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US Ambassador: we have no interest in Assange

The US ambassador to Australia has insisted that the release by WikiLeaks of US diplomatic cables caused “serious and long-term damage” and placed people in harm’s way, but the only WikiLeaks-related investigation the US government is prepared to acknowledge is that of Bradley Manning.

In a wide-ranging interview with Crikey this week, Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich talked extensively about WikiLeaks and the rumoured investigation of Julian Assange.

The US never talks about whether we’re conducting investigations of anyone, period,” the Ambassador said. “We have talked about investigations, for example, of Bradley Manning, for stealing classified information, but that’s because he’d been caught stealing classified information, been arrested, but generally we don’t talk about anyone, ever, whether they’re under investigation or anything else.

People know we never say that, so they can say ‘well the US will not deny that it is investigating’. And then they say that if ‘they’re not denying it, it must be true’. There’s nothing to that at all.”

However, Bleich significantly left open the possibility that the investigation of Manning could lead elsewhere: “There’s an ongoing investigation of the Bradley Manning theft of classified information. Was anyone involved in a conspiracy, aiding and abetting, those sorts of things — and that’s reasonable, trying to see whether or not there are others, some liability out there.

But it’s not that they pick someone, then figure out ‘oh now let’s see if we can find a crime’. They’re investigating a crime that did occur and they’re trying to figure out all the information that we can about it, how it occurred, and that could lead to other things.”

The Ambassador rejects the central argument of Assange and his supporters, that the US will seek to exploit Sweden’s attempts to extradite the WikiLeaks founder in order to extradite him onward to the United States. On Assange’s attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden, he said: “None of that has anything to do with the US and the US doesn’t have any interest at all in the extradition.

The argument that’s been made that somehow the US is in cahoots with Sweden, that we want him to be extradited to Sweden so it will be easier for us to extradite from there, is just silly. If we want, if there was a basis and desire to extradite him now even, [we could] extradite him more easily from the UK than Sweden, there’s a more robust extradition agreement with the UK than there is with Sweden. I think it’s insulting to Sweden. Sweden is not a puppet state of the US.”

Bleich declined to comment on Vice-President Biden’s comparison of Assange to a “high-tech terrorist”, saying “I’ll just use my own words in what I think”. But in his view, WikiLeaks “is an irresponsible and dangerous approach to providing information”.

Bleich had a successful legal career, with a strong focus on international law, and was an adviser to President Obama before his appointment as Ambassador to Australia. “I was a lawyer who represented media, I worked with journalists all the time, I have tremendous respect for journalists, and for journalists I think it’s critical that they check government and they keep a close eye on government, and I used to do FOI requests all the time — not only FOI requests, I challenged gag orders on behalf of media. So … I get it.”

But Bleich argues WikiLeaks does not act like a traditional media outlet, which would be a key issue if Assange (or outlets such as The New York Times) are ever prosecuted for the release of the diplomatic cables. He says WikiLeaks “basically say if you steal it, we’ll publish it and it doesn’t matter if it’s newsworthy, we don’t purport to be in a position to know what to redact or what not to redact, they just threw it all up there, and it wasn’t clear what the point was”.

If you ask people who had read — we don’t acknowledge the cables — but people who read this material and say ‘was this inconsistent with what the US was saying publicly?’ then … we said Gaddafi was a bad guy, this basically gives you information that’s consistent with that,” he told Crikey.

At the same time, it put a lot of people in harm’s way. It compromised national security interests, individuals who were providing information to help us understand what’s going on had to be moved, had to leave, put in very dangerous situations.”

Bleich declined to give details on specific cases. But in his view, WikiLeaks is likely to cause damage to diplomacy through “information degradation”.

As a result of things like WikiLeaks, if people feel anxious that they can’t have a fair conversation, what am I going to do? I’ll get worse information, so I want to understand what’s going on in the region. When I get that information I’m not going to share it as broadly as I should because I’m afraid it could leak, so I keep to too tight a grip. And I’m probably encouraged to do it by phone or in person as opposed to writing it down, so it doesn’t come back to bite anyone, which means the information degrades rapidly. And if you make a mistake you can’t go back two years later to figure out ‘where did we start making a mistake’ because there’s not enough of a paper trail,” he said.

