Julian Assange Indictment May Be Imminent

Julian Assange's lawyer has told ABC News that a U.S. indictment for spying is imminent. (I'm not linking to ABC News because their news articles play audio when you click on them and I hate that.) His attorney, Jennifer Robinson, says:

Our position of course is that we don't believe it applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of WikiLeaks, and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the U.S."


What district will he be indicted in? How long will the extradition process take? And, if all of Assange's funds are frozen, will he need to be appointed counsel under the Criminal Justice Act? That will cost a pretty penny.

More here. On a related note, prominent supporters of Assange called for his release today in a letter to the Guardian.

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    What a joke (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:19:53 AM EST
    The U.S. is unable even to look critically at itself in the mirror for the briefest of periods. And with a president who is probably the biggest charlatan in the history of American politics, well, enough said.  

    We need a very large coffin, or an urn the size of the moon.

    because this country is all but dead (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:20:15 AM EST
    So much bedwetting... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:24:12 AM EST
    the gutters in the street run yellow.

    Yep...probably time to call in the coroner and make it official, and start the Irish wake...first round on me.


    Will he be indicted in a military tribunal? (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Dan the Man on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:23:46 AM EST
    Just like the so-called "terrorists"?

    Furthermore, the government (ie Obama Administration) has already expressed the view it can hold such people indefinitely even if the government loses in a civilian or military court, so there's no reason to believe any court decision would prevent the government from holding Assange indefinitely without a trial even if the government loses.

    Also, even if the Obama Administration were to promise with crossed fingers it will hold the trial in an Article III court, there's no reason to believe them because Congress right now is amending the law to prevent the so-called "terrorists" from being tried in civilian courts.  If Congress were to do the same thing with Assange, the Obama Administration could play 11th dimensional chess and say they must try Assange in a military court (notwithstanding what they previously said) because Congress told them otherwise, and as we all know, the Obama Administration could never break the law.

    Well HRC set the stage (none / 0) (#17)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:48:22 PM EST
    calling Wikileaks's release of memos "an attack on us all."

    Time to pull out the history books (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Peter G on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:39:35 AM EST
    and read up on the record of abuse of the Espionage Act in relation to the First Amendment.  Suggested first search term, Eugene V. Debs.

    OT, but for some reason... (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:56:56 AM EST
    ...the John Sayles film MATEWAN comes to mind.  One of those films that should be mandatory viewing for high school kids in this nation.  The relationship of mining bosses/thugs to miners isn't that far removed from that between the monied/corrupt poltical and working classes in this nation today.  Your mention of Debs in this context is excellent, but sadly how many Americans even know any of the real labor history of this country. Or how much opposition to WWI there really was. (That Eisenhower helped roll tanks over WWI veterans camped out in DC protesting for their benefits you never heat anywhere in popular media/culture.) We are indeed a nation with little to no memory. Except for those things so obvious memory is almost unecessecary.

    Eugene V. Debs... (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:04:58 PM EST
    that's a great American criminal right there, a shining example of the best of humanity that man was.

    While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

    I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

    Amen Brother Debs...amen.

    Assange may be joining some fine company if indicted for espionage.


    2012 (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:50:12 AM EST
    Want to bet the same crew votes for Obama in 2012?  This guy couldn't be a bigger joke.  Assange has published what the NYT, Guardian, Der Spiegel etc have published.

    I think they are going to have to go after him under the terrorism authorities.  I imagine they can rig a jury of teabaggers but really, what an absolute joke this Pres is.

    please stay on topic (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:09:30 PM EST
    this is about Assange. You can discuss Obama in relation to  Assange, but do not hijack the thread into a general Obama hate thread.

    Who could have imagined that (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by observed on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:52:47 AM EST
    Obama would actually be WORSE than Bush in so many areas. This is just one; lowering the estate tax to a level beneath that of the Bush years is another.

    no no, HE didn't lower it (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:00:01 PM EST
    it HAD to be lowered because hostage takers demanded it -- i even heard the hostage takers were holding all the pens and paper and laptops and cell phones captive, so no one could even take notes. it was for the benefit of the nation that our brave president acted. what is wrong with you?



    Well, with all due respect to Wilson, (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:16:30 PM EST
    I think what is far more dangerous to us, as a people and as a country, is a government built on lies, where we suspend the principle that we abide by and observe Constitutional protections and rights even when we don't like the person or entity being protected, and where all of this is supported by a servile media willing to do whatever the government deems acceptable, even if that means participating in an assault on the First Amendment - among other things.

