The Logistics of the Julian Assange Indictment

The extradition request and indictment have been pending while Vault 7 and Roger Stone have percolated

According to a BuzzFeed report from yesterday’s bail hearing in London, Julian Assange’s extradition warrant was dated December 22, 2017.

That means the extradition request came amid an effort by Ecuador to grant him diplomatic status after which he might be exfiltrated to Ecuador or Russia; the extradition request came the day after the UK denied him diplomatic status.

Ecuador last Dec. 19 approved a “special designation in favor of Mr. Julian Assange so that he can carry out functions at the Ecuadorean Embassy in Russia,” according to the letter written to opposition legislator Paola Vintimilla.

“Special designation” refers to the Ecuadorean president’s right to name political allies to a fixed number of diplomatic posts even if they are not career diplomats.

But Britain’s Foreign Office in a Dec. 21 note said it did not accept Assange as a diplomat and that it did not “consider that Mr. Assange enjoys any type of privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention,” reads the letter, citing a British diplomatic note.

Both events came in the wake of the revocation of Joshua Schulte’s bail after he got caught using Tor, in violation of his bail conditions. And the events came days before Donald Trump’s longtime political advisor Roger Stone told Randy Credico he was about to orchestrate a blanket pardon for Assange.

In early January, Roger Stone, the longtime Republican operative and adviser to Donald Trump, sent a text message to an associate stating that he was actively seeking a presidential pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—and felt optimistic about his chances. “I am working with others to get JA a blanket pardon,” Stone wrote, in a January 6 exchange of text messages obtained by Mother Jones. “It’s very real and very possible. Don’t fuck it up.” Thirty-five minutes later, Stone added, “Something very big about to go down.”

The indictment used to submit an extradition request yesterday was approved by an EDVA grand jury on March 6, 2018, 13 months ago and just a few months after the extradition request.

That means the indictment has been sitting there at EDVA since a few days before Mueller obtained warrants to obtain the contents of five AT&T cell phones, one of which I suspect belongs to Roger Stone (see this post for a timeline of the investigation into Stone). The indictment has been sitting there since a few weeks before Ecuador first limited visitors for Julian Assange last March. It has been sitting there for three months before the government finally indicted Joshua Schulte, in June 2018, for the leak of Vault 7 files they had been pursuing for over a year (see this post for a timeline of the investigation into Schulte). It was sitting there when, in July, Mueller rolled out an indictment referring to WikiLeaks as an unindicted co-conspirator with GRU on the 2016 election hacks, without charging the organization. It was also sitting there last July when David House testified about publicizing Chelsea Manning’s case to the grand jury under a grant of immunity. It was sitting there when Schulte got videotaped attempting to leak classified information from jail, making any prosecution far easier from a classified information standpoint; that happened right around the time Ecuador ratcheted up the restrictions on Assange. It had been sitting there for 10 months by the time Mueller indicted Roger Stone for lying about optimizing the WikiLeaks release of documents stolen by Russia, again while naming but not charging WikiLeaks. It had been sitting there for 11 months when Chelsea Manning first got a subpoena to testify before an EDVA grand jury, and a full year before she went public with her subpoena. It had been sitting there for over a year when Mueller announced he was finishing on March 22; likewise it has been sitting there ever since Bill Barr announced Trump’s team hadn’t coordinated with the Russian government but remained silent about coordination with WikiLeaks.

In short, the indictment has been sitting there for quite some time and the extradition warrant even longer, even as several different more recent investigations appear to be relentlessly moving closer to WikiLeaks. It has been sealed, assuming it’s the same as the complaint the existence of which was accidentally revealed late last year because, “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

There’s a somewhat obvious reason why it got indicted when it did. As WaPo and others have pointed out, the eight year statute of limitations on the CFAA charges in the indictment would have run last year on March 7, 2018.

But that doesn’t explain why DOJ decided to charge Assange in this case, when Assange’s actions with Vault 7 appear far more egregious, or why the indictment is just being unsealed now. And it doesn’t explain why it got released — without any superseding allegations — now, even while WaPo and CNN report more charges against Assange are coming.

Here’s what I suspect DOJ is trying to do with this indictment.

The discussion of cracking the password takes place as Manning runs out of files to share

First, consider these details about the indictment. As I noted earlier, the overt act it charges as a conspiracy is an agreement to crack a password.

On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network, a United States government network used for classified documents and communications, as designated according to Executive Order No. 13526 or its predecessor orders.


The portion of the password Manning gave to Assange to crack was stored as a “hash value” in a computer file that was accessible only by users with administrative-level privileges. Manning did not have administrative-level privileges, and used special software, namely a Linux operating system, to access the computer file and obtain the portion of the password provided to Assange.

Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log onto the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to identify Manning as the source of disclosures of classified information.

More specifically, the overt act relates to some exchanges revealed in chat logs that have long been public, dating to March 2010 (see this post for a timeline of some related activities from this period, but not this chat; this post describes a chronology of Manning’s alleged leaks). This is a period when Manning had already leaked things to WikiLeaks, including the Collateral Murder video they’re in the process of editing during the conversation and the Iraq and Afghan war logs that were apparently a focus of the David House grand jury testimony.

In the logs, Manning asks whether WikiLeaks wants Gitmo detainee files (a file that, in my opinion, was one of the most valuable leaked by Manning). Assange isn’t actually all that excited because “gitmo is mostly over,” but suggests the files may be useful to defense attorneys (they were! to some of the same defense attorneys defending Assange now!) or if Afghanistan heats up.

Manning says she’s loading one more archive of interesting stuff.

This appears to be the Gitmo files.

Manning explicitly says that’s all she’s got, and then talks about taking some years off to let heat die down, even while gushing about the current rate of change.

Some hours later, amid a discussion about the status of the upload of the Gitmo files that are supposed to be the last file she’s got, Manning then asks Assange if he’s any good at cracking passwords.

He says he has, “passed it onto our lm guy.”

Two days later Assange asks for more information on the hash, stating (as the indictment notes) that he’s had no luck cracking it so far. Then there’s a six day break in the chat logs, at least as presented.

The next day Assange floats getting Manning a crypto phone but then thinks better of it.

These chat logs end the next day, March 18, 2010. As the indictment notes, however, it’s not until ten days later, on March 28, 2010, that Manning starts downloading the State cable files.

Following this, between March 28, 2010, and April 9, 2010, Manning used a United States Department of Defense computer to download the U.S. Department of State cables that WikiLeaks later released publicly.

