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Aug 17, 2012

Ecuador embraces Assange, but can he escape?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted diplomatic asylum by the government of Ecuador. But it will take a Houdini-like effort to get there.

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The fallout from Ecuador’s decision to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum has already begun, mere hours after the decision was announced by Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino, at a press conference in Quito.

In granting Assange political asylum to Ecuador, Patino noted that: “The government of Ecuador, after a fair and objective assessment of the situation described by Mr Assange, according to their own words and arguments, endorsed the fears of the appellant, and assumes that there are indications that it may be presumed that there may be political persecution, or could occur such persecution if measures are not taken timely and necessary to avoid it.”

His detailed announcement also had stern words for Australia, which he said had failed to do what it could to protect a citizen from the very real threats against his life, while working as an activist in “communications”. This finding was essential to a formal case for asylum, but given the Gillard government’s unwillingness to talk back against threats of assassination, is hard to gainsay.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr responded by saying that Assange had received more consular help than any Australian — which may or may not be true, but is irrelevant to the case of where the government stands on assassination threats against its nationals. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said it was out of Australia’s hands, conveniently ignoring the explicit barbs directed by Patino against our conduct.

Meanwhile in the UK, Foreign Secretary William Hague criticised the decision strongly in a statement made some hours after Ecuador’s announcement, rejecting the concept of diplomatic asylum out of hand, and rejecting Ecuador’s request that Assange be given “safe passage” by which to leave the embassy and leave the UK.

However, Hague also withdrew any suggestion that the UK would use a 1987 act to rescind Ecuador’s embassy status, allowing police to enter the premises and arrest Assange. Later, he specifically stated that there would be no attempt to do this.

The proposal to rescind embassy status had been contained in an “aide-memoire” documenting the negotiations between the two countries over the past months. Intended as confidential — by the UK at least — it was released by the Ecuadorian foreign ministry, with Patino then reminding the UK that Ecuador was not a colony.

The stunningly undiplomatic threat was greeted with universal condemnation in the UK press — even though Assange has few remaining allies there (though most papers continue to use WikiLeaks material) — and was explained by Assange’s lawyer Geoffrey Robertson as due to the fact that “all the good foreign office lawyers were on holiday”.

However, even though the threat has been walked back, it has become an international incident of sorts, with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) meeting next week to consider the issue. Lacking the right-wing governments of North America, UNASUR may well produce a more unified response to the issue, supporting Ecuador.

The granting of asylum, with the absence of safe passage, means that Assange has to remain in the eight-room apartment embassy for at least the immediate future. His current lawyer, the Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon, has indicated that the matter will be taken up with the International Court of Justice.

In the interim, UK police moved quickly to seal the embassy tightly, stationing officers in the foyer of the building (not part of the embassy proper, and at external windows, to prevent Assange being spirited into a diplomatic vehicle. Armed with heat-seeking equipment to ensure that Assange can not be concealed within a crate labelled as a diplomatic bag, or similar, the operation is rumoured to be costing up to £50,000 a day.

The question as to how the Ecuadorians could get Assange out is being keenly debated in the press, and in WikiLeaks’ supporters circles, with the legalities of assigning him citizenship and a diplomatic role becoming a topic of discussion, a mere 48 hours after your correspondent raised it here.

The problem with credentialling Assange as a high-ranking Ecuadorian diplomat is that he would need to be accepted by the UK, which is unlikely on the face of it. Ordinarily, a diplomat made persona non grata is guaranteed safe passage, per the Vienna Convention, but what is the rule if they were never a diplomat in the first place? What if Assange were made an Ecuadorian diplomatic representative to a third country — Brazil — say, and was accepted by them? The Vienna Convention should then oblige the UK to give safe passage, per the convention, as far as I read it.

Thirdly, there is the option of making Assange an ambassador to the UN, or one of its numerous sub-bodies. Unconfirmed reports from sources close to WikiLeaks say that this plan has always been on the table, and was discussed with the Ecuadorian government long before Assange entered the embassy and request asylum on June 20.

Not least among the ramifications of this extraordinary event, has been the revelation that the UK makes no official recognition of “diplomatic asylum”, something unknown to many. Indeed, “diplomatic asylum” is only supported by the laws of a minority of countries in the world (including most American states), and does not form a part of the Vienna Convention.

The reason that is surprising to many is obvious — the UK likes to support the diplomatic asylum bids of dissidents in other countries, and give the impression that it is willing to speak truth to power (as long as they queue at the US embassy and not the UK).For example, here’s William Hague, after blind dissident Chen Guangcheng evaded house arrest under Chinese law, and escaped to US protection in 2011:

British Foreign Secretary William Hague voiced concern about Chen’s case, which he said had exposed “abuse of power”, and urged Beijing to guarantee the safety of Chen’s family. “We will now monitor the status of Chen’s family and associates and we look to the Chinese government to guarantee their rights, freedoms and personal safety,” he said at a news conference in London to release the British foreign ministry’s annual human rights report, which mentions Chen’s case. “We remain concerned about the health of Chen’s wife and daughter and we will continue to work with other European Union countries to raise our concerns on this with the Chinese government,” Hague said.”

Not exactly “run, run Dith Pran”, but an implicit acceptance of diplomatic asylum. Had it not been the case, Hague’s statement would have been limited to urging Guangcheng to comply with the national law of a country with which the UK had diplomatic relations.

The UK and the Swedes will claim that Assange is using political asylum to evade criminal proceedings, and point to the latter’s clean record as a law-abiding state. But such assessments assume a neutral view of global power, something that neither left-wing governments, nor many people in South America are likely to have.

Furthermore, though the Swedish government has called in the Ecuadorian ambassador to express its displeasure with the granting of asylum, it is a country that set the bar for assertive diplomatic morality. Indeed one of the most revered figures in South America is a Swede, Harald Edelstam , “the black pimpernel”, who was Stockholm’s ambassador to Chile during the Pinochet coup.

During that period, Edelstam risked his life — and violated any principle of diplomatic neutrality —  and saved thousands of Chileans, and others from Pinochet’s thugs. Eventually, the whole Swedish embassy staff was enagaged in a running fist-fight with Chilean paramilitary, before being booted out of the country.

The Swedes may well argue that Assange’s situation is nothing like those of the Chileans, but they can hardly object to a tradition of moral diplomatic action that they have done so much to foster. Indeed, Assange’s lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, is on the nominating committee for the annual prize given by the Edelstam Institute, for those who use “creativity and courage” to improve human rights.

Finally, late Thursday afternoon, WikiLeaks announced that Assange would make a public address from “outside” the Ecuadorian embassy at 2pm Sunday (11pm AEST) — which everyone got hot and sweaty about, assuming he would come down to the front steps and risk arrest.

Most likely it will be from the embassy’s chi-chi Italianate first floor balcony, overlooking Knightsbridge, which will make the whole Latin American theme of the recent months pretty much complete.

Unless of course, it is a video appearance … from Quito …

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle

Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle is Crikey's correspondent-at-large. He was co-editor of Arena Magazine for 15 years, and has written four hit stage shows for Max Gillies, two musicals, numerous books and produced TV shows including Comedy Inc and Backberner.

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185 comments

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185 thoughts on “Ecuador embraces Assange, but can he escape?

  1. AR

    I can’t believe that anyone (Liz & DrS specifically) is bothering to treat Jimbo as a rational entity – it is the ultimate in rabble soothing, possibly a prog. but certainly an amoral piece of astroturf.
    Has no-one noticed that it just keeps pooh-poohing & oozing over reality?

  2. Jimmy

    Very true Liz but are they the exception or the rule?

    I would of thought if you were up on false charges you would want the bloke who doesn’t buy into conspiracy theories and doesn’t get caught up in what has happened in other cases that bare scant similarity to yours, but maybe that is just me.

  3. Liz45

    @jimmy – Jails have held innocent people! Recent ones in NSW and WA?

  4. Jimmy

    Liz45 – If you haven’t done it Liz I would find you not guilty, not sure why you wouldn’t want me on the jury if that is the outcome.

  5. Liz45

    @JIMMY – I tell you what, if I ever get charged with something I haven’t done, I hope to God that you’re not on the jury! My last word!

    You’d start a fight in an empty house! Fair dinkum!

  6. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – “You refuse to acknowledge the possibility of unjust or unethical behaviour involved in the situation. That’s an extremist position.” I acknowledged it twice just 5 minutes ago, there is a difference between believing something is highly unlikely and saying it is impossible.

    “Not even when you’re on an African safari ?” No, I like to leave open the possibility they could be impala, gazelle’s or one of the many other african animals that also have hooves.

    “So you’re saying Miss Kerr has done this sort of thing in the past, then ?” I can’t rule out that she has.

  7. drsmithy

    I have always thought it “could” happen, the same way Miranda Kerr “could” walk in to my office strip off and ask me to take her on my desk, possible but unlikely.

    So you’re saying Miss Kerr has done this sort of thing in the past, then ?

    As above anything could happen but when I hear hoof beats I don’t think “Zebra’s!”

    Not even when you’re on an African safari ?

    And my position is far from extremist.

    You refuse to acknowledge the possibility of unjust or unethical behaviour involved in the situation. That’s an extremist position.

  8. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – “I’m glad you finally agree it could possibly happen.” I have always thought it “could” happen, the same way Miranda Kerr “could” walk in to my office strip off and ask me to take her on my desk, possible but unlikely.

    “No, champ, it means you need to exercise some initiative and think up some possibilities that aren’t in your nothing-unethical-or-unjust-could-possibly-happen script.” As above anything could happen but when I hear hoof beats I don’t think “Zebra’s!”

    And my position is far from extremist.

  9. drsmithy

    That explains it all, I have to “imagine”, these scenarios are all imaginary, it makes perfect sense now.

    No, champ, it means you need to exercise some initiative and think up some possibilities that aren’t in your nothing-unethical-or-unjust-could-possibly-happen script.

    Not it isn’t but “spiriting away” an anonymous person is a hell of a lot easier than someone who has been on time magazine’s front cover and has a legal team in 4 countries.

    I’m glad you finally agree it could possibly happen.

    And again there is a difference between being a cheerleader for the US and just not thinking htey are the root of all evil.

    At no point have I ever proposed an argument that the US are “the root of all evil”. I have only highlighted how their actual recent behaviour – which, as an aside, could certainly be described as evil – differs significantly from your imagined hypothetical behaviour. You are the only person in this discussion arguing an extremist position.

  10. Jimmy

    “Even though you seem to be bereft of one, try using your imagination” That explains it all, I have to “imagine”, these scenarios are all imaginary, it makes perfect sense now.

    ” You may first need to struggle with your fundamental belief that being anonymous is not a prerequisite to having something bad happen to you.” Not it isn’t but “spiriting away” an anonymous person is a hell of a lot easier than someone who has been on time magazine’s front cover and has a legal team in 4 countries.

    And again there is a difference between being a cheerleader for the US and just not thinking htey are the root of all evil.

  11. drsmithy

    If they think he is a flight risk because he ran away who’s fault is that?

    How is this relevant to your assertion he won’t have to worry about being locked up because someone will post his bail ?

    And it’s a bit rich to say they will lock him up indefinitely because he ran away when he apparently he ran away because they would lock him up indefinitely!

    This is a straw man.

    And how are they going to spirit him away? He is not some anonymous bloke.

    Even though you seem to be bereft of one, try using your imagination. You may first need to struggle with your fundamental belief that being anonymous is not a prerequisite to having something bad happen to you.

    You are doing much more than acknowledging risks, you are saying that is what will happen (or at the very least most likely to happen) when there is no evidence of it in THIS CASE.

    Firstly, I’ve said no such thing.
    Secondly, there was no evidence of it happening in THOSE CASES either, until it had actually happened. Cheerleaders like you were proclaiming just as loudly then how impossible it would be for the USA to be involved in such distasteful events.

  12. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – If they think he is a flight risk because he ran away who’s fault is that?

    And it’s a bit rich to say they will lock him up indefinitely because he ran away when he apparently he ran away because they would lock him up indefinitely!

    And how are they going to spirit him away? He is not some anonymous bloke.

    You are doing much more than acknowledging risks, you are saying that is what will happen (or at the very least most likely to happen) when there is no evidence of it in THIS CASE.

  13. drsmithy

    I am sure that Assange will have numerous people offering to put up what ever bail the US like to set so he will not be cooling his heels in Federal prison.

    Wow. You seriously just wrote that ? Did you even spend a few seconds thinking about it ?

    On what planet do you think a US court, after watching Assange’s lark in the Ecuadorian embassy, would ever grant bail at any price ? “Flight risk” just doesn’t seem like an adequate description of the possibilities.

    And while you can allege I am taking the best case scenario you are taking the worst case.

    I’m not taking any case. I’m merely acknowledging the risks based on demonstrated behaviour (something you consistently and constantly refuse to do) and pointing out why your view of the situation is – at best – hopelessly naive.

    (On top of which, there are worse things that could happen than being spirited off to a third-world country, or locked in a small room for a couple of years.)

  14. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – I am sure that Assange will have numerous people offering to put up what ever bail the US like to set so he will not be cooling his heels in Federal prison.

    And while you can allege I am taking the best case scenario you are taking the worst case.

  15. drsmithy

    If that’s the case I am sure his massive legal team will have no trouble showing the charges are baseless.

    Which may well take months or even years if it gets held up often enough. During which he gets to cool his heels in a US Federal prison (itself a fairly risky proposition).

    Once again, I will make the point: you are assuming a best case scenario and refusing to consider possibility of error (be it malicious or otherwise). Given the recent (and even not so recent) behaviour of the US, this is in no way a reasonable assumption.

  16. Jimmy

    Liz 45 – “But human beings around the world DO pick and choose what laws they’ll embrace and which laws are an infringement of our rights. If we didn’t do this over the years, kids would still be working down coal mines. A man could rape his wife in all states of Australia with impunity except for common law – definite laws against such crimes didn’t eventuate until the 70’s & 80’s. We wouldn’t have Universities that embrace women in all subjects, work lives etc. It’s a stupid argument, and usually by those who make oppressive laws and dictate that we abide by bad ones. I believe that human beings have a duty to speak out against oppressive or unjust laws and to actively seek their removal – by protest including so called illegal ones!”

    It is true that unjust laws have been fought by people willing to break them however in this case what unjust law has Assange challenged? You an Dr Smithy both say he hasn’t broken a law and the US will have to make up an offence to charge him so what law is he challenging?

    And what lasting benefit to society have his actions had?

    And as I have said earlier the people who challenged the laws you mention didn’t run and hide when the consequences of their actions came, they stood and fought. Welsh miners were slaughtered in their hundreds to get better conditions but none of them sought asylum.

  17. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – “Why could he not be charged ? Nothing says the charges need to be legitimate. People are routinely charged with offenses then never prosecuted for them, particularly in the US legal system.” If that’s the case I am sure his massive legal team will have no trouble showing the charges are baseless.

