Is Julian Assange about to swap Ecuadorian embassy cuisine for American prison chow? President Obama commuted most of Chelsea Manning's sentence on Tuesday and the WikiLeaks chief appears to be willing to stand by his promise to go to a US prison if Manning is granted clemency. No US indictment of Assange has been announced, but WikiLeaks repeated the promise last week, tweeting: "If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case." Assange lawyer Melinda Taylor tells the AP that Assange, who has been holed up in the London embassy since 2012, meant what he said. "Everything that he has said he's standing by," she says. A roundup of developments:
- CNN looks at Obama's decision to free Manning, which it says will count as one of the most controversial moments of his entire presidency. Sources say a key factor in the president's decision was the fact that Manning had already pleaded guilty, unlike fellow leaker Edward Snowden.
- On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest drew a contrast between the Manning and Snowden cases. "Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy," he said.
- Gizmodo takes a look at the background to what it calls Assange's "dumbass promise" to turn himself in, noting that it is probably unlikely that the pledge affected Obama's decision.
- The New York Times reports that the decision to free Manning angered some leading Republicans, with John McCain calling her leaks of military information "espionage" and Paul Ryan describing the move as "outrageous."
- Engadget looks at another person who received clemency Tuesday: General James Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the Stuxnet malware. Some analysts suspect the administration wants to stifle discussion of the malware.
- The Washington Post reports on another one of the days's 64 pardons: Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican independence activist who served 35 years for plotting against the US government. Bernie Sanders personally campaigned for his release.
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