It’s unclear whether Assange ever cracked the password — but the chat log suggests he involved another person in the conspiracy

Most people have assumed, given what the indictment lays out, that Assange never succeeded in cracking the password. I have no idea whether he did or not, but I’m seeing people base that conclusion on several faulty assumptions. (Update: HackerFantastic notes that Assange couldn’t have broken this password, but goes on to describe how using other code it might be possible; that’s interesting because Manning was alleged to have added additional software onto the network after the initial Linux device, on May 4, 2010.)

First, some people assume that if Assange had succeeded in cracking the password, the indictment would say so. I’m not so sure. The indictment only needs to allege that Assange and Manning entered into a conspiracy — which the indictment deems a password cracking conspiracy — and took an overt act, whether or not the conspiracy itself was successful. The government suggests that Assange’s comment that he’s had “no luck so far” shows that he has taken an overt act, trying to crack it. Nothing else is required for the purposes of the indictment.

Further, several things about the chat log, as received, suggests there may be more going on in the background. There’s the six day gap after that conversation. There’s the contemplation of getting Manning a crypto phone. And then the chat logs as the government has chosen to release them end, though as the government notes, ten days after they end, Manning starts downloading the State cables.

But the record at least suggests that this conspiracy involves at least one more person, the “lm guy.” Maybe Assange was just falsely claiming to have a guy who focused on cracking certain kinds of hashes. Or maybe the government knows who he is.

The reference to him, however, suggests that there’s at least one more person in this conspiracy. The indictment notes there are “other co-conspirators known and unknown to the Grand Jury,” which is the norm for conspiracy indictments. But there are no other details of who else might be included.

Yes, this particular conspiracy is incredibly narrowly conceived, focused on just that password decryption. But there’s also the “Manner and Means of the Conspiracy” language that has (rightly) alarmed journalists so much, describing the goal of acquiring and sharing classified information that WikiLeaks could disseminate, and describing the operational security (Jabber and deleted chat logs) and inducement to accomplish that goal.

In other words, this indictment seems to be both an incredibly narrow charge, focused on a few Jabber conversations between Assange and Manning, and a much larger conspiracy in which Assange and other unnamed co-conspirators help her acquire and transmit classified documents about the US.

The logistics of the conspiracy prosecution(s)

Which brings me back to how this indictment might fit in amidst several larger, parallel efforts to prosecute WikiLeaks in the last 16 months.

This indictment may be the formalization of a complaint used as the basis for what seems to be a hastily drawn extradition request in December 2017, at a time when Ecuador and Russia were attempting to spring Assange, possibly in the wake of the government’s move to detain Schulte.

The indictment does not allege the full Cablegate conspiracy. David House testified months ago. And the government currently has Manning in jail in an attempt to coerce her to cooperate. That coercive force, by the way, may be the point of referencing the Espionage Act in the indictment: to add teeth to the renewed legal jeopardy that Manning might face if she doesn’t cooperate.

But what the indictment does — and did do, yesterday — is serve as the basis to get Assange booted from the embassy and moved into British custody, kicking off formal extradition proceedings.

As a number of outlets have suggested, any extradition process may take a while. Although two things could dramatically abbreviate it. First, Sweden could file its own extradition on the single remaining rape charge against Assange, which might get priority over the US request. Ironically, that might be Assange’s best bet to stay out of US custody for the longest possible time. Alternately, Assange could simply not contest extradition to the US, which would leave him charged in this bare bones indictment that even Orin Kerr suggests is a fairly aggressive charging of CFAA.

Barring either of those things happening, however, the US government now has one suspect in any conspiracy it wants to charge in the custody of a friendly country. It has accomplished that with entirely unclassified allegations, which means any other suspects won’t know anything more than they knew on Wednesday. Anything else it wants to charge — or any other moving parts it needs to pursue — it can now do without worrying too much that Assange will be put in the “boot” of a Russian diplomatic vehicle to be exfiltrated to Russia.

It has between now and at least May 2 — when Assange has his next hearing — to add any additional charges against Assange, while still having them charged under the Rule of Specialty before any possible extradition. It has maybe a month left on the Mueller grand jury.

Meanwhile, several things have happened recently.

First, in recent weeks two things have happened in the Schulte case. His lawyers made yet another bid to get the warrants that justified the initial searches excluded from the protective order. Schulte and his lawyers have been complaining about these warrants from the start, and Schulte’s public comments or leaks about them are part of what got him charged with violating his protective order. From description, it sounds like FBI was parallel constructing other information tying him to the Vault 7 leaks, and fucked up royally in doing so, introducing errors in the process (though the Hal Martin case makes me wonder whether the errors aren’t still more egregious). The government objected to this request, arguing that the warrants would disclose how the CIA stored its hacking documents and asserting that the investigation is definitely ongoing.

The Search Warrant Materials discuss, among other things, the way that the U.S. Intelligence Agency maintained a classified computer system that was integral to the Agency’s intelligence-gathering mission. Broadly disseminating that information would permit a host of potentially hostile actors to glean valuable intelligence about the way the U.S. Intelligence Agency maintained its computer systems or its security protocols, which would harm national security.


The defendant’s abbreviated argument for de-designating the Search Warrant Materials is speculative, conclusory, and misguided. First, the defendant claims that the “time for investigation is long gone.” (Def. Let. at 1). The defendant is neither in a position to judge nor the arbiter of when it is appropriate for the Government to end its investigation into one of the largest-ever illegal disclosures of classified information. Simply put, while details are not appropriate for discussion in a public letter, the Government confirms that its investigation is not done and can supply the Court with additional information on an ex parte basis if the Court wishes.

Meanwhile, the government suggested severing the most recent charges — in which it has video surveillance showing Schulte leaking classified or protected information — from the underlying child porn and Vault 7 leaks.

As the Court is aware, trial in this matter is currently set for April 8, 2019. (See Minute Entry for August 8, 2018 Conference). To afford the parties sufficient time to prepare the necessary pretrial motions, including suppression motions and motions pursuant to the Classified Information Procedures Act (“CIPA”), the parties respectfully request that the Court adjourn the trial until November 4, 2019. The parties are also discussing a potential agreement concerning severance, as well as the order of the potentially severed trials. The parties will update the Court on severance and a pretrial motion schedule at or before the conference scheduled for April 10, 2019.

The defense didn’t weigh in on this plan, which (it would seem) would go a long way to eliminating the government’s parallel construction problem. They were supposed to talk about the severance issue in a hearing Monday, but it sounds like the only thing that got discussed was CIA’s refusal to comply with discovery. My guess is that Schulte will try to get those initial warrants and any fruit of them thrown out, and if that doesn’t work then maybe plead down to prevent a life sentence.