    Jimmy – “As DRSMITHY says, Julian’s legal team believe that he has genuine need for concern – that’s good enough for me, and should be good enough for others too!” Really – How many legal teams have come out and said my client is guilty as sin but I am going to defend him anyway? I don’t doubt the expertise or intelligence of these people, just that when they are being paid to defend their client the aren’t exactly impartial.

  18. Liz45

    The assertions by myself and others is legitimised by the correspondence between the US and Australian diplomats.

    It was reported in The Age (hardly a left wing newspaper)”The Australian embassy in Washington has been tracking a US espionage investigation targeting the Wikileaks publisher for more than 18 months.
    It also said that”briefings for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Carr suggest the Australian government has no in-principle objection to Assange’s extradition”

    “The declassified diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information laws, show Australia’s diplomatic service takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from Wikileaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents”

    The article noted: “This view is at odds with foreign minister Bob Carr’s repeated dismissal of such a prospect”

    At best, one should ask Carr why he’s lying. One should ask the US why they intend to apply for him to be extradited.

    JIMMY, there’s sufficient information available to lead one to assume that the US do want Julian Assange, and that they’re being less than truthful publicly! The next question is why?

    Some of us know the answer! I don’t have roses on my glasses!

    Ecuador gave Julian Assange protection because they fear for his safety. They also acknowledge that “Ecuador has observed that Mr Assange lacks the protection and assistance that should be received from the state of which he is a citizen (Australia);” Pretty damning really!

  19. Liz45

    @JIMMY – If you can’t acknowledge that someone like Geoffrey Robertson just might know a bit more about the case and human right’s law per se, then you’re really being delusional! I take note of your accusing me of being patronising! Touche!

    I recall the role of the US during the 60’s when we saw horrific images on our TV screens each evening during the Vietnam War. They learnt by that though, and didn’t make the same mistake re Afghanistan or Iraq.

    I do believe that the US is evil, just as evil as any other dictatorship who’s lost control of the human rights of all peoples. If they did, they wouldn’t have killed 1.5 million in Iraq, who knows how many in Afghanistan, and adopted the stance of ‘you’re either with us or with the enemy’? Now that is looney. They’ve lost control and lost their way!

    If the US was successful in getting Julian on to their shores, I doubt whether he’d even see inside a normal court room. It would be a military court, either at Gittmo or somewhere else.

    The final question must be put to the US – IF they have NO intention of seeking Julian why don’t they just say so! Simple! Julian’s Spanish lawyer asked the same question? He’s more qualified and experienced than I am, and I respectfully suggest, you too!

    You accuse me of reading left wing articles, etc , but when I mention people with at least 50+ years experience of human rights laws, you then say, well they biased. You don’t have the capacity to even give the nod to blatant reality. There’s no point in arguing with someone like you – you just cast off any semblance of common sense.

    I tell you what? If I was in trouble I’d take the advice of those people before yours! As DRSMITHY says, Julian’s legal team believe that he has genuine need for concern – that’s good enough for me, and should be good enough for others too! They’re legal people! I suggest that you’re not. I’m not experienced like they are. The difference is, I don’t mind saying so!

  20. drsmithy

    If that is the case and you are right that this can not be prosecuted by the US then he can not be charged, as I have said all along.

    Why could he not be charged ? Nothing says the charges need to be legitimate. People are routinely charged with offenses then never prosecuted for them, particularly in the US legal system.

    If however the US can prove something like that while he did not go to the US he conspired with Manning, they may be able to charge him. But again as I have said numerous times they have to get a grand jury to agree, then convince the Swede’s to extradite, then convince a court he is guilty.

    Or they just have to make something up and convince Sweden to “lend” him to them, and lock him in a box for a few years until he goes mad.

    Or they just get the Swedes to let them spirit him off to some third country for some quality time with a car battery and some alligator clips.

    Exactly this sort of thing? How many people who ended up in guantanamo had his profile? How many had a legal team in 4 different countries? How many published state secrets? I don’t think there has ever been something “exactly” like this.

    The same could have been said for any of the people they’ve mistreated already, as well, if you want to control enough variables.

    The US has demonstrated an escalating willingness, if not outright eagerness, to act outside both international law and its own internal checks and balances for quite a while.

    As for my “slavish devotion to the American Dream”, as I said above I don’t have one, I just don’t see the US as the root of all evil that you do so it makes my relative ambivalence seem to you to be slavish devotion.

    You are completely denying even the _possibility_ that the US can and will act with anything but the strongest ethics, in full accordance with the law, in the most expedient fashion and without simply trying to find a scapegoat.

    This is despite them having demonstratably not done these things in many cases for (at least) the last 10-15 years, and specifically with regards to the other major player in the Wikileaks case.

    That’s pretty much slavish devotion to a ‘T’.

    One does not need to consider the USA “the root of all evil” to realise Assange has genuine reason for concern. One just needs to look at historical actions of Sweden and the USA, how the USA and its successive administrations have been acting for the last decade or more, and the laundry list of unusual events surrounding the entire drama.

  21. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – “I don’t believe Assange has ever been to the US. *By definition* he can only have broken US law in another country.” If that is the case and you are right that this can not be prosecuted by the US then he can not be charged, as I have said all along. If however the US can prove something like that while he did not go to the US he conspired with Manning, they may be able to charge him. But again as I have said numerous times they have to get a grand jury to agree, then convince the Swede’s to extradite, then convince a court he is guilty.

    “You mean other than the last decade plus of them doing exactly this sort of thing ?” Exactly this sort of thing? How many people who ended up in guantanamo had his profile? How many had a legal team in 4 different countries? How many published state secrets? I don’t think there has ever been something “exactly” like this.

    As for my “slavish devotion to the American Dream”, as I said above I don’t have one, I just don’t see the US as the root of all evil that you do so it makes my relative ambivalence seem to you to be slavish devotion.

  22. drsmithy

    So this not a case of the US saying he has broken a US law in another country, they would have to demonstrate more than that, such as he conspired with Manning.

    I don’t believe Assange has ever been to the US. *By definition* he can only have broken US law in another country.

    You on the other hand are working not from reality but from your belief, you believe the US will treat him unfairly, you believe the US will fabricate charges and corrupt the judicial process, you believe they will send him to guantanamo but there is no evidence to suggest any of this.

    You mean other than the last decade plus of them doing exactly this sort of thing ?

    I really cannot grasp what is driving your slavish devotion to the fantasy of the “American Dream”. If it ever did exist, it was comprehensively killed by the Bush administration, and the body trampled again by the Obama administration (eg: targeted assassinations of US citizens).

  23. Jimmy

    I resort to patronising behaviour simply by telling you to read more widely yet you “Go and do some reading for god’s sake and stop being argumentative over stupidity!” “Unlike you, I don’t have a ‘all the way with the USA’? Far from it!” and other various jibes but that is not patronising behaviour?

    And I am sure Assange’s legal team is completely unbiased, as is Robertson his mate.

  24. Liz45

    Incidentally, I don’t just take note of left wing publications, I listen to Julian’s legal people. The Judge from Spain who was the person who initiated having Pinochet return to Chile to face most serious charges re crimes against humanity; Geoffrey Robertson QC a Human Rights Lawyer/expert, the young Australian woman who’s trained under him and spent time at the ICC, and there are others. Then there’s journalists like John Pilger who’s won more awards than any other journalist I can think of; whose made documentaries, written books etc about the US practices over many decades.

    You’re just typical! Being a bloke you always have to resort to patronising behaviour! It’s as predictable as night follows day!

    Now I’m really off to the chemist!

  25. Jimmy

    Liz – I know what they did to those 2, my point was they knew the risks and acted anyway (even though the risks were much greater than anything Assange will face) and they did not shy away from the consequences and hide in the nearest embassy. They fought for something meaningful and had the courage to face the consequences, Assange isn’t doing either of those things.

    “Julian Assange is going on the form of the US. He’s going by what people in authority have already said what SHOULD happen to him – and death is not the worst?” going on form? How many other time men of the year have published state secrets to build that form? How many other editors who published the same documents have been put to death? And how many of these people in authority have influence over the judicial system?

    “How would he even get a decent hearing with such outrageous calls for his death?” Very good question, I am sure his defence team will make very good use of that point should it come to it.

    “The processes Hicks and Habib were exposed to didn’t even involve the normal legal channels” another excellent point (one I have pointed out numerous times) Hicks and Habib were outside the normal legal channels, Assange will be inside them, no comparison between the 2 cases, thanks for agreeing.

    “You have a vision of the US that gives you a warm inner glow! The US scares the bejeesus out of me! I don’t trust them. I don’t have any confidence in any of the people in authority, and mostly, they have too much bloody power – and to hell with the rest of the world! That’s their modus operandi! It’s scary!” There we have it, that you believe these things blinds you to the facts. It’s not that the Us gives me a warm inner glow, it’s just that I don’t see it as the root of all evil you do.

    “Stay where you are Julian, until you get a promise in writing that you won’t be thrown to the wolves, or in this instance, thrown in jail in Gittmo or some other military jail somewhere – god knows they have enough of them!” But given you don’t trust the US what good is the assurance?

  26. Liz45

    @JIMMY – Are you serious? Mandela ended up in jail for 27 years, and they murdered Martin Luther King – another of my heroes! NO, they didn’t have to seek asylum they killed them or sentenced them to life in prison doing hard labour when they were young men like Julian Assange? If you give reasons just think them out first.

    Julian Assange is going on the form of the US. He’s going by what people in authority have already said what SHOULD happen to him – and death is not the worst? People in the media have asserted the same thing. How would he even get a decent hearing with such outrageous calls for his death? Haven’t you heard them or read them?

    The processes Hicks and Habib were exposed to didn’t even involve the normal legal channels. Habib wasn’t even charged with ANYTHING and yet he was detained for several years. HOw do you know the same fate wouldn’t be a reality for Assange? You can’t? And so this is my last word on the subject, as you’re just going around and around and really being infantile.

    You have a vision of the US that gives you a warm inner glow! The US scares the bejeesus out of me! I don’t trust them. I don’t have any confidence in any of the people in authority, and mostly, they have too much bloody power – and to hell with the rest of the world! That’s their modus operandi! It’s scary!

    Stay where you are Julian, until you get a promise in writing that you won’t be thrown to the wolves, or in this instance, thrown in jail in Gittmo or some other military jail somewhere – god knows they have enough of them!

    I rest my case and maintain the right to agree to disagree with you! I’m back to the sewing machine where I can really be productive!

  27. Jimmy

    “Answer the point about the difference? Nobody in the cases you put forward were in fear of their life or liberty – that is a most important difference here. In fact, it’s the whole case in this instance!” In fear of his life? How? He has not even been charged how can you assume he will face the death penalty? As for liberty, I must say I don’t even know which cases I apparently referred to, but anyone who willingly breaks a law is risking their liberty.

    “That is just a nonsense and you know it. People in the US have ALREADY spoken out about what should happen to Julian Assange – that’s another basic point! Join the dots! Keep up! They’re already after his hide! That’s the point!” No it’s not nonsense, it was demonstrating that if Assange conspired the fact he didn’t actually go to the US won’t be a defence. Now as I have said repeatedly, I don’t see any evidence to say that he conspired but if the US find some they can charge him.

    And who are these people? People in Australia have talked about putting Gillard in a sack and dumping her a t sea, does that mean it will happen and be legally sanctioned?

    And “they” may be after his hide but they don’t control the judicial process in their own country let alone Sweden.

    And maybe you should read a little more but just not from ultra left wing websites that perpetuate conspiracy theories.

  28. Jimmy

    Accept the realities? Really I am the one who is accepting reality, the reality is he hasn’t been charged with anything by the US, if he is charged he can first appeal the extradition, then if he fails that he can apply for bail, and then fight the charges.

    You on the other hand are working not from reality but from your belief, you believe the US will treat him unfairly, you believe the US will fabricate charges and corrupt the judicial process, you believe they will send him to guantanamo but there is no evidence to suggest any of this.

    You point to cases like Hicks, Habib and Manning all of whom were/are subject to a completely different judicial process from what Assange could possibly face and in the case of Habib and Hicks the circumstances of their arrest and any possible charges were completely different.

    And Assange is no Mandela, he is not some great fighter of social injustice, he is no defender of civil rights and he is not facing anywhere near the risk faced by the likes of Mandela or Dr King yet they never shied away or hid.

    “The fact is that the US has form lately, which does NOT resemble anything like adhering to their Constitution. ” Have a look at the recent case in which the court blocked the govt’s attempts for imprisonment without charge on national security grounds and get back to me on where that fits in with this statement.

  29. Liz45

    Answer the point about the difference? Nobody in the cases you put forward were in fear of their life or liberty – that is a most important difference here. In fact, it’s the whole case in this instance!

    “For example if say someone, let’s call them Bradley M detonated a bomb at the super bowl and evidence was found that he conspired with and was assisted by someone who had never been to the US, say Julian A, I am confident the US could lay charges against Julian A for conspiracy to murder at the very least.”

    That is just a nonsense and you know it. People in the US have ALREADY spoken out about what should happen to Julian Assange – that’s another basic point! Join the dots! Keep up! They’re already after his hide! That’s the point!

    The last AG and the PM said that he’d committed crimes, when he hadn’t! The reason why he won’t go to Sweden is because it’s on the public record where the head of the govt has already stated his allegiance to the US! Also, neither country would guarantee his safety or his basic human rights. I would stay put also. Other countries in Latin America agree with Eduador? Why? Most of them know only too well how the US operates. They’ve got plenty of graves in their countries to prove it!

    Go and do some reading for god’s sake and stop being argumentative over stupidity! The US is a law unto itself, doesn’t acknowledge any other Laws anywhere in the world, and thinks it can kill people around the world on a whim! I’d be damned scared of them too!

  30. Liz45

    @JIMMY – Good point! What happened to Nelson Mandela indeed? 27 years of hard labour that’s what? Just because the black people of Sth Africa riled against horrific racism and prejudice, that caused them to starve, be killed in police stations, and little kids to be burnt to death at school and/or church! He’s now been living with the effects of that ever since he was released – he can hardly walk due to his knees, bones etc!

    The fact is that the US has form lately, which does NOT resemble anything like adhering to their Constitution. You don’t walk into the lion’s den when you know damned well what the lion is capable of? Your arguments are based on naivety at best. I can only assume that you’re just being pedantic for the hell of it, or are too damned biased or blind to accept realities. Ask David Hicks or Mandouh Habib or those in Britain or even those sent by the US to jails in Europe, which contravened the Laws of that country and Tony Blair okayed it!

    I wouldn’t trust the US out of sight in a blackout if I was Julian Assange, and further, it’s the last country on the planet that I would visit even if I could afford it. I’d probably be challenged at the airport anyway – just for speaking out against US crimes against humanity among other things!

    Unlike you, I don’t have a ‘all the way with the USA’? Far from it!

  31. Jimmy

    And Liz – ” Companies are not being threatened with death if they refuse to pay – that’s the difference! ” So it’s not just a “bad” law should be broken it is a bad law should be broken but the consequences shouldn’t be faced if they are too harsh?

    I wonder if Nelson Mandela knew about this clause?

