AND SO IT BEGINS . . . ASSANGE ARRESTED

On Thursday, British authorities arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Ecuador abandoned its long-standing commitment to protect Assange from a coordinated effort of the United States and a variety of other countries as intelligence organizations. American intelligence has long demanded the prosecution of Assange who disclosed controversial military operations in the United States. The arrest will now trigger litigation over the status of Assange. Was he acting as a journalist, a whistleblower, a spy, or a dupe?

It has been seven years of confinement for Assange in the embassy — a relationship that turn sour over the years with embassy staff complaining about Assange’s attitude, activities, and even his hygiene.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, announced that his “sovereign decision” was based on “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life”:

“Today I announce that that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”

American nation decided to revoke the political asylum that had given him sanctuary for almost seven years.

London police said they were invited into the embassy by Ecuador’s ambassador. Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped.

Assange has been under U.S. Justice Department scrutiny for years for Wikileaks’ role in publishing thousands of government secrets and was an important figure in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe as investigators examined how WikiLeaks obtained emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Democratic groups.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said his government made a “sovereign decision” to revoke Assange’s political asylum due to “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life.”

“Today I announce that that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video released on Twitter.

In a colossal blunder in 2018, the Justice Department previously revealed that it had a sealed indictment against Assange who faces a U.S. extradition request.

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labeled Assange a “fraud,” “coward,” and “enemy,” a strong argument can be made that he was acting as either a whistleblower or journalist. However, whistleblower defenses are quite limited in national security cases. The status as a journalist has been contested by some and federal law actually does not contain an exemption for the possession or distribution of classified information. However, there is a strong gravitational pull for constitutional protection. This would set up a serious first amendment fight. Putting aside the issue of journalistic defenses, an indictment under the Espionage Act would be quite challenging for the government absent some new evidence establishing a nexus and intent.

I have handled first amendment and national security cases and I would call the Assange arrest the most anticipated case of my generation in defining the outside boundaries of those areas. Ironically, I just spoke in Utah on the changing role and realities of the U.S. media. This could prove one of the most important cases in history.

And so it begins.

298 thoughts on “AND SO IT BEGINS . . . ASSANGE ARRESTED”

  1. I’m hearing that the charge of computer hacking has a statute of limitations of 5 years. The indictment was filed almost 8 years later. You can increase it to 8 if it involves “an act of terrorism.” But that seems pretty thin. And in any case, does an indictment nullify the statute of limitations? I’m fuzzy on that.

    1. I’m hearing that an indictment does not expire. But you still have the 5 year problem unless you think Assange committed an act of terrorism.

  2. If Mueller did not reach a conclusion on that obstruction issue, no problem….we have L4D here to tell us what he “should have” concluded based on her great expertise.🤗😄😃

    1. There was more than one “obstruction issue” with Trump. Most likely, Mueller declined to reach a conclusion on the firing of Comey. The abuse of the pardon power to tamper with witnesses and suborn perjury is the “obstruction issue” that we haven’t heard anything about yet, because AG Barr hasn’t released his heavily redacted whitewash of the Mueller report yet. Meanwhile, Roger Stone’s lawyers have filed a motion for discovery of the entire un-redacted Mueller report. Poor AG Barr is being undermined by Trump’s own cronies.

      1. Yes, we have in fact heard about those “other obstruction issues”.
        While we know that Mueller did not present a conclusion on the obstruction issue, we’ve heard and will continue to heard L4D’s conclusions.
        Which are the important conclusions and the ones that really, really count.

    2. The absurdity of all this is laughable. Stone has a history of exaggerating his role. He had no “backchannel” to WikiLeaks. Yet he is being charged for understating his role with regard to his false statements before Congress.

  3. The offense with which Assange is charged, conspiracy to hack into US Defense department computer accounts to retrieve classified material, isn’t journalistic.

    If it is, the Rosenbergs, Aldirch Ames, John Walker, Robert Hanssen, Kim Philby, Donald McLean, Guy Burgess and every other spy in history were all “journalists”.

