The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Assange Was Right All Along

Julian Assange (he looks far worse now, but couldn’t find any non-copyrighted images)

So, you may have read that Sweden has dropped its sexual assault investigation and charges against Julian Assange.

Now that Assange is in British custody, and facing extradition to the United States, that is.

Oh, the Swedish prosecutor says it’s because so much time has gone by, but that didn’t stop them before.

Assange always claimed the idea was to get him into custody, then extradite him to the US. Now that he’s in custody and going to be extradited to the US, the Swedish charges are moot. If the Swedes had really been most concerned about those charges they would have accepted Assange’s offer to go to Sweden as soon as he had a written guarantee of no extradition to the US.

As for the US charges, at the end of the day they are charging a publisher for publishing information in the public interest. Reporters have, in the past, discussed how to get the information with sources, and not been charged. This is an over-reach, and against someone who is not an American citizen and was not in America during any of the “crimes”.

Assange has few supporters now: Woke types figure he’s a sex offender; Democrats hate him for revealing that the DNC was conspiring to help Clinton win the primary against Sanders (that’s the truth, and if you don’t like it, it’s still the truth, and still something the public should know), and; Republicans hate him for revealing Bush’s war crimes.

As for reporters, most of them really hate him: You just have to read the Guardian’s deranged complaints about how he was messy and didn’t act like one of the club, or watch their crazed jeremiad against him. Assange did their job and did it better than most of them, and, oh, they hate him for it.

And they think because he didn’t work for an official news source that precedents set in his prosecution for helping whistleblowers and for extra-territorial US law won’t be used against them.

They won’t.

Assange may or may not be the nicest guy (the hate mail I received last time for mentioning this was quite something), but that’s irrelevant: He was acting as a journalist and publisher, and the information he released was in most cases information that the public had the right to know. Any mis-judgements are nowhere near as bad as those the New York Times made when they published the Bush administration’s lies to push the Iraq war, for example. (And remember when the Intercept burned their own whistleblower? You can’t trust the media with your identity.)

Nor does it matter if he was partisan: Most press is partisan, and no one thinks that means it isn’t press (perhaps they should, but they don’t. I can’t imagine the Murdochs want them to either).

Assange embarrassed everyone: the Republicans, the Democrats, the identitarian left and “professional” journalists. For that, he will burn, and because of that, he has no friends left.

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  1. KT Chong

    Political prisoner.

  2. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Assange always claimed the idea was to get him into custody, then extradite him to the US. Now that he’s in custody and going to be extradited to the US, the Swedish charges are moot

    No big surprise there, for anyone paying attention. The mask has really come off now, hasn’t it?

  3. NR

    The Trumpers here do realize that Trump is the one prosecuting Assange, right?

  4. nihil obstet

    I’m just baffled at what the legal definition of a nation-state is now. If the leaders of one country can get the rulers of another one to hand over a non-citizen acting on foreign territory, the nation-state is a feudal farce. No one was ever charged with breaking security laws in the Valerie Plame affair. It’s all just a bunch of petty despots who do it because they can.

    Actually, I think I’m wrong there. I keep pointing out that we live in a propaganda state. Maintaining and controlling the propaganda is necessary to the survival of the rulers.


    Exactly, NR. What an ingrate he (Trump) is, right? Assange helps him win the election and what does Assange get? Life in prison.

    If Trump somehow miraculously escapes being impeached and somehow miraculously wins a second term, I’m sure Trump will pardon him. In the least, he owes Assange a pardon and in my opinion a rose garden too.

    There’s a lesson there somewhere. When you dance with the orange devil, you lose. Big time. When will they learn? Never, that’s when. They’re lined up beyond the horizon to jump off a cliff for him.

  6. Nathan Wright

    Yes … Trump has absolute control over his Justice Department, doesn\’t he. You guys have a lot of nerve, since everyone here knows you would be the first screeching for about abuse of power if Trump were to start dictating policy to the DOJ, and firing US attorneys. Say, wasn\’t that one of that Der Sturmer characature\’s (Schiff\’s) articles, that Trump had the audacity to fire a career bureaucrat subordinate? Nice try anyway, guys.

