back to article US 'considering' end to Assange prosecution bid

The Biden Administration is contemplating Australia's request to end its bid to prosecute WikiLeaker-in-Chief Julian Assange, an Australian citizen. US president Joe Biden revealed the matter is under consideration when fielding a shouted question in the aftermath of his meeting with Japanese prime minister Kishida Fumio. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “The Land Down Under's”

    Please find a new trope.

    That is all.

    1. LogicGate Silver badge

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      "Down Below" then?

    2. LogicGate Silver badge

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Or "The counterweight continent" ?

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: “The Land Down Under's”

        Um akchually,

        The counterweight continent is Discworld China/Japan.

        You're thinking of Fourecks.

        1. LogicGate Silver badge

          Re: “The Land Down Under's”

          Ah, yes. My bad

          "The Victorian penal colony" then?

          1. Blogitus Maximus
            Coat

            Re: “The Land Down Under's”

            Down under always reminded me of ones undercarriage. Perhaps 'The Groin' ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Tasmania's deadlier neighbour.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Almost Middle Earth

      or

      Middle Earth Adjacent

      1. Scott 26

        Re: “The Land Down Under's”

        we call it "West Island"

    5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Drop Bear Country

      As in "we can't stop here, this is drop bear country."

      1. LogicGate Silver badge

        Re: “The Land Down Under's”

        Sheepshagglia? ..Or is that Wales?

        1. WolfFan

          Re: “The Land Down Under's”

          Hmm… no, Scotland.

          1. James O'Shea

            Re: “The Land Down Under's”

            Hmm. Scots, from the land where men are men, women are men too, and sheep are nervous, lack a sense of humour.

            Poke the dragon. Poke, poke, poke...

            Always remember, Scots, it could be worse. You could be English.

            Poke the dragon...

            1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: “The Land Down Under's”

              Women? You mean the Shayeelas? Oh wait, Wales...

        2. Kimo

          Re: “The Land Down Under's”

          You're thinking of Montana.

    6. WolfFan

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      “Land Where Everything Wants To Kill You”?

      1. LogicGate Silver badge

        Re: “The Land Down Under's”

        As mentioned elsewhere, not all sheep in Australia are lethal. Some are just very very nervous..

        "What is the difference between New Zealand and Australia?

        ..In New Zealand they name the sheep"

      2. Blogitus Maximus

        Re: “The Land Down Under's”

        It's well know that there are now no snakes in Australia.

        The Spiders ate them all.

    7. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Occasionally known as "West Island" in New Zealand.

    8. aerogems Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Traveling in a fried-out Kombi

      On a hippie trail, head full of zombie

      I met a strange lady, she made me nervous

      She took me in and gave me breakfast

      And she said

      "Do you come from a land down under

      Where women glow and men plunder?

      Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?

      You better run, you better take cover"

    9. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Vegemite Island, mate!

    10. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: “The Land Down Under's”

      Meanwhile, OP apparently hails from the Land Down Voted. Congratulations on racking up that score, AC.

  2. Chronos

    Prodding the bear

    As much as I may sympathise with Julian as a journo, he is sort of reaping what he has sown. We tend to forget that all of this came about when he refused to answer a completely unrelated charge in Sweden, which then got him staked out by the plod while he was enjoying the Ecuadorean Ambassador's "hospitality" - which then left him open to the US' claim as he was already pretty much "in custody." All the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth is fine if you're coming from an Arnie Rimmer "facilitator" angle but the rest of us tend to live in the real world where not much is fair, excrement happens regularly and most of us aren't "net celebs" so don't have hoards of goggle-eyed followers to wave placards for us even when we may not be as pure as the allegedly driven snow ourselves.

    "Let he who is without sin" has to be the lesson here. I hope the US do drop the case for two reasons: One is it doesn't really matter; they're learning the lesson the rest of us have already learnt, that once you splurge your data into any sort of connected system you never get it back and, secondly, it'll stop this attention addict from appearing in the pages of this esteemed publication. Hopefully.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Prodding the bear

      You missed the fact that after fleeing Sweden for the rape allegation, apparently out of fear of extradition, he came to the UK (who have a more compliant history of extraditing to the US)

      He then got a load of followers/friends to put up his bail money, then skipped bail.

      His term in the Ecuadorean embassy was entirely his own choice and should not be factored into any penalty beyond classing it as time on the run/evading police.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        His term in the Ecuadorean embassy was entirely his own choice and should not be factored into any penalty beyond classing it as time on the run/evading police.

        As long as he's expelled from the UK and PNG'd, I don't really care what happens to this shameless self-promoter. I'd also like to see him billed for wasting police time.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Prodding the bear

          The UK has precedent for billing people for their "board and lodging" while in prison.

