tip off

The problem with Assange

Julian Assange:

Luke Walladge writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. I must protest. Crikey’s editorial yesterday repeated a canard that has been propping up the Assange apologists for years now, namely that “…being extradited to Sweden increases the risk that he will be surrendered to the United States where an uncertain fate awaits.”

This is wrong.

Anyone possessing the remotest familiarity with the extradition treaties of both countries vis a vis the United States knows that it is in fact harder for someone to be extradited from Sweden than from the UK. Not only is the 2003 UK-US extradition treaty notoriously favourable towards Washington (the celebrated “NatWest Three” case being a particular example of this in action), but the Swedish treaty explicitly states that an accused may not be extradited for either a political crime, or for any crime that carries the death penalty.

Any arguments, such as those advanced in public by Assange and his defence team, that rely on the alleged use of Sweden as a sort of transit country in a vast conspiracy to get him to American shores — and therefore the assertion that the r-pe charges are trumped-up and false — fall flat at the first hurdle, exposed for the fraudulent, self-serving, egomaniacal paranoid delusions they truly are.

Whether or not Assange is guilty of s-xual misconduct I don’t know. What I do know is that any other man in his position should have been required to answer plausible accusations of r-pe years ago, not be coddled by people who should know better than to make and believe half-arsed conspiracy theories.

John Richardson writes: I thought yesterday’s editorial analysis of the current state of the Julian Assange scandal was lazy, to say the least.

While Crikey seems keen to accept the possibility that our government may not have legally “abandoned” Assange (contrary to the available evidence), while spuriously and rather limp-wristedly condemning its alleged failure to defend his right of free speech, it blithely ignores the obvious and more serious parallels in the situation evident from the earlier experiences of other Australians (Hicks, Habib), who were callously abandoned to imprisonment and torture at the hands of our “special friends” by the Howard government.

If the rest of the planet can see what is happening to Julian Assange, how come Crikey finds it so difficult?

Kyle Wilson writes: Like the ABC, Crikey continues to ignore the fact that Julian Assange agreed to present a current affairs program for Russia Today, the Russian government’s English-language television station, and did so. Clearly Crikey considers this an unimportant element of the Assange story.

Both Crikey and Assange purport to be concerned about journalists’ rights — but not, it would seem, in Russia, home of Anna Politkovskaya and quite a few more dead or maimed journalists. With some regret, I give up on Crikey: back to the BBC and Al Jazeera.

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Rundle: Assange makes his escape into a diplomatic storm” (yesterday, item 1). Guy Rundle’s alternative escape plan for Julian Assange — slipping into international waters by cyberpunk yacht — is probably more sensible than it sounds.

Assange is safe, for now, in the Ecuadorian embassy, but camped outside are British police, who now have a valid reason to arrest him. Even if he is granted asylum, this only extends to the embassy walls. How long does he really want to stay couped up there?

Seeking asylum in embassies didn’t work for Najibullah, Manuel Noreiga, or Cardinal Mindszenty. In fact, who has it worked for?

Justin Templer writes: Given the notable failure of our government to provide support to Australian citizen Julian Assange, one can only conclude that he must at some time have lived on Sydney’s North Shore.

ACP Magazines:

Deborah Thomas, ACP Magazines, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Tuesday, item 7). Your tipster (“Goss from the glossies”) obviously isn’t aware that the highly talented Kellie Hush, formerly editor of GRAZIA, was announced as Harper’s BAZAAR editor a week ago (please see this release, which was covered extensively in the media).

It is business as usual for the magazine, including its fashion and ad sales teams, as the bumper double June/July issue attests and upcoming August issue will confirm. Hearst are thrilled with Kellie who will be announcing her team shortly. We would appreciate it if you could please correct this mistake.

Missing the Mark:

Mitchell Holmes writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). You mentioned the name of a dual Olympic gold medalist trap shooter as “Mark Russell”. I think you’ll find his name is Russell Mark.

6
  • 1
    jaywhar
    Posted Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    @Niall Clugston - given the US’s lack of issues around sending drones into other countries to do assasinations, perhaps floating on a boat in international waters would not be the best place of Assange to be?

  • 2
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    @Niall Clugston

    I said much the same in a comment to Keane’s article today (crikey.com.au/2012/06/21/greens-back-assange-asylum-plea-but-us-has-already-won/#comment-204649)

    It does seem a tad mysterious why Assange would trap himself inside the Ecuador embassy. He has some of the best international law experts in the business (assuming he confided his intention to jump bail with them, maybe not — speaking of which why the heck hasn’t ABC interviewed Robertson (Geoffrey) or Robinson (Jen)? Maybe tonight on Lateline.).

    He is no dummy. Would he not have thought this through?

    But, d’oh, then it hit me! He isn’t inside the embassy at all. The whole thing was a feint while he did the runner hyopthesized by Rundle (cypherpunk yacht or maybe just the Eurostar). By the time everyone wakes up to this fact, the authorities will have yoke all over them and Jules will be wherever he wants to be. (I wonder if Jemima still has her dad’s luxurious house in Paris?)

  • 3
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    @Niall Clugston

    I said much the same in a comment to Keane’s article today (crikey.com.au/2012/06/21/greens-back-assange-asylum-plea-but-us-has-already-won/#comment-204649)

    It does seem a tad mysterious why Assange would trap himself inside the Ecuador embassy. He has some of the best international law experts in the business (assuming he confided his intention to jump bail with them, maybe not — speaking of which why the heck hasn’t ABC interviewed Robertson (Geoffrey) or Robinson (Jen)? Maybe tonight on Lateline.).

    He is no dummy. Would he not have thought this through?

    But, d’oh, then it hit me! He isn’t inside the embassy at all. The whole thing was a feint while he did the runner hyopthesized by Rundle (cypherpunk yacht or maybe just the Eurostar). By the time everyone wakes up to this fact, the authorities will have yoke all over them and Jules will be wherever he wants to be. (I wonder if Jemima still has her dad’s luxurious house in Paris?)

  • 4
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, Does JA still has the ankle bracelet? (I vaguely recall they may have relaxed that draconian measure.) In any case he could have entered the embassy, had the bracelet cut off, then immediately walked out in disguise.

    As to my previous half-serious suggestion about finding asylum in France, Switzerland might be a better bet:

    Political asylum in Switzerland
    Any person who is threatened or persecuted in their home country in accordance with criteria recognised under international law will be granted asylum in Switzerland.
    .
    Swiss asylum policy incorporates the basic principles of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The asylum procedure serves to determine whether a person is entitled to protection. The revised Asylum Act entered into force in part on 1 January 2007, and the remaining provisions will take full legal effect on 1 January 2008. The Federal Office for Migration (FOM) is in charge of implementing and enforcing asylum policy and the asylum law.

  • 5
    pedro
    Posted Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    @Niall Clugston.

    One very recent asylum case that worked is that of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. The Americans got him from their Embassy back to US soil ok. Surely you heard about it - was only weeks ago?

  • 6
    Niall Clugston
    Posted Friday, 22 June 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    OK. I’d forgotten that one. But it was touch-and-go at the time. And the US has more clout than Ecuador.

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