Bleich believes governments are less trusted than ever, because of events like the Iraq War and the global financial crisis. “People feel as though the government is doing things that they didn’t quite understand and things went wrong, they want to know more about what the government is doing,” he said.

There’s less trust in government. The global financial crisis created a lot of trauma around the world and people wonder ‘where were my leaders, what were they doing, what were they thinking, I want to know more, I don’t trust them as much’. I know the Iraq War was unpopular in many countries and very controversial in the US. The President himself said ‘I don’t think we should have gone in there’. So we know that caused people to say ‘I want to know more about what the government is doing’, and I think that creates an impetus for trying to get more authenticity and access to government decision-making.”

But, Bleich says, “when you sit down with people and actually talk about how it gets done, they say ‘yeah I get it, you wouldn’t want to have that conversation with everyone watching every single thing you say’. No other institution in the world operates that way.”

*More with Ambassador Bleich, including defence spending, copyright and the impact of the internet, tomorrow

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  • 1
    paddy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Points for scoring the interview Bernard.
    But on reading through all that, I just kept thinking…. Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?
    Perhaps his thoughts on copyright and the Internet will (hopefully) be more illuminating.

  • 2
    Gavin Mooney
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    This sort if stonewalling makes me realise anew just why we needed and need WikiLeaks!

    When will such people as Bleich ever learn?

    And PS. Should Bob Carr not resign after the revelations in The Saturday Age recently? Why can Carr not simply ask Hilary Clinton: “If Assange were to go to Sweden will you categorically state that you will not seek to extradite him to the US?”

  • 3
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    There have been a lot of calls for the US to come out and deny they are out to get Assange, now that the Ambassador have done so the line will be “you can’t trust what he says”.

    Plus the comment ““There’s an ongoing investigation of the Bradley Manning theft of classified information. Was anyone involved in a conspiracy, aiding and abetting, those sorts of things — and that’s reasonable, trying to see whether or not there are others, some liability out there.” Is not just a cover so they can charge after saying they wouldn’t, it is a logical position to say we don’t have an interest in him now but if more information comes to light we could be.

    I would also like to say that I have read many article form other journalists criticising Wikileaks lack of journalistic integrity and thougths for newsworthyness and consequences of publishing the ambassador has listed here.

  • 4
    Steve Gardner
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    We are better informed than Ambassador Bleich thinks. We know from various other sources that a grand jury has been empanelled and is preparing an indictment of Assange under the Espionage Act 1917. See this http://pastebin.com/q0hTkwFh for example. We know that Australian Ambassador to the US Kim Beazley has requested that the US State Department keep him updated on the progress of its investigation of Assange. And there’s other evidence besides.

  • 5
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Nonsence

    why the Grand Jury then and the secrecy?

  • 6
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    SB - Thanks for proving my point.

  • 7
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    ” the US doesn’t have any interest at all in the extradition”

    Bleich lies

  • 8
    Dion Giles
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    What Bleich has not done is state that there are no plans to render Assange to a US kangaroo court to try him, a non-American, for failure on non-American soil to protect American geostrategic interests. All Bleich has done is weasel around the point that while victimising the American whistleblower Bradley Manning they may (for which read “are planning to”) move on from Manning to Assange. If Sweden wasn’t a puppet of America it would not have clandestinely co-operated, on Swedish soil, with rendition of non-Americans to an American flight to Mubarek’s Egypt for torture and got caught red-handed (e.g. Google “Al-zery” and “Agiza” - one can bet Assange has). As for Bob Carr, last night with Leigh Sales he threw away any credibility he might have had when he parroted the Jakartaspeak formula phrase “the two Papuan provinces”, for occupied West Papua, even more often than Tony Abbott parrots “the carbon tax”

  • 9
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Bleich is a smart fellow and appears most personable in all his interviews but, when it comes down to the bottom line, his allegiance is to his homeland, the USA. Everything he says will always be in their interest, no one else’s.