    1. Former federal prosecutors say Mueller’s interest in Stone’s bid to help Assange may be part of an effort to untangle the relationship between the men and could factor in a potential effort to expose a criminal conspiracy involving the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks. “If Stone worked with WikiLeaks on the release DNC emails, an effort by Stone to try to help Assange secure a pardon could be considered evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” says Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior counsel to Kenneth Starr on the Whitewater investigation.

      1. Who’s the “hacker?” Why isn’t the party who originally obtained the “hacked e-mails” the focus of investigation? And why couldn’t the e-mails have been purloined and delivered, not hacked? What did Seth Rich know and when did he know it? Who killed Seth Rich? The implication of your post (i.e. completely ignoring Seth Rich) is that the release of DNC data and the death of the DNC employee, Seth Rich, were wholly unrelated and simply coincidental. Why do you ignore the elephant in the room? Was it simple coincidence that CIA operative, Lee Harvey Oswald, was ordered to apply for a job at the Texas School Book Depository just prior to the JFK assassination?

        1. George, why do you ignore the fact that Podesta’s emails were hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account–not from the DNC email server? How did Seth Rich “leak” the Podesta emails from Podesta’s Gmail account, George? How did Seth Rich “leak” the DNC data analytics from the AWS cloud storage system–not the DNC email server? How did Seth Rich “leak” the Breedlove cables from The State Department–not the DNC email server? Why would both Assange and Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 as well as with one another have been discovered in the warrant returns for the email accounts that the 12 GRU officers had set up to ex-filtrate all of the aforementioned emails? Didn’t Assange already know where those emails came from?

      2. The Stone indictment doesn’t have anything to do with exposing a conspiracy. So it is just like all the rest of the indictments by Mueller.in this farce.

        Stone is a self promoter. He never talked to Assange. And the back channel he says he had is a radio talk show host who said Stone was a pest who kept bothering him for information. He never discussed Stone with Assange,

        And Stone was requesting information. So he didn’t know what WikiLeaks had and neither did the Trump campaign.

        1. And yet, one of the counts in the Stone indictment is conspiracy to obstruct justice by means of witness tampering and witness intimidation aimed at suborning perjury.

          BTW, you’ll be happy to know that Stone’s lawyers have filed motions for discovery of the complete, un-redacted Mueller report. AG Barr might not be quite so happy as you, though, Steve.

            1. Stone was relying on Credico to provide a cover story for Stone’s use of Corsi, Malloch and Farage as go-betweens with Assange. There are text messages between Assange and Stone wherein Assange tells Stone to stop calling Guccifer 2.0 a Russian. Stone complied and started calling Guccifer 2.0 a Romanian, instead.

              1. Yeah, because Stone made a false statement to Congress. Stone had no actual “backchannels” to Assange He is a self-promoter and bloviator, and he wanted Credico to back up his false statement.

              2. Incidentally, I think you’re referring to a Credico e-mail to Stone about Guccifer 2.0. And the reason for that is Credico doesn’t think Gucifer 2.0 is Russian.

    2. “In early January, Roger Stone, the longtime Republican operative and adviser to Donald Trump, sent a text message to an associate stating that he was actively seeking a presidential pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

      The Assange “associate” is radio talk show host who said Stone was a pest who kept bothering him. Stone is a self-promoter and bloviator and the radio talk show host never thought to waste him time even mentioning Stone’s name to Assange.

      1. Perhaps you can now put two and two together Steve. Stone conspired to obstruct justice by intimidating Credico into refusing to testify before Congress AND Stone conspired to obstruct justice, again, by offering to arrange a preemptive pardon for Assange so that Assange would never have to testify either.

  4. Allan,

    It’s so fun to see your slip show; after all, who, but you, would assume such a righteous mantle devoid of awareness when introducing themselves:

    “A meaningless post by a meaningless person.”

    https://jonathanturley.org/2019/04/11/and-so-it-begins-assange-arrested/comment-page-4/#comment-1841561

    What a great way to introduce yourself. Your blathering is telling, fool.

    Uroboros, indeed.

    You write so frenetically that you miss your own meanings. You are the froth before the spittle; you are truly a fool.

    1. Arlene, it’s nice to see that you can write so many words witout a single conseuqntial idea. On that score you are in Diane’s league and perhaps even more.

