Julian Assange has been charged with a conspiracy to hack government computers, and violations of the espionage act, for his alleged role in helping Bradley Manning obtain the information Wikileaks notoriously released on his behalf several years ago, as well as for publishing that information. Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee at the Intercept are pitching a fit that the Trump administration is attempting to “criminalize journalism” by going after Assange.
Per the Justice Department press release;
The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.
During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”
Greenwald thinks this is no big deal, because the Obama administration decided that this was “journalism” and opted not to prosecute Assange.
The first crucial fact about the indictment is that its key allegation — that Assange did not merely receive classified documents from Chelsea Manning but tried to help her crack a password in order to cover her tracks — is not new. It was long known by the Obama DOJ and was explicitly part of Manning’s trial, yet the Obama DOJ — not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms — concluded that it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom. In sum, today’s indictment contains no new evidence or facts about Assange’s actions; all of it has been known for years.
Interesting theory. So because the Obama justice department opted not to indict Assange, that means he shouldn’t be indicted? I’d say that’s a pretty weak argument. The Obama administration committed a lot of crimes, and allowed a lot of criminals to go free, Manning included.
Obama didn’t indict Lois Lerner when she politicized the IRS to sabotage the Tea Party movement. He didn’t indict anyone for the Fast & Furious scandal that got a Border Patrol agent killed. There was not a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis. Obama either pardoned or commuted the sentences of 1,927 people during his presidency, more than any President since Truman. He broke a record by granting clemency to 231 federal inmates in a single day. His clemency has differed from that of his predecessors too, in that he almost always freed people from prison with commuted sentences, rather than pardoning people after their release.
The lawlessness of that administration should come as no surprise to anyone, and definitely should not set a precedent for future administrations.
This case is of particular interest to me, for a few reasons.
Back when this all happened, and the “Collateral Murder” video came out, I was heavily involved with the libertarians, and staunchly anti-war. All of my associates were pointing to that video as proof that the United States military was running around murdering innocent people for no reason whatsoever.
I saw things differently. I saw a grainy video from a helicopter of soldiers in a war zone observing a group of male adults walking down the street with god knows what in their hands, and after communicating with their superiors, opening fire. Even then, I thought this was completely blown out of proportion, even if it did turn out that those killed were non-combatants.
The war was wrong, but I saw those soldiers as completely blameless. I was infuriated by the libertarians and others who called them murderers.
Sorry, civilians! These things happen in war. This is just one of many reasons why we should be a lot more cautious about why, when, and where, we engage in martial conflicts.
Yet, I still supported Manning and Wikileaks. While manning was on trial at Fort Meade, I went there to cover the trial for Adam vs. The Man, and stayed at Kokesh’s house in Herndon, Virginia.
In fact, here’s a photo of me leaving the trial.
As I drove from New York to Virginia, I had “FREE BRADLEY MANNING” written with paint on the windows of my van. I did not care if what they did was illegal. I did not care if what they did hindered the war effort. I did not care if what they did jeopardized other interests of the United States government. As far as I was concerned, the war was based on lies, and unjustifiable. If people had to break the law and act deceptively to stop it, then that was just fine with me.
I feel differently today, and not just because Manning turned out to be a tranny communist, or Assange mocked me on Twitter when I was framed for crimes in Charlottesville.
My attitude began to change when Obama commuted Manning’s sentence.
Manning had been sentenced to 35 years in prison for his treason. In prison, he decided he was going to “gender transition,” which endeared him all that much more to the communists who celebrated his disloyalty to his country.
The Obama administration had never been big on transparency, or shy about using government force against anyone who stood in their way. It seemed profoundly curious to me, that Barack Obama would set Manning free, simply out of some desire to do the right thing. In fact, I was certain there had to be some other reason for his release.
It turns out, I was right.
Manning did not use his newfound freedom and notoriety to fight for liberty or transparency in government after his release. He used it to promote communism.
He cheered on the rioting Reds in Charlottesville, and encouraged antifa violence from coast coast.
When he ran for the US Senate, his platform read like an intentional plan to destroy the country. In fact, he all but confessed that it was on Twitter, by retweeting a fellow degenerate who said “abolish ICE, open the border, dismantle all detention centers and dance joyously in the rubble“.