          Admittedly it's usually reserved for people wrongly imprisoned and is clawed back from their rightful compensation, calculated as loss of earnings, on the basis that if they'd not been in prison they'd have had to pay rent or mortgage anyway.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Prodding the bear

            I thought they were repealing that & retroactively applying it. If anyone should be paying that its the Plod that "arranged" the evidence.

            https://insidetime.org/newsround/andrew-malkinson-board-and-lodging-charge-for-the-wrongly-jailed-is-axed/

    2. Alan Mackenzie

      Re: Prodding the bear

      The offences Assange was accused of in Sweden were laughable, and without substance. He actually left Sweden with the permission of the responsible prosecutor. He was entirely willing to be questioned by Swedish law enforcement whilst in the Ecuadorean embassy; the powers that be preferred to libel him as a suspected rapist rather than clear up the business.

      It should be borne in mind that spurious accusations of sexual offences are standard procedure used against whistleblowers in the UK and USA and likely other places, too. So are the personal attacks on the whistleblower's character and reputation, the effect of which can be seen in several posts on this thread. The disparagement in this comment section is highly uncalled for. None of these posters have any realistic knowledge of Julian Assange's actual character.

      What we do know is that he bravely exposed evidence of massive criminality and corruption at the heart of the USA establishment at unknown risk to himself. All those calling for more bad things to happen to him are in essence calling for an end to investigative journalism and free speech.

      1. Casca Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        Sure buddy...

      2. Killing Time

        Re: Prodding the bear

        'None of these posters have any realistic knowledge of Julian Assange's actual character.'

        Very true, but since he has sought publicity at every opportunity, most people with even a passing interest in the subject have enough knowledge to make a rational judgement on his character.

        An alternate view is that he scurried off to the forbearance of a mid sized state he had managed to gaslight when his personal legal situation got too hot for him. It is fact that they, having more than enough time to form a realistic knowledge of his actual character, withdrew their support and booted him out.

        Personally I believe the Australian motion to be rather pointless. There is nothing stopping his Australian family visiting him in Belmarsh or the US. Or the British family he has managed to form during his years of self generated incarceration for that matter.

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        the powers that be preferred to libel him as a suspected rapist rather than clear up the business.

        As he fled to avoid answering those charges like a man, Assange is, and always will be an alleged rapist. This is not at all libellous because by choosing not to be tried, no court has found him innocent or guilty.

        It should be borne in mind that spurious accusations of sexual offences are standard procedure used against whistleblowers in the UK and USA

        Don't forget Presidential candidates..

        None of these posters have any realistic knowledge of Julian Assange's actual character.

        I'm pretty sure he could be diagnosed with NPD. It's all about Assange, which was his mistake. He became bigger than WikiLeaks. He editorialised his infamous 'Collateral Murder' video to set his own narrative. He then decided to become political and selectively leak and spin the Clinton emails etc. He made a classic journalistic mistake of becoming the story, and making rather powerful enemies.

        What we do know is that he bravely exposed evidence of massive criminality and corruption at the heart of the USA establishment at unknown risk to himself.

        Utter bollocks. What 'he' did, or more correctly wikileaks did was expose evidence that other people arguably took risks to expose, eg Chelsea Manning as an example. Then his ego took over Wikileaks and it became the Assange show, with him deciding what to leak, and again making himself the story.

        1. aerogems Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Prodding the bear

          Who are you, and what did you do with the real Jellied Eel?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Clash of egos?

            It looks like the two have rubbed shoulders in "Belmarsh for 4 months"... but didn't get along very well. Maybe Assange arrogantly claimed that global warming was 1/ real and 2/ mainly due to human activities.

            1. aerogems Silver badge
              Coffee/keyboard

              Re: Clash of egos?

              And just like that, the world makes sense again.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Clash of egos?

              Not really a clash of egos. He just has such an inflated opinion of himself and his 'achievements'.

              I'm struggling a bit to describe how he is viewed there and the only word that keeps jumping into my head is twat. No clash other than I am better looking, taller and more handsome than him and he hated that. He thought himself the best looking man on his spur - I kid you not.

              He is so hopelessly out of his depth there as many are. But most people adapt and learn how to game the system to their benefit. But the man has no concept that he isn't the most intelligent, best looking, most wonderful person there.

              He is the very definition of a narcissist. That is excusable sometimes as people can find themselves being what they never intended to be, but at least make some effort to acknowledge your faults and work on trying to improve them. He does none of that.

              Just looking at it from a prisoner point of view, he hasn't been a good prisoner. He doesn't go to work like the rest (not for security as no one gives a damn about the creep). No one walks with him on the yard. He doesn't take part in education of self-improvement courses. His cell is a shithole with books of law taking up the whole window so no natural light gets in. He makes no effort to get along with other inmates and is stand-offish and aloof without cause to be. He suffers delusions of grandeur. He is constantly looking for passive attention. He isn't even considered a high-risk prisoner.

