Has Julian Assange been charged?

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 pm, November 16th, 2018 - 67 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, us politics - Tags:

Late post for a Friday but I am sure there will be a lot of interest in this.

And I am sure the debate will be vigorous. Because it appears that Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame has been charged with so far unknown offences.

I noticed this when I saw this tweet:

The information links to this Wall Street Journal article which strangely does not specifically refer to the court document.  The article says this:

The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.

Ecuador’s relationship with Mr. Assange has deteriorated sharply since last year’s election of President Lenin Moreno, who has described him as a “stone in our shoe” and said his continued presence at the embassy is unsustainable.

And Mueller seems to have Assange in his sights:

An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Mr. Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign.

Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.

Other media have picked up on the news of the charge.  For instance there is this from the Guardian:

Julian Assange, a major target of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, has been criminally charged in secret, an apparent mistake in a court filing has indicated.

The court filing, submitted by US authorities in an unrelated case, mentioned the existence of criminal charges against someone named “Assange” even though that was not the name of the defendant.

Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since seeking asylum in 2012, is considered a wanted man by US law enforcement agencies after his controversial publication of classified diplomatic cablesand other secret US government documents.

“The news that criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr. Assange is even more troubling than the haphazard manner in which that information has been revealed,” Pollack said in an email.

I am not so sure.  Releasing state secrets tends to attract the attention of the state innvolved and the accuracy of the release does not affect liability.

The disappearance of Wikileaks and Fox News from the twittersphere over the past five days has intensified speculation about the cause.  Maybe this is it.

And Donald Trump has been in a particularly foul mood lately.  It appears he is aware of what is coming up:

I am aware this topic causes all sorts of angst amongst lefties. I am of the Hillary would have been a poor choice but this should not have happened variety. Please keep your comments respectful.

67 comments on “Has Julian Assange been charged?”

  1. McFlock 1

    So if I understand correctly, they were using a previous application for a sealed complaint as a template, and didn’t update all the references to the subject of the previous application – Assange.

    Unless they’ve used the same template for 7 years or so, it’d be about the 2016 election, surely?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I don’t know. WikiLeaks has suddenly appeared.

      I agree the reference does not make sense unless it is a cut and paste job.

      But the Guardian and other media are running with the story.

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        I’m also unfamiliar with the distinction between “complaint” and “charged” – is it that they wanted everything on the QT while they investigated until they made an arrest/subpoena for questioning, or is it in essence a secret arrest warrant?

        The Moreno angle is also interesting – on the plus side for Assange, the yanks aren’t likely to diplomatically reward Ecuador for turning him over while Trump is in charge.

  2. Morrissey 3

    You seem to forget—actually, you know perfectly well—why the U.S. and its U.K. vassal want to destroy Julian Assange.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Time will tell Morrissey. I can’t imagine Trump getting upset by a prosecution for this.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        Trump said, infamously, “I love Wikileaks.” I think that was just another of his lies.

        • Incognito

          Maybe Trump thought WikiLeaks is a euphemism for something rather different.

          • WILD KATIPO

            The only reason there is so much vehemence towards Assange is because of things like this that exposed what was REALLY going on…

            Julian Assange: US knows Saudi and Qatari sponsor ISIS – YouTube

          • Dennis Frank

            The media missed a golden opportunity to ask him to explain that comment. But he didn’t say “I love Assange”. Having them debate the Russian connection in front of a live audience would be fun: battle of the narcissist airheads! Each upstaging the other continuously in order to be the centre of attention. Particularly intense rivalry generated if the show was promoted to have the winner selected by audience vote.

            Trump would win if he summed it up like this: “Dude, you just operate the platform. I provide the motive. Obviously it’s in Russia’s interests to get an anti-establishment candidate elected to the US presidency. Didn’t even have to be me!” False modesty always an effective ploy for a narcissist, guaranteed to impress any shallow tv audience.

