for the same team. Any powerful voice uncontrolled needs silencing. Hence why he is inprison and why laws were broken to get him in jail.

Seems like the article answered this question somewhat. Basically it's that the president wasn't consulted in some questions as there was a loophole and that the Intelligence services do not change at all when a president changes and they have long memories and wanted revenge.

> Russia took the election from Clinton?

Clinton's sense of entitlement and both parties' history of not supporting the working class lost her the election.

Why would they have any loyalty towards wikileaks? What is a useful idiot that has outlived it's usefulness?

Even if Trump had warm feelings towards Wikileaks, the directors of the CIA, NSA etc clearly didn't. So it depends on how inclined they were to lock antlers with each other.

And from Trump's perspective, he may like seeing his rival taking a bullet - but that doesn't imply he'd feel protective of the spent shell casings on the ground.

Wikileaks owes no loyalty to Trump. Trump had nothing to gain from defending him, strategically.

Basic Realpolitik.

Very interesting to see how this will end up impacting the Assange extradition trial.

Who's gonna agree to extradite him knowing that Trump was planning to assassinate him? Seems like a hard sell.

E: Turns out that this isn't even news https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8041597/US-plotted-...

These are separate US based discussions about kidnapping or murdering Assange, the UC Global's actions were another one of the intelligence agencies schemes but these were separate actions.

And the article makes it sound lime the British were kept in the loop for most of it, the previous assassination allegations didn't stop extradition so I doubt these ones will.

It would be almost negligent to not draft and forecast the scenario. Intelligence work has to operate from worst case assumptions.

Obviously the plan was never executed. I am sure that was a choice based on risk factors and not just professional ethics.

What is the worst case scenario of Assange being a free man, exactly?

Signalling that you can get away leaking embarrassing secrets to the outside world, mostly. I'd reckon there'd be a lot more Snowdens, Assanges and Mannings out there if the American government didn't grossly abuse its power to make their lives a living hell.

But if you don't do anything illegal and don't kill innocent civilians then there will not be any embarrassing secrets to leak.

That Assange is indeed compromised by foreign intelligence but is still able to receive exfiltrated American intelligence.

Wouldn't that information end up in some other hands anyway? It has to be exfiltrated already before he gets it and shares it...

I'm not sure in what sense do you are using "compromised", it is unclear for me in regards to context.

He is not a US citizen, and he was never a "pro-western-mainstream" or "pro-establishment" type (he was born into a cult with a history of systematic children sex abuse in Australia, one of the leaders was close to the AU government, Assange then became a teenage hacker, etc). He was a contrarian against the West from the start, while being of the West.

Do you use the term in relation to some of Wikileaks goals or mission statements, some hacker ethos, in the sense that he compromised himself in regards to some personal conviction of his ?

You’re unfortunately being downvoted because you are not toeing the HN crowd line that Assange is a hero. But the plain truth is he took a TV deal (bribe) from Russian state media[0] in exchange for suppressing whistleblowers leaking Russian involvement in Syria[1], and doesn’t even bother to deny that he’s been coopted by Putin[2] when confronted. He is very motivated to leak as much damaging information he can on America, but will censor and threaten those who want to bring his radical transparency on Russian oligarchs.

[0] https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/... [1] https://www.dailydot.com/debug/wikileaks-syria-files-syria-r... [2] https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/i...

I'm ready and willing to accept that Assange is by no means unbiased, thing is, I don't really care.

I know that Russia has enormous corruption, as a matter of fact I don't even try to understand the degree and inner workings of said corruption and I very much doubt that it being public would really improve anything, that is, sadly, par for the course regarding Russia.

I care that when confronted with some ugly truths, a good deal of the American public immediately sided with authoritarianism because it was inconvenient for them to do otherwise, going all the way to conspiracy theories (pee tape, Russian prostitutes etc) and deep into propaganda, It's not "blackmail", it's now "kompromat", it's not "geopolitics" it's "realpolitik", it's not just "the elite", it's "Russian Oligarchs", there is this effort of antagonization, of alienation that both disgusts and scares me, and I think that's a way bigger problem than anything related Assange himself.

So your opinion is it’s sometimes necessary to suppress much uglier truths in order to expose much lesser ones?

If we’re being honest though, we’d frankly acknowledge that we’re not talking about Russian corruption. In this specific case we’re talking about supporting chemical weapon attacks against civilians, but we could also talk about the brutal war crimes in Chechnya.

Assange sees himself as at war with America and accepts Putin as his necessary patron to continue it. I just find it weird that other Americans (typically on the fringe left and right) try to tell me I need to view America as my enemy and Putin as my friend, and agree that we need to help censor truths about his rule in order to further his cause.

Personally, I’m disgusted by people who see a dictator who regularly murders his opponents, bombs his own cities, supports chemical weapon attacks against civilians, and think “he’s on my side”, then try to defend censoring the truths of his actions under the guise of “well we hate the same people”.

>it's not "geopolitics" it's "realpolitik"

At least that seems to have nothing to do with Russia.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact