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Jun 20, 2012

Rundle: Assange makes his escape into a diplomatic storm

Julian Assange has shocked his supporters with a creative new twist -- turning up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and asking for asylum. The international diplomatic mess is enormous.

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Six months ago. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on bail awaiting a decision about extradition to Sweden, quietly moved his official bail residence from Suffolk to Kent. The ostensible reason was that his Suffolk host — Vaughan Smith, founder of Frontline Media and the Frontline Club and his wife — were expecting a baby imminently, and Mrs Smith was finding the perpetual presence of a dozen or so WikiLeakers stressful.

Myself, I thought one thing: channel run. Two hours after a judgment came down from the UK Supreme Court authorising Assange’s extradition to Sweden, he would be on a yacht, one of those super-yachts that the cypherpunks of the ’90s bought after they all got rich. It was easy to game it out. The super-yacht only has to get beyond the 12-mile UK waters line before it is in international waters. Assange would then be in a legal limbo.

I never wrote the suggestion up in an article, because I thought it was something Team Assange might be planning, and something the dim-bulb UK legal-police establishment would genuinely not have thought of. Instead, Assange has done something more creative — turned up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and asked for asylum. The move has thrown the carefully choreographed rendition of Julian Assange into chaos, and created an international impasse in London, and in the EU as a whole.

To recap the state of play: 10 days ago, the UK Supreme Court denied Assange’s appeal against a European arrest warrant to Sweden, to submit to further questioning on s-xual assault allegations made by two women he had met in August 2010. Assange’s barrister, thinking on her feet, noted the judgment relied in part on the Vienna Convention, which had not formed part of the case leading up to the Supreme Court review. The SC gave her leave to request an appeal on their own judgment.

Last week they dismissed that request rather curtly and set the clock ticking for Assange’s extradition. The only option remained an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, to overrule the UK Supreme Court. But the ECHR will only rarely grant injunctive relief and stop national legal proceedings — most likely it would take two years to consider the case by which time Assange would be in an orange jumpsuit in a Maryland supermax prison.

Had Assange consented to the extradition he would have entered the Swedish legal system, which has two main features:

  1. There is no such thing as bail; you’re either accused of a non-coercive crime and let out on licence, or you’re on remand until trial.
  2. Sweden has a distinctive system of extradition — especially to the US — in which someone accused of a crime in Sweden (and hence on remand) can be “loaned” to the US for prosecution there. This process does not exist in many other countries.

Assange’s latest move has attracted a share of criticism, with both supporters and those neutral towards him questioning his conduct in this matter. About eight people have put up £240,000 bail for Assange, and while many of those — such as leftist filmmaker Ken Loach — would accept that Assange has to take drastic message, others will be less understanding. Jemima Khan has already tweeted that the move took her by surprise, and that she always thought Assange would face the accusations.

Given that Assange has made amply clear his opinion concerning the legitimacy of interlocking national security states, it is hard to regard such surprise as genuine. But it may be. Others have been more sanguine, with Vaughan Smith saying Assange really had no choice but to make the jump if he truly felt the US was out to get him, via Sweden.

There will also be a section of global pro-WikiLeaks opinion that will be dismayed — though why they thought Assange was resisting extradition for 500-plus days is something they would have to explain. The difficulties of the case have been apparent from the start — a hero of the Left (though he does not claim to be of the Left), accused of s-xual assault/r-pe, by one of the world’s most socially progressive countries, and by two women deeply sympathetic to the WikiLeaks cause.

That has been the sentiment behind many of the calls from the liberal-left, that Assange should simply go to Sweden and face the accusations against him. That presumes a neutrality and genuine eye for truth on the part of the Swedish state, an unwise assumption for two reason: first, the possibility that there may be an actual high-level US-Sweden conspiracy going on, and secondly, that the Swedish state legal process may have become so dominated by bureaucratic interests and statist feminism that it would be unable to deal with him fairly.

Let’s take the second of these first, and remark on a few salient points:

1) Sweden’s legal process for s-x crimes is archaic, and has not been overhauled properly. The slightest accusation — in this case of non-violent s-xual line-crossing — not only earns the accused months in remand, but eventually results in a trial in a closed court, before judges appointed by the ruling political parties.

2) The process by which Assange was accused, cleared, and then re-accused of these incidents beggars belief. Two women went to a Stockholm police station one Friday afternoon in August 2010, to either (and here accounts vary) report Assange for s-xual misconduct, or inquire as to how he could be forced to take an STI test. Only one woman, Sofia Wilen, gave a statement, saying that the morning after a s-xual encounter with Assange, he had initiated s-x while she was asleep, and without a condom; by her own testimony, she said that she then gave consent to continue the act.

3) While her statement was being given, police had already contacted a prosecutor to issue an investigation warrant for arrest. When Wilen was informed of this, she refused to sign her own evidence statement, saying that she had been pushed into making a complaint by people around her. The next day, the senior prosecutor for Stockholm rescinded the warrant, saying that there was nothing in the statement suggesting a crime had occurred.

4) By Monday, that decision had been appealed, with the two women now represented by Claes Borgstrom, a big wig in the Social Democratic party, and drafter of the 2005 s-x crimes laws under which Assange was being accused — laws that many had said were unworkable. The second complainant in the affair, Anna Ardin, now changed her story. She had been interviewed the day after Wilen had told of a rough but consensual s-xual encounter with Assange, but suggested he had torn a condom off during s-x.

5) In the weeks between the Stockholm prosecutor rejecting Wilen’s statement as evidence of a potential crime, and the appeal, Ardin’s story changed, and her account of rough consensual foreplay became an accusation that Assange had pinned her down with his body during s-x to prevent her applying a condom. This became the basis for a new accusation — s-xual coercion — which would have been sufficient as a felony, should the appeal prosecutor not reinstate Wilen’s r-pe accusation. In that week, tweets were deleted and blog posts changed to remove any suggestion that Ardin had thought Assange’s behaviour to her consensual.

6) The prosecutor to whom the appeal was made — Marianne Ny — was a former head of the “Crime Development Unit”, whose specific brief was to develop new applications of s-x crimes laws, in areas where they had not previously been applied. She had previously spoken of remand as a form of de facto justice for men accused of s-x crimes, whom the courts would otherwise let free.

7) The European arrest warrant, and the Interpol red notice under which Assange is being extradited, was issued with a speed and seriousness usually reserved for major violent criminals, rather than someone simply wanted for further questioning, without a charge being present.

That is surely enough to get the antennae going, but there’s more:1) Assange’s visit to Sweden during which these incidents occurred had raised alarm in both the centre-right Swedish establishment and the US. Had he been granted the residency he applied for that month, Assange could have become a registered Swedish journalist and based WikiLeaks there, gaining the substantial protections the Swedish state extends to journalists. It has been suggested the US had told Sweden it would curtail intelligence sharing if that occurred. After the accusations were made, Assange was denied residency.

2) Sweden’s defence and intelligence needs are overwhelmingly oriented to its relations to Russia. Sweden runs a huge northern fleet, and maintains a national service-based conscript army, all based on the premise that a military emergency between Russia and Europe would see the former try to enter through the top. Sweden’s right, concentrated in the ruling Moderate party, have for years been trying to abolish Swedish neutrality, and have it join NATO. In fact, Sweden and NATO have been working together closely for years. Sweden becoming a centre for WikiLeaks would have been a disaster for that process.

3) Claes Borgstrom, the politician-lawyer who suddenly popped up to assist the two women accusers, is the law partner of Thomas Bodstrom, the former justice minister in the Social Democratic government that lost power in 2006. In 2001 Bodstrom had been an enthusiastic advocate of secret renditions at US request, with several Swedish citizens of Egyptian origin (Egyptian political refugees granted asylum and citizenship by Sweden, by another part of the state process) rendered back to Egypt and tortured. The entire interconnected Swedish establishment was oriented to a “war on terror” superstate strategy, and an Assange trial on criminal matters would fit that perfectly.

4) In 2011, a grand jury was secretly empanelled in Maryland in the US to bring down indictments in the matter of “cablegate”, the vast release of files that — it is usually assumed — were leaked to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning, a junior information officer who had become connected to the world of hacking through a personal relationship with a Boston-based hacker. Manning is now on trial on a brace of charges that will most likely see him in prison for the rest of his life; the intent of the prosecutors convening the grand jury appears to be to dynamically link Assange with Manning’s leaking of the files, so that Assange can be indicted and extradited for espionage.

Those two interconnecting processes suggest that Assange is within reason to do whatever he can to stay out of the clutches of both states. He is banking on the fact that Ecuador — one of a brace of South American states that turned leftwards in the past decade — would be willing to assist the WikiLeaks leader, given the “cablegate” releases showed the way in which a hidebound US diplomatic elite saw the Latin-American left turn as nothing other than another challenge to US interests by “crypto-communists”.

In 2010, an Ecuadoran deputy justice minister said that Assange would be welcome in Ecuador, a promise walked back to some degree by President Rafael Correa. However, Correa has recently appeared on Assange’s World Tomorrow chat show, and he might be willing to take the heat.

For the moment, the Ecuadorian government is playing a straight bat, issuing this statement:

“This afternoon Mr Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy seeking political asylum from the Ecuadorian government. As a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, with an obligation to review all applications for asylum, we have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito. While the department assesses Mr Assange’s application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorian Government.”

So, on we go. The extradition clock continues to tick, the Swedes will fume, and should asylum be granted, a full-blown diplomatic crisis will occur. Where will be in a year? Quite possibly in Quito. Not exactly the Bond-style escape to a yacht in Vaughan Smith’s helicopter, but quite a move all the same.

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184 comments

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184 thoughts on “Rundle: Assange makes his escape into a diplomatic storm

  1. Chess C

    Thanks for this excellent article and analysis.
    I was surprised he hadn’t made his bid for asylum earlier. But I was expecting him to seek it with either Venezuala or Cuba, i.e. countries which have already trashed their relationships with the US and would therefore be beyond the reach of US pressure. (The other countries which fall into this category are obviously less attractive, i.e.: Zimbabwe, Iran and the “Democratic” People’s Republic of Korea.)

  2. zut alors

    The Oz government is handling this abysmally.

    It was bad enough when J W Howard gift-wrapped Hicks for the US govt but we expect Gillard and Roxon to behave with more intelligence and compassion.

  3. puddleduck

    Thanks for the re-cap and update, Guy.

    Poor bastard. Assange will last as long as a snowflake in hell if he is ever in the clutches of the US. They will eat him alive. Frankly, I’m surprised he hasn’t run sooner and I don’t blame him for doing it.

    I imagine his team has gone through all the options for asylum – Equador must be the least worst. I can’t imagine they informed any of those who paid his bail – as if they could trust Ms Khan with such info’. Hopefully, though, she’s just tweeting that to cover herself so there’s no suggestion of conspiracy.

    I agree with Zut – our government has behaved shamefully throughout this. I’ll never forget Prime Minister J Gillard’s sucky statement that he’s done something illegal blah blah. It was pythonesque.

    Good luck to Julian – he’s going to need it.

  4. Microseris

    Everyone who saw the 4 Corners report on the treatment currently being meted out on Bradley Manning (described in the report as torture), would not be surprised Assange is petrified as to what may await if he is extradited to the US. Possibly a life term in jail whilst many of their right wing Fox Media inspired commentary was calling for his extra judicial execution.

  5. Scott

    Bail jumping coward or political prisoner seeking asylum? I guess history will be the judge.

    Regardless of the asylum decision, it might not help. Ronnie Biggs made it to South America as well and he is still served some time at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

    I think he will lose a few fans over this. Running away is not quite the stuff of leftist folk songs. It’s more about standing your ground.

  6. mick j

    It is terrible that justice is something which can be denied when powerful governments want nothing more than to make an example of an individual. In Australia a few years ago we saw a Microsoft jet turn up to pick up one of our citizens who had hacked into Microsoft’s source code. This was an Australian citizen and the young boy was sold out by the then Liberal government, never to be heard from again.

    If Assange were here in Australia it is my bet that he would be handed over to the US, no questions asked.

    It is my hope that Julien Assange is afforded some genuine justice.

  7. parisaustralien

    Nice conspiracy theories. But if Assange is so wanted why hasn’t the USA asked it’s closest ally the UK to extradite him from Britain?

  8. Damien

    Umm… what exactly should the Australian Government do about this? Ask the US not to extradite assange when there has been nothing to indicate it will but media speculation about possible international conspiracies? Maybe it needs a process to actually begin before making representations. Also, I really can’t see the Australian Government pre-judging sexual assault allegations by intervening with Sweeden on JA’s behalf. The whole thing’s a bit hysterical in my view.

  9. 81dvl

    Once, just once I would like to see an Australian government act independently, on principle, and against the ‘wishes’ of the US. There is only one way to get the respect of a bully and it would be both cathartic and character-building.

    Without being known to assert an independant opinion on a matter of national principle (something we expect and accept as a natural function from the US), what hope have we of ever being a truly independent republic?

    I feel sick.

  10. ed moran

    Scott
    “standing your ground” upside down in an orange overall with water running up your nose? like to see you hold your ground you would be yelling for mumma

  11. shanghai

    This is not running away – it’s called survival.
    Sweden is an interesting place. Having spent quite some time in that part of the world over the last ten years and with friends across the Nordic region, I discovered that Sweden holds quite a few surprises.
    Its neutrality in WW2 is questionable given it’s NAZI leanings and I suggest that many in Norway hold the Swedish govt accountable for the betrayal of the resistance.
    Its neutrality still remains questionable – pragmatism and neutrality can be uneasy bedfellows.
    The leopard has not changed its spots.
    Given the desertion by his own government Assange has to trust his instincts.
    Hopefully one day we will see an Australian government with the integrity and guts to represent the interests of its citizens.

  12. barfiller

    The popular notion is “innocent until proven guilty”. This use of ‘until’ suggests it is just a matter of time for guilt to be declared. The expression should be ‘innocent UNLESS proven guilty”. And someone who has not been charged with a crime is automatically innocent.

  13. Anton Frank

    I agree in standing your ground is critical in any situation, although this changes in light of facing allegations in archaic Swedish judicial process, and a government, which is influenced by greater US interests.

    So the question is Assange a coward running away from his accusers in Sweden or is it a case of self-preservation against possible moves for US to extradite him for espionage.

    I wonder how each of us would behave, if we faced, Assange’s circumstances.

  14. Chess C

    @ParisAustralien and @Damien – Rundle outlines very clearly why it is easier to extradite Assange to the US from Sweden than from the UK. And as for dismissing this as a conspiracy theory, leaked emails have already confirmed the existence of a grand jury in the US to try assange on charges of espionage. Hiding behind the charade of “due process” is in fact apologising for an abuse of process.

    Assange effectively had the choice of becoming a political prisoner or a political refugee. Remember back when political refugees came from totalitarian countries? As Australians we can now feel proud that our 2-party state has one too.

  15. Jimmy

    “Rendition” Really? He has hardly been black bagged, he has faced one of the better legal systems in the world and had all the assistance from the Australian govt afforded anyone else not to mention all the celbrity support you could poke a stick at. I don’t see Geoffrey Robertson coming out in support of the Australian lawyer arrested in Libya.
    As someone above said the US could ask for extradition from the UK so why hasn’t it? The assumption that “most likely it would take two years to consider the case by which time Assange would be in an orange jumpsuit in a Maryland supermax prison.” is a little conspiratorial.