  • 10
    Bohemian
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Well…it’s not like the US Government has ever lied before so we can pretty much take these comments at face value. Nothing to see here..move on.

    And besides if Assange ever came back to Australia he could count on the suckups in Canberra selling him out to good old Uncle Sam before he was free of the tarmac… bag over the head off we go to Egypt.

  • 11
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Zut - Of course his allegiance is to the US, he is their ambassador, but that doesn’t mean he is l y ing.

    And again, why are people demanding statements from the US if the don’t bel ieve them when they get them?

  • 12
    Ashar
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh I get it - this is a game of “spot how many outrageous lies a government officer can get away with while still holding a straight face” right?

    So lets see:
    “the release by WikiLeaks of US diplomatic cables…placed people in harm’s way” This line has been rolled out by all US government officials and their cronies, and has consistently failed to show who has been actually harmed?

    “But it’s not that they pick someone, then figure out ‘oh now let’s see if we can find a crime’”
    Hmmm see Daniel Ellsberg (“Pentagon Papers” [1971] on the hidden and morally bankrupt US decision-making around the Vietnam War). Lets see what they did to him - charged with Espionage Act of 1917; house broken into by government agents (without warrant), illegally wire-tapped, illegal use of FBI powers in interviews, government officials committed conspiracy, and multiple attempts to discredit him through manipulating data about his mental state, as well as a plan to “totally incapacitate: him. That is just ONE of the more famous cases, but there is a plethora of examples of other whistlebowers etc who dare to challenge the supremacy of the US government’s (including all their agencies) moral authority to do whatever the hell it wants.

    “[Wikileaks] is an irresponsible and dangerous approach to providing information”
    Irrespective of the evidence to the contrary.

    …in [Ambassador Bleich’s] view, WikiLeaks is likely to cause damage to diplomacy through “information degradation”
    Would that be confirming, in writing, to foreign authorities the poor views US authorities have of them? I am sure they were shocked, except their responses tend to say otherwise.

    When I get that information I’m not going to share it as broadly as I should because I’m afraid it could leak, so I keep to too tight a grip. “
    Really, that’s the response of a representative of over 300 million people to his obligations to keep his people informed? This though I understand is something of a new and radical thought in modern democracies - that The People have a right to know what is being done in their names, and with their resources.

    I know the Iraq War was unpopular in many countries and very controversial in the US.”
    Maybe, because it was illegal? That whole paragraph was truly outrageous.

    But good on you for the pearl in the last couple of lines
    “when you sit down with people and actually talk about how it gets done, they say ‘yeah I get it, you wouldn’t want to have that conversation with everyone watching every single thing you say’. “
    Really, which people? And since the US Ambassador is also talking about US governments collusion in the largest ponzy scam in history (Also known as the Global Financial Crisis - another dark humoured joke, right?), then I’d like to know which US citizens actually said anything remotely like that, because last I checked, the level of civil disobedience around illegal wars and government ponzy collusion was rating up pretty damn high, and the participants are not what you would normally think of as stereotypical protestors - probably because if your government backed the corporations who stole your house off you, you’d want to know what the hell was going behind closed doors to.

  • 13
    Warren Joffe
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Indeed well done even to get the Ambassador to say the predictable clearly. One can’t make too much of
    “The US never talks about whether we’re conducting investigations of anyone, period,” the Ambassador said.

    even if it is inconsistent with reported remarks about the US having no interest in Assange. He seems to have come clean enough not to deserve “weaselling” as a description.

    Please prepare, Bernard, to see my persistent prejudices repeated tomorrow when you write up Copyright concerns dealt with by the Ambassador. I have heard a DC lawyer, meant to be speaking on something else, take the opportunity to show just how aggressively US interests are pursued in a number of ways to do with copyright, especially if one includeds as a US interest the aggregation of copyrights by the likes of the Disney Corporation.

