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Thread: Julian Assange's Arrest and the Repurcusions for Whistle blowers

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    Julian Assange's Arrest and the Repurcusions for Whistle blowers

    So Julian Assange has been arrested, and very likely to be shipped off to America shortly, regardless of what the police say. So what does this mean for whistle blowers, who reveal the truth behind governments and companies? Do we have a right to know of these things? Obviously the U.S government thinks that we don't.

    To me, Wikileaks back in their heyday reminded me a HELL of a lot of the "Eyes Only" TV hacks in the show Dark Angel.



    A sign of things to come. And now we hear nothing of what's going on behind the curtain. Which is better?

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I'll crosspost what I posted about this elsewhere.

    I got the idea Assange's day finally came because he was smearing poo on the walls inside the embassy, and probably that he was starting to go full Howard Hughes judging by his appearance, and somebody in the embassy made a command decision, probably after repeated warnings that went unheeded, that he'd overstayed his welcome and the embassy invited the police in to get him.

    More broadly speaking, as a public law lawyer I'm interested in transparency and accountability. I've done FOIA work before (Freedom of Information Act, the law that requires the gov't to release certain info and there's a whole process about it), and have always felt the more info released the better. But I also feel like there needs to be rules where if something is abused, the person can be punished. That's the problem with Wikileaks. It's not accountable like gov't actors are, there's no mechanism to make them accountable or answerable for their decisions, and Assange's case has always struck me as what impunity does to people, where he started getting cocky and rampantly abusing his power and using Wikileaks for blatant propaganda. If you're going to have it at all, it needs to be independent, professional, and its officers need to be accountable for what they're doing. They weren't. So this is an important step in that direction.
    Edit: Re: the issue of treatment of whisleblowers, my general position is responsible whistleblowing should not be punished, and there should be explicit rules to allow it and protect whistleblowers. I don't believe Assange was a responsible whistleblower and predict he'd be punished even under the more protective rules I'm thinking about, but that's for a trial & jury to conclude and not my personal opinion.

    The cases I work on involve blatant abusive punishments of whistleblowers, where gov't employees expose real corruption and abuses on the inside and get hit with defamation or "violating state secrecy" charges. I'm more sympathetic with Chelsey Manning and Ed Snowden's cases (more so if they'd exposed more publicly vital information that could not have been released otherwise and needed to be; but I need to look into their cases in detail to be more specific) than Assange, whom I think cared more about making a propaganda machine for explicit political purposes and didn't care about protecting the public or the actual issues he was releasing info on at all.

    I have a simple litmus test: does the person leaking the information care about the issue that they're releasing info on? If they care, they'd and say something about that issue. And if they don't really care, than how can I trust them to do what's best for the public, since ex hypothesi they don't care about the public at all.

    Also, related to that, I'd question the charge "now we hear nothing of what's going on behind the curtain". There is tons of information about what's happening behind the curtain ... books, and books, and books, and books of it, millions of pages of information. A lot of information leaking was already out there buried in or could be derived from books and reports if you knew where to look. And when people care about the issue, they learn where to look. And then they can understand what information is still being hidden and work to get it out, like the people we work with in countries like Myanmar or Cambodia. To me, it's important that leaking information be combined with people that care about the issue enough to be responsible about it and do it in the public interest. And I distrust people that don't care or have ulterior motives in leaking information as just as potentially harmful to the public as the gov't workers they want to take down.
    Last edited by demagogue; 12th Apr 2019 at 02:20.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2016
    Location: Trollinus Maximus
    Not all heroes. Wear capes

  4. #4
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Looks like the conservatives are making another martyr out of someone they hated before 2016.

    ...and to be fair, who the liberals once celebrated.

    Everything's ass backwards now.

    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    A sign of things to come. And now we hear nothing of what's going on behind the curtain. Which is better?
    You've seen what's been going on these last couple of years, right? Our governments are leaking secrets like a sieve. You don't need a self stylized freedom superhero like Assange anymore. Just wait for some random federal grunt or middle management schlub to start nursing a grudge, and you'll have reams of interoffice secrets splayed out all over the internet before the week is out.

  5. #5
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    By the way, I give it three posts before Tony arrives, and starts making shit up to talk down to us about.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I don't know what I think about that guy.

    Leaking buried secrets is commendable, but later interfering in the election, and in favour of a white supremacist, is certainly not.

    Either way, I think extradition to the USA should never be allowed under any circumstances, for anyone. They have a terrible track record of human rights for prisoners at the best of times.

  7. #7
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Assange is no hero and he is no whistleblower either. He published damaging information on one party alone and timed it for maximum political impact to sow discord between the Bernie and Clinton camps. Plus he has declined to release damaging information on Russia and even went to bat for Putin when the Panama papers were released.