    Despite the best efforts by the media and the government to paint Assange as an indiscriminate disseminator of information that puts lives and safety at risk, anyone willing to do their own research and stop listening to general media propaganda would know this is not the case.

    I find it absurdly and richly ironic that our State Department can sponsor World Press Freedom Day on the one hand, and be participating in bringing the full force of government and law enforcement to bear on someone for publishing material that has already been published in other media outlets.

    That our Justice Department can go nuclear over someone who disrupted major credit card companies for a couple of hours, but seems blind to the same kinds of attacks made on the entity that used the services of those companies to do business, is hypocritical in the extreme.  How is it that we think it is okay to intimidate and pressure companies not to do business with Assange, and then be outraged when the tables are turned?

    To Joe Wilson, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are disgruntled social misfits - a description meant to eliminate any possibility that what they did and are doing is in any way in service to truth, and ultimately to democracy; it's "nothing to see here, move along" rhetoric that is offensive.

    America's not perfect - we know that; but a democracy does not endure when its goverment is allowed to have unlimited power, and the only way to keep that power in check is to shine as much light as possible into the dark corners where authoritarianism and tyranny breed.

    We cannot be the standard-bearers of freedom and democracy around the world if we do not hold ourselves to the same standards we wish others to attain.

    I think it's a bit of both (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:40:25 PM EST
    I DO think some of the stuff Assange released - remember, this isn't the first set of document leaks - does have the potential to get some people killed, so I don't see this as a persecution against a completely innocent man.  That being said, there had to be a better way for this whole situation to go down.

    And I feel Joe Wilson has a lot more experience and knowledge in dealing with this kind of stuff, since he and his wife were victims of being outed.


    I don't buy this... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:17:21 PM EST
    Wikileaks getting people killed business...the governments of the world and their policies get people killed.  Informants and double-agents get themselves killed.  And people just get run o' the mill kill each other, same as we have for centuries.  

    Wikileaks doesn't even have bullets...in fact I think one of their goals is to make the world a less violent place by weakening violent governments.


    Uh, yeah (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:22:44 PM EST
    What information do you think Wikileaks released?

    Inforamtion from

    the governments of the world and their policies.

    I don't follow... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:04:23 PM EST
    exactly my point, if you're looking for the bloody hands there are your huckleberrys, not Wikileaks.

    Even if it's true that what has (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:41:04 PM EST
    been published could put people in harm's way - something that either the Pentagon or the DOD or both have admitted it hasn't - I find it kind of stunning that no one ever seems to consider the harm we put people in danger of suffering by the polices carried out in our name.  What of that?  What do you make of this, from one of the published cables, in terms of putting people in harm's way?

    President Obama has approved providing U.S. intelligence in support of ROYG [Republic of Yemen government] ground operations against AQAP targets, General Petraeus informed Saleh.  . . . Saleh lamented the use of cruise missiles that are "not very accurate" and welcomed the use of aircraft-deployed precision-guided bombs instead. "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Saleh said, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Alimi to joke that he had just "lied" by telling Parliament that the bombs in Arhab, Abyan, and Shebwa were American-made but deployed by the ROYG.

    Glenn notes:

    As Salon's Justin Elliott noted, this cable "confirms that the Obama Administration has secretly launched missile attacks on suspected terrorists in Yemen, strikes that have reportedly killed dozens of civilians."  Despite that, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley had the following exchange on December, 15, 2009, with reporters:

    QUESTION: On the conflict in Yemen, Houthis say that U.S. warplanes have launched airstrikes in northern Yemen.  Is the U.S. involved in any military operations in Yemen?

    MR. CROWLEY: No.


    MR. CROWLEY: But we -- those kinds of reports keep cropping up. We do not have a military role in this conflict.

    So, all lives are not equal; the Yemeni civilians can be collateral damage to be joked about, but there should be nothing but outrage at even the mere possibility that telling the truth will put one of our people in harm's way.

    Shouldn't the American people know that their government is essentially engaging in a shadow war?  

    As for the Plame affair, Joe Wilson, of all people, should appreciate that the government is doing the same thing with the WikiLeaks publishing as it did when his wife was outed: acting purely in its own interests, with no regard for who gets hurt, as long as it isn't one of them, and its agenda is duly served.  