Meanwhile, Ecuador has taken steps to roll up people it claims have ties to Assange.

Tuesday, it fired a staffer in the embassy who had been extremely close to Assange (which may be how he learned about the plans to arrest him last week). Then, yesterday, Ecuador detained Swedish coder Ola Bini, alleging he was involved in some of the hacking they’ve accused Assange of. They also claim to know of two Russian hackers involved.

I have no idea if these developments are just Ecuador trying to cover-up corruption or real ties to WikiLeaks or perhaps something in between. There are no trustworthy actors here.

But — as William Arkin also notes — there’s an effort to test whether WikiLeaks has been at the front end of many of these leaks. Aside from WikiLeaks’ reported source for its Saudi Leaks files from Russia, Arkin focuses less on the reasons there are real questions about WikiLeaks’ relationship with Russia. I think we honestly won’t know which of the untrustworthy sides is being more trustworthy until we see the evidence.

Whichever it is, it seems that DOJ is poised to start building out whatever it can on at least one conspiracy indictment against WikiLeaks. The indictment and its implementation yesterday seems primarily to have served as a way to lock down one part — the most volatile one — of the equation. What comes next may assuage concerns about the thinness of this indictment or it may reveal something far more systematic.

In the meantime, Assange is represented by some great lawyers, both in the UK and here. Which at least increases the chances any larger claims DOJ plans to roll out will be tested aggressively.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

137 replies
  1. viget says:

    Wow. Just awesome Marcy. I wish I had a tenth of the knowledge of this case that you do.

    Quick question: Can Manning still be charged under 18USC793 ? Wouldn’t that be double jeopardy?

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that. She wasn’t charged in a CONSPIRACY before I don’t think.

      • bmaz says:

        Whether it is that section or another, Manning can absolutely still be charged. And this is why her current posture is beyond idiotic.

        • P J Evans says:

          What on Earth are her attorneys telling her/ Because they should be trying to get her to notice the mess she’s actually in now.

        • Alan Kurtz says:

          I’m no lawyer, but I’ve paid attention to Chelsea Manning’s ongoing plight. Yet I’ve seen no discussion of this point. I wish someone would flesh it out. Leaving aside contempt for resisting the grand jury, how would she be charged under 18 U.S. Code § 793—as a civilian in federal district court or as a recalled soldier subject to UCMJ equivalent in a second general court-martial by U.S. Army?

        • emptywheel says:

          She testified that Assange didn’t help her. That’s the core of what they want her to testify about, apparently. If he did, that would put her in a conspiracy with whoever else was a part of this (and David House gets you *to* a conspiracy).

        • Alan Kurtz says:

          Chelsea Manning never testified that Assange didn’t help her. On February 28, 2013, in a so-called “providence inquiry” during the pretrial phase of her court-martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, PFC Manning was placed under oath before reading aloud a 34-page, hour-long confession written in confinement. At one point she declared, “The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO [WikiLeaks Organization] and website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions.” Her statement was not subject to cross-examination by prosecutors. She did not testify at her subsequent trial, although she was allowed to make an unsworn statement during the sentencing phase—which again was not subject to cross-examination. At no time did Manning testify about any conversation between her and Assange “on or about March 8, 2010” as alleged in the March 6, 2018 EDVA indictment of Assange. Manning’s acceptance of “full responsibility” for her actions in no way absolves Assange of responsibility for his own actions, whatever they may have been.

        • bmaz says:

          If you think statements by a defendant on the record at a formal sentencing don’t count for truthfulness, I’ve got some news for you. And the DOJ absolutely believes she lied in this regard, that was the specific cause of them offering her immunity to testify in the grand jury.

        • Alan Kurtz says:

          I’ve got some news for you: Chelsea Manning said nothing about Assange in her unsworn, 394-word statement during the pre-sentencing phase of her court-martial. What did she lie about?

        • bmaz says:

          You will have to ask the DOJ about that, but they are adamant that there is indeed an issue. Why in the world do you think they offered the immunity? I see you have no explanation for that. I also see you seem to have backed off your absolutely silly posit that an “unsworn” statement at sentencing cannot be problematic. But, hey, whatever. I mean, it is not like you are some kind of Trumpian MAGA Manning disinformation asshat. Oh, wait, yes you are!

        • emptywheel says:

          I get your point, which is sort of what the government is using to force her to testify.
          My guess, however, is that their questions go well beyond the terms of what got discussed during her court martial.

        • bmaz says:

          You are still a MAGA troll. And you are still full of it about the exposure for sentencing statements by a defendant. And you still do not understand diddly squat about the nature of conspiracy charging or law as it applies to Manning. If you think you have been vindicated, you are sadly mistaken.

    • viget says:

      OOooh, I know this one!

      It was made on the basis of a criminal complaint by the FBI. They only indicted once they knew the SOL would be up.

      • emptywheel says:

        Right: I think the complaint we heard about in November was actually from December, not last summer as alleged.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. And the direct complaint was plenty sufficient for the extradition request. Keep in mind Sweden, due to their…peculiar…charging protocols had an extradition request premised on an EU warrant, not even formal charges per se.

  2. orionATL says:

    “Vault 7” is the name Wikileaks gave to its series of reports/revelations on CIA’s cyber theft capability. here is the Wikileaks’ document that introduces that series. whatever your opinion of Assange atvthe moment, this is thought provoking reading. dive in:

    if you tap the “documents” option, you can have the thrill of seeing a gen-uine u.s. Gov classified document. alas, though, these are merely classified “secret”.

    here’s a document classified “secret/noporn”. excuse me, that’s “secret/noforn”, i.e., no foreign dissemination:

    • Tech Support says:

      See this is the most frustrating thing. Looking at this whole situation through a lens of accountability, transparency, and justice is made difficult when the lens is all smudged with Assange’s fingerprints.

      • orionATL says:

        very nicely put.

        Assange exposes how much hidden power, with the potential to exploit, that our government has over our private computer-based communications. but Assange also meddles, extensively and destructively, in the most important election in this democracy.

  3. Desider says:

    IANAL, but I’m betting it’s not a problem to get the UK to waive the Rule of Specialty for additional more sensitive charges (ones that would endanger other Grand Juries and pending indictments)
    I at first believed the one charge on Assange from 2010 would damage the spirit of journalism, but Marcy’s rundown seems to clarify that Wikipedia likely stepped way over the line of what journalists can properly do, in terms of illegally helping the leaker/whistle blower.
    I also tend to agree/surmise that the single old charge prevents Assange from accessing much useful discovery for now.

