The Assange Indictment and The Rule of Specialty

Alright, as most of you have discovered, Julian Assange had his asylum status revoked by Ecuador, and officers of the Met (and presumably Scotland Yard too) were allowed into the Ecuadoran Embassy in London to effectuate arrest of Assange. Don’t be fooled by the breathless cable news coverage, the primary arrest warrant was the UK one from Assange’s 2012 jumping of bail conditions, not the extradition request by the US. In short, Assange would still be in custody right now irrespective of the US extradition request.

To flesh out the rest of Assange’s status, to the extent we currently know it, I will pilfer some of the reportage of the excellent Daniel Sandford of the BBC. Assange was presented immediately to Court One at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court where it was made clear that there were two warrants he was arrested on, not just the US request. Assange pled not guilty. He was NOT ordered to present evidence on his failure to surrender (which is appropriate if he declines). The judge presiding, Michael Snow nevertheless, and quite properly, found Assange guilty of the bail offense. Assange will appear in the higher level Southwark Crown Court for sentencing on the bail offense at a future date not yet specified. He will be back in the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, as of now by video link from his detention facility, on May 2nd regarding the extradition matter.

With that background out of the way, let’s look at the more significant US extradition case. First off, here is the EDVA indictment that was unsealed this morning. As you can see, it is for a single count of computer hacking conspiracy. I think most people expected all kinds of different counts, up to and including espionage crimes. Those were not included, nor were the issues from the Vault 7 case, that easily could have been indicted on outside of any real First Amendment issues.

So, while the indictment could have encompassed far many more charges and issues, it does not and is just this one count.

Why is that important?

Because legal commentators like Jeff Toobin on CNN are having a field day noting that there may be more charges forthcoming. And Shimon Prokupecz of CNN reports DOJ is indeed going to seek “additional charges” against Assange. And why is that important? Because of the Rule of Specialty.

I noted this from almost the first second on Twitter, but few other than Ken White (aka Popehat) seem to have caught on to how this doctrine will come into play in the case of Assange. It is a real issue, though we do not know how it will play out at this early stage of the extradition process.

The Doctrine of Specialty is a principle of International law that is included in most extradition treaties, whereby a person who is extradited to a country to stand trial for certain criminal offenses may be tried only for those offenses and not for any other pre-extradition offenses. Long ago and far away I argued this successfully, but that was in relation to the treaty between the US and Mexico. The Assange case obviously involves a different treaty, the US/UK Extradition treaty of 2003.

So, what does the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Treaty of 2003 provide? Well, that is contained in Article 18, which reads as follows:

Rule of Specialty

1. A person extradited under this Treaty may not be detained, tried, or punished in the Requesting State except for:
(a) any offense for which extradition was granted, or a differently denominated offense based on the same facts as the offense on which extradition was granted, provided such offense is extraditable, or is a lesser included offense;
(b) any offense committed after the extradition of the person; or
(c) any offense for which the executive authority of the Requested State waives the rule of specialty and thereby consents to the person’s detention, trial, or punishment. For the purpose ofthis subparagraph:
(i) the executive authority of the Requested State may require the submission of the documentation called for in Article 8; and
(ii) the person extradited may be detained by the Requesting State for 90 days, or for such longer period of time as the Requested State may authorize, while the request for consent is being processed.

2. A person extradited under this Treaty may not be the subject of onward extradition or surrender for any offense committed prior to extradition to the Requesting State unless the Requested State consents.
3. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall not prevent the detention, trial, or punishment of an extradited person, or the extradition of the person to a third State, if the person:
(a) leaves the territory ofthe Requesting State after extradition and voluntarily returns to it; or
(b) does not leave the territory ofthe Requesting State within 20 days of the day on which that person is free to leave.
4. I f the person sought waives extradition pursuant to Article 17, the specialty provisions in this Article shall not apply.

It is early, but Assange has specifically NOT waived extradition, and I do not expect that will change. In fact, he would be nuts to waive it. But look out for the US requesting the UK to waive the issue pursuant to Article 18(1)(c). I have no idea how the UK would treat such a request (nor whether it may have already been made). But give the UK credit, they take extradition conditions seriously and will not extradite where the death penalty is in play.

The death penalty could be an issue were Assange to be subsequently charged under 18 USC §794 (Espionage Act), which reads:

(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power (as defined in section 101(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) of an individual acting as an agent of the United States and consequently in the death of that individual, or directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy.