  32. Jimmy

    Liz45 – “@JIMMY – People protested, some in a very sexist and violent manner? Shock jocks advocated violence towards the PM? Alan Jones during the Cronulla riots a few years ago actively campaigned for a violent response by Anglo Saxon people – you can find his actual words on the internet somewhere? He was never charged or taken off air? Why was that so?”

    I assume you are trying to say that all this is just free speech and that is exactly what Assange has done, well I agree but if it turns out he has done more than this then why shouldn’t the US pursue their case?

    And Assange isn’t being threatened with death, he hasn’t even been charged.

    And my argument isn’t illegitimate because Assange hasn’t broken an Australian law, from the evidence at hand I can’t see how Assange has broken any law, which is why I can’t see him being charged but if there is more to this case, if there is some evidence I have not seen that enables the US to mount a case they can lay charges and he will have the right to defend himself.

    For example if say someone, let’s call them Bradley M detonated a bomb at the super bowl and evidence was found that he conspired with and was assisted by someone who had never been to the US, say Julian A, I am confident the US could lay charges against Julian A for conspiracy to murder at the very least.

  33. Liz45

    @JIMMY – People protested, some in a very sexist and violent manner? Shock jocks advocated violence towards the PM? Alan Jones during the Cronulla riots a few years ago actively campaigned for a violent response by Anglo Saxon people – you can find his actual words on the internet somewhere? He was never charged or taken off air? Why was that so?

    Companies can protest and some are taking the Govt to the High Court as we speak? So one would have to say that democracy is working here? Companies are not being threatened with death if they refuse to pay – that’s the difference! They can have their staged protests, even engage in outrageous behaviour such as encouraging violence, even using a gun (Hockey) so, what’s your point exactly?

    There’s nothing in this country that even comes close to what could happen to Julian Assange. Even the AG and PM had to eat humble pie and say that Julian had not committed any crimes under Australian Law – so your argument is not legitimate!

  34. Liz45

    @JIMMY – I notice different is that in the cases you mention the people did break the law AND were willing to face the consequences of their actions, none of them ran to the nearest embassy to claim asylum?

    What a bloody stupid response? Nobody was advocating that those who broke the law in the examples I gave would be assassinated or run the risk of illegal military courts, solitary confinement for years without charges, and possible death by firing squad or some other means that that illustrious military engages in these days – and the list goes on. If you are stupid enough to think that all is well and above board in the US, then you’re a very misguided person. I suggest that you at least go and do some reading etc about human rights, judicial rights etc in the US! Sadly, it probably never existed, but it’s so much worse now! Well over 40c in every dollar goes to the military industry in the US. They have to keep on creating wars for the economy to keep on churning on. who’s going to be next is the question? Perhaps Iran? Pakistan – that is, one that’s verbalised unlike now, where drones just kill innocents on a daily basis, but the rest of the world doesn’t have the guts to say or do anything? And we think Syria is awful, which it is, but?????

    Julian Assange hasn’t done anything that Rupert Murdoch or the bosses of newspapers and electronic media around the world have also done. Nobody has answered the important question – why haven’t they at least been castigated by the Secretary of State or ???? There’s also a strong case re freedom of speech, very high up in the US Constitution. Of course the extreme right wing in the US, like the equivalent here, trot that out when they wish to engage in hate crimes against races or????

    Is what Julian Assange done any worse/different to Daniel Elsberg did years ago! He supports Julian?

    How you can still maintain your argument, which at best is naive and at worst is made on the premise that the US conducts itself by the highest standards – as it demands of others? If a US citizen was in Julian Assange’s place they’d at least be afforded the right of a trial in New York or California, not hidden away and treated like an animal at Guantanamo Bay!

    People high up in the US Govt, have come out and expressed their views on how he should be treated. Apart from all the other reasons that I mentioned, this is sufficient evidence to prove, that he would NOT be afforded procedural justice. On the contrary, he could be left rotting in Gittmo for years – out of sight, out of mind! Obama has also gone back on his word re whistle-blowers prior to the election. Fancy that? He was also going to close Gittmo, but hasn’t had the guts to do it, or the political will!

    As for Iran or Saudi Arabia? In Iran, they have a ban on executing people under the age of 20 I believe. This didn’t stop them executing a 16 or 17 yr old young woman for adultery or some such excuse – after she’d been raped? I wouldn’t take the risk in either country. They aren’t exactly upholders of civil liberties,particularly as they relate to women. Female victims of rape are treated as though they’ve committed adultery or some such rubbish. Not long ago people around the world prevented an Iranian woman from being stoned to death for such a crime? Homosexual men from Iran have been granted asylum in Australia for that very reason – the death penalty!
    Finally, when the US proves to the world that it no longer intends to use Gittmo as a torture chamber and uphold its own Constitution, then OK? But until then, I would NOT take the risk! Not one bit!

  35. Jimmy

    And Liz45 – Who decides if a law is bad or good? A lot of people think the Carbon tax is a bad law, should businesses refuse to pay the tax?

  36. Jimmy

    iz 45 – ” Bad laws should be broken and have been over centuries, that’s how Govts etc have been forced to change bad laws. eg. women’s right to vote; the bl ack woman in the US who refused to abide by the Law and give up her seat to a wh ite man; the people of Sth Africa and around the world who broke bad Laws against apart heid” Firstl y it is a stretch to say that what Assange has done is anything like the civil rights struggles you mention here but the main thing I notice different is that in the cases you mention the people did break the law AND were willing to face the consequences of their actions, none of them ran to the nearest embassy to claim asylum?

    Dr Smithy – “I am appl ying the your rationale (a country has the right to charge anyone, anywhere with anything and attempt to prosecute them) with a different country and offense.
    You are changing the topic completel y (which laws should or should not be obeyed).”” Because something being illegal in one country doesn’t give that country the right to come looking for people in other countries who might have committed that offense.”That is not the case at all. I have said that if all Assange has done is publish the documents then I don’t believe that he has a case to answer and will not be charged. However if the US can somehow demonstrate that he has done more than that and they legally gain an extradition order then he should face the courts, if the court can be convinced he has committed an offence then he should be punished. So this not a case of the US saying he has broken a US law in another country, they would have to demonstrate more than that, such as he conspired with Manning.

    This is completely different from the examples you list regarding Iran or the Saudis as they would not be able to demonstrate an Australian blaspheming in Australia has broken a Saudi law and they would not be able to win an extradition appeal.

  37. Jimmy

    Liz 45 – ” Bad laws should be broken and have been over centuries, that’s how Govts etc have been forced to change bad laws. eg. women’s right to vote; the black woman in the US who refused to abide by the Law and give up her seat to a white man; the people of Sth Africa and around the world who broke bad Laws against apart heid” Firstl y it is a stretch to say that what Assange has done is anything like the civil rights struggles you mention here but the main thing I notice different is that in the cases you mention the people did break the law AND were willing to face the consequences of their actions, none of them ran to the nearest embassy to claim asylum?

    Dr Smithy – “I am applying the your rationale (a country has the right to charge anyone, anywhere with anything and attempt to prosecute them) with a different country and offense.
    You are changing the topic completely (which laws should or should not be obeyed).”” Because something being illegal in one country doesn’t give that country the right to come looking for people in other countries who might have committed that offense.”That is not the case at all. I have said that if all Assange has done is publish the documents then I don’t believe that he has a case to answer and will not be charged. However if the US can somehow demonstrate that he has done more than that and they legally gain an extradition order then he should face the courts, if the court can be convinced he has committed an offence then he should be punished. So this not a case of the US saying he has broken a US law in another country, they would have to demonstrate more than that, such as he conspired with Manning.

    This is completely different from the examples you list regarding Iran or the Saudis as they would not be able to demonstrate an Australian blaspheming in Australia has broken a Saudi law and they would not be able to win an extradition appeal.

  38. Jimmy

    Liz 45 – ” Bad laws should be broken and have been over centuries, that’s how Govts etc have been forced to change bad laws. eg. women’s right to vote; the black woman in the US who refused to abide by the Law and give up her seat to a white man; the people of Sth Africa and around the world who broke bad Laws against apartheid” Firstly it is a stretch to say that what Assange has done is anything like the civil rights struggles you mention here but the main thing I notice different is that in the cases you mention the people did break the law AND were willing to face the consequences of their actions, none of them ran to the nearest embassy to claim asylum?

    Dr Smithy – “I am applying the your rationale (a country has the right to charge anyone, anywhere with anything and attempt to prosecute them) with a different country and offense.
    You are changing the topic completely (which laws should or should not be obeyed).”” Because something being illegal in one country doesn’t give that country the right to come looking for people in other countries who might have committed that offense.”That is not the case at all. I have said that if all Assange has done is publish the documents then I don’t believe that he has a case to answer and will not be charged. However if the US can somehow demonstrate that he has done more than that and they legally gain an extradition order then he should face the courts, if the court can be convinced he has committed an offence then he should be punished. So this not a case of the US saying he has broken a US law in another country, they would have to demonstrate more than that, such as he conspired with Manning.

    This is completely different from the examples you list regarding Iran or the Saudis as they would not be able to demonstrate an Australian blaspheming in Australia has broken a Saudi law and they would not be able to win an extradition appeal.

  39. Liz45

    But human beings around the world DO pick and choose what laws they’ll embrace and which laws are an infringement of our rights. If we didn’t do this over the years, kids would still be working down coal mines. A man could rape his wife in all states of Australia with impunity except for common law – definite laws against such crimes didn’t eventuate until the 70’s & 80’s. We wouldn’t have Universities that embrace women in all subjects, work lives etc. It’s a stupid argument, and usually by those who make oppressive laws and dictate that we abide by bad ones. I believe that human beings have a duty to speak out against oppressive or unjust laws and to actively seek their removal – by protest including so called illegal ones!

    Under Bjelke Peterson’s government in Queensland, all of my family (or even my siblings – there’s 7 of us out of 9) would not be allowed to meet in a major park – we’d be arrested? Black people were not allowed to do lots of things that you and I take for granted. We had to oppose them. A friend of mine had his ribs broken by Qld cops in the 70’s/80’s? Peterson was a dictator! A Royal Commission clearly showed that the police force was corrupt and made illegal laws!

    And then, what action should we take against governments that break the very laws they’ve introduced? Dr Haneef was a good example of this. Castigating young people for street violence looks pretty stupid when governments can invade sovereign nations on a whim? lie/ wanting their resources and then unleashing the most obscene weapons upon innocent people, the ramifications which last for decades, maybe forever. Agent Orange and DU bombs are just two examples. Who should rile against these blatant abuses of power which break every basic rule in the book, and many international laws? The US still refuses to be a member of the International Criminal Court; it demands impunity for its military in every country it has troops in, and makes a laughing stock of basic ethics and Laws of all countries, while demanding other countries abide by the very same laws.

    I recall George Bush holding forth about Iraq abiding by the Geneva Conventions re prisoners, while it engaged in degrading and illegal actions themselves – and still are at this very minute! Ha they say! Tough luck for you! We’re king and you’ll do as you’re told! I reject this as do supporters of Wikileaks and Julian Assange!

    Julian Assange is only guilty of letting the world know of how countries, including the almighty USA are breaking the worlds’ laws! The Geneva Conventions that both they and us have agreed to; of the demonising of those who don’t abide by their rules, including Latin American, to wit one Ecuador! Many people including myself no longer hold the US up as the nation to aspire to? I lose the little respect I have for the US on a daily basis – it’s almost totally spent. I find it cynically amusing when the US rants against Nth Korea for instance, when they do the same or worse things themselves? It would be funny if not so outrageous, sad and damaging! What is so damning is the platitudes and motherhood statements they make publicly, while doing the exact opposite at the same time! Amazing!

    Whether the US uses the term “enemy combatant” or “likened to an enemy combatant” is just an exercise in semantics. Unless you’ve just woken after a very long sleep, or justify the US’s behaviours re Gittmo, renditions, holding in solitary confinement without charges being laid, not taking a person before a judge/magistrate until several years later, then Julian Assange has much to fear. Personally, if I was his Mum I’d be more than happy for him to stay where he is, UNLESS both Sweden and the US state/sign that they have NO intention to turn him over to the military or the State? That’s the question! If you think he should try his luck and prove you right, say so, I don’t want him to take the risk. I have extended family members from 16 countries, some of whom had to flee countries that the US was pouring millions in to oppress those whose views were NOT the same! El Salvador springs readily to mind!

    Again I say, I DO NOT trust the US, and sadly, the role the Australian Govt is playing is almost identical to Howard v/s David Hicks, Mandouh Habib and Dr Haneef! There are plenty of British people to take examples of also – books have been written about them, documentaries have been made! Have you watched ‘Unconstitutional, the threat to civil liberties in the US’? Watch it and then say you feel confident about the US.

    If CSG companies are intent on risking the water supply to the whole Illawarra just to get out some gas that we don’t need, then I’ll stand in front of the bulldozers and break the law! That’s the only way people are heard and cause a rethink – many, many times!

    Many years ago, women in the Illawarra stood outside BHP against the law that ‘prohibited’ the employment of women. They took BHP to court and won. We still have celebrations on important anniversaries. Without ‘breaking the law’ by refusing to follow the instructions of the police, nothing would’ve been done!

    The US is as big a liar or worse than Howard was! ASIO is probably updating my file as I speak? Who cares? I don’t!

  40. drsmithy

    And I am not not denying Assange any of his protections of the law, to date he has not been denied any and there is no sign of him being denied any in the future. If the US do want him extradited he will be afforded his protection under the law, if they charge him he will be afforded his protections under the law and if he is found guilty by a independent court and a jury of his peers it won’t be because he didn’t have the protection of the law but that he was proven to have failed his obligations to it.

    Right. It’s not like he needs to feel insecure at all throwing himself at the mercy of a country that has spent over a decade thumbing its nose at international law, justice and common decency.

    Maybe you can expand on your statement that Assange has some sort of “obligations” towards American law. Following on the established theme, maybe you can relate it to the “obligations” homosexuals in Australia might have towards laws against homosexuality in Iran. Alternatively, if that’s too difficult, maybe you can relate it to the “obligations” Australians might have towards, say, laws against blasphemy in Saudi Arabia, and how you believe Saudi Arabia has a “right” to have any Australian blasphemers extradited to face court, judgement, and punishment in Saudi Arabia.

  41. Jimmy

    Liz 45 – “likened to an enemy combatant” is very different to being declared an enemy combatant, and who likened him?

    “Finally, if we pick and choose who’s entitled to the protections under the Law, then you and I are in grave danger of being treated in the same manner!” To be entitled to protections under the law you also must be willing to accept the obligations of the law. You can’t “pick and choose” which laws to follow and which laws can be broken.

    And I am not not denying Assange any of his protections of the law, to date he has not been denied any and there is no sign of him being denied any in the future. If the US do want him extradited he will be afforded his protection under the law, if they charge him he will be afforded his protections under the law and if he is found guilty by a independent court and a jury of his peers it won’t be because he didn’t have the protection of the law but that he was proven to have failed his obligations to it.