  4. Molly Pitcher says:

    I am NOT legally enlightened, so apologies if this is an idiotic question. Something bmaz just said makes me wonder about timing. Bmaz said that Sweden had an “extradition request predicated on an EU warrant”. Was the arrest of Assange at all influenced by the Brexit deadline that would have been today, had the EU not just extended the timeline ?

    • bmaz says:

      No no! I have said only that that Sweden is seriously considering refiling, not that they have yet or that there is yet an EU extradition warrant promulgated. Honestly, at first I thought they would stand back and leave this be. That may well not be the case whatsoever.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s DoJ had to overcome the inertia of past decisions and chose to indict and extradite him. For this administration, that suggests it has political as well as legal reasons to obtain jurisdiction over Assange. If so, it would be pressuring the Swedes to allow the US first crack at him.

      It will take months to extradite him, more if the US throws in a kitchen sink full of charges,which would give the defense more ammo to fight extradition. Meanwhile, his liability for jumping bail in the UK should be sorted out.

      All in, a summer’s worth of reading and difficult time for everybody directly involved. It does help to capture the headlines from all those young turks and old hands in the Democratic Party, who want to hold el Presidente accountable.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, it may well be far longer than months. Remember, Assange fought off the Swedish warrant for a year and a half. Quite possible that, even with some expedition, the process could take a year or more on the US request. Don’t know whether it will work or not, but if Sweden refiles, they will argue they get the first shot because their original warrant takes precedence, especially since their statute of limitations expires in 2020. Many members of Parliament have already supported this position if Sweden does indeed refile. It is going to be fascinating to watch play out.

        • bmaz says:

          Again, not sure what Sweden will do, or how the UK would view it, but keep in mind the charge and extradition status on the Swedish rape allegation have been fully litigated by Assange to exhaustion, and he lost already.

  5. CaliLawyer says:

    Anyone know what the standard would be for seizing Assange’s devices? Ecuadorian? UK? 4A? I ask because some like a confession derived from torture in Saudi Arabia would be inadmissible for obvious credibility reasons, but it’s not clear to me that the prophylactic nature of the 4A has any bearing on extraterritorial seizures of property.

    • CaliLawyer says:

      *something. I suppose he just gets trundled off to British jail with his possessions in storage and the Brits deal with it via treaty.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m virtually certain they did not seize the devices he left behind. If they did, they didn’t seize everything.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    Gosh, talk about cleaning clocks and knocking socks off. That was a work of art. Thanks for the William Arkin article, too. Whew! Things are cooking with gas now!

    • timbo says:

      Maybe. The thing is that Assange isn’t being charged in the US with anything even remotely connected to 2016. And he can’t be charged in the US under our treaty obligation without the permission of the UK once he is here, only prosecuted on the 2010/Manning related charge. It is an odd web that is woven here…

      • bmaz says:

        That is mostly correct, though not completely. He could be charged with lesser includeds. And he can still be charged with any superseding charges filed in the next 60 days or so prior to extradition.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Steve Bannon continues to fan the fascist flames. Most recently, he’s been in Italy, urging the Italian foreign minister to shout that the pope is wrong to advocate extending Christian charity and love toward all, including migrants, a position common to religious leaders. []

    The pope even suggested last month that political leaders should focus on the “root causes” of immigration [climate change, neoliberal policies] rather than condemn the poorest to further destitution behind walls, be they “razor wire or bricks.” “With fear, we will not move forward,” says the pope, in a veiled reference to Donald Trump and other hard right leaders. []

    Those religious and other leaders following Bannon and Trump are anything but true, except to their own desires for power, which require having a loathsome enemy toward which they can redirect the anger, fear and hatred their predatory policies and actions instill among their followers.

    But who is paying for Steve Bannon to go on his continental tour and be the public face of global fascism?

    • Rayne says:

      Good question as to who is paying Bannon since he still has family here and I thought he still had support obligations.

      As for his undermining Pope Francis: Bannon was born into an Irish Catholic family. He knows based on church teachings he is risking his immortal soul for the nationalist hate he is promoting which goes against both Catholic and Christian core text.

      I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. — Matthew 25:35

      Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me. — Matthew 25:40

      Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. — Zechariah 7:9-10

      Those three verses from the New and Old Testament only scratch the surface.

        • Rayne says:

          Then he owns his anarchy, it’s all on him if he’s not beholden to anyone else.

          I hope he faces retribution equal to his evil.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          But is he any more willing than Trump to spend his own money fomenting fascists? These sorts of expenditures are often channeled through opaque vehicles to hide who is actually paying for this sort of thing. And I doubt he’s traveling standby or on a Eurail pass and staying in hostels.

        • orionATL says:

          he could spend all 48 million on acts of contrition and he’d still be on the hook for thousands of years in purgatory. and that would just be his intro to an eternity in hell.

          Bannon’s concern for the less fortunate features social dissolution and political destruction; Pope Francis’s concern for the less fortunate features those of us more fortunate using our knowledge, guided by our conscience, to change social and political structures that economically imprison the less fortunate:

          for all his reading, Bannon remains an essential savage and political romantic with a poor sense of history, social dissolution and dictatorship.

      • Synoia says:

        he is risking his immortal soul for the nationalist hate

        Umm, not if he has already sold his immortal soul….

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Dissecting Donald Trump’s immigration policies, Robert Reich proposes Six Rules of Dictatorship:

    1. Fuel public anger against the “other.”
    2. Create a crisis.
    3. Use it to enlarge and entrench power.
    4. Use cruelty to spread fear.
    5. Take unilateral power.
    6. Destroy Democracy.

    Shakespeare’s advice to those seeking to cement the gains of their insurrection: “Kill all the lawyers.” (Henry VI, Part 2.)

    That’s because lawyers were already the bureaucrats through whom a sole monarch functioned as a government. As keepers of precedent and institutional memory, they determined what was legitimate. That knowledge threatened a usurper. In Trump’s time, the rules are similar, but with firing and character attacks as the norm:

    There are now 18 vacancies at the top of the Department of Homeland Security — including the secretary, deputy secretary, chief financial officer, two undersecretaries, the assistant secretary for policy, the director of the Secret Service, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (who is now acting Secretary).