Now, frankly, I think the US, through the DOJ, would have no problem whatsoever stipulating that the death penalty is off the table for Assange. It is almost a given.

The real question is what becomes of the Assange case in light of the Rule of Specialty. Suppose any superseding indictment does not go into charges outside of the “computer offenses” specified in the current indictment, but seeks to add additional computer offenses in an attempt to increase the sentencing range? Does that violate the spirit of the Rule of Specialty?

There is a lot we simply do not know yet. But this doctrine, and how the US proceeds in light of it, needs to be watched closely as the Assange extradition matter proceeds, both in the UK, and once he is remanded to US custody.

92 replies
  1. TomA says:

    What is the ultimate endgame goal of DOJ in this prosecution. Is it punishment as deterrence, and aimed at further activity by Wikileaks? Is it retribution against Assange personally for his role in the many Wikileaks revelations? Is it to coerce some form of cooperation and testimony from him about other matters? Does Assange have any leverage via unreported information in his possession that he could use as a bargaining chip? Lots of uncertainty moving forwarded, and why did Assange state that he was an assassination target (just posturing or a real threat)?

    • Rugger9 says:

      I see Kaiser Quisling denied he had any interest in Wikileaks after which MSNBC did a mashup proving him wrong (again). The internet is forever, KQ. But with Assange in custody can he be summoned by the intel committees for testimony? Perhaps this is a way to put Julian on ice and out of Schiff’s reach.

      • Barry says:

        Unless Assange has various *sets* of inencrypted files, covering various scenarios. Having a set aimed and Trump and Co. would make for good insurance.

      • JamesJoyce says:

        Why not?

        “Arron Schwartz” treatment in a nutshell?

        Copying documents is a form of hacking. Guess you have to actually be there.

        Like in the Pentagon to copy papers?

  2. Pam in CT says:

    Thanks for this, bmaz.

    Do you have any insight or theories as to why this has been pursued in EDVA rather than WDC/NSD?

  3. Badger Robert says:

    There are probably people in Russia and in the US, highly placed, that do not want Assange to talk about what he knows. As a free man, outside of Russia, he is not very safe.
    Assange can stay in jail, like Manning, and contend that he is martyr. Or Assange can live in Russia, where there can control him. In between there are agents who would rather he was silenced. Some will have personal reasons not to have him reveal what he knows, others may act on explicit or implicit requests of a government official.

  4. Badger Robert says:

    Assange’s biggest danger is to become an unwanted person who is an embarrassment to people who benefited from his adventures in private espionage.

  5. esjr says:

    It’s a common misconception but “the Met” and “Scotland Yard” refer to one and the same thing. Scotland Yard is a “metonym” for the Met. A detail no doubt but a bit ‘off’ as the opening of what I am sure is otherwise a perceptive analysis.

    • P J Evans says:

      Adding another nitpick: It’s “Westminster”, not “Westminister”. (A minster is a big church, in this case, the Abbey.)
      I also think that should be Southwark, not Southwalk, but I could be wrong.

      • bmaz says:

        Seriously, we are back to freaking typo junk? Really?? This is not the spelling bee. But, okay, fixed! Thank you.

        • P J Evans says:

          You’re welvome.
          (This is actually a very common spelling error, and I’ve seen it even from people who want to be seen as pros, along with another common one, which is “Worchester” instead of “Worcester”. I get a little ticked, especially since they’re really easy to check.)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            That WurrSisterShire sauce can be hard to handle, but Bertie Worcester is funny as hell, especially when he runs into that guy Jeeves.

          • JamesJoyce says:


            A particular county with a small Mountain 🏔 having a Polar connection…

            “It’s a small world, after all.”

            Did u know Anthony B. on Rt 9. Hell of a guy and business..

            Don’t make them like that anymore?

    • bmaz says:

      Who in the world do you think has a “misconception” about that? It certainly was not portrayed as the same in my post.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Colloquially, Scotland Yard and the Met (Metropolitan Police Service or MPS), are interchangeable.

      Technically, Scotland Yard is the headquarters location in London of the MPS. Hence, a reporter might refer to a statement by Scotland Yard, meaning the head office, whereas the action being reported about would typically have been undertaken by some other unit of the MPS.

