back to article Grand jury meets to decide fate of WikiLeaks founder

A federal grand jury in Virginia is meeting to decide whether to bring spying charges against Julian Assange, an attorney for the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder said over the weekend. “We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria (Virginia),” attorney Mark Stephens told Al- …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Ashton Black

    Not looking good.

    Stitched up like a kipper.

    1. mafoo


      the Swedes do like their herring.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Not before time

        I have friends who have been to both Afghanistan and Iraq. I have family who may now be posted to Afghanistan.

        Hopefully Assange will get what is coming to him, and Wikileaks will think before releasing operational data again?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Please explain how anybody's safety has been compromised

          You can't, because it hasn't.

          Even Robert Gates has said it's nothing that wasn't already known.

          What's happened is that the USA is embarrassed and thinks that squealing "national security!" and "lives in danger!" will somehow hide their discomfort and deflect attention from their actions. I personally hope that they don't get away with it.

          Land of the free my arse.

        2. Chewy

          I'm hugely confused

          If the jihadists wanted to kill us before and they wanted to kill us after the cables were released by wikileaks what exactly has changed?

        3. No, I will not fix your computer

          Re: Not before time

          I too have friends an family who are and have been in the forces abroad, I hope that they come back safe, I also hope that they don't find themselves in a position where they kill innocent people, unarmed reporters, throw dogs off cliffs. I hope if they do, through mistakes or because of the psychological pressure they are under that they get support to allow them to re-engage into society and live their lives, they are victims too and will need support. Depending on who you believe, between 100,000 and 500,000 people have been killed in recent years, the people on the ground killing each other (in a somewhat one-sided war) are not responsible.

          Assange did not create the environment, he has been passed factual information from people who know who's responsibility this is, he is not risking anyones life, the reason why only a fraction has been released is because of the filtering that has taken place.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Big Brother

            Silly git...

            "Assange did not create the environment, he has been passed factual information from people who know who's responsibility this is, he is not risking anyones life, the reason why only a fraction has been released is because of the filtering that has taken place."

            No. Assnage didn't create the documents. They exist because intelligence comes from many different sources and sometimes each piece of intelligence by itself isn't dangerous. Its when they combine the data, real intelligence occurs. Sort of like finding pieces about you in public information on the web and then putting them together to find information you would like to keep private.

            The danger occurs in that the leak causes embarrassments, and future trust issues so that gaining potential valuable intel may be impossible. The danger is that some information could only come from a handful of sources and now those sources disappear.

            The real danger is that idiots like Assnage and others believe that only the US does this. Here's a free clue. ALL COUNTRIES ENGAGE IN THIS INTEL GATHERING.

            The damage has been done. The release did nothing but create FUD.

            Assnage left his source hanging and now he's going to feel the full weight of US law.

            This may piss people off, but the facts are the facts and Assnage broke the law. He knew what he was doing and willfully committed a crime which has serious consequences.

            Look on the bright side. If this happened to the KGB, Assnage would be dead by now.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Silly Git .....

              and much of the data realeased wasn't just US intelligence, but intelligence they had collected about other NATO countries .......

            2. Anonymous Coward

              "This may piss people off,

              but the facts are the facts and Assnage broke the law. He knew what he was doing and willfully committed a crime which has serious consequences."

              Just for us non-lawyer types, which laws did he break again?

              And yes if it was under the KGB he'd be dead by now. But he's currently got the populace and government of the USA- not exactly the least likely people to kill him- rather riled up. He'll end up dead within hours if (or rather when) he gets extradited.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Black Helicopters


              >>when they combine the data, real intelligence occurs. Sort of like finding pieces about you in public information on the web and then putting them together to find information you would like to keep private.

              Yes, perhaps the government should filter all news, perhaps changing anything they don't like and send it to room 101 - You do know you're advocating 1984 type controls?

              >>This may piss people off, but the facts are the facts and Assnage broke the law. He knew what he was doing and willfully committed a crime which has serious consequences.

              OK, today I will almost certainly do things which are in contravention of laws in other countries, some of which have a death penalty attached, if I'm lucky I will be having sex outside of marrage, this will be in contravention of Sharia law of which, depending on the state the penalty can be death (see the case of Safiya Hussaini), how do we decide which laws from other countries are OK to follow and which are not? The US may want to apply 1917 sedation and more recent Patrot Acts to everybody, but in what way is this different to any other law from a foreign country being imposed?

              >>Look on the bright side. If this happened to the KGB, Assnage would be dead by now.

              Do you honestly think that he would be alive if he wasn't so high profile and had already put out encrypted copies that have the key released if he ends up dead? Assnage knows exactly what the USA is capable of (because he read it in the documents that have been released and documents that he has not).

        4. Anonymous Coward

          "I have friends who have been to both Afghanistan and Iraq."

          Perhaps if free university tuition fees had been available to them, they could have made better life CHOICES...

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Kids and cranks often tell the truth.

    US Attorney General Eric Holder has said his agency has “a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature".

    It is indeed criminal in nature, Mr. Holder.

    Well, if worst comes to worst Assange can still ask the judge about a few Israeli spies that have been caught basically in front of the Xerox and sent packing without so much as a shrug (and this includes Mr. Dough Feith, aka. "dumbest fucking guy on the planet"). And these were US citizens.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Better yet...

      ...ask why the New York Times isn't being taken to task despite partnering with wikileaks.

      1. Danny 14
        Thumb Up

        not the point

        because publishing isnt what they are getting at, its obtaining - (since he probably gave the leaks to NYT)

        The guardian newspaper has published a few leaks independently from wikileaks though. This would be a better comparison.

