Ecuador intervention bolsters Assange’s claim. Sweden and Australia just part of the conga line.

A gusty performance by Ecuador, granting asylum to Julian Assange. Assange’s claim that he faces further extradition to the US  from a disingenuous Sweden, appears to be borne out by the Ecuadorian behind-the-scenes investigations.

A simple assurance from the Swedes that further extradition would not be allowed would have solved the dilemma.  But clearly no such assurance has been given.  The dots have been joined. Sweden is a vassal state, as sadly is Australia.    A shameful gutless position taken by Ms. Gillard.  Rudd would not have allowed it.


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77 Responses to Ecuador intervention bolsters Assange’s claim. Sweden and Australia just part of the conga line.

  1. Paul Frijters says:

    Gillard and Abbot probably would heave a sigh of relief if Assange indeed goes to Equador and stays there. Saves them from the difficult situation of having a countryman in an American court-room on charges of defending the first amendment of the American Constitution.

  2. derrida derider says:

    Paul’s right – I bet the Swedes are privately relieved too. Thanks to the incredibly stupid threat to invade Ecuador’s embasy the UK is the only party left subject to US pressure.

    Were I Cameron I would be very displeased with the Minister who made that threat, and made it in writing too. Absent it he could have said to the Yanks “Sorry, just like Australia and Sweden I’d really love to help but I can’t”. Having a member of his government point out that in fact he CAN help has removed that option.

  3. hammygar says:

    Totally agree Rex. Australia and Sweden are definitely peas in a pod. Sweden is working hand in glove with the US in getting Mr Assange kidnapped and taken to the USA for a secret military trial, which may well result in his unpublicised execution at some secret military base like Gitmo.

    It makes you wonder how much of a conspiracy these Swedish women are engaged in with their US allies.

    If the EU had any guts they’d bring Sweden and UK to account in their Human Rights court.

    Paul Fritjers is quite right about the first amendment. The claim that Mr Assange has breached State secrets is a great furphy. Just about everything in the US government circles is a State secret these days regardless of its security value. And the claim that the US doesn’t intend to apply for his extradition from Sweden is simply a lie.

    The Brits must make immediate arrangements to give safe passage to Mr Assange from the Embassy to a plane to Ecuador.

  4. Crispin Bennett says:

    The Ecuadorian ambassador to Australia made it very clear yesterday that the UK’s aggressive stance on a minor extradition matter just bolsters Assange’s asylum case.

    Interpol, extradition, threats to invade embassies? I guess all those British child sex tourists must be quaking in their long johns.

    If I our political system’s irremediable corruption wasn’t as undisguised as it is, I’d become a conspiracy theorist.

  5. Tel says:

    Clearly no nation seriously thinks about going to war (even a war with Ecuador) over just a rape case… especially when you consider that although this might technically have been rape, there have been plenty of cases incomparably nastier. I mean North Korea has a history of actually kidnapping people and enslaving them, but no one went to war over that.

    The over-reaction says everything. There is something valuable about Assange. I’m a little mystified as to what exactly that might be. If he knew something, I can’t help thinking he would have leaked it by now (or someone would have leaked it for him), and the Internet doesn’t entirely depend on one man to be able to blow the whistle on corruption. I mean the Climategate emails went out via a Russian server, and there’s all sorts of Indymedia and blogs around willing to rake the muck on all sorts of issues. If some err little accident was to happen to Assange, then his work would carry on without him.

    So what exactly makes this one man so valuable? Is this nothing more than the USA determined to save face and prove that no one gets away with undermining their authority?

    • Crispin Bennett says:

      So what exactly makes this one man so valuable?

      I suspect our leaders are terrified that populations will find out more about how nations really work. The Enlightenment veneer is extraordinarily thin, and (as our responses to terrorism and global warming show) bears no load at all. This is so different from the carefully manufactured self-image of contemporary nations (particularly the US), that widespread understanding of the reality would eliminate the remaining tatters of legitimacy, with unforeseeable consequences.

      Whether by intuition/luck or judgement, making Assange himself the issue does useful work, helping avert the mass gaze from stark political realities.

      • Tel says:

        Point is, all that can happen without Assange, and in many ways it would be a very good thing if such a process depends a little bit on a lot of people rather than depending a lot on just a few people.

        • Crispin Bennett says:

          Quite. But in prosecuting the case against Assange, the US, acting in concert (deliberate or accidental) with the UK, Sweden, and Australia, have almost entirely succeeded in spotlighting him to the exclusion of the real issues. We can all continue prosecuting illegal wars, sending asylum seekers to Pacific torture camps, etc, etc, while pretending to be humane, decent societies.

  6. hammygar says:

    Is this nothing more than the USA determined to save face and prove that no one gets away with undermining their authority?