  6. cinnawhee says:

    I don’t think we’ve seen the extradition request yet, have we? Is it possible that the charges that were unsealed and made public are only a portion of the charges that were included in the extradition request? Just spitballin…

      • cinnawhee says:

        Buzzfeed reported that the extradition request was submitted Dec 2017. The indictment unsealed in EDVA was from Mar 2018. hmmmmm

        • bmaz says:

          Sure. That is also consistent with what most all thought was originally a direct complaint as opposed to indictment.

          • Jockobadger says:

            Apologies in advance for my denseness bmaz, but does this mean that if Assange is extradited here on the computer hacking charge, he can’t later be charged with other crimes and prosecuted for those too? Or is that what the waiver of Specialty is? Thanks for this. Learn new stuff here every single day. Yesterday html, today the Rule of Specialty.

            Another dumb one: Do you think Assange set up some sort of dead-man’s switch? A parting shot? I recall reading somewhere that he’d hinted at it.

            • timbo says:

              The answer to this is covered elsewhere in the comments here…there there’s a link to the pertinent parts of the extradition treaty between Britain and the US that will answer your question(s).

  7. Rapier says:

    The US does not abide by any treaties if it serves the purpose of the president not to. No treaty singed and approved by the US Senate is worth the paper it is printed on. If the president decides to abrogate or otherwise ignore a treaty then that’s that.

    Additionally for the US no law supersedes US law nor is the US obliged to follow any other nations or international bodies laws.

    These are some of the de facto principals by which American conservatives operate when they have political authority.

    • Rayne says:

      8 USC 1158 is law and was the means by which Congress fulfilled ratification of the protocol to the Convention on Refugees.

      It’s LAW.

      You’re seriously arguing right now we aren’t a nation of laws any longer. Just who’s side are you on?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No. A lot of lawyers and the odd idiosyncratic S.Ct. justice might agree with you, but it’s wrong.

      Treaties become US law on their signature by the president and ratification by the Senate. They are superior to legislation, but subordinate to the Constitution. Most treaties incorporate provisions for how a party to them can rescind or get out from under its obligations (and rights). Failure to follow them can lead to penalties, but imposing them is often an arcane process. Most treaties the US is party to are not, however, enforceable on their own. They require implementing legislation by Congress. .

      The current president has the same attitude toward law and due process of every color, shape and size: fuck it and fuck them. But that’s not the law.

      There is, however, a basic problem in having standing in the courts to challenge a president’s rejection of a legal requirement. There must be a case or controversy, and the president’s actions must harm the person seeking redress in a way recognized by the courts. That’s harder to do with the sort of judges the FedSoc is infiltrating into the federal judiciary through the offices of Mitch McConnell. A less ideological “normal” judge would not have a problem.

      • Democritus says:

        Lovely, EOH😊 that second para conveyed so much information already formulated to easily fit into how people remember things.

        Sorry if that is a bit out there, for context, I’ve been thinking about thought process, communication and different types of retention lately.

    • JAFive says:

      This specific legal issue has actually been litigated. In US v. Rauscher (1886), the Supreme Court specifically held (in the US-UK case no less) that a defendant could not be tried for an offense other than the one for which extradition was sought. The case is still good law and has been reaffirmed as recently as US v. Alvarez Machain in 1992 (the first holding in the case: ” A defendant may not be prosecuted in violation of the terms of an
      extradition treaty…”).

      In general, it’s true that the courts may find some treaties to be non-self-executing, but it’s definitely not the case in the extradition context. The other general issue in such cases is standing, but Assange would have unambiguous standing here to challenge a violation.

  8. Yogarhythms says:

    Ty Bmaz,
    TFW “control of your television is now returning to you”. JA, is fighting and CM is fighting. Literally litigating for their right to exist against government prosecutors saluting May n AreaMan. What could go wrong?

  9. sneakynordic says:

    Would ConFraudUS, 18 U.S.C. 371, even be an extraditable offense? It wouldn’t be a crime in the UK, so no “dual criminality.” DOJ could be waiting for him to arrive on US soil before adding the charge, undercutting his defense in UK courts that it’s a political charge in violation of Article 4 of the Treaty. Maybe?

    • viget says:

      Isn’t 18 USC 371 just the the general conspiracy statute? Surely the UK has a similar law, I would imagine.

      • sneakynordic says:

        I would imagine the charge would be under the separate “defraud clause” in sec. 371 not the general conspiracy offense. That might be different enough from the UK’s conspiracy to defraud statutory crime(?)

        • bmaz says:

          If so, what is the underlying offense? And, if so, if the US does not specify in the extradition case in UK, then what?