    Let it not be left unsaid whenever it can be said, that Copyright law generally is scandalous when you compare it with even the 20 year patent max for life saving drugs etc. That someone with no relevant qualifications or knowledge like Mark Vaile, also not helped by nominally better qualified Cabinet colleagues and totally non-commercial bureaucrats, should have given away so much in the so-called Free Trade treaty negotiations is something not to forget because opportunity should be found to redress the errors. At least it didn’t hand Disney etc. life plus 90 years copyrights, merely and extension from 50 t0 75. It should have been reduced to life or 25 years whichever is the greater! Or does one want to make sure that the likes of Agatha Christie’s great-grandchildren can go on collecting royalties for 100 years? Worse in Australia where the distant heirs of the recently enriched painters who have long since sold their paintings will be able to collect royalties for generations without death duties!!!

    Yes, Bernard, I want you onside, even if your clear thinking doesn’t quite extend to seeing what a problem there is with the IPCC’s seven different models and the summaries that crxxks like Pachauri give to busy blinkered politicians.

  • 14
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Well, that’s a nice layer of sugar on top of the bad smell. The most revealing thing about the diplomatic cables was how these guys give you the smooth salve in public, but think, say and do something completely different behind your back.

  • 15
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    @Jimmy: ‘…why are people demanding statements from the US if the don’t bel ieve them when they get them?’

    No statement by the US govt (or representatives) would satisfy or reassure me regarding Assange.

    However, it is of utmost importance that our obsequious government ASKS the question. I think this reticence to pose a direct, simple question is what makes Australians angry/dissatisfied. Australians don’t lack guts but our representatives frequently portray our nation as servile.

  • 16
    geomac62
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    We have talked about investigations, for example, of Bradley Manning, for stealing classified information, but that’s because he’d been caught stealing classified information, been arrested, but generally we don’t talk about anyone, ever, whether they’re under investigation or anything else.
    Manning was not caught stealing and is under arrest because of information from a hacker . Surely his arrest is to determine if he did in fact steal the data and pass it on to wikileaks . The subject that has not been addressed is the multitude of staff that could have stolen the data and the lax security that allowed it .

  • 17
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Zut - Why is it so important - your bel ief that the response would be a l i e removes any requirement for courage in asking the question?

    And when the question has already been answered numerous times why does our govt need to ask it a third, to me all that shows is they haven’t been paying attention previousl y.

    And thirdly what fi the question is aksed and answered and then evidence comes to light that Assange has committed a crime? The assurance would stand for nought I would expect.

  • 18
    edwin coleman
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Sweden is not a puppet state of the US.”
    by contrast with the UK which would apparently extradite him at once if asked? Or Australia?

  • 19
    Radguy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Yes Joffe, these are definitely problems that could have very bad consequences for ordinary folk. The TPP is a rort conceived by copyright holders who are typically not the authors.

    In other news, it was reported last night that there are approximately 15,000 prosthetic limbs fitted in Afghanistan per year. This is ridiculous and further validation of Wikileaks and whistleblowers in general. People being endangered by leaks? Pfft, give me a break. Go and talk to these amputees as well as the families who have lost members through this ill conceived military expedition. There are so many soldiers who set incredibly bad examples of westerners that the mission was flawed from the start.

    The only fix for Afghanistan is open dialogue accessible to all Afghans, but that doesn’t seem to be in the interests of the US. Luckily for us, the US is hopelessly incapable of challenging free thinkers with their doughy sock puppet army. At some point, they will be held accountable for their bullying.

    As for the US ambassador’s comments, he’s left an Assange sized hole in his comments. He also admits that the US will be more careful with secret information. One would think that there would be no need for this, in fact the opposite should be true of more honest information coming out to encourage support of the US. Well, this would be the case if the US were not involved in nefarious activities including trapwire.

  • 20
    Radguy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Clytie-so true. You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

  • 21
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Edwin Coleman ““Sweden is not a puppet state of the US.”
    by contrast with the UK which would apparently extradite him at once if asked? Or Australia?” there is a difference between being a puppet and granting legitimate extradition.

    To me the big point is they could extradite him form the UK if they wanted, so why bother with the whole Sweden palava?