              Before I met him, I was 50/50 on him. Now I'm 100% sure he is an immature twat who stumbled across his infamy. Places like Belmarsh really do show a person's character. And what I saw and the general opinion of him there was a weak man that it isn't worth wasting time on because he knows everything.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Prodding the bear

            JL is a contrarian, so will happily contradict himself if it means s/he's able to disagree with someone ;)

      4. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        I remember reading an email he'd written to a South American diplomant - and its reply - in the very early days of Wikileaks. Manning was probably still in school. An unusual combination of fawning and arrogance, I recall him suggesting the diplomat "take whatever measures he felt necessary" before the doxxing he was about to pefform, and that he was being informed in advance "out of respect for your reputation".

        The response was biting - I remember "what measures do you suggest, exactly? Go into hiding with my children?" or something along those lines, along with his observations on the actual meaning of the word respect. The fact the Assange had used machine translation to convert his original letter into cod-spanish probably didn't help (this was, I think, the 90s?), but he came across as a man that quite fancied himself - in general, but in particular as some sort of super-spy diplomatic player.

        This was long before his current noteriety but I came away unimpressed, and have remained so. He has committed the two cardinal sins of journalism - selectively editing the facts to fit a narrative, and becoming the story - and doesn't deserve that title.

      5. Alister

        Re: Prodding the bear

        >> None of these posters have any realistic knowledge of Julian Assange's actual character.

        I would say we have a fair idea, given he got his mates to stand bail for him and then skipped and hid in the Equadorian embassy, leaving them to foot the bill.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prodding the bear

        "None of these posters have any realistic knowledge of Julian Assange's actual character."

        How about living on the same wing as him at Belmarsh for 4 months? Houseblock 1, Spur 2. He was on the 'ones' floor.

        I spoke to hm a few times on the yard and he is a twat. No doubt about it and everybody there thought him a massive fool to be in prison for such a stupid thing.

        My experience of him is that he thinks he is God's gift to women, despite looking like a sex offender.

        He really wanted to be center of attention and is not really that bright. He thinks he is, but he isn't. Other inmates gave up on him as 'he knows everything'. He wasn't even worth beating up, though I did think about it many many times.

        There was a hearing when I was there and he was putting forward the suicide risk and mental health! LOL. He thought he was so clever, but he didn't listen to the other inmates and knows nothing of the system and how to play it. He wasn't even in Healthcare on suicide watch at anytime during his stay. He spent the first 2 years in Healthcare cause he was too frightened for general population. They had to kick him out and force him into general pop. He is not deemed high-risk to himself or others. If he really wanted to win that hearing he should have listened to the other inmates who, surprisingly, felt sorry for him at first. He should of been in healthcare on suicide watch. He should of at least threatened to kill himself, but he never did cause he loves himself too much. Best of all for him would have been a failed suicide attempt and there were enough people there who could tell him how to do it without killing himself of seriously injuring him. All he had to do was tie a bed-sheet around the window frame and press the buzzer for the guards and then set himself up.

        And there were plenty of other pieces of advice he was offered but ignored cause he said his solicitors know best - LOL! He believes everything his solicitors tell him even though we kept telling him that you cant fully trust them and that it is in their interests to string this out for as long as possible.

        He could have been moved from Belmarsh to a category B or C jail if he had played it right. All he had to do was get in a fight with someone smaller and say that he is being threaten by a gang for money and they would of shipped him out. I knew an inmate that offered to take £500 on his canteen spends if Assange wanted to fight him and he would let Assange win.

        He has no friends there as he is just too dis-likable. He is so full of himself and not humbled in anyway which really gets the goat up of the prison system. He seems to think that logic and strong argument count for something when up against the near mindlessness of prison.

        As mentioned above, I pointed out to him that he broke the first rule of journalism and he became the story.

        Assange is the very definition of a twat and it brings great joy to know that my case was dropped and compensation was received while he rots away in that hellhole - and it is worse than you can imagine. No amount of fame or money is worth what he is going through and it is almost impossible to describe the institutional misery of that place.

      7. rcxb Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        If you're going to bring "Julian Assange's actual character" into it, then we have to discuss the time he promised to turn himself in to serve US prison time if Obama granted clemency for Manning. Obama did commute Manning's sentence some weeks later. After which Assange used every bit of tortured logic he could come up with to back out of his pledge:

        https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/01/assange-weasels-out-of-pledge-to-surrender-if-manning-received-clemency/

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prodding the bear

        What we do know is that he bravely exposed evidence of massive criminality and corruption at the heart of the USA establishment at unknown risk to himself.

        Bravely? He got other people to do the work, promising he'd help with the legal consequences, only to then not come true. Let's start with the basics: Wikileaks was originally only set up to quickly legitimise his hacking when the police started getting close and so create camouflage by pretending it was for the benefit of the mankind. Next we have all the claims about autism, which is (a) irrelevant and (b) thus stigmatizing a lot of innocent people - someone with functional autism can tell right from wrong. And he abused the asylum system, also not exactly something that will help people who are truly in need.

        If he's not sent to the US for the only valid reason that he could get a death sentence there (let's face it, the US isn't exactly above a lot of theater either) then he should remain locked up on this side of the ocean - but without communication.