I was all for ending the wars. Still am, all these years later. In fact, that was much of my motivation for supporting Trump, and his failure to stop this insanity remains one of my greatest disappointments in his administration. But that was and is out of a desire to see the best interests of my country put ahead of those of Israel.
Anybody wanting to reduce my country to rubble through immigration, lawlessness, and communism, surely has a very different agenda than I, and dare I say it, a far more radical one at that.
Come to think about it, reducing the country to rubble seems to be at the forefront of the policy agenda for the Democrat party at this point. Reliably, their propagandists in the media seem to have the same itinerary.
Back to the Intercept;
The other key fact being widely misreported is that the indictment accuses Assange of trying to help Manning obtain access to document databases to which she had no valid access: i.e., hacking rather than journalism. But the indictment alleges no such thing. Rather, it simply accuses Assange of trying to help Manning log into the Defense Department’s computers using a different username so that she could maintain her anonymity while downloading documents in the public interest and then furnish them to WikiLeaks to publish.
In other words, the indictment seeks to criminalize what journalists are not only permitted but ethically required to do: take steps to help their sources maintain their anonymity.
Another interesting theory.
Firstly, it is hacking a computer to crack a password. It is exceeding ones privileges to log in as another user. If Assange did this, then he did help Manning hack the computers, by definition. If he helped them hack the computers, then that explains why he was also charged with publishing the material. He wasn’t acting as a mere journalist who received information without participating in the crime. He actively conspired to obtain the material he wanted to publish, and then he published it. One act was in furtherance of the other.
The fact that Greenwald says journalists do this all the time should tell you something about journalism. These people are criminals, and they shouldn’t be granted special privileges just because they have broadcast licenses or newspapers. “Freedom of the Press” means freedom, as in, the same freedom you and I have, not license to do things we would go to prison for.
And for that matter, why should we grant journalists that much “freedom” anyway? Should they shoulder no extra responsibilities with the enormous power that they wield?
How many of you have seen Con Air? In that movie, Nicholas Cage plays Cameron Poe, a highly decorated United States Army Ranger, came home to Alabama to his wife, Tricia. He only to run into a few drunken regulars at the bar where Tricia works and they get in a fight. Cameron unknowingly kills one of the drunks by punching the guy’s nose into his brain, and is sent to a federal penitentiary for involuntary manslaughter for seven years, because his military training made his hands “deadly weapons”. Because he was so trained to kill, he was saddled with extra liability for the damage he did.
Same thing for anybody who carries a gun. There are things you can do while you are unarmed, which you cannot do while you carry, and for good reason.
Letting people run amok and endanger the country just because they call themselves “journalists” is as stupid as saying I can pick a fight with whoever I want, just because I’m carrying a pistol.
Julian Assange thought it was hillarious that I was in tears facing 60 years in prison for crimes I didn’t commit. I wonder if he’s crying now that he could spend the rest of his life in prison for crimes he actually did commit?
Fuck him, and fuck the media.
Assange was their hero when he was conspiring with Manning to leak government secrets. Using that Collateral Murder video to demonize the Bush administration was something they all universally supported. Then, when Wikileaks was publishing information that was unfavorable to Hillary Clinton, suddenly Assange was some kind of Russian spy.
Now that he’s being prosecuted for the leaks that they did like, he’s a martyr for the first amendment. Curious creatures, these journalists. They didn’t seem to think so much of the first amendment when they were were cheering on communists who attacked us at our permitted demonstration in Charlottesville. They didn’t seem to think so much about freedom of speech when they were calling for White Nationalism, a political idea, to be pursued like foreign terrorist organizations. They didn’t seem to think much about press freedom when they went after Infowars and Alex Jones.
And what’s so special about the first amendment, anyway? Why do journalists care so much about that one, but insist that the second amendment is just some anachronistic throwback to a less enlightened time? Why was there no eighth amendment outcry when me and my comrades were held without bail in Charlottesville? Why do they insist that the 4th amendment guarantees women the right to an abortion, but have no problem with Obama spying on the Trump campaign?
At some point you just have to conclude that these people are trying to destroy the country. That being the case, why should any of us care about their supposed “rights” while they do everything in their power to see ours violated?
This is clearly just war by other means. The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword, after all. So at what point do we take their swords away?
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