          Why do you think I discussed waiver in relation to Specialty issues??

          • sneakynordic says:

            I was thinking the ConFraudUS as stand-alone charge against JA, beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2017 at least. Seems like it could be successfully alleged based on the “same facts” in the computer hacking indictment, meaning 1) no requirement for waiver, and 2) JA doesn’t get to make the argument that it’s a political charge in violation of Article 4.

    • Rayne says:

      This bit I find interesting from that DB piece:

      The INA Papers leak appears to have earned little notice outside of Ecuador, until a fateful tweet from WikiLeaks on Thursday, March 28 that referenced the resultant corruption investigation by lawmakers in Ecuador’s national assembly. The tweet, since retweeted over 3,700 times, linked directly to the anonymous website hosting the hacked material in bulk.

      Emphasis mine. That’s five days after DOJ’s N996GA left Luton Airport. What a fecking idiot, like poking the bear in the ass as it walks away.

      Bears, plural, because that was the capper on Ecuador’s Moreno.

    • Democritus says:

      I feel like I might be sticking my neck out here, as I am far from an expert, but it seems Daily Beast has been doing some extremely important reporting over the last three years. Betsy Woodruffs Seychelles, Russia, and reviewing lots of independent analysis also that got the info out to a larger audience.

      I’ve been trying to think of the places that have been doing good reporting, and how there are just totally different outlooks on our currently reality based on how well people are informed on background info of what has been going on. How there are different circles of expertise and how much more media Is fracturing. People who are reading Dr. Wheeler , Mother Jones, lots of books, a few documentaries have an entirely different reality than the soccer mom who says politics don’t mater why being blind to how privileged you have to be to believe that is really true.

      Anyway, Daily Beast seems to be trying to do good, and for the record on a quick search the seem to be trying to repeat out some of Dr Wheelers findings. Ok that’s enough typing for my hands for know. Hope that makes sense, if not please feel free to delete.

      • James says:

        I’ll admit, the whole thing is confusing to me. Chalk it up to only a high school education I guess.

        Sometimes I just need more thorough explanations (or a cluebat).

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Things could get interesting in the UK extradition hearings, since the US is already making noises that it may seek additional charges. The US would be wise to put up or shut up now, file additional charges, if any, and allow Assange to litigate the issues with the Crown at one go. Merely threatening other charges will result in stringing out the UK proceedings, and for good reason.

    The UK should probably sentence Assange on the charge of breaking bail, and be done with its interest in him. The wrangling over extradition, which is meant to be streamlined, could take longer than his incarceration for that.

    The UK’s remaining interest in Assange would be limited to its obligation to comply with its requirements as the requested state under the treaty. Those include seeking assurances from the US that it will comply with its own obligations under the treaty. Given this administration and the US penal system, that’s likely to be a harder nut than anyone expects. For one thing, Pompeo, Barr and Trump are nuts.

  11. Jenny says:

    Thanks bmaz. Well, well, 145 times Trump liked WikiLeaks during his campaign.
    Today “I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing.”

    Yep, hypocrites don’t recognize hypocrisy.

  12. JAFive says:

    For the sake of argument, let’s credit the claim that additional charges are forthcoming.

    I imagine that Assange’s counsel will immediately raise political offense objections (Article 4 of the treaty) and will find whatever other reasons they can to contest extradition through the British courts and into the European Court of Human Rights. Even if everyone’s confident about the UK courts, the ECHR is its own headache for the US (cf Soering).

    Given this, there could actually be a coherent (if underhanded) strategy in play here. Secure extradition on the vanilla hacking charge (where the political offense exception seems flimsy and everything is very clean). The request for extradition is handled judicially, so you line up everything as cleanly as possible to get Assange out of the UK with minimal judicial resistance.

    Once Assange is in the US, the rule of specialty can be waived by the *executive* without judicial involvement, so you sidestep whatever problems additional charges might raise with the British courts or ECHR. Some window dressing probably gets added to all this (e.g., US claims they were waiting on the additional indictments for testimony from Manning, etc.). The Prime Minister waives the rule of specialty (presumably after insisting against the death penalty if necessary), and then the DOJ is off to the races.

