Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
What comes next in the pursuit of Julian Assange
A bearded (and quite pale) Julian Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy on Thursday, which the UK Home Office says came "in relation to a provisional extradition request" from the United States. The Department of Justice has charged him with "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion" with then-Army Intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
So what now?
Following Assange's arrest, he was taken before the Westminster Magistrates Court. According to BBC News' Daniel Sandford, he was found guilty of failing to surrender to bail in June 2012; Assange's lawyers argued he would not have faced a fair trial, forcing him to seek refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy that same month, per CNN.
He will face the Southwark Crown Court at an unknown date for sentencing on the bail charge, which the AP reports could be up to 12 months behind bars. His next known court appearance is scheduled for May 2, "by video link," per Sandford, "on the extradition matter."
The DoJ clams in the indictment, in 2010, Assange "agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password" to access Pentagon computers connected to a government network containing classified material. Per the DoJ, Assange "actively" encouraged Manning to provide him with classified documents.
The indictment also says that "part of the conspiracy" was that Assange and Manning used a "special folder on a cloud drop box ... to transmit classified records containing information related to the national defense of the United States."If found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison.
"The primary purpose of the conspiracy was ... transmission of classified information related to the national defense of the United States so that WikiLeaks could publicly disseminate the information on its website,' the DoJ wrote.
National security attorney Brad Moss detailed the next steps for extradition in an interview with Task & Purpose; the first is that the U.S. government will submit a packet to the British government which outlines the basis for extradition, and assure them that this is "a legitimate prosecution for viable and serious crimes and it's not just political persecution."
"What the government submits will no-doubt be viewed initially as more than sufficient, I certainly assume Mr. Assange's team will try to challenge it, which may delay his ultimate extradition by weeks or months," Moss said. "They'll try to drag it into the courts claiming this is just persecution of him for his political views and his publishing of documents that were damaging the United States government. I expect that will fail."
The argument in defense of Assange you'll continue to see over the next few days hinges on press freedom concerns. While some argue that Assange's arrest sets a dangerous precedent, the DOJ says his charges are specifically related to computer hacking, not the publishing of classified documents.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted that the arrest is "a dark moment for press freedom," and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project Ben Wizner said in a statement that prosecuting Assange for WikiLeaks' publishing "would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations."
DoJ spokesman Joshua Stueve, when asked by Task & Purpose for comment about press freedom concerns, responded that "the charges are conspiracy to hack classified U.S. government computer systems. There is no reference to journalism or publishing in the indictment. Computer hacking is not a function of journalism."
"My original concerns that any prosecution of Assange would potentially implicate broader policy ramifications about press freedoms ... thankfully have been put to the side," Moss told Task & Purpose. "This is a very narrow indictment, it only deals with the conspiracy to hack the government system."
Moss said the extradition of Assange to the U.S. could take anywhere from days to months. Meanwhile, Assange will be kept in custody until his next hearing in May, CNN reports; his attorney Jennifer Robinson, speaking to reporters after she met with her client on Thursday, said he had one message to give: "I told you so."
SEE ALSO: Chelsea Manning Is Headed Back To Jail
- A Veteran's Complicated Reaction To Chelsea Manning's Freedom ... ›
- Here Are All The Things We're Apparently Not Allowed To Say About ... ›
Now you can relive the glory days of screaming "fire for effect" before lobbing rounds down range, and you can do it from the comfort of your own backyard, or living room, without having to worry that some random staff sergeant is going to show up and chew you out for your unsat face scruff and Johnny Bravo 'do.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.