            “I won because the voters were pissed off with the US establishment. Still are. So we just got ourselves a common-interest situation between Russians and Americans – no need to invent any conspiracy. Be sensible, folks, don’t let the media distract you from the threat from China. The Russians are helping us deal with that.”

  3. Tricledrown 4

    Morrissy you over look that Putins puppet Trump was happy to have Steve Bannon, Jared Kucshner, Don Jr all collude with Putin to use Wikileaks to maximise damage to Clinton’s campaign.
    Putin also fueling white racist Nationalism in Europe by funding Farage, le Pen.
    Why to weaken Nato.

    • In Vino 4.1

      Nice irony, Tricledrown. Conspiracy theories like that get ridiculed when applied to 9/11, etc, but apparently Putin is capable of all the dastardly subtleties that our dark state is incapable of…

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        Fair point – except didn’t Kushner or one of the trumps release emails explicitly stating what they hoped to get out of the meeting? Literally long the lines of meeting a russian who might have information to use against Clinton?
        Changes the angle of Occam’s Razor a bit, that.

  4. Bill 5

    A guy receives information and publishes it. Most people call that journalism. And all journalists worth their salt protect (do not divulge) their sources if the information is sensitive.

    Are those who would see Assange hung out to dry of the persuasion that all journalists should be compelled to reveal their sources and/or face persecution and prosecution for releasing accurate and truthful information that has been passed to them?

    Whatever you’re personal feelings might be about Assange, (and let’s face it, many people apparently despise him in spite of not knowing him) – unless you’re in the business of enabling others to kill all access to information that might be embarrassing or inconvenient to elites, then I’d suggest a shift in position.

    • Tricledrown 5.1

      Bill Assange being played by Putin is different to other actions.
      Mueller could be his get out of jail free card. Trump will not want Assange alive or in the US being supeoned by Mueller.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        DNC emails coming into the public domain is “being played by Putin”?!

        Okay. Just for arguments sake, let’s go with that. Where is the concrete proof that backs the assertion – ie, that Podesta’s emails were hacked by the Russian government and passed to Wikileaks by the Russian government?

        There is less circumstantial and actual evidence for that scenario than there is for a direct downloading of Podesta’s emails onto a piece of hardware. (Internet capabilities at the time would not have allowed the info to be transferred at the rate it was transferred)

        And should you want to poo-poo that, then the question is why the supposed identity of a leaker is to determine what is fit for public consumption and public debate, and not the accuracy of the info? Should people with pimples be allowed to put true and accurate info into the public domain?

        • Tricledrown

          Bill just keep believing Assange is purer than siberian snow.
          Yet Russia has the ability to hack computer systems and all the evidence so far points at Putin.
          You are in lala land if you think that Putin is not meddling in Nato allies politics.

          • Bill

            I don’t believe Assange is “purer that siberian snow”. So there’s that. To keep with your metaphor, Assange, like everyone else, is yellow snow.

            Of course Russia has the ability to hack computer systems, and of course Russia does hack computer systems. There have been many allegations made to the effect that Russia perpetrated a hack of the DNC server, but no evidence has been made public. It’s apparently just a fact that the transfer rates of data could not have been achieved by way of a hack.

            I’m not in la la land, because I don’t think or believe what you suggest I think or believe.

            But anyway, remember when “everyone” was lauding Assange and Wikileaks in the wake of Chelsea Manning’s leak? What’s changed bar people being instructed to think of Assange as a “bad person”?

            I wonder if those same fickle types would have us burn the works of Einstein seeing as how he was apparently such an abusive bastard in his personal relationships?

        • McFlock

          Well, if that’s what the apparent charges relate to, he shouldn’t have any trouble at trial, then.

        • WILD KATIPO

          Poo pooing.