    Which is exactly why (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 02:45:02 PM EST
    This is a difficult situation. There is no black or white here - only shades of gray.

    the comment you are replying to (none / 0) (#44)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:21:44 AM EST
    was deleted for reprinting multiple paragraphs of a copyrighted transcript. Please link and quote no more than a short paragraph to make your point.

    Ann Wright (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 07:52:19 PM EST
    Mary Ann Wright is a former United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. (wikipedia)

    "We were told as diplomats, 'Don't ever put anything in a cable you wouldn't want on the front page of a newspaper.' It shows that they're a lot of arrogant people, that the system itself wasn't checking itself," says Wright of the latest documents released from WikiLeaks.  

    Meanwhile, several of the diplomatic cables released depict possibly illegal actions by the U.S. government, and Wright notes that the chances of anyone being held accountable are slim.

    Ann Wright joined Laura Flanders of GritTV to discuss the latest releases from WikiLeaks, what they tell us about the U.S. Government and Defense and State departments, and what should happen, but probably won't, to the people implicated therein.

    Video: Ann Wright: WikiLeaks and Accountability


    "I Am Assange" bumperstickers, hats, etc. here

    How to donate to WikiLeaks now that paypal and the CC companies have cut them off, here

    The U.S. (none / 0) (#5)
    by kmblue on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:32:27 AM EST
    will write a new law, if necessary, to stop Assange.
    I hope they fail.

    If Assange was an American... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:53:48 AM EST
    we wouldn't need any new laws, the would have unlimted weapons at their disposal to get their man.

    Intent under the Espionage Act (none / 0) (#7)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:49:45 AM EST
    How is the US going to prove that Assange started Wikileaks: "for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation"
    (a) it's protected speech
    (b) he offered to redact it and they said no
    (c) half the government has said there's nothing damaging there.

    Not sure which section you're quoting (none / 0) (#47)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 12:13:25 PM EST
    (a link would help, and/or a citation), but I doubt very much the gov't would have to prove that JA harbored that intent when he "started WikiLeaks."  Rather, they'd have to prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that was his purpose/intent when distributing a particular item or cache of classified information (plus whatever else the statute requires to be proven).

    Assange has nothing (none / 0) (#9)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:52:14 AM EST
    Also, this is verification that the US feels Assange has nothing that will effect the US ability to oppress the world.

    "Killing The Messenger For Bad News" (none / 0) (#18)
    by dead dancer on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 01:05:18 PM EST
    Yawn (none / 0) (#27)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:13:21 PM EST
    Anglachel is a good writer.  Biting commentary (loved her typical snooty, it's all so beneath her, style displayed with the 'let's dispense with the notion') but that was the weakest, as to be non-existent, 'argument' I have seen her put forth.

    See how clever she is!

    I disagree (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:21:33 PM EST
    Everyone's getting their panties in a wad over poor, poor persecuted Assange.  Their overall point may be correct - this stuff (but not all) is something the general public should know, but the fainting couches that are being dragged out before anyone has all the facts is startling.

    If caging human beings... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:49:53 PM EST
    isn't worth getting your knickers in a bunch, I wonder what is.

    Getting stuff right (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:50:52 PM EST
    And not immediately assuming Assange is a hero.

    No one here said he's a hero (yet?) (none / 0) (#35)
    by sj on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:11:58 PM EST
    The question is:  is he the villain that the O admin would have us believe?

    No, it is not the persecution of (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:57:05 PM EST
    Julian Assange that people are getting their panties in a wad over, it is the actions of a government seemingly determined to ignore the First Amendment, to single out one person for publishing material that major newspapers in this country and others, like Der Spiegel, have also printed, and bring the full force of its power in an attempt to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of anyone or any other organization that might think there are things we should know about what the government is doing.

    How else to explain why the NYT and the bulk of the mainstream media have joined the piling on, misrepresented what has and has not been published, and dutifully assisted the government in delivering its message?

    When is the last time you heard any major media outlet take up the content of what has been published and ask some real and pointed questions?  Oh sure, they'll pick up on the "embarrassing" material - like what our diplomatic people think of some other country's leaders - that's the Entertainment Tonight/Inside Edition fluff; but what about the strikes on Yemen?  The parties for Afghan muckety-mucks that featured young boys?