      You certainly fit the words: “A meaningless post by a meaningless personAll

  5. I really don’t like Assange, what he does, or his motives. Generally I think he is an awful person, but I have a problem with his arrest. It seems to me someone has spent some time and effort into inventing something to arrest him on. I think this is ridiculous. If the U.S. Government wants to go after anyone they should clean their own house to make sure the information does not get to WikiLeaks in the first place. Don’t blame Assange or WikiLeaks blame, shame, and arrest those doing the actual leaking.

    I don’t remember the New York Times being taken down for printing the war plans for the Bay of Pigs debacle which gave Castro full warning. How about the Pentagon Papers. Stop the LEAKS, and prosecute leakers, not the publishers.

  6. From Veblen to Assange – connecting the 100 year of dots.
    “To the end, Veblen had hoped that one day the Predators would be driven from the marketplace and the workers would find their way to socialism. Yet a century ago, it seemed to him more likely that the Predators and Saboteurs, collaborating as they did even then with politicians and government lackeys, would increasingly amass more profits, more power, more adulation from the men of the working class, until one day, when those very plutocrats actually captured the government and owned the state, a Gilded Business Man would arise to become a kind of primitive Warlord and Dictator. He would then preside over a new and more powerful regime and the triumph in America of a system we would eventually recognize and call by its modern name: fascism.” by Ann Jones
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-man-who-saw-trump-coming-a-century-ago/

  7. Glenn Greenwald tweets:

    “At this point, my primary emotion watching people still cling to the hope that they were right all along about the Trump/Russia conspiracy theory is pity. There is, I confess, a little contempt and bafflement mixed in, but pity is definitely predominant. It’s sad to watch.”

    “Also, those who think it’s authoritarian or the hallmark of a “Banana Republic” to investigate the CIA & FBI – and specifically inquire whether its leaders abused their vast powers to interfere in US politics for ideological ends – should type “The Church Committee” into Google.”

    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1116762301741305857

    1. Hearings. We definitely need hearings. Maybe Assange’s arrest will help to get us there. I doubt it, but…

    2. Fellow Russian stooge Greenwald defending Assange is not a surprise. Their supposed battle for transparency is decidedly one-way and ignores and helps a true gang run police state that feeds them information and shelters sources.

      1. Exactly. As the song goes, “Everything old is new again… “.

        The Democrats revived McCarthyism, which was again exposed as a fraud – not by mainstream journalism, which as Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi points out in his online book “Hate, Inc.”, were in on the scam, but by the special counsel whose verdict every Democrat on Capitol Hill swore to accept – until he contradicted them.

        The Democrats not only revived Watergate, but expanded on it dramatically, abusing the Five Eyes intelligence network of the Anglophone nations to spy on the Obama administration’s political opposition and to use the FBI to publish slander against its Presidential candiate.

        THAT was the Banana Republic-esque thing – how nakedly the Democratic Party abused power while it held it, and how nakedly they do so in the House of Un-representatives.

      2. The “true gang” were the people abusing the FBI and western intelligence to try to tilt a Presidential election the Democratic Party’s way, and failing that, to engineer a true police state coup d’etat.

        How many special counsels were appointed to look into Benghazi, servergate, and Fast and Furious? That’s right, none.

    3. Exactly. As the song goes, “Everything old is new again… “.

      The Democrats revived McCarthyism, which was again exposed as a fraud – not by mainstream journalism, which as Rolling Stone/i> contributor Matt Taibbi points out in his online book “Hate, Inc.”, were in on the scam, but by the special counsel whose verdict every Democrat on Capitol Hill swore to accept – until he contradicted him.

      The Democrats not only revived Watergate, but expanded it dramatically, abusing the Five Eyes intelligence network of the Anglophone nations to spy on the Obama administration’s political opposition and to use the FBI to publish slander against its Presidential candiate.

      THAT was the Banana Republic-esque thing – how nakedly the Democratic Party abused power while it help it, and how nakedly they are doing so in the House of Un-representatives.