    Reprehensible as it is, that's not the reason he's being indicted, though, since it's protected under the first amendment. Publishing secret information is not a crime.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Assange is no hero and he is no whistleblower either. He published damaging information on one party alone and timed it for maximum political impact to sow discord between the Bernie and Clinton camps. Plus he has declined to release damaging information on Russia and even went to bat for Putin when the Panama papers were released.

    Reprehensible as it is, that's not the reason he's being indicted, though, since it's protected under the first amendment. Publishing secret information is not a crime.
    From memory (and correct me if I'm wrong here) but didn't Wikileaks also publish stuff about other countries, like that the Australian government had put secret eavesdropping equipment in rooms when dealing with Indonesia. I definitely recall something along those lines, and of the shit storm that it created. And they published stuff about what countries really thought of each other. Again correct me if I'm wrong. Going completely by memory.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Whatever else he has done, his actions in the 2016 US election alone prove he's not the neutral party that he claims he is and that he was playing political games.

    And the other things he has done don't necessarily paint a pretty picture either. Like the aforementioned instance where he claimed the Panama papers were a Soros-funded attack on Putin. Not to mention carelessly publishing the personal information of millions of people.

    There was one time when he said he would publish materials on the Russian elite, but apparently he thought otherwise when Russia then suggested Wikileaks could be made "inaccessible forever". Which of course is more serious than it sounds, given that Russia tends to stop its leaks with polonium and Novichok.
    Last edited by Starker; 12th Apr 2019 at 10:53.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    There aren't repercussions for whistleblowers. There are repercussions for accused rapists who jump bail.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    And for liars who have the truth revealed. That's what happened to Hillary.

    So if the emails had revealed stuff about Trump instead and Hillary had gone on to win, would we be having this conversation? I bet we wouldn't.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Trump lies continuously, preposterously, and his supporters don't even care. Hillary lied about... What, exactly?

    The only way we wouldn't be having this conversation is if he weren't arrested, which seems unlikely since very little about the circumstances seem to be tied to who the president is.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Um... but it is tied to who the president it. Obama's administration declined to prosecute Assange. And ultimately I think that was the right decision, even if it was just to err on the side of caution. Now prosecuting Assange for a single count of hacking is just looking like petty revenge. They might still charge him with other stuff, I guess, but they'll need to do it before he is extradited, since they won't be able to charge him with anything else after that.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Hillary lied about... What, exactly?
    On multiple occasions, Hillary claimed that there were "No classified emails" on her private server and that only
    people with security clearances had access to the system.

    She also literally explained how she lies to the public about her policy stances in comparison to what she was offering donors (public vs private stance)
    in an email revealed by wikileaks.

    She claimed to be against "foreign intervention" and Super PAC's yet here wikileaks releases were filled with foreign donors (FEC violations!!!) and Super PAC's.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    That

  18. #18
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    I don't know what I think about that guy.
    He mistreated his cat, what more do you need to know to know what kind of person he is.

    Latest news I read is that 'More than 70 MPs and peers have signed a letter urging the home secretary to ensure Julian Assange faces authorities in Sweden if they want his extradition.' And they argue for this because they 'believe' that victims of sexual violence take precedence over leaking stuff. Or that's the impression they're giving.

    I think he's a nasty piece of work but I'm doubtful the US currently understands the word justice (IMO).

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by nbohr1more View Post
    On multiple occasions, Hillary claimed that there were "No classified emails" on her private server...
    The FBI's own findings were that there was no intentionally unsecured classified information; merely retroactively determined.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbohr1more View Post
    She also literally explained how she lies to the public about her policy stances in comparison to what she was offering donors (public vs private stance) in an email revealed by wikileaks.
    Sadly normal; Not sure I see how citing Clinton in particular for this when the Republican party in general and Trump in particular have long since stopped even bothering to hide the fact that what they say and what they do don't line up. Citation needed, though; I don't trust your characterization.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbohr1more View Post
    She claimed to be against "foreign intervention" and Super PAC's yet here wikileaks releases were filled with foreign donors (FEC violations!!!) and Super PAC's.
    Again, citation needed on the FEC violation; I don't believe for one second that potential crimes were uncovered and Republicans didn't go after them. Being against the current rules while following those rules is baked into the nature of Democracy.

    Even if I swallow this, I'm sure I could find worse by going over Trump's commentary on almost any given week, with the rest of his party being little better. When Republicans lie in their basic messaging as a matter of course it's "all politicians lie" but when it's a Democrat we're all scraping and squinting and that's still the best you can come up with?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by SD View Post
    There aren't repercussions for whistleblowers. There are repercussions for accused rapists who jump bail.
    That explains why he's being arrested on "espionage" charges and the investigation into the rape charges has been closed.

