Judge Napolitano Calls Assange a Hero?

Judge Napolitano Calls Assange a Hero?

Let's go "Beyond the Headlines" and take a Constitutional look at this issue. Of course it's not as easy as you would think. That's why opinions are all over the place. Hopefully, this will help clarify some of that for you.

"Judge Andrew Napolitano: ‘Julian Assange is a hero’ is the Fox News Headline" that went out earlier today. A bit of headline click-bait for sure. But, what did he really say, what did he really mean?

This is an expansion on our recent post below:

Wikileaks: The Assange Conundrum; What do we do with him?

What Fox News Said Regarding Napolitano

Judge Andrew Napolitano called Julian Assange a “hero” after the WikiLeaks founder was arrested by British police Thursday moments after Ecuador withdrew his asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”

”I have to tell you, in my opinion Julian Assange is a hero. What he published was truthful information that the American public and the world had the right to see,” Napolitano, a Fox News legal analyst, said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday about an hour after Assange was arrested.

ASSANGE ARRESTED!

The 47-year-old Australian native has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy site, is facing a federal grand jury investigation over its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War.

Moments before he was arrested, Ecuador announced it had withdrawn Assange's asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”

“There’s no basis to arrest him in London for the sexual assault investigation in Sweden,” said Napolitano. “He apparently has been charged with something in the United States.

We don't know. Because of this inadvertent release of a warrant for him. That is probably the true reason for his arrest. He will probably be extradited here. We will see the indictment. And we will probably have a show trial.”

Wikileaks Julian Assange Being Arrested!?!

Napolitano said If Assange is brought to the United States, he is likely going to say he can’t answer questions about where he got the information (about Hillary emails) because he’s protected by the first amendment. He thinks Assange would say: “'I'm not going to tell you how I got Hillary Clinton's emails but I got them and we published them.'”

Napolitano said he agrees that exposing state department secrets would “diminish the private communications.”

He added: “But just as if we, working for Fox News, received secret information, ‘my god the public has to know this.’ The person who gave it to us commits the crime. The publisher does not commit the crime."

Judge Napolitano is no stranger to controversy, even within the conservative movement. On multiple occasions he's taken head scratching positions.

I'm not making any determination yet, Let's look into this more to see if he overlooked anything. He made this determination only an hour after the arrest of Assange. Did he jump to conclusions? Let's find out!

Assange Update: N996GA (S56) has confirmed a possible earlier departure of Sunday 21:00 GMT. It was previously scheduled to leave Monday evening.

Let's work our way through the issues. The "Leaker is the criminal, not the publisher"?

How can be legal for anyone to "knowingly" release classified information to the public? On the surface, it just doesn't seem right. When the New York Times got ahold of the State Department cables, they at least carefully redacted the cables before releasing them. I'm fine with that.

We aren't talking about Hillary's emails when I say some of these releases puts lives in danger, even humanitarian workers were exposed to the enemy and put at risk during a time of war. But, of course, it's more complicated than that.

Does the Press have some power under the 1st Amendment that the rest of us don't?

No, they most definitely do not. Free speech is free speech, and is covered the same way for everyone. There are no laws entitling "press" to have powers no one else has.

We are all the "press". If the New York Times can do something, then so can I. If Assange can do something, then so can I, so can you, so can anyone.

The law

They're are laws that govern "classified" information. As much as we don't like them, laws are necessary, unless you are an anarchist, and desire a life in chaos.

Trying to make a distinction between the one who first obtains the information and the one who subsequently releases that information when it is "known" to be "classified", is not a distinction to be made, well not so easily anyway.

On whatever level you are on in the process of passing classified information, you are still passing "classified" information with the intent to make that information public, in violation of the law. It is in effect a conspiracy to violate those laws. But, are you subject to those laws?

The Proper Legal Process with Protections

In the United State, there are "whistle-blower" laws with protections in place for anyone who wishes to expose government corruption involving "classified" information.