  8. Hmmm…

    https://theweek.com/speedreads/834766/sean-hannity-seems-have-deleted-all-references-julian-assange-wikileaks-twitter

    Sean Hannity seems to have deleted all references to Julian Assange, WikiLeaks on his Twitter

    THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM

    Sean Hannity seems to have deleted all references to Julian Assange, WikiLeaks on his Twitter

    April 11, 2019

    In just two years, Fox News host Sean Hannity went from inviting Julian Assange to fill in for him on his radio show to scrubbing all references to the WikiLeaks founder from his Twitter stream.

    Assange was arrested Thursday in London, where he’s been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in order to avoid extradition to Sweden and then, he feared, the United States. Hannity told Assange in a 2017 interview that he believed “every word he says,” because “nothing he has published has ever been false.” Over the years, Hannity devoted several positive tweets to Assange and WikiLeaks, but observant Twitter users like Matthias Reynolds discovered on Thursday they are all gone. Hannity does have one related tweet still up: A link to a story on his website about Assange’s arrest.

    The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake argues this could all just be a coincidence, saying Hannity’s cleansing of all things pro-Assange and WikiLeaks “appears to have taken place as part of a mass deletion — not in response to Assange’s arrest today.” Tweets about Assange and WikiLeaks may have gotten the boot, but Hannity did elect to keep about eight million references to Jussie Smollett, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and “collusion delusion.”

    by Catherine Garcia

    1. A meaningless post by a meaningless person.

      From CNN: “While there is no evidence Hannity’s Wikileaks tweet deletions were not simply part of a larger, innocuous purge,”

      Sources from this annonymous aren’t investigated very well because the idea is to demean and not to report news. If this was true journalism they would have checked with Hannity for his version of the story and they would have searched for copies of the Twitters that were deleted and used them to write a story.

      Typical garbage from anonymous.

          1. L4D here–It turns out that the extradition request for Assange was made on December 22nd of 2017. That’s right. December 22nd, 2017. The sealed indictment was returned on March 6th of 2018. Something (“?”) made DOJ put their extradition dibs in with The Brits a little over three months before the grand jury returned the sealed indictment against Assange.

            P. S. Chelsea Manning needs new and better lawyers–STAT.

          1. What did the Tweets show? I only read a dozen but here is one quoting Assange, Obama admin is “trying to delegitimize the Trump administration as it goes into the White House” #Hannity

            That idea hasn’t changed rather it’s being proven more and more every day though on this blog the assumption is that Obama weaponized the intelligence community and the FBI along with some other agencies. Hannity is pretty good at providing important content.

            Here is another Tweet which is on recent topics. “Obama betrays Israel Again. January 20 th cannot come soon enough!!”

            Thanks for the Tweets. I think we should all read them.

        1. Stupid people might think that no one but they know about the Wayback archive. Hannity knows about it too so that is why the article was a stupid article and stupid to post.

          You now have Hannity’s tweets, now what? Why don’t you take the tweets one at a time and make each one a big production. It’s not newsworthy unless in combination with something important. Most of the unimportant stuff is drained into the sewer where you do your hunting.

    1. L4D here–Honestly, I think McCarthy might be guessing wrong as well. I’m pretty sure that the Espionage Act USC 793 was referred to in the Assange indictment. I do not know for sure what the statute of limitations might be for Espionage charges. But I strongly suspect that it might be long enough to have warranted the reference made to it in the Assange indictment. Also, I don’t think that DOJ would be contemplating “terrorism” charges against Chelsea Manning. But they might be aiming for Espionage charges against Chelsea. If so, then there could be a great commotion over double jeopardy brewing. What’s the difference between being tried as a civilian versus being tried a soldier?

      1. Disclosing Subpoena for Testimony, Chelsea Manning Vows to Fight …

        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/us/politics/chelsea-manning-subpoena.html

        Feb 28, 2019 … Chelsea Manning last year in London. She said that her legal team would file a motion on Friday morning to quash the subpoena.