      9. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        Forgot to post this yesterday, which I should have as it's very relevant: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v36/n05/andrew-o-hagan/ghosting in the London Review of Books is an excellent if long read, by Andrew O’Hagan - the guy who was hired to ghost-write Assange's autobiography (oh, if only we had a word for an autobiography written by someone else?)

        Naturally Assange pulled the plug after O'Hagan had spent about six months in his company, keeping the half-million advance. Canongate published what they had as the "unauthorised biography of Julian Assange", and a clearly bemused O’Hagan was left to write up the story of how it came about a couple of years later. Spoiler alert - you might want to sit down for this because it's a real shocker - he doesn't think too much of Assange.

        Well worth a read, he's a good writer and it's bizarre from start to finish.

      10. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Prodding the bear

        Whilst it's true that smear tactics are the norm against whistleblowers and other agitators, Assange didn't exactly help himself by way of his ego the size of a small planet

        He ended up doing a lot of damage to Wikileaks

        One can hope the USA drops its (politically motivated) charges and he gets sent home - where he stays put and out of the limelight - unfortunately given the aforementioned ego, he's unlikely to opt for a quiet life

  3. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    I think what happens is going to depend on who wins the election. Biden and his left-leaning group might let Assange go, but if Drumpf & co. get elected, I expect continued vindictive persecution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You do realise it was Obama and Biden who went after him? This is a purely political stunt from Biden as he is desperate for votes. Republicans have been generally supportive of Assange.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        "Republicans have been generally supportive of Assange."

        Now, is that because they're okay with Assange airing their dirty laundry in public, or is it because the Democrats were gunning for him and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          He was exposing the military industrial complex backed supporters of the endless wars and the surveillance state. That has become less of a partisan thing in the US in recent decades. An example being how the Dems, and not just the establishment ones, are now in support of what used to be the patriot act.

          The guy is an epic narcissist and about as pleasant as a nettle sting on your arse which is why I used the phrase 'generally supportive'.

      2. Brennan Young

        It was Trump, not Obama that went after Assange

        "The Obama DOJ – despite launching notoriously aggressive attacks on press freedoms – recognized this critical principle when it came to WikiLeaks. It spent years exploring whether it could criminally charge Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing classified information. It ultimately decided it would not do so, and could not do so, consistent with the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment. After all, the Obama DOJ concluded, such a prosecution would pose a severe threat to press freedom because there would be no way to prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents without also prosecuting the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and others for doing exactly the same thing."

        https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/

        Spying on Assange (including confidential legal meetings) in the Embassy began under Trump

        https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/trump-associate-ordered-huge-surveillance-of-assange-inside-embassy-court-told-20200930-p560u1.html

        And it was the Trump administration that made the indictment against him under espionage laws

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/may/24/julian-assange-arrest-trump-free-speech-attack-experts

        I am no fan of Obama, but the public record shows there is no doubt it was Trump that "went after" Assange.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It was Trump, not Obama that went after Assange

          So the stuff done 'under Trump' was done by the CIA and DOJ. Two orgs hated Trump.

          1. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

            Re: It was Trump, not Obama that went after Assange

            The only thing Drumpf is a "victim" of is his own stupidity and ignorance.

      3. aerogems Silver badge

        When Wikileaks released a lot of info about possible war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Republicans wanted to see him gibbeted. Then, when he decided to release a bunch of emails from the Clinton campaign, suddenly he was a veritable hero. The GOP, especially after the Orange Jebus took over, is very transactional in its relationships with people and ideas. Mitt Romney proposes what was basically Obamacare Lite, and it's a great idea, it was also the GOP alternative to the Bill Clinton healthcare reform effort. It was all well and good then, but when a black man tried to take the idea and apply it to the entire country, that could not be tolerated! Just like when said black man tried to wear a tan suit! Can you believe it!? Tan! Tan!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ah, you're back ;)

          "Republicans wanted to see him gibbeted"

          You would find that amongst the average republican voter there was little support for the war just as there is very little support for Ukraine. Those in power only support the lobbyists.

          You are aware that the big issue with ACA is the increase in costs and the decrease in choice? The claim of 'you can keep your doctor' was only true if your doctor decided to sell out to one of the mega health corps otherwise they got squeezed out of the market. The ACA was written by people who had worked for the mega corps and was aimed at consolidation of the healthcare industry.

          1. aerogems Silver badge
            Facepalm

            I'm curious. Do you have to work at missing the point every time, or does it just come naturally?

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "The ACA was written by people who had worked for the mega corps and was aimed at consolidation of the healthcare"

            Well it _was_ the Republican healthcare scheme promoted in opposition to Democrat proposals

            The Obama government decided to short circuit decades of Republican opposition and bring the R's own proposal to the table (which was promptly opposed and exposed that it was all about the politics, not the goal)

      4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        You do realise it was Obama and Biden who went after him?