WikiLeaks has never tried to utilize these processes. They encourage, or some say "conspire with,  people to leak classified information to them with the promise of anonymity.  It's a business.

You can go to any public official with the information that you have. From the police all the way up to Congressmen, the FBI, etc. There is always someone one on side of the isle, or the other, who will gladly use your information to bring to light the corruption of the other side.

The Constitution and the Freedom of Speech

What tools do we have to use to fight against State Tyranny? Madison explains.

The Constitutional argument would be whether the laws regarding classified information and its discrimination are "Constitutional" or not.

This is where most of the confusion and questions are coming from in regard to conservatives.

Unfortunately, the Constitution is not clear in "specifics" when it comes to government secrets.

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning before and after. PatriotResourceCenter.com
Chelsea Manning before and after.

Chelsea Manning is no doubt in violation of the law and the Constitution. He, now she, made a contractual agreement with the government to keep that information secure. Releasing that information is in violation of that contract made between two parties and is subject to the rules and laws regarding that violation.

WikiLeaks

This is where all the gray areas really come into play and where the details of the specific charges are important.

Free Speech?

We all want "Free Speech"! In the case of WikiLeaks, in the Chelsea Manning case for which Assange has been indicted, WikiLeaks did not have a contract with the government to protect that information, so they're is no violation of any contractual agreement (like in Manning's case), and are not subject to the results of that violation. This is what all "journalists" are using.

There's two potential factors to address in this regard. We know that technically, it is NOT illegal to yell "fire" in a crowded room, despite the commonly used phrase. What is illegal, is to yell "fire" in a crowded room, THEN someone gets injured in a mad rush to the door.

You have free speech, but that does not mean that you are immune to the "results" of that speech. If someone gets hurt, then that's when you are liable either criminally, or civilly.

The question for WikiLeaks here is, was anyone hurt by the release? And, that could be a real argument. If so, that alone could lead to criminal or more likely civil liability, but one that I will leave for the courts.

Additionally, is protected property, property? If it is, and the government is entitled to "property", as anyone who be entitled to property, such as your car, home, etc.; Is WikiLeaks in possession of stolen property?

Conspiracy?

The second issue is in the details of the charges. The charge is that WikiLeaks and Assange "conspired with" Chelsea Manning to hack the government. That is an important distinction.

Apparently, the charge is that WikiLeaks worked with Manning, and helped Manning to break the law, by showing him how to break password security to gain access to information that he did not have clearance for.

Of course, hacking, or the conspiracy to commit hacking, is illegal, though not specifically covered by the Constitution. It's a violation on another person's property.

Is Wikileaks Julian Assange About To Bring Down DC With Sin Files?

Constitutional "Argument"

I understand that there are going to be a lot of opinions on this. Whatever your opinion is, you are entitled to it, and I in no way condemn opposing opinions. That is why they call is an "argument", though we can certainly be civil about any disagreements.

The real question here regarding free speech is whether or not the government is entitled to "property". This property being information.

Is WikiLeaks in possession of "stolen property", and do they engage in the business of "stolen property" much like a "fence" that sells the goods that he knows is stolen? That is most certainly "against the law", but there's no specificity in the Constitution for possession of stolen property, only that we are entitled to our property.

The government is an entity, considered a person, and has rights in this regard like other "citizens". It is allowed to own "property" like others, though restricted by the Constitution in specific ways. Though, there is no specificity in the regard to government information.

Are the U.S. Government "Laws" Constitutional?

If you believe that WikiLeaks, and Assange, are free and clear to publish "classified" information, then you must believe that the laws governing the governments right to "property" and protecting that property are "unconstitutional".

If you believe this, then the only other option you have is to determine that the government is not an entity and has no right to "property".

In which case, no Federal or State government would be allowed to hold any "classified" secrets or retain any property as it's own.