        Chelsea Manning Is Jailed for Refusing to Testify in WikiLeaks Case …

        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/08/us/politics/chelsea-manning-wikileaks-jail.html

        Mar 8, 2019 … The onetime WikiLeaks source refused to testify for an investigation into Julian Assange, the antisecrecy group’s leader, who has been charged. … Chelsea Manning was held in contempt of court and sent to prison on Friday. …. Disclosing Subpoena for Testimony, Chelsea Manning Vows to Fight. Feb.

        This is L4D.

        1. L4D here–There’s also a reference in the Assange indictment to the statute linked below:

          18 U.S. Code § 641 – Public money, property or records | U.S. Code …

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/641

          Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, …

          1. BTW, 18 U.S. Code § 641 is the statute that Lawrence Walsh refused to use during The Iran-Contra Investigation.

      2. The reference to the Espionage Act USC 793 is at the end of Paragraph B of Count One of the Assange indictment. All of the references to information classified for the purpose of national defense are relevant to Espionage charges under USC 793. That language would not have been added to the Assange indictment unless the DOJ was at least contemplating Espionage charges against Assange and Manning.

        This is L4D

        1. As far as I can tell, the only halfway plausible way of alleging terrorism against Assange or Manning would be to show that the files on Guantanamo detainees that Manning gave to Assange had somehow facilitated terrorism by enabling defense counsels to secure the release of “suspected terrorists” from detention in Guantanamo. But that would require the absurd claim that public disclosure of those files had somehow forced the United States to release “known terrorists” from detention in Guantanamo. I don’t see how the DOJ could make such a case. How were Assange and Manning supposed to know which Guantanamo detainees would become terrorists after the United States released them from Gunatanamo when the United States, itself, did not know which Guantanamo detainees would become terrorists after the United States released them from Guantanamo?

        2. L4D here–excerpted from Wikipedia article on The United States versus Chelsea Manning:

          Manning was ultimately charged with 22 specified offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source, and the most serious of the charges, aiding the enemy. Other charges included violations of the Espionage Act, stealing U.S. government property, charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and charges related to the failure to obey lawful general orders under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Manning entered guilty pleas to 10 of 22 specified offenses in February 2013.

          [end excerpt]

          So an alternate explanation for the references to the Espionage Act in the Assange indictment might be simply to show that evidence against Assange came from the trial against Chelsea Manning. Other observers contend that the Espionage Act reference could be intended as leverage against Chelsea Manning to get her to cooperate with the grand jury investigating Assange.

  9. “THE INDICTMENT OF Julian Assange unsealed today by the Trump Justice Department poses grave threats to press freedoms, not only in the U.S. but around the world.”

    https://theintercept.com/2019/04/11/the-u-s-governments-indictment-of-julian-assange-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedoms/

    At this point in our fragmented culture, appealing to defending the freedoms of the press and grave threats therein is like listening to the boorish argument that the US Govt has been victimized all the while it screws Americans for bloodsport.

    They deserve each other

  10. Coleen Rowley:

    “Retired FBI agent and former Mpls Legal Counsel who wrote memo about FBI’s pre 9-11 failures & testified to Senate Judiciary Committee in 2002.”

    “Talk about convoluted! No wonder it took the DOJ so long to come up with this convoluted prosecutive theory. Only by calling Assange a “terrorist,” were prosecutors able to extend the statute of limitations to 8 years and arrest him one week before… https://www.facebook.com/coleen.rowley/posts/10216446010156867 …”

    7:41 PM – 11 Apr 2019

    https://twitter.com/ColeenRowley/status/1116531801437147136

      1. L4D here–I think Abrams might be guessing wrong. (Or else I am.) The link to the indictment that you posted yesterday (thanks) makes references to the Espionage Act USC 793, which would also extend the statute of limitations, IIRC. Meanwhile, there was something going on with a subpoena for Chelsea Manning to testify to the grand jury that indicted Assange sometime between December 22nd, 2017, and March 6th, 2018, when the indictment was returned. Chelsea was described in the manner of an unindicted co-conspirator in the Assange indictment. It’s possible that DOJ might be aiming for Espionage charges against both Assange and Manning. The double jeopardy issue for Chelsea is up in the air. She needs new and better lawyers–ASAP.

        1. Thanks for the additional information, L4D. Coleen Rowley’s an attorney, as well, but maybe they both have it wrong.

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