  • 22
    edwin coleman
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    @Jimmy
    Wouldn’t so-called “legitimate extradition” require at least that he be charged with something in the US?
    Rendition wouldn’t though.

  • 23
    michael crook
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, that has really set my mind at rest, I was wrong about the US all this time.

  • 24
    Dion Giles
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Re Edwin Coleman : Good point, but Britain may be a bit more picky on formal basis for extradition, and Assange’s Australian nationality would be a political barrier for Gillard and Co. being seen to shunt him off. Australian courts are notoriously non-servile when human rights are under attack - recall Dr Haneef. There would have to be a court hearing for it and that would be political dynamite. The Swedes don’t bother about formal justification. Google “Al-zery” and “Agiza”.

  • 25
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Edwin Coleman - Yep, which is probably why they haven’t extradited him and have no plans to do so.

    This rendition thing is the biggest crock, if they wanted to illegally kidnap him they would of already, they wouldn’t need to do it from Sweden. And given he has legal teams in 4 countries it wouldn’t exactly be easy.

  • 26
    Michael Clothier
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I first heard of Wiki Leaks when that absolutely compelling evidence of the helicopter strafing of that Iraq journalist came out on Utube. Fair enough a mistake was made but I couldn’t believe I was watching US soldiers also firing on the good Samaritan who came to his aid. The fact that there were children in the Samaritan’s van, yet the US gunship chose to knowingly fire on it, made me think that the people involved must surely be charged with murder. Perhaps Wiki Leaks and Manning’s uncovering of war crimes is something the Ambassador might have been asked about?

  • 27
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Sweden rendered people to be tortured for the US. It is decades since I trusted a word from the US and most of the world feel the same way.

  • 28
    Bill Williams
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many Crikey readers would, if they were Julian Assange, decide it was safe to go to Sweden and face the charges against him on the basis of Ambassador Bleich’s comments? If I were Assange I would want a formal assurance from the US government given to the Australian government.

    Bernard, why didn’t you question Bleich about the validity of the findings of the Four Corners report.

    In summary it seems that Bleich is saying: a) we have no interest in Assange and b) that (a) could change. Surely b) suggests a) may not be true?

  • 29
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    @ Bill Williams ‘… go to Sweden and face the charges against him…’

    Except, as we all need to be reminded, there are NO charges. Assange is merely required for questioning.

  • 30
    QUIGLEY JOSEPH
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Ashar, thank you for your analysis.
    I didn’t keep tabs of the places where I went “Grrrrrrrrrrr!”
    You touched on most of them.
    George Orwell would have been as proud of you as I am grateful.
    Doubtles he would have been chuffed (in a perverse sort of way) to witness his prophecies about the corruption of power politics being realised just as much in so-called democratic societies as in totalitarian ones.

  • 31
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Bill Williams - ” If I were Assange I would want a formal assurance from the US government given to the Australian government.” Why you wouldn’t beli eve it anyway becasue “they would say that wouldn’t they”

    Shepherd Maralyn - Why can the US only “rendition” people out of Sweden? If I was the US and wanting to rendition Assange and the UK would do my bidding (as alleged often) I would instruct the to let him go to Ecuador as I am sure it would be easier to “rendition” him from their, at least it would be a quick trip to guantanamo!

  • 32
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    People have every right not to trust governments that go to war on a pretext, and had Wikileaks or someone similar blown the whole “Curveball” saga open, GW Bush and his cronies could not have insisted they had credible intelligence when they demonstrably did not.

    Bleich is covering his arse with the Stars and Stripes, but that’s his job. No one is fooled, however.

  • 33
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    These responses evidence the fact that the Great Satan, in whose illegal wars since 1960 more than 4 million civilians have murdered, has no credibility whatsoever.

    Can anyone tell me what’s been gained by this slaughter? …..of course save for lining the pockets of the criminals who make up the MIC.