        Oh, get a clue.

        The IRTF which requested Assange's extradition was a DoD body. Obama was POTUS (just starting his first term; the IRTF was established in 2010 and met for about ten months), but this wasn't some personal vendetta of his. I don't see much evidence that Obama particularly cared, especially given Obama's commutation of Manning's sentence; the pursuit of Assange appears to have been primarily driven by the Defense and State departments, possibly spurred on by DHS and the intelligence agencies (though I suspect by that point they didn't much care either). And even then it was fairly weak, for example with Carr undermining his own task force's recommendation when testifying at the first extradition hearing.

        And you hugely overestimate the influence of the Vice President here.

        Assange is almost certainly very, very far down on the list of things Biden personally gives a damn about.

        1. aerogems Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Have you learned nothing!? Never bring facts and logic to a simp fight!

          1. aerogems Silver badge
            Windows

            Case in point: 4th String Vatnick Eel seems to have clocked in for his shift and is stalking me again.

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Not just Assange. The whole Kim Dotcom saga prety much started at the hands of Biden, at the behest of a music industry - apparently terrified of the new business model he was in the process of rolling out

        Calling Democrats "left leaning" is quite laughable. They're a right-wing party on everything except the USA scale where the world's political centrists are regarded as incorriigable communists

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the seven years he spent holed up in Ecuador's London embassy"

    The souvenir of which Ecuador's ambassador is still desperately trying to drown out in alcohol . . .

  5. xyz Silver badge

    Even if the US does change its mind...

    The Home Office will have him on the first flight to Rwanda. He's got to be an over stayer by now.

  6. Grunchy Silver badge

    Wikileaks

    I heard that the only “journalism” that assange did was to trick 20-something year old transgender individual Chelsea Manning into stealing secret info from the U.S. government, some of which may or may not have been privately sold to international “concerned parties” and which inexplicably enriched assange by multi-millions, perhaps in “untraceable” crypto-assets to be cashed in at a later date.

    What’s interesting is that manning served less than 7 years before obama commuted that sentence, whereas assange has been on the run for nearly double that long (my guess is that when you know you’re absolutely guilty of all charges you’ll run away for as long as you possibly can, whereas somebody who is actually “innocent” might stand trial in order to clear their name, though it might cost you some portion of your untraceable crypto-fortune).

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Wikileaks

      I followed Wikileaks originally and never saw Assange as doing anything except publishing the information that he was given, and was available outside other countries shutdowns. The main reason America was pissed off was that multiple items the WikiLeaker Assange released was only documenting wartime legal failures. Effectively he is a journalist so he need respect, even if you don't like the truth he's revealing.

      Assange, I would be happy to buy you a beer in Australia!

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Wikileaks

        Nope. See my comment above. First, Wikileaks publishes what they're given without any verification or fact checking, which might sounds quaint but it's what separates journalists from bloggers. It's still useful but it isn't journalism, any more than publishing press-releases is. Then he made it far, far worse by selectively editing the helicopter video to show his chosen narrative - massively discrediting Wikileaks in the eyes of many. If it's not an impartial distributor of data, it's just another opinion you can ignore if you disagree witih it.

        I like wikileaks. But Assange has done it more harm than the US government ever could.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Wikileaks

          The criticisms today are based based on our current discoveries of the events over time. But originally we only knew what we were seeing ... circumstances accurately described years earlier by the quote "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan (icon x1000 LOL)

          I'm not adding this as a complaint, I just think that we all need to review the history of events and the circumstances that created them, not just what happened.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wikileaks

          "by selectively editing the helicopter video to show his chosen narrative"

          Citation needed. Are you referring to the 17 minute vs 39 minute videos that were both released on wikileaks or a different edit?

          Wikileaks has worked with the media on some of their big releases such as the Iraq war and does a lot of redaction. It was some numb nuts Guardian 'journo' who published the key to the underacted cables in a book which allowed world+wife to read them.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Wikileaks

            Citation needed. Are you referring to the 17 minute vs 39 minute videos that were both released on wikileaks

            You've self-cited. The 39min version was the 'full' version, the 17min was the infamous 'Collateral Murder' one that had been edited down for dramatic effect. Then the US I think later released additional footage that provided more context. The more complete version showed the Apache tracking a pretty heavily armed group complete with RPGs along with the Reuters crew. Apache lost sight as they moved behind a building, then saw someone kneeling around a corner, pointing something pretty much the shape of an RPG. So the Apache engaged, the rest became an altered version of history. Engaging the cameraman was unfortunate, but I think justified.

            I do think the full video showed excessive force, arguably war crimes committed after the people had been shot, but that's war for you. There's plenty of similar footage coming now from Ukraine where both parties are executing soldiers who are clearly hors de combat, or attempting to surrender, but the reporting on those tends to be very one-sided. ICC investigators are in Ukraine though.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wikileaks

              Do you think that maybe the 'heavily armed' people with the journalists were there for the protection of the journalists? Not everyone on the ground was fighting against the USA. The fact that the US treated the situation that way is why the middle east is in an even worse state than it was prior to 2001.