          Don’t Pooh-pooh a Pooh-poohing | Blackadder Goes Forth … – YouTube

      • One Two 5.1.2

        Obviously you have no idea what ‘hacking’ is…

        Or just how easy it is to make a ‘hack’ look like it originated from ‘anywhere’…forget there is zero credible evidence…zero

        Consider broadening your reading base, Tricledrown….I’ve suggested that to you on another subject in the recent past….

    • Lucy 5.2

      Actually Bill I would not call that journalism – the fact you think it is is most of tje problem! Journalism is receiving information, verifying it by use of more than one source, collating the information in a way that allows the reader to process the data and take a position, and get as response from the affected person (either before or after the original information is published). Wikileaks is a publish dump house – these are also important but they are not staffed by journalists.
      Whatever I feel about Julian Assange, mainly due to his throwing Chelsea Manning to the wolves, I do not think he is covered by Journalistic privilege. He may be covered by whistleblowing laws but they do not seem to work to well in the US.

      • Bill 5.2.1

        Fair enough on the “not call that journalism” front.

        I don’t know what to call it, as it doesn’t seem to fit neatly into any box.

        Wikileaks are a conduit for leaked info? And by making it available to the public they might be considered publishers? But not in the traditional sense seeing as how journalists are ‘expected’ to trawl the material that’s been made available and fashion it for publication?

      • Sacha 5.2.2

        Yes. Journalism is also about applying professional ethics to decide whether something is in the public interest to publish. Well, it used to be.

        • francesca

          A very slippery slope

          • Sacha

            Originally that responsibility was regulated and balanced against privileged access and some legal immunity. Media now seem to expect the privileges without honouring the obligation, and governments have stopped regulating.

  5. David Mac 6

    For a Russia sitting on manipulative information, Assange would have to be an attractive dirt distributor.

    I think he retains enough credibility to get a plausible story to stick.

    • Tricledrown 6.1

      Assange is a fame seeker and was an easy target because he wants to remain relevant because he has a few die hard groupies!

      • WILD KATIPO 6.1.1

        Why didn’t the George Soro’s mass media cover what Assange did ?

        Wonder why… globalist media and propaganda?

        Which side are you on , boy , which side are you on ?

  6. Tricledrown 7

    If Assange is extradited to the US Mueller will give him an option to turn states evidence something Trump will not want.
    Now Facebook has been found supporting anti semmetic hate speech towards George Soros I knew it all along the haters on this site need to apologise.

  7. Julian Assange has been through extraordinary circumstances , and trumped up charges ( no pun intended ) who were obviously plants. The far left have jumped on those because they support the Democrats. The same party that fought for slavery in the American South , – of which the Republicans opposed during the American civil war.

    Assange has given much to humanity in exposing much of the hypocrisy and corruption , – yet like treacherous dogs who are self seeking, when it doesn’t suit ? – they are prepared to sacrifice his life for their idealistic objectives. And that’s viscous – the same tactics and charges that they lay at the feet of their megalomaniac far right genocidal rivals.

    You Hypocrites !, – first pull the log out of your own eyes before you judge another !!!

    And so ,… here is a tribute to Julian Assange , a wonderful song from The Pogues about his homeland , Australia, – free Julian Assange !!!

    Please enjoy !

    The Pogues – South Australia – YouTube

    • And on a lighter note , this goose bump inspiring sea shanty from Johnny Collins, …

      Now this does it every time for me with a sense of reverence ,.. absolutely awesome composition and vocals. A testament to the simple power of the human voice alone.

      Matter of fact, I would like to give this as a tribute to the Pike River men and all other workers despite this being off topic.

      Johnny Collins – Leave Her Johnny (sea chantey) – YouTube

  8. Adrian Thornton 9

    It is quite infuriating to see so many people who on the surface seem intelligent and certainly (even though I don’t agree with them often) have the best interests of our land and the world in general, get sucked into this anti Assange + Russia conspiracy.

    The most effective whistle blower in human history, has developed an organization that has NEVER had to retract information for being false or fake, has shone a spotlight on to corruption, misdeeds and massacres of the most powerful countries in the world, and still these useful idiots would see him destroyed….quite bizarre, and very very sad for the Left.