    That’s underhanded, but it’s legal. It seems to be the optimal strategy if 1) both sides are worried about getting bogged down in a prolonged UK legal fight (or worse, European Court of Human Rights) and 2) the British Cabinet isn’t worried about the political costs of taking action down the road. For my money, #1 has to be a very serious concern, and I doubt there’s really an incremental political cost at #2. To the extent that there is public outcry, I imagine it will arise from extradition itself regardless of whatever other legal maneuvering occurs.

    • bmaz says:

      Your last comment cited an 1886 case that was, literally, 200 years before confirmation of the current US/UK Treaty.

      Now you are weighing in with EHCR, that has little, to NO jurisdiction? Where are you coming from? You are also misrepresenting the Rule of Specialty and the way it is applied.

      What are you doing? You have posted six comments here, and all look to be pretty much trollery. Do NOT seek to casually troll the readers of this blog. We do not sanction that bunk.

      • JAFive says:

        I’m sorry that I offended you. As you point out I’m new here, so I’m sorry if I transgressed a norm. If you don’t want me here, I will leave.

        To your specific points – I brought up Rauscher specifically in response to a comment saying that the president could just ignore an extradition treaty. Yes, this was decided in 1886, but it remains good law (thus the reference to Alvarez Machain) and stands quite clearly for the proposition that the government may not prosecute someone in violation of an extradition treaty. So far as I am aware, Rauscher would be the controlling precedent should the government decide to simply charge Assange, ignoring the treaty. If I’ve missed some subsequent development in extradition law, then let me know.

        To the second point, I’m not sure how I’m misrepresenting the rule of specialty. Your post posits a puzzle: 1) reports indicate the government plans additional charges against Assange and 2) this appears to be precluded by the rule of specialty. So, I offered a theory that explains both facts.

        The point wasn’t really about the ECHR, rather the point was that the initial extradition is subject to *judicial* review in the UK. Any additional charges, under the treaty, are subject (in effect) to *executive* review. So, that provides a way of reconciling the two facts.

        I’m not really sure that I characterized the rule of specialty at all, much less mischaracterizing or misrepresenting it. My point was about process. Is it your claim that the UK government would not act in the way I suggest because it contravenes the spirit of the rule? If so, fair enough, but I’d personally disagree.

        Finally, to the ECHR, I will admit to not being anything of an expert in European human rights law. My basic argument applies whether the judicial review is exclusively in the British courts or reaches the ECHR.

        That said, why wouldn’t the ECHR have jurisdiction? I’m not saying Assange would win, but I think he could plausibly claim that extradition to the US would violate his right to a fair trial (under Article 6), alleging a biased and politically motivated prosecution that would result in a flagrant denial of justice. The ECHR has heard a number of extradition cases arising from Article 6 claims (see pp. 90-91 here: As a non-expert, my sense is that there’s a high bar to success here, but I think there is jurisdiction.

        If I’m wrong on these points, I’d be truly curious to hear how/why. I’m not really sure why you think I’m trolling. As I said, I’m new here, and admittedly the comment that seems to have upset you is speculative in nature. I thought that was okay?

  13. viget says:

    Marcy has a reup on twitter of her November piece outlining the various ways Assange might be charged and what the effect would be on Nat Sec journalists generally, and Jason Leopold specfically.

    I wonder how well this particular indictment, crafted as it was, falls under point #3, soliciting the theft of protected info (Classified, et al).

    At its highest level it’s a conspiracy to commit an offense against the US charge, and seems to allege that the object of the conspiracy is obtaining unauthorized access to a US gov’t computer system in order to obtain classified info and disseminate it to those not authorized to have it AND in furtherance of criminal act (18 USC 1030 (a) and (b), otherwise known as Computer Fraud). So he’s really charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

    What bothers me, is that they then go on to enumerate the crimes that computer fraud was intended to further, with are 18 USC 793(c) and (e) (Espionage Act), which are PRECISELY the crimes that could apply to journalists publishing classified info. They also throw in 18 USC 641 (theft of government property or records) for good measure.

    I don’t see why they couldn’t have just left Espionage Act out of this, and just stated the 641 charge as the grounds for the computer fraud charge, which itself is the grounds for conspiracy (since it’s not clear that Assange actually cracked the password and that Manning used those credentials). That way, journalists and classified info doesn’t even enter the realm of the charge.

    Is it because USSG would give more weight to classified material charges and result in a higher recommended sentence? It just seems unnecessary to throw that in otherwise, especially given the controversies and slippery slopes of charging journalists who publish leaked classified info with espionage.