  • 34
    mattsui
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Context, please Bernard Keane (unless this interview is being done by telephone). It’s great to be getting words from the President’s delegate’s mouth but we need to get a feel for which side of said mouth they’re coming out of.
    How does the man (aka Da Man) react to this line of questioning? How does he look? How does it feel to be in the presence of such alleged greatness? Does he sneer or sweat when he blatantly contradicts himself so? Does he appear worn down by the double standards he is forced to ignore and perpetuate at the same time? Is there any part of his character or nature that reflects the crumbling, bitter, failure of the former empire he represents?
    What he says is what he is paid to say. It may even be true, in some way. We need to know the human element in the Ambassador’s office.
    Keep it up.

  • 35
    Liamj
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Nice of Mr Bleich to confirm Wikileaks success re ‘information degradation’, a.k.a reduced trust & info flow within elite conspiracies, as Assange argued it would in his 90’s essay on the topic. Don’t stop now folks, they wouldn’t be working so hard to bulls hit us if they weren’t desperate!

    Otherwise just obfusication as usual, stomach-turning when consider that it fronts for the torture of Manning, thousands of collatoral murders by drone, ‘stabilised’ Iraq, the new African adventures, etc. Australia could really make a difference in taming US imperialism, if only we grew spines.

  • 36
    Radguy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy, quite funny your attempt to steer the discussion towards considering the “legalities” regarding extraditions from the UK compared to Sweden. Same tactics used by David Allen Green. The trouble with these “arguments” is that Sweden, UK and US will quite happily thumb their nose at these if and when it suits them.

    Really, it is a not so clever diversion due to the lack of credibility of these mentioned nations, acknowledged by Assange and Wikileaks supporters.

    You won’t see US sycophants talking about the circumstances of the allegations. They are cowards at heart after all.

  • 37
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Comments I this site could be summed up:

    I want to hear the truth but only the truth I want to hear!

  • 38
    Yclept
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Per chance, does Bleich sell used cars on the weekend?

  • 39
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Radguy - “Jimmy, quite funny your attempt to steer the discussion towards considering the “legalities” regarding extraditions from the UK compared to Sweden. Same tactics used by David Allen Green. The trouble with these “arguments” is that Sweden, UK and US will quite happily thumb their nose at these if and when it suits them.” If that is true why are they bothering with all the pretext, why hasn’t the US got Assange already? Why do they need to get Assange to Sweden if the UK thumb their noses at the law anyway?

  • 40
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    @Jimmy: ‘…why hasn’t the US got Assange already? Why do they need to get Assange to Sweden…’

    Possibly a deal has been done with the Swedish judiciary to put him away and save the US the trouble.

    Interesting that Clinton’s visited Sweden in June, the week after Assange’s appeal to the British Supreme Court was rejected - the first time in 36 years that a US Secretary of State has set foot in Sweden. A remarkable ‘coincidence’.

  • 41
    mattsui
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps jimmy has a point, after all.
    The U.S. don’t really want Assange. They want to reduce his appeal as a figurehead for radicalism within the constantly expanding security aparatus (bear with me here..).
    By allowing the target (along with the rest of us dupes) to believe he is wanted, they have forced him into ever tighter corners. To the point where he is now unable to leave an apartment in central London. Still definatively not being persecuted by the U.S. but now unable to promote himself or his organisation effectively and no doubt rapidly fading from the consciousness of the sort of people that watch the tv news - the stable popular base that keeps the state aparatus from collapsing.
    The U.S. Spook-state aparatus has actually achieved it’s goal and the fact that we’ve been intentionally misled for years (decades, a century?)is largely irrelevant.
    You know, it makes sense. Sorry jimmy, seems you weren’t a misguided troll after all.

  • 42
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    1. Could it also be a ‘coincidence’ that Sweden is one of the big arms dealers to NATO?
    2. Would it be ‘good for business’ to ‘render’ Assange?

    1. It could be.
    2. Definitely.

  • 43
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Zut - “Possibly a deal has been done with the Swedish judiciary to put him away and save the US the trouble.” another conspiracy?
    But my point is that people are claiming “rendition” and that I am being naive worrying about “legalities” because the US doesn’t worry about the law but if these conspiracy theories are to be bel ieved they are going to extraordinary lengths to follow the law.

