U.S. charges Julian Assange under Espionage Act

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/23/u-s-charges-julian-assange-un.html

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He better negotiate for Sweden, unless he prefers the US.

Extradition may not be granted for military or political offences. Nor may extradition be granted if there is reason to fear that the person whose extradition is requested runs a risk - on account of his or her ethnic origins, membership of a particular social group or religious or political beliefs - of being subjected to persecution threatening his or her life or freedom, or is serious in some other respect. Nor, moreover, may extradition be granted if it would be contrary to fundamental humanitarian principles, e.g. in consideration of a person’s youth or the state of this person’s health. Finally, in principle, extradition may not be granted if a judgment has been pronounced for the same offence in this country. Nor may extradition be granted if the offence would have been statute-barred by limitation under Swedish law.


As much as I think Assange is a narcissistic shitweasel, I have to agree with this assessment.


The Espionage Act, one of the most unAmerican, inhuman, and unjust laws on the books. It should be found unconstitutional, repealed, and have an constitutional amendment abolishing it of all times. When I see a person charged using this law I know that state has nothing. It’s a good as an admission of guilt by the state.


It’s going to be hard enough to get the UK to turn him over. The first set of charges were crafted to avoid Espionage Act material, but blundered into a field – computer crimes – which have been hit and miss in English courts. As I recall, Theresa May (now Prime Minister, if not for much longer) personally quashed one or two high profile hacker extraditions when she was Home Secretary.

And these are plain political charges! The UK is still in the EU and will domesticate EU law upon brexit. Judges are often comically out of touch, bet they do like to make clear their independence from the government.


After she did that, they formally closed off using minister’s prerogative (in the way she used it) as an option in future trials.

The rest of what you said is spot on.

My interior bookie had it at 60% going to the US, and that’s dropped to about 30% now. If they decide to punt him to Sweden I don’t see a serious percentage chance of a path to the US.

I posed this in the other thread, but maybe someone has an answer for me here:

Could this be a way to spike the extradition request? By making it a more impossible ask? I’m still not sure what’s in it for Trump to bring Assange in for testimony that could be about him, and negative.

It feels like “bringing Assange to justice for espionage” was more a repeated policy goal of Hillary Clinton, and the non-Trumpie State Department. I don’t know who really wants him. Maybe Trump will tweet that he hates Assange as much as Tillerson, and I’ll be more clear where he stands.

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I’m going to have to watch Ari Melbar this evening to get the legal breakdown of what’s in this.


Wouldn’t it be delicious if he was charged for the shenanigans involving the DNC hack, and all of it had to come out in court? Watch 45 instantly transform into a civil liberties campaigner.


I’m not saying the US is innocent or anything, but if he actively assisted in hacking US government computers rather than just publishing someone else’s leaks, that’s not reaaaallly “journalism” or press, yeah?


Yeah, that’s a point that’s a bit different than being a journalist.

Really Assange is pretty clearly at best a useful idiot for Putin propaganda, and no kind of an actual journalist.

It will also suck if his bad example ends up being used as a way to punish future actual journalists.

But this is also still currently a mess.

What he’s charged with matters. One of the charges is publishing classified material. If the courts agree, it marks an alarming escalation on the suppression of the free press. The hacking charges are a less direct attack on the First Amendment, but are a dark sign in their own right.

I loathe the little shitweasel and hope he winds up in a Swedish court, but opposing the DOJ’s charges is not about him.


Do any of his Espionage Act charges carry a possible death penalty?

If so, that might be a bar to extradition.

I love that guy :slight_smile:

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I guess I should have known this would be a colossal waste of time, energy, and effort.

Yeah, this is bigger after reviewing this further. Trump is going after the first amendment. This is why Trump needs to be impeached. This is a violation of the constitution. Trump needs to be impeached because he is an enemy of the constitution and he his arbitrially attempted to reform the government and eliminate the constitution. If the senate will not convict the president they need to be continually politically attacked and driven out of office. It is more important to win the senate than it is to win the presidency. We need to win the presidency but the senate is more important.


Sadly i can see Trump extracting Assange when extradition on legal grounds wont work.

Trump does not care for most other countries then the US or international legislation. The question is more which country he would have Assange extracted from.
Given that Brittain was more then an Ally in the Coalition of the willing (iraq war) and is part of the 5 Eyes thingy i could be a greater deal for him.
Sweden would be more of a f* you towards Europe but could have at least to his mind less repurcussions.

I can see Trump talking about it, while the people who would have to plan and execute something insane like that quietly buries the whole plan until he has forgotten all about it (which should take like two hours).


People who attain power illegitimately often try to discredit/eliminate their “kingmakers” so that their origins can’t be exposed. 45 may seem to have the attention span of a gnat but he’s been pretty single minded in, say, ruining Jim Comey’s life.
I’m still surprised that Putin hasn’t tied this loose end himself.


Given that it’s on espionage charges, who’d know what Assange has to say?

Try him in secret, lock him up and you get to say “See, how tough I am. Lock him up! Lock him up!”

More realistically, what could Assange possibly have to say that could cause Trump any meaningful harm?

Bearing in mind all of the stuff that one would assume would already have buried any other candidate long before he was elected and all of the stuff since he was elected - none of which has had any significant impact?

It seems to me Assange could claim to have a signed deposition from Trump and Putin setting out full details of their plan to put Trump into the White House in return for Putin keeping quiet about Trump’s dalliances with underage rentboys and the general reaction would be outrage on the part of people who don’t like Trump and equal outrage about the “awful lies” on the part of Trumpists and the GOP.

Once upon a time, the UK would have sought an assurance that he wouldn’t be executed if extradited as a necessary precondition to allowing any extradition where the death penalty was a possibility.

We’ve now apparently decided that the death penalty is only wrong in some cases.