    Reportedly, Trump also intends to fire the longtime head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services….“We’re going in a tougher direction.”…

    Trump is also keeping vacant the top positions at every other department with any responsibility for border security, including Defense and Interior….It’s about total control. “I like acting [secretaries and directors,” Trump said in January. “It gives me more flexibility.”

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      For laws to have any effect requires: 1) a willingness to enforce, and 2) an ability to enforce.

      When the president is the lawbreaker, this equation is stressed to the max. The very rule of law is under siege. Who is willing and who is able to stop it?

      • bmaz says:

        This is exactly right. Adding, good governance also depends on the good intent and good faith of those elected to govern. We have gotten far away from that. People want to change the Constitution, but the current batch of GOP, and some Dems too, could bugger up any form of governance. It is not the document, it is the people.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        Yep. But the unwillingness or inability of any law enforcement enforcement entity or individual, from the courts through the FBI, to enforce the law to prevent the ascension of dictatorship is not enough to keep the coup in place. That’s what we have experienced thus far. No, what is necessary to finish the job is the ability and willingness of a majority of the 30-35% of the eligible voting population that supports the coup to act at the direction of the leader. That is where we are right now. It’s comin’ to your city or town soon folks, if it hasn’t already. Where are the fuckin’ elected Democrats and the candidates for office??!!! This is not just how democracy dies, this is how civilization stops breathin”.

        • r helder says:

          thank you, leila. that david rothkopf thread is brilliant, summarizing much that i have been unable to articulate. indeed, some passages reminded me of the best of thomas paine’s “common sense.” more people need to see it.

        • P J Evans says:

          Norskie, that 30% has always been there. They just haven’t had one of their own on top before, and they don’t see – maybe are completely unable to see – how they’re being f*cked over, just like what’s happening to everyone else.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          You’re right that at certain times of extreme economic and social dislocation, a large number of suffering and frightened folks are willing to do terrible things but until this moment in our country the ruling class has been afraid of or unwilling to enable them. We have experienced a split in the ruling elite and now one element is willing to empower that mass of angry and frightened folks and the other group is still in fear and disdain of that mass and simply withdraws to securing what’s left of their assets. No this is new for us PJ.

    • emptywheel says:

      Dems really need to get better at laying out the potential jeopardy that Trump has put us in by emptying out the bureaucracies.

  9. Charlie says:

    Interesting that Assange’s next hearing is on the day of the UK wide local council elections so not likely to be given any headlines. Lot of discussion since his arrest about whether he should be extradited to USA with plenty of Twitter talk about Sweden having first claim.
    As an aside, Brexit talk has greatly subsided with extension to end of October but now it’s the late May European elections in the headlines. General feeling seems to be that the way they go will show whether the country wants “in” or “out” of Europe. Am not sure that’s the case as these elections have always had a low turn out. However, with Nigel Farage on a resurgence streak with his new “The Brexit Party”, we may be headed for street riots as he has kicked his campaign off by attacking Members of Parliament. Hey ho…

    • Chetnolian says:

      As it is on the actual day of the elections which will not be callling results till late I would bet the Assange hearing will be first item on early evening bulletins. Assange is getting a lot of coverage with political pressure to favour Sweden if they wish to progress the issue

      • bmaz says:

        I have seen that. And it is not really a wrong sentiment in the least. In fact, it is probably equitably correct if Sweden files again. That said, not sure it is going to happen, even if it should.

    • Valley girl says:

      Apologies, as this isn’t directly related to Assange, but you mentioned Brexit and Farage. I just finished watching an excellent and chilling documentary that was aired on German TV. Warning: It required a lot of attention on my part b/c I don’t speak German- and the English subtitles are in smallish print. But most of the people interviewed or shown are Brits, so that helped.


      Topics: Brexit referendum, Nigel Farage, Bannon, Robert Mercer, Farage & Trump, AIQ, etc. etc. Even DARPA comes into the story.

  10. bmaz says:

    Dear Alan Kurtz at 11:12 am, you have not come here to “understand”, you have come here to peddle MAGA bullshit. If you do not understand the implications of 18 USC §1001 in relation to a sentencing, irrespective of sworn perjury, I cannot help you. And, if I have been patronizing to you, it is because you have waltzed in and spread baloney and disinformation. Maybe try reading the actual pleadings surrounding Manning. Maybe try understanding even minimal law as it relates to the government and courts. Maybe peddle your BS somewhere else.

  11. Colonel Alexsay Potemkin says:

    If this is decided by law – rather than politics – it is difficult to see how this extradition request can possibly succeed, since it is difficulty to see how the actions of Assange represent a crime under UK law. The indictment claims both a conspiracy and an attempted crime and the legal requirements of both these are quite narrow in UK law.

    Specifically the actus reus has to be “more than preparatory”. For example in R v Geddes: “Gary William Geddes (G), 29, was discovered in the toilets of a school to which he had no connection, with a rucksack. When leaving the school, G discarded the rucksack which was contained a knife, rope and masking tape.”

    He was convicted, but it was overturned on appeal:

    ” In this case, G had a clear mens rea of intention to commit the offence under section 1 of false imprisonment, however he had not made any contact with his pupils and his preparatory actions of packing his rucksack and being in the school toilets did not surpass the preparation stage to the implementation and execution stage of that offence. The appeal was allowed and the conviction quashed. ”

    In any case I don’t see what stops Assange from claiming the hash was successfully cracked but he declined to pass on the clear text because he was aware it was a crime. However he wished to avoid antagonizing a source.

    Since it all comes down to Assange’s state of mind and there is no real evidence as to what that actually was.

    Of course, that is the law. Politics may dictate another outcome.

    • bmaz says:

      Total baloney. Assange clearly engaged in action that was “more than preparatory.

      Also, no, “state of mind” as a defense to extradition is ridiculous. They do not evaluate the merits of affirmative trial defenses. That will not fly at all. Not to mention, as Marcy said, that there will almost certainly be more and/or different charges by the extradition determination point.

      • Colonel Alexsay Potemkin says:

        Since there is no evidence of a crime being committed then the US DOJ needs to present evidence that the defendant intended to commit a crime. That is why they need to have something indicating his state of mind.

        For all we know the hash was Manning’s own password and he wanted to check out secure it was. That would be quite consistent with his other activities towards encryption.

        It is like Manning asked Assange if he could send him a knife and Assange replied we might be able to send you a knife. There is no indication that Manning wanted to use the knife for assault as opposed to cutting up vegetables and Assange never sends him a knife in any case.

        The DOJ can’t extradite Assange on a criminal conspiracy to attack an unknown person with a knife on that kind of evidence.

