back to article Julian Assange will NOT be extradited to the US over WikiLeaks hacking and spy charges, rules British judge

Accused hacker and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the US to stand trial, Westminster Magistrates' Court has ruled. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser told Assange this morning that there was no legal obstacle to his being sent to the US, where he faces multiple criminal charges under America's …

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  1. N2 Silver badge

    Place your bets

    An exchange for one of theirs, you know who.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: you know who.

      The "diplomat" who drove on the wrong side of the road and killed Harry Dunn?

      If that's who you mean, why not say that?

    2. phogan99

      Re: Place your bets

      I am sure she can find a doc to declare her suicidal or autistic. Heck Trump found one to say he has bone spurs to avoid the draft, maybe he can give her a referral.

      1. needmorehare
        Angel

        I'd rather we keep Assange

        Folks like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are brave heroes who need to be protected. Nothing will bring back the dead but we can at least do our bit to keep the powers that be in check from time to time.

        Besides, what would the diplomat get (at best) for what legal experts will argue as an accidental death caused by ignorance? A 2 year prison sentence and a lifetime UK driving ban perhaps? Fat lot of good that would do, since the ban wouldn't be respected in the US anyway and it's obvious that there'd be very early parole.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'd rather we keep Assange

          You shouldn't insult Manning by comparing her to those two. Snowden and Assange were smash-and-grab vandals, both happily exploited by Russian state powers as the useful idiots they are, with no idea what it was they were stealing or publishing, just happy to do it on as grand and a destructive scale as possible, before fleeing like cowards into the night.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Halfmad

              Re: I'd rather we keep Assange

              When did he do this?

              Sorry not been that interested in him tbh.

            2. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: I'd rather we keep Assange

              Assange has confessed to being a violent rapist.

              Really? When did that happen? Do you have a copy of the statement?

              Or are you simply making shit up?

          2. Mr Sceptical
            Black Helicopters

            Re: I'd rather we keep Assange

            Stick to the facts - Snowden released details on activities of the US government that they themselves would be screaming as illegal espionage if it was being done by anyone else.

            Hello, pot & kettle - oh, suprise, you're both the same!

            What would you rather them have done - tried to stand and fight an entire army? They aren't Rambo/Commando/Superman you know!

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Place your bets

      Compared with what the Americans want to do to Mr Assange, a slap on the wrist and a lifetime driving ban for someone driving on the wrong side of the road and subsequently killing another road user does not equate.

      Now, if we were talking about Mark Zuckerberg delivered cuffed, gagged and bagged at Heathrow complete with confession regarding Cambridge Analytica and other nefarious activities then I might reconsider.

  2. Timto

    pft

    Prosecute him in the UK for all the crimes he comitted here, then deport him back to Australia

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: pft

      Is Journalism a crime?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: pft

        Journalism is not a crime, I don't think that there is any evidence that Assange hacked anything, he simply published documents that were sent to him - certainly he may have been manipulated by the "hackers" on all sides but I don't see how he can be prosecuted by a country that stands up shouting:

        Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: pft

          >I don't think that there is any evidence that Assange hacked anything

          Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts, with the express intention of procuring more documents than Manning was otherwise allowed to access. He was not simply a passive recipient of the documents. He can claim the intrusion was necessary in pursuit of journalism - and in some jurisdictions (not the UK) that would may even be a valid legal defence - but he was very much engaged in otherwise illegal computer misuse.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts

            Precisely. Attempted, unusuccessfuly.

            How illegal is opening fire on a market place full of civilians? Is the crime of randomly killing people worse than the crime of exposing that killing?

            I guess you're loving the fact the blackwater contractors were pardoned, eh?

            America, Fuck Yeah!

            Coming again to save the motherfucking day, yeah!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts

              I really don't know what Assange tried or didn't but, "Attempted, unusuccessfuly" probably covers 99.9999% of all KNOWN crime.