    • boggis the cat 9.1

      When the message is unassailable, you attack the messenger.

      Assange has made the mistake of tying his personal celebrity / ego to his organisation, and is paying the price for that.

      • Morrissey 9.1.1

        The mistake made by Julian Assange was his choosing to do what any decent journalist would have done if he/she had been entrusted with this evidence of mass murder, viz. he posted this video:

        The rest has nothing to do with his character flaws or any strategic error on his part; it is simply the vengeance of criminals, thwarted by a brave, independent Central American government.

        • boggis the cat

          It is far more difficult to gin up opposition to an organisation that is divulging criminal behaviour than it is to smear an individual. Assange was foolish to make himself such an easy target.

          Why make it easy for the people coming after you?

          • Morrissey

            Why make it easy for the people coming after you?

            Nicky Hager leads a blameless private life. There is no hint of scandal or womanizing around him, as far as I know. That didn’t stop the Key regime from employing the police, in the same way a corrupt businessman uses the gangs, to go round to his house and intimidate him.

            Julian Assange could have led an ascetic lifestyle, but the politicians he angered would still be trying to destroy him.

            You don’t give any credence to those discredited, absurd, byzantine, Soviet-style “charges” against him, do you?

            • boggis the cat

              My understanding of the alleged crime is that it incurs a fine. (There have been a lot of contradictory claims about the nature of the crime involved, but no claim that it incurs jail time.) So fairly obvious that Assange wasn’t concerned about being convicted for this crime.

              It does matter, however, that he has chosen behaviour that leaves him open to smears and character assassination. His ego has contributed to his situation.

              Compare the antics of Assange to how Edward Snowden has chosen to behave, as an example. He hasn’t done himself any favours.

              • Morrissey

                Snowden was widely ridiculed, on this blog and elsewhere, for having a “stripper girlfriend.”

                Assange could be as blameless as the Dalai Lama, and it wouldn’t placate the politicians and murderers he exposed, or mitigate their desire to destroy him.

                Martin Luther King’s last night on earth was spent in an orgy with prostitutes, and Mohandas Gandhi liked to “test” his resolve by sleeping between two naked teenage girls whenever he had the chance. They did themselves no favours either.

                Why are you obsessing about Assange’s personal foibles—let’s reject those wild and false and discredited allegations by the slander-fantasists in CIA and MI5 black ops—instead of concentrating on the reason he is being persecuted?

  9. (re-submitting because I had mispelt the email address).

    When Wikleaks offered a reward for information on the murder of DNC staffer, Seth Rich, they were telling the world who the leaker of the Podesta emails is. They have never offered a reward before or since. The Podesta emails revealsed many questionable things, but the corrupt mainsteam media has focussed on the release rather than the content of the emails.

    • boggis the cat 10.1

      If Seth Rich was the whistleblower then there was no reason to not divulge that when he was murdered. That seemed like opportunistic misdirection, to me, targeted at Clinton conspiracy nuts.

      (Part of Assange’s agenda to get Trump in to power in hopes of crashing the whole US political system. That puts him in the same ‘stupid risk taking’ category as the DNC apparatchiks also trying to get Trump to the candidacy.)

  10. Observer Tokoroa 11

    “Loveable” Assange – get real

    Just as people throng to Trump like slobby insects to rubbishy pollen, unthinking people throng to Darling Julian Assange who reveals anything about anybody simply because he can hack computer libraries and make money.

    He is deemed Saviour of the world.

    People of sound mind know that Darling Julian has no right whatever to release information that does not belong to him. Nor does he have the right to break and enter the Computers of anybody – other than his own.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      Depends if the USA has whistleblower legislation or not, eh? The moral right to assert the public interest justifies exposures of wrongdoing. I’d expect his lawyers to say so, and I wouldn’t be surprised if half the legal establishment agreed. If the USA were a progressive society, you’d even have half the public on board with that. Rednecks & retards may still outnumber sensible people there, I suspect.

