16 December 2010

Assange Granted Bail

Basically, the terms of his bail amount to house arrest:
Britain's high court today granted bail to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape.

Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley agreed with a decision by City of Westminister magistrates court earlier in the week to release Assange on strict conditions: £200,000 cash deposit, with a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000, and strict conditions on his movement.
This is good news, but we are hearing more reports of the US looking for ways to indict him, this time by ginning up a conspiracy case:
Federal prosecutors, seeking to build a case against the WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange for his role in a huge dissemination of classified government documents, are looking for evidence of any collusion in his early contacts with an Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the information.

Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system. If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.

Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files. Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks.
It should be noted that these activities, cultivating and providing a source a way to get his information to you, are staples in the diet of investigative journalism.

Any prosecution under these circumstances would be an full frontal assault on freedom of the press, which is profoundly disturbing to anyone who cares at all about the Constitution.

Unfortunately, I think that this sort of assault on the press, and by extension leaking, appears to be something that Barack Obama, who must have been the worst professor of Constitutional law ever, really would like to do.

His administration is more vociferously hostile toward leaks and leakers than Bush/Cheney ever was.

Of course, this is why this administration is allowing the leaker, PFC Bradley Manning to be tortured pre-trial, because they want to coerce an accusation against Assange.


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