Julian Assange – About the law.
by Mustang – Our man on the beat in the U.K.
The law must be applied equally no matter how rich or poor, who they know, or how influential they may be in national or state politics.
Julian Assange has been charged with ONE count of violating the laws of the United States. This one count is broken down into several elements or sections of Title 18, United States Code.
The specifics allege (not yet proved) are that Mr. Assange illegally obtained records of the United States government, that he conspired to obtain these records, and that he knowingly and willfully received these records from computers and data bases under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States.
He may have in fact done exactly that.
Initially, I thought there may be a similarity in what Assange is accused of doing, and the publication of classified material by the New York Times in 1971. This could still be true if a court of competent jurisdiction treats Mr. Assange as a publisher of news, but there does remain one glaring distinction.
In 1971, the New York Times obtained classified material, notified the government that the paper was in possession of the material, informed the government that they intended to publish a story relating to the contents of that information, and offered the government an opportunity to comment on it before publication.
The government responded by going to court to SUPPRESS the New York Times. Suppression of the press is what that issue was all about. The Supreme Court ruled that the government may not suppress the news media simply because it had obtained information that the government did not want known.
If the government can prove a conspiracy between Assange and Bradley-Chelsea Manning to unlawfully obtain classified information, which is to say that Mr. Assange was a participant in the theft, then he’ll be spending a few seconds in federal prison, as did Bradley-Chelsea Manning. It won’t matter whether Assange is a citizen of the United States.
Federal attorneys obtain convictions on foreign persons all the time. But there is still a hurdle: the United States government does not have possession of Mr. Assange. Mr. Assange is not currently within the jurisdiction of the United States.
So, the first hurdle is his extradition to United States jurisdiction. Assange has two things going for him right now: (1) he has top ranked attorneys in the UK representing him, and (2) A British judge will hear the case for extradition. This means that there is no guarantee that the US will be granted extradition in this case, particularly if the London court decides that Assange is a news media publisher or outlet.
All that aside, without any in-depth knowledge of the information he obtained, or its actual effects (as opposed to what the government may allege), we should perhaps acknowledge that were it not for Mr. Assange, the American people would not know that:
- Hillary Clinton’s violated federal law in her mishandling of classified information. This did not appear to be a concern to the Department of Justice and to this date, Ms. Clinton has not been charged for violating federal law in the handling of classified material, or her attempt to obstruct justice by bleaching her hard drives.
- Hillary Clinton (who at the time was the de facto chairman of the Democratic National Party) conspired to derail the candidacy of presidential hopeful Bernie Stalin.
- Hillary Clinton diverted money from the DNC into her own campaign account.
- The murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich was probably an inside job.
- Hillary Clinton conspired with others to manufacture and produce a phony dossier on presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump.
- Hillary Clinton was deeply entrenched with US finance interests in pursuit of her own net worth.
- The DNC claim that Assange hacked their computer with the assistance of Russian secret intelligence operatives amazingly mirrors similar allegations Clinton and the DNC made about President Trump.
- James Clapper is a liar on the issue of collecting information (data mining) (without warrant) on citizens of the United States.
On the question of whether Assange is a de factor journalist, he has been the recipient of numerous news media awards in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and a 2019 nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize.
I believe the federal government is obligated to pursue extradition. If he is extradited, he will not be granted bail. He will have his day in court—which is far more than anyone can say about Hillary Clinton.
Primary responsibility for safeguarding classified material rests with the United States government. Apparently, the federal government has been inept in doing this. We should not hold Assange responsible for the failings of federal authorities to safeguard sensitive material. If Mr. Assange is held to account for violations of law, so be it. Has anyone in the government been held to account for their criminal negligence safeguarding our country’s secrets?
Mustang has other great reads over at his two blogs – Thoughts from Afar
with Old West Tales and Fix Bayonets