              On a side note, maybe I should attempt to rob my bank, as they're successfully robbing me :-/

              First World problems == Third World dreams

            2. Snake Silver badge

              Re: Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts

              AFAIK, the attempted attack is still a violation of the law, even if unsuccessful, especially against a DoD target. Attempted Assault is still a crime, as is an Attempted Assault on a computer system.

              1. JetSetJim Silver badge

                Re: Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts

                Shit, planning a crime is also a crime, isn't it? "Conspiracy to do bad things"-type crime. You don't even have to attempt the crime itself to commit an offense, just make an effort to plan it - e.g. buy a load of fertiliser and hair dye and you'll probably get done for conspiracy to make a big bang somewhere.

                1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

                  Re: Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts

                  Typically in the UK the range of sentence for "conspiracy" is the same as for the crime itself once found guilty.

            3. Ben Tasker Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Assange attempted to crack hashed password for SIPRNet accounts

              > Precisely. Attempted, unusuccessfuly.

              > How illegal is opening fire on a market place full of civilians?

              What if the bullets fail to hit anyone? There was an attempt, but it was unsuccessful.

              As a general rule, anyone who's tried for a crime was somewhat unsuccessful in their commission of that crime - they got caught.

              If you throw a grenade into a crowded marketplace, and it fails to go off, you better believe the law's still going to apply to you. If you try to rob a bank, but accidentally lock yourself in the vault, guess what - the law will still apply.

              > Is the crime of randomly killing people worse than the crime of exposing that killing?

              Oddly enough, a functioning justice system doesn't work on whatabouttery. There's plenty out there that's worse than many crimes on the books, it doesn't absolve those who commit those crimes.

          2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Re: pft

            "It is alleged that ..." not "Assange attempted to ..."

            That is part of the potential US case which is yet to be tried.

            What's interesting to me is it was found that Assange could have been prosecuted under the GB Official Secrets Act for leaking the US cables ... As he was not a signatory (being an officer of the Crown) to the Official Secrets Act, the information released was not GB state owned material or from GB state owned sources and was sourced from a third party overseas that makes an oddly shaped pill to swallow. Is there an 'information belonging to allies or "friends at the time"' clause in the OSA that allows such an interpretation? Obviously the information within the documents themselves cound not be regarded as UK secret as, even if they contained information pertinant to the UK, they were freely shared in some way with a third party which, by definition, means it is not secret to the UK.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: pft

              > As he was not a signatory (being an officer of the Crown) to the Official Secrets Act

              Signing or not signing the OSA is irrelevant - it's an Act of Parliament, not a contract, it applies to you either way.

              The _reason_ you're made to sign it if you work in certain areas is so that there's a paper trail to show you acknowledged you understood the Act and what it applied to, as well as to remind you that you are under obligations.

              > Is there an 'information belonging to allies or "friends at the time"' clause in the OSA that allows such an interpretation?

              There's a section on handling information arising from unauthorised disclosures, as well as sections handling information entrusted in confidence to other states.

              > Obviously the information within the documents themselves cound not be regarded as UK secret as, even if they contained information pertinant to the UK, they were freely shared in some way with a third party which, by definition, means it is not secret to the UK.

              That's.... not how it works, at all. Just because the information has been shared with some 3rd party, they can still consider be considered secrets. In fact - although it would _probably_ never be prosecuted, redistributing something leaked on Wikileaks/Cryptome could still land you in trouble (particularly if you're in a role that's required you to sign the OSA and/or get clearances)

            2. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: pft

              The OSA is not necessarily considered to cover secrets of other countries, though it could. The point is that it is a crime in the UK to release information of that nature, and thus that extradition is permitted on that basis. In most cases, to extradite a person, the crime of which they're accused must be a crime in the country they're physically in. If country A thinks something I did was illegal but country B does not, country B is unlikely to extradite me. If country B also thinks that's illegal, then I'm more likely to be extradited. That works whether or not country B could charge me for the crime.

