144 Comments

Assange's condemning move was soliciting Manning's password and using it himself. The moment he did that, he was thoroughly cooked.

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Making a distinction between those who illegally obtained documents and he who published them is not a distinction American law recognizes. Assange shared the agenda of Snowden and Manning, namely to expose what they all thought the U.S. government was doing that was wrong. Depending on when he became involved, Assange was either a co-conspirator or an accessory after the fact.

If Assange had published the operating manuals for a nuclear submarine, because he thought the U. S. government was wrong in preparing for war, would we agonize over his guilt? We send people to prison who took money for such betrayal; would we excuse their behavior if they took no money? Would we excuse Assange because he was " merely" the publisher?

Putting it more simply, suppose Snowden ans Manning had robbed a bank, and Assange was "merely" their getaway driver. Or suppose that Manning and Snowden had robbed a bank, and Assange only learned of it after the fact, but undertook to harbor them in his attic. Would we grant Assange a pass under either scenario?

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I respect Snowdon, he worked with excellent reporters to expose government lies. The reporting was exceptional. The impact was beneficial to the country, to let citizens know that they were being spied upon.

Assange is a different case. Heaps of raw data, taken illegally, were just dumped. Things like confidential conversations between colleagues which can be taken out of context. But Assange doesn’t care about context, provided no insight on the data, and as such can’t be considered a journalist. More like a file clerk. He should face justice.

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"Because if the hacker is convicted, it’s not only journalism that will be weaker—it’s democracy itself." Hyperbole, demagoguery, and total BS. There is no right of the public to know everything. That is the way to make sure the real enemies of democracy defeat democracy. There is a reason that military secrets are secret, and it isn't because the truth is embarrassing, no matter how this "opinioner" tries to spin it. Moreover it is laughable that Assange would say that agents who worked with the US "have got it coming", but all these fine souls who want to save him don't see that by the same logic "he has it coming". Democracy does not depend on so-called whistle blowers, it depends on people who are willing to bear the burden of democratic government which includes obeying the laws democratically enacted. I generally agree with article published here, this time - sorry- you are completely in the wrong. In case some reader doesn't get where I stand. Here it is: I hope they hang the SOB.

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I think this is too simplistic a narrative, and erroneously lumps-in Snowden in the same terms, but Assange has no regard for freedoms or for individual rights/liberties as we Americans envision them. He published stolen material without regard for its source or ownership (gov't/corporate). Snowden, if memory serves me, tried within his chain of command to highlight injustices perpetrated by our government against our people, which was a morally contemptible violation of law. He ultimately went alone, and was *careful* to redact the documents to some degree. He may certainly have broken laws wrt handling classified data, etc, but his intent was one of justice, aka - righting of wrongs within the context of American civil liberty and legal codes. I don't remember drawing any conclusions about Manning, so I can't comment on *her*.

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Subramanya asserts that Biden is thinking. I don't believe it. There is no evidence that could convict the corrupt marionette of such an act.

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I've altered my views on Assange considerably in the last 10 years as it's become clear just how unhinged and autocratic the intelligence community has become. I'm a conservative who wanted to throw the book at Assange and Snowden. Today I would favor pardons for both of them.

I do have one correction to the article: Bradley Manning did those things. He was convicted and sentenced. Not "she". He changed his name after the crimes were committed. He can never change his sex, since no one can. Chelsea Manning is a man dressed up as a woman so he can be in a women's prison.

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I agree with most of your astute observations but can’t get past Manning wholesale dumping classified information . I guess a lot of this depends on who’s ox is getting gored.

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Apr 12·edited Apr 12

I miss the country that believed a mass surveillance operation against innocent citizens was a horrifying transgression requiring public excoriation.

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He's a Russian agent.

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What a shallow piece. Subranya details only one of the 100s of thousands of leaks. The one most sure to tug at our hearts as it deals with wrongful killing of journalists. And then he leaves out details about the cases he references to support his belief that Assange should be pardoned. I need more details about Herridge’s case to have an option. Just telling me she was involved in a story about an FBI suspected Chinese American national doesn’t help me understand the comparison to Assange. And I’m absolutely not giving weight to CBS’s ( a leftist member of the MSM) opinion this. A reminder of the nature of the case against Snowden would also be helpful for comparison to Assange. And if building the case for Assange’s pardon, please remind me of the nature of his other leaks. This is an empty peace arguing for a strong free press but failing to explain what else Assange leaked and whether or not it could indeed have damaged national security. I don’t have any more thoughts on it now than before I read it. It except more from FP authors.

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founding
Apr 12·edited Apr 12

"Chelsea Manning was charged with 22 offenses. In 2013, she was convicted of 17 of them and sentenced to 35 years behind bars, but her sentence was commuted by Barack Obama in 2017."

Chelsea Manning is a man.

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Israeli ex-pat here. The question is what is being leaked. Borderline criminal negligence is a medical facility (Jamie Reede)? Certainly.

Confirmation that Israel has nukes (Mordechai Vaanunu)? Absolutely not. This will only justify the mad mullahs of Iran in their nuclear quest, and / or put Israel under sanctions, when it is clear that Israel did not use them in 55 years, and they will never give them up.

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This is a classic case of where two things can both be true: Assange is an asshole AND provided a valuable service. It is my belief that when it comes to the issue of investigative journalism, there are more assholes than angels. As Matt Taibbi often says, the only question an investigative reporter needs to ask is - is it true?

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Mr. Assange broke laws and he needs to answer for that. Lincoln used to say, "if you don't like a law change it." Enforce the law as written. As for weakening our Democracy let us recall that this is a Republic. Our elected officials wrote the laws. If you don't like them then elect new people and ask them to change the laws. Also, as for weakening our Democracy Mr. Assange weakened it with the release of confidential materials.

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I didn't know anything about him personally but the author's arguments about his character are unconvincing.

"Assange is far from perfect. He hosted a series on the Kremlin-funded network RT, formerly Russia Today."

Obviously Russia has an incentive to support Assange, this is meaningless in and of itself.

"He is long-standing friends with Israel Shamir, a dictator-sympathizing Holocaust-denier and antisemite."

His friends think bad things? how relatable.

"Assange is said to have replied, “Well, they’re informants. So if they get killed, they’ve got it coming.” (While Assange denies this account..."

So he may or may not have once said something in private that, interpreted charitably ('they've put themselves in harm's way...') is understandable.

"And in 2016, Wikileaks was happy to publish Hillary Clinton’s emails, but reportedly refused to publish documents about the Russian government offered to them around the same time."

Hold on, Wikileaks got "documents about the Russian government" circa the Clinton email scandal and we're not assuming that it was a CIA influence operation?

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