  16. TroppoTom

    Presumably he had no choice as the duopoly political party system here wants him in the USA either locked up forever or facing a lethal injection from the world centre of the death penalty.
    Bob Carr’s strenuous efforts to get Melinda Taylor released stand in marked contrast to the do-nothing actions about Assange.
    So either it will be Senor Assange or Assange prisoner number 98698760 in the USA super-max prison. Well thats what happens to someone who embarrasses pollies in a democracy. As the papers say, brace for the cheers from the sheltered workshop down at US citizen Mudrok’s AUSTRALIAN.

  17. Jimmy

    ChessC – Easier to do it from Sweden but not impossible to do it from the UK and Sweden is hardly a third world country that is relying on the US for aid or military protection.

  18. Jimmy

    ChessC – Easier to do it from Sweden but not impossible to do it from the UK and Sweden is hard ly a third world country that is rel ying on the US for aid or mil itary protection.

  19. Julia Gollan

    That an Australian citizen should have to apply for protection from another nation is abysmal!

    The duplicity of Prime Minister Gillard is plain for all to see – information contained within the Stratfor email release clearly demonstrates the preparation of a grand jury indictment by the United States government. When questioned in Parliament Gillard stated that there had been no official request for Assange’s extradition to the US.

    Considering the links between the Swedish and United States administrations I think Assange’s concerns that he might not get a fair trial are well placed!

  20. zut alors

    Assange has repeatedly agreed to be questioned via hook-up – why is this not acceptable to the Stockholm prosecutor?

    Oh that’s right, they prefer him to be physically present. Ever wondered why?

  21. Spica

    Guy,
    Your work is the reason I subscribed to Crikey, I love it, and I blush to correct a fine stylist on a small error of semantics. But a brace doesn’t mean a few or several or a lot, it means a pair.

  22. Jimmy

    Julia Gollan – What would you have Australia do? They can’t refuse to extradite him to Sweden because he is in the UK, they can’t oppose an extradiction to the US that doesn’t exist. They can’t object to charges being laid as they haven’t. He has had at least as much consular help as anyone else.

    I would also point out that he knewhe was breaking US law when he leaked the information, actions do have consequences.

  23. Tom

    As with Hicks, just because Assange is Australian doesn’t mean he’s automatically innocent or has governments conspiring unjustly against him. Sweden is not Iran or Bahrain (where an 11 year old boy that claims he was playing in the street was arested and is being charged with riot!), and has a legal system that practiced for centuries before Australia was even discovered. To rubbish it’s legal system, it’s government and its international standing suggesting it’s conspiring with the American in some underhand fashion I think is close to ridiculous.
    Time to face the music Mr A, if as you claim the charges are trumped up, you probably won’t even be charged and will be on your way home shortly. If you do end up in Maryland, I’ll say right now that as much as I dislike you personally, I’ll stump the first $100 for your new lawyers and not only will I protest outside the American embassy, I’ll demand our government does absolutely all it can to get you out.

  24. shepherdmarilyn

    The notion that a man can be forcibly extradited to anywhere merely for the sort of questioning that has been done and for which their is no defendent left standing is a blight on the Magna Carta which has been the measure of common law for over 800 years and Britain and the gutless Australian government should hang their heads in shame.

    Assange should have been allowed to come home – he has already been under house arrest longer than any prison term for the crime without a defendent.

  25. Peter

    Jimmy, you haven’t really read up on this case have you?

    Assange broke no US law. He’s a journalist publishing material supplied to him.

    Google a bit further to figure it out.

    That’s why the US is cooking up something behind the scenes, otherwise it’d all be out in the open.

  26. johnb78

    Tom: odd choice of example. Hicks was innocent and did have governments conspiring unjustly against him.

  27. Jimmy

    Marilyn – He is the defendent.

  28. Tom

    @JohnB78 apologies, what was the name of that bloke arrested in Afghanistan with a gun in his hand? Never let the evidence …….. He was Aussie which obviously means he was not a terrorist just a high spirited larakin that made an innocent mistake.
    If there was any notion of a conspiracy between the Aus and US governments in the Hicks case it was for political expediency in the run-up to an election.
    @Marilyn if he’d chosen to face the music he’d have been home 6 weeks after the event. It’s his own actions that have seen the matter drag out.

  29. Mark from Melbourne

    1. it’s pretty obvious that the Oz government isn’t trying too hard here. The example of our foreign minister this week is pretty compelling.
    2. Having said that I’m not entirely sure what else they could have done as this all ran through the UK court system. There is after all an official complaint/warrant whatever you want to call it in play
    3. Does the whole charge in Sweden and how it come about smell? Sure does.
    4. Is Assange being unreasonable trying to avoid the risk of a doctored legal process behind doors. Or an extradition to the US. No, he would be stupid not to, and apart from jabbing the US government with sharp sticks he hasn’t shown himself to be stupid.
    5. Is his request for asylum not the best move he could have made from a publicity point of view. Absolutely – see point 4 about him not being stupid.
    6. Would the US like to crush him under their heel for at the very least being an annoying little sh1t – of course it does. I’m just surprised Obama hasnt sent the drones out into Surrey!

  30. Omar Khayyam

    Damien;
    the Oz govt can bring Julian back to Oz, tell the US to PO and invite the Swedish prosecutors to Oz for an interview on Julian’s homeground.
    Or, they can tell the Swedes to put up or shut up in relation to evidence.

    The Oz govt have a very clear responsibility, legal and moral, to protect Julian.

    Clearly, Julian has a very clear case for getting out the system while he can, as there certainly isn’t any justice involved in any of this.

  31. Damien

    Chess C – I didn’t call it a conspiracy, Guy did. Apparently Bob Carr should be over in Stockholm waving his fist and yelling at the Swedes not to apply their laws because we reckon they are biased against alleged perpetrators of sexual assault and what would they know with their renowned Swedish right-wing barbarism. No cultural chauvanism here. It’ll play well in Europe as well!

    Then Bob should storm off to Washington and demand that the US does not to attempt to arrest and charge JA because we (well some of the readers here) reckon the US legal process is unjust because of the excessive way the previous (not the current) Administration dealt with terrorism suspects and that the more excitable of us reckon he’ll be renditioned to Gitmo or some such.

    That was a funny dream. Is it morning yet?

  32. banistersmind

    I fully appreciate Mr. Assange’s motives for seeking asylum in a non-extradition treaty country. And Guy has perfectly articluated the reasons why. To those of you who are ambivalent or have expressed a view against Mr. Assange, it is clear to me that you haven’t read the article properly.

  33. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Jimmy, you sound like a legal expert when you write: “I would also point out that he knew he was breaking US law when he leaked the information…”. I think you’re just guessing. If you had a pretty good idea that you would indeed be extradited to the US (fair or not) once the Swedes got hold of you, would you just take it like a man? If you thought you could get back to Australia secretly, would you be confident that your home country would not let the Americans come and get you anyway? On recent experience you couldn’t have confidence. The Australian government has said, without saying, that it’s not much fussed about Assange, that it hasn’t officially discussed him with the Americans and that it is not proposing to do so.
    Well there is the answer to all these questions about ‘what can Australia do’. Australia could publicly ask the US about the secret indictment and make the answer public. If there is no answer forthcoming then it could privately, through diplomatic channels not penetrated by Wikileaks, formally request an answer. It could engage the Americans in a conversation and not just hang around (like in Mexico) singing irrelevant praises. But maybe Julia Gillard and Bob Carr and the Opposition find the whole thing inconvenient and difficult. And maybe that’s why they’re doing nothing. It can’t be that hard, but it is.

  34. Jimmy

    Hugh McColl – My point was that he knew he was committing an offence so it is a bit late now to start considering his options.He should of considered all the possibilities (ie the Us could charge him with treason) and weighed up if he was prepared to take that risk.
    Also there is currently no evidence (even the greens said this today) that the US want to extradite him from Sweden or that they are preparing any charges against him.
    So assuming Assange is an intelligent individual he made a conscious choice fully aware of the risks and now refuses to abide by the laws of both Sweden and the UK because he is fearful of the possibility of the consequences of his actions and instead complains about a lack of assistance from Australia (despite getting as much or more than any other citizen) and trys to seek asylum in Ecuador.

  35. Warren Joffe

    I am disappointed even more with George Brandis, senior member of the Bar than I am with the Attorney-General. At the very least it would be reassuring to know that they find it completely unacceptable, and are prepared to say so, that Sweden is insisting on using processes against him that no Australian should be subjected to (we might say that no one should be subjected to but if that’s what the Swedes want for themselves I suppose they should have it). There should at least have been some offensive innuendoes about the Swede’s failure to take the opportunity to question him in the UK. And our American friends should have been told loudly and publicly that it is not acceptable for an Australian citizen to be indicted secretly by the outdated grand jury process and his extradition sought for facilitating publication in the New York Times (!!!) which no one seeks to punish, of embarrassing emails and cables. Is it alleged that he committed a crime in the US? Or that it would be a crime under Australian law? No, so he should be defended loudly by our government and alernative government.

    Considering the possible consequences if he is extradited to the US it is absurd to suggest that his attempts to avoid Sweden’s dubious ways with renditions/extraditions are other than common sense. And he has good reason to be suspicious. Why won’t the Swedes ask their questions of him in the UK? Why is there no believable account of what the grand jury in Maryland has been up to from the US government? He would be a fool and no use to any cause if he acted like a naive fool. Prima facie he has got a lot to be scared of.

    As to what is happening with Bradley Manning, apart from the proof that the US government has been shown to be hopeless and protecting confidential information which should worry its allies, doesn’t it stand to reason that the prosecution wants the impression to be given that he is not going to dob in Assange until they actually have their hands on Assange. It’s 50:50 that Manning already has a script he will swear to that makes Assange the leader of the conspiracy (maybe just of him and Manning) to steal US government property and make it available to enemies of the US. Let’s hope the careful and smart Assange kept recordings of their communications….

  36. shanghai

    Hey Jim
    When did posting information in a democratic society become a crime?

  37. Jimmy

    Shanghai – That all depends on what the information is and how you obtained it doesn’t it.

    There is plenty of information that isn’t for public consumption and is a crime to publish, polictical, military and commercial.

    If it isn’t a crime why is Assange worried?

  38. zut alors

    Jimmy, sure, why would Assange have any basis for concern in a democracy where rabid Fox News presenters are calling for his blood and execution?

  39. gatekeepercb

    Following last night’s Lateline interview with one of the smartest guests I have seen, Eric Beecher, and the quality of detail and thought in this article, its definitely time to renew my Crikey subscription.

    My questions are: can the Ecuadorian Government 1) provide JA passage to Ecuador while they consider his application ii) detain him in Ecuador then also seek to use him as political leverage once they refuse his application? iii ) and if he is detained in Ecuador does this then open a door for JA to be sent to Australia to enable him to defend himself from here?

  40. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy – I hope you’re not in the business of giving people advice on their legal problems.

    What makes you say that he (Assange) was committing an offence? What offence? By the law of what country committed in what country?

    Well the Greens don’t think there is evidence that the US are after him! How reassuring! When has the Greens judgment on anything been worth tuppence?

    I don’t share Assange’s politics (so far as I know what they are) but I would think him a fool if he didn’t accept as evidence of the US’s malign intent towards him 1. that quite a few important people in the US have said he is and should be treated as a criminal (a fact with a reasonbly high correlation with official attempts to prosecute him); 2. there have been many detailed reports of what a Maryland grand jury has been invited to do and no attempt at a reassuring answer by the US government (although a somewhat slippery one by the US ambassador who, as Assange points out, is a lawyer and careful with his words).

    As for your use of the word “treason” that just shows that you are on another planet. “Espionage” just maybe, but “treason” is not an offence that an Australian commits against the law of any country but Australia (or another of which he is a citizen or subject).

    The only cowardice in the whole sorry story is the cowardice of our politicians in not standing up to the US. Even Howard, in relation to the much less serious problems that Hicks faced in terms of likely outcomes from US government vengefulness, made his dissatisfaction with the delays in dealing with Hicks apparent and did get Hicks back. And Hicks had taken up arms with Al Qaeda. Assange has merely been a conduit for embarrassing information about governments that he was, until let down by others, handling with considerable care to ensure that lives weren’t endangered.

  41. Jimmy

    Zut Alors – I didn’t know Fox News was now in charge of the justice system in the US?

    My point is Assange knew the laws of the land when he made his choice to publish, he isn’t being fitted up with sonme retroactive law, the law was there he made his choice and he took the risk. And if he didn’t factor in a reactin from the extreme right he was naive.

    And on top of that he hasn’t even been charged by the US and the US haven’t even requested extradiction.

  42. alfred venison

    dear editor
    i have been told by a man who reads foreign languages that sweden’s welfare state is cross-subsidised by its arms sector exports.

    i’m told further that sweden’s arms sector sales have declined recently.

    and that sweden badly needs revenue for its welfare system.

    so sweden is looking for “new markets” for its arms.

    and sweden wants to become most favored arms supplier to nato.

    for the record, sweden already supplies baltic nato members (including poland) with arms and baltic nato members with military training. sweden has a military contingent in afghanistan with nato.

    sweden is currying favor with usa to clinch most favored arms supplier status with nato.

    uk is difficult to extradite from – sweden, on the other hand, badly needs usa’s friendship.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  43. Warren Joffe

    Let’s get up a Crikey based movement to have it made a rule that any Australian accused of committing a crime in another country or against another country should be able to opt for trial in Australia. After all, the old principle was that extradition only applied where the alleged crime would be a crime in Australia. And, wouldn’t it be fairer to put up the foreign prosecution’s principal spokeman, counsel or instructer of Australian counsel in a five star hotel while the trial took place than have the Australian defendant sitting in a foreign gaol or monitored in some apartment away from friends and family desperately trying to find out if there are lawyers he can rely on and how to afford them? And shouldn’t an Australian be tried by people whose language he shares and not even by those who appear to do so superficially in, say, rural Alabama?

  44. Clytie

    Jimmy, it is perfectly legal to publish government documents which have been leaked to you. If not, most of our newspaper editors here and overseas would be in prison.

    Assange did not leak the documents: he published them. So far, he hasn’t broken any law, apart from the allegations in Sweden, for which they persistently refused to interview him while he was there, but suddenly start chasing him with an Interpol Most Wanted notice once he left the country with their permission.

    The whole thing stinks. It’s like watching some kid get victimized by bullies on video, realizing there is nothing you can do to stop it.

  45. Dave Sag

    @ PARISAUSTRALIEN my understanding is that the USA can’t request Assange’s extradition while there are current extradition proceedings against him by another country. They have to wait in line.

  46. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy

    Again what law did he break and where was he when he did it? Let me help what might euphemistically be called your thinking on these still unanswered questions? He publishes something when in, say, the UK which might be termed “confidential information” by the US? What is the law he has broken? And what makes you so sure he knew that laws terms and ambit? Another bit of help: when did he commit the offence? When he provided copies to the Guardian and New York Times for help in sifting the wheat from the chaff and to make sure there they weren’t causing danger to anyone? Or only when he published some of the stuff at large? And why hasn’t the editor of the New York Times been indicted or subjected to calls for his head on Fox TV?

  47. zut alors

    @ Jimmy: ‘And on top of that he hasn’t even been charged by the US and the US haven’t even requested extradiction.’

    Ever seen a lion stalking its prey? It doesn’t indicate it’s getting ready to pounce.

  48. shanghai

    Hey Jimmy,
    Under one of the bills passed by the US senate in Dec/Jan time frame the US can declare anyone anywhere an enemy under terror laws and based upon that declaration start proceedings. They don’t have to even advise the individual of the basis of the charges. A person can be held indefinitely in detention outside the justice system without charges – essentially a prisoner of war but also outside the Geneva convention. Have a read – lots of discussion on it in the US at the moment.
    Without Aus gov support in such a complex geopolitical opera Assange is stuffed – now it’s a matter of self survival for him.
    And to cut back to basics, our mainstream press is now so compromised that whistle blowers have become fundamental to the process of democracy and open government.

  49. shanghai

    Just to clarify………open to lots of interpretation..

    The detention sections of the NDAA begin by “affirm[ing]” that the authority of the President under the AUMF, a joint resolution passed in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, includes the power to detain, via the Armed Forces, any person (including U.S. citizens)”who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners”, and anyone who commits a “belligerent act” against the U.S. or its coalition allies in aid of such enemy forces, under the law of war, “without trial, until the end of the hostilities authorized by the [AUMF]”. The text authorizes trial by military tribunal, or “transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin”, or transfer to “any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity”

  50. Gratton Wilson

    Julian Assange is a journalist and he did the equivalent of displaying some very dirty laundry belonging to the US as well as some shoddystuff belonging to the Australian Government. All very embarrassing but not illegal. The US doesn’t like people to publicise that they do some very nasty things.
    David Hicks, Mamdoh Habib and that young hacker are clear examples of Australia’s attitude to US kidnapping Australian citizens – we turn our backs real quick. None of those Australians broke an Australian law, nor the law of the country in which they located nor were they in the US when the alleged “crimes” were committed. Our Government is being very evasive about its knowledge about US intentions – reminds me very much of John Howard saying that the US had not asked for troops to invade Iraq – when our troops were already lined up at the border.

  51. Paperchaser

    “The process by which Assange was accused, cleared, and then re-accused of these incidents beggars belief.”

    No, Rundle, it doesn’t. If it beggars your belief, you haven’t spent time with people who are dealing with the aftermath of this type of assault. Someone who considers Sweden’s laws in this domain archaic, who believes that statist feminism makes the country’s legal process untenable, and who dismisses nailing a woman bareback despite her objections as “line-crossing” may be the sort of person who believes an assault isn’t an assault unless he says so, and that people who have been assaulted aren’t psychologically disturbed and confused enough by events to prevent them seeing the way forward with “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” American-movie-style clarity.

    But your moral and intellectual shortcomings do not a conspiracy make, especially as your interpretation of Swedish loan-extradition laws is faulty. Assange would not be “loaned” in a timely manner if he could argue that the charges against him are political, and the timeframe of his prosecution in the US on espionage charges would also be likely to preclude the possibility of a loan.

    Both aspects of the question are problematic enough that if there was an enduring US intention or conspiracy to extradite and prosecute the man – both operationally unnecessary measures now as 1) the financial embargo against Wikileaks has been successful 2) potential leakers see from Bradley Manning’s case that they cannot safely use Wikileaks, and also see from the publishing of the unredacted files that Wikileaks does not take the protection of sensitive identities seriously and 3) Assange and his supporters have chosen to idenitify his assault charges with the operations of Wikileaks, compromising how seriously the organization will be taken henceforth – an extradition process from the UK to the US under the extremely liberal terms of the UK-to-US extradition treaty would have begun minutes after Sweden quietly dropped its case.

    I think much of the disappointment over Assange’s decision to run comes in the fact that if it works, the world will be free to continue to believe Assange is a cowardly pervert willing to compromise the reputation of his organization by confounding this assault investigation with an attack on Wikileaks itself.

    I never expected him to “man up” and I don’t know what choice I would have made in his situation, but I expect it would have started with wearing a condom when told to.

  52. AR

    As gutless and embarrassing as the current government is in this matter – imagine if MM & his ugly ilk were in office, falling over themselves to sing “yes sire, no sire, how high sire?”.

  53. Patriot

    Entertaining conspiracy theory rant, Rundle. Baseless and self-contradictory, but entertaining. Could have used some expert speculation about a covert rescue operation by the elite HSU ninjas who framed Trousers Thomson.

  54. Graham R

    Further evidence of the lack of interest displayed by the Australian Government in Assange was provided by Foreign Minister Bob Carr to Budget Estimates (Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee) on May 30th this year. In answer to a question by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam he said:

    “The focus the department brought to that case is that Julian Assange has been given and will continue to be given full consular support. That principle would apply to any other Australian in his position. I think it is fair to say, given the nature of the charges he is facing, that is the only issue that arises for us. I think I am accurate in saying that.”

    Senator Carr isn’t even aware that the Australian Citizen requesting his help has NOT been charged with anything. With professional help like this, what could possibly go wrong for Assange?

  55. Andybob

    I’m glad he didn’t take the yacht option Guy, just imagine if he’d applied for asylum in Ecuador after arriving by boat. Whew….

  56. william gibbons

    apparently joe hildebrand thinks video of a black hawk pilot gunning down innocent children is “banal”.

  57. puddleduck

    Oh glory, Bob Carr on Lateline trotting out many of the facile arguments against Assange.

    Would he, Julia Gillard and our erstwhile Attorney General be so sanguine were they facing the same array of forces against them?

    Gillard would not confirm that she has asked and been reassured that the US won’t seek extradition of Assange from Sweden. “Consular assistance” is all they’ll say. We all know what it means when they all trot out the line – it’s what they aren’t saying that’s crucial.

    I’m ashamed of our government. I’m appalled by Sweden – why not just ask him some questions. I’m appalled by the women who made these allegations. And most of all, the US government, Obama… liberty for all… except those who criticise them. God help us.

  58. zut alors

    On Lateline Bob Carr was robotic and carefully rehearsed, trotting out that old chestnut of “more consular assistance than any Australian in the same period’ etc.

    As Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd was more understanding of Assange’s situation than any of the government’s current front bench high-flyers. Nor did Rudd branded him as guilty – unlike the PM when she spoke of Assange behaving “illegally”. It beggars belief she has a law degree.

  59. Taylor Jacquelyne

    Jimmy you seem to be posting all the usual contentious arguments I would expect a shill to.
    Willen & Ardin’s reasons for spitting the dummy are far more obvious to me as a woman than the other issues so well set out in Guy’s article which are frighteningle Kafkesque..

    Given some in America’s public screeching for Julian’s assassination on record, Sweden’s femivirulent & archaic laws & obvious links to the same sort of wikihunting,in both Sweden & U.S and both Australia & the UK’ssubservient position at feet of the United State, I hope Ecuador does have the courage to take him in, or if not at least let him try Venzuela..
    Sadly our similarly fawning political puppet theatre here in Aotearoa means we cannot offer him sanctuary either, although given the farce with Mega-Upload’s Kim doubt he would be less safe than current limbo..
    We are living in very strange times but I still see more traitorous & t erorist threats & actions from authorities in so called democracies than all the other autocratic & plutocratic regimes put together….They began way before Manning allegedly made Collateral Murder known too

  60. vanderlinden

    If Assange is granted political asylum what are the mechanics of getting him out of England? Has anyone figured this out because I can’t? And no media outlet has addressed this question yet as far as I can see.

  61. Paperchaser

    Lots have, Vanderlinden. Check the Guardian. All the Australian journos have gone to bed.

    Short version: if he leaves the embassy he’ll be arrested unless Ecuador decides to make him a diplomant, so he might want to pull a Hungarian bishop and just stay in the embassy until – I don’t know. Maybe until the Swedish government is stupid enough to allow a precedent like interviewing a rape suspect by Skype, as so many Assange supporters can’t believe they have the temerity to not do.

  62. Andrea2012

    @ Warren Joffe
    Germany doesn’t allow its citizens to be extradicted and it doesn’t allow its companies to be prosecuted in other countries. Is this legislation we should consider for Australia? Perhaps this is something the Greens can look at? Soon, while they still have the balance of power.

    @ Paperchaser
    “Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t seem to figure high on the list of many comments above. S-xual assualt is a serious crime, but to assume that Assange is guilty and getting away with it with his asylum request is nonsense.

    And to assume that he has broken laws by being a publisher and a journalist? Well that’s the start of a slippery slope away from democracy.

    Woeful is the only way to describe the government’s handling of Assange’s case.

  63. Paperchaser

    ‘“Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t seem to figure high on the list of many comments above. S-xual assualt is a serious crime, but to assume that Assange is guilty and getting away with it with his asylum request is nonsense.’

    Don’t put words in my mouth, Andrea2012, and don’t be facile.

    There’s sufficient indications that Assange may have committed assaults that now there’s a transparent extradition process to a civil law country with world-beating legal standards to interview him about the allegations.

    He may be innocent until proven guilty – although in civil law countries, the burden of defence does in practice fall more heavily on the accused than in common law countries. And yet many civil law countries still manage higher juridical standards than most common law countries, and Sweden is one of them.

    In any case, that doesn’t mean a series of courts haven’t decided Assange doesn’t have a case to answer to, which he is now employing every means possible to not answer to. Legal arguments aside, he’s already compromised Wikileaks by conflating his personal problems with its operations, and now he’s willing to cause diplomatic issues between Ecuador, Sweden, the UK and Australia in his own interests.

    If you don’t think the world is justified in drawing some conclusions about him on that basis, well, you’d better cry about it. Because it will. Especially considering the large body of Swedish law that makes a back-door extradition to the US extremely unlikely, whatever Crikey and justice 4 Assange claims.

  64. Patriot

    The puke Greens recognise Assange’s right to publish lawfully classified and controlled information, then they insist on secrecy for their own annual conference and purge leakers from the party. Hypocrites!

  65. Paperchaser

    And Andrea2012, if you’re as interested in moral justice as throwing around quotes like “innocent until proven guilty” would suggest, I’m surprised you’re fond of the German policy of non-extradition of citizens. It’s allowed and even encouraged massive international corporate corruption – not to mention Nazi war criminals who committed atrocities in other countries to die peacefully in their Bavarian beds.

    It’s also a facile point in the present context given that Assange isn’t being extradited from Australia. Not even Germany is able to prevent the extradition of its citizens from a second country to a third country. The sort of powers or policies you seem to be promoting for Australia are diplomatically impossible and morally repugnant.

  66. Warren Joffe

    Here’s a scenario which, with say a 10 per cent probability, would be enough for me, if I were Assange, to head for Ecuador asap.

    He is taken to Sweden and from there “lent” to the US which, after all, has much more serious complaints against him than the Swedish ones for which he hasn’t even been charged. Bradley Manning’s trial is timed for after Assange’s rendition to the US so he can get his plea deal done in the most favourable circumstances for him, namely that he is not only bad-mouthing Assange while Assange is in the UK but undertaking to give evidence against him when it is certain that the evidence can be heard at a trial of Assange in America.

    Once Assange is in Ecuador he should be almost home and hosed. The only question would be how he reaches Australia (or New Zealand) from there without interception. Mind you it might be a good idea to wait in New Zealand until our next federal election is over. It could suit the Coalition for the Gillard government hit rock bottom by handing over Assange to the US and make it totally and universally despised. Though it is a bit hard to see how Assange could be extradited from Australia unless something really foolish in our Free Trade Agreement with the US has opened him up to some prosecution for hacking or a copyright “offence”. [I am open to contradiction but does anyone know enough to counter my suspicion that the abject performance of Australian negotiators on the Free Trade Agreement, including on intellectual property in particular, was made more likely by the minor issues being raised by some of our software writers and pop musicians who wanted better copyright protection – for which, admittedly, one can have some sympathy though most of copyright law is a fraud on the public].

  67. Warren Joffe

    @ Andrea2012

    If you are right about Germany’s refusing to extradite (though it presumably is party to the kind of procedure that Sweden is using within the EU) that could be a good starting point for us. I would like to see a simple enactment that said “any Australian resident may choose, instead of extradition, to be tried in Australia for the equivalent offence” with consequential provisions for rules of court, etc.

    @ Paperchaser

    Your opinions and prejudices are somewhat more evident than your authority to assert what you do assert. I would be interested to know about “the large body of Swedish law” and am, as it stands, not inclined to take your assertion as all that is needed because I find it extraordinary that you should so lightly dismiss the fears of Assange that he could be prosecuted and gaoled in America for a very long time – not least when, though it adds little, for doing something he conscientiously thought right, and which many others agree was, on balance, a good thing and honestly motivated.

    You say “There’s sufficient indications that Assange may have committed assaults that now there’s a transparent extradition process to a civil law country with world-beating legal standards to interview him about the allegations.” What do you mean by “world beating legal standards” and what is your evidence for it, especially in the light of Rundle’s description of the set up there? And do you seriously think that Australia should be happy about a citizen of our country who would be entitled to know the charges against him, to be given bail and to a public hearing before an independent judiciary and, ultimately a jury of 12 if it got to trial, being sent off to a country where the language spoken is not English (though admittedly his interrogators would probably speak a more comprehensible brand than that of say an Alabama jury) and the law uses unfamiliar principles? And where the Swedish authorities have already two big counts against them, one being their refusal to question him (which is allegedly all they want to do) in the UK, that must raise suspicion. I can understand your responding “tough luck” if Assange was getting extradited to Sweden from Australia by our rules given that he had played round with Swedish girls in Sweden and there would have had to be a statement of the case against him which would make it a case which could be a crime in Australia. But Rundle has shown that to be far from the case. What do you know that we don’t?

  68. Julian Fitzgibbon

    Any discussion of Julian Assange should always be prefaced with the absolute and clear declaration that Julian Assange is an utter prat.

    Nonetheless, the rape charge is an absolute abuse of process with Swedish state authorities being sieved for people corrupt enough to play along, one complainant utterly dishonest, the other a reluctant co-optee. So woeful is the allegation that I seriously doubt on arrival in Sweden it would proceed to court. I very much doubt he is in danger of extradition from Sweden to the USA and in the incredible situation where extradition did take place I think he would be easily acquitted by a US civilian court. So ridiculous is the charge that I can’t help wondering if it is all a little drama to keep Julian Assange’s name up in lights in the 2 year absence of any further document dumps. The complainants don’t really want it to proceed to trial, Julian Assange knows he is no danger – he gains the appearance of persecution without actually being persecuted it any real way.

    However, that is just my opinion, where or not Assange was complicit in the way the charge was laid, it is still an absolute abuse of process – hence he is a genuine asylum seeker.

    I am not sure how is proposing to get to Ecuador – perhaps he is hoping to spend another 2 years in the Ecuadorian Embassy?

  69. Damien

    I support free speech as much as anyone. I don’t like the way Bradley Manning is being treated and I don’t understand how a junior NCO was able to access all those classified documents and diplomatic cables and provide them to Wikileaks. I also think the NY Times distinction between their people who analysed and published the documents (journalists) and JA (amateur nerd) is specious as well but am reminded that the people from The Observer and that German paper couldn’t stand hm either. Neither could a senior colleagues at Wikileaks by all accounts.

    But all that has nothing to do with JA’s current situation. In my view, he’s a grade A narcissist. Everyone’s looking at him and that’s how he likes it. It’s just plausible that it’s ego that drive him rather than a thirst for the truth and transparency. I think to JA it one and the same thing.

  70. Michael de Angelos

    Can someone take the village idiots Jimmy & Patriot outside and waterboard them until they understand English?

    Someone leaked information to Wikileaks.

    Assange leaked information to The Guardian & NYTimes who subsequently published it.

    Therefore : NYTimes,Guardian,Fox News, Andrew Bolt and everyone who mentioned that info, discussed and bought a newspaper to read that information (including MPs) all did exactly the same thing and if there is guilt, they all share it including Patriot & Jimmy.

    Send brave keyboard warriors Jimmy & Patriot to the US .

  71. Liamj

    @ Michael De Angelos – with a self-chosen tag like Patriot, i reckon s/he never left the US. After all, corporate & ‘national security’ funded sockpuppets are already a billion dollar business there.

  72. Pamela

    I am with Shanghai- not running away- SURVIVAL.
    It is too late to play the game according to the rules becasue where Assange is concerned there are no rules.
    The risks of winding up in an orange suit being tortured are too high.
    Then it is too late- no way out of yankee doodle dandy non-justice system
    Assange has done what he has to do to SURVIVE.

  73. Jimmy

    To all those who claim Assange hasn’t committed an offence I say if you are right why is he worried? If he hasn’t breached a US law then how can they extradict and charge him?

    As Bob Carr pointed out last night it may actually be easier for the US to get Assange from the UK if they wanted him.

    And even if he hasn’t committed an offence and the US still can/will extradict him was that consequence complete foreign to him at the time he made the decision?

    To me we have to alternative points of view one rel ies on a conspiracy between the US, the UK and Sweden and the other means that Assange is wanted for questioning over a se xual assualt, what is the old saying about chosing between a conspiracy and a f..k up?

    And has anyone really stopped to ask what are the impacts on the US of chosing to charge Assange and not? Does anyone really think they will risk the backlash?

    Julian Fitzgibbon – COmpletely agree on your preface.

  74. Tom

    Let me get this right, are JA’s supporters suggesting that we collectively as Ausralians ‘don’t like (or respect) the legal process of the Swedish Government and as such demand on the behalf of a citizen that they change their legal processes to suit what we think would be right and proper if JA was actually here in Australia?

    He’s accused, they have a due process, end of. As I said yesterday, if on the back of the s-xual assualt charges he might face post investigation in Sweden he ends up in the US on trial for his Wikileaks ‘work’, that would INHO not be right. I think the mans a grade A, self obsessed a r s e but in context of Wikileaks, has done nothing wrong and I’d be happy to get on board the ‘save JA’ bandwagon should he end up in a court in the US. Until that happens, he has an obligation to face the music in Sweden.

    and Ecuador, playground of the CIA?

  75. Tom

    As a side issue to this ‘debate’, it’s interesting to me that seemingly from whatever perspective put forward in either supporting or decrying JA, the one thing pretty much everybody agree’s on is the the US Government and it’s agencies now hold as much trust internationally as the KGB or the Stasi used to. How did that happen?

  76. Liamj

    @ Tom – its called history, but don’t expect to read about it in Aus media. Google school of the americas or charles taylor or cointelpro or allende or contra cocaine or suharto or WMD or hb gary etc..

    Don’t be afraid to include Wikileaked cables from US State Dept, nobody denies they’re real, and they’re a great contemporary source on US perfidy and Australian cowardice.

  77. Warren Joffe

    FWIW let’s grant that Julian Assange would irritate us more than Hawke, Kennett, Abbott, Winston Churchill, Ron Paul, Trotsky (I am sure you can name a better list of noisy people drawing attention to their own take on life, politics and everything) and I daresay there is a good chance that he could be convicted by an American jury of one of those conspiracy charges American prosecutors so love since they forgot Magna Carta. A good patriotic American jury might be inclined to believe that he, not a journalist according to the prosecutor and therefore not protected by any freedom of the press principle, effectually conspired with Manning to steal, for the purposes of making known to unauthorised persons of any nationality, American government docs and info and all they might need would be Manning’s evidence that JA encouraged him and provided him with help in decrypting some of the material or some other technical advice – or just reference to someone who could give him that advice (“well that’s the sort of problem I always go to Jimmy Ferrett’s articles for”). So…. fairly and squarely,*unless he did actually conspire in the US with Bradley Manning and was caught in the US*, why should any Australian not want its government to protect JA from rendition to the US and prosecution when he hasn’t committed any offence against Australian law (or interests arguably – and anyway exposed a great crime that the US was covering up)? And, for that matter, why should an Australian government not try and protect Australian citizens from being incarcerated in other countries, even the UK, in order to allow the dubious extraditions that the awful Tony Blair facilitated (cf. the NatWest Three to and in Texas for something which they did in the UK and wasn’t a crime there and the use of the European Arrest Warrant by any old prosecuting authority so someone can be questioned and tried in secret etc. … by that world class Swedish system of course)? Let’s suppose it was Romania where he needed an interpreter to talk to the police, prosecutor and judge and the offence was facilitating the secret filming of disgracefully run Romanian orphanages and publishing the videos on the http://www….. We should constantly be improving our standard of “fair trial” which prevails in Australia. Why should we complacent and complaisant about Australians being subjected to a perverted or merely defective brand or inadequate instance and application of criminal justice?

  78. Julian Fitzgibbon

    I think Assange would have been better off using a cyberpunk’s yacht – now it looks like he will have to try and obtain a helicopter.

    Or perhaps a JK Rowling-Harry Potter scheme whereby the Ecudorian Embassey holds a function, everyone wears a V for Vendetta mask and then everybody runs in different directions when they leave the gate.

    No end of fun.

  79. Peter Ormonde

    Excellent write-up Mr Rundle.

    And interesting comments.

    I am once again ashamed of the Australian Government.

  80. Jimmy

    To summarise the argument for those supporting Assange it seems;

    He is innocent of any crime against the US, which is probably why they haven’t charged him or asked for an extradiction, but he can’t return to Sweden to face allegations of se xual assault because he fears being charged with a crime he is so clearly innocent of anyone he says he committed one is labelled an idiot or threatened with water boarding. And for this fear to be realised the govt’s of the UK, Sweden and the US have to act in concert with the assistance of the Australian govt.

    And no one finds this a tad odd?

  81. Are you free?

    @Jimmy 9:19

    “To all those who claim Assange hasn’t committed an offence I say if you are right why is he worried?”

    Because the US Government has a history of behaving like a lawless corporate psychopath.

    “If he hasn’t breached a US law then how can they extradict and charge him?”

    Concoct espionage charges using that medieval, undemocratic vehicle, the grand jury. Alternatively, kidnap (render) him. The Swedish Government has form for willingly participating in this type of human rights abuse.

    “As Bob Carr pointed out last night it may actually be easier for the US to get Assange from the UK if they wanted him.”

    Carr’s less trustworthy than a used car salesman in this matter. Jennifer Robinson and Assange’s other lawyers say the opposite. I know whom I’d believe.

    “And even if he hasn’t committed an offence and the US still can/will extradict him was that consequence complete foreign to him at the time he made the decision?”

    So all of us mere subjects must take pains not to ever offend our totalitarian overlords? As other posters have repeatedly tried to get through your head, publishing secrets is not a crime.

    “To me we have to alternative points of view one rel ies on a conspiracy between the US, the UK and Sweden and the other means that Assange is wanted for questioning over a se xual assualt, what is the old saying about chosing between a conspiracy and a f..k up?”

    Every extra piece of information shifts the odds further and further in favour of conspiracy, e.g. the way that the prosecution was restarted, the deleting of tweets and texts, the DNA-less condom.

    “And has anyone really stopped to ask what are the impacts on the US of chosing to charge Assange and not? Does anyone really think they will risk the backlash?”

    They didn’t seem to care about any backlash from the War on Terror®.

  82. Jimmy

    Are you free- Again you argument hinges on a massive conspiracy theory, you put more weight on Assange’s lawyer who is paid to make his argument than Australia’ Foreign minister who has no bias (oh wait he is part on the conspiracy) and you reiterate that only a fool could think he has committed a crime so again how on earth could he be charged let alone found guilty but he is imminent danger of this being the case.

  83. Dogs breakfast

    Jaysus Jimmy, you can’t be that naive. Your statements about him doing something he knew to be illegal are just plain wrong. Wrong, in every sense wrong, he had a justified belief, or at least can argue a justified belief that he was publishing, something that newspapers and other media have a right to do in democratic countries. You must have heard of it.

    And the ‘if he hasn’t commmitted an offence why is he worried’ argument is just head in the sand bollocks. It is clear that there is something going on here that has little to do with the pursuit of justice, and with Hicks et al the USA has form.

    And Paperchaser, oh FFS dear, you are deliberately conflating this Swedish charge as being remotely equivalent to rape, but it clearly is not. Oh the terror of consensual sex where they pulled their condom off, oh the horror. Is there another country on the planet where this would incite a charge? You belittle those women who have actually been victims of areal sexual crime.

    And of course let’s not bring up the fact that one of the complainants had a blog describing how to get back at men by making complaints about sexual harassment, or that there is a reasonable apprehension that there was coercion on one woman to make a statement, or that the statement was withdrawn, charges dropped, then suddenly it is live again.

    Stinks doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  84. Jimmy

    Oh and you also assume both Assange and the US govt have no regard for the consequences of their actions.

    By the by the PM today has said “The Australian Government always opposes extradition in death penalty cases for Australian citizens – anytime, anywhere, any individual.”

  85. Peter Ormonde

    Yes Jim… and last time I looked we also were opposed to detention without charge, imprisoning children, secret trials and torture.

    All this namby pamby democracy stuff goes out the window when “national security” raises its finger and when the interests of our great and powerful friends are involved. Nothing is more dangerous than a crumbling empire Jim.

    Assange and his advisers would be mugs to take the word of the Australian, Swedish or US governments on these matters. It is worthless.

  86. shepmyster

    Paperchaser your statement that there is “sufficient indications” that Assange “may” have committed assaults is I think the reason the matter should have gone no further than a British police station.
    From the legal opinion I read the consensus seems to be that in Australia as in Brittan that no charges would have been laid given physical evidence held by Swedish Police (for which there appears to be none) or the statements made by his accusers. This alone should have been enough to prevent extradition. He has stated his willingness to co-operate with the Swedish investigation and I can see no valid reason why this has to be done in Sweden. I see no valid reason to extradite a man that has not even being charged with an offence. If this were another Australian facing the prospect of being extradited to Sweden without charge, how would we re-act? I would hope with outrage!
    Your assertion Assange has compromised Wikileaks by conflating his personal problems with its operations, and statement “he’s willing to cause diplomatic issues between Ecuador, Sweden, the UK and Australia in his own interest”, lacking any objectivity and devoid of any real relevance to the issue at hand. As to the claim that extradition to the US highly unlikely, I find it a flippant remark easily made when not facing the fear of life in an American prison, as to your question regarding if the world is justified in drawing conclusions about him on that basis it surprised me that you didn’t reach the obvious conclusion of NO.

  87. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy

    Are you just provoking the serious by sounding like an idiot? You completely misrepresent “Are you free”‘s post. Try going through it and yours with a Year 8 English teacher. Then get some help with logic.

  88. Are you free?

    @Jimmy

    Those of us who find the events of this case fishy did not wake up one day with a conspiracy fully formed in our minds, as you attempt to insinuate. Only after analysing the evidence and behaviours of the parties, and by elimination, have we concluded that there is an unjust scheme afoot. Of course Assange’s lawyer is “paid to make his argument” but on the specific question of law she’d ruin her professional reputation if she got it wrong. The Foreign Minister, OTOH…
    “he is part on the conspiracy” – your words not mine. I think the default position that we can assume of politicians is one of arse-covering (both governmental and personal). He’s not going to lift a finger for someone who caused Gillard embarrassment. He’s also not going to risk falling out of favour with the US Government.

    “you reiterate that only a fool could think he has committed a crime”
    Assuming you’re referring to the US matter, the US Government has a habit of ignoring the law. Look at its reaction to the NDAA case in federal court. Look at the contempt in which it held the international conventions against torture. But at law, Assange must be in the clear. Every self-respecting newspaper publishes leaked secrets as a matter of course. The Pentagon Papers case cemented that. So he is in “imminent danger” because of the US Government’s disdain for the law.

  89. Michael de Angelos

    When the USA wants it way : there are no laws.

    Sweden participated in rendition : the kidnap of people for torture.

    George Bush Jr lied to the world to attack Iraq.

    John Howard lied to Australians to attack Iraq.

    Tony Blair lied to British people to attack Iraq.

    John Howard & George Bush enjoy retirement.

    Tony Blair is now a paid adviser to the dictator of The Maldives who took power in a coup.

    Hundreds of thousands of innocents have died in Iraq & Afghanistan (with our help).

    The UK wouldn’t extradite the murderous Pinochet to Spain where he was wanted for murder.

    *Julian Assange is right to run like hell from this lot.

  90. Jimmy

    Warren – When Are you free starts with “Because the US Government has a history of behaving like a lawless corporate psychopath.” & “Concoct espionage charges using that medieval, undemocratic vehicle, the grand jury. Alternatively, kidnap (render) him.” I think it is fair to say he is subscribing to a conspiracy theory.

    As for logic how is it more logical to assume a conspircy theory that involves 4 govts and charges for an apparent non existant crime plus an extradiction that the PM has stated they govt would oppose rather than the simple case that Assange is wanted for quetioning regarding a se xual assault?

    Peter – Again we have to assume a conspiracy theory between 4 national govt’s and a US govt who’s citizens hold free speech above almost everything who is willing to risk a massive backlash in an election year to prosecute a case that according to everyone here only an idiot could think they had a chance of winning. Surely the simplest answer is the best.

  91. Peter Ormonde

    No Jim … all we have to accept is that the US wants to punish Assange and that three little governments will bend over – just a little bit – to give them what they want. As usual. Not conspiratorial – just supine.

  92. Jimmy

    No Pete – All you have to accept is that the US wants to punish Assange (which is a step further than has been demonstrated in itself) and can get 3 governments (nothing little about them) and 3 legal systems that are independent of govt to do their bidding.

  93. Alexander Berkman

    Nice work Guy, excellent article and I’d like to direct you to democracy now who have an in depth interview with Assange’s lawyer.

    Jimmy you seem to be living in some sort of murdochian dreamworld over the US government and how it acts in the world geo-politics. Since 1947 they have been implict in the deaths of millions upon millions of people from Chile to Indonesia, overthrowing democraticly elected governments whom dared to put through policies that weren’t in the interest of US corporations. Now they are passing laws, murdering anyone who opposes them through unlawful drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan & Afghanistan. The way you go on and on about it seems to me you have absolutely no clue about historical facts and would rather see the world through the rose coloured glasses fawning over the land of the ‘free’.

    Assange himself hasn’t even been charged with any crime either in Sweden , the US or the UK. He has every reason to want to leg it given that the US govt, both members of the congress and the mainstream media are calling for his death.

  94. Michael de Angelos

    Once people start accusing others of promoting conspiracy theories, you see how successful conspirators can be.

  95. Peter Ormonde

    No Jim … the Swedish judicial system is anything but independent of government … have a look at who and how they’ve handled this – and remember he hasn’t been charged – he’s wanted for “questioning”… not a judge in sight.

    Same here … all that’s happened here is that Julian Assange – whom Gillard has already found guilty of “something” has been getting all the consular assistance provided to any other Australian (again bureaucrats not judges).

    And that bastion of independent thinking the English judiciary has decided that what is, in effect, a Swedish police warrant is worthy of permitting extradition. That’s the closest any sort of legal mind has come to this – deciding on why Assange should be shipped off to Sweden rather than do it by phone or video link.

    No judges required really Jim… just for governments to let it happen. Trial by neglect.

  96. Frank Campbell

    Gillard instantly condemned Assange. I can tolerate her banality and incompetence, but not reflex obedience to the American empire. Who does she think she is, Paypal or Amex or Visa?
    There appears to be little support for Assange among the parliamentary ALP. And we know almost all liberals in the Liberal Party have been surgically removed over the years.
    Gillard’s pretence of consular assistance is disingenuous. The govt. has far more time for convicted drug smuggler Corby- and the politely detained (with yoghurt) ICC lawyer – than Assange.
    Given the chance, Gillard would drag Assange to Washington as hand luggage…

  97. Jimmy

    Peter – Firstly I hardly think you can say that the English system is the tool of govt so whether you agree with their decision or not I find it hard to believe they were simply doing the bidding of their govt who was in turn acting on behalf of the US govt.
    I admit I don’t know the in’s and out’s of the Swedish court system but as he hasn’t been charged I can’t see how you expect any involvement at this stage but I assume (and am happy to be corrected) the court system would have to become involved prior to extradiction.
    Then there is the US courts who are again seperate from the govt who would have to find him guilty of something everyone here thinks you’d have to be an idiot to do and in direct contrast to their constitution.
    As for Australia, well I don’t know how you expect our legal system to get involved and Gillards “opinion” is hardly even relevant.
    So you say “No judges required really Jim” yet he has had numerous court cases in the UK in front of Judges and if it goes any further more to come, and you accuse “for governments to let it happen” yet admit that he has had consular assistance form his own govt (the only one you would expect it of) and no sign of interference from any others.
    Plus the Australian govt has said it would oppose any extradiction that involved the death penalty which espionage does.

  98. Jimmy

    Michael De Angelos – So it isn’t the conspiracy theorist who is at fault it is the person pointing them out?

  99. Peter Ormonde

    Jim … Why do you think this bloke is even going to get near Sweden? Once he’s in open air space he’s anyone’s. The yanks were sending suspected terrorists all over the place for “enhanced” interrogation Jim – to Germany, Poland, Egypt … none of it legal.

    The yanks don’t really care about international law Jim – it doesn’t apply when “national security” and pride are at stake. It’s why they won’t sign up to the ICC for example.

    Anyway not much point arguing about it …you’re obviously convinced that truth and justice will out – that the charges laid by these women are legit – that the Swedes will be nice and that the yanks will respect Assange’s legal and human rights. Me, I gave up believing that sort of thing a long time ago.

  100. Jimmy

    Oh come on Peter – How do you think they are going to fly him to Sweden, on a jet chartered by the US govt? And while not even coming close to endorsing the behaviour of the US in regards to rendition of terrorist suspects I think Assange is a very different case. It is one thing to abduct some unknown Arab form a country with laughable judicial system who the US public couldn’t give a stuff about but a completely different kettle of fish when you are talking about a high profile white Australian who was Time’s man of the year.

    And I don’t have a clue whether the charges alleged (not laid) by these women are legit but I do think the Swedish police have a right to question him and that so far he has been subject to one of the best judicial systems in the world and yes truth and justice will out. But most of all I believe the simplest answer is often the best and a conspiracy involving 4 govt’s and at least 3 judicial systems is far from simple.

  101. Alexander Berkman

    attempt # 2
    Nice work Guy, excellent article and I’d like to direct you to democracy now who have an in depth interview with Assange’s lawyer.

    Jimmy you seem to be living in some sort of murdochian dreamworld over the US government and how it acts in the world geo-politics. Since 1947 they have been implict in the deaths of millions upon millions of people from Chile to Indonesia, overthrowing democraticly elected governments whom dared to put through policies that weren’t in the interest of US corporations. Now they are passing laws, murdering anyone who opposes them through unlawful drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan & Afghanistan. The way you go on and on about it seems to me you have absolutely no clue about historical facts and would rather see the world through the rose coloured glasses fawning over the land of the ‘free’.

    Assange himself hasn’t even been charged with any crime either in Sweden , the US or the UK. He has every reason to want to leg it given that the US govt, both members of the congress and the mainstream media are calling for his death.

  102. shepmyster

    Jimmy in your summary you state “he fears being charged with a crime he is so clearly innocent of”. I can’t disagree with that. Yet I fail to see your indignation in regards to people being labeled idiots when quite clearly they are. The only alternative to this point of view would be people deliberately trying to poison a discussion in a feeble effort to promote their own or others objectives.

  103. Are you free?

    @Jimmy
    “Swedish police have a right to question him…”

    If you’re still pretending that Julian Assange has been avoiding questioning (when in truth it has been the Swedish police/prosecutors who refused all reasonable requests), then Shepmyster is right in implying that you’re a paid shill.

  104. Are you free?

    Mod: why is my comment from 12:14 still awaiting moderation?

  105. Warren Joffe

    Give up on Jimmy fellers. He may not even know he’s in a hole but, in any case, he will go on digging. He’s a slow learner as well as ignorant. E.g. “but I assume (and am happy to be corrected) the court system would have to become involved prior to extradiction [sic].” Don’t expect him to use words like conspiracy in a way which means anything to anyone but him if he hasn’t yet grasped that the main point of the argument in the UK courts was premised on the fact that the Swedish courts had had NO relevant involvement!!! (And wouldn’t have unless he was, eventually, charged in Sweden with an offence).

    As for the appeal to that vague description “conspiracy theory” it is just a substitute for actually dealing with the fairly precise description one can gather from this blog about what might reasonably motivate Assange to treat himself as in serious danger of unjust imprisonment for a long time. Anyone with the slightest experience of insitutional behaviour knows how often people behave much worse when working for an institution (even one with principles that should inhibit their bad behaviour) than they would for themselves. It derives no doubt from our ancient tribal origins. It can be exemplified by such everyday realities as an ATO officer telling lies in the witness box, and of course, the omerta practised by fellow servicemen and fellow police. If you want a taste of reality in the way injustice comes about in the US courts (where 250 prisoners have been released after long sentences served on the basis of DNA evidence which proved that they couldn’t have committed the crime) read Richard Lewontin’s piece in the current New York Review of Books. He quotes, inter alia, some horrifying examples of prosecutors (including women) protecting their conviction records by refusing to act on certain proofs that the wrong man has been convicted (in one case because the actual perpetrator was dead so couldn’t be prosecuted).
    And if you read a current Economist blog you will see a large contingent of Indians and Indian-Americans who are convinced that Rajat Gupta was unjustly stitched up for insider trading in a case where his defence is plausibly said to have cost $30 million. I think they are probably both wrong and careless with the facts but one shouldn’t be so naive as to think that submitting oneself to trial (or in Assange’s case incarceration while interrogated) is other than something to be resisted strongly if one is innocent.

  106. Jimmy

    Are you free – is there anything in there with an l y or l i?

    Shepmyster – My point is if it is so clear cut that he is innocent what fear should he have of the courts and how could the US (where the first amendment is held sacred) mount a case against him?

    The alternative to this is that his innocence is not so clear cut and therefore why shouldn’t he face the courts to prove his guilt or innocence?

  107. GeeWizz

    He should have jumped on a leaky boat to Australia wearing a Burqa… guaranteed asylum these days.

  108. Honey Rosalynda

    The only thing that was needed from this incompetent Australian government (and even worse opposition) is some assurance that should Assange reach Sweden – Australia would ensure that he doesn’t get extradited to the US on charges relating to Wikileaks. Any such assurance would have assuaged the concerns that many of us have in regards to his long term safety. Given the most recent letter from the Australian government, Assange faced a clear threat that once he reaches Sweden the grand jury in the US will come down and he will be facing a life in a US prison and the Aussie government won’t life a finger.

    It is really disappointing to see how the Australian government treats citizens when they are in trouble and then dismisses their concerns as paranoid fantasy. I salute him and quite admire his work even though he does come across as a bit aloof; given the same circumstances I would happily live my days out in Ecuador writing on the internet, enjoying the beach with perhaps some trips to Venezuela and Cuba. I genuinely hope he receives his diplomatic immunity – from those said beaches he can certainly continue the fight and hopefully further embarrass our governments by simply holding them to account.

  109. shepmyster

    Jimmy, your point completely ignores the realities of the situation and you assume far too much. Firstly and quite wrongly you assume this to be a singular event. Then you presume that Assange will be charged only with the offence of sexual misconduct. You are mistaken in your belief that 1st amendment rights will protect him as the Vice President has already publicly stated that in the USA’s opinion he is not a journalist. Your alternative view that his innocence is not so clear seems to defy logic if you include legal opinion from Australia and England that in both our countries there’s insufficient evidence to have ever had charges laid against him for any crime!
    I’ve got a question Jimmy. I’ve rung the Malaysian police and accused you of trafficking heroin into Australia and now the Malaysian government has sent a request that you travel to Kuala Lumpur and present for questioning. You’ve got nothing to worry about. It has been stated that if charges are laid they won’t seek the death penalty. The fact that you have never had a passport should see you home in a few days. ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THE FREE PLANE RIDE JIMMY?

  110. Jimmy

    Shepmyster – No I don’t assume he will only be chargedwith sexual misconduct, I assume he will only be charged with offences that the prosecution believe they can prove and he will be afforded the opportunity to defend himslef in a court of law. I also take the PM at her word that the govt will oppose any extradiction that involves the death penalty.
    I am not mistaken in my belief the first amendment rights will protect him because surprisingly the Vice President isn’t going to be involved as either a judge or jury in the matter, what the Vice Predisdent believes and what the court believes are 2 seperate things.
    My alternate view is simply that an alternate view, he is either so clearly innocent that he cannot possibly have charges laid (or if they are laid the will be thrown out) or he is not as innocent as people say. If as you suggest the alternate view defies logic then it is hard to say he will be charged, prosecuted and found guilty.

    As for your question it is a bit hard for me to tkae the plane ride if I don’t have a passport?! Plus I woudl of committed a crime in Australia if the allegations are true so I wouldn’t have to be shipped back to Malaysia. And your question is a long way off the facts of this case, but yes I would take that free plane ride as ts there is no evidence I did anything wrong and plenty of evidence to demonstrate I could not have committed the crime.

  111. Harry Rogers

    Amazing that some people see this whole thing as an issue of Assange’s personality and the case in Sweden.

    Fortunately Rundle digs further and shows the case for what it is basically the Australian government supports Australian citizens at their leisure and puts foreign countries demands ahead of protection of their citizen.

    Has Assange committed a serious crime or if so can someone advise what that is and what the terms of the charges are as Sweden will only do that once the suspect is locked up and on their soil and the politics are sorted out.

    Assange’s personality is not an issue.

    Are people so blind as to not be able to see through to the obvious fascist issues.

    Of course if any one of the critics of Assange’s case were accidentily arrested in the US lets see how they cry out for help. I presume the usual gutless response of “oh now that’s totally different”

  112. Michael de Angelos

    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    “Michael De Angelos – So it isn’t the conspiracy theorist who is at fault it is the person pointing them out?”

    We could well say the same of Assange-he is paying the price of delivering the message although everyone who also delivered the message ; NYTimes, SMH, Daily Telegraph remain scot free.

    Also can we posters remember : Julian Assange has not been accused of anything. He is just wanted for questioning.

    And the claim that the Australian government will assist when there is a death sentence is balderdash. The US just has to say they will not ask for it and impose a life sentence.

    However those who delivered another false message like Bush,Howard & Blair that Iraq had WMD and thus we went to war and killed a hundred thousand (at least) walk free.

    It’s my hope that Assange’s claim for asylum was pre-planned.

    And those who do not believe British justice can be tampered with, when Spain wished to extradite General Pinochet for the murders of Spanish citizens, they met a brick wall and failure.

  113. Honey Rosalynda

    I always love the ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear’ line. Works so well in all circumstances and always makes you feel confident in those who utter it.

    Jimmy – if he ends up in a US court he will be facing crimes that are yet to be handed down by a grand jury however US prosecutors have been actively collecting evidence to tie him to Bradley Manning. Even if the death penalty is taken off the table, he faces a life time in prison and it seems the Australia government is happy to let him do so; indeed let me be bold in saying, I am sure many governments would be happy to see Assange rot in solitary confinement for the rest of his days.

    The Malaysian drug example doesn’t obviously apply to you however the example is useful in illustrating the entirely flimsy case in Sweden. Assange is damned by many for not wanting to confront his accusers which is what makes the rape charge so powerful; it implies a level of violence that undermines his character. I wonder what society would say if it was a female activist wanted for adultery in an Islamic country and then facing extradition to a third country; would we be so quick to label them as guilty and throw them away?

    Regardless of what you think of Assange, there is a bigger at play here and the precedent being set is alarming

  114. Are you free?

    Re: modding
    What does “l y” or “l i” have to do with the price of eggs (@Jimmy 2:59pm)?
    My comments from 12:14pm and 2:51pm haven’t been let through.

  115. shepmyster

    You certainly describe a fool far better than I ever could Jimmy. In your own words, I assume that he will be charged with offences that the prosecution believe they can prove. In making that statement you assume it’s proper for a government to seek extradition of a person, by their own admission lack enough evidence to lay charges. You may believe that it’s right for an Australian to be forced into another country for something that he MAY be charged for. I certainly don’t. Your support of this quite frankly beggars belief. The poor and limited attempt to answer my question suggests an inability or unwillingness to grasp reality. Rational people Jimmy wouldn’t have bothered trying to defend your position as there is nothing of worth defending and they certainly wouldn’t have got on the plane. You didn’t have a passport after all. The first thing they would have done is arrest you for illegal entry

  116. AR

    PO 0 I think that you meant “prone” rather than ‘supine’.

  117. Peter Ormonde

    Either supine or prone … but I have a sneaking suspicion they can see it coming.

  118. Harry Rogers

    Paperchaser:

    “I never expected him to “man up” and I don’t know what choice I would have made in his situation, but I expect it would have started with wearing a condom when told to.”

    So now sex has become a political matter. Annd…no smoking on my balcony….annnd no picking your nose in public……annnd…no arguing with the police……annnd no disagreeing with what I say”

    So this is the world today Beam me up Scotty

  119. Suzanne Blake

    More Gillard dishonesty and li es

    theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/assange-rejects-pms-assistance-claims/story-fn775xjq-1226404988085

  120. Suzanne Blake

    @ Frank Campbell

    Mayve Assange has a box full of stuff on Gillard, from Robert McClelland, from the fraud at the Unions she covered up in the mid 90’s?

    McClelland was speaking on it in Parliament yesterday

  121. Jimmy

    Are you free – The moderator is a bit like parliament you can’t say l i e.

    Michael De Angelos – “We could well say the same of Assange-he is paying the price of delivering the message although everyone who also delivered the message ; NYTimes, SMH, Daily Telegraph remain scot free.” And so does Assange – as you point out he hasn’t been charged with anything, he is wanted for questioning regardng a completely different matter.

    Shepmyster – “Jimmy. In your own words, I assume that he will be charged with offences that the prosecution believe they can prove. In making that statement you assume it’s proper for a government to seek extradition of a person, by their own admission lack enough evidence to lay charges” In regards to Sweden the UK courts (not the govt) have approved the extradiction and as yet the US have not laid charges or sought extradiction. The US will have to make a compelling case to get extradiction and will not be able to hold Assange without charge.
    As for your question, I clearly pointed out that it would be impossible for me to go without a passport but I played along with your flawed question and also I would not be arrested on arrival as I would not be able to leave the country without a passport.