    Quite! The paws of the USA are all over this case. Sweden and UK should hide their heads in shame for pretending that it has anything to do with rape.

  7. hammygar says:

    This case is reminescent of the Roman Polanski case, in which unproven unauthorised sex has been used to wreak vengeance on someone whom the US perceives as its enemy. They really have no shame, do they?

    • Tel says:

      Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the hotel maid… just enough to move him out of a position of power, then dropped all charges when put under scrutiny.

      Is there a mathematical theory for how many convenient coincidences it takes to beggar belief? Normal human credulity is set at 95% by the way (apparently hard coded).

    • Dennignesque says:

      There was every reason to extradite Polanski. He had already accepted a plea bargain whereby he pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful sexual intercourse. Remember the acts involved penetration of a 13 year old and furnishing her with drugs. Any sex, in the US and here for that matter, could not be consensual as a matter of law. Polanski thought he would get probation as part of the plea bargain but his lawyers believed the judge was likely to impose a custodial sentence. He fled the jurisdiction prior to sentencing. There is no surprises that the US would want to extradite him. And fair enough. He is a fugitive (in the correct use of the word).

  8. Don says:

    just a rape case…

    Quite right, Tel. How anything as trivial as rape can trigger a diplomatic stand-off like this just beggars the imagination.

  9. Q says:

    If Assange was taken to the USA, and there has been no convincing explanation of why and how this would happen, then it would be against UK law!!

    • derrida derider says:

      But Q, the problem is it may not be against Swedish law. And the whole point of the UK’s efforts are to get him to Sweden, where Uk law would be irrelevant..

  10. Mr. Eyesore says:

    It’s worth remembering that the law under which the British authorities are claiming the right to enter the Ecuadorean embassy was a response to the Libyan embassy siege of 1984. In that incident several people were wounded and one, a police officer, later died in hospital.

    How that compares to the Assange case, which involves a dispute over a condom, is beyond me. (The women in question originally went to the police to find out if Assange could be forced to take an STD test, and no more.)

  11. Don says:

    which involves a dispute over a condom

    Quite so Mr Eyesore. That’s all it was of course. Women shouldn’t be so damn fussy about their gender lives. They can be such screamers, can’t they, especially vis-a-vis really great people. After all in twenty years time who’ll remember her name. Everyone will remember Jules.

  12. Fyodor says:

    Quite so Mr Eyesore. That’s all it was of course. Women shouldn’t be so damn fussy about their gender lives.

    Onya, Don. The trivialising of rape claims by those purportedly supporting free speech – Hammy Hamster, FFFS! – is one of the more clusterfucked fubarities around this case.

    • Crispin Bennett says:

      There is a difference between trivialising rape allegations, and being at least suspicious of claims that an unprecedented series of interpol warrants, extradition hearings and threats against embassies (the latter coming from a country that, like Australia, tends to be fairly insouciant about its male citizens assaulting their partners, and raping children in South East Asia) is likely to have much to do with the protection of women.

  13. Don says:

    Thanks for backing me up Crispin. The opportunity of rubbing the capitalistic rabbles of Australia and US into the shit is far too good to miss. The Swedish women probably have free market sympathies too, so need to have a sense of humour of having the great man’s prick shoved up their vaginas uninvited while they were unconscious. Most women in third world countries like Ecuador wuld see it as a privilege. Ungrateful Aryan blondes!

    • Tel says:

      You forgot the bit about Assange being invited into her house, and encouraged to share the bed with her, and treated perfectly cordially the very next morning, only some weeks later did his intrusion become “uninvited”.

      Let’s just compare with the people Assange is up against, who are known to have arrested people without due process, kept people locked up without any formal charges, hanging in legal limbo, also shipped prisoners to black sites around Europe and the Middle East, systematically used torture as a political tool, and lied about these things until they were caught. These actions were done by people in positions of public trust and authority, using tax money by the way.

      Just to demonstrate an understanding of common sense, could we review which of these forms of behaviour is more antisocial and why? Would that be too much to ask?

  14. Pedro says:

    Have we moved fool’s day, or am I missing something else?