    2. david wilson

      @Destroy All Monsters

      >>"Well, if worst comes to worst Assange can still ask the judge about a few Israeli spies that have been caught ..."

      He can *ask*, but I can't see it would do any good - just because one person may have got away with something doesn't mean that a law ceases to be applicable to anyone else.

      It could also be that there are some things where the government minds less if some people know rather than others, or if fewer people know rather than more.

      Effectively, it's a government's call who to press charges against, the same way it's a citizen's call whether to press charges if they're burgled.

      It might not be /fair/, but it's not exactly unpredictable either.

  3. Tony Paulazzo

    Can anybody say

    Kangaroo court

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Was that a pun?

      Since Assnage is Australian?

      Sorry but the US Government is going by the book, Charges based on a law written last Century almost 100 years ago?

      Assnage is definitely not the hero you paint him to be.

      1. Alpha Tony


        "Charges based on a law written last Century almost 100 years ago"

        I don't care if it was tattooed on Benjamin Franklin's arse by George Washington - US law does not apply to non-US citizens acting outside of the US. END OF. Do you need me to repeat that as that basic principle of international law always seems to get lost in translation to US English?

        I don't think Assange is a hero - I don't have particularly strong feelings on his character one way or the other. This has become about something much more important - The US belief that they can impose their laws and their will on the rest of the world whenever they want and I do have particularly strong feelings about that:

        'America? Fuck no.'

        1. Danny 14

          grey area

          since the cables are only available from US embassies or inside the US they will argue that he got the cables from US soil hence can use the law quite happily. Unless he discloses how he got the cables thus proving otherwise.

        2. Rolf Howarth

          Extraterritorial laws

          "US law does not apply to non-US citizens acting outside of the US. END OF. Do you need me to repeat that as that basic principle of international law always seems to get lost in translation to US English?"

          There definitely are exceptions, eg. murdering US citizens abroad or blowing up a US embassy is an offence under US law, whether or not the country you're in has an effective judicial system. Even in the UK, we have laws that apply to non-UK citizens acting outside the UK, even if no UK interests are affected. (Don't believe me? Hint: Bosnia).

          1. Steven 33


            " murdering US citizens abroad " - surely this is illegal wherever "abroad" is, and would be tried as such.

            " blowing up a US embassy " - As above ^^

            I find your conclusions based on this weak defence flawed... if I went to the USA (where I am not from), and killed my missus, and was found out, I surely would be sentenced there, no? Likewise if I went to Germany, or the UK, or god forbid, France...

            The embassy thing is a bit more complicated, but not much...

            1. david wilson


              I *guess* that if they were going to be arguing that he's effectively guilty of collusion or conspiracy in the illegal act of obtaining the information, claiming that he actually encouraged removal of the information (and so maybe bypassing protection for journalists), they'd also be claiming that wherever he was at the time things happened, he was conspiring in a criminal act which was going to take place on US territory.

              I'm not sure what the relevant precedents for that might be when it comes to extradition, but they might have at least the makings of some kind of case.

            2. Rolf Howarth

              Re: Actually....

              "murdering US citizens abroad - surely this is illegal wherever "abroad" is, and would be tried as such"

              Tried by who exactly? And you say "surely"... what if it's not illegal in that country, or if the particular country where the murder occurred refuses to act? Think Libya, Iran, Afghanistan under the Taliban, or whatever. Or what if the murder occurs in international waters, eg. Palestinian terrorists hijacking a yacht with American tourists and murdering the captain? (That was years ago, I can't remember the details, and might even have been in Italian waters but the Italians let them go as part of a hostage deal, then the Americans caught the hijackers while they were sailing back across the Mediterranean and tried them in the USA... something like that.)

              And what's with the down vote? I didn't say I agreed with extraterritoriality, just pointed out that there ARE laws that apply to other country's citizens committing acts in other countries. In the UK for example we have laws about war crimes and crimes against humanity that would apply wherever in the world the offence took place. Are you saying I'm not correct, or simply that you don't like the conclusion?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward


                >>"Are you saying I'm not correct, or simply that you don't like the conclusion?"

                I'd vote for option 2

          2. MinionZero
            Big Brother

            @Rolf Howarth "Extraterritorial laws"

            @"There definitely are exceptions, eg. murdering US citizens abroad" etc.... "is an offence under US law"

            No, murdering *anyone* abroad is a murder in that country, so a matter for the legal system in that country.

            Embassies however are less clear. Whilst they do have some legal privileges and protection, they are still under the territorial laws of the host country.

            Put simply even from a moral perspective, the US doesn't have the right to impose its laws on the rest of the world. (If it did, we all would need to have the power to vote in each president (of the world), because otherwise they would rule us without representation. That’s a dictatorship. Even worse, it would be their global dictatorship!

            So no matter what the US government wants the world to do, they are not our keepers. The US represents only 4.5% of the world's population, so their leaders need to learn they don't run the world!

        3. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Alpha Tony

          US laws apply to anyone who breaks them. Regardless of their citizenship. By your reasoning, I could go to Britain break their laws and get away with it because I'm an American.

          Faulty logic aside, the grand jury will determine if the US has presented enough evidence of Assnage breaking the law.

          I would suggest you learn more about international law before condemning the US Govt.

      2. SpyWhoShaggedYou

        You mean the Espionage Act of 1917?

        The law that put E.E. Cummings in prison for expressing nothing more than insufficient hatred toward Germans? The law that imprisoned pacifists for handing out anti-draft pamphlets? That law?