              Here's a simple example. Let's say that I go to the UK, rob a bank there, then flee to Germany. The robbery charge should happen in the UK. The Germans probably wouldn't charge me there for it, because the victim was located in the UK and I wasn't in Germany when I robbed it. Technically, my crime wasn't a thing for Germany. However, robbery is still a crime in Germany, so the extradition request would go through quickly, even though the victim wasn't German. In the same sense, the crimes that the U.S. allege are crimes in the UK, so the UK doesn't have to deny extradition for that reason.

        2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

          Re: pft

          Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation

          Freedom of Speech is an American right only bestowed upon American citizens (and everybody else is "fair game").

          Julian is an Australian citizen living in the UK -- I'm just sayin'.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: pft

            Totally untrue.

            The 1st Amendment is a restriction on the power of the US government. It does not distinguish based on citizenship status.

            Assange has essentially the same 1A protections from US government actions that any US citizen does.

      2. Timto

        Re: pft

        He's not a journalist, just a data dumper.

        He dumps everything he gets his hands on, regardless of the damage it does

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: pft

          "He's not a journalist, just a data dumper."

          But somebody has to expose, ethically or otherwise. I think just as many hate him as love him and that's not exclusive to journalists. Assange is somewhere between Snowden and The Dread Pirate Roberts... where between I don't know.

          The conflict I have is that illegally exposing the truth is still exposing the truth. If only BAD things were exposed, would you care? Of course, I didn't read AND rationalize 250,000 text documents or have the resources to do so, so I can't say one way or the other.

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: pft

          IIUC he liased with governments to ensure that information that could put lives in danger was redacted.

          1. Timto

            Re: pft

            He liased with Russia, to make sure the data he dumped would cause the maximum damage to Hillary Clinton

        3. onemark03 Bronze badge

          He's not a journalist, just a data dumper.

          I've said this before on El Reg. and I'll say it again: Assange is an anarchist.

          1. Hollerithevo

            Re: He's not a journalist, just a data dumper.

            Define 'anarchist'. Do you mean that he just wants to watch the world burn? Or that he is a Bakunin-style anarchist in wanting existing political structures replaced with a grass-roots-originated system that has no leaders but consensus?

          2. Geoffrey W

            Re: He's not a journalist, just a data dumper.

            He's not an anarchist nor would it matter if he were, whereas the people he exposed were murderers and fucking Trump is now accessory to murder. Which is worse, murder or being a bit of an arse?

        4. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: pft

          He dumps everything he gets his hands on, regardless of the damage it does

          IIRC for the War Logs he partnered with several newspapers (Guardian, Der Spiegel & New York Times) who triaged and redacted material pre-release, getting first dibs on the stories for their efforts, making sure relevant militaries had the opportunity for "live" material to be withheld.

          The guy is an egotistical dick. But if governments are going to cover up war crimes and run torture black sites then sooner or later someone is going to spill the beans. It's a matter of when, not if. Assange just happened to be in the right place at the right time that he ended up enabling Manning's data (amongst others), and our society is better and more accountable for that.

      3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: pft

        Not of itself, no. But journalists are not permitted to commit a crime in order to discover facts for a news report. Not that I am saying that what Assange did was not justified. Sometimes laws are made for the sole purpose of giving governments an advantage and/or allowing them to commit highly immoral and/or criminal acts without the people who voted for them finding out. Breaking an immoral law is still a crime no matter how much you or I may believe that it should not be. Juries should however be specifically told about jury nullification, and the fact that it is perfectly legal for a jury to find a person "not guilty" even if the evidence makes it 100% certain that they broke the law.

        1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

          Re: pft

          Some laws must be defied. Otherwise unjust laws persist.

          1. DoctorNine

            Re: pft

            Yeah. The argument that 'a law was broken' is, morally speaking, a pretty weak justification for the determination of the reasonableness of any given governmental action. The rationale of the law in question, as well as its primary and secondary effects, have to be accounted for, because the only legitimate laws, are those promulgated by the consent of the governed. So if they abrogate that standard, they are, ipso facto, illegitimate. I think in both this case, and even more so in the case of Edward Snowden, the alleged 'crime' was more rubbing the government's nose in its own dirt, than anything else. In my opinion, the general public hasn't been given enough details in either case to assent to their designation as 'criminal' based upon demonstrated damage to that public.