    The FBI's own findings were that there was no intentionally unsecured classified information; merely retroactively determined.
    A Navy officer was sent to prison for doing literally the exact same thing and it was judged that finding written proof he intended to do so wasn't required for a conviction.

    Sadly normal; Not sure I see how citing Clinton in particular for this when the Republican party in general and Trump in particular have long since stopped even bothering to hide the fact that what they say and what they do don't line up. Citation needed, though; I don't trust your characterization.
    There you go:

    https://www.businessinsider.com/hill...itions-2016-10


    Whatever else he has done, his actions in the 2016 US election alone prove he's not the neutral party that he claims he is and that he was playing political games.

    And the other things he has done don't necessarily paint a pretty picture either. Like the aforementioned instance where he claimed the Panama papers were a Soros-funded attack on Putin. Not to mention carelessly publishing the personal information of millions of people.
    1) Assange has pushed out leaks that damaged BOTH U.S. political parties. That isn't exactly the profile of a "Russian Agent".

    2) Don't know the truth of that specific claims, but there are some Open Society Foundation papers floating around that prove a conflict between Putin and OSF. Those papers very clearly describe Russians conflict with Soros's agenda.


    Here's the exact quote:

    There is also evidence of support for individual political leaders, penetration in civil society, attempts to manipulate national debates (for instance, to defend Russiaís energy interests), propaganda to defend Russian international politics, and support for traditionalist movements. However, the evidence is still rather sketchy and based more on strong allegations, hence the need to first do a proper mapping.

    Putinís neo-imperial model has also incorporated an ideological pillar: the defense of traditional family values. Putin has deemed what he called a destruction of traditional values from above in the name of so-called tolerance and equality inherently anti-democratic because it runs counter to the will of the majority of people. This ideology has been used to advance Russian influence beyond its borders in Europe and Central Asia, and in international organizations.
    Our inclination is to engage in activities and with actors that will understand and counter Russian influence and support to movements defending traditional values.

    There you have it. Directly from the horse's mouth that Soros is working to undermine "traditional values" because they think those values are being used to advance the interests of competing power players.


    3) Assange gave DoD the opportunity to review papers and place redactions prior to publishing. They refused.


    Latest news I read is that 'More than 70 MPs and peers have signed a letter urging the home secretary to ensure Julian Assange faces authorities in Sweden if they want his extradition.' And they argue for this because they 'believe' that victims of sexual violence take precedence over leaking stuff. Or that's the impression they're giving.

    I think he's a nasty piece of work but I'm doubtful the US currently understands the word justice (IMO).
    That's a considerably better outcome for him. The most likely outcome upon extradition to the US is that he'll be tortured via sensory deprivation (where they will turn the temperature up to sweltering, down to near freezing, and back up repeatedly while preventing the prisoner from sleeping for weeks at a time) until he either commits suicide or makes up the story about Russia they want to here.



    I will warn that this Russia hysteria is getting beyond dangerous. Thanks to this rhetoric we now have a military alliance between Russia and China with both militaries now working side by side in South America. Eventually the Democrats are going to get their war and my prediction is that the US will lose: We've already seen in Syria that the Russian military's tactical proficiency is dramatically higher than the American military, which is a micro-management driven, bureaucratic organization that isn't capable off functioning at even a basic level in the absence of Electronic Warfare and airpower dominance.
    Last edited by Tony_Tarantula; 13th Apr 2019 at 23:24.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, as much as I tend to disagree with Tony, I am NOT into this whole Neo-McCarthyist new cold war for a number of reasons:

    1. The US and Russia control 90% of the world's nukes. Trump and Putin are morons, and they have that control. I want them to get along.

    2. We helped install Boris Yeltsin, and yet we're outraged when they post some fake stuff on social media and we're dumb enough to believe it? We've interfered with their elections much more heavily than they've interfered with ours (and we've done the same to countless countries around the world). I don't think we can fairly complain about intervention until we own up to our crimes on that front and permanently desist. The US is currently looking like the kid who relentlessly physically bullies everyone then cries when someone calls them a name.

    3. Trump has actually done quite a bit policywise that is NOT in Russia's favor.
    https://www.npr.org/2018/07/20/63065...tMXzlD7fK8tgUo
    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/ar...YqhXzIz0FB_Ydc

    This is the general consensus of all major far left thinkers right now, btw, from big names like Chomsky and Greenwald to lesser known journalists like Nathan Robinson and Ben Norton. The far left and far right agree that all this Russiaphobia is hooey - but we strongly disagree on why it's bad, and that's a pretty major distinction worth making.
    Last edited by froghawk; 14th Apr 2019 at 18:58.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    The FBI's own findings were that there was no intentionally unsecured classified information; merely retroactively determined.
    The FBI didn't even record the interview with Hillary.

    They gave immunity to all the subjects of the investigation.