        • bmaz says:

          This is absolutely idiotic.


        • Colonel Alexsay Potemkin says:

          Well as I said, the conduct has to be a crime in both jurisdictions.


        • bmaz says:

          This is your last warning, you keep pitching this patently false bunk and I will take your comment down.

      • Colonel Alexsay Potemkin says:

        For instance the evidenceless claim of the DOJ that this was intended to access the system using stolen credentials makes no sense, since the system only works with the hashed text anyway. The password credentials are not passed around in clear text, so if Manning used a “pass the hash” attack he had no need to have the password cracked.

        So the DOJ’s speculation is not only without evidence, it is also without a logical basis

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m with the twtr commentator who thinks the best person the Democrats could choose to respond to one president’s racist and dangerous rant about a young congresswoman of color is a former young president of color.

    Mr. Obama is now independently wealthy, he is not holding or running for elective office, he has enormous stature and a great font of goodwill. His Kalorama neighborhood is just up the street from the Capitol and the White House. Will he not ask Rep. Omar and Donald Trump to shake hands and have a coffee with him on his back porch? Will he shame the one who refuses to attend and show civility?

    • Fahrender says:

      Perhaps this is a “failure of the imagination” on my part, but I cannot imagine such an event taking place resulting in a positive outcome. Trump’s inherent dishonesty would not allow otherwise, assuming that he would agree to do it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You’re right. Obama was president last time he tried that let’s be friends and have a beer on the front porch routine. Trump hates Obama, and the reality show president would never engage in something where he could not control the script – or have helicopters in the background who can wind up on command and drown out inconvenient questions and answers.

      My point, though, is that no one has more experience facing such anger than Obama and yet he’s remained publicly silent.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A lot of familiar names in the comment blog, Bob Schacht among them. (Nor have we been graced with William Ockham’s work often of late.) I think Petrocelli’s comment deserves the last word:

          “Hmmm, so two guys are at loggerheads and someone thinks it is a good idea to bring them face to face and add free alcohol to the mix ?”

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, it is bittersweet to go through old comment threads. Bob is gone. William Ockham is quite alive and kicking, even if gone from the comments. Petrocelli too I think.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Good catch. Remind me never to play Trivial Pursuit with you unless we’re on the same team.

        As you say, another teachable moment gone astray. Mr. Obama’s good intentions could only go so far without action. But even if Mr. Obama were appalled at another young turk’s politics, the treatment of Ms. Omar goes beyond them to the heart of democratic discourse. He seems to have missed a moment that cried out for his experience and leadership.

        Mr. Trump, however, has no good faith or good intentions: he laughs at them as a weakness to be penalized, mocked, and abused. He thinks that makes him a mensch. In fact, it makes him a putz. (As a New Yorker, he’ll know the difference.) However impolite it may be, the Democrats need to point that out repeatedly.

        Mr. Trump is not teachable. He doesn’t or can’t read, so he makes a virtue of his ignorance. Relying on his gut must be what’s made it so pronounced.

        Mr. Trump is wholly incapable of recognizing the interests or worth of others. It’s one reason he can’t lead and is such an easy mark for other predators. It’s why he can’t negotiate. He resorts to vehemence and bluster, and when called on it, he blinks and backs down. But he remembers: like Shrub, getting even ten times over is a favorite pastime. It’s another reason Democrats can’t let up and retreat to a Bidenesque bygones be bygones approach.

        • orionATL says:

          this was quintessential barack obama – conflict avoiding no matter how ineffective of silly. if he had, as he should have, properly castigated sgt.crowley and refused to apologize as he did when the police union demanded, he would have then behaved as a president should.

          I wonder what all those excited and joyful black folks with whom my wife and I stood and talked and joked for early voting thought when they saw this presidential behavior knowing what they knew of prejudicial harassment.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As one might expect, Sarah Sanders and the White House are following the Roy Cohn playbook: they are doubling down on what a bad person Ms. Omar must be not to adopt narrow Republican tropes about the meaning of 9/11. []

      El President is a “man,” says Ms. Sanders, because he dared to ignore political correctness and to “call her out” for it. Donald Trump ignores the right thing to do because he doesn’t know what it is and couldn’t do it if he wanted to.

      Ms. Sanders’ job of lying for the White House to misrepresent the often stupid and heinous things her president says does not make anything she says more credible. Among her most recent hooters are that it is Ms. Omar’s comments that are “absolutely disgraceful” and that Donald Trump, “is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence toward anyone.” It’s all he does wish anyone opposed to him.

      Congressman Nadler had the last word. He described how Trump the Magnificent had taken money from a post-9/11 federal program intended to aid small businesses:

      “He stole $150,000 from some small business person who could have used it to help rehabilitate himself….He has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all.”

      • timbo says:

        Now if only the cable news drones would pick up on half the things Nadler sez. Maybe when we get to impeachment hearings they’ll pay more attention? Damn it, Nadler, get to it!

  13. JamesJoyce says:

    🤔 apples are pears and origins grapes…

    “The indictment only needs to allege that X and Y entered into a conspiracy — which the indictment deems a “Z” conspiracy — and took an overt act, whether or not the conspiracy itself was successful.”

    Arbitrary capricious and two tier justice right at work…

    Once Sitting in an embassy and a sitting President?

    Are we talking simple “ probable cause “ actually established in a Mueller Report?

    No wonder why report can’t be given to coequal congress in raw form. Might result in an indictment.

    Articles of impeachment.

    Probably establishes problem cause crimes were committed. FISA?

    Grant Assange limited immunity House…
    Sing… Sing… before bling bling… bonk….

    • Tech Support says:

      I think you’re implying here at the end of your comment that the Dems in the House should attempt to offer Assange some sort of protection against DOJ prosecution in order to secure testimony that would be damaging to Trump somehow.

      I do *not* have it sorted out in my head if the extradition and indictment of Assange is more helpful or more hurtful to Trump, but I do know that Assange bent over backwards to help Trump get elected in 2016, and that his motivations had absolutely nothing to do with justice, democracy, or the rule of law.

      So even if such a thing were possible (and I don’t think it is) then I can’t understand why the House leadership would consider such a thing or why Assange would ever considering accepting such an offer if it were made.

      • timbo says:

        My reading of the treaty with the UK means that the Dems can’t do much of anything to Assange once he’s extradited here on specific charges, at least not without permission from the UK. Further charges cannot be added once he’s in the US without UK say so, is that correct?