  42. drsmithy

    My Red Herring Fallacy, what is your Iranian Homo se xual argument if not a red herring fallacy?

    I am applying the your rationale (a country has the right to charge anyone, anywhere with anything and attempt to prosecute them) with a different country and offense.

    You are changing the topic completely (which laws should or should not be obeyed).

    And if someone knows the laws but chooses to break them anyway in full knowledge that what they are doing may see them punished why shouldn’t they face charges?

    Because something being illegal in one country doesn’t give that country the right to come looking for people in other countries who might have committed that offense. Again you present the same reasoning, and again I come back to my example: do you think countries that consider homosexuality a crime should be able to charge, pursue and prosecute homosexuals in other countries ?

  43. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – My Red Herring Fallacy, what is your Iranian Homo se xual argument if not a red herring fallacy?

  44. drsmithy

    Let’s turn this around […]

    No, let’s not pander to your red herring fallacy.

  45. Liz45

    @JIMMY – Bad laws should be broken and have been over centuries, that’s how Govts etc have been forced to change bad laws. eg. women’s right to vote; the black woman in the US who refused to abide by the Law and give up her seat to a white man; the people of Sth Africa and around the world who broke bad Laws against apartheid; the freedom riders in Australia in the 60’s led by Charlie Perkins who refused to abide by racist Laws and the list goes on. The Commonwealth Law that made women give up their jobs on marriage; the changes to Laws regarding rape and sexual assaults were changed after people protested (mainly women) against the prejudiced and unjust treatment of victims. The struggle goes on re DV for instance, and there’s a strong movement to remove the Provocation Defence in NSW! Bad laws used against people that are unjust and just plain wrong! Some countries like Venezuela and Ecuador rewrote their whole Constitution as the one they had only favoured wealth and their rights. With much input by the people, and after it was amended etc they voted for it – now that’s how things should be done! Our Constitution was drawn up by a group of men who were conservative in their time, but there’s no discussion about changing it – that’s almost treated as treasonous which is ridiculous!

    Recently, in response to overwhelming people’s protest a large company has said it won’t go ahead with CSG mining in the Illawarra- for now? I’m still not confident of their future response, but so far things are OK? The Franklin River protest – people in Australia and from overseas ended up in Tasmanian jails protesting against bad Laws and police directions. That’s how change comes about in democracies. It’s only under dictatorships that people are forced to protest or die! Some brave people over centuries have given up their lives so that we can have this discussion now! The brave workers who were hung for protesting against horrific working conditions were almost treated like they’d committed treason – with the same result – death?

    Governments, including those that attest to embracing democracy, peace and freedom still insist on introducing Laws that prohibit the rights of citizens – Australia’s Terrorism Act, brought in by Howard in many ways is worse than that of Britain – the Labor Govts haven’t removed any of it as far as I know. While it’s still on the books, part of it gives the Govt the right to use it against anyone for any reason – you should read it! You could be next!

  46. Jimmy

    Dr Smithy – Let’s turn this around, which laws do you think someone has the right to ignore, which laws can be broken because you don’t agree with them?

    And if someone knows the laws but chooses to break them anyway in full knowledge that what they are doing may see them punished why shouldn’t they face charges?

  47. drsmithy

    Re the Iranian Homo s xu als – that wasn’t what I said and you know it, are you trying to get hired by News Ltd?

    You have just posted in this thread a couple of times advocating the exact same logic: any country has a “right” to charge you for any crime they want and extradite you to face those charges.

    This is the argument you are presenting:
    The US has a “right” to setup a grand jury, lay charges, extradite Assange and – if the grand jury is “convinced” – find him guilty and punish him in line with whatever the laws say.

    If you think you can explain how this logic cannot be equally applied to Iran and homosexuals, by all means give it a red hot go.

  48. Liz45

    @JIMMY – I find it incredible that you’re so naive. The fact is that Julian Assange has been likened to an ‘enemy combatant’ by the US already. going on past experiences, so called enemy combatants are taken to Guantanamo Bay, where the use of torture is well documented; where the defendant may wait indefinitely before ANY charges are laid – David Hicks waited over 2 1/2 years, Mandouh Habib was never charged with any crimes, but was detained, tortured in at least two countries including Gittmo.

    With the President of the US giving himself the power and authority to kill anyone in the world who’s perceived to be an enemy (go and look for the numbers of innocents in Pakistan who’ve been killed by US drones – where and when did he get permission to do that? the UN? the US parliament such as Congress??NO?) who’d have any confidence in the way they’d react to Julian Assange!

    So what you ask? So, it’s not justice they want it’s revenge. Revenge for administrations that speak with a forked tongue, as those before it did. We hear Hillary Clinton banging on about Syria and how horrific it is what’s happening there (I agree) but negates to tell us the truth about who supplied the weapons, support etc and what the US is doing behind the scenes? It is sheer hypocrisy! ‘

    So what? So I don’t want another Australian citizen to be illegally held, tortured even killed by the US – that’s WHAT? If you don’t have an issue with that that’s your business, but I do! And why hasn’t Rupert Murdoch or anyone from the London, Australian media been arrested for similar matters – they printed much of the Wikileaks files in their newspapers, TV etc? That’s another aspect that hasn’t been answered to now! It should be!

    Finally, if we pick and choose who’s entitled to the protections under the Law, then you and I are in grave danger of being treated in the same manner! So what? So, I find that most disturbing indeed! The American people were very concerned about the PATRIOT Act. You could watch, ‘Unconstitutional – the threat to civil liberties in the US’. It’s a documentary and can be found on http://www.freedocumentaries.org It’s educational at least!

  49. Jimmy

    Liz 45 – So what if the US want to charge Assange, who cares if thy have set up a grand jury, they have that right. If they have enough evidence to convince a grand jury that charges should be laid then why can’t they lay them? It doesn’t mean he will be automatically found guilty or even automatically extradited from Sweden (or the UK for that matter), they still have to prove in an independent court he has committed a crime (one greater than just publishing documents) and if they can do that why shouldn’t he be punished?

  50. Liz45

    @JIMMY – Well I have read other articles that clearly state that the US has ‘plans’ for Julian Assange – that a Grand Jury had been set up and was seriously putting together a ‘case’ against him. Further, the right wing in the Swedish Government have handed over people to the US before, and the US knows of their allegiance – and it’s to them, not necessarily justice, fairness or International Law.

    Julian Assange has NOT been charged by anyone, and yet he had a $300,000+ bail conditions placed on him, and kept under house arrest for well over a year. That wouldn’t happen here, couldn’t happen here, unless Kevin Andrews, Phillip Ruddock, Howard and the AFP got together as they did with Dr Haneef?

    The US boasts of its allegiance to ‘truth, justice and the right of the individual’ (blah blah) and yet they’re responsible for those 18 deaths of civilian Iraqis on the video that Julian Assange released. Julian Assange has done nothing different to the NYT, the Washington Post; the Guardian (who ‘worked very closely with Assange in the early days) the ABC, SBS, the SMH and Murdoch papers both here, the US and Britain, so why are they singling him out? Why hasn’t Mark Scott or Rupert Murdoch been at least questioned, had their wrists slapped etc???Could it be that the backlash would be widespread and they’d have the money to fight back? Could it be that they need their support for their propaganda to reach the most people? No, surely a principle is a principle, isn’t it?

    The US has form on ‘silencing’ their opponents. The US has either invaded or interfered with about 50 countries since the end of WW2, some of them more than once, such as Iraq. The US military believe that they’re above the Law in every country that they have troops. Only recently on 60 Minutes was the allegation of a young woman who alleged she was r***d by a US service man. He was whisked away from Japan as quick as a flash, she was ‘pushed around’ by the police, and 60 Minutes challenged this bloke in his home town in the US. This is not the first such incident. That person never saw inside a police station let alone a court! That’s US justice for you – again!

    Have you forgotten Abu Graib? The only thing that changed after that hit the media was the removal of all cameras? Life went on! I suggest you read some books, there are plenty of them, about the ‘habits’ of the US justice/legal/military system/s. You could start with ‘American Torture’ written by an American and starts with David Hicks, Mandouh Habib and goes back to just after the end of WW2? A sobering read. There’s the English bloke, born to Middle Eastern parents who was treated in the same way as Mandouh Habib (his name escapes me, but I got the book from my local library). His father fought for several years and finally won – he was released and also awarded damages by British Courts for what happened to him. There’s a book simply called, Guantanamo Bay which is very educational, and of course there’s David Hicks own book! Mandouh Habib also wrote one. He was detained for several years and yet no charges were ever filed against him!

    If you’re still basking in some warm inner glow about the intentions, actions etc of the US, then all I can say is, there’s none so blind as those who refuse to see!

    As I’ve commented before; too much of the media in Australia just parrot the views of the US Govt! They’re too damned lazy to do their own research, and anyway, they slavishly follow whatever the US says or does, as does this Govt and those before it. The only Govt that was going to stand up to the US was the Whitlam Govt, and we all know what happened there!

    In most western countries, (except France perhaps, where the onus of innocence is for the defendant to produce) Habeas Corpus prevails. A person can only be held for a certain time without being charged, once charged they must be brought before a Judge/Magistrate to hear the Crown’s charges against them. This has not happened to Julian Assange, nor to others held for allegations of terrorism etc? He had offered to be interviewed prior to leaving Sweden; he was told that it was NOT necessary and given permission to leave the country. He has suggested to Sweden that they question him in person in London or by video etc. They refused? He still has NOT been charged with ANY crime/s. The case was taken out of the Prosecutor’s hands and a different person, either a new Prosecutor or some other government person then applied for extradition. Why?

    At worst, he’s only guilty of ‘consensual sex without a condom, and sexual molestation – whatever that means’? I’m the first one to say I abhor any crime of this nature, but the women’s so called allegations are ‘thready’ to say the least. Victims of r**e don’t set out to find another victim and then engage in boastful behaviour. I’ve been a victim on two occasions, both prior to reaching 17 years of age! Anyone who’s been sexually abused in any way is traumatized in a lesser or worse manner than these two women, one who incidentally asked Julian to stay in her unit – after the incident took place? Very strange indeed! This information is not gossip, it’s been documented online and was on the 4 Corners program about this issue, only a couple of months ago, from memory! I recorded it!

    Then, you could watch the documentary about Diego Garcia and see how successive British Govts, (the last was Tony Blair) colluded with the US in removing a whole nation off their land that they’d occupied for centuries? For what? A US Military base! The Supreme Court in London again gave a decision in the peoples’ favour, but Blair got the Queen to sign a ‘particular law’ that meant they could once again ignore the Courts and leave the people in abject poverty on some non-productive island somewhere. Then there’s a book written by John Pilger called, ‘Freedom Next Time’? Most revealing!

    I don’t listen to msm about anything adverse the US has done or is doing. I read many articles from around the world, essays by people like John Pilger and others, in order to get the REAL story as opposed to spin and lies! It has to be horrific with actual footage for msm to even take any notice. eg. Abu Graib and the murders in Iraq! You need to remove your rose coloured spectacles and take note of reality! During the Bush years, an overwhelming number of people around the world said they feared the US over all other countries – including China etc. Obama has killed more people by drones in a couple of years than Bush managed in eight years? Obama also promised PRIOR to his election that Whistleblowers would be treated differently. Another lie! On and on it goes! Lies and more deaths!

  51. Jimmy

    To all those who referenced the Age article I would say 2 things, there was nothing official in that article, I think form memory it went to pains to point out that it was very much rumour and second, the US have every right to press charges if they believe Assange has committed an offence. That however doesn’t mean he is going to be automatically extradited from Sweden, or immediately found guilty or mistrated in anyway or have his legal rights abused.

    Dr Smithy – Re the Iranian Homo s xu als – that wasn’t what I said and you know it, are you trying to get hired by News Ltd?

  52. drsmithy

    I don’t cavil with your first statement per se. However, where I suspect we depart is how we best spend our finite resources. On social infrastructure that benefits all, especially people in real need, like Sweden, say (or is that too socialistic for comfort for you?).

    Not in the slightest. I am a strong believer in the social democracy model of nothern Europe, which is why they’re high on my list of destinations if Australia continues its slide into Americanisation (ie: if the Libs win the next election).

    Or should the resources be selfishly hijacked by aspirational voters who live well but happen to be financially stressed due to personal lifestyle indulgences they no longer want to take responsibility for. Its now the government’s responsibility. In my view, this attitude represents selfishness in the extreme and should not be encouraged, fed or financed.

    The problem with your reasoning is that following it through leads to the conclusion that even the poorest of the poor in Australia have nothing to complain about because they’re still orders of magnitude better off than someone living in, say, the middle of Somalia.

    Which is not to say there isn’t a point at which further increases in wealth become irrelevant, but I’d propose to you it’s somewhat further along the road than a daily coffee, a big TV and a late model car. Especially when the latter two cost a lot less today in real terms than they did in the past.

    The private debt in this country is frightening, and it is its growth which has been fuelling our faux “prosperity” for the last 15-20 years. Payment has come due and that is why cost of living pressures are increasing. Most of the blame for the situation lies at the feet of Howard & Costello, but a non-trivial portion must remain with the contemporary Labor party, which has largely continued on with their economic policies and theory, and is (in its current guise) really just the Liberal Party with a 15-year time delay. The obsession with low interest rates is but one example.

  53. Liz45

    To the person who commented that x number of people were indulging in having tatoos or pedicures or whatever. Every time I go to my local huge shopping centre, if I park in one car park the beauty shop is near the entrance – I’ve never been and would think I’d never be able to afford such luxuries? Just because you don’t see poor people doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Go and take a look at St Vinnies or the equivalent, and have a friendly chat to staff, or watch ABC or a topical documentary and you’ll hear the sobering facts. Then, this has to be viewed with the knowledge that a recent survey found, that we’re better off than we were in the 80’s?

    Of course it would never occur to people like GEEWIZZ that if $10 billion a year wasn’t given to the fossil fuel industry; or $20+ billion to self funded retirees; or $85 million a day on Defence; making sure that millionaires don’t receive family benefits or pensions; ATO going after the wealthy who don’t pay taxes or use their expensive lawyers to ‘get a good deal’ for them, more money would be available to help those who really need it; build public housing so we don’t have people paying horrific rents with little left over each fortnight and so on! And the wealthy aren’t sleeping on the streets at night. I for one have never seen anyone sleeping that way, but then I don’t go out at night in winter, and wouldn’t frequent the places where those poor people choose to sleep anyway – not safe for a woman to go there alone at night!

    Incidentally, I’ve kept an eye on my regular purchases and there’s been no marked increases! So much for Abbott’s nonsensical lies! There you go SB & GEEWIZZ – Want to talk about lies, how about Abbott’s re carbon price ramifications? A huge big lie!