    • So you’d be happy if Pol Pot never was exposed. Too bad he wasn’t because that was before the computer age and before the likes of Assange…

      Whose side are you on , boy, whose side are you on?

    • Morrissey 11.3

      …information that does not belong to him.

      It belongs to us. The criminals who have power in Washington and London want to keep that information from us. Assange and other journalists have got hold of that information and given it to us. Now we know what we’ve always known—but now it’s irrefutable—that the regimes in the U.S. and U.K. were, and are, massive criminal enterprises.

      Fools like you can rant all you like, but that’s the fact of it.

    • Gabby 11.4

      People get altogether too precious about who owns information obbytokky.

  11. Dennis Frank 12

    There’s a part to this that I don’t get. Nation state theory says that the way sovereignty work is via application of law to citizenry. Application of law to foreigners is not part of that, consequently the only variation on the theory is foreigners breaking domestic law when visiting a country. So, according to that logic, he would have had to be in the US when he published US military intelligence to break their secrecy law.

    Unless there’s some kind of international law that applies, and they are proposing to prosecute him in the basis of that rather than domestic US law, then their threat is mere bluster. Perhaps they are gambling on the Supreme Court deciding to mandate extension of US law into the international arena, kinda like imperialism?

    Dunno if conservative jurists would feel brave enough to go out on such a limb acting like gun-totin’ cowboys, bit of an undignified look for the eminences…

  12. SaveNZ 13

    Agree with below –

    “One of Assange’s attorneys, Barry Pollack, said it was a “dangerous path for a democracy to take” for a government to bring criminal charges against someone for publishing truthful information.
    “The news that criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr. Assange is even more troubling than the haphazard manner in which that information has been revealed,” Pollack said in an email.”

    Democracy is the human right most under attack.

    Reminds me of this – where they are prosecuting the whistleblower in OZ not the criminals…

  13. Observer Tokoroa 14

    Hi Adrian Thornton

    I take it that you have a deep love of Julian Assange. You stupidly give him Carte Blanche.

    Normal people do not accept the crimes of hackers. Normal people do not even enjoy their Bank Accounts being raided.

    Do you think the Computers of Airplanes should be hacked in flight?

    • SaveNZ 14.1

      There is a difference between a whistleblower and a hacker. Also many differences between hackers, and I’m pretty sure Julian A has not been charged with stealing from bank accounts, he will be being charged for revealing what the double standards of the US military and torture and assassinations of civilians. Is that really a crime now? To reveal the truth about a government who says one thing but is lying to their people?

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        Well, no, it’s not a crime. so that’s not what he’ll be charged with.

        It would probably be accessory/conspiracy to commit crimes under the espionage act, and maybe money laundering by taking donations for wikileaks to commit those “crimes”, like KDC being extradited for money laundering althought they really want him for copyright infringement.

    • So you disagree with Hager protecting his sources to expose corruption here in NZ,…

      Whose side are you on , boy, whose side are you on….

      Screw it.. here’s the song , just for you :

      Billy Bragg – Which Side Are You On? – YouTube

  14. Observer Tokoroa 15

    Hi SaveNZ

    I have to say that spying on other persons information, stealing their information, using hacking algorithms to break and enter Computers that do not belong to them – is iilicit.

    Assange knows that.

    He knows that no Sovereign Nation will ever trust him – the way you do.

    Could I suggest to you that Hacking is a very powerful weapon and far more serious than you may have considered.

    • SaveNZ 15.1

      HI,Observer Tokoroa, It’s not other people’s information it is the government’s information that was leaked as far as I am aware, which the people of the country pay for through their taxes and have every right to know where the money is going, or if the money might be going on something illegal aka torture etc

      Our government shares your information with the 5 eyes nations where it is impossible to work out if it could be leaked or what have you to private companies now that our defence force seems to be working less for security for the country but more for the 1% and politicians who get donations from that 1% .