    As to your point about waiting until we have all the facts, do you not get that the US has no intention of allowing us to get those facts?  That it is doing all it can to prevent those facts from being revealed?

    My great fear is not for Assange, it's for people like you and me, for the freedom of speech that the government seems more determined than ever to chill; maybe it's just me, but I think that's worth getting my panties in a bunch over, but maybe you don't see it that way.


    Have a chance to read Glenn Greenwald (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:40:00 PM EST
    today?  If he's correct, everything Wikileaks has "published" on its website was previously published by newspaper organizations.  

    I'll go read it now (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 03:50:13 PM EST
    But my guess is, no one really knows how this will play out - and we probably won't know the full consequences (good and bad) for years.

    Most common lie (none / 0) (#33)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:00:28 PM EST
    GG covers the schizophrenic 'this damages the wooooorrrrrrllddddd' -v- 'nothing to see move along' crowd... and the most common current lie that Assange is nothing but a dumper.

    This is why Lieberman is calling for investigating the NYT.  I wonder if he'll call the Guardian and Der Speigal traitors.  ha!


    I don't know where Glenn (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:02:03 PM EST
    got the 1200+ number of documents that have been released that he says were already released to newpapers - maybe that's just the number of  diplomatic cables he's talking about?  If you remember, Wikileaks released approximately 77,000 classified documents about the Afghan war and almost 400,000 on the Iraq War earlier in the year.

    Where? really? (none / 0) (#37)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:15:36 PM EST
    um, you might try wikileaks site.  For those too frightened to go to the WL website (boo), you could go to GG.  He has a capture of the item from the WL page that counts where they are at with distribution.   This is like people saying that Wikileaks doesn't have journalists because they've never been to the site and don't bother to read the articles.

     .... and who released what?  Would that be the release that coincided with the NYT (the NYT was included in those) and Guardian etc.  WL does it's activities in sync with major/established news outlets because they are small/new and easy to smear.


    Where what? (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 06:11:32 PM EST
    You don't remember the huge leaks that came out last summer?  You could Google it, I suppose, but since you don't want to seem to do that

    Wikileaks releases 400,000 Iraq War documents


    Sorry - it was 91,000 documents released about the Afghan War


    Re: Glenn's numbers (none / 0) (#40)
    by Harry Saxon on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:37:41 PM EST
    From salon(dot)com

    Initially, note that Time has refused to correct its blatantly false claim that WikiLeaks has published "thousands of classified State Department cables" and posted "thousands of secret diplomatic cables" when, in reality, they've posted only 1,269 of the more than 250,000 cables they possess: less than 1/2 of 1 %.  It's true that they provided roughly 251,000 cables to five newspapers, but they have only "posted" and "published" roughly 1,200 of them.  Time just decided to leave that statement standing even knowing it is factually false.

    Click Me

    WL in conjunction with... (none / 0) (#41)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:05:56 PM EST
    WL does it's activities in conjunction with other media outlets.  The date on your item (not WL I note) is the same as this by the NYT and this by the Guardian and this by Der Spiegel.

    You keep focusing on WL.  My point is it is not just WL.


    the comment you are responding to (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:19:07 AM EST
    was deleted for reprinting multiple paragraphs of the author's work. Please be respectful of copyright issues. You may link to something you read elsewhere but please quote no more than a short paragraph to make your point. Thanks.

    Comment disappeared (none / 0) (#45)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:27:33 AM EST
    A comment I posted a short time ago disappeared.

    It quoted too much of the source (none / 0) (#46)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 03:09:22 AM EST
    material. Please post no more than a paragraph and make your point. Thanks.

    Censorship by Talkleft to defend Obama-regime (none / 0) (#48)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:10:42 PM EST
    I had quoted three paragraphs from an article published by the WSWS. I have done so quite a few times in the past years and while you had once or twice complained about quotes involving four or more paragraphs I do not remember that you ever deleted such a comment before.

    The WSWS is neither a commercial enterprise nor does it belong to the main-stream media. So this is not about copyright.

    I therefore consider the deletion a deliberate act of censorship. Due to the content which was deleted this amounts to a defense of the ruthless activities against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by the despotic government (which you helped to elect).


    Get a grip (none / 0) (#49)
    by sj on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 09:21:57 AM EST
    Provide a link