    Honey – “if he ends up in a US court he will be facing crimes that are yet to be handed down by a grand jury ” How will he get to the US court without the charges? And even if he does get charged and extradicted that doesn’t mean he will automatically be found guilty, he then gets a court case. Do you think the US don’t have a right to prosectue those who they believe (and have reasonable evidence) have broken a law of their country?

  122. Jimmy

    Dogs Breakfast – “Jaysus Jimmy, you can’t be that naive. Your statements about him doing something he knew to be illegal are just plain wrong. Wrong, in every sense wrong, he had a justified belief, or at least can argue a justified belief that he was publishing, something that newspapers and other media have a right to do in democratic countries. You must have heard of it.”

    Yes I have heard of it and that is probabl y why he has not been charged. If he does get charged it will have to be with something more than that otherwise the courts will throw it straight and if he is charged with something more he will be able to defend his case in an independent court and the prosecution will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt he did more than what you say.

    Currently we have a situation where the US govt has bent 3 other govts to it’s will and 2 international judicial systems plus it’s own and if Ecuador today refuse his asylum request I am sure it will be asserted that the US got to them to. Given the US haven’t even charged him yet I find it far from “clear that there is something going on here that has little to do with the pursuit of justice”

  123. Peter Ormonde

    Jim,

    Your faith in judicial processes and the rule of law is touching… but misplaced.

    Secret Grand Jury indictments, military commissions, the warehousing of “detainees” on Guantanamo, “enhanced interrogation” … the rule of law in the USA has suffered some deep abuse in the wake of September 11. And here.

    Obama was elected on a promise to close Gitmo and restore legal principles to the US when it comes to “National Security” but so far his efforts have been frustrated and, to be honest, rather minimal.

    If I was Assange I think I’d be putting more weight on the likes of Geoffrey Roberston than on any blind faith and hope that Truth, Freedom and the American Way will will out.

  124. Jimmy

    Pete – Sorry has there been any of “Secret Grand Jury indictments, military commissions, the warehousing of “detainees” on Guantanamo, “enhanced interrogation”” in this case?

    The only one that Assange has any threat from is “Secret Grand Jury indictments” and from my limited knowledge of the US legal system that simply means he is committed to stand trial on a charge, not found guilty.

    As I said it is easier for the US to mistreat some unknown Arab than a high profile white Australian.

  125. Are you free?

    Thanks mod (12:14pm, 2:51pm). I see that Alexander Berkman also had trouble. I can’t see that the use of the word lī was the reason.

  126. Jimmy

    Are you free – You used the words full y, Onl y, ana l y sing, el imination pol iticians, l ift, fall ing & publ ishes. Any of hese can and has triggered the moderator but is I was going to pick one that I have had the most trouble with it would be ana l y sing, because it has ana l as well as l y.

    As for your point that “Of course Assange’s lawyer is “paid to make his argument” but on the specific question of law she’d ruin her professional reputation if she got it wrong” Not at all, as with most things in the law arguments can be made for either point of view, just because a judge or jusy rules against your opinion doesn’t ruin a career. In fact the whole point of lawyers is to find arguments that support a predetermined position.

  127. Peter Ormonde

    Jim … why would a Grand Jury indictment be secret?

    Ask that dill David Hicks about the fair treatment he received under the current US legislative regime. Or Mandoo Habib.

    Not just anonymous arabs, Jim … Australian citizens. And sadly Julia Gillard has already pronounced this bloke “guilty” – although of what I’m not sure, and neither is she.

    Like I suggested … I’d be taking my advice from Geoffrey Robertson myself, but thanks for the vote of confidence and hope.

  128. Jimmy

    Pete – Is the grand jury indictment secret – the US ambassador has said he has never heard of one, neither has Bob Carr who has some considerable knowledge of the US.

    And it doesn’t matter what Gillard or Joe Biden has said about the matter because they have no role to play in the judicial process.

  129. Jimmy

    And I don’t think Hicks and Habib had the same profile or the same access to legal representation or were “accused” of the same thing as Assange.

  130. Peter Ormonde

    Jim:

    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/revealed-us-plans-to-charge-assange-20120228-1u14o.html

    Have a look at that after the moderator has finished with it.

    Gillard – or rather, the Australian Government – does in fact have a role to play in this sort of process Jim. They are just choosing not to fulfil their obligations to him.

  131. CliffG

    How is it that Assange can choose to be some sort ofinternational iconoclastic anarchist, boasting of breaching confidentiality of state secrets etc but quite prepared to cry “Wolf” when one of the states he so reviles (Australia) doesn’t step in and save him from his own actions? This man isn’t a hero, just very good at playing the media for fools.
    Does he really think he is beyond state alliances and allegiances and the law, just because he so casually can ignore it? Get real mate!

  132. Peter Ormonde

    OK Cliff I’ll bite… what law has he broken – or been charged with breaking?

  133. CliffG

    Would some of those above who are using Assange to attack the current Prime Minister like to hypothesize how much time of day Abbott would give him or Mitt Romney? He’s an adult isn’t he? He’s made his own choices. How about accepting some responsibility, even a little would do, for them and not blaming “the government’ or an individual. Now that would be adult.

  134. Jimmy

    Pete & Others – What if and just if Assange has actually assaulted the girls in Sweden?

    And I don’t see where Cliffg has accused him breaking a law, just being beyond it, ie he has been legally requested to return to Sweden, he appealed and the UK judicial system found against him and he refuses to abide by the legal decisions.

  135. CliffG

    So Pete, people can be extradited (i.e. to Sweden) without any alleged breach of the law can they? Even if we presume innocence, which is wise, there are allegations to address. That’s a process of the law! If he were to be found guilty he would have broken the law. Idf not the law has still been applied.
    You confuse the application of the law with guilt, perhaps

  136. Julian Fitzgibbon

    Peter Slipper has also been accused of violating a law, yet Nicola Roxon feels no shyness in regards loudly condemning an abuse of process in relation to his prosecution.

    The Assange case must surely be the first extradition for tearing the end of a condom during sex – and if not, surely the first extradition for tearing the end of a condom which tests negative for any DNA.

  137. Warren Joffe

    I suspect Jimmy has had some glancing acquaintance with legal practice or legal studies. If so he might have come across the witness, sometimes called “non-responsive” in his answers who baffles everyone, judge and counsel especially, by his posing the difficult question “Is he stupid or is he sly?”.

    Consider “Pete – Is the grand jury indictment secret – the US ambassador has said he has never heard of one, neither has Bob Carr who has some considerable knowledge of the US.

    And it doesn’t matter what Gillard or Joe Biden has said about the matter because they have no role to play in the judicial process.”

    There you have it. Right on the face of it. It doesn’t matter what Gillard or Biden say because they have no role in the judicial process but it does matter what the US ambassador and Bob Carr say despite their having no role in the judicial process.

    He can’t really be so thick as to suppose he is saying (reiterating) something true and significant when he asserts that the case he disagrees with depends on “[the US having] bent 3 other govts to it’s will and 2 international judicial systems plus it’s own “. That truly abysmally silly bit of rhetoric ignores the realities of why governments act or don’t act. Alternative explanations include the proven reality that Gillard and her government regard Assange as an enemy without any prompting from any other government and therefore are failing to do anything to ensure that an Australian citizen is fairly dealt with. The UK government appears to have left the matter entirely to its courts which knocks out another of Jimmy’s absurd hypothetical premises. As for Sweden prudence by Assange needs no more than the fear, well founded on past practice, that it may in due course find it convenient to send Assange to the US as a guarantee of continued access to, inter alia, US intelligence about its northern neighbour Russia against which it has always been heavily armed. So far also, the judicial system of Sweden (apart from the system which includes, objectionably to Australian ideas, the prosecution) has had no part in the matter and no one is suggesting for a moment (deny it Jimmy if you can) that the UK proceedings have been influenced by the US.

    So, to Jimmy, get out of the pile of horse manure you have built and tell us “What would you do in Assange’s position?”
    1. Would you, believing yourself to have done the right thing (and not being obviously deluded in so thinking), put yourself at risk of imprisonment for a very long time in the US with the special isolaton that is applied to those convicted of espionage?
    2. Would you be reasonably sure that the Swedish justice system would deal with you in a way that an Australian citizen accused of doing whatever it is suggested he did in Australia would accept as just?
    3. Would that assurance not be affected by the failure of the Swedish prosecutor to ask questions of you when she hasn’t got you imprisoned without bail in Sweden and what confidence and reason for confidence would you have that the Swedes would not render you to the US for trial for espionage?
    4. Would you be happy to accept the US’s extra-territorial reach whereby the US could grab you and punish you for something you didn’t do in the US and not on a battle ground where anti-US warfare was being conducted which was arguably the case with some of those captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

  138. Jimmy

    Julian Fitzgibbon – Firstly Slipper and the Commonwealth are defendents in the case so she is also defending the govt.
    Secondly where is the abuse of process in Assange’s case? The Swede have legally asked for extradiction, the UK judicial system has legally ruled against Assanges appeal and that is it. At this stage he hasn’t been charged with anything, no extradiction request has been put in by the US so how can Roxon complain against something that has not happenned?

    And I again ask the question above, what if and just if Assange did assault those girls? Is it right that he use the “fear of being sent to the US” as an excuse to avoiding justice?

  139. Warren Joffe

    @ CliffG – have a look at my questions to Jimmy now that you have got on his bandwagon – or are the kindergarten teacher alter ego of Jimmy.

    Please drop the kindergartener’s “he should take responsibility” which might be OK for someone accused of throwing a hard object in the sandpit and being sent to the head of kindergarten for a tap with a feather. Try thinking about the realities. Learning a bit about them first would help. I write as one quite capable of being a good old-fashioned parent who understands that their children may have to learn from some hard knocks and reality checks. But you write as if you don’t understand the stakes at all.

    Indeed Assange “has made his own choices” [though you omit to mention that it is only about things he can control and not about having to put up with other people’s ruthlessness and dishonesty] and one of them now is that he would prefer to be a refugee seeking political asylum than risk his freedom amongst the big beasts who abhor Wikileaks. Of course he wouldn’t have learned anything about that in your kindergarten. Reading some of the leaked cables might teach you a bit about the real world of adults too. And you might like to consider whether you think a government which wanted to cover up the murder of a whole lot of Iraqi civilians anda couple of Reuters employees by American soldiers in a helicopter is one that you think anyone should risk submitting to so you can be tried for exposing it.

  140. Jimmy

    Warren Joffe- Again what if and just if Assange did Assult those girls in Sweden?

    “And you might like to consider whether you think a government which wanted to cover up the murder of a whole lot of Iraqi civilians anda couple of Reuters employees by American soldiers in a helicopter is one that you think anyone should risk submitting to so you can be tried for exposing it.”

    The key word their is “tried”, it doens’t mean he will be found guilty (if in fact he is ever charged in the first place) in an independent judicial system, especially one that loves the first amendment so much.

  141. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy

    Roxon could have agreed to the request by his counsel which she put to the A-G directly that
    (a) if JA was imprisoned in the US Australia would seek to invoke the arrangements which would allow him to be moved to Australia to serve his sentence;
    (b) would request the Swedish government to undertake not to extradite Assange to the US if he was extradited to Sweden for questioning about some allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Her failure to do so is surely good enough reason for JA to say he has on the face of it been abandoned by the Australian government (together with the fact that, for all Carr’s waffle about consular assistance, he hasn’t had personal contact since September 2010). The government is contemptible.

    I just hope that the Coalition will prove a bit more principled. It hardly needs to fear the politics of the matter now so it would be equally contemptible if its legal luminaries like George Brandis didn’t speak up (I used to think well of Julie Bishop but no longer). And where is Malcolm Turnbull, of Spycatcher fame, when his voice is needed? His electorate isn’t even one where he would have to worry about losing a single net vote by supporting justice for Assange.

  142. Jimmy

    Warren Joffe – What rubbish, the govt not doing our bidding is completley different from being abandoned. The govt probabl y (and I don’t think to speak for them) didn’t want to get in hypotheticals. If Assange was imprisoned in the US (something that remains a long way off) there is more than enough time for the govt to act as requested on his behalf. Same as point b, if the US does seek to extradict Assange the govt can oppose that when it happens.
    As you mention Assange has not yet been charged by the US and asking the govt to give blanket assurances before even knowing the charge strikes me as if he was setting up the abandonment defence.

    Again what if just if he assaulted those girls? Does fear of the US give you a blank cheque for s-xual assaults in Sweden?

  143. Peter Ormonde

    Yep Jim… let’s assume – just for a moment – he did. He’s wanted for questioning. He offered to answer questions – in Britain. Not good enough said the Swedish coppers. We want him arrested – for questioning, and brought back here. This, by the way, is after one judicial process found insufficient evidence of any crime having been committed – even under Sweden’s rather bizarre legal code. Not good enough said the Swedish Government – let’s get an ex-pollie appointed judge to re-open the investigation.

    So now we have it that a bloke who has not been actually charged – with anything at all – is held under house arrest in England – on bail (not sure how that works without a charge) while the English law lords do a Pontius Pilate act and decide that a police warrant is OK grounds for extradition. And the Australian government gives him “full consular support” by er… pronouncing him guilty of …well, something.

    And the US – who have been shown to be wearing no undies on this matter of National Security again and again – a furious and want him to be Gitmo’d.

    But this is the Law you reckon … that the important issue here is our delightful PM and that secret trials, imprisonment without charge or trial, secret charges and the like is all quite kosher and acceptable.

    Enough. Lest I rekindle my campaign to overturn Howard’s nanny state gun laws and go a bit vigilante. What else does one do when the law is simply thrown away by those charged with protecting and defending it (and us) from abuse.

  144. Julian Fitzgibbon

    @Jimmy “Again what if and just if Assange did Assult those girls in Sweden?”

    Frankly, who cares?
    Allow me to quote from the deposition of Ms W (warning, it appears that the prosecutor inserted additions to that which Ms W signed, so not all of the following may be her description)

    “They were let into the cinema by Sofia’s colleague and Julian held Sofia’s hand. In the darkness of the cinema he started kissing her. A few latecomers arrived and sat behind them and so they moved to a row at the back. Julian continued kissing her, touched her breasts under her jumper, undid her bra, unbuttoned her pants, caressed her buttocks, and sucked her nipples. He muttered about the armrest being in the way. She was sitting in his lap when the lights went on and he tried to put her bra back on. She thought it embarrassing to sit there in view of her colleagues who she knew could have seen it all.
    …..
    Julian and Sofia walked up Hornsgatan towards Slussen and from there to the old town. They sat by the water at Munkbroleden and he commented on girls who sat there as ‘lonely and abandoned’ and who ‘probably need saving’. They lay down and starting making out, heavily. Amongst other things he put his hands under her jumper and when they left the area she noticed people were looking at them. They decided to go home to her place. They went into the subway where his card was now invalid and she got him through by swiping her own card twice. They took the train to Enköping from the central station, she paid for the tickets, SEK 107 (~$10) each. He claimed he didn’t want to use his credit card, he didn’t want to be traced. They sat in the direction the train would move all the way back in the car. Julian connected his computer and started reading about himself on Twitter on the computer and on the phone. He devoted more attention to the computer than he did to her.
    …..
    When they want back in the bedroom Julian stood in front of Sofia and grabbed her hips and pushed her demonstratively down on the bed, as if he were a real man. He took off his clothes and they had foreplay on the bed. They were naked and he rubbed his p-nis against her nether regions without penetrating her but he got closer and closer to her slit. She squeezed her legs together because she didn’t want s-x with him without protection. They carried on for hours and Julian couldn’t get a full er-ction. Julian had no interest in using a condom.
    …..
    Suddenly Julian said he was going to go to sleep. She felt rejected and shocked. It came so suddenly, they’d had a really long foreplay and then nothing. She asked what was wrong, she didn’t understand. He pulled the blanket over himself, turned away from her, and fell asleep. She went out and got her fleece blanket because she was cold. She lay awake a long time wondering what had happened and exchanged SMS messages with her friends. He lay beside her snoring. She must have fallen asleep for later she woke up and they had s-x. She’d earlier got the condoms and put them on the floor by the bed. He reluctantly agreed to use a condom even if he muttered something about preferring her to latex. He no longer had an er-ction problem. At one point when he mounted her from behind, she turned to look at him and smiled and he asked her why she was smiling, what she had to smile about. She didn’t like the tone in his voice.

