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Monday, April 15, 2019

Julian Assange: Hero or Criminal?

Silverfiddle Rant!


Barack Obama got in one more jab at the nation on his way out the door when he granted clemency to traitor Chelsea Manning, the Army Private who gave classified information to Julian Assange and Wikileaks.



Manning is back in jail after refusing to cooperate with a grand jury looking into Julian Assange:
Manning, convicted in 2013 of leaking classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks, was jailed in early March as a recalcitrant witness after refusing to answer the grand jury’s questions. (Gizmodo)
The US charges against Assange have nothing to do with "journalism:"
Assange allegedly aided her in attempting to crack a password that would provide access to Defense Department network used to store classified documents and communications. While Manning already had access to the network, known as SIPRNet, the password would have enabled her to download additional material under a username that was not her own. (Gizmodo)
Assange was just the conduit.  That in itself was not a crime.  If it were, our prisons would be filled with writers from the New York Times, Washington Post and many other media outlets who gleefully publish classified information.  This new information--that Assange attempted to crack a US military network--now puts him in the criminal category.  It looks like Manning may again be in legal jeopardy if new information is discovered that contradicts her earlier sworn testimony.

The most interesting aspect of this is the confusing scrum of different ideological camps attacking or defending Assange.  The battle lines do not break down neatly, with all left/Democrats on one side and all right/Republicans on the other. I will spare you explanations of this lunacy.

Julian Assange is no hero. He published stolen classified information that chilled secret nation-to-nation diplomatic efforts, many of which were humanitarian. His dispatches also damaged the United States. I wish we could prosecute him for this, but it is probably not possible.  I do support prosecuting him for his role in Manning's traitorous espionage.  I hope they both end up in federal prison.

What say you?

33 comments:

  1. I feel like Julian Assange is like the paparazzi being criticized for snapping secret photos of someone famous having sex with a goat, and we'te bashing the photographer rather than the exposed goat-humping subject.

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    Replies
    1. Precisely. If it weren't for traitors like Manning, Assange would have to find another line of work.

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    2. Nobody was supposed to find out the US State Department blows goats, and now everyone knows .

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  2. Manning and Snowden are traitors (although hardly anyone is ever prosecuted for that any more). Assange was no traitor because he isn’t a US citizen. As you pointed out, government options are limited. Right now, he’s been charged with one count of violating federal law: receiving and disseminating classified information. I don’t think there is much doubt that Assange did precisely that. If the government can prove that he conspired with Manning to steal it, then that would certainly up the ante in sentencing. But right now, we’re ahead of ourselves. In order to prosecute, Assange has to be within the jurisdiction of the US courts, so the extradition hearing will be the first hurdle and I don’t think it will be a slam-dunk. Here’s why:

    a) The case against the NYT in 1971 began when the paper received stolen classified information, notified the government that they intended to publish this information, and asked if the government would like to comment. Government sued to suppress the NYT from publishing and lost the case. The high court decided that government cannot suppress publishers no matter how the information was received.
    b) The question then is, should Assange be treated as a publisher of news-worthy information? If the answer to this question is “yes” then I doubt if the Brits will extradite him, even though their laws about national secrets are far more stringent than our own.
    c) Is Assange a publisher of news-worthy information? He has won several awards in journalism, so the answer to that question could be “yes.”
    d) Government’s decision not to prosecute the NYT for being in possession of stolen classified material and move to suppress instead, may come back into play in the Assange case, depending of course on who he hires to represent him. Government doesn’t get the last word; a jury of his peers will have the last and final say.

    Assange obviously received classified material from Manning. Did Assange have a responsibility not to publish it? He isn’t an American, so I don’t think he had that obligation. Manning did. Snowden did. Assange also received 44,000 stolen emails from the DNC, provided to him by Seth Rich. Perhaps we should be a mite concerned about the government (and others) who conspire to keep from the American people the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the political elite. We would not have known about the NSA data mining were it not for Assange, or Hillary Clinton’s email server, or the fact that she also mishandled classified material. And by the way, who would want to murder Seth Rich? Why hasn’t the government spent any time investigating this (as yet) unsolved “robbery attempt” where nothing was stolen?

    Bottom line: no one has a greater responsibility for safeguarding classified material than the government. It would seem to me that the failure in the Manning-Snowden situation isn’t Assange; it’s the US government.

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    1. Snowden is also a traitor. Dying from crappy healthcare in a sleazy, stinking Moscow apartment would be too good for him.

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    2. Mustang nailed it in the last line.

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    3. Mustang,
      It would seem to me that the failure in the Manning-Snowden situation isn’t Assange; it’s the US government.

      Exactly!

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    4. I'm not entirely convinced Snowden doesn't reside in the Venn diagram overlap between "traitor" and "whistleblower," more towards the "whistleblower" side.

      Surely the government would never obtain a FISA warrant on someone under false pretenses.

      ;)

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    5. Ich bein ein BERLINER!

      Snowden's a patriot. He showed you just how unfree America is. He wasn't a "whistleblower" that finds protection like some wimpy journalist just because one half of the deep state wants to kill the other half and so it leaks out the secrets that don't reflect poorly on THEM. He's a patriot because he showed you the that BOTH halves of the Deep State are out to f_ck us.