    I watched Julian Assange’s address last night and agreed with all he said. I support him making public the things that he has done, and look forward to future revelations. The fact is, that the US thinks they can cause mayhem, murder people; invade countries on a lie, steal their resources; break every relevant Geneva Convention – eg. those pertaining to invasion and then occupation – I refer in particular to essential services including water, electricity and health and education facilities; protecting the arts etc of the country that relate to history/culture etc and then to leave the country as they found it – broadly speaking! Not only have they NOT done this, they’ve targeted medical practitioners, hospitals, schools and universities, and deliberately ruined water facilities. The US is angry because they’ve been found out to be diabolical and racist thugs, who give not a fig for anyone outside the US – and even the poor and marginalised within the country are singled out for horrific abuse!

    The US has never taken any of these responsibilities seriously. On the contrary, essentials to life are still a dream in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US has only recently made any meaningful contributions to Vietnam, after decades of refusing to even acknowledge any responsibility for the affects of Agent Orange for instance!

    Wikileaks has done what those so called imbedded journalists on the US payroll or their allies haven’t done. If they were doing their REAL job, Wikileaks wouldn’t be necessary. Most so-called journalists have for decades just cow towed to the US. They still do it in respect of Venezuela for instance, and in recent incorrect ‘reporting’ of the media in Ecuador! They don’t tell us that even the US admits that the private news media in Ecuador is only the political mouthpiece for the elite of that country who don’t want poor people to receive any share in the country’s assets. The same applies in Venezuela, but the slavish media here, including the ABC just repeats the crap out of the US. Too many just believe it as gospel without any independent research.

    As to Pinochet? I know of many women and their families who fled Chile, fearing for their lives. Even though I’m a trusted friend, there are just some things too painful for them to relate – I just researched and watched documentaries etc and filled in the gaps myself. One amazing woman who came here with little English worked very hard and raised 4 children. She was treated appallingly after contracting RSI and ended up with a mental illness – it was just one ‘bridge too far’? The US and UK supported Pinochet? Thatcher was his good friend and spoke out in his favour more than once! Why doesn’t that surprise me? Having people tortured and dropped to their deaths out of planes was probably OK in her eyes?

  54. izatso?

    Aye, Pinochet ! You’ld remember him well, Pat, lived in your street.

  55. botswana bob

    As a letter in the SMH suggested it would be easy for Assange to get out of England. Change his name to Pinochet and on past record the British government would drive him to Heathrow.

  56. Karen

    @ Patriot – “It is encouraging that you can acknowledge the importance of secrecy in diplomacy”.

    Yes, Patriot, I can see the importance of secrecy in diplomacy but not when its used to cover-up secret crimes by powerful vested interests.

  57. Karen

    @ Dr Smithy – 19.8.12 6.33pm

    “Er, yes, constantly improving standard of living is pretty much a key objective and measure of good government.

    The reason people don’t feel “rich”, despite nice aggregate numbers, is because at an individual level they are dumping an unprecedented chunk of their income into housing and/or debt servicing, thanks to our phenomenal real estate and private debt bubble. Substantial inflation in essentials (as opposed to luxuries, which are getting cheaper) rounds out the problem nicely.”

    I don’t cavil with your first statement per se. However, where I suspect we depart is how we best spend our finite resources. On social infrastructure that benefits all, especially people in real need, like Sweden, say (or is that too socialistic for comfort for you?). Or should the resources be selfishly hijacked by aspirational voters who live well but happen to be financially stressed due to personal lifestyle indulgences they no longer want to take responsibility for. Its now the government’s responsibility. In my view, this attitude represents selfishness in the extreme and should not be encouraged, fed or financed.

    There is something to be said about the adage of paying tax as being the small price we pay for civilisation. This adage should be cattle branded on the greedy rich in our society who kick up a stink about paying tax. There is something to be said about the quality of our society as being measured by how we treat our most vulnerable.

    @ SB – what on earth makes you think the green left supports totalitarianism, such as existed in East Germany in the ’80’s. Your hard right views puts you further down the authoritarian axis than most of us, actually. I can’t see you supporting libertarianism, for example, which I suspect you would view with deep suspicion and would be quite happy to see the State crunch with an authoritarian jack boot. No, I can’t see you supporting people saying whatever they want, sleeping with whomever they want, smoking whatever, drinking, engaging in other heretical, dissolute, sub-culture shenanigans. Not that I would engage in a lot of this behaviour, as a personal preference I might add, but I wouldn’t put my jack boot on it either, unlike you, unless it was an offence or had the capacity to hurt others.

  58. Suzanne Blake

    @ DF

    I drove through East Germany on the way to West Berlin in the 80’s.

    The difference in the few hundred metres between the West and the East was startling. The quality of agriculture (lush and almost drought stricken), the implements used (tractors v donkey and sled), the people and their smiles and head down, the cars, the road, everything.

    So you want us to be like the poor East German? Or drop everyone back to the common denominator, so the ruling political elite can gouge everyone like we are seeing or were seeing in Syria, Libya, Labor, Iran, etc

  59. drsmithy

    Not saying “everyone else” is doing fine, but I do wonder how many really are doing it tough as claimed.

    The massive downturn in consumer sentiment, crashing retail, dropping house prices (and sales volumes), would suggest “lots”.

    Yet everywhere I look I see the middle class getting by OK. And it’s not just Maroochydore and elsewhere along the Sunshine Coast – I drove up here from Melbourne and it was a similar scene all along the way, including in country towns. Anecdotal I know but the unemployment stats indicate similarly. Check out the cars in your street – how many are old bombs, which were plentiful back in my student days in the 70s. They mostly look pretty smart these days.

    This is a poor metric, since cars (even overpriced as they are in Australia) are dramatically cheaper in real terms now than they were in the past. On top of that owning an older car today is proportionally more expensive than a newer car (more expensive repairs, some states require additional safety inspections the older vehicles get, higher insurance costs for cars without engine immobilisers, etc).

    “High” employment is also another furphy as the official definition of “employed” is so small as to be effectively meaningless.

  60. DF

    Dr Smithy
    Not saying “everyone else” is doing fine, but I do wonder how many really are doing it tough as claimed. When the shock jocks and Abbott rattle on about people doing it tough, they are not speaking to the underclasses which really are doing it tough, because they don’t care about them and they are insufficient in numbers to make a difference in an election. They are echoing or mirroring (take your pick) middle class (or aspirational if you prefer) sentiments, because that’s where the votes are located.
    Yet everywhere I look I see the middle class getting by OK. And it’s not just Maroochydore and elsewhere along the Sunshine Coast – I drove up here from Melbourne and it was a similar scene all along the way, including in country towns. Anecdotal I know but the unemployment stats indicate similarly. Check out the cars in your street – how many are old bombs, which were plentiful back in my student days in the 70s. They mostly look pretty smart these days.

  61. AR

    I think Assange would be better off remaining in the Ecuadorian embassy – as that government has said he is welcome to do. Better IT services than could be expected in Ecuador and much safer – how long does anyone imagine he’d survive a black ops. day trip to Quito?
    Swift stilletto between the ribs, a little poison in the ear canal (surely the Israelis have perfected it by now) or just an unfortunate accident being run down by one of the hulking black Chevy Suburbans.

  62. mattsui

    Not so long ago, a tattoo-ed person voting Liberal was as likely as a kangaroo swimming to New Zealand….. Wonder if Herr Julian has any tatts?
    Maybe one on the trouser snake…. “Ididn’t do it!” or “Not without my raincoat!”

  63. drsmithy

    I realise people can dispose of their money as they see fit, but when I see people indulging themselves so frivolously, I wonder how they can think they are doing it tough.

    You appear to be arguing that because you’ve seen a lot of people getting pedicures and tattoos in Maroochydore, that means everyone else is doing fine.

  64. DF

    Silly me – I forgot to mention all the shops doing women’s nails at $20 a pop. I’ve yet to see an empty table at the nail shop at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore. And tattoos – how much does a tattoo cost? I heard $200+, yet there seems to be plenty of money for people to adorn themselves with ink.
    I realise people can dispose of their money as they see fit, but when I see people indulging themselves so frivolously, I wonder how they can think they are doing it tough.

  65. DF

    Dr Smithy
    Loathe as I am to wander off the Assange topic, I will make a comment on what Fran said.
    I think it’s pathetic that Australians say they are doing it tough etc and bitching about this and that. I have been travelling a bit up and down the east coast in recent weeks and I observe coffee shops frothing over everywhere I go. Perhaps it’s because I am not a coffee drinker but I find it interesting that people are prepared daily or more to pay $4 to $5 for a coffee (which is $7 pre-income tax of their earnings), and chat on their $600 iPhones, and then complain about the cost of living. It’s not the cost of living, it’s the cost of their lifestyle choices which, due to advertising, they believe have become necessities rather than options. I also don’t have a smart phone and, surprisingly, I get along just fine.
    We are told Australia has the highest penetration of laptops/PCs and smart phones per capita in the world. I’d like the figures on new cars too because I bet they’d track similarly. Surely the reason for this is because Australians have among the highest disposable income in the world (or are prepared to get into more debt). Either way, it doesn’t look like we’re all on our uppers, but you would never know this if you refused to use your own eyes and brains and believed everything you read in the papers and heard on the telly.

  66. drsmithy

    I was particularly frustrated with Fran Kelly’s observations earlier on Insiders today where she was essentially saying that people did not want to credit the government with its stellar economic figures (relative to the rest of the world) because, I kid you not she said this, ‘people weren’t feeling rich’. What was the take out in that? Now, the govt’s role is to make the aspirational voter RICH?

    Er, yes, constantly improving standard of living is pretty much a key objective and measure of good government.

    The reason people don’t feel “rich”, despite nice aggregate numbers, is because at an individual level they are dumping an unprecedented chunk of their income into housing and/or debt servicing, thanks to our phenomenal real estate and private debt bubble. Substantial inflation in essentials (as opposed to luxuries, which are getting cheaper) rounds out the problem nicely.

  67. drsmithy

    We represent the ~72% of voters that aren’t voting Labor next election.

    Never would have picked you for a Greens voter.

  68. drsmithy

    I wonder if there is a statute of limitations on the charges? I also wonder what would happen if the two alleged victims withdrew their complaints, apart from their loss of face.

    I’m pretty sure the two alleged victims withdrew their complaints before even the first police interview of Assange.

  69. zut alors

    DF,

    Four Corners’ Andrew Fowler did a detailed timeline of the Assange matter on 23 July – the programme and transcript are available online. This is what he said about the two women’s initial contact with the police:

    ‘Three days later on August 20th, Wilen, accompanied by Ardin went to the Klara police station in central Stockholm to seek advice about whether Assange could be forced to take an STD test. Ardin had gone along primarily to support Wilen. Sometime during Wilen’s questioning the police announced to Ardin and Wilen that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught she refused to give any more testimony and refused to sign what had been taken down.’

  70. Karen

    DF – ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’. Well, if I was the defence I would be running that line along with the circumstances in which the the two alleged victims were squiring him about town and amongst their friends in their own homes at the time of the said offences. That’s not to say that Jules was not a bit of a cad – I think he was – but its another thing to say he’s guilty of a serious criminal offence, obviously.

    In Aus and other cth countries, there is no statute of limitations for serious criminal offenders – hence the adage about the ‘long arm of the law’ etc. Not sure about Sweden but most probably it has similar laws.

    In Aus, if the complainants withdrew their complaints, a criminal prosecution could still, theoretically, proceed if there was other evidence to implicate the accused. However, in practice, if there’s no victim, it usually follows there is no prosecution. Indictments can be withdrawn at the last minute if a victim turns to water.

    Juries and judge’s trying matters alone are normally reluctant to convict a person in serious criminal matters in such circumstances. The absence of a victim usually is enough for the trier of fact to say it cannot be satisfied to the requisite criminal standard ie beyond reasonable doubt that the accused stands guilty of the offence charged.

    I’m off to attend a function, so over and out for me. Have a good night…

  71. DF

    Karen
    Yeah, I’m aware of the unprotected s*x issue. What I find interesting is that alleged victim #1 tweeted from a party at her place the next evening, at which Assange was chief guest, how cool it all was, while alleged victim #2 did not complain until she found out she was #2 by swapping notes with #1.
    Even then the prosecutor threw it out and they had to hunt around for another who was prepared to take it further.
    As a side comment, I would add the Swedish police have shown a remarkable reluctance to seek justice for the two alleged victims. You’d think they’d move heaven and earth, or at least pop an investigator on a plane to London, to interview Assange so as to keep the investigation moving, on behalf of the alleged victims if for no other reason.
    I wonder if there is a statute of limitations on the charges? I also wonder what would happen if the two alleged victims withdrew their complaints, apart from their loss of face.

  72. Karen

    @ LiamJ – yes, I was diverted and somewhat harsh. I would reserve the last comment in my previous post not to the majority of citizens but to a not insubstantial cohort of people, which can swing election outcomes.

    I was particularly frustrated with Fran Kelly’s observations earlier on Insiders today where she was essentially saying that people did not want to credit the government with its stellar economic figures (relative to the rest of the world) because, I kid you not she said this, ‘people weren’t feeling rich’. What was the take out in that? Now, the govt’s role is to make the aspirational voter RICH? At whose expense? Honestly, it was was all I could do not to pick up a handy vase and throw it…

  73. Patriot

    “it should have sought clarification, privately if not publicly, from the US about its intentions

    It is encouraging that you can acknowledge the importance of secrecy in diplomacy.

  74. Liamj

    @ Karen – if trolls didn’t exist we would have to invent them, to keep ourselves honest and to understand their mendacity. I believe theres a knack tho, in illuminate them without being diverted or unbalanced by their abuse-cycle provocations.

  75. Karen

    @ Zut Alors – indeed.

    @Geewizz – how perspicacious of you Troofie – says a lot about our woeful polity – bunch of selfish cretins.

  76. GeeWizz

    [“what they do is remind us that there are plenty of people in and around us who are simply not decent human beings”]

    We represent the ~72% of voters that aren’t voting Labor next election.

  77. zut alors

    @ Karen: ‘What was the purpose of these consular officials – to simply report back to the government? Is that what the government means by consular assistance?’

    Assange, when interviewed a few weeks ago, said the purpose of the consular representative attending his hearings was so the official could then tick a box proving ‘support’ had been provided to an Oz citizen.

  78. Karen

    @ Zut Alors – I agree. It may be true that the government can’t do a lot to influence legal outcomes in Sweden and the US. However, it can and should have done more to give its publicly stated consular assistance a patina of credibility. For example, it should have sought clarification, privately if not publicly, from the US about its intentions because, all said and done, espionage carries the death penalty or long term incarceration. It should have asked about bail in Sweden. And for there to be no consular contact with Assange during the extradition hearings, as alleged, is, frankly, outrageous.

    What was the purpose of these consular officials – to simply report back to the government? Is that what the government means by consular assistance?

    @ Cairns50 – you are absolutely right – I keep on falling into the trap of feeding trolls – however, the impulse to respond to an outrageous statement is sometimes too irresistible at times. Maybe, that’s what they work on..

  79. Karen

    @ Jimmy – excuse the punctuation in line 4 – semi-colon instead of comma after ‘tortured’.