    That said, I fully expect a tsunami of pardons to come down the day he finally breaks the Deep State goons.

  7. John

    We have come to a pretty pass when extradition to the United States is so greatly to be feared. Perhaps I have been naive and idealistic most of my life, but I never thought it would come to a blatantly vindictive political lynching because the powerful and thin skinned were embarrassed. I have never been a particular fan of Assange, but no one deserves what he seems to be facing.

  8. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Heaven forfend the Democratic Party should favor an actual member of the Democratic Party over a non-member. 🙄

  9. Probably no better example of the Goebelsistic repetition of a lie – not just one lie but an entire narrative – until it becomes accepted as truth. Perhaps even self-fulfilling prophecy.

  10. Hugh

    I thought the periodic investigations of Assange were one of those weird Nordic rites, like bonfires, to break the boredom of the long winter nights.

    Assange was charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. The relevant article being 18 U.S. Code § 793 (e) which I give below. Four points: First, since the Obama Administration recent charges under this act have targeted whistleblowers passing on classified information to the press. By my count, there have been nine people so charged, seven including Snowden under Obama with two outstanding under Trump (Snowden and Assange with the other being the Reality Leigh Winner/Intercept case). Second, if everyone in Washington who did this was charged, the Congress and White House would be empty. Third, Assange would be charged under the Espionage Act for the Chelsea Manning/Cablegate material, not the DNC stuff. Fourth, as I pointed out in the last thread, the leaking of the DNC emails is a campaign finance violation under 52 U.S. Code § 30121, a foreign national giving something of value to a US political campaign. If Assange had simply released the emails or contracted with the Trump campaign, there would be no violation. It was coordinating with the Trump campaign for free that provides the grounds for a charge. It was stupid.

    (e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it


    (g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

  11. S Brennan

    [Assange] didn’t act like one of the club….Assange did their job and did it better than most of them, and oh, they [reporters] hate him for it.

    I feel sorry for him, he went well beyond his duty as a citizen of this world.

    Compare & contrast.

    “Bernie Sanders silent on Assange”
    “Tulsi Gabbard says she will drop charges against Assange”

  12. DMC

    I stopped reading the Intercept after they burned their THIRD source. You couldn’t dismiss it as fluke or just ignore it after three of them.

  13. NR

    Predictably, the Trump sycophants have shown up to try to claim that he has absolutely no control over actions taken by his own administration. Well what’s the point of him even being president then, guys? Never mind the fact that with respect to Wikileaks, he’s on record as having said that he thinks they should get the death penalty. But I guess you have to ignore stuff like that to keep your lips firmly planted on his ass the way you do, right?

    Oh, and the president’s constitutional power of pardon is absolute and can’t be counteracted by anyone in his administration, so you don’t get to use the Deep State bogeyman as an excuse here, sorry.

  14. Eric Anderson

    “Assange did their job and did it better than most of them, and oh, they hate him for it.”

    “It’s not that they don’t have an ethical code. It’s that they – or more likely their paymasters — don’t want to be held accountable for breaking it.”

  15. bruce wilder

    I continue to marvel at the authoritarians whose “ethics” mandate keeping the “secrets” (scare quotes because the secrets in question are rarely kept secret for sake of public interest.

  16. Peter

    It’s odd that no one mentioned what charges Assange is actually facing and they are not for publishing anything.The charges I saw stated he conspired with and assisted Manning including something about him supplying a password that Manning needed.
    If these charges are true, they claim to have documented emails I think, as evidence to back the charges then Assange jumped way over the line.
    This is Obama’s DOJ case and Trump is no fool and knows not to interfere besides Barr would shut him down if he tried.Trump could pardon him if convicted but Assange might have to wait for his third term.

  17. Tulsa Gabbard is a Russian stooge, a Republican. No surprise Petroll is enamored of her.

  18. Eleven Bears

    Take off your tin foil hat and take your meds, Ten Bears.