              There are rules of engagement and the apache crews were pretty much flying about looking for excuses not to bring their ammo home.

              "something pretty much the shape of an RPG"

              That was the camera man. In the 'edited' and unedited video it doesn't look like an RPG as they are long and pointy and the camera was flat ended.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Wikileaks

                Do you think that maybe the 'heavily armed' people with the journalists were there for the protection of the journalists?

                Err.. no? I don't think RPGs and RPKs are standard police issue. Also Reuters never even made that claim.

                In the 'edited' and unedited video it doesn't look like an RPG as they are long and pointy and the camera was flat ended.

                Uhuh.. which the pilot or gunner saw when it was in profile. Whe it was poined straight at the Apache, what's the difference in shape between a round camera lens on someone's shoulder, and an RPG on someone's shoulder?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Wikileaks

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007,_Baghdad_airstrike#/media/File:July_12,_2007_Baghdad_airstrike_targets_(1).png

                  You can see the difference between a potential RPG in the first and second pic and a much shorter thicker camera lens in the last pic.

                  By the time of this incident the remains of the Iraqi army and police were on the same side as the coalition forces. Both sides were armed with AKs and RPGs so you can't just pop a cap in anyone carrying one of those weapons. The wholesale slaughter of random people is not a good look when you're trying to install 'our democracy' on a country.

                  This is the US army equivalent of Ned and Jimbo's 'its coming right for us!' or the US police classic 'I saw what looked like a gun'.

                  I don't think the police or private security had 'standard issue', they used whatever they could find.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Wikileaks

                    You can see the difference between a potential RPG in the first and second pic and a much shorter thicker camera lens in the last pic.

                    Once again, the anonymong troll misses you point.

                    You might be able to see the difference in a cherry picked frame, safe in the comfort of your basement. You are not flying in a helicopter, over a conflict zone, trying to reacquire potential hostiles carrying weapons that could give you a really bad day.

                    Both sides were armed with AKs and RPGs so you can't just pop a cap in anyone carrying one of those weapons

                    Actually, you can. One of the primary rules of weapons safety is you don't point weapons at people unless you mean to do them harm. Friendly forces wouldn't be flagging an attack helicopter with an RPG. If it was an RPG, the gunner or pilot would have a split second decision to engage, hopefully before the suspected RPG-wielder pulled the trigger. In hindsight, it was the wrong decision, but the Apache crew didn't have the benefit of hindsight.

                    The wholesale slaughter of random people is not a good look when you're trying to install 'our democracy' on a country.

                    Actually that's SOP for our style of democracy. See Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, and now of course Ukraine and Israel.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Wikileaks

                      Come on JE, I thought you were better than going for the ad-homs :)

                      The crew asked for permission to engage and got the OK based on 'seeing' people carrying AK47s. Its in the video. The supposed AKs were not being pointed at anyone. The claim of the RPG being pointed at them came after they'd got permission to go on a shooting spree.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYTxuW2vmzk

                      Around 1:40

                      'crazyhorse 1-8 we 5-6 individuals with ak47s, request permission to engage'

                      The guy with the supposed RPG has it sat on the ground and he is leaning on it. In the video it looks more like he is carrying a tripod. Just a bunch of people wandering around the street. No pointing of guns. The vast majority of them, if not all, look unarmed.

                      And when the shot up the van there were no weapons visible while the people were picking up the body.

                      They just wanted to go shoot up some eye-rakkis. And people wonder why the people in the middle east have a general hatred for the US and its close allies...

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Wikileaks

                        Come on JE, I thought you were better than going for the ad-homs :)

                        Anonymong troll isn't an ad-hom, it's an accurate description of someone who only seems to exist to throw ad-homs in my direction from the cover of anonymity. Thus making it obviously harder for others to follow along when there are multiple ACs, some contributing useful stuff, unlike you..

                        The crew asked for permission to engage and got the OK based on 'seeing' people carrying AK47s. Its in the video. The supposed AKs were not being pointed at anyone. The claim of the RPG being pointed at them came after they'd got permission to go on a shooting spree.

                        They requested, and were granted authorisation to engage what appeared to be armed suspects. This is one of those awful but lawful situations. If they're armed, or appear to be armed in a conflict zone, they're no longer granted the same protections as civilians and can be engaged without warning. And yes, the claim of the RPG came after they saw RPG, then saw it apperenly being pointed at them. Hence the 'RPG.. RPG' call and the pilot banking right to break line of sight.

                        The guy with the supposed RPG has it sat on the ground and he is leaning on it. In the video it looks more like he is carrying a tripod. Just a bunch of people wandering around the street. No pointing of guns. The vast majority of them, if not all, look unarmed.