        The law that was passed during a spasm of war-time, nationalist hysteria to quiet fears that the Kaiser had infiltrated the "Home Front" but in application infringed free speech? The law that caused newspapers to declare the "End of Liberty?" The law which is considered by historians and constitutional scholars to be an artifact of American history that only hung around because of the Red Scare? That law?

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Shagging Spy...

          The law is on the books and therefore appropriate. How it is used is going to be based on the circumstances of the time.

          If you haven't figured it out. We're at war with a group of people who will kill you because you don't walk, talk, think or act like them.

          So I'd say that Assnage is on thin ice and has pretty much alienated most governments. Just the way he wants it ...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Assange to be voted time man of the year?

    A bit of a pity, that. Not because he hasn't managed to put himself right in everybody's faces for quite the while. More because it deprives us of seeing "Lady Gaga" voted man... of the year.

    Hm? Why yes, it IS cold out. How thoughtful of you, thank you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Funny you should say that.

      'Assange to be voted time man of the year?... ....More because it deprives us of seeing "Lady Gaga" voted man... of the year.'

      I heard a rumour, (or was it a leak?), that the CD with the cables/warlogs etc. previously had "Lady Gaga" tunes on it, so you never know. What I can say with certainty, however, is that I have never seen either of them in the same room together.

  5. David Moore

    The Espionage Act?!

    Oh dear.

    What's happened to America? More and more it's looking like Nazi Germany in the 30's.

  6. Rolf Howarth


    One could easily imagine that the sexual assault charges, conveniently coming when they do, are straight out of a Hollywood conspiracy film. On the other, given what one knows about Assange's character (an arrogant, self-righteous prig who thinks he's above the law and God's gift to mankind), who knows how he might treat a woman who dares to turn him down?

    1. Goat Jam

      What the?

      "who knows how he might treat a woman who dares to turn him down?"

      Which woman turned him down? Are you referring to the "rape" charges.

      I think you might be well advised to read this link (and yes, it is a Daily Fail article, but even they can manage to do real journalism ocassionally)

      There is no "turning him down" involved.

      Sure, Assange was stupid and quite selfish in his actions but this case is more about the jealousy of one of the women involved.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        @Goat Jam

        Ok, would you care to explain the difference between:

        "That Assange. He's a good bloke, fighter for truth and all. Must be a put up job, girl's obviously lying, we should brush it under the carpet. Tell you what, give her a grilling and point out she'll be made to look a tart in court. She'll drop the charges."


        "That Harrington-Smythe chap. He's a good bloke, Eton and Oxford and a rugger blue too . Must be a put up job.......etc."

        As it escapes me. Is Wikileaks the new "old school tie"?

        1. david wilson


          >>"Ok, would you care to explain the difference between:..."

          The difference is that for the subset of Wikileaks supporters who go for the black/white worldview rather than even tying to see other points of view, Assange is currently in their 'likes' group, whereas the old Etonian probably isn't.

          The tricky thing is that though I'm sure there are many Wikileaks supporters who really don't know what happened in Sweden, who aren't entirely prejudging the case, they're less likely to keep mentioning that than the people who absolutely *know* what happened, whether they've decided it's a CIA plot or a lover scorned or a crusading feminist.

          The *potential convenience* of the charges isn't going to be lost on anyone, even people at the other extreme who want to conclude for their own reasons that he's definitely guilty.

          However, it does seem that some people assume that anyone not repeatedly shouting that it's a setup must somehow be less intelligent and have either missed the possibility that things aren't kosher, or be part of the Conspiracy.

    2. David Neil

      Try reading up on the actual charges

      There is a sliding scale of what is meant by the term rape in Sweden, with the upper end being a violent physical assault, and the lower end meaning sex by coercion - basically if you've ever lied your way into bed, or whined that it's your birthday and you are entitled to that little bit extra, you would be indictable under Swedish law.

      The Swedish prosecutor wants to question him over an allegation made at the lower end of the spectrum, also the complainant didn't make a formal complaint initially but approached the police for 'guidance'.

      Sure it would be great to just have a trial on the evidence and be done with it, but sure as a sure thing once he is in Sweden he will be rendered to the US.

  7. ratfox

    A jury?

    I don't get it. They need a jury to decide whether to bring charges? Does he have a lawyer representing him? What about appeals?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      As I understand it

      ....for serious criminal charges (felonies only?) a jury is convened in secret to review the charges and preliminary evidence to decide if there is enough to pursue a formal charge (indictment). There is a saying that, more or less, "[a good Prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich]" so please expect to be a high standard of evidence or anything - for the most part it's a formality and grand juries rarely reject anything. As it is a procedural issue before a charge is ever handed down, there is no ability to defend oneself at a grand jury - while at the same time the only decision they make is if the Prosecutor is allowed to indict the person(s) in question. They make no determination of guilt or innocence.

      *Normal disclaimers apply - by "good Prosecutor" I mean one that is adept at his craft and not some sort of judgement on his/her character

      1. Eddy Ito

        Fairly close

        A grand jury is supposed to be an independent body that is essentially supposed to investigate and try the prosecution to ensure any evidence is sufficient for trial. As such is was originally a two edged sword in that if the grand jury thought the prosecutor was on a personal vendetta or corrupt, they were quite within their rights to spin the case the opposite way and have the prosecutor tried for abuse of power or corruption. The sad reality is that too many people have watched one episode of [insert court/police drama name here] and so believe the so called "good guys" to be infallible. As always, the final line of defense is jury nullification which can be undertaken by either the grand or petite jury.

