"Where are the legal errors?" Okay, here are a few:
You state: "The pursuit of Assange is not 'illegal', start with that." That's an opinion, not a fact. If Assange is being pursued because he published information that was leaked to him, and prosecuted, it very well may be illegal as it would be a violation of his rights under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. If he is prosecuted when other news organizations -- such as the New York Times, Der Spiegel, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, the Observer (just to name a few) are not, such a prosecution would be invidiously discriminatory under the Fourteenth Amendment. Invidious discrimination has been deemed a violation of one's constitutional rights dating back to 1886, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356. Yick Wo has been cited literally hundreds of times for the proposition that a law that appears to be neutral on its face but is administered prejudicially against an individual or group of individuals is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While Yick Wo dealt specifically with invidious discrimination based on race, it has been cited approvingly in all circuits to include any manner of selective prosecution.
Then there is the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of the press. The United States attempted to enjoin the publication of the Pentagon Papers and failed. New York Times v. United States (1971) 403 U.S. 713. In that case the Supreme Court ruled that an injunction prohibiting the publication would amount to prior restraint that would be violative of the First Amendment. That ruling greatly expanded First Amendment jurisprudence.
Next you state: "His release of these materials is being pursued to curb their damage to the USA State Department. It is not a matter of 'being afraid', there IS damage." Once again, that is your opinion, not fact. And given the New York Times ruling, an attempt to curb the perceived "damage" to the State Department by somehow stopping the publication of the leaked documents would constitute impermissible prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment. Moreover, assuming, as you assert, that "there IS damage," there is no legal mechanism to undo that damage. As stated earlier, if the government were to prosecute Assange for his journalistic activities, it would have to prosecute almost every news agency in the world. Once again, the futility of that strategy was well illustrated in the Pentagon Papers case, as immediately after the Supreme Court ruling in New York Times, 15 other papers immediately began to publish the study.
Next you state: "The million dollar question is: Did Assange do anything illegal, himself? If he did, then prosecution is legitimate. If he didn't, then he won't be jailed in the USA." Once again, that's an opinion, not a fact. There are complex jurisdictional issues involved, particularly as Assange is not a US citizen and, even if the US believes he did something illegal, it would first have to establish that it has jurisdiction over him. As I don't believe he has ever operated on US soil, that will be difficult to establish. Moreover, your assertion that if he didn't do anything illegal he "won't be jailed in the USA" is fallacious. There are thousands of people serving time in US prisons who did nothing illegal, not to mention detainees in Guantanamo and other US prisons who have never even been charged with a crime, have been held for years without trial and without benefit of habeas corpus, and in many cases have been tortured. Actual innocence does not ensure that a person won't be imprisoned in the U.S.
You go on to assert: “If his newfound celebrity causes folks to recall other nefarious acts, then he has to face those issues.” If that statement has to do with any charges unrelated to the publication of so-called “classified” documents, such as the allegations in Sweden, those “nefarious acts” would be irrelevant to any potential American prosecution and would be inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.
If you’re referring to possible charges brought against Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, the same law that Daniel Ellsberg was unsuccessfully prosecuted under, a whole new set of problems arises, not the least of which is the Act’s constitutionality in light of modern case law. I grant you that Assange could be charged under this antiquated Espionage Act, but the fact that he has not yet been charged more than 7 months after the leaks first appeared suggests that the U.S. Attorney General has serious doubts that the charges would result in an indictment and a conviction, and is also troubled by the prospect of subjecting the seldom-used Espionage Act to First Amendment scrutiny in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the case would inevitably end up. This inference is bolstered by the fact that several right wing U.S. Senators have recently introduced legislation to amend the Espionage Act to apply specifically to WikiLeaks, while other American political figures have called for the assassination of Assange. Amending the Act to apply to WikiLeaks and other news organizations after the fact would create a whole new can of worms, as it would be challenged as an unconstitutional ex post facto law and, in any case, would criminalize virtually every news organization in the world that reports on secret governmental activities via sources who provide confidential or classified information. No serious legal analyst believes that such a law could survive constitutional scrutiny in today’s world. If it did, it would result in the virtual shutdown of information vital to the public.
In short, Assange COULD be charged under the 1917 Espionage Act, because in today’s political climate in the US anybody can be charged with anything so long as it is even remotely “national security” related. But even if he is, there are other hurdles that you fail to grasp.
You write: “AUS MIGHT transfer him to the USA for potential prosecution. Every time Assange crosses an international border, the opportunity for deportation to the USA changes. Any misstep could end up with him being forcibly moved to the USA for potential prosecution.”
That’s not how it works. People accused of crimes are not just “deported” to the USA. First he would have to be charged. Then he would have to be indicted by a federal grand jury. If indicted, the US would have to issue an international arrest warrant. If he were arrested, the US would have to issue an extradition request to the country in which he is being held. This is procedural due process that the US must comply with in order to succeed in the extradition process and to obtain a conviction if and when he is extradited. Depending upon the country where he is being held, this procedure could take months or years, or the responding country could simply refuse the request. Extraditions are covered by international treaties as well as by judges’ whims. Witness the problems extraditing Pinochet from England, for example, or Roman Polanski from Switzerland. In fact, Polanski could not be extradited from France at all because of his French citizenship. So your “deportation” argument is simply flat-out wrong.
As for PFC Bradley Manning, Assange’s alleged source of the leaked documents and videotape, I don’t know if he has been charged with treason or not. Nor do I know about courts martial or military tribunals. All I do know is that he has been held in solitary confinement for more than 7 months without trial or court martial, and the terms of his confinement are generally regarded in the international community as akin to torture. I would deem it highly unlikely that PFC Manning would receive the death penalty for whistleblowing on the embarrassing and sometimes criminal acts of the US government, as no one has been executed in the US for espionage or treason since the Rosenbergs, but who knows. A desperate government resorts to desperate measures.
I hope this sheds a little light on the legalities of this subject for you.