    I also add that the US is not obliged to say what its intentions are , of course, however, it could resolve the diplomatic ‘deadlock’ by doing so. As for fair treatment, if Manning’s questionable treatment is anything to go by, I don’t have any real confidence that the US will treat Assange any differently. I’m also concerned that Assange stands to be convicted even if the state of the evidence is weak, given the history of this case to date. Long-term solitary confinement for Assange, as with Manning, may be too tempting for the US to resist, precisely because it resolves a problem – it both punishes and stops him and Wikileaks.

    The alternative scenario, I see is that if the issue becomes a real political problem for the US because of the diplomatic impasse, Sweden gets to do the dirty work for the US by incarcerating him after a finding of guilt, which achieves the same objective. Of course, there will be disquiet from human rights watchers and legal observers because of the questionable state of the evidence, which even saw the Swedish prosecution authorities drop the case at one point in this case’s murky history.

  80. zut alors

    Just after 10am today on ABC24 there was a revealing interview with Christine Assange. She said, prior to a few days ago, since Dec 2010 the Oz govt had offered no assistance to her son.

    Julian had requested, among other things, help in getting assurances from Sweden that bail would be allowed should he return for questioning. The Oz govt was useless in response. There must be an audio available online of Ms Assange’s interview, it was most revealing and made a mockery of what Gillard, Carr and Roxon have been feeding us. Who would’ve thought…

    Christine Assange claimed that the Oz Consul had regularly booked seats for the courtroom during Assange’s hearings but had no contact with her son nor did the consular representative even acknowledge him at those hearings.

  81. cairns50

    my advice to my fellow bloggers please ignore GEEWHIZ and S B they only come onto the site to drive people mad with there ideological views and to slant the blogs away from the subject

    always they go the same way bagging julia gillard and labor and what ever subject is being commented on

    what they do is remind us that there are plenty of people in and around us who are simply not decent human beings

  82. Karen

    @ Jimmy 3.35pm – There is no law against publication. The charges the US are looking at are espionage related charges. The issue is whether or not Assange was involved in obtaining classified information together with Manning. Manning is a key witness here. If Manning has given a statement, then I would immediately question whether the statement was voluntary, because it is alleged that Manning has been tortured, his solitary confinement, it is alleged has been one such instrument that has been used against him in prison.

    If the US could explicitly say that it has no intention to extradite him, Assange’s lawyers have been quite clear about Assange being willing to go to Sweden to answer these bodgy charges, which would be laughed out of a common law court, whether in Aus or Britain. The fact that it has not done so is concerning.

    @DF – consent isn’t the only issue. Another issue concerns whether Assange had unprotected s * x without consent. Its apparently a crime in Sweden.

    @Geewizz – gee Troofie, a person so concerned about backflips must surely not be able to sleep at night when thinking about Abbott…Quiet piece of advice here, don’t start an argument on this topic – its a road to nowhere.

  83. mattsui

    Aparently Jimmy only uses the internet at work. Either that or he realised he’s refuted his own arguement and decided to – as someone earlier put it – quit while he was behind.
    This thread has gone to the dogs anyway. I don’t need to read the partisan nutbags, goading each other with their dodgy stat’s and backward looking rhetoric. This was (at the beginning, at least) a discussion about Assange and his immediate and long term future and our Governments’ collective interference therin.
    Stay on topic or follow Jimmy’s example and get out.

  84. GeeWizz

    [“Why exactly have GeeWizz and Suzanne Blake’s comments about Australia’s debt and other domestic issues been allowed to appear here”]

    Way to blame the Lib posters…. LAbor hacks were the ones who brought up the topic, I’m just keeping them honest

  85. DF

    Jimmy – Not a peep out of you since the Fairfax piece in Saturday’s papers? Is the hole too deep now?

  86. DF

    Moderator asleep again or just unable to concentrate?

    Why exactly have GeeWizz and Suzanne Blake’s comments about Australia’s debt and other domestic issues been allowed to appear here. This blog is about Assange – let’s try to keep on topic. GW and SB have plenty of opportunities to promote their opinions elsewhere.

    GeoMac and Liz45, when GW and SB try to hijack the debate, just leave them in their own little sandpit. Encouraging them only takes up your valuable energy, although at least you don’t have to expend any intellectual capital.

  87. GeeWizz

    [“Tax cuts and middle class welfare ?”]

    And yet they still posted massive budget surpluses.

    Labor haven’t posted one for 23 YEARS

  88. GeeWizz

    [“Are you aware that fires by insulation were the same rate for work done during the GFC response period as both before and after “]

    Utter cr4p…. the governments own numbers showed the rate of fires only went down to historical levels AFTER they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on cleaning up the mess with roof inspections.

    Why do you Labor hacks keep telling fibbie fibs?

    [“Isn,t a 97% satisfaction rate for schools infrastructure an very good rate to be pleased about”]

    First off the government fudged the figures by skewing the sample by taking 90% private schools satisfaction and adding it to the public schools 10% satisfaction(do public schools only make up 10% of schools in Australia?)

    Secondly it was proven that NSW state schools were costing double that of private school buildings in the same areas. So what does it matter if schools were “satisfied” when they are getting something for free? Doesn’t it matter that the Australian taxpayer was ripped off so Labor could grease the hands of it’s developer mates in NSW? Hows your mates Tripodi and Obeid going by the way?

    It’s the same old Labor…. greasing the hands of their mates

  89. drsmithy

    150 billion ? Where did it go

    Tax cuts and middle class welfare ?

  90. geomac62

    Truthless
    Are you incapable of mathematic process or just illiterate ? 240-90= 150 Is that easier for you ?
    Here is something harder but still easy. The libs so ergo you as well bang on about leaving 20 billion as a surplus so 150-20= 130 billion . Where did the 130 billion go ?
    SB oops sorry whiz how many jobs were retained by Labor in the wake of the GST ? How many homes were insulated , how many schools had infrastructure built ? Are you aware that fires by insulation were the same rate for work done during the GFC response period as both before and after . Isn,t a 97% satisfaction rate for schools infrastructure an very good rate to be pleased about . Of course you will disagree because you , the vile person that you are , will say what about 4 deaths . No mention of contractors who disobeyed both state and federal industrial laws . Thats what makes you a vile person because like Abbott you would use death as an instrument/tool for political expedience without any compassion or feeling for those that died . Ever noticed I don,t use extreme words in response to others ? Well none of them are as low life as your ilk and I know it is water of a ducks back but needs to be said . Never were the words beneath contempt more apt .

  91. GeeWizz

    Geo,

    It went to paying off Labors debt they left from last time they were in power.

    Abbotts going to have to pay off Labors $200 Billion debt they have racked up over only 5 years

  92. geomac62

    Liz45
    I,ve never figured out how Howard flogged of 240 billion in assets to pay off an alleged 90 billion but what happened to the remaining 150 billion left over ? It certainly didn,t go on health or education thats for sure as the feds cut health spending to the states from 50% to 40%. 150 billion ? Where did it go .

  93. Patriot

    It’s a job for the HSU ninjas. They can steal into the embassy and prepare him for escape with a disguise… as Craig Thompson.

  94. Liz45

    @SB & GEEWIZZ – I think it’s time you two went to see a doctor about your bad case of selective amnesia? What about Abbott’s huge backflip over the Health Rebate? It was ‘carved in stone’ or words to that effect prior to the ’04 Election? A few weeks or more AFTER the election, guess what? “Oooops, sorry folks, cost to much money – it’s all off”? His ability in the Maths department hasn’t improved? What’s he up to now? A $70 BILLION black hole? Perhaps more? Where will the money come from to service his promises to date? Parental leave for how long??? At what cost? Who pays? Us oh dear! A really BIG NEW TAX on everything by us, regardless of how rich or poor you are!

    WHAT $50 BILLION? Put it in writing, or shut up? What a load of crap! Howard had the biggest Government in Australian history and stayed in London at the most expensive hotel at well over $1000 per night? What galling extravagance and insult to the poor little buggers working their dingers off while living in who knows where was that? Not to mention the thousands living on the streets due to his policies?

    The introduction of WorstChoices – huge promises before the Election, huge LIES after? There’s at least 31 of them. check them out!

    What about the thousands spent on changing the PM Aeroplane to put a bed in it. Then afterwards found that the extra fuel space was REALLY needed, so thousands were spent putting it back where it was? The almost new PM’s suite being re carpeted and new dining chairs at over $1000 EACH? oH YES, I forgot the grog cupboard at the Lodge, plus the wine expert employed at a cost of more thousands?????????????

    You have a damned cheek!

    You should be ashamed to accuse the Labor Govt of anything after Howard!

  95. izatso?

    litttle lovey notes to one another ….. sweet

  96. drsmithy

    Voters dont like ly ing politicians.

    A decade of Howard suggests otherwise.

  97. Suzanne Blake

    @ GeeWizz

    Ly ing Gillard and Labor has wasted 50 – 100 billion dollars in recent years, in all levels of Government.

    They think if they throw away billions, it will translate into votes.

    Voters have had enough

  98. Suzanne Blake

    @ GeeWizz

    Ly ing Gillard is all hot air, spin and no substance. Her days are numbered on a number of fronts and she has been found out. Her past has come back to haunt her also.

    She knows it as well, not pounding the interview circuit to try and rescue herself.

    Its all over.

    Voters dont like ly ing politicians.

  99. Suzanne Blake

    @ GeeWizz

    Lying Gillard is all hot air, spin and no substance. Her days are numbered on a number of fronts and she has been found out. Her past has come back to haunt her also.

    She knows it as well, not pounding the interview circuit to try and rescue herself.

    Its all over.

    Voters dont like lying politicians.

  100. GeeWizz

    While we are on the topic of Asylum, check out what I found Suzanne:

    [“SABRA LANE: And you categorically rule out Nauru?

    JULIA GILLARD: Oh, let’s be clear about this, Tony Abbott has been clutching for Nauru to try and give himself some policy credentials in this debate. He has received the clearest possible advice, from the experts that advise government and indeed advised the Howard government, the clearest possible advice that Nauru won’t work and it will cost a billion dollars.

    Well Sabra, I am not going to waste a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money on a solution that won’t work while Mr Abbott, for his political reasons tries to take away from the Australian people the mechanism and arrangement that our expert advice tells us sends the strongest possible deterrence message.

    Now, if Mr Abbott is ever a prime minister of this country, and he wants to waste a billion dollars on a solution he’s been advised doesn’t work, well that’s a matter for him. And in fact, the legislation I will bring to the Parliament would enable a future government to make that decision if it chose to.”]

    Oh dear…. the l1 ar in charge caught out AGAIN.

    How does this woman sleep at night… thats what I want to know?

  101. CML

    @ CAIRNS50 – I think you will find that the social democrats lost power in Sweden some years ago, and the place is now governed by a right-wing party seemingly more fac+st by the day. Also remember the world being gob-smacked when it became public knowledge that Sweden was involved in the CIA rendition flights transporting so-called terrorists to other countries for torture. They have turned out to be super-lackeys of the USA – Julian is absolutely right not to trust Sweden.
    I read somewhere recently that the Swedish prosecutors routinely travel abroad to question people, and have recently been in Serbia to question a murder suspect, prior to a decision being made to extradite him. All this is very puzzling until you remember their US lackey status, and the publication by Fairfax this morning that American investigations into Assange have been going on for the past 12 months or more. And THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT KNEW ABOUT THIS. Disgusting!!!

  102. Liz45

    Apparently Sweden has refused to go to London to interview Julian. That just proves that they’re not really interested in the allegations of r**e. I’d be the first one to advocate on behalf of anyone who says they’ve been assaulted, but if you read the whole story re the two complainants, plus take a look at 4 Corners, you’ll have to agree that there’s another motive for wanting him in Sweden. Also, the person responsible for this has already assured the US of his support in the past. He’d have no qualms about sending Julian to life in prison or worse.

    The way the US run Abu Graib, Guantanamo Bay and too many other concentration camps in Europe, plus the fact that Obama chooses who’s going to die via drone every Tuesday before his morning tea just goes to show their attitude for the Rule of Law etc. The world’s biggest democracy is a fascist state and get rid of who they wish with impunity? Why? Because the rest of the world allows it to happen!

    The role played by this Australian Govt and the Howard Govt is appalling. Just brown nose to the US all the time. They wouldn’t blink if Julian was assassinated or executed – oh they’d make ‘noises’ but that’s all! Sickening!

    CAIRNS50 – I’ve been reading about the US intentions for months now. It’s the worst kept secret in other areas of media. Msm will cow tow to the US too. It just goes to show how valuable the info via Wikileaks has been. The reason for US anger is because they’ve been caught out behaving in a reprehensible manner – opening fire on innocent civilians is no good for the image? An image that lots of people know is bs. The US disgusts me, and the more I find out the more the disgust. Look at Hilary Clinton’s assertions about Syria? All the while the Assad Govt is using weapons and weaponry from the West? It would be interesting to see the labels on the bullets, bombs and other lethal assets? US? UK? And who else? Then there’s Diego Garcia, Central America etc and the list goes on and on. The coups in Haiti, Venezuela and Honduras, El Salvador ???Blood everywhere? And I haven’t even mentioned Indonesia and East Timor that both the US and Australia allowed with millions of deaths, torture etc.

  103. Bill Pollock

    The interesting thing to come out today was the story in this morning’s SMH. We’ve had Bob Carr spruiking that the yanks have no interest whatsoever in Assange, we now read that our ambasador has been keeping tabs on the goings on with the Americans wanting to have Assange extradited. In Carr’s case does this amount to misleading parliament?

    Personally, to me all Assange has done is release information he has been provided with. He has not gone out and penetrated the CIA or FBI’s files. Others have come to him with the information. It is now reading like an ancient history item where the government (USA) wants to shoot the messenger (Assange) when all he has done is provide an outlet for information recieved. So much for the “home of the free”.

  104. cairns50

    what surprises me is that sweden with its long history of having a social democratic party being in government for many years appears to be willing to act as an american lackey in this case

    they could sort this situation out if they wanted to, be interviewing mr assange in the equadorian embassy and then deciding if they still wish to proceed with charges against him

    THEN if they wish to do this, if they gave an undertaking that after any punishment that was issued by the swedish court system, he would then be a free man and free to go back to his home whether that be in the uk, equador or australia

    surely thats not to much to ask, as other bloggers have mentioned earlier today, the article in todays age makes a nonsense of the claim that america is not interested in him

  105. James K

    but is he a queue jumper?

    (said tongue in cheek by one of his supporters!)

  106. Liamj

    @ Limited News & OwenG – the US’ “who, us?” act is really for the benefit of its many syncophants in the media, so they can play “don’t be silly thats a conspiracy theory you believe in fake moon landings too eh?”

    ABC 774s John Faine does this routinely, really just mention US or Israel without genuflecting and stand back for the bully pulpit spray.