    They fell asleep and when they woke up they could have had s-x again, she’s not really sure. He ordered her to get water and orange juice. She didn’t like being ordered in her own home but thought ‘whatever’ and got the water and juice anyway. He wanted her to go out and buy more breakfast. She didn’t want to leave him alone in the flat, she didn’t know him well enough, but she did it anyway. When she left the flat he lay n-ked in her bed and was working with his phones. Before she left she said ‘be good’. He replied ‘don’t worry, I’m always bad’. When she returned she served him oatmeal, milk, and juice. She’d already eaten before he woke up and spoken with a friend on the phone.

    The Assault

    They sat on the bed and talked and he took off her clothes again. They had sex again and she discovered he’d put the condom only over the head of his p-nis but she let it be. They fell asleep and she woke by feeling him penetrate her. She immediately asked ‘are you wearing anything’ and he answered ‘you’. She told him ‘you better not have HIV’ and he replied ‘of course not’. She felt it was too late. He was already inside her and she let him continue. She couldn’t be bothered telling him again. She’d been nagging about condoms all night long. She’s never had unprotected s-x. He said he wanted to come inside her, he didn’t say when he’d done it but he did it. There was a lot running out of her afterwards.

    She told him what happens if she gets pregnant. He replied that Sweden was a good country for raising children. She told him jokingly that if she got pregnant then he’d have to pay her student loans. On the train to Enköping he’d told her he’d slept in Anna Ardin’s bed after the crayfish party. She asked if he’d had s-x with Anna but he said Anna liked girls, she was l-sbian. But now she knows he did the same thing with Anna. She asked him how many times he’d had s-x but he said he hadn’t counted. He also said he’d had a HIV test three months earlier and he’d had s-x with a girl afterwards and that girl had also taken a HIV test and wasn’t infected. She said sarcastic things to him in a joking tone. She thinks she got the idea of taking the drama out of what had happened, he in turn didn’t seem to care. When he found out how big her student loan was he said if he paid her so much money she’d have to give birth to the baby. They joked that they’d name the baby Afghanistan. He also said that he should always carry abortion pills that actually were sugar pills.”

    I am sorry Jimmy, I couldn’t care less whether Ms W’s story is true or not. Aside from a recommendation not to date Julian Assange, I have never read anything more trivial and utterly boring in my life.

  145. Julian Fitzgibbon

    @Jimmy “Again what if and just if Assange did Assult those girls in Sweden?”

    Then I would strongly recommend young ladies not to date Julian Assange, he sounds a most unromantic and unchivalrous companion.

    But if there was a court case every time a man was a pig in the boudoir then we would have to say good-bye to professional AFL.

    A plan with no drawbacks, some might say

  146. Jimmy

    Pete – “But this is the Law you reckon … that the important issue here is our delightful PM and that secret trials, imprisonment without charge or trial, secret charges and the like is all quite kosher and acceptable” Never said that, what I have asked (and you haven’t answered) is;
    1 Where is the evidence to suggest he will be subject to any secret trial, imprisonment without charge or trial, secret charges and the like? After all he hasn’t even been charged by the US yet!!
    2 What if he did asault those girls? (Again you haven’t answered) Does his “fear” of the US outweigh their right to justice?
    Also why is it so unreasonable for the Swede’s to want to interview him in person? Why is the UK judicial system somehow compromised just because it didn’t agree with Assange? And what does it matter what our PM or the Joe Biden or the US shock jocks say? – they aren’t part of the judicial system in any of the relevant countries!

  147. Jimmy

    Julian Fitzgibbon – So you are all about peoples rights when it comes to freedom of the press but s-xual assault well who cares?

    What other laws are not that important to you?

  148. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy (still digging)

    “What if Assange did “assault” those girls in Sweden?” There are at least two answers to your trivial diversion from the serious.
    1. We know that he had consensual sex with both females. There has been no version provided which appears to be one which would get him before a court in Australia so as an Australian he is surely entitled to regard himself as innocent of crime in a moral sense and therefore under no moral duty to submit himself to a system such as the Swedish one if he can avoid it. A fortiori when, contrary to Australian law and custom, he hasn’t been charged with anything.

    Anyway, his guilt or innocence according to Swedish law has nothing to do with the inferences which may be drawn from the Swedish failure to get his version from him before insisting that he be brought to Sweden so that he can be asked questions under he coercion of incarceration without possibility of bail. Bad faith and, anyway, not the Australian way an Australian is entitled to regard as his standard of justice.

    2. Your question raises a comparison between the consequences of his having failed to use a condom when requested and not being punished for something which would, probably, not be a cime he could be convicted of in Australia and the consequences of his being extradited to the US with a probability which is not totally negligible. A couple of Swedish girls who had consensual sex with him, have made and withdrawn and changed their allegations, would be left without some sort of revenge (for something: not being his only bedmate?) which looms so large again as a goal in this post-Christian age. On the other hand a man who has exposed US crimes outside the US is rendered to the US and subjected to a harrowing, unproductive and ruinously expensive few years at best and incarceration almost incommunicado for decades at worst. That the primitive medieval grand jury system has been grinding away to present him with supposedly incriminating documentation that would take months or years to read as soon as he hits US territory cannot be doubted in the absence of a plausible explanation for all the leaked, legitimately published and circumstantial evidence about it. Obviously the US Justice Dept and FBI don’t think the First Amendment applies to him and are you seriously suggesting that he should be acquiescent in becoming the protagonist in a great and famous case which, after several years of incarceration, might prove that it did protect him? Not really are you? And even if there were only a 10 per cent chance (and I would be one with Assange in rating it much much higher) of the US rendition scenario being the actual one do you really want to ensure that a couple of Swedish bedmates of his can get to give evidence in camera before politically appointed judgs, without a jury, so he can be given one of those mild Swedish custodial sentences for a year or two?

  149. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy “completely different from abandoned”. Not so: combined with the actual absence of the consular support Carr has talked about, the A-G simply washed her hands of the only things the Australian government might have done which could have made a difference. That is, by any real definition “abandonment”. The case could be more strongly stated because the government could have been much more forceful than the Assange team asked the A-G to be: they only asked for a minimum of asssurance and assistance.

  150. Julian Fitzgibbon

    @Jimmy “Julian Fitzgibbon – So you are all about peoples rights when it comes to freedom of the press but s-xual assault well who cares?”

    No, just this particular s-xual assault. I don’t particularly care about freedom of press as it happens, to me it seems nothing more than the freedom to lie in unison – in this regard I have considerable sympathy for the Government of Ecuador. Rather what irritates me is the tactic of sly character assassination whether the victim is Peter Slipper or Julian Assange.

    S-xual assault is too important to be abused for such transparently political ends.

  151. Are you free?

    “Where is the evidence to suggest he will be subject to…”
    Jimmy, how about the NDAA declaring the whole world a battlefield, with the US government being entitled to arrest and hold anyone, without charge, indefinitely and with no legal representation? Combined with the subpoenaing of witnesses to the grand jury and the FBI attempts to turn his associates informant, are you denying that he has reason to worry?

    If he did assault the women, then the Swedish prosecutor has let down the victims by not getting questioning over with. I suspect that, with the condom not containing any chromosomal DNA and the deleting of tweets, this will be dismissed as a he said/she said. But the behaviour of the Swedish government has been indicative of utter disinterest in seeing the case resolved.

  152. Jimmy

    Julian – “No, just this particular s-xual assault” So where is the line? Which laws can you break?

    Warren – “combined with the actual absence of the consular support Carr has talked about” Is this a fact?
    And if I go about lopping heads of people in Germany and then ask the govt to ensure the German govt doesn’t charge me with murder, if they refuse can I then claim “abandonment”?

  153. Jimmy

    Are you free – “how about the NDAA declaring the whole world a battlefield, with the US government being entitled to arrest and hold anyone, without charge, indefinitely and with no legal representation? Combined with the subpoenaing of witnesses to the grand jury and the FBI attempts to turn his associates informant, are you denying that he has reason to worry?”
    Well given “A federal court issued an order blocking the indefinite detention powers of the NDAA for American citizens after finding it unconstitutional. On May 16, 2012, in response to a lawsuit filed by journalist Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf and others[23], US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled the NDAA 2012 violates the 1st and 5th Amendments. Issuing a preliminary injunction prevents the US government from enforcing section 1021 of the NDAA’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by US Congress.”
    It would appear the independent court system is working well to provide checks and balances against the legislature just as it should be and unless he is going to be charged with terro rism (doubtful) I don’t think the NDAA will effect him.
    And I doubt he is going to be held “without charge” if they are “subpoenaing of witnesses to the grand jury”

    And I am far from an expert but given the case against Assange seems to be that he had s-x with the women without wearing a condom against their wishes how does a DNAless condom help?

  154. Jimmy

    And if the “whole world’s a battlefield” then why do they need to go through the motions of extradicting him from the Uk to Sweden to the Us, why not just pick him up of the streets in the UK?

  155. Julian Fitzgibbon

    @Jimmy “Julian – “No, just this particular s-xual assault” So where is the line? Which laws can you break?”

    You are being purposefully dense. I assume this means that you also think that this is a gross abuse of process but for political reasons you support such an abuse.

    Fair enough. Doubtless if you had lived in Soviet Russia you would have supported sending dissidents how to mental institutions (obviously mentally ill people need medical help), if you were in China you would support the prosecution Al Wei on pornography charges (“what if it was true he had produced pornography?”) and if you were in Nazi Germany you would be equally enthusiastic about moving enemies of the people into protective custody.

    I don’t say you are wrong to try and ingratiate yourself with the powerful in society – on the contrary your choices are very sensible and rational. All I am requesting is that you respect those who wish to remain independent of them.

  156. Julian Fitzgibbon

    @Jimmy “Julian – “No, just this particular s-xual assault” So where is the line? Which laws can you break?”

    You are being purposefully dense. I assume this means that you also think that this is a gross abuse of process but for political reasons you support such an abuse.

    Fair enough. Doubtless if you had lived in Soviet Russia you would have supported sending dissidents how to mental institutions (obviously mentally ill people need medical help), if you were in China you would support the prosecution Al Wei on p-graphy charges (“what if it was true he had produced p-graphy?” Jimmy asks innocently) and if you were in Nazi Germany you would be equally enthusiastic about moving enemies of the people into protective custody.

    I don’t say you are wrong to try and ingratiate yourself with the powerful in society – on the contrary your choices are very sensible and rational. All I am requesting is that you respect those who wish to remain independent of them.

  157. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy

    I’ll give you credit for being able to do better if you stop to think. So, next time before you say something like “And if I go about lopping heads of people in Germany and then ask the govt to ensure the German govt doesn’t charge me with murder, if they refuse can I then claim “abandonment”? do stop and, if your own thinking doesn’t suffice, get help. Why? Because you start your analogy with admitting an actual crime which is not the case for JA. More important in logic: the Gillard government is not being asked to get Sweden or the US not to charge JA with crimes. It was asked only to indicate that it would do the absolute minimalist requesting of two things, imprisonment to be served in Australia and no rendition from Sweden for something the Australian government wouldn’t extradite JA for.

    On the lack of consular support I am simply relying on the absence of any denial of JA’s own clear assertions to Fran Kelly on ABC RN. He said he had no contact from the Australian High Commission staff since September 2010. He also said that the supposed consular support was in the shape of text message asking whether Mr Assange had any problems. If you seriously think a serial obfuscator of the truth (and worse) like the engaging Mr Carr can claim more why don’t you rush to his defence with an FOI request. I wonder what inferences you will draw from the failure to rush you an answer within far less than the statutory limit. None at all judged by your willingness to give the Swedish prosecutor (the one who hasn’t dropped the case) the benefit of all doubt when she neglects to question JA in the UK.

    You appear to be a bit of a bush lawyer so I daresay that you are aware of the principle that failure to deny something when it is to be expected that it would be denied if not true is evidence that it is not untrue. I can think of plenty of possible exceptions but this is not one of them.

  158. Honey Rosalynda

    Jimmy it seems that you have him written off as guilty and deserving of prison in Sweden followed by extradition to the US (should charges be laid) to face charges of leaking documents that were reprinted by a number of other players in the media.

    At what point would you draw the line? If he was to face the death penalty in the US – should he still be extradited? I understand the inclination to simply write off any questioning of the government line as conspiracy theory but there does seem to very valid reasons for Julian Assange to be concerned about his long term well being.

  159. Are you free?

    Jimmy, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that the US government was appealing that decision, and ignoring it in the meantime. The government done a lot of ignoring of laws since 9/11. I was also under the impression that the federal court only struck down provisions relating to US citizens.

    My point re: subpoenaing of witnesses is that there is a US process going on to get him. Mention has been made in the Manning proceedings of Wikileaks and Assange (from the horse’s mouth to Fran Kelly today). The grand jury doesn’t hand over an indictment until it is closed, so government officials can claim (disingenuously) that they haven’t received anything to indicate that the US will prosecute him. Carr and Roxon and the ambassador can continue to squirm and look shifty while delivering words such as those.

    A DNAless condom was only in relation to one accusation that he tore a condom deliberately. But what relevant forensic evidence could there possibly be, given that the accusations were made days after the events?

  160. Jimmy

    Warren Joffe – Here is the PM today “Consular officials have dealt with Mr Assange’s legal team. They’ve certainly been available to meet with Mr Assange face to face had he wished that to occur.”
    “In the course of these legal proceedings, my advice is consular officials have been in contact with his legal team and Mr Assange has not requested or sought for those dealings to be directly with him.”
    “Mr Assange has received continuing consular assistance in exactly the same way any Australian citizen facing legal issues would.
    “The assistance to Mr Assange has included consular officials being in attendance at court for each day of the proceedings of his legal matters. Consular staff have been in contact continuously with his legal team.”

    Honey – No I haven’t written him off as guilty, all I have done is suggest that the judicial system take it’s course. He has not been charged with anything in either the Sweden or the US and there is no extradiction papers issued by the US. SO currently the Swede’s have legally requested him to rreturn, he has had a fair hearing in the UK, when he gets to Sweden if he is charged he will have a fair trial there, if the US requests extradiction there will be further legal proceedings, if he actually gets extradicted there will be further legal proceedings before we get to a point where he will even face a trial. This isn’t a case of him being black bagged!