    And in congressional hearings, they could not answer questions about the "retroactively" classified materials because they were "Special Access Program"
    data that is only supposed to be available in "closed networks" (SCIF). The FBI also couldn't answer "how did the SCIF data leave the SCIF and appear in
    emails, and WHO sent them to Hillary?"

    I wouldn't trust anything they've said thus far.

    Judicial Watch has won MULTIPLE "FOIA Lawsuits" against them proving that they did not fully disclose the extent of classified materials in those emails.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2016
    Location: Trollinus Maximus
    Spot on
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com
    I would have felt sorry for him otherwise, but in this case he bit the hand that fed him and dug his own grave

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    That explains why he's being arrested on "espionage" charges and the investigation into the rape charges has been closed.
    Except he isn't being arrested on espionage charges or "espionage" charges, the indictment is for hacking and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years.

    Also, the Swedish (preliminary) investigation has not been closed. It was suspended because after several years it started to look increasingly unlikely that it ever got anywhere. Now the lawyer for the injured party has requested that it be resumed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    A Navy officer was sent to prison for doing literally the exact same thing and it was judged that finding written proof he intended to do so wasn't required for a conviction.
    He did not do "literally the exact same thing". He knew what he was doing was wrong and when he was found out he lied about it to the investigators and destroyed evidence. He was not even allowed to bring a camera on board in the first place. On the other hand, Hillary didn't knowingly send or receive classified information and there was no criminal intent in her behaviour as far as the investigators could find. These cases being equal is just a conservative media talking point to make Hillary look bad. Also, intent did matter in the Navy officer's case, as they had witnesses testify to that.

    https://www.politico.com/blogs/under...clinton-227052

    In addition to more celebrated cases, the defense notes that two of the sailor's shipmates took similar photos in the same sub and received far more modest punishment, including a $560 docking of pay and—in one instance—a one-grade reduction in rank. One of those sailors is expected to be commissioned as an officer soon.

    However, prosecutors say those episodes involved sailors who each took a single "selfie" in the engine room "while Saucier methodically documented the entire propulsion system of the nuclear submarine, including the design of its nuclear compartment and its nuclear reactor."

    "They are not the type of photographs that one would take to commemorate one’s service," prosecutors said.

    Prosecutors are vague about what Saucier's purpose was in taking the photos, referring ominously in their filing to a trip Saucier took to Mexico and to an "African Dream" phone card found after apparently being hidden at his home.

    The government has not explicitly alleged that any espionage was afoot, but says Saucier showed the photos to his ex-wife and woman he was later living with as well as two other sailors on the Alexandria. All said that Saucier "understood that he was not allowed to" take the photos.

    After being confronted by investigators in 2012, Saucier compounded his problems by destroying a laptop, camera and memory card and throwing the laptop in the woods.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    That doesn't show she lied. Having public and private positions on things is natural. For example, you might privately think that hate speech is abhorrent and should not be allowed in public discourse, but publicly you say it should not be prosecuted, because of the 1st amendment. That's not lying, that's just the disparity between your personal beliefs and public policy. And of course you use the arguments that appeal to the specific group you're addressing when trying to convince them. Nothing nefarious about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    1) Assange has pushed out leaks that damaged BOTH U.S. political parties. That isn't exactly the profile of a "Russian Agent".
    In 2016, he only attacked Clinton and did it in a way to maximise the damage against her. This was a political act to influence the election. And Russia is trying to sow discord in the US. Damaging either party is okay for them. They don't want the conservatives to do well, they want the US to do badly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    2) Don't know the truth of that specific claims, but there are some Open Society Foundation papers floating around that prove a conflict between Putin and OSF. Those papers very clearly describe Russians conflict with Soros's agenda.
    This is the reason he went to defend Putin? An antisemitic conspiracy theory advanced on conservative media like Breitbart and Daily Stormer? That's not a point in Assange's favour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    There you have it. Directly from the horse's mouth that Soros is working to undermine "traditional values" because they think those values are being used to advance the interests of competing power players.
    These "traditional values" are used to repress minorities and undermine democracy in the West. These things absolutely should be opposed. If you have not noticed, Putin's Russia is not a nice country and there is no reason to appease them or turn a blind eye to what they are doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    3) Assange gave DoD the opportunity to review papers and place redactions prior to publishing. They refused.
    Assange jeopardised millions of people in Turkey by releasing their private information. And multiple times he has been shown to simply not care. For example, there's this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...aks-nick-cohen

    David Leigh and Luke Harding's history of WikiLeaks describes how journalists took Assange to Moro's, a classy Spanish restaurant in central London. A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. "Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths. They persuaded Assange to remove names before publishing the State Department Afghanistan cables. But Assange's disillusioned associates suggest that the failure to expose "informants" niggled in his mind.
    Last edited by Starker; 14th Apr 2019 at 13:41.

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