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By Abernathy
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I feel kind of ambiguous about Assange. On the one hand, I'm happy that Wikileaks's exposure of stuff that people want kept secret is broadly speaking a Good Thing, but on the other I'm also conscious that there is some stuff that actually shouldn't be in the public domain and that it would be broadly in the public interest that it shouldn't be - I'm mostly thinking about security and such. And I'm not really certain that Wikileaks knows where to draw the line, or even that there ought to be a line.

Similarly, on a regrettably ad hominem basis, I've decided I don't really like the cut of Assange's jib. He comes over as a bumptious, self-important little sod, the sex charges he is running away from in Sweden make me wonder about his attitudes to women, and I'm totally unimpressed with his high-profile claim for asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy.

I'm also very puzzled as to why Ecuador has agreed to grant his asylum claim. In considering a claim for asylum, a state needs to consider whether the applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution or harm in his country of origin. Assange's country of origin is Australia, where as far as I'm aware, he has no such well-founded fear. Neither can he, if this were even to be considered, have a well-founded fear that this will happen in the UK. He will be extradited to Sweden of course, because he faces criminal charges. Ultimately, Sweden might extradite him to the US, where he would face charges with more serious consequences, ie execution for treason/espionage. Arguably, it's none of Ecuador's business to consider what may happen to Assange at at least two countries' remove.

Even if he does ultimately end up strapped to a table for a lethal injection in the US, then it will arguably be because that is the end point of the due process of law in a country where capital punishment is still available to the judicial system (a judicial system, death penalty aside, broadly acknowledged as properly fair) .

So asylum? Don't get it, I'm afraid.

Maybe Willie Hague should lead an SAS squad to storm the embassy, after all.
By Timbo
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Agree pretty much entirely with Abers there. I like the idea of WikiLeaks in principle, however they do nothing that a decent section of the press (say the Guardian) don't do already, but with much better discretion over genuinely life-endangering details. I don't see how the US can prosecute him for anything without doing the same to every journalist and blogger who wrote about the story. The liability for the leak stops at Bradley Manning (conviction pending).

Personally, I have very little sympathy for him on these sex charges, anybody who lies about wearing a condom is committing a violent assault, in my book. If the Ecuadorians want to feed and clothe him for a few decades in their embassy, let them. We have no business violating sovereign soil, and it's up to Sweden to argue with the Ecuadorian government about the merits of it, not us.
By new puritan
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There's this, as well.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed that he was a victim of a conspiracy at the hands of "Jewish" journalists, according to an article in this week's Private Eye.

Assange was said to have phoned the magazine's editor Ian Hislop to contest a report published in the magazine on 16 February saying that a Wikileaks associate in Russia had a history of anti-Semitism.

In an article entitled "A Curious Conversation with Mr. Assange", Private Eye reports that Assange claimed the magazine was involved in a conspiracy with a group of Guardian journalists, all of whom "were Jewish".

Hislop challenged him on this claim, pointing out that Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was not Jewish, to which Assange allegedly replied that Rusbridger was "sort of Jewish." ... -wikileaks" onclick=";return false;

Tbh a lot of Assange's supporters seem to lean towards the conspiraloon end of the spectrum. It seems to me Assange's commitment to accountability doesn't extend to himself - he strikes me as a narcissist. That said, the government is on dodgy ground throwing its weight around about what the Ecuadorians can and can't do. I seem to recall Britain wasn't exactly falling over itself to extradite Pinochet to Spain so he could face the justice he so richly deserved.
By Malcolm Armsteen
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I've just unfollowed the otherwise interesting Moronwatch on Twitter because of his cospiralunacy over Assange.

Assange seems to me to be a spoiled brat (certainly judging by his mother's comments) who believes that boring shit like laws and other people's rights don't apply to him.

I don't see what good Wikileaks has done, except to excite the mentally challenged loons. It just wasn't important, however much they believe it's putting it to the man.
By Fflaps
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Why did he choose Ecuador again?

I pretty much agree with Abers as well. Assange comes across as a thoroughly unpleasant and self-absorbed individual who seems to have little if any concern for the problems caused by some of the Wikileaks revelations (for example, death threats to and murders of American-supporting Afghans by the Taliban) - as Abernathy said, not all of what was released was in the public interest from a security point of view.
By lord_kobel
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Well, the arrest warrent at least...

21 August 2010

The arrest warrant is withdrawn. "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," says one of Stockholm's chief prosecutors, Eva Finne.


18 October 2010

The Wikileaks founder is denied residency in Sweden. No reason is given, although an official on Sweden's Migration Board tells the AFP news agency "he did not fulfil the requirements".

Which would explain why he left.
By Malcolm Armsteen
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The second arrest warrant was the European one, after he legged it.
The opinion of one prosecutor is not really here nor there.

Nothing hidden or out of sight, he's faced with serious charges and he's run away.
Let's think about the people who claim to be victims in this, and who want him questioned, and if found wanting, prosecuted.
By Abernathy
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Baldy Hague pointed out this evening that the UK was proposing to extradite Assange to a country with one of the fairest and most advanced judicial sysyems in the world, wher his rights would be guaranteed. No question of him being granted free passage out of the UK, nor of us storming the Ecuadorean embassy.

Never thought I'd praise this government, but they're handling this exactly right.
By lord_kobel
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Abernathy wrote:.. to a country with one of the fairest and most advanced judicial sysyems in the world, wher his rights would be guaranteed.
Apparently not when it comes to the USA ... -rendition" onclick=";return false;

Apparently Assange offered to face the allegations in Sweden if they could guarantee he would not be extradited to America. The Ecuadorian government sought the same assurances and Sweden could not guarantee either.
By Malcolm Armsteen
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They can't guarantee that because they have international treaty obligations - which is why the UK government says it has a legal obligation to pursue Assange.

Assange and his legal team know that, and that it is not possible to make that undertaking, so his offer was disingenous and dishonest.

He also knows that by European treaty no European state can allow the extradition of any person facing a death sentence. Britain and Sweden are both very clear on that. It would be illegal to over-ride that treaty and against the established policy of both countries.

Have a look here" onclick=";return false;
and also at the comments.
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