      So I am more worried about the government giving away individuals people’s privacy in mass surveillance and how the is being stored and collected, more than I am worried about Wikileaks where in most cases the people leaking the information are doing it to show case crimes against other humans.

  15. Siobhan 16

    Think of it this way OT.

    Blasting someone with radiation is a ‘bad thing’, it’s illicit, it’s a crime. and If I randomly exposed my children to radiation I would be a bad person, a psychopath in fact.

    But, if my children had Cancer, then not only would radiation be a ‘good thing’, I would in fact be considered a criminal for not having them blasted with radiation.

    So think of our Governments, Political Parties and the Industrial Military Complex as being like a sick child. One we must put through a ‘bad thing’ so as to hopefully cure them.

    Julian Assange is simply one surgeon in a complex system trying to cut out the rot, (despite the fact that many seem quite defensive of their sickening growths.)

  16. Observer Tokoroa 17

    Hi Siobhan

    I always read your words. They are thought provoking and on topic.

    It is true that America and Brittain – ala Thatcher – ala yank Generals -will kill anything that displeases them. England is Trumps at it. It has no idea of right or wrong. Hates the French. Hates the millions of Brown slaves they captured.

    However, most nations have a feeling for Defense. They don’t want to sit down passively and get slaughtered by islamists and the like.

    England took a dislike to the Austrian maniac – Hitler. They defended themselves against him. In my opinion England did well.

    Would you agree with Assange and his followers revealing to whomever, the position and scope of defence forces protecting women and children ?

    • That can easily be countered by ‘ would you agree with the Clinton Foundation’s arms to ISIS?’.

      This needs to be continually shoved in front of peoples faces.

      It was because of this sort of shit that we now have an inquiry into Operation Burnham.

      Julian Assange: US knows Saudi and Qatari sponsor ISIS – YouTube

    • Morrissey 17.2

      England took a dislike to the Austrian maniac – Hitler. They defended themselves against him. In my opinion England did well.

      Wrong. The English political establishment—especially Winston Churchill—-praised Hitler and continually called him a moderate. They were eventually forced to change their tune, of course.

      • Gabby 17.2.1

        1934 is hardly eventually morry.

        • Morrissey

          The Night of the Long Knives shocked people of conscience like you, Gabby. Churchill and other “responsible” politicians, on the other hand, continued to assert that Hitler was a moderate, essentially. A bit rough around the edges, certainly, a bit uncouth, but preferable to that Communist and Socialist rabble. He continued to talk pretty much like a sturmabteilung ruffian for years after June 30, 1934.

          “I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

          —-Winston Churchill, speaking to the Palestine Royal Commission, 1937

  17. Observer Tokoroa 18

    Hi Katipo

    I think I have already said that England and America don’t care a fig about whom they bomb and kill. They are war mongering Nations forever pretending to do good. Bringing home sick and damaged soldiers.

    Slaughter seems to be their primary interest. They make untold Billions in Arms Sales. Australia joins them in doing this.

    However, this does not free Assange who steals information via spying on other persons information; using hacking algorithms to break and enter Computers which do not belong to him.

    Assange knows this is illicit.

    No Nation will trust him. Not now – or ever.

    It is the duty of Citizens to ensure that their politicians are honest and “Tell the Truth. The whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth.”

    • boggis the cat 18.1

      You really should give your assertions a re-think. Wikileaks doesn’t do any hacking. They collect information that has been obtained by others, then assess it to decide if it is reasonable to put into the public domain.

      In the past they have partnered with mainstream media in making information public, so if your claims were true then the NY Times and Guardian are co-conspirators in your alleged crimes. Are you also arguing this?

      Also — I assume that you are aware that it is our governments that are routinely collecting up our private information, in breach of fundamental laws? Why the concern about governments not trusting Assange, when those same governments are the proven liars and criminals?

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