    At least with the specific Leopold situation, and please, anyone, correct me if I’m wrong, any “conspiracy” would have been to violate the Bank Secrecy Act with regards to divulging FinCen’s SARs, which are classified “Confidential”. That’s similar to the intent of the Espionage Act, but does not deal with higher classified information, such as that which Manning leaked. I would think that prosecuting Leopold in this instance as a member of the conspiracy would be even more difficult than an Espionage act violation, especially since the SAR deals with potential criminal activity, whereas there may be very good reasons to not divulge classified information. Also Leopold did nothing to actually “help” Natalie Sours Edwards obtain the info, he just gave her names to search under. Meaning that Leopold didn’t directly commit a crime in this “conspiracy”.

    I realize that in the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter what the info is, but certainly to a jury it might.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’m wondering if they’re doing this in part as a warning to Snowden and his associates.

  14. Margo Schulter says:

    Certainly I agree with bmaz that a federal death penalty prosecution of Assange for espionage seems highly unlikely. However, as a layperson who studies death penalty jurisprudence, I do commend the UK for its nonextradition policy in a situation where the death penalty might apply.

    A famous case in the European Court of Human Rights was _Soering v. UK_ (1989), where it was ruled that Jens Soering could not be extradited to the State of Virginia on murder charges unless the authorities gave assurances that the death penalty would not be sought or executed in his case. Curiously, the decision was based not on the evils of the death penalty in itself, but because of the high likelihood that, if sentenced to death, Soering would be subject to “Death Row phenomenon,” the psychological torture resulting from the ordeal of spending many years or decades on Death Row. A concurring opinion did take the position that the death penalty itself was a human rights violation of the right to life.

    Anyway, while I see Brexit as a calamity comparable to the election of Donald Trump, it’s good news that at least the UK is maintaing its policy of not extraditing to death penalty jurisdictions without the requisite assurances barring the death penalty.

    • timbo says:

      “Unlikely”? Or do you mean it won’t happen at all as Britain and the US have a treaty that is the law in the US that would forbid such a thing from occurring. Britain does not extradite people to face death penalties. The treaty between the two countries would therefore preclude this happening…as long as the law in the US is followed.

  15. Curveball says:

    Sorry if this was mentioned here and I missed it. Assange could face a big enough stick and be offered a sweet enough carrot such that he takes a deal in which he tells everything he knows about the Trump campaign’s acquisition of and use of information from WikiLeaks. And maybe more.

    • Jockobadger says:

      Maybe this was Barr’s ploy all along. They’ve already got a deal with Assange – he comes back here with a promise that they’ll go real easy on him. Then he proceeds to offload all the grisly details re: the campaign including contacts with Manafort (at the embassy), stone via phone and maybe even Jr. He might even mention the perceived “go” signal from tr*mp at the rally. Barr shrugs his bear-ish shoulders, winks at Bob M, and shambles away mumbling that there’s just too much here (with his GOP bona fides relatively intact and tr*mp neatly removed.) Fade to black with sound of sighs of relief in RNC. Nope. No way.

      • viget says:

        Definitely a possibility. Unlikely, but possible.

        The problem here, is that we have a cancer in the WH and it has metastasized to Congress. That cancer is Foreign Gov’t/Organized Crime Influence and Money. Just removing the primary tumor (Trump and his administration) does nothing to cure the cancer, because it’s still in the lymph nodes (Congress and the sleazy influence peddlers on K street). To do that, would necessarily involve exposing the congresscritters on the take and/or being blackmailed, probably in both parties, which would make it politically unappetizing for the GOP especially, but possibly some sectors of the Dem party as well.

        What we absolutely need to prevent in the meantime is distant metastases to the vital organs of the State, which include the courts, the media, and the financial industry. Clearly this is already happening, but, hopefully it’s not too late to save the patient.

      • timbo says:

        “I couldn’t help myself—it just slipped out.” Whoever said that mental gymnastics won’t ever result in a sprain?