                        Again one of the issues with the 'Collateral Murder' video. The image quality is degraded, we're not seeing what the pilot or gunner was seeing. The US later released an official version that clearly showed an RPG, and RPK and someone carrying a grenade pouch for the RPG. And no, don't ask me to link that because I can't find it. But to quote from Wiki-

                        Assange later said "Based upon visual evidence, I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I'm not sure that means anything"

                        Actually it means a lot, but didn't stop Assange hyping his movie and making money from it.

                        And when the shot up the van there were no weapons visible while the people were picking up the body.

                        Yep, although the first 'body' picked up was the person who had been crawling. That part I think was questionable given ground forces were closing in so the Apache could have just observed and engaged if necessary.

                        They just wanted to go shoot up some eye-rakkis. And people wonder why the people in the middle east have a general hatred for the US and its close allies...

                        Now you're getting it. We bomb schools, hospitals, wedding parties and it's an 'Oops', we'll try not to do that again. Israel's blowing up most of Gaza, and we're giving them more bombs. Ukraine has been shelling civilians since 2014, and we'll arm them 'for as long as it takes'. This hypocrisy is why the West is losing support. It's also a strange evolution. Blurry videos from Iraq in 2007, 4k footage from drones and soldiers in Ukraine. Many of those end up on 'social' media where they provide clear documentary evidence of war crimes. But they can be monetised, and don't forget to like and subscribe..

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Wikileaks

                          Have I been using ad-homs against you? I'm not aerogems!

                          "The image quality is degraded, we're not seeing what the pilot or gunner was seeing"

                          Having worked with such vision systems they are generally crap. Even on my last project before moving career we were using PAL or NTSC resolution cameras and that was only a couple of years ago. The civilian sector embraced HD and better very quickly.

                          "Ukraine has been shelling civilians since 2014"

                          Even before that I believe. But that gets swept under the rug.

                          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                            Re: Wikileaks

                            Have I been using ad-homs against you? I'm not aerogems!

                            The problem with ACs is after a while, they all start to look alike. Aerogums at least tends to post using their name, so easier to attribute, but I also have a stalker anonymong who likes to play tricks, like probably downvoting aero. But their posting style is usually to cherry pick & misquote. So apologies if I confused you with that anonymong. But..

                            Having worked with such vision systems they are generally crap. Even on my last project before moving career we were using PAL or NTSC resolution cameras and that was only a couple of years ago. The civilian sector embraced HD and better very quickly.

                            Yup. Take a 1970's AH-64 using tech around at that time. Upgrade it to AH-64D in 1995 using 1990s tech. The optics and imaging are ok, but they're not exactly 4K. Especially in other modes like thermal. But again, it's also why I lost trust in Wikileaks and especially Assange for editorialising and shaping the narrative. Manning stole the video, Assange 'leaked' it, but an edited and degraded version. He claimed to leak info obtained pretty much as-is, but if it's been manipulated, why trust it?

                            Assange initially denied altering it. But Manning stole the video from a classifed server. Why would DoD store degraded video when it's users would have clearanance and know what Apache gun cam video should look like. But that fit the narrative, ie US killing 'unarmed' civilians and the whole 'Collateral Murder' thing. Which ironically came from an incident where the AH-64s fired Hellfires into a building, which wasn't in the original cut.

                            But the neither was the context. So shortly before the video, a US patrol had been attacked with RPGs and automatic weapons. So naturally the US was looking for those attackers. The helicopters found an armed group carrying an RPG and RPK, leaving the scene of the earlier attack.. Which is where the video story begins. Degrading the video makes it harder to identify those weapons, but they were clearly visible, if you knew what you were looking at. I remember the RPG, and pretty distinctive RPG ammo vest. I'm also pretty sure one was carrying an RPK because that also has a pretty distinctive profile given the length, and bipod attached to the barrel.

                            Blurring out those details obviously makes it easier to push the 'unarmed' narrative. But the short video also edits out where ground forces arrive, and report being shot at from the building that was later attacked with missiles. That was also corroborated by a journalist embedded with those troops. Then the US released footage showing more clearly what happened, which was perhaps too slow. And of course investigators found weapons including RPG had been recovered at the scene.

                            Despite much being written about this incident since 2007, many people still believe Assange's version that the US killed unarmed civilians though, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Sure, some elements are more debateable. The deaths of the Reuter's team was unfortunate, but war happens. But so does propaganda, ie shooting up the recovery vehicle. The bad guys also do propaganda and recover bodies and weapons to push their own narratives that the US kills 'unarmed' civilians.

                            But so it goes. The media still pushes a lot of obvious propaganda, eg this example from the Bbc today-

                            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-68778338

                            Ukraine has been defending itself against Russia's full-scale invasion for two years

                            There has never been a 'full-scale' invasion. Russia's only committed a small part of it's available forces, and is limited in what it can commit by it's constitution unless it declares war. So it started the SMO with around 2-300k troops vs Ukraine's much hyped 'million man, NATO trained and equipped army'. The SMO opened with a show of force, not any serious attempt to take Kiev. That almost worked and there was almost a peace deal, but then Butcher Boris flew in and now thousands of Ukrainians are dead or maimed. What a guy! Our 'leaders' are making a ton of money though, so it's all good.