  107. Limited News

    You may be right Owen Gary, it is curious how the US has never officially stated it wishes to extradite or rendition Assange. They want to keep alive the barely plausibly-deniable scenario that his extradition has nothing to do with the US. It could be because they do not want to make a martyr of him without first doing a character assassination over alleged sex crimes.
    But it could also be because they know upon his incarceration or disappearance the key to a large, widely-circulated encrypted “insurance” file would be released. So all they can risk doing is smearing and harassing him indefinitely by indirect means.
    The punchline is if Assange ever believes himself to finally be protected and secure (I know, hard to imagine), he could just release the key anyhow. Could that be America’s worst nightmare? Oh to know what is in that file…

  108. puddleduck

    @Jimmy
    check this out:
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/us-in-pursuit-of-assange-cables-reveal-20120817-24e8u.html

    To answer your question [‘On what charge will I/Assange be sent to the US on'(sic)] (a quote from the above article):
    ‘apparently on the basis of still classified off-the-record discussions with US officials and private legal experts, the embassy reported the existence of the grand jury as a matter of fact. It identified a wide range of criminal charges the US could bring against Assange, including espionage, conspiracy, unlawful access to classified information and computer fraud.’

    Enough for you?

    Besides, what makes you think the US will need any kind of sensible basis for seeking and securing extradition? If the type of charge Guy Rundle has explained to us previously (a new-wave s*& crime offence not known to UK, Australian or US law) what makes you think they won’t make something up?

    If Sweden is prepared to seek, and the UK courts prepared to grant, extradition based on the flimsy evidence it has (and without being willing to interview him!), it’s fascinating you think the US won’t seek and Sweden won’t happily grant extradition on these grounds.

    And all this, because, in your words, “Assange only published.” Yes, and so did The Guardian, The New York Times, and our own Age and SMH. Why aren’t the publishers of these papers being hounded by the US?

    Give up while you’re behind, man. Or I guess we only have to wait – God help Julian Assange, his path over the next few days/weeks might just prove all those disagreeing with you today correct. And admitting you were wrong will cost him a lot.

  109. Owen Gary

    I hope before long he unloads via 3rd parties the rest of the info so we can all have a good read, there is obviously much more sensitive information as yet not released. This is what has the those at the top of the chain dancing on hot bricks, I am not talking about any countries particular leaders either.

  110. geomac62

    A country that can fabricate false evidence to illegally invade another country would have no qualms about fixing up Assange . They don,t even need a conviction as they would have him in jail for an eternity before a court case is brought against him . Like Manning he will be put in solitary to ” safeguard ” him from suicide or similar excuses .
    Remember this is a country that vilified US citizen Rachel Corey after she was murdered by bulldozer in Gaza by the Israelis for trying to protect Palestinian homes . Her orange safety vest and clear visibility didn,t mean a thing . The same country feted a female soldier for doing nothing other than getting injured and rescued in Iraq but had a myth created that she shot every Iraqi in sight before capture . Honourably she told the truth about the sham when opportunity presented .
    The Hicks fiasco and treatment would be enough for Assange to know what to fear . Australia even deported its own citizens and remember Haneef because of grecian Andrews ?

  111. Rena Zurawel

    I think the Brits should ask the sage Chinese government for a humane way to solve the problem.

    By the way; Assange has necver been accused of rape.

  112. drsmithy

    So you’re saying that process is more important than outcome?

    Absolutely he is. Jimmy has indicated in previous discussions on this topic he wouldn’t have a problem in principle with homosexuals being extradited to countries like Iran where they could be executed.

  113. drsmithy

    The question Jimmy continues to beg, is that the US – a country that has spent over a decade actively engaging in extrajudicial practices (and even longer generally thumbing its nose at the rest of the world) – will bother to charge him with anything, or otherwise follow proper legal procedures, at all.

    Sweden and the USA have a demonstrated history of extraordinary rendition. To argue that Assange should not be afraid of it happening to him on principle, is at best ignorant and at worst malignant.

  114. CML

    I heard on the BBC world service that the UK government has the right to stop a diplomatic vehicle, but not to search it. Does that mean an Ecuadorian diplomatic car will remain stationary in a busy London street, surrounded by MI5/6 goons, until the occupants expire???? Should be interesting!!!

    Agree with those above who are realists – of course the USofA wants to get their hands on Julian. He was brazen enough to release info about some of their more unsavoury activities. It should be obvious to all (Jimmy?) that the UK govt has been leaned on from a great height – they are even contemplating breaking international law to help their good friends across the Atlantic.

    What will Assange be charged with in the USA? Well, the Vice President has called him a terrorist, many congressmen and senators has called for extra-judicial assassination and there has been talk of treason (even though he is not a US citizen)! And surely you jest, Jimmy, when you tell us all that there is a “separation of powers” in the US? Who do you think orders the extra-judicial murders? The politicians. And just who do you think aquits the murderers? The courts (that is if these assassins are ever brought before a court in the first place). Simple really.

    The Israelis do it too, but they are much more upfront about it. And no doubt there are other bastions of justice in the western world who do likewise. Assange is the ultimate threat to these govts – he knows where all the bodies are buried, and who put them there!

  115. GeeWizz

    Dillard is awaiting orders from her puppeteers….(The U.S or the Union heavies, you choose)

    Really the Poms are going to have trouble explaining why they are going to so much trouble to arrest a bloke accused of little more than sex without a condom.

    It must be the local joke around the police stations in London at the moment. The U.K confirms it’s position as a police state(check out how many CCTV cameras in London) I’m surprised the people of the U.K let this happen.

    V for Vendetta was based on a totalitarian government in the U.K, wonder why.

  116. Mack the Knife

    How about a fair compromise. Let those Swedish prosecutors interview him inside the embassy.

    Make them prove their case with hard evidence. Or go home Sweden and leave him alone.

    If it was charges on him with hard evidence I’d say take him.

    But its not, it’s just allegations unsupported even by the so called victims.

    So how about our gutless government stump up and negotiate that the lying Swedes have to prove it all.

  117. Liz45

    @DANIEL – DANIEL
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
    It’s weird how many articles about Julian Assange omit the r-word, despite Assange admitting to it.

    Julian Assange has never admitted to r**e? Not once! Also, the ‘evidence’ is at best shaky? Very curious? What he has agreed to both prior to leaving Sweden and since he’s been in Britain was being questioned. The first time he was told that it wasn’t necessary and that he was free to leave the country. That was BEFORE the US saw an opening for him to be extradited to that country. that’s what this is all about. If Sweden was genuinely interested in justice, they’d have questioned him prior to this. They’ve had over 12 months to do it!

    I hope that somehow by some means he leaves the Embassy and out of Britain. The role of the Australian Govt is shameful – similar attitude as to David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib? This bending over to the US is a disgrace!

    Nobody has explained why Assange is being targeted while other media outlets that printed Wikileaks info haven’t even been challenged by the US or anyone else for that matter. Why isn’t the ABC, SBS or ???? been castigated for printing the same information that Assange put to air via his website?

  118. khtagh

    What if the Ecuadorians gave him a job as a diplomat & he could walk out the door with immunity & there would be squat they could do about it.

  119. Jimmy

    Puddleduck – On what charge will I/Assange be sent to the US on? And Manning is an entirely different kettle of fish to Assange, he is in the military system and actually acquired teh documents, Assange only published.

  120. Jimmy

    Mattsui – Who gives a rats arse what Joe Biden believes, Mitt Romney is a mormon have a look what he “believes”.

    And I don’t have to convince Biden, the prosecutor has to convince a court he has done something against the law.

    “As for what evidence and what charge and the fre-est most liberal democracy in the World. Rational arguement isn’t a big concept in Washington these days.” Apparently it isn’t here either, people believe he will be charged but can’t provide evidence to support their belief.

  121. Suzanne Blake

    @ puddleduck

    You send Jimmy to Sweden, Gillard Government will collapse in hours

    He is holding it up and together

  122. puddleduck

    Nice work, Metarzan!
    I vote we send Jimmy to Sweden in a white hair wig and suit, and then on to the US. Give our regards to Bradley Manning, if he’s still sane. Or alive.

  123. Metarzan

    Flash mob of thousands to descend on the Embassy, all wearing $2 suits and blond wigs. Crowd muscles the police presence away from the door to allow Assange to exit the door and infiltrate the crowd, where amongst multiple diversions Assange is spirited away to safety……

  124. mattsui

    And yet the executive branch of government firmly believes that Assange is a terrorist. Perhaps you should call up Joe Biden and explain that young Julian has done nothing against the law.
    As for what evidence and what charge and the fre-est most liberal democracy in the World. Rational arguement isn’t a big concept in Washington these days.

  125. Jimmy

    Mattsui – “He freely admits being responsible for the publishing of state secrets. Not hard to confect a charge out of that, is it?” Yes in fact it is. Is it your contention that every news paper editor in the world who also published the same “state secrets” should be rushing to their nearest Ecuadorian Embassy.

    “Failing that, they simply await the guilty verdict on Manning and take assange for colluding in the felony.” What evidence do they have of collusion, simply publishing documents isn’t collusion, he would have to have had some contribution to the obtaining of those documents.

  126. Jimmy

    DF- There is absolutely no possibility he could possibly be charged as “an enemy combatant” nor could he be tried in a military court as David Hicks was.

    And how I can rule out what charges would be brought against him while saying no one has been able to say what charges would be laid because I don’t see how he could possibly be charged with anything on the current evidence, so I can effectively rule everything out. You and all the others here seem unable to point to anything with which he would be charged so you effectively agree with me.

  127. mattsui

    He freely admits being responsible for the publishing of state secrets. Not hard to confect a charge out of that, is it?
    Failing that, they simply await the guilty verdict on Manning and take assange for colluding in the felony.
    The charges are in the bag, the U.S. doesn’t want to admit to them until they get thier man.

  128. DF

    Moderator – if you want the debate to stay lively and informed, it is your responsibility and duty to ensure you post comments promptly, otherwise the conversation becomes a mess, which would serve no purpose. Either you commit to running an efficient comments process or close the thing down. Half-baked is not good enough.

  129. DF

    Jimmy

    You wrote to Mattsui: “No they do not. Not for anything Assange will be charged with anyway.

    And still after all this today and similar conversation prvious days no one has been able to point to a charge which the US could lay.”

    I’d be grateful if you could clarify how you can say no-one is able to point to a charge the US could bring, but you can rule out what charges won’t be brought against him. What charges might they be and how do you know?

  130. DF

    Jimmy
    How long, and in what conditions, has Bradley Manning been held now? When is his trial expected to start? Detention without charge might not be indefinite, but do you reckon the US would allow Assange bail? Do you reckon any bail sum of money would be realistic in a country which has leaned on Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to decline all business with Wikileaks? The punishment doesn’t necessarily wait until after the trial and sentencing.
    And I still want to know why the Swedes refused to send an investigator to the UK to question Assange. It is not without precedent, it was a decision taken for a reason. None has been forthcoming and you may say they are not obliged to provide one but, I reiterate, if they were interested in following up, you’d think they’d explore all avenues. I understand there are principles involved but I’m also interested in the practicalities, for in those details lies the devil.

  131. Jimmy

    Mattsui – “I would also add that Barnaby Joyce has not got within his power the ability to imprison me indefinately and without trial. Those in the White House are quite capable of doing so.” No they do not. Not for anything Assange will be charged with anyway.

    And still after all this today and similar conversation prvious days no one has been able to point to a charge which the US could lay.

  132. mattsui

    What DF said.
    I would also add that Barnaby Joyce has not got within his power the ability to imprison me indefinately and without trial. Those in the White House are quite capable of doing so.
    As to wence I’d flee? Can’t tell you (Queensland Senators might be able to use the internet) but it wouldn’t be Ecuador.

  133. Jimmy

    DF – Is Assange going to be deemed “an enemy combatant” and therefore sent to Guantanamo?
    Is Assange going to be tried in a military court?

    The answer to both of those is of course no and the legal system he will be facing just knocked down the govt’s attempt to introduce indefinite detention without charge so their ability to manipulate isn’t that great.

  134. DF

    Jimmy
    Re your comment to Mattsui where you asked “is the US legal system separate from the US Govt?”, I judge the US govt’s ability to manipulate its legal system by Guantanamo and the trials of the prisoners being held there.
    You may expect the best but I would rather prepare for the worst.

  135. DF

    Jimmy

    I’m with Mr Keane, elsewhere in Crikey today, on this one:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/08/17/preconcert-and-the-strange-coincidences-around-julian-assange/

    Re your comment: “who knows why they don’t want to go to the UK, I don’t and you don’t either but I don’t fill that lack of knowledge with conspiracy theories.” Nor with suspicion about motive either, apparently. If the Swedes can send an investigator to Serbia on a murder case, why can’t they send one to the UK to question Assange, whose alleged victims are not only alive but, the day following the alleged r@pes, were happy to be in his company?

  136. Jimmy

    Mattsui – If Barnaby Joyce labelled you a terrorist would you flee to Ecuador? Is the US legal system separate from the US govt?

  137. mattsui

    The man has been labelled a terrorist by senior members of the U.S. government.
    How secure would you feel?

  138. Owen Gary

    Everybody knows this is a whichhunt, most have already seen 4 corners, the NWO puppeted governments are very scared that he still has much deeper & damning info than that already released.

    These Governments are already in damage control over info that is and always has been held back from Joe public & our “free & democratic principles” (yeah right)

    I hope riots are instigated against this corrupt establishment for his release, the Australian government (both parties) are a disgraceful lapdog to a hegemon that will be forcing more facist regimes on a sleeping population.
    I just ponder how much worse it actually has to get before the population at large start “Lawful Rebellion” under the statutes in the Magna Carta.

  139. Jimmy

    Mattsui – “Assange cannot and would not possibly get a fair trial in the U.S..” Again what charge would he face? And what country would you prefer to face allegtions where freedom of speech is your defence?

  140. Oscar Jones

    Hurrah for S.Blake!

    Unfortunately many are jumping on the ‘what about the victims?” bandwagon.

    Sweden by not taking any opportunity to solve this dilemna is increasing their anguish if genuine.
    Any policeman involved in investigating alleged sex offenses would demonstrate far more sensibility that this Swedish prosecutor.

  141. Jimmy

    DF – “Are you really so naive as to believe the US when they say they have no plans to seek extradition? ” My belief is irrelevant, people on this thread have been calling for the govt to seek assurances from the US they won’t seek extradition and from the Swede’s they won’t extradite but it is apparent that even if/when those assurances are given people simply don’t believe them, so what is the point in the govt pushing so hard for them if they don’t mean anything?

    And I am not saying that the process is more important than the outcome just that the process has been fair and legal to this point and shows no signs of not being so in the future.

    And who knows why they don’t want to go to the UK, I don’t and you don’t either but I don’t fill that lack of knowledge with conspiracy theories.

    Puddleduck – “Assange having a snowflake in hell’s chance of any kind of decent treatment in the US.” Really has the US charged him? Do you know what charges he could possibly face? Does the US govt have control over the legal system? The answer to all these things is no but yet you assume he will be found guilty of something by a corrupted court.

    I am no fan of the US and definitely not a Tea Party supporter, just not into wild theories.

  142. mattsui

    Assange cannot and would not possibly get a fair trial in the U.S..
    Their quiet desperation in confecting a case against him is testament to that.
    ergo “the possibility that he could end up in the USA is not acceptable” to any but the governments who toady up to U.S. imperialism.