  14. Savage Librarian says:

    OT – A big shout out to Ilhan Omar. This poem is for you:

    Our Hearts So Far

    One was born a cancer
    One was born a cure
    One a necromancer
    The other one is pure

    One is on the make
    One is such a gift
    One for heaven’s sake
    Is fighting all his grift

    One grabs in vain for power
    One cherishes the law
    One is such a coward
    One inspires awe

    One lives inside the dark
    One guides us to the light
    One brands us with his mark
    The other does what’s right

    One takes us all for granted
    One serves this country well
    One’s views are so far slanted
    He propels us into hell

    One is our own POTUS
    One Ilhan Omar
    So stand up and take notice
    She has won our hearts so far

    Yes, she has won our hearts so far

  15. milton wiltmellow says:

    The timing might have more to do with the impending release of the Mueller report — the sanitized version — which may have information only Assange can dispute or verify.

    Holding JA incommunicado would take one player off the board.

    For instance, it seems a little far fetched that JA fabricated the fabricated Seth Rich story. He would have had to have resources he lacked in the embassy to find a random DNC staffer killed sometime in the summer and imply he leaked the emails.

    Coming from JA, the Seth Rich story at least sounded plausible.

    Yet, if not designed by JA, then who designed it? It’s a pretty sophisticated bit of disinformation.

    Three candidates come to mind (other than JA). RU, Stone, FOX — Russia being the most plausible of the three.

    • P J Evans says:

      Assange had a lot of access to the outside while in the embassy – not by him going out, but he could get news from outside either by phone or by people coming in, and he certainly could communicate with the rest of the world.

      • milton wiltmellow says:

        I wrote a long and detailed response this moring. After posting, while editing, a demon gobbled it.

        Rather than trying to reproduce it, I’ll simply make one point.

        If you look at the facts from an American point of view, JA either worked with RU or not; DJT either conspired or didn’t; either a crime was committed or it wasn’t.

        I don’t think it is so black and white.

        If you look at it from the (admittedly speculative) point of view of the Russians, things like the Seth Rich murder; timed releases of Wikileaks materials, goals, injection of disinformation and other features all look a little more inculpating for JA and DJT.

        The Seth Rich frame ostensibly attributes blame for Wikileaks possession of DNC material on staffer. But if that isn’t true, what can we infer? Why does JA hint Rich was the source. More importantly why does he choose Seth Rich?

        This is not a random mistake or Assange playing coy trying to hide his source. Exactly the opposite.

        Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, fueled the speculation in an interview with Nieuwsuur published on August 9, 2016, which touched on the topic of risks faced by WikiLeaks’ sources.[74] Unbidden, Assange brought up the case of Seth Rich. When asked directly whether Rich was a source, Assange nodded, then said “we don’t comment on who our sources are”.[75] Subsequent statements by WikiLeaks emphasized that the organization was not naming Rich as a source, as they do with other leaks.[30] It subsequently came to light that WikiLeaks communicated with the Trump campaign over other issues, casting doubt on Assange’s motives.[76]

        Donna Brazile even speculated that Russia killed Rich to hide their involvement with original email theft. (In the above link.)

        Ignoring RU as a major malign actor in this episode is provincial, a huge bit of ignorance, and fuels the deceptive frame od JA as heroic whistleblower.

        • bmaz says:

          You are going to dishonor Seth Rich and his family by pushing that Fox News/ Assange conspiracy theory crap here?? GET OUT with that crap. It is sick.

          Are you a “Building 7 was pulled by Thermite” troofer too?

        • milton wiltmellow says:

          You need to take a course in reading comprehension.

          Or at least get some anger management counseling.

          The Seth Rich conspiracy was bogus from the start.

          So where did it come from?

          A real person was really murdered and his name almost immediately besmirched and dishonored by Assange and FOX.


          Was JA reading the WP one day and said to himself, “Here’s someone to blame.” But why did he feel the need to fabricate and inject a false story?

          The FALSE Seth Rich conspiracy wasn’t accidental.

          Who invented it? Why?

          Reasonable questions, reasonably asked.

        • bmaz says:

          Fine. Maybe you should have phrased it better to start with then. My “reading comprehension” is just fine, thanks.

        • Tech Support says:


          “So where did it come from?”

          I mean, people (liars) make shit up all the time, and smart-ish people (liars) will grab convenient bits of reality to provide plausibility for those lies.

          I may be forgetting something about the timing/context of way it spun up, but AFAIK Seth Rich’s death was, in the context of the election, nothing more than a random and fully formed red herring that fell out of the sky waiting for someone to exploit.

        • P J Evans says:

          Anyone who thinks that Brazile had any more idea of who killed Rich than anyone else not a cop or his killer, is in need of a mental reset. And Assange had no idea, either: we know he’s a narcissist.

        • milton wiltmellow says:

          I have no idea what Donna Brazille thinks or why she thinks as she does.

          I simply cited a statement from the Wikipedia article I linked.

          As I said above, it is reasonable to ask how an apparently random murder in Washington DC was used to cover Russia’s interference in the US election — to provide an alternate explanation.

          If others think this is an unreasonable question to ask, I’ll not ask here again.

        • P J Evans says:

          You’re citing Wikipedia as an authoritative source, and you think we have comprehension problems?

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Thanks, PJ. Librarians everywhere will love you for this! And for any teachers out there who are paying attention, take heed. You could do so much to help resolve the giant misconception out there that Wikipedia is an authoritative site. I love that it exists and is the people’s encyclopedia, but we people make mistakes all the time and are highly opinionated. That is why editors are so important.

  16. rattlemullet says:

    Empty Wheel,

    I am a long time reader. I greatly appreciate your community. Would you please comment on Moon of Alabama blog. Is he fully convinced that the Russian hacking of the DNC did not occur?

    Wikileaks acquired the Vault 7 files in late 2016 or early 2017. In January 2017 a lawyer for Julian Assange tried to make a deal with the U.S. government. Assange would refrain from publishing some critical content of the Vault 7 files in exchange for limited immunity and safe passage to talk with U.S. officials. One issue to be talked about was the sourcing of the DNC files which Wikileaks published. U.S. officials in the anti-Trump camp claimed that Russia had hacked the DNC servers. Assange consistently said that Russia was not the source of the published files. He offered technical evidence to prove that.

    contained in this blog writing

    Thank you for any clarity or insights you may provide. Feed back from your community would be greatly appreciated.

      • Vern says:

        “Bernard is batshit nuts.”