  19. Joan

    I really hate that sexual assault charges are used as a tool to get something else. It makes prosecuting someone for rape or attacking a woman into a joke. The fact that Democrats go along with it so blindly without stopping to check whether someone was actually raped just makes it worse. The Democrats are “the good people, on the side of women,” etc., but women are made more unsafe by their actions. I’m sick of being used as a tool of the “the good people” for their own political ends. And look, now an innocent man is being condemned by a large swath of “good people.”

  20. Okay snowflake

    Yep, let’s support a guy who has the explicit stated strategy of escalating great power tensions and provoking distrust between governments, just so our feels of being angry at the world are validated.

    Here’s a cunning alternative – get off the couch and stop the entitled wallowing in the belief that the world owes you something great for being so white and old. A key reason that others have it better is that they don’t spend their time ceaselessly cruising the same old internet hangouts looking for what’s most topical to moan about.


    I continue to marvel at the authoritarians whose “ethics” mandate keeping the “secrets” (scare quotes because the secrets in question are rarely kept secret for sake of public interest.

    What secrets? These f*cks are operating in plain sight and have been for what seems forever now. Assange isn’t a hero. He provided nothing to me I hadn’t already intuited and/or deduced. At most, it was mere validation and that validation came with a price tag; Donald Trump, the Destroyer of Worlds and anything and all that is good.

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Donald Trump is not the answer to what ails us. Chaos is not superior to what we have now. Fascists love chaos. It’s their John the Baptist who signifies their resurrection in a sea of blood and despotism. It’s what allows them to swoop into the power vacuum and seize power. The whirlwind doesn’t come bearing gifts. I don’t believe in burning villages to save them. Those who believe that, head back to Vietnam and live your glory days and let us evolve in a more constructive manner than you’ve chosen.

    Hey Assange fans and acolytes, want to do humanity a service? Crack the state department servers and turn over to the public and Congress too the documents related to the quid pro quo Pompeo and Trump refuse to provide. F*ck checking with Putin first. You want a revolution? Start with the GOP first. Burn it to the ground and then on to the Dems. The GOP has long been low-hanging fruit ripe for disposal. You jumped right over it and instead breathed new life into it. F*ckers!!! Get your heads straight. Get an effective strategy. You opened the door and let the dogs in, you fools. The wolves too and the snakes and all manner of rodents. Redeem yourselves or be considered loathsome and lowly fascists and fascist enablers.


    Hey Assange, if you agree to put on a uniform and head over to Afghanistan and murder in cold blood innocent Afgan civilians, you will be assured a pardon by Trump. Afterall, you enabled the orange Day-Glo dotard, now do his will one more time and your life will be spared. Maybe. Sure, the Dems helped contribute to the rise of Trump but so too did you. Now you are enjoying the fruits of your labor, bitch.

  23. nihil obstet

    The majority of Americans seem to have internalized the police state. It’s distressing, but more important, it’s evil.

  24. KT Chong

    Actually, both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (whom I no longer support) have slammed the US indictments against Julian Assange, calling it an attack on the First Amendment and Free Press:

    A month later, Bernie pledged that he would not prosecuting Whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, which is what the US government using to indict Assange:

    Obviously Tulsi has made the same points and gone even further: she would pardon Assange, as a previous comment mentioned.

    Andrew Yang (whom I also no longer support for too other reasons — most of all because he is really a libertarian) said Julian Assange should stand trial:

    IMO, even if Assange released information the “served no other purpose other than to damage US interests”, it is his pejorative and right to do so. He is a foreign citizen and does not owe allegiance to America, and he can be as anti-American as he wants. It is not — and should not — be a crime to be “anti-America”, especially when he is a foreign national.

  25. “I really hate that sexual assault charges are used as a tool to get something else. “

    Brings to mind a time I served on a federal jury. They were trying a detention guard for physically attacking a detainee. (No, I don’t recall if the detainee was an illegal immigrant or not.) Anyway, the charge was weak, because no one witnessed it. It was “he said/he said.” They brought all sorts of witnesses, many of whom remind me of Sondland. (“I presumed…”)

    To bolster the charge, they added another assault, another “he said/he said,” event from eight years earlier, again with no witness and this time even the “victim” was not sure what happened.