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    6. Step up!

      Snowden, Assange... not only watch the watchmen, but tell EVERYONE what he's doing. And believe me, you need to know.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. ALSO: I've never understood why "LEAKING" classified information is considered a traitorous CRIME, but PUBLISHNG it is NOT?

    I'd appreciat it if someone could explain that to me.

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    Replies
    1. People who have security clearances incur a duty to protect/safeguard all such materials that they come into contact with. People who incur that duty and fail to provide adequate safeguards can be prosecuted. Publishers, on the other hand, have no duty to protect classified information—beyond a moral responsibility, which is always arguable. A publisher could argue, for example, that keeping the American people informed is a greater responsibility. More “leaking” of classified material occurs in the halls of Congress and White House staff than it does from any other source. In the Ellsberg case, Senator Mike Gravel (Alaska) released 4,100 pages of the Pentagon Papers to the Congressional Record, an unauthorized disclosure, and yet Gravel was never prosecuted, either. An effective law applies—and is applied—to everyone equally. Beyond that, the law becomes mean and small.

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    2. If a mere US Army *private first class* has the keys to the kingdom, the people that ought to be prosecuted installed the gate.

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    3. TC,
      If a mere US Army *private first class* has the keys to the kingdom, the people that ought to be prosecuted installed the gate.

      I vehemently agree!

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    4. People of all ranks need clearance depending on their jobs, not rank.

      Two failures in Manning's case are obvious:

      1. He was downloading massive amounts of classified material off of a classified system--Secret, not-compartimentalized, no SAP, so it wasn't "keys to the kingdom" but still important information requiring protection--and carting that material out of the facilty. Nobody detected or noticed, or (more likely) didn't care. Routing administrative work, even in a war zone, breeds apathy.

      2. He was a total freako and his chain of command knew it but chose to ignore it. He exhibited behavior that should have caused the removal of his access to classified information.

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    5. Bradley Manning's first line supervisor was most definitely incompetent in his oversight of Manning and his ability to download classified material and spirit it out of the SCIF, but his rank had little to do with the breach.

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    6. I'd have thought Radar O'Reilly level access required a corporal's rank ;)

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    7. "He was a total freako and his chain of command knew it but chose to ignore it."
      Are they allowed to notice it anymore?
      Major Nidal Malik Hasan come to mind.

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  5. ALSO: if our GOVERNMENT is in fact working AGAINST the best interests of the citizenry, why shuld the public not feel jusfied in hailing anyone daring enugh to EXPOSE the CORRUPTION and DIRTY DEALINGS as a HERO?

    Why SHOULD American citizens be expected to remain loyal to a governmen it that government has in fact gone ROTTEN?

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    Replies
    1. LEST WE FORGET

      When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–-

      That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ––

      That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government ...

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  6. POSSIBLY OF RELEVANT INTEREST:

    Ecuadorian President Says Assange Tried to Use Embassy as Base for Spying

    The Hill

    by Chris Mills Rodrigo

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was arrested last week, tried to use the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as a “centre for spying,” Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno told the Guardian on Monday. “Any attempt to destabilize is a reprehensible act for Ecuador, because we are a sovereign nation and respectful of the politics of each country,” Moreno told the Guardian by email. ...

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  7. A BIT OF COMIC RELIEF?

    Julian Assange ‘Was Kicked Out of Ecuador Embassy for Sharing Photo of [Ecuador's] President Eating a Lobster in Bed’ Claim Supporters

    The Sun [UK]

    by Alex Matthews

    JULIAN Assange was kicked out of the Ecuador embassy for allegedly sharing a photo of the president eating a lobster. The WikiLeaks founder is accused of leaking an embarrassing snap of Ecuadorian premier Lenin Moreno dining on a platter of lobster in bed in a luxury hotel room. Mr Moreno was so furious at the breach that he ordered Assange’s seven-year refuge at the embassy be ended on Thursday, the Mail on Sunday reports. The silver-haired hacker was booted out of his Knightsbridge safe haven after being handcuffed by embassy security and dragged out by officers from Scotland Yard. ...

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    1. A more likely scenario is that Assange was kicked out of the Ecuadorian Embassy because Donald Trump threatened to cut off US foreign aid to Ecuador.

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    2. And not for confusing the drapery of the Ecuadoran embassy with toilet paper?

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    3. Obama had already cut off that aid, mustang.

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  8. Question...

    Does anyone here know how Seth Rich fits into the Wikileaks matter? I've heard lots of theories, but really don't know the facts.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Replies
    1. Rich provided over 4,000 emails from the DNC to Assange.

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  9. I'm STILL outraged that DANIEL ELLSBERG was never prosecuted and punished as the traitor he certainly was.

    If Daniel Ellsberg not only got away with publishng The Pentagon Papers, but has been regarded as something of a HERO by the Left for decades, why should anyone feel justified in punishing Tranny Manning and Edward Snowden today?

    Double Standards STINK.

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  10. Assange was arrested for one reason only. He's the only man in the world who can disprove the Russia-Russia narrative that John Brennan cooked up to justify spying on the Trump Campaign and that AG Barr is just now setting out to investigate/expose. He had to be permanently silenced.

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