    As I have said this “conspiracy theory” doesn’t just incolve 4 govts but also 3 different independent judicial systems being pawns of their govts.

    As for the question regarding the death penalty the govt is on record as saying they oppose extradiction where the death penalty is involved.

    Also the women involved have a right to justice just as the US has a right to prosecute any breach of a law (if this has actually happened)

  161. Jimmy

    Are you free – Admitted this is only from wikipedia but “Judge Forrest was requested by the Obama administration to undo her ruling.[29] In a footnote of the request, the Administration claimed “The government construes this Court’s Order as applying only as to the named plaintiffs in this suit”.[30]

    In an opinion and order[31] filed June 6, 2012, Judge Forrest clarified her statement, saying that her injunction applies not just to the named plaintiffs in the suit, contrary to government’s narrow interpretation. She wrote, “Put more bluntly, the May 16 order enjoined enforcement of Section 1021(b)(2) against anyone until further action by this, or a higher, court — or by Congress…This order should eliminate any doubt as to the May 16 order’s scope”.

    Not sure about wheterh it applies only to US citizens but at the very least gives Assanges possible legal team very good grounds to have any detainment ruled illegal.

    As for the US preparing a case against him, well they are entitled, my point is that if they do he will get to appeal the extradiction, then fight the charges and if he has only doen what he says he has then he will be safe under the first amendment.

    You are right re the forensic evidence (unless they employee the CSI crew) but that doesn’t diminish the Swede’s right to interview him in person, just means he is unlikely to either face charges or be found guilty.

  162. Jimmy

    Are you free – Admitted this is onl y from wik ipedia but “Judge Forrest was requested by the Obama administration to undo her rul ing. In a footnote of the request, the Administration claimed “The government construes this Court’s Order as appl ying onl y as to the named plaintiffs in this suit”.

    In an opinion and order[31] filed June 6, 2012, Judge Forrest clarified her statement, saying that her injunction appl ies not just to the named plaintiffs in the suit, contrary to government’s narrow interpretation. She wrote, “Put more bluntl y, the May 16 order enjoined enforcement of Section 1021(b)(2) against anyone until further action by this, or a higher, court — or by Congress…This order should el iminate any doubt as to the May 16 order’s scope”.

    Not sure about whether it appl ies onl y to US citizens but it does say “anyone” above and at the very least gives Assanges possible legal team very good grounds to have any detainment ruled illegal

    As for the US preparing a case against him, well they are entitled, my point is that if they do he will get to appeal the extradiction, then fight the charges and if he has onl y done what he says he has then he will be safe under the first amendment.

    You are right re the forensic evidence (unless they employee the CSI crew) but that doesn’t diminish the Swede’s right to interview him in person, just means he is unl ikely to either face charges or be found guilty.

  163. gdt

    “… before judges appointed by the ruling political parties.”

    Who do you think should appoint judges: the non-ruling political party? I’d be more likely to be persuaded if you used less rhetoric tricks.

    Ennumerating the conspiracy theories doesn’t add to our understanding because the extradiction of Assange is a moral choice: should the opportunity for justice be denied to the women because of the possiblity of the torture of Assange? I’d say yes, but let’s be brave enough to acknowledge that this view does mean an injustice for the women.

  164. Jimmy

    GDT – Well put, however I disagree about the answer to the question. I rate the chances of Assange being tortured as zero so the justice of the women wins.

  165. Are you free?

    Jimmy: thanks for that.

    GDT, I think Guy may have been referring to the practice there of having only one professional judge plus two lay political party appointees (one from each of the two major parties).

    “the extradiction of Assange is a moral choice: should the opportunity for justice be denied to the women because of the possiblity of the torture of Assange?”
    That’s a false dichotomy – we can both give justice to the accusers and avoid the risk of torture for Assange. For a senior prosecutor to examine the case and dismiss it, the chance conviction must have been low. Assange has said all along that he was happy to be questioned, first in Sweden, then in Britain. The Swedish government is not interested and is therefore responsible for the justice delayed/denied outcome for the accusers. In short, a conspiracy of some sort is the only way of adding to our understanding.

  166. Jimmy

    Are you free – I admit that it is odd that they won’t take video testimony but the Swede’s are legally entitield to request he return and that request has been upheld by by the UK court andthe risk of torture to Assange is virtually non existant. To me we can have both if Assange returns to Sweden.

  167. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy

    So now the PM has apparently trying to improve on her Foreign Minister’s efforts. It looks as though the true position may be that, contrary to what Carr at least implied, DFAT has been about as useless as usual in Assange’s case.

    “As for the question regarding the death penalty the govt is on record as saying they oppose extradiction [sic] where the death penalty is involved. ” So what? You are not helping your case. That applies to extraditions from Australia which won’t take place without an undetaking on behalf of the foreign government that the death penalty will not be sought. The only way it could be relevant is if, contrary to its hands-off spproach, the government were to ask the Swedish government not to consider an extradition to the US unless such an undertaking were given. (I would be surprised if there wasn’t already such a rule in Sweden, indeed in the whole EU, but I haven’t heard any such assertion or defence of its own inaction from our government).

    And please. Stop remind us that you are blabbering out of your depth. If you haven’t even noticed yet that the word is “extradition” not “extradiction” and looked it up to check the inference is inescapable: you don’t read and pay attention to what people who know what they are talking about (as well as some who don’t) are saying.

    Again, you say carelessly “the Swedes right to interview him in person” which avoids the point that they could have done just that it the UK. Haven’t you actually noticed that the Swedes want to be able to interview him, not just in person, but locked up in Sweden? Can’t you even see that it matters?

    Yet again: are you paying attention “As I have said this “conspiracy theory” doesn’t just incolve 4 govts but also 3 different independent judicial systems being pawns of their govts.” Yes you have said it before, and worse, and you have been comprehensively demolished. Haven’t you noticed?

    So, Jimmy: let’s keep it simple.
    1. What should Julian Assange do and why? In answering explain the difference in consequences of different courses and the conflicting principles involved and state the weight and importance you give to different consequences. You may include scenarios of marginal probability such as the slight one that JA is attempting to avoid a course which would make him a martyr for a worthwhile cause (cf. Aung San Suu Kye or Nelson Mandela) but perhaps we can agree that preserving Wikileaks is not worth a 30 year gaol sentence.
    2. What should the Australian government do to allay the fears of an Australian citizen who has reason to fear rendition to the US and lengthy incarceration there? Should it withhold support because he has embarrassed an ally with disclosures of its crimes and manoeuvrings? Why shouldn’t it express loudly and clearly its disapproval of the prospect that Sweden might send JA to the US and that the US might prosecute him for something that the New York Times gets away with scot free? What is the cost to Australia of our government doing that right now even if, as you think, it is possible that the US is not out to get JA?

  168. Jimmy

    Julian – “I assume this means that you also think that this is a gross abuse of process but for political reasons you support such an abuse.” No it means that I don’t know if this case has any merit or not but I think they have a right for their allegations to be investigated becasue there is the possibility that he might just be guilty.

    If the allegations are baseless they will shown to be either through no charges being laid or in court of law, you know as happens in a democracy.

    The difference between what I am suggesting and what you assert about the USSR and China is that we are talikng about countries where the legal system is seperate from the govt.

    So if you or a govt or anyone outside the police or the courts were to determine that this case does not need to be investigated then that would be more like the examples you list than ahything I am suggesting!!

  169. Warren Joffe

    Good point “Are You Free” about the inference to be raised from the Swedish government, as you put it, delaying justice to the two women (who by now must surely be wishing the whole busines was well behind them – or are they rejoicing in local celebrity?). It does require the naive gang of Jimmy and a couple of others to answer why they think the Swedes haven’t done the obvious practical thing to get the case cleared up as soon as possible. They only had to ask their questions of JA and invite him to put any critical answers on oath in Sweden with a guarantee that he would be allowed out of Sweden after making his affidavit (which, come to think of it, might have been done equivalently, for legal purposes, at the Swedish Embassy in London). Alternatively, if he refused to put the critical facts on oath or anyway his unsworn answers were regarded as unsastisfactory, the Swedes could have actually charged him and had him extradited to face an actual charge. Here there is a bit of a mystery.

    Could it be that he couldn’t be extradited from the UK (like Australia broadly speaking) unless the offence charged would be a criminal offence in the UK? Or could it be that the Swedes no darn well that he is unlikely to be charged with an offence in Sweden leading to the obvious inference that he is wanted there for ulterior purposes?

  170. Jimmy

    Peter Ormonde – “responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks with the comment: ”We have a sealed indictment on Assange” Yet Bob Carr doesn’t know what one is and he followed up to the US Ambassador and he doesn’t know what one is either.

  171. Peter Ormonde

    Jimmy,

    You’re just being silly and obtuse.

  172. Julian Fitzgibbon

    @Jimmy “The difference between what I am suggesting and what you assert about the USSR and China is that we are talikng about countries where the legal system is seperate from the govt.”

    The legal systems in the USSR and China were/are separate from the government also. The Stalinist constitution was probably one of the best written constitutional documents in the history of the world.

    You are surely are having a bit of a giggle when you pretend to believe that courts in democracy are perfect instruments of justice.

    Take Peter Slipper, if he didn’t have the weight of government behind him how was he going to get hold of all the incriminating SMSs and emails the Government have been gleefully waving around?
    There are clear signs of collusions been Ms Anna Ardin and an individual member police. There are clear signs of altering the protocol Ms Wilen gave the police. There are clear and unambiguous testimony that Ms Wilen told multiple friends she did not want the police to charge Assange. There is clear and unambiguous that Ms Wilen was so distressed by hearing an arrest warrant was being issued that she was unable to have her testimony read back to her and approve it is normal protocol. There is clear and unambiguous forensic evidence that the condom of Ms Ardin was never graced with the presence of Julian Assange’s engorged member. There is clear and unambiguous exchanges between members of the police ordering the altering of Ms Wilen’s testimony to make it look more incriminating. There are good indications that Ms Ardin only made her complaint after being informed it appeared the information supplied by Miss Wilen would not warrant charges being laid.

    If democracies are such perfect instruments of justice as you pretend to believe, why has Ms Nylander not been forced to resign? Why is there no Swedish Royal Commission into the systemic corruption in the police?

    Why is the Swedish government waving texts and emails and phone records around between the various parties to the complaint, the same way Nicola Roxon is with Peter Slipper?

  173. Jimmy

    No Peter – I am pointing out that while a leaked email discussed in the article you posted says the Us govt have got a “sealed indictment” no one seems to know what one is or whether such a thing even exists under US law.
    So if it doesn’t exist how could the govt do anything about it?

  174. Tom

    @PO & WJ – do the Alco foil helmets itch? Given your comments above I’d suggest (as Woody Allen did in ???) ‘you’re not paranoid, everybody really does hate you’ and from John Cooper Clarke ‘beware of the flowers cos I’m sure they’re gonna get you ….. yeah’
    @Jimmy – yes he should do the right thing and face up to whatever he’s accused of and not run away claiming the secret forces of evil are all out to get him. And just BTW, no he shouldn’t end up in prison in America for anything he did at Wikileaks.

  175. Warren Joffe

    @ Jimmy

    You willingness to waste people’s time is amply established without more proof. So why do you have to say “No Peter – I am pointing out that while a leaked email discussed in the article you posted says the Us govt have got a “sealed indictment” no one seems to know what one is or whether such a thing even exists under US law.
    So if it doesn’t exist how could the govt do anything about it?”?

    You only have to put “sealed indictment” into Wikipedia and you will get plenty of information about what it is which happens to be correct.

    And of course it is not the reality or otherwise of a sealed indictment in JA’s case or in general which is critical. The likelihood that prosecutors who would gain professionally from a conviction in a country where there are prominent people calling for JA’s head would be actively pursuing ways to get him into the country and in gaol is surely quite great enough for an Australian government which wasn’t both unprincipled and supine to get up some protective advocacy and intervention for an Australian citizen in danger from a country which believes in vindictive punishment and has a Middle Kingdom attitude to what offends the US.

  176. shepmyster

    It’s been my experience that no matter who you are, everybody has an agenda. On reading the comments made in this forum it’s clear to me how the majority here feel about the Assamge situation and why. Then there’s you Jimmy?!?! I have to ask what motivates you to persist when your long winded posts are continually shown to be weak in substance and for the most part irrelevant.
    Jimmy you conveniently haven’t answered my question. Is it proper the Swedish government seeks extradition of a person when by their own admission, lack the evidence to have him formally charged? And is it right to force a person into another country for the reason that they MAY be charged with an offense.
    The simple answer for most people would be NO absolutely not! However I have a feeling you may not agree. So what is your agenda Jimmy? What’s your interest in seeing Assanges human rights trampled?

  177. izatso?

    ow good, we are alone. one night stands, full of regfet/hindsight …. JA was moving around a fair bit, then. w/leaks was main news, unless it was being ignored/downplayed. JA was kept on the move by the need to keep a step ahead of the renditionists. remember this time any one? the mistake was the under standing that Sweden was/is neutral nowadays. JA was the darlin’ of the hour if you did not appreciate renditionists and their masters agendas…… (gfy) So. AJ is glamoured by two females, separately, on two separate nights, in a “rock star/groupy” one nighter. all participents depart for ever next morn. of the few people JA gets to meet, it is no surprise that the two females know each other, and discuss. uh oh.next, after the girls complaint is looked at, the prosecutor asks to speak, just speak to JA. JA, very much under pressure to be elsewhere every day, now makes himself available, over the space of ONE MONTH sorry, one month people, are you up to speed on this ? the prosecutor, after one month, decides there is no case. NO CASE. JA, a month behind schedule, is allowed to leave Sweden by plane to the uk squeeze appointment, which is where we all are now…….

  178. Julian Fitzgibbon

    Well one of the reasons the first prosecutor decided there was no case is because Ms W did not sign or approve her statement. Hence the first prosecutor just asked Mr Assange if he deliberately tore the end of his condom, he said no and prosecutor decided that there was not sufficient evidence for Ms A’s claim to procede.

    Of course we must assume that Ms W did – at some unspecified time – return and approve and sign her statement. Otherwise this entire extradition proceeding was based in evidence that is inadmissible – an unsigned statement.

    And unless Mr Assange was being represented by a dizzy blonde self obsessed bimbo who thinks it clever to pretend she was (ALMOST!) prevented from boarding her flight, any half decent professional legal team would be seizing on this fact and trumpeting it to the world.

    And since I am sure all those millions of dollars loyal wikileaks fans have been donating around the world went at least in some small part in a competent legal team, we can be sure that Ms W did return and sign her statement.

  179. izatso?

    this to show we dont have to be got at, to be got at. well someones been got at boys an’ gels….. participation…. humpf ….. are we all sitting comfortably ……. ? it’s awards for degrees of patheticness, waiting to be picked up ….. go and get yours.

  180. Are you free?

    Julian Fitzgibbon, what evidence do you have that Jennifer Robinson lied about being stopped at Heathrow?

  181. Are you free?

    Take 2: Julian Fitzgibbon, what evidence do you have that Jennifer Robinson told an untruth about being stopped at Heathrow?

  182. Julian Fitzgibbon

    Well as I said at the time: I work for ASIO – we keep tabs on such things.

  183. Peter Ormonde

    Yep … sure Julian sure…

    Interesting isn’t it that the word is whisked off to moderation but the deed slides on through like a greased pig?

  184. Are you free?

    Peter Ormonde: rather like in parliament, indeed the whole of government.

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