        … and The Ass of Alabama is regularly featured on Naked Capitalism. They’ve been nutty Russia denialists and Trump boosters (“lesser effective evil” as Lambert puts it) since at least 2015.

    • emptywheel says:

      i suspect we may get more clarity about why people still believe those hoaxes with the release of the Mueller report. But it is a hoax.

      • rattlemullet says:

        EW, do you think that the redacted version released by Barr will have any material left in it that will allow anyone to to glean more clarity?

  17. Savage Librarian says:

    Maybe Trump would be more apt to understand this (tongue-in-cheek) explanation that Ilan Omar might offer to him:

    Word Salad ala Kavanaugh

    My friends and I sometimes get together on the weekends… I speak words with my friends, almost everyone does. Sometimes I have too many words, sometimes others do.
    I like words. I still like words. But I do not have words to the point of blacking out and I never assaulted anyone.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The parodies write themselves. The NYT is celebrating its new, improved, and fresh-scented “Privacy Project.” []

    That much of this might be marketing hype is suggested by it being an umbrella for opinion rather than news. Another warning is that the first page of one item asks you to give them your e-mail, so you can sign up for a “limited run newsletter.” [] Yet another is that some pages will not open unless you shut off “privacy mode” on your browser.

    The final straw is this opinion piece by the perennially jejune Ross Douthat. [] He starts with a comparison between the draconian Chinese and the more benign because erratic western forms of the surveillance state:

    What’s happening in the West with privacy and authority is happily different. Unlike China’s system, our emerging post-privacy order is not (for now) totalitarian; its impositions are more decentralized and haphazard, more circumscribed and civilized, less designed and more evolved, more random in the punishments inflicted and the rules enforced.

    More “civilized” and “evolved” suggest to me racism more than technological sophistication. In any case, his list of differences morphs into a list of what they have in common:

    [T]here is no central party apparatus encouraging our corporations to create individual “trust scores” for every consumer (even if they’re still doing it), no official commissars organizing digital mobs (even if shaming for random wrongthink is now a commonplace), no political persecution….And…the radicals surveilled by corporate-government cooperation are mostly white nationalists and jihadists, not human rights advocates and Christian pastors, as in China.

    If there were a Pulitzer for the obtuse and uninformed, Mr. Douthat would be a perennial favorite. He tells us why Americans – with the exception of “the high-minded and the paranoid” – favor their version of the surveillance state, and concludes that “privacy per se is not a major issue in our politics”:

    Most people want the convenience of the internet far more than they want the private spaces that older forms of communication protected….They put surveillance devices in their homes and pockets….They accept hackings and online shamings the way a Californian shrugs off earthquakes. They assume that the extremists being surveilled and censored and sometimes arrested probably deserve it. And they welcome the possible advantages of panoptical living, hoping for less crime and less police misconduct, better public health, more exposure of corruption….”

    Hope springs eternal, as does Mr. Douthat’s credulousness. His answer to the western corporate version of the surveillance state is less Internet. Or, as Nancy Reagan would have said, “Just say, No.” Could anyone but David Brooks be less aware of the society he lives in?

  19. harpie says:

    I forgot how much Alexa O’Brien knows about Manning/Wikileaks/Assange.
    This is from yesterday:
    2:57 PM – 13 Apr 2019

    I can say with certainty today after reviewing my own research and material that I have collected over the years (and I have a lot, much of which has never been published) that there’s WikiLeaks related investigation material under seal in *Eastern District of New York.* […]

    Plus this:

    Despite Manning’s acquittal, the prosecutorial theory of a conspiracy related to civilians survives her prosecution. Military prosecutors kept most of their case against WikiLeaks out of the Manning courtroom. They attempted to segment from Justice investigation.
    Further, military prosecutors made statements that amounted to a technically unproven circumstantial case against WikiLeaks in the Manning court-room (they weren’t prosecuting WikiLeaks then, so assume it is part of a theory for such a potential prosecution). […]
    The alleged implication of this theory was that a criminal conspiracy had occurred that involved civilians and WikiLeaks (with/without Manning). Manning was acquitted.
    In other words, individuals cited, like Jason Katz, and the “founders, owners, managers” or WikiLeaks” / (including Assange) were allegedly still involved in the act. So, it survives the Manning court-martial. See also this [link] […]

    • bmaz says:

      Alexa is absolutely a great resource, and brilliant. But this is not going to work. Manning was acquitted of “aiding the enemy”. That is not an issue currently, but if it was is somewhat of a different charge than would be in civilian court (it would effectively have to be charged as treason). The remainder of the “acquittals” such as they may be will not necessarily save Manning as to a conspiracy case with Assange.

      • harpie says:

        Maybe I misunderstood the thread[s], or maybe I just pulled out the wrong pieces, but I thought O’Brien was talking about a possible future move against WL/Assange, and not really about Manning at all.

        • bmaz says:

          I dunno, the second tweet/quote you referenced seems to indicate that Alexa thinks Manning was “acquitted” in the overall conspiracy even if it “survived” as to others. That is not really correct.

        • harpie says:

          OK, thanks, bmaz! I’m off to do some more reading, starting with the comments I’ve missed, here.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A year ago, Yale historian Timothy Snyder published, “The Road to Unfreedom,” about Trump, Russia, America, and Europe. []

    Snyder proposed 50 reasons why Trump owes Russia big time, starting in 1984, when Russian gangsters apparently began laundering large amounts of money by buying and selling apartments in Trump Tower. (A dailykos reader summarized them here. [–The-Road-To-Unfreedom-Author-Timothy-Snyder-Lists-50-Reason-Trump-is-in-Thrall-to-the-Russians])

    Many of Snyder’s Top 50 reasons will not be news to EW’s frequent readers. But, in anticipation of the partial release of the Mueller Report, it is useful to see them arranged, like suspects in line-up. Snyder’s number 22 sums them up:

    In early 2016, the chair of the foreign relations committee of the Russian parliament said that Mr. Trump “could drive the Western locomotive off the rails.”

    Indeed he has. But it is not too late to put it back on.

    A useful, but in the end, snide review by the Guardian can be found here. []

    • timbo says:

      Could swear there were GOPers in the US also making that claim in early 2016 as well. And where are they today? Sigh.

    • harpie says:

      A new thread about this by Alexa O’Brien:
      12:02 PM – 15 Apr 2019

      A quick analysis of what is new/relevant to me in re the underlying app for a crim complaint against Assange. 1stly, that special agent wrote that WikiLeaks had expressly solicited classified info on their website is worth legal considerations by experts. […]

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