The Results of an "Unconstitutional" Opinion

The federal government would not have any state secrets. Sounds good at first, but all of our Nation's technology, property, and information would be freely released into the public realm, and of course, to our enemies.

All of our biggest secrets regarding nuclear technology, our weapon systems, etc., would all be openly available to the public.

Reality

The reality is, not matter what we argue here, there is no way that the courts would ever rule that the government is not entitled to information property, and the right to secure that property in the interest of national security.

Can laws be looked at? Can they be revised in some way? Sure. And a discussion can be had about the best way to do that. But, we do have processes in place to report corruption and cover-ups.

Processes that have most certainly never been used by Chelsea Manning or WikiLeaks in the past, though WikiLeaks is now claiming that they tried to reach out to Hillary's State Department to warn them about the cable release ahead of time. They can't "benefit" from these processes.

If we need to look at those processes, then I have no Constitutional problem doing that.

Public Interest

Public Interest is often raised in certain cases like this. Does the importance of the public interest prevail over the particular law...in this case? That would, in this case and all others, be one for both sides to argue in court.

Be assured however, any dancing with the Devil is likely to get you burned. Even if it is deem to be in the best public interest, in this case, it may not be in the next.

So, your are always going to be flirting with the law until at some point, you are most likely to get burnt. But, I did want to bring up that legal exception, so that you would be aware of it.

Of course, the other side will argue that "National Security" is in the public interest. Exposing state secrets in a time of war puts soldiers and other personnel at risk. In this case, even humanitarian workers names were exposed in a way that enemies would have acted against them.

Nullification

There is always the opportunity for the judge, or in cases of a jury trial, for that jury to "nullify" the law and refuse to convict. That is the ultimate power of the people, and it is an option in this case as well. You can read more about that in our article here.

My Conclusion

Julian Assange is not a U.S. Citizen, so he is not subject to our Constitution. The purpose for discussing how we treat this situation is because the decisions we make as a country will affect us that are protected by the Constitution.

In Julian's case, he could be viewed as a enemy combatant and held at Gitmo. I doubt that will happen, but could since he conspired to release secrets to the enemy in a time of war.

For me the "public interest" has to remain with the system of secrets that we have, unfortunately. But can we revise it further? Can we make information available sooner? I think so. But, how soon is too soon?

That, I'm not qualified to answer. For example, we had the stealth B-2 bombers and F-177 stealth fighter/bombers in use for 20 years before they were ever revealed to the public.

I do think having robust whistle-blower processes, and reworking laws to create more transparency...sooner, would be a great way to help relieve the concerns of the public about not enough transparency, and it would help reduce the leaking of information in an unsecured way.

But, we also can not be devoid of the rule-of-law and order. We must, unfortunately, have a government, and that government needs the processes and ability to protect us from our enemies.

It's easy to respond with they way we feel, or what we want, verses what is really needed when thought out logically. There's no way to have complete transparency, and protect us from our enemies.

It's a difficult topic for sure, and sometimes the conclusions we come to are in conflict with how we'd like things to be. Unfortunately, we don't live in a world where all of that is possible.

Here are more of the articles in this "Assange Watch" series:

Assange Watch UPDATE: Assange Indicted On 18 Felony Counts

Hypocrite Hillary Clinton: Julian Assange must ‘answer for what he has done’

Judge Napolitano Calls Assange A “Hero”; Constitutional Analysis

ASSANGE ARRESTED!

Wikileaks: The Assange Conundrum; What do we do with him?

Wikileaks Julian Assange Being Arrested!?!

Assange Update: N996GA (S56) has confirmed a possible earlier departure of Sunday 21:00 GMT. It was previously scheduled to leave Monday evening.

Is Wikileaks Julian Assange About To Bring Down DC With Sin Files?

https://www.foxnews.com/world/judge-andrew-napolitano-julian-assange-hero?fbclid=IwAR2vg17TYNRfjNTUVQKis4hxhVm81Kx9mBaM3RfHYw_7qg7gb_QXwY0cJgc

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