  143. puddleduck

    @Jimmy – what planet have you been on lately? It’s hardly worth repeating all that points to Assange having a snowflake in hell’s chance of any kind of decent treatment in the US. Politicians saying he should be assasinated. A secret grand jury indictment. The list goes on.

    Do send us a postcard from the next US-America Friendship tea party.

  144. DF

    Jimmy
    So you’re saying that process is more important than outcome? That the Swedes, having been thwarted by Assange’s sequestration in Ecuador’s mission in London, are not prepared to put principle aside and send an investigator in the interests of moving the case along and according justice to the two alleged victims? Why do you reckon that might be?

  145. Frank Campbell

    Amid the comical twists and turns of this Mayfair farce, remember that Kafka is the final act:

    The craven obeisance of client states to the United States
    The US prison gulag awaits Assange.
    The secret global state run by the CIA – with the connivance of satellites like Australia- dates from at least 1945. Insitutionalised torture, abduction (“extaordinary rendition”), impunity and immunity: they’re all familiar policies and practices, repeatedly exposed since before the Bay of Pigs.
    The instant enlistment of US and foreign corporations in the war against Wikileaks shows how the Empire strikes back today: Visa, Paypal, Citibank…they all complied without demur in banning Wikileaks.
    Banal Gillard condemned Assange immediately. Convicted drug dealer Corby gets rapt attention from Australian diplomats, her every tantrum amplified by the tabloid media. David Hicks rotted for years in the gringo gulag, ignored by the Australian government. ASIO incarcerates asylum seekers indefinitely- no charge or reason given.

  146. puddleduck

    @Daniel – when did Julian Assange “admit” rape?

    Assange offered to be interviewed IN Sweden, and remained there for up to a month, then was told he could leave. So he left and returned to Britain. He has since offered twice as part of the British extradition proceedings, to be interviewed – on both occasions, Sweden declined without giving a reason.

    If Sweden only wants Assange to answer questions about allegations, and doesn’t want to pass him on to the US, why not just interview him in Britain? Sweden could put all this to rest by doing so. Their unwillingness to do this puts the onus on them to explain why it is insufficient.

    Blind Freddy could tell you he’s got a genuine fear of persecution. In his shoes, I’d have done xactly the same, except I’d have swum the Channel by now… or swum to a waiting sub off the
    west coast.

    God help him – he’s going to need it.

    I just hope all you naysayers never need your government’s help when overseas, never put a foot wrong in your relationships (romantic or otherwise). Seems pretty clear you’d never do anything to speak truth to power – coz it would cost you too much.

  147. DF

    Jimmy – Are you really so naive as to believe the US when they say they have no plans to seek extradition? They will say whatever they believe is necessary to achieve their ends and there have been enough statements by leading and influential people in the US about how Assange should be dealt with to warrant genuine concern if they get custody of him.

    I admire your faith that justice will always prevail but I’m afraid there are enough examples around the world, including in the Anglostans, to suggest it is misplaced.

  148. Jimmy

    DF – The question as to why the Swede’s didn’t send an investigator to the UK is an interesting one but largely irrelevant. Assange had the capacity to challenge his extradition form the UK, he used that capacity and lost, this indicates that the Swedes are within their rights to request he return for questioning.
    It is a massive stretch to argue that this oddity is proof positive that the US have strong armed the Swede’s into seeking extradition so they can extradie him from Sweden to the US when he hasn’t been charged in the US, no can tell me what charges they could possibly lay and if they wanted to extradite him they could of from the UK.

    Even Jon Faine on the ABC radio this morning made the point that the conspiracy theorist of the left were making no sense on this one.

  149. Jimmy

    Steve Felay – “The possibility that he could end up in the USA is not acceptable” Why? If they believe he has committed a crime they have the right to charge him and seek his extradition, Assange can appeal that extradition but his legal case fails why would it be unacceptable for him to go to the US?

    And as for their being no assurances as late as yesterday the US said they had no plans to seek extradition.

  150. DF

    @ Jimmy – I’d withdraw quietly from this one if I were you. Your hole is getting too deep.

    The question which has never been answered is why the Swedes refused to send an investigator to the UK to question Assange when they have done it for others. Some may argue that the alleged crimes are too serious but, fair dinkum, given that one alleged victim was tweeting how good it was to be in his company the night after the alleged r@pe and the other alleged victim didn’t complain until she discovered Assange had slept with alleged victim #1, it is hard to reconcile the common law view of non-consensual sex with the behaviour of Assange and the two women.

    It is Sweden’s refusal to send an investigator to the UK and insistence Assange go to Stockholm which has caused so much suspicion about Sweden’s motives and the genuinely held fears for Assange’s ultimate fate in the US. If the Swedes really wanted to demonstrate he had a case to answer, you’d think they’d be pulling out all stops – for the sake of the alleged victims and to facilitate the course of justice.

    There is a stench about Stockholm’s actions which leads one to deduce that (with apologies to Shakespeare) there is something not quite right in the state of Sweden.

  151. Jimmy

    Tom Jones – I should really have said “Well when Assange actually is charged he may get the same level of help but I think it is only proper that someone facing the death penalty WITH VERY LITTLE RESOURCES get’s more assistance than someone who is wanted for questioning WITH A LITTANY OF CELEBRITIES AND HIGH PRICED LAWYERS.”

  152. Jimmy

    TOm Jones – “The amount of money that the UK is spending on trying to catch Assange suggests that he is indeed absolutely correct in his assessment that it is the USA that wants him” Yeah it is so obviously that, it wouldn’t be that they are more than a bit miffed at having their legal system flouted by a high profile twerp that they are pulling out all the stops to ensure that their judicial process has it’s authority upheld.
    And “tarnish her reputation by putting more effort into helping Schapelle Corby than Julian Assange” well when Assange actually is charged he may get the same level of help but I think it is only proper that someone facing the death penalty get’s more assistance than someone who is wanted for questioning.

  153. Bohemian

    Oops I mean Guy Rundle not BK!

  154. Suzanne Blake

    @ Oscar Jones

    In fact if Sweden dont interview his, they are acknowleding they this is a trumped up scam

  155. Bohemian

    @ BK
    “This finding was essential to a formal case for asylum, but given the Gillard government’s unwillingness to talk back against threats of assassination, is hard to gainsay.”

    Bernard does this imply that the Gillard Govt were under threats of assassination if they spoke out?

    Given that the US and the UK have been behind almost everything that resulted in the bleeding of foreign nationals in the last 200 years, I guess they would be pretty scared down her in li’l ol’ Oz.

  156. Tom Jones

    The amount of money that the UK is spending on trying to catch Assange suggests that he is indeed absolutely correct in his assessment that it is the USA that wants him; after all he hadn’t even been charged with a crime; if he were charged with a crime it would be on a technicality. The Swedish prosecutors are keen to get him behind bars for a flow on to the Americans.

    The Ecuadorians seem to have a better idea of world reality than any of the politicians in Australia. Julian Assange is like the miners at Eureka in taking on forces which are neither moral or interested in fairness. What a shame that Nicola Roxon who should be celebrating her historic win should tarnish her reputation by putting more effort into helping Schapelle Corby than Julian Assange because he has shown up Big Brother.

  157. Jimmy

    Cairns 50 -“They should seek assurances that if julian assange is taken to sweden for further questions re the alleged sexual cases that sweden will not hand him over to the usa for extradition” Really, but if the US manages to find evidence that he has broken a law (as yet no one can tell me what they apparently will charge him with) they have every right to seek extradition, how can Australia force the Swedes to deny extradition when the charge isn’t even known?. What makes you think the Australian govt has the right to tell the Swede’s what they can and can’t do?

    Simon Mansfield – What more could they do? And it’s not that I don’t think they should do whatever it is you think they should, I just think that the whole conspiracy thing is completely thing is completely overblown and Assange has had a fair hearing in the UK, will have access to a defence in Sweden against both the charges and any possibly extradition application and if he is extradited he will have access to a defence in the USA.

  158. Steve Fleay

    CairnS50 is right.
    The issue is not the Swedish investigation which Julian Assange should face (although the circumstances in which they were brought seem very murky). The possibility that he could end up in the USA is not acceptable and there should be pressure (in public) from the Australian Goverment to draw out assurances from the US that they have no investigations or intention to apply for his extradition.
    If there are no assurances from the US it would leave an underlying question over their intentions.
    I have been dissappointed to have seen no journalistic pressure on the goverment to do so.

  159. Oscar Jones

    He could leave in drag.

    Alternatively Ecuador could invite hundreds inside wearing those Anonymous masks and have him exit it with them. Make a good scene for the inevitable movie.

  160. Oscar Jones

    The appointment of Bob Carr is also showing up what a flake and lightweight he is.

    To ask a man who made a habit of denigrating charged persons via the Daily Terror before they appeared before court, for a legal opinion on anything is a joke.

    Contrary to popular opinion, it is often an advantage to have lawyers become politicians instead of smooth former journalists.

  161. John Newton

    Ricardo Patiño

  162. Oscar Jones

    Wow: Suzanne Blake is correct !!

    Sweden could and should solve this problem by sending a prosecutor to the Ecuador Embassy to interview Assange. Then Ecuador can judge the validity of the claims.

    To not do so risks diplomatic calamity.

    Clearly Assange is buying time for more legal moves. I reckon he has powerful UK QCs working on his behalf.

  163. Suzanne Blake

    @ Simon Mansfield

    If Dillard goes, Jimmy has to try and get a job with the new PM, so easier to support Dillard to the hilt

    Same for the entire Front Bench, there are so supportive of Dillard, cause they may be on back bench with the new PM.

    Watch Swan, something is happening, probably after the next polls strike

  164. zut alors

    A good analysis, Guy.

    All the Oz govt needs to do is ask our Very Best Friend the USA to guarantee they will not extradite Assange from Sweden – or anywhere else.

    Surely friends can ask each other direct questions and expect honest responses and undertakings?

    After all, according to Barry Obam@, “the USA has no better friend than Australia”…pardon me whilst I contain a belly laugh.

  165. Simon Mansfield

    Jimmy – you are such a toady for Dillard. And I’m a card carrying member of the party. You know very well there is plenty more the government can do. You just don’t think they should. So at least be honest and say such – instead of sounding like an understudy for Carr with endless weasel words. I rarely agree with BK on much at all – but at least on this occasion he let’s the facts speak volumes for what’s really going on.

  166. AsGrayAs

    @Bohemian – I hope you’re right. With heat-seekers scanning for his body-heat (!), the garbage and laundry services will probably not offer much in the way of cover.

    If the UK wants to get out of this with a clean nose (unlikely), they need to demand that the Swedes actually lay charges against Assange, or demand that the extradition request be dropped. If neither of those things happen, then Ecuador is correct to claim that extra-legal persecution is on the cards, despite the lack of hard ‘evidence’ that Assange is threatened with persecution… Evidence is so over-rated.

    Time to head over to Sp-rtsB*t to check the odds. Or maybe Crikey should hold an Assange Sweep, with b-ts available for ‘Already Escaped through a Tunnel’, ‘Escaped by disguising himself as the maid’, ‘A chopper is en route from Geneva’, ‘SAS Raids Embassy’, etc., etc.

  167. Daniel

    It’s weird how many articles about Julian Assange omit the r-word, despite Assange admitting to it.

  168. mattsui

    He could die his hair a natural colour and just walk out.

  169. cairns50

    its simple what the aust govt should do jimmy

    they should seek assurances that if julian assange is taken to sweden for further questions re the alleged sexual cases that sweden will not hand him over to the usa for extradition, irespective of wheter he is found to be guilty or not guilty of those charges

    if he is found guilty of those charges in sweden then he should be dealt with under swedish law and when whether a jail sentence, suspended sentence find both whatever is imposed then that should be the end of the matter

    he should then be a freeman

    the australian government should also ask and demand this of the usa government as well

    blind freddie can see that this is not the case

  170. Suzanne Blake

    @ Harley

    Now the Swedes see that they are snookered, it may open up again

  171. Jimmy

    Cairns50 – What exactly do you want the Australian govt to do? Exert undue influence on the Swedish & UK legal process? Isn’t that everyone problem is supposed to be with the US?

  172. dnburgess

    Suzanne – he has repeatedly offered to be interviewed by Swedish authorities while in Britain. These offers have been refused in favour of being interviewed on Swedish soil, which is in part what has created the current mess. i.e. He is being extradited without having been charged, merely “to help authorities with their enquiries”. If the Swedes charged him with rape, extradition would have been straightforward – but then he would have been under the “protection” of the Swedish legal system until the rape case was heard and he would not have been able to be extradited by a third country (say, the US).

  173. Harley

    @Suzanne

    They already tried #1. Unfortunately the Swedes declined the offer 🙁

  174. Jimmy

    Bohemian – Was the Scarlet Pimpinel involved too?

    This saga just gets more ridiculous.

  175. Bohemian

    I’D GUESS HE WENT A WEEK AGO.

    IF THEY STORM THE EMBASSY THEY WONT FIND HIM!

    I wouldn’t mind betting the FSB (former KGB) were have to have been involved.

  176. cairns50

    at last a country with principles prepared to stand up to the stand over bullies from the west

    i have an idea , the austrlian government could handball him nauru or manus island, at least then the australian government will be forced in some way to look after him

    or at least our governments third will lackeys will, for money of course

    something up until now they have not been prepared to do

    congraulations mr president of equador

    once again shame on julia gillard bob carr and the australian government

    equador 10

    sweden, uk, usa @ australia 0

  177. DingoBabyEat

    I feel some options have been overlooked here

    1) a tunnel

    2) a costume party

  178. Suzanne Blake

    Look like Assange is in for a stint in the Embassy for years.

    There is a solution:

    1. He gets the Swedish Authorities in and lets them interview him, so they clear up the issues and drop the charges, so he walks free.

    or

    2. He picks a good time to leave the embassy in a garbage truck, when the Police outside are distracted by the soccer, Paralympics fireworks or something else.
    Then goes to a country without extradition, aka Patriot Games

  179. Monash.Edu

    Ah, there’s a second story, you say? And a balcony? Where’s a helicopter when you need one? And who’s got the Mission Impossible theme on a boombox?

    David Heslin

  180. serpentjoe

    Nice to see young David stand up to 2.5 Goliaths.

  181. Jimmy

    I wonder whether the Dad from Hey Dad! will now seek asylum in Ecuador?

  182. steve@steveburnham.net

    The Cuban activist Yoani Sanchez just tweeted that (17/8, 9am, rough translation) it seems like Assange being in the Ecuador embassy is like Robin Hood seeking refuge in the castle of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

  183. Limited News

    It is totally bizarre that the UK says it does not recognise the principle of diplomatic asylum, yet the United States did when it accepted a Chinese dissident into its protection earlier this year – and so must China – yes CHINA – implicitly, as they did not threaten to close down the US embassy and permitted the dissident’s escape to the US.

    But what is invading an embassy to the US & UK given they invaded Iraq in contravention of international law…

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