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  •  this is of course the problem. (0+ / 0-)

    As Kyril pointed out a few days ago, Assange is not a US person, and the country in which he did the deeds may not have laws or treaties criminalizing the transfer of secrets of countries other than itself.  At that point it would seem that we run into a brick wall.

    But I don't doubt DOJ will scour the lawbooks looking, both US law and law in whatever other relevant countries, as they should.

    And it may be, grand irony, that whatever other country it is, might have to be counted on to prosecute if the US can't, which in the end is their choice.  

    Which brings us to a possible avenue for justice here:  

    The Tourist Guide for Terrorists (infrastructure list) covers critical facilities in a number of other countries.  I'm going to have to dig up that list again, but it may very well be that some of those facilities, such as vaccine production plants, may be in the country where he did the deed.  Bingo!  In that case, the information may be protected in that country, so that gets a path to prosecute for revealing that country's information via the US diplomatic cables.  

    Realistically it's probably only worth 2 - 5 years, but it's something.  

    Publishing that list has not only put lives at risk, it also leads directly to ratcheting up security in the places covered by the list.  More surveillance and security, more money for same, less money for other things.  "Ma'am, you can't drive through this area until I see your photo ID and search your car..."

    There are better approaches to all of this, but given the realities on the ground in the world at this time, tightening security around those facilities is almost certain to happen.  

    When it does, don't complain.  

    •  Assange recieved documents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      he did not originate them.

      Just as the NY Times, etc. also recieved documents.

      This is normal procedure and the press protect thier sources.  Whether or not the originators of documents committed crimes by passing them to Assange or any other journalist does not under our laws incriminate the journalist who publishes them.

      If there is some law, which there is not, then the government will also have to prosecute every other newspaper that accepted and published the wikileaks documents.  Including Amazon, who cut off Wikileaks servers but cynically will sell you the Wikileaks documents to download to Kindle.

      "Why would our government connect an extension of unemployment benefits with tax cuts for billionaires?" One Pissed Off Liberal

      by Frisbeetarian on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 09:11:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "hide in plain sight" loophole: (0+ / 0-)

        Ellsberg won on the grounds that the Nixon Admin did not have the right to engage in prior restraint on the press.

        However, consider the following hypothetical:

        A spy ring seeks biological warfare secrets for Al Qaeda.  

        They put out a general call for biowar secrets, via a public website with high traffic.  Shortly, they find themselves in contact with someone who works at Fort Detrick, who supplies them with a DVD full of goodies.

        Now one of two things happens:

        a)  The spy ring secretly hands off the DVD to Al Qaeda.  

        b)  The spy ring publishes the documents on its website, whereby Al Qaeda quickly scoops them up as the spy ring intended.

        If you prosecute (a) but not (b), then you create an enormous loophole through which spies can convey information to hostile parties that can make use of it, while claiming that the information is intended for public debate (whether or not it actually has any value to any ongoing public debate).  

        Through this "hide in plain sight" loophole can pass spies by the boatload.

        ---

        The monkeys that live in the zoo
        from time to time like to fling poo
        but humans fling words,
        an abstract form of turds,
        and a much more evolved thing to do!  

        •  that hide in plain sight example doesnt work (0+ / 0-)

          The problem with comparing the "hide in plain sight" hypothetical you give is explained clearly by former federal prosecuter Baruch Weis.  He said that Wikileaks "is not about the disclosure of troop movements to al-Qaeda or giving the recipe for the plutonium bomb to North Korea. This is the widespread publication of information that is important in determining the future policy of the United States, that could be very important for people in assessing how well our government is doing its job. It's a good example of the problems created by the First Amendment clashing with criminal law, the law protecting national defense information."

          Kenneth Wainstein, former assistant attorney general in the national security division points how applying espionage laws in the Wikileaks case contradicts First Amendment freedom of the press rights  - "If the government were to prosecute the person who received and disseminated the classified information - as opposed to the individual who leaked it from within the government - mainstream media would express the concern that they could face prosecution for reporting information they routinely receive from government insiders."

          Since Wikileaks has not broken copyright law, nor libel law, nor has wikileaks purposed to incite immediate and likely lawless actions by publishing the documents.

          There is no law broken and nothing to charge Assange with, which is why the US pentagon is blustering and spinning thier wheels, they haven't found grounds to charge a crime and have no legal case that could stand up in court.

          If I'm wrong I'd be grateful to know because so far nobody has been able to state what law Assange has broken.

          "Why would our government connect an extension of unemployment benefits with tax cuts for billionaires?" One Pissed Off Liberal

          by Frisbeetarian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:29:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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