      • Vicks says:

        Naw, let’s have Assange go down hard in the final scene.
        How about…
        He’s is being held on the single charge for now because this they can’t tip their hand to all the m f*ckers they are rounding up tomorrow.
        In my movie it’s Junior, Stone (more charges) Corsi and I’m tossing in Kelly Anne because like I said, it’s my movie.
        Two emails between JR and and rep from Wikileaks have been made public perhaps there will be more when we will finally find out why in Mueller’s indictment of all those Russians, he went to all that trouble to show us the emails and text he had as evidence but wouldn’t let us see who they were corresponding with…
        BTW all of my movies end with Muller on a stage (after a parade?) being cheered on by thousands, MAGA hats flying everywhere, a hat lands at Mueller feet the crowd goes wild as he picks it up. Just as he begins to puts the hat on his head he catches the tear filled eyes of an older man wearing a Trump t-shirt. Everything stops, the drama builds until you realize it was the old man who had throw Mueller his hat. The old man pumps his fist, and shouts something awesome about making America great again to Mueller. Mueller, (adjusting his hat ) hears him and smiles.
        fade to black.

  16. Tech Support says:

    It seems clear at this point that the current single charge has been engineered to maximize the possibility of a quick and successful extradition. Therefore we can presume that is the goal of maximal importance to the US.

    Once you get Assange into US custody, what becomes the #1 goal, the most important thing? Is it to engineer a series of actions that leads to a much longer sentence than the first charge can deliver? I don’t think so. Whatever opportunity there might be to seek additional indictments, it seems to me like their primary value comes as leverage.

    It’s already been hypothesized above that the leverage could be used like we’ve seen from the OSC, where you try to “turn” someone to produce indictments against other targets of investigations. With Assange though it seems like his primary value is on the counterintelligence side of things. Much moreso than Manafort or Stone. Additional indictments are probably “gravy” at that point.

  17. Jockobadger says:

    Speaking of gravy, I just hope he doesn’t end up a tot of polonium in his bangers and mash whilst in the custody of The Crown (aka skripicalifragilisticexpialidocious.)

  18. Jockobadger says:

    Apologies to all – that was too flip and I timed out in trying to do my editing. I do hope they flip/turn him. I imagine he has extraordinarily valuable info on the 2016 election shenanigans. The voice in my head that claims to be me sometimes gets the best of me. I’ll do better in future.

  19. harpie says:

    After years of debate, Trump administration chose to pursue criminal case against Assange
    April 11 at 7:50 PM

    […] More charges are probably forthcoming; prosecutors have 60 days to present a final case to authorities in Britain. The grand jury investigating Assange is still active, and Manning is being held in jail for refusing to testify before it. […]
    In fighting the grand jury subpoena, Manning told reporters that she already gave “voluminous information” to the government at her military trial and had nothing more to offer. Prosecutors disagree, saying in a recent filing that she has never fully revealed the extent of her interactions with Assange. […]

  20. tullalove says:

    As a layman, here, Chuck Rosenberg’s explanation of the rule of speciality on the RMS only confused things, if I correctly understand Bmaz’s more precise description. Hypotheticals about the NYT breaking into the IRS aren’t all that instructive, because they muddy the waters in Assange’s specific case in all sorts of ways. I think he was trying hard (and got Rachel kisses as a result), but the cable-news dumbing-down isn’t productive. It seems like a false analogy that could do more harm than good in deciding how to advance first-amendment rights for journalists.

  21. Eureka says:

    DB has a piece on tonight’s Hannity “defense” of Assange, which is more like using the occasion of Assange’s arrest to rehash some talking points. Hannity also re-frames 45-‘s “I don’t know him” nonsense in such a way as to force it to make sense (i.e. ~ that POTUS is just hands-off with such DOJ matters. LOL).

    But there’s an embedded clip that’s giving me bother:

    Hannity Rallies to Assange’s Defense: WikiLeaks Has Better Track Record Than ‘Fake News Media’

    The clip has a few more piquing details than what DB chose to transcribe. It includes part of Hannity’s January 3, 2017 interview with Assange. I can’t help but note the similarly careful language used then by Assange re WL relationship with RU, and later by Barr in his letter (via some versions of Mueller’s remit) re Trump/campaign relationship with RU: that his source was “not the Russian government” and “not a state party.” This is in response to Hannity declare-asking something like ~~So you can say “1,000%” that you “did not get it from RU or anybody associated with RU.” Instead of ‘Yes’ to this broader Q, Assange says ~~ We can say/as we’ve said for two months, it was “not the RU govt” and “not a state party.”

    Hannity says live, after the old clip, in 2019(!): “So if it wasn’t Russia like Assange just said, then who was it?”

    Not up for doing a full transcript, but note the parallel sleights of hand. Hannity uses his to launch into some BS:

    Hannity then wondered why Special Counsel Robert Mueller never questioned Assange if it “wasn’t Russia,” adding that Assange “could have been the guy that offered computer forensics that would prove exactly where that information came from.”