            Of course, I still think Assange is an ass. But that's beside the point.

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: pft

          But journalists are not permitted to commit a crime in order to discover facts for a news report. Not that I am saying that what Assange did was not justified.

          Certainly within the UK there has generally been a view that journalists should not be prosecuted under Official Secrets. If they have access to classified material, then it's because someone gave it to them - in which case the priority is to put your own house in order. If data has been leaked to a journo, it could as easily have been leaked to a foreign state actor. The problem here is not the journalist.

          The Home Secretary was furious when members of the military and Security Services orchestrated Duncan Campbell's 1977 arrest in defiance of his wishes that journalists not be targetted. The subsequent ABC Trial underlined the preference of both the government and the courts not to impose overly on the 4th Estate.

      4. Persona Silver badge

        Re: pft

        In some instances what could be dressed up as journalism could be considered a crime.

        That is not the issue here. He is imprisoned in the UK for jumping bail. At the end of his sentence he should be deported back to Australia unless another country can successfully be granted extradition.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: pft

        "Is Journalism a crime?"

        It is if you are called Laura Kuenssberg

      6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: pft

      The UK probably won't deport him after all this. He has two young children with his (British) fiancee, according to the reporting on the BBC. Their right to a family life will mean that a deportation attempt would be almost certain to fail when challenged in court.

      And we did prosecute him for the crime he committed here - jumping bail. For which he got the standard term (as noted by several commenters at the time). He's currently being held on remand as the courts deem him a flight risk, based on his previous history of fleeing from the control of the courts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: pft

        She is not British. Per media accounts she was born in South Africa and holds Spanish and Swedish nationality. While the sons are almost certainly British Citizens, that's not enough to prevent a deportation order. In addition the deportation must be deemed to be "unduly harsh". Given the family's means and international makeup there's a fair argument to be made they would tolerate it better than most.

        Remember the Tories spent much of the last 10 years stripping away any and all protections foreigners might have. If Priti wants him gone he's gone.

        1. CountCadaver

          Re: pft

          Actually since 1983 one of your parents have to be British Citizens (and possibly Indefinite leave to remain but I'm not 100% on that) for you to acquire British nationality by birth, UK doesn't have birthright citizenship

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: pft

            "Actually since 1983 one of your parents have to be British Citizens (and possibly Indefinite leave to remain but I'm not 100% on that) for you to acquire British nationality by birth, UK doesn't have birthright citizenship"

            She is EU and settled in the UK, so as long as that happened for five years before the child was born, the child has British citizenship. I'm not sure of the situation if she is in the UK for five years, but not at the time of birth. Possibly she has right-of-abode, coming from a Commonwealth country, in which case the child has citizenship again. That depends on exact circumstances.

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: pft

        Wow, you haven't been paying attention have you?

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jan/03/women-fight-to-help-families-torn-apart-by-racist-deportation-policy

        Automatic extradition for non-british citizens after one year in jail. The above article describes twin brothers, both born in the UK, who will be deported to different countries despite having no close family there nor, I believe, having visited either of them. Even if you are a British citizen, if they think they can weasel out of our obligations as a country to clean up our own trash, they will - google "Shamima Begum" for details.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: pft

          Erm, that's not automatic extradition.

          The automatic deportation is not automatic, and it is not racist either, as it takes no account of the race of the criminal idiots that are being deported.

          The women complaining about the deportations should perhaps switch their focus to stopping idiots from committing crimes - if you don't spend a year in prison, you won't be up for deportation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: pft

            "perhaps switch their focus to stopping idiots from committing crimes - if you don't spend a year in prison, you won't be up for deportation."

            Agreed. Convicts like Assange should consider this before committing crimes in the UK.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: pft

              "Convicts like Assange"

              51 weeks, I'm afraid.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suicide

    Take note Mr Lynch, threatening suicide is now clearly the way out of extradition to the US.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suicide

      It's cheaper than paying for an autism diagnosis.

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