        No, IANAL but have suffered the indignity of sitting on both types of jury with both the "hang 'em high" and "stick it to the man" whack job types. With a grand jury being 23 people you get more of both and a bigger headache.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this straight.

    USA wants to prosecute an Australian for actions done in Europe.

    Does this mean more civilized countries can issue arrest warrants for CORRUPTION towards the democrats and republicans over those so-called "campaign contributions" which are illegal over here?

    Or maybe it's time those Yanks got hit over the head with a BIG cluebat about "international does NOT mean 50 states." or "federal law is NOT international", right before all their diplomatic passports were cancelled over the VIOLATION of the Vienna accord (Hillary Clinton asking UN Diplomats to spy for her), and all their less-than-valuable people got sent home.

    Anon, because I'm sure there's a US law against disliking corrupt politicans as well.

    1. thecakeis(not)alie

      "Countries can issue arrest warrants for CORRUPTION."

      No, as the US has signed but not ratified it's membership in the International Criminal Court.(*1) As such, for all intents and purposes, American leaders cannot be held accountable by the international community. What's more, the International Criminal Court will not deal with issues of corruption. In fact, their jurisdiction covers only "the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression."(*2) Furthermore, in many cases the US has repeatedly not been opposed to declaring Universal Jurisdiction(*3) and simply going after someone it really wants.

      Even if the ICC were willing to look into extraordinary corruption, (such as the rationale behind the US's recent wars of aggression,) the US has put an awful lot of effort to ensure that the people in power are exempt from such examination. (*4)

      In short: the US can and will do whatever the hell it wants unless you happen to hide in China, Russia or a nation very closely allied with them. Everyone else is so dependant on the US(*5) that they simply will not risk themselves. That – just by the by – is something I find to be a huge shame. In my opinion, the US needs to be held to account. More specifically, its leaders need to be legally accountable for the actions of their country before the International Criminal Court.

      At the moment however, nobody has the power to cause the US to even consider extradition of one of it’s ruling class.






      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        That is exactly the poster's point. Sod the ICC

        If Sweden hand him over to them for an offence which is _NOT_ a crime in Sweden this becomes a precedent. At that point everyone and their dog will ignore the ICC and any other norm of law and consider it normal to bring formal charges against anyone their like and expect to be entitled for the suspect to be extradited.

        Basically the equivalent will be Teheran instead of issuing fatwas issuing endightments and expecting the UK to extradite suspects who have insulted the supreme holiness of whichever Hitler wannabie they managed to elect this time. It is only a matter of time until this descends into abductions/terminations chaos.

        It is about time the yanks comply with international law, take their best beloved principle of Universal jurisdiction and shove it where it belongs.

  9. zaax

    So what has he actually done?

    Looks like the old US of A is about to kill another innocent person

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I've decided to convene a panel

    to decide on exactly the same thing.

    And as I'm currently in the UK- current holding pen of Assange and a part of the EU where his crimes took place and where his servers are mostly based- I'm pretty sure I have more of a basis in law and sense than the Yanks do with their panel.

    Actually, I hope the Americans pull this one off and Assange gets hauled off to a US prison. Then the precedent's set in International Law for us to haul all of their military commanders (including Commander in Chief Obama and former CIC Bush) and a good number of their soldiers over hot coals for mass-teamkilling.

    Then get Hillary Clinton locked up for ordering people to spy on diplomats.

    1. Dagg Silver badge

      Rumsfeld - not sure about the spelling

      What about Donald Rumsfeld, I'm sure there are a few crimes that can be thrown his way and I would suggest that what he has done has caused the death of a few people where as there is no proof that Assange has.

      And don't start me on Kissinger!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad link

    Is it just me, or does clicking that link actually vote for Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Something I didn't want to do. Annoying.,28804,2028734_2029036_2029037,00.html

    This seems to be the link that was intended.

  12. thecakeis(not)alie

    382,020 votes?

    That's it?

    El Reg has a readership of 5 million+. Let's all vote Lester in as Man Of The Year. PARIS was without question the most important project of 2010.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be afraid.

    Ok, I get it. If you reveal secret documents that reveal that Hillary Clinton asked diplomats to spy for the US Government, then you are a spy... and nothing happens to Hillary Clinton? I'm not so naive to think that governments follow the rules all the time, but if you get caught, you should pay the price!

    I don't think Wikileaks and Assange have done everything right. They should have never published the gossipy cables that pissed everyone off (everyone was too scared to go after them when they were publishing bigger stories). But ultimately all they've done is received and published some documents that were factual, and showed the Government doing things it's not supposed to do. In my books, that does not make you a spy, that makes you a good guy.

    I'm in no way an activist, and have never even attended a protest before, but I'm very scared at what will happen next.

  14. asdf

    Assange is a tool

    So the system making him look like a martyr instead of arrogrant pompous self important asshat is unfortunate. Having an outlet for whistleblowers is so much bigger than this one idiot clown who hurts the cause more than he helps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess

      you have a really low opinion of yourself.

      There there.

  15. Cameron Colley



    We are all the US government's bitch, it has been confirmed.

  16. FozzyBear

    Complusory Title #1

    Who didn't see that coming? Oh wait the Americans want a bite too and are rushing through their own due process to ensure they have some legitimate claim on him. The Swede’s with all the backbone of a jellyfish will turn themselves into pretzels to hand over Assange.

    The Aussie government, I’m embarrassed to say, is no better and has basically disowned Assange, providing only the very basic offer of assistance through the embassy in the UK. We’d hate to annoy the US wouldn't we even though it means selling out one of your own citizens?