    “Mueller didn’t take the time to ask?” Hannity exclaimed.

    My interest here though is why DOJ would scythe-out the middlemen* (in the Barr case, on the Trump/campaign side of the question), using similar rhetorical tactics as Assange. If we assume Assange is truthful in his phrasing, then it will be interesting to see how the actual Mueller Report characterizes the RU-WL relationship as contrasted with the RU-Trump campaign/affiliates ones.

    *where per our IC and other experts (e.g. March 28, 2019 testimony to HPSCI) these would not be considered to be “non-state” actors.

    • InfiniteLoop says:

      It’s all about plausible deniability.

      The New Yorker’s Raffi Khatchadourian interviewed Assange in 2018, after the GRU indictment came down. Assange tied himself in knots producing the following logic:

      1) If Guccifer 2.0 is defined as a state-run entity, then he was not the source.
      2) If someone is arrested as the WL source, they’re innocent because Guccifer 2.0 did it.
      3) If Guccifer 2.0 was the source, he isn’t a state-run entity.

      Ow, my head! The only way I can see this logic making sense is if Assange’s source *was* a state agent and he’s trying frantically to provide cover. Unfortunately, similar tactics seem to be working elsewhere in the Russia investigation.

    • vicks says:

      Blech,, watched the Hannity video and now I need to shower.
      It absolutely sounds like Hannity and Barr are looking at the same recipe as they slice and dice. I have to laugh, I went to look for a comment where I had included the exact quotes from Barr’s “summary” so I could save time and cut and paste, I included it below…
      I don’t have time to check it out right now but I think there may be some answers to what they are up to in Muller’s (very chatty) indictments against the Russian hackers and the IRA. At the time I read them, I remember getting the following impressions.
      1. The individuals indicted were employed by the Russian government but what do I, or any other average American know about the Russian titles used in the report?
      2. There were a lot of correspondence included as evidence, but who was on the other end was redacted, at the time I assumed that information would be part of the big reveal.
      3. There was no mystery left for Muller to solve on the issue of the hack. I assumed we would find out those details through further indictments or the final report. Here we are.

      * “{T}he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in it’s election interference activities.”
      Barr then went on to do a full “Hannity” in the next paragraph when he referenced the partial sentence from Mueller’s report “as noted above” and proceeded to just make shit up
      “as noted above the special council did not find that ANY U.S. PERSON or Trump campaign official OR ASSOCIATE conspired OR KNOWINGLY conspired with THE IRA IN IT”S election interference activities.

  22. Margo Schulter says:

    To clarify for Timbo at 6:22 p.m., since the reply feature was evidently designed for GUI systems (as was true on FDL, as I recall), when I called a death penalty prosecution in the USA “unlikely” for Assange, I meant even in the hypothetical case where somehow he wound up in the USA without any extradition process or agreement. My idea was that either the difficulty of proving a requisite statutory aggravating factor to make Assange’s alleged espionage death-eligible, or a common-sense evaluation of proportionality, would cause a sane Attorney General to decline a capital prosecution.

    What I reflected on in part were the executions of the Rosenbergs on 19 June 1953, where the evidence by the 2000’s had led to a general agreement that at least Julius was guilty of some form of espionage for the Soviets, but there was very widespread agreement (going back at least to the 1970’s) that the death sentences and executions were excessive and also the fruit of an unethical process (e.g. ex parte communications between judge and prosecution).

    In no way did my “unlikely” refer to the situation where Assange might be extradited to the USA with the compulsory assurances ruling out the death penalty. Of course, “impossible” or “unthinkable” would be my own choice of words, even under the dubious legality which has often been the hallmark of Trump Administration policy.

  23. Joel Fisher says:

    After all these years, I’m not so interested in punishing Assange for past behavior as putting him in front of a grand jury/House Judiciary Committee and asking him the key Trump/Russia questions. If he lies it’s a new offense and if he won’t testify (assuming some sort of immunity), he gets to ponder life in jail. His shortest route to freedom is testimony. While one must give him credit for not being forthcoming about his sources, Russia’s state security is hardly a source that needs protecting. It also must be observed that it’s curious that the Trump administration would want this loose cannon careening around Washington unless 1) they’re not concerned about what he might say, or 2) the extradition was done by minions far below Barr.

Comments are closed.