Today’s news about Julian Assange

Writes Pete Hendrickson:

PENDING FURTHER NEWS that might add something to the picture (though I don’t expect any), it appears that Julian Assange has been coerced into pleading guilty to “conspiracy to unlawfully obtain and disseminate [United States] classified national defense information”. Assange acts in the face of more long years of “punishment-by-process” in a British super-max while his extradition fight continues to be deliberately dragged out (and a kangaroo court in the US if he eventually lost that fight).

The fact is, Assange owed no legal duty to respect US secrecy preferences, and did no conspiring within US jurisdiction, even if his “obtaining and disseminating” could be said to be “unlawful” despite his lack of duty. (See for more on these points.) Hence, Assange has really been coerced into pleading guilty to “conspiracy to commit inconvenient journalism”.

By this deal, the US Deep State gets its Constitution-gutting precedent and its much-sought-after chilling of the press without ever having the merits of its claim to these evil and illegal things meaningfully tested in court. It has to let a prize catch off the hook, of course, but 12 years of Kafkaesque torture ending with a broken man and a guilty plea gets its point across to other would-be whistleblowers and publishers.

I’m very happy for Julian and his family, but I’m very sad for the rest of us.