    I commented on this before, the truth in this matter is now null and void. The only reality is now what results from behind closed doors with a bunch of diplomats discussing, threatening and blackmailing each other. Certainly not in the interests of the two women involved, or proper due process for Assange, or even with the laws and due process of their own countries.

    Fucking sad when think about it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Its worth noting.

      Although the extradition from the UK to sweden is probably a formality, he hasnt been extradited from Sweden yet.

      I also note that the news i have read says that the Australian government is rapidly trying to backpedal from there initial attempt to leave him to the wolves, with even Gillard softening her line to avoid a left-wing revolt.

  17. Neal 5

    strangely enough

    me and and some mates had a secret meeting in the pub last night , We came to the conclusion that Wikileaks was ok and that the US had turned into a bunch of non AmeiCAN's. The point of that being, who gives a fuck about what the Americ+nts are doing anyway. Fuck off with your opinions, we don't want them anymore.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    dear American readers ...

    can any of you point out the bit of international law that gives you jurisdiction over an Australian citizen who, as a publisher, published material in Europe that was freely given to him by a third party? I'd like to read it.

    After than can you please provide a link to the relevant legislation that is entirely reciprocal for the US-UK extradition treaty under which you would like Mr McKinnon, without any evidence presented in a UK court. On a similar, no-evidence presented, basis, we'd like to extradite the entire State Department network, telco, IT and security teams for allowing Wikileaks to obtain their material.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh, come on!

      Haven't you heard of the law of "we've got more nuclear weapons than you!"...???

      I mean 'nucular' (jeez!...I never will learn 'fuckhead' !)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Dear European and Australian readers

      While we certainly regret the anxiety this has caused, the fact of the matter is that most of your governments enjoy certain economic, military or technological benefits from the US government, courtesty of the US tax payer, you are more than welcome to take on the unenviable and daunting task of keeping everyone else from either killing themselves, their citizens, neighbors and/or coughing up billions in relief, whenever the seasonal plague, draught, earthquake or other mass tragedy comes breezing through. Lord knows, we won't mind... we have enough problems of our own. So, anybody who wants to pony up and keep wests (all inclusive) interests protected, at considerable expense, then go for it.

      Personally, I think my government is full of douche bags; both elected and appointed. And if it were up to me, it'd be open season on the lot of them. However, when some idiot comes into posession of gig after gig of state secrets from your nation or to and from your allies, then you can deal with him as you see fit.

      Feel free to flame away.

      1. Santa from Exeter

        @AC 09:44, Cite?

        Would you care to enumerate the 'benefits' which we in England 'enjoy' at the American taxpayers expense?

        I see no economic benefit to us in the fact that everything American seems to be sold in this country at well above the American price (even when transportation is taken into account) - benefit to America.

        I see no military benefit to the numerous 'blue on blue' event which have happened in the 'War on Terror' which America unilaterally declared and then dragged us into - benefit to nobody (except the American arms dealers).

        I see no technological benefit to the development of numerous 'improved' ways of killing people which are churned out by the American military R&D machine - benefit nobody (except the American arms dealers again).

        Are you seeing a picture developing here?

        Personally I think that America is full of 'douche bags', unfortunately for the reasonable Americans, they all get tarred with the same brush.

        Incidentally, the 'Feel free to flame away' indicates that any rebuttal will be treated as a flame, and hence you either don't truly believe you have a strong case, or you don't have the mental capacity to conduct a reasoned argument.

        Not AC, as I stand by what I say

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >>"courtesy of the US tax payer,..."

        Or at least, a combination of the US taxpayer and whoever's buying government debt.

      3. Ancient Oracle funkie

        @AC 09:44

        And I quote: "keeping everyone else from either killing themselves, their citizens, neighbors "

        Sorry, far too busy trying to stop US miltary from killing us.

      4. TheFifth

        @Dear European and Australian readers

        Just wow…. I don't know where to begin. Someone's been watching way too much Fox News.

        Other people seem to cover a lot of your points well, but I thought I'd just chip in on the "coughing up billions in relief, whenever the seasonal plague, draught, earthquake or other mass tragedy comes breezing through" comment.

        In actual fact, as of 2009 the USA is 5th from bottom for foreign aid as a percentage of GNI (gross national income) at a mere 0.2% . You may give a large amount in raw dollars, but to actually see how generous that is it needs to be compared to the amount of money your county actually has. The only countries who gave less than the US last year were Greece (understandably), Japan, Italy and Korea.

        The UK gives over 2.5 times the amount of aid that the USA gives as a percentage of GNI with Sweden topping the league at over 5 times that of the US.

        So if you think the amount of foreign aid your country gives is hurting you, spare a thought for just about every other country in the world, because they're taking a harder hit than you. And please, spare me the self-righteous 'We police the World' crap. Open your eyes, turn off Fox and learn about the World outside your borders.

        Facts and figures here:

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      Short Answer:



  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    re: You mean the Espionage Act of 1917

    Ironically they then deported Chaplin for showing too much hatred of Germans - 'premature anti-facism'

  20. Turtle

    It could get worse for Assange,,, a lot worse.

    As I understand it, if that 1.4 gigabyte "insurance file" has its password released, and if as a consequence any US agent or ally is killed because of it, then Assange - and probably his cohorts too - will be eligible for the death penalty.

    Also, out of all the governments in the world, which of of them would like to see Assange put away for decades? If you answered "Any government that can imagine its own secret documents being released to the public" then right you are!