  • 44
    Ashar
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    @Kevin Herbet
    “These responses evidence the fact that the Great Satan, in whose illegal wars since 1960…”

    If you are referring to the US government as the Great Satan, apart from the atrocities performed against the First Nations Peoples of North America, then the US government has been at it since 1880 and their invasion-without-cause of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

    What does that to do with the US ambassador and Assange -
    ““But it’s not that they pick someone, then figure out ‘oh now let’s see if we can find a crime’” - why stop now, the US government lied about the Queen of Hawaii to justify an invasion, and every government since has lied to either gain or maintain power, and not little white lies - big, killing lots of people type lies. Or in the case of Assange - persecuting or taking out enemies of the state.

  • 45
    Radguy
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The UK will attempt to save face, after all, they use independent judicial officers to authorise warrants. The Swedes have no face to save, their legal system is being seen for the disgrace that it is.

    Anyway, as you were, continue to divert attention from the precedent set by allowing the word “prosecution” to be used to detain and question suspects without charges necessarily being laid.

    I recommend people look up this word in the Oxford dictionary as it clearly states the legal definition, despite the Swedish and UK courts ruling to allow the application of a very different definition. The etymology also suggests the legal definition “to bring before a court of law” has been in use since circa 1590. If you want to see where in the High Court transcript that this abomination of justice is applied, look for the words “cosmopolitan eyes”. Prosecution in my understanding is an IRREVOKABLE process that leads to charges. Ny has been granted an alternative definition which allows her to cease prosecution after questioning. This is a disturbing precedent which can be applied to other cases to allow extradition and detention for questioning by questionable justice systems. It allows for brutal coercion of innocent people who could easily answer questions remotely.

    Go on Jimmy, I dare you to comment on the credibility of the allegations including ALL relevant detail. Prove that you are no coward. I will prejudge any comment that declares these details irrelevant as evasive and cowardly.

  • 46
    iggy648
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m interested in Ashar’s point:
    ‘So lets see:
    “the release by WikiLeaks of US diplomatic cables…placed people in harm’s way” This line has been rolled out by all US government officials and their cronies, and has consistently failed to show who has been actually harmed?’
    Jimmy and Suzanne, you would have researched this? Let us know!

  • 47
    izatso?
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Also …….. Karl Rove holds a position as an adviser to the Swedish P.M. …. for some time now, but from after Assange was allowed to leave …….

  • 48
    gautillard dellron
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    “the release by WikiLeaks of US diplomatic cables…placed people in harm’s way”

    as opposed to the innocent children who were murdered by the US helicopter gunship in iraq? let’s not forget what this is all about: the US government has committed war crimes, and the only people who were put put in harms way are the innocents harmed by the beurocrats who sent people into war for their little geo-political puppet show.

  • 49
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes its astonishing that anybody would not believe what a government official says? Half the time they have absolutely no idea of whats going on themselves.

    History proves over and over and over again that governments consistently lie.

    Thats why sites like Crikey exist and why nobody trusts the traditional Fourth estate any more.

    They lie as convincingly as Governments.

    I wonder those who try to rationalise the US and Australian attitude to Assange would do the same if it was their wife or child that was being held or open to the whims of faceless men in these governments. Hell yeah of course, they would definitely trust the CIA and FBI with their on kin. Hmm!

  • 50
    Dagney_Taggert
    Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Nowhere in the Ambassador’s interview did he deny the involvement of the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people and under the supervision of the reverse vampires. Clearly, this is what they are afraid of St Julian revealing!

    Given the world attention being given to this, I highly doubt that Sweden (apparently of the “big” arms dealers to NATO, I learned above - big after the US, UK, France, Germany etc) would extradite him to the US unless any request was clear, above board and water tight.

    In any case, Sweden (and the UK and Australia) will not extradite anyone to any country to face the death penalty.

    I wonder how much longer the Ecuadorian Embassy will put up with Mr Assange - it’s seems such a small place for such a mighty ego. Maybe the next time he gives a balcony speech to the faithful he will cop an unexpected size 10 up the clacker and over the railing he will go.

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