                  2. Grinning Bandicoot

                    1 second decision

                    The comments read including this one raised a question: How many have been in a military or police force where the time to make that critical decision of shoot/not shoot is equivalent to the blink of an eye. Training is available but it is still in a controlled environment. I listened to a LASO member relate his experience in a shooting incident where when asked why he shoot 10 times was that was all the clip held. In other words when the adrenaline level rises generations of natural selection short circuit the upper brain levels.

                    One advantage that we have is today's technology which means we get to see what was seen and what the reaction was all while sitting on a cushioned chair in a safe air conditioned office. Peckinpah fans can rejoice it is now possible to see the gore however it misses the fatigue, the odors, whole scenery that leads to bad 'after the fact' decisions. The difference between being there and being here is much greater than the letter T.

                    A challenge if you can go to a shooting course, try it. See what stressors exist in the controlled environment, how you performed.

                    Also I found a quick way of aligning my telescope when taking solar shoots; watch the shadow move from oval to circle. This means the solar view is normal to the line of sigh and a circle is the view.

          2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Wikileaks

            > It was some numb nuts Guardian 'journo' who published the key to the underacted cables in a book which allowed world+wife to read them.

            No, not true. That was another fiction published by Assange - see the lrb.co.uk link I posted above - quoting from that:

            "He insisted (David) Leigh had included a password in his book that could decrypt the files WikiLeaks had left online. Leigh has always said this is nonsense. .... By then, Leigh’s book had been out for seven months, and not once during that time – or during his dozens of interviews with me – had Julian mentioned that the book might contain the password"

            > Wikileaks ... does a lot of redaction.

            Absolutely not true. Again see the article I linked to for numerous quotes from Assange railing against redaction in any form. Redaction always came from real journalists with real editors, eg The Guardian, Der Spiegel etc

            "Having canvassed his followers on Twitter, Julian decided to dump the whole cache of 250,000 US cables supplied to him by Bradley Manning on the internet ... There was no point in dumping those cables. By doing so, he risked exposing people mentioned in them. (No privacy is necessary, according to Assange, but he’s wrong about that.) After he released all the cables, many of his allies turned against him. He had ruined the last of his reputation as a responsible publisher, just to get one over on the Guardian."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wikileaks

              So who leaked the password? It is in David's book. Although I will accept that it appears a German news org gave some details that allowed people to locate the password more easily.

              David just sounds butthurt.

              The un-redacted cables appear to have been released by wikileaks several months after they leaked out via other sites.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Wikileaks

          Wikileaks is just Cryptome for amateurs. Not the first, not the best — except at self-promotion.

  7. Steve Channell
    Meh

    his "crime" was hacking (badly), not journalism

    unrelated to Chelsea Manning's big dump, Julian got impatient with a DoD hacker's caution and accessed servers himself without using a VPN - that not journalism

    The clarifications are a formality - constitutional rights in the US universal (that why people sign visa waivers on planes to the US)..

    It's likely that he'll be convicted, and allowed to serve his time in "spider land" (which will release him on licence). Aus doesn't want any blow-back if he kills himself, but also doesn't want him using his celebrity to run for political office

  8. WolfFan

    Bah, humbug

    Send him directly to Oz, on two conditions:

    1. Oz has to feed him to drop bears or salties, whichever is easier.

    2. The Blessed Event would be televised. Pay per view. That should pay for a nuke sub or two for the Oz matelots.

    Just do _something_, and never let St. Jules darken the pages of El Reg ever again. Except with a link to go to the pay-per-view.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Bah, humbug

      1. Oz has to feed him to drop bears or salties, whichever is easier.

      Cassowary cage fight? They're a strange and wonderful crittter that probably decided it was to ornery to evolve.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Graffiti on the walls

    There seem to be similarities between "Free Assange", "Free Palestine" and communist symbols appearing in European cities. Who are the people painting those and why?

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Graffiti on the walls

      > Who are the people painting those and why?

      Some anonymous coward with an axe to grind?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There seem to be similarities....

      Fuck me, could you put at least at little effort into your shit stirring?

      Pathetic.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free Assange!

    We’ve tried selling him but no dice.

  11. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

    Perhaps

    The Aus prime Minister could assure the US that Blancmange will get the judicial Big Boot repeatedly when he arrives home...

  12. Lee D Silver badge

    That answer is literally a tiny step up from "No". It's a politician's answer.

    No way will they drop anything (and, personally, I don't think they should... they just need to not overstep the punishment when he's convicted).

  13. Grinning Bandicoot

    Seven years confined in one location, then 5 more confined in another while "free" whereas a probable 20 year sentence with parole after maybe 5 years at something like Lompoc Correctional makes it seem the message has been made. Any time added would be beating a dead horse

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like