    1. John G Imrie

      Death penalty.

      I'm glad you baught that up. This story claims that the UK would not extradite anyone to the US if they would face the death penalty there.

      So Assange's likely defence will be that if he is extradited he is likely to end up in the US under charges that carry the death penalty.

      1. Mike Hanna

        Death Penalty

        Do they have the death penalty in Sweden?

        1. teebie

          They don't have the death penalty in Europe

          (Roughly speaking, outside or war and Belarus)

          The ECHR forbids it, meaning it shouldn't be legal in any Council of Europe country, which means all of Europe other than Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        Well noticed! I was wondering why they didnt try to extradite him directly from the UK to the US, expecially with our wonderful one-sided extradition treaty!.

        (No, it doesnt bring us in line with the Rest of the EU, it basically means when the US want someone, we give them, very few questions asked)

        Of course, its a long standing tradition. (I'm sure its the law as well, but i cant be sure of that), that we dont extradite or repatriate people who are facing the death penalty.

      3. david wilson

        @John G Imrie

        >>So Assange's likely defence will be that if he is extradited he is likely to end up in the US under charges that carry the death penalty."

        It wouldn't be much of a defence.

        What actually happens is that if the USA really wants someone from the UK (or the EU in general), they have to agree not to seek the death penalty.

  21. Brett Weaver

    Its sadly amusing...

    That the poms are all saying "tutt" "tutt" to the Americans for being - well, lets face it, bullies.. And yet its the British legal system that has a man imprisoned for what would be laughable charges if they were ever brought to court.

    The most cowardly reaction was Julia Gillard (PM Aussie) but has been a close run thing....

    A number of the world's leaders have failed to cover themselves in glory with this issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      hang on, they're in my coat pocket.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Except that the rape charges will never make it to court. The rape charge is being used as nothing more than a pair of handcuffs while the US try to make this look less obvious.

      If the US & Sweden both try to extradite him, where do you think he'll end up? My money ain't on Sweden.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Predicting the 'obvious'

        >>"The rape charge is being used as nothing more than a pair of handcuffs while the US try to make this look less obvious.

        I predict that whatever happens will turn out to have been obvious all along

        If Assange ends up extradited from the UK, it'll always have been obvious that the Swedish charges were just holding charges, even if Assange, being the suspicious person he is, could have chosen to go somewhere other than the UK after Sweden, and even if the USA could have secretly drawn the charges up and then just sprung an extradition request on him at a time of their own choosing, in any number of countries.

        If Assange goes to Sweden and gets extradited from there before a trial, with or without charges being dropped, it'll turn out always to have been obvious that the Swedish charges were just a ruse to get him back into Sweden.

        If Assange goes to Sweden and is charged and goes on trial, if convicted it'll be obvious that the assault charges were meant all along to get him convicted and worked, and if not convicted, it'll either be obvious that the charges were meant to get him convicted and failed, or were meant just to discredit him.

        If Assange goes to Sweden and isn't charged and no extradition request is made by the US, it'll be obvious that everything was all intended just to scare him.

        If he then goes somewhere else an an extradition request is made, it'll be obvious that everything was part of a Big Plan to lull him into a false sense of security.

        In short, whether he ends up being extradited from anywhere or not, the assault claims were always obviously part of the plan.

        *Whatever* happens will taken as evidence that the assault charges are false and maliciously intended, and memories of what was previously considered 'obvious' will shift in order to support that conclusion.

        There won't be a chance that the allegations could have been genuine with sufficient proof, or genuine with insufficient proof, or part of a case where people just have different memories of an event.

        Being a simple victim of circumstances would never do for a hero, since a real hero must be heroic and epic at all times.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re 'Tut tut'

      Of course we can say 'Tut tut'. Bullying is wrong. What really exercises us, though, is the inexplicable behaviour of our leaders in the face of that bullying. They really should grow some balls. And it's time US politicians grew up or just studied history and realised that global empires are just dreams and, ultimately, having good relationships with other nations is much more likely to secure your future.

  22. Chris Hatfield

    Assange Rally on Tue afternoon

    It will be a travesty if Assange is extradited. Corrupt people in power have lost their cloak of invincibility, FOREVER.

    Even if you destroy one man (Assange), OpenLeaks and other Wikileaks mirrors will always be here to expose your crimes.

    Why is Ron Paul the ONLY person to speak sense in the US Senate. He says it well in this video:

    1. mky

      Ron Paul?

      Oh I get it, that's supposed to be a joke.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ron paul?

        I never trust people with a last name that's also a first name, even in the few instances where they're not male hairdressers.

  23. Christian Berger

    Brilliant strategy

    Assange, although being fairly unimportant, is now seen as a victim, perhaps even a Merthyr. That's also why he hosted Wikileaks on Amazon or used that swiss bank.

    The guy who wrote the first usable portscanner in the early 1990s, and came up with the idea of Rubberhose is probably to smart for that to fall into those traps on accident.

    Even if Wikileaks fails, there's going to be clones.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    did I just see "Ron Paul" and "speak sense" in the same sentence?

  25. David Hicks

    If any of this corruption and dealing is news to you

    You were probably inadequately cynical in the first place.

    Humanity and its leaders are as corrupt and tribal as ever. You only have to read all the people who attack Assange's character or rant about national security to realise that a lot of folks still worship authority and power structures, and anything that upsets the alpha monkeys upsets them too.

    If these people didn't behave like little emperors and didn't classify anything and everything as a matter of course, we wouldn't need wikileaks. But they do, they behave like power-drunk arseholes, using OUR money and OUR mandate, without considering that they should ever be responsible to us.