  15. Dennignesque says:

    The nonsensical palaver, usually baseless, about the legal process in this case is moving into the realm of the surreal. Sweden sought extradition of Assange. It was heard at first instance then made its way through the appeals process to the Supreme Court. He was unsuccessful. No surprises for any lawyer following it. Within the European community it is very difficult to fight if there is a legal basis for the request. And there is. It may seem unusual or wrong as a matter of policy to those inhabiting the common law jurisdiction but there is no suggestion that the underlying Swedish law offends against any European Treaty or the extradition treaty between the UK and Sweden. There is no serious suggestion that any or all of the hearings were corrupted by outside influence. There is no credible evidence supporting the proposition that the US is using Sweden as it’s proxy or has plans to extradite Assange from Sweden. And credible evidence is more than assertion (of which there is a truckload), the traditional “I read it somewhere”, “it makes sense that…” or when all else fails the catch all big conspiracy theory which is so all encompassing it defies any and all attempts to find evidence of its existence. Assange was granted bail while he fought extradition but decided to breach his bail conditions once he exhausted his appeal rights. The UK, as a matter of public policy, will not tolerate a person breaching bail and trying to thwart extradition by running to an embassy. No government would accept that. Nor should it. I hope the UK government does not revoke Ecuador’s diplomatic status and then enter the premises to arrest Assange. I suspect it will wait him out and apprehend him when he or Ecuador finds the pressure too much. As to the suggestion that somehow Sweden,an independent state with a credible legal system, should answer any hypothetical or even specific question (or provide assurance) by a commentator, polemist or country arising out of a theory (conspiracy or otherwise) about what a third party (the US) may or may not do, defies common sense. A bit less pixie dust and more analysis based on facts in this debate would go a long way.

  16. Don says:

    Once again I can only concur with Mr Eyesore’s brilliant insight to the Great Satan’s involvement in this excuse for hounding the great man. It wouldn’t have been too difficult to rustle up a couple of working girls to set the whole thing in motion. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that the highest court in the UK is so corrupt as to go along with this charade. After all, the political system in that country still bows and scrapes to the free market system that more enlightened, progressive countries like Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela and Ecuador wisely abandoned a long time ago.

  17. Don says:

    Tel you’ve really hit the nail on the head. When a tramp female invites a man into her bed she signals she’s up for anything, whether it be anal sex (with or without condom), sex while asleep, or simply vaginal sex without condom. Even oral sex with a giant phallic symbol shoved down the throat. Maaate – once you’re in you’re in, everything else is detail. A little S&M can sometimes spice it up a bit (especially if terrified resistance can be encouraged). Go for it, I say!

    • Tel says:

      I never said anything of the sort, and I don’t appreciate the gutless attempt to put words into my mouth. However if what you said did in fact cover the situation, why did the women concerned say nothing about it until some days later?

      Still waiting for your evaluation on whether what Assange did is more or less antisocial than outright abduction and torture by people who are in positions of public trust.

  18. Bob says:

    Assange released information without caring about the larger perspective, risks to defence force persona and their sources of information. He is selfishly responsible for one soldier’s suffering in the USA. Assange used Wikileaks and made himself into a hero to advance his views and opinions. His is an anarchist with no concern for Governments, international relations, the rule of law and others while sucking up the cash from gullible supporters to pay his costs and support his lifestyle. Is this not the way of cults?

    Assange is rightly labeled I say as a coward, but I suspect he is a cult leader and parasite. He does not have the guts to deal with criminal complaints within the fair legal system of Sweden. Why would any person go to such extreme and costly lengths to evade questioning? Probably because where there is smoke there must be a fire.

    Extradition to the USA is speculative. If it were not I would love to know why he took it upon himself to make the extraordinary decision to release military secrets that put others in jeopardy? I would like to know why he placed the lives of serving defence forces and their sources of information at risk? What better forum than the USA to force answers to these questions? Regardless of the ‘American way’, I prefer them to extremists and oppressive regimes.

    The supposed hero of freedom of press and information succeeded in interrupting international relations between a variety of countries while ensuring his name and face is published worldwide. He has achieved this result at the considerable expense of the public purse. He is a scared man who does not have the guts to deal with problems in the same manner as free societies do. If we support Assange, we support anarchy. If we support Assange we cannot in good conscience support the rule of the law, international laws and treaties and democracy.

    Assange seems to be a cult leader. I remember one called Charles Manson too. Assange sends his mom to Ecuador to clean up his mess. He relies on followers to pay his bills and lives rent free in a London Embassy. He specializes in chatting on Russian media stations. I wonder why he doesn’t approach an Australian media outlet for air time because they would love that opportunity no doubt.

    Assange thumbs his nose at Sweden’s, UK’s, and USA’s and Australia’s laws and International laws and treaties. He abuses diplomatic relationships for unencumbered selfishness and for fear that it may just be that he is a sexual deviate. We will never know the truth unless he faces up to the charges. But we know that we will never find out unless he is called to account for his actions; unless he writes a best seller book that would generate huge income for any cult called Wikileaks?

  19. Ken Parish says:

    This article from The Independent provides a useful summary of the Swedish allegations against Assange and surrounding legal issues.

    • Tel says:

      In summary:

      14 Aug: Assange has sex with Miss A, after being invited to stay at her apartment.

      16 Aug: Assange has sex with Miss W, after being invited to her apartment.

      18 Aug: Miss W has a chat with Miss A, and compares notes.

      20 Aug: Assange leaves Miss A