    The jury voted “not guilty” on the eight-year-old charge on first ballot in about ten seconds. We felt it was nonsense, added only in an attempt to bolster the current charge. We hung on the current charge, in part because we felt that if they were sure of it they would not have felt the need to add the nonsensical earlier charge in the effort to beef it up.

  26. Assange is a living reminder that if you want to do something like that, you must have friends in relevant positions. Even Chelsea Manning had friends. Assange alienated nearly everybody, he has no significant allies.

  27. Ché Pasa

    It seemed, at least to some observers, that Assange was being groomed as an asset for various intelligence agencies, not limited to Australia, from the moment he emerged from the muck of cybercrime. Wikileaks appeared to be, at least in part, created as a honeypot designed to entrap leakers. And at some point, Assange appeared to take Wikileaks rogue, carrying on a political campaign against the very forces that had supported its initial revelations. The agencies then appeared to return the favor — multiple times over. Glory-be, not only that, in the end, Trump himself managed to double-cross Assange after Assange helped so much to get Trump elected. And now Assange is facing the serious personal jeopardy he was able to avoid for so long. It is a risk he was always exposed to, even if he had kept his nose clean. 

    This may be nothing more than a conspiracy theory, I don’t know. But it is an alternative view to the more commonplace one of near worshipful regard for his person and Wikileaks’ revelations that Assange has cultivated. We may never know the backstory. But I wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point.

  28. Captain Bloody Obvious

    Amazing the absurd lengths you will go to defend this Putin whore.

  29. Peter

    Assange has one bit of valuable information that won’t help with his trial but could reduce his punishment.
    We have been told over and over by known liars and their mockingbird media that Putin’s Russia hacked the DNC server. This is stated as a proven fact even though Assange denies it and more importantly no one in the USG has even seen or analyzed the server.
    Cloudstrike had/has the server and they were not some randomly chosen IT experts who claim the server was hacked by Russians. Trump has intel that the server is in the Ukraine where Cloudstrike has a large operation. ‘Verry Interesting’ connections/coincidences!

  30. Mark Pontin

    Nihil Obstet: ‘The majority of Americans seem to have internalized the police state. It’s distressing, but more important, it’s evil.’

    And there, right on cue to provide proof of that, is Captain Bloody Obvious.

  31. ponderer

    I’m afraid that this

    And they think because he didn’t work for an official news source that precedents set in his prosecution for helping whistleblowers and for extra-territorial US law won’t be used against them.

    They won’t.

    will prove to be wrong. They will be prosecuted and it will be successful. It will only be a matter of time.

  32. different clue

    @ bruce wilder,

    I have finally been able to give you an answer to your question. I left it on the thread where-on you raised it. Here is the link to that post and thread.

  33. different clue

    If Mr. Assange set up WikiLeaks to remain viable after his death or capture, then it will keep functioning as before.

    If he didn’t care enough to do that, and instead set it up as a reflection of his own ego and designed it to fall apart and die if he were to be killed or captured or buried alive, then it will indeed die if/when he does.

  34. Rich

    Seems the lunatics from over at emptywheel made it over to crash the party now that you’re back bashing Assange not so subtly. But hey, it’s your website.

  35. Anon

    Assange is a right wing, ne0-Fascist tool. Hope he rots in jail.

  36. KT Chong

    Julian Assange is a techno-anarchist. Anarchism is is literally the opposite of a fascism.

  37. realitychecker

    I hate lies, because they always facilitate evil, and I hate secrets, because they always facilitate lies.

    So I support Assange and his mission.

    Nobody ever said, “The secrets will set you free,” amirite lol?

  38. Sid Finster

    @Nathan Wright: Trump could issue Assange a blanket pardon today, and nobody in his administration or the DoJ could do jack diddly about it.

    And yes, a pardon can be issued for crimes not yet charged. See Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon. Nixon was never charged with a crime.

  39. Sid Finster

    I have now learned that apparently freedom of speech and freedom of the press belong only to those people that I agree with.

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