    I hope when Assange does meet his sticky end, ior gets himself disappeared, that more people will wake up and smell the bullshit.

  26. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So Sweden wants him for a rape allegation but not that *much*

    After you with the espionage charges, US Attorney General.

    I'd always thought the US was quite good about sunsetting some of its more stupid laws once a threat had passed. This one seems well past its time.

  27. bexley

    what he needs is...

    ...another cable to be leaked saying something like

    'Lets trump up some old sex charge on him from the swedes and get the brits to hold him, they always do what we say and are eager to please us. Then we'll just get britain to exridite him, to us.'

    Despite is being painfully obvious that this is what is happening, the majority of the public, british, american and elsewhere, are not aware enough of the world they live in for it to matter.

    Only when a red handed, broadsheet printed cable get leaked will this be over, until then, Assange is in real trouble...despite not really being responsible for any of this.

    Assange's mistake was to be the public face of wikileaks, should have remained anonymous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >>"Despite is being painfully obvious that this is what is happening, the majority of the public, british, american and elsewhere, are not aware enough of the world they live in for it to matter."

      Oh, if only everyone was as smart as you, how wonderful the world would be.

      >>" Assange's mistake was to be the public face of wikileaks, should have remained anonymous.

      Seems like a bigger mistake may have been to be in contact with Manning before the information got lifted.

  28. bugalugs
    IT Angle

    @Chris Hatfield

    " Corrupt people in power have lost their cloak of invincibility, FOREVER. "

    I think you meant " invisibility ". One of the really interesting things to come out of the affair so far is the list of individuals and corporates notable for their uber-quick or even pre- compliance with our cousins' " interests ". It makes interesting reading, covering in my case almost everyone from the local dog-catcher to the Prime Minister and including financial and commercial organizations I've thought of doing business with. I will carry my little compilation into stores & banks and remember it at the ballot box. Everyone should compile.

    compiling, off course

  29. kevin biswas

    This makes no sense.

    *Outside* the rule of law perhaps this kind of situation would usually be handled by an extraordinary rendition or an unfortunate 'accident' of some kind, but because Assange is a high profile white guy that option may be closed.

    But *under* the rule of law this grand jury and whatnot is just silly because it kind of implies that any government has jurestiction anywhere in the world for any supposed crime comitted anywhere in the world. That would set a precident which should worry the hell out of Bush, Cheyney, Union Carbide, Halliburton, Blackwater, BAE Systems and a hundred thousand other individuals and corporations all over the world. Maybe they think they can strongarm the Swedes and the Brits to play along this once but it seems equally likely this grand jury are just huffing and puffing and making a lot of noise and hot air for their own satisfaction.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seems to me

    That Sweden will get cut out of the loop since the UK is so supine when it comes to extraditing people to the US.

    To be hoped the insurance file has enough in it to screw the Bank of America good and proper.

  31. mky

    As an american

    I love my country. That being said, I find myself loathing what has become of it. We are no longer a democracy and have not been one for a long time now. Seems we have gone from the land of freedom and opportunity to the land of ignorance, fear and hate. As a country we deserve the scorn heaped upon us. Guess I'll be getting anally probed the next time I try to board a plane for a domestic flight. Oh well, I'm over 40 and am supposed to have my prostate examined annually.

    Well at least we still have some great micro brews.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Australian Media's Finest Defend Wikileaks, 600k sign petition

    - this is from the press release, it's not the actual letter:

    "Australia’s most senior media professionals have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard today to express their support for WikiLeaks...

    The letter was initiated by the Walkley Foundation and signed by the ten members of the Walkley Advisory Board as well as editors of major Australian newspapers and news websites and the news directors of the country’s three commercial TV networks and two public broadcasters.

    “In essence, WikiLeaks, an organisation that aims to expose official secrets, is doing what the media have always done: bringing to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret.

    It is the media’s duty to responsibly report such material if it comes into their possession. To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks, and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business with WikiLeaks, is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless press.”"

    - see:

    - 600,000 sign petition in support of WikiLeaks:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "It is the media’s duty to responsibly report such material IF IT COMES INTO THEIR POSESSION. "

      But there's the rub - are they actually supposed/allowed to go out and /solicit/ it?

      1. David Hicks


        Of course they're supposed to go and solicit information. Get it any way they can, it's called journalism.

        You think investigative journalists just sit and scratch their arses until someone drops all the info they need on their laps?

        1. david wilson

          @David Hicks

          >>"You think investigative journalists just sit and scratch their arses until someone drops all the info they need on their laps?"

          So it's all down to a black/white distinction between doing nothing and being allowed to do anything?

          Would a journalist be in the clear if they asked someone to repeatedly break the law to get them information?

          I can see that they might be allowed to associate with criminals and not tell the police everything, and maybe even sometimes to be involved in some minor criminality as part of a cover, but surely they're not supposed to be inspiring it?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whine me a river

    The foolishness that passes for knowledge is simply amazing.

    Extradite Assange to Sweden, give him a fair trial on the sex charges, then sentence him to 20 years in prison. Then ship him to the U.S. to be tried. He'll probably get 50 years in the U.S. so let him serve that first, then Sweden and finally send him to Australia to be prosecuted.

    1. David 105

      foolishness passing for knowledge right here

      So you say give him a fair trial for the rape charges, and then immediately say put him in prison for 20 years. Now, I'm not an American so I've no idea how a "real" justice system is supposed to work, but here in the civilised world we assume that part of a fair trial is the doctrine of "innocent until proven guilty". How does jumping into how he should serve his sentance fit in with that? Or is this part of your fox news watching, gun toting, palin fancying right wing conservative wet dream?

      You also mentioned that he should be prosecuted in Australia. What crimes has he committed there? Other than embarras the US? Or doe you just want Assange prosecuted in as many countries as possible, just to make sure

    2. Swarthy


      "Extradite Assange to Sweden, give him a fair trial on the sex charges, then sentence him to 20 years in prison."

      Nice, ranks right up there with "You will be given a fair trial, convicted, and then shot at dawn." A joke that originated about the same time as the law that they want to try him under.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Anyone hear a big...


  34. scarshapedstar

    Might be the Yank in me, but...

    I kinda hope the US imprisons him, only because then he'll (hopefully) release the password to "insurance.aes256".

  35. nyelvmark

    He had it coming.

    I remember once telling a girl that she had the prettiest blue eyes I'd ever seen. Imagine my surprise when the police arrived in the morning and banged me up for 20 years for rape. It was only at the trial that I realised that her eyes were actually green. Oh, well, fair cop.

  36. Winkypop Silver badge


    I'm waiting for someone to link up all the people mentioned in the cables, FaceBook style.

    A whole new social network would be borne.

    He likes him, but not them

    He dissed him

    She unfriended her

    LOLZ Bitches

  37. mhenriday

    The Empire Strikes Back, redux ?

    A US grand jury meeting to «decide the fate» of a person who is neither a US citizen nor a resident of that country ? Since when did the United States gain universal jurisdiction ?...


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Since when?

      Well, they haven't, but they think they have.

  38. FuzzyTheBear

    Extradition ?

    If he's extraded on such trumped up charges , i do hope they use the nuclear option and publish the whole stack of uncensored documents.I repeat uncensored.

    They seem to want to use an old law that is ( if you read ) also a danger to all newspapers and reporters out there.If they get him with it , then the whole journalistic profession will be on the fritz. There will be no accountability whatsoever and the US will have become the new China.

    Yeah .. communist China does no worse.

    The US has gone down and no longer is the admiration of the planet.They have covered themselves with ridicule , they are shamed and should be.The US needs to look at what they became. The worst of the worst and sinking.There are no excuses for governments that aid that foreign power in prosecuting journalistic freedom with a law that dates from 1917 which was written with the clear intention of banning all reporting.

    Bend over UK , the US wants to show you something.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What about the "insurance" file that Wikileaks posted some months ago with hints that if anything happened to Assange, it would be released. Will it be released if he get extredited to the US?

  40. taxman

    Tit for tat?

    So now there is a Swedish national being charged for sexual assault. But there is a subtle difference in how the two cases are different. Perhaps that was Assange's mistake. he should have gone to Scotland.

  41. stupormundi

    worrying precedent

    If the Running Dogs of Imperialism really go through with the spying charge -- charging a guy who isn't a Merkin citizen, didn't do the journalism / online publishing ("spying") within their territory, isn't himself in the US, then I suppose in the future anybody, anywhere, who has anything to say about them that they dislike will have to worry about being charged with spying against them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "then I suppose in the future anybody, anywhere, who has anything to say about them that they dislike will have to worry about being charged with spying against them."


      Assuming they also have a prolonged discussion with someone online who subsequently steals secret information to give to them, maybe they would potentially be open to accusations of complicity in the information theft.

  42. Andus McCoatover

    Australian National?

    IIRC, he's an Ozzie. I believed the 'one-sided' extradition treaty only applied to British and usa citizens? Anyone help me out? I forgot which way I came in.

  43. YARR

    Man of the year?

    More like traitor of the century.

    Where's the big leak, the one that actually proves serious wrongdoing and justifies breaking the law? I'm sure that 99% of other countries in the world have far more important secrets withheld from public knowledge than this.

    What kind of bizarre morality is this guy motivated by? Should governments have no right to keep information secret? Then why not publish everything? The location of every active military ship, plane and submarine. The connectivity and passwords of every government computer system, including the codes for arming/disarming nuclear missiles? Or the FBI files on Julian Assange with every scrap of personal information they know about him? On second thoughts, what a stupid idea.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      And the point you are making is?

  44. tony trolle

    leaky bucket

    Some of these leaks should of been filtered out and never been seen.

    More than a few of these leaks are funny.

    Most of these leaks are dross like if a weekly magazine published stuff like; that your neighbor, thought you "may" have done deals with the North Koreans it would get laughed at.

    Its only that "you" and "your neighbor" are political names anyone interested.

    I'm waiting for the leak about Somalia thinking Bill Clinton was gay......

    Anyway the US does not like whistle blowers, google "The Richard Bey Show" & "Gennifer Flowers"....

    1. david wilson

      @tony trolle

      >>"More than a few of these leaks are funny."

      Maybe, but I'm not sure the laughs are worth a young Private looking at a decade or few in jail.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    How many angels have I met in life?

    Assange has sealed his place in history, along with George W Bush and Tony Blair. It could be that our history books will have the same fate as the Great Library of Alexandria, in the coming economic apocalypse.

    With 7 billion people to feed on this planet, many of which are considered as "useless eaters" our system of global governance needs a few truths to be outed.

    I'm behind Assange, if for no other reason than the corruption in modern politics, media and the franchise holders who own the world's wealth.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >>"With 7 billion people to feed on this planet, many of which are considered as "useless eaters" our system of global governance needs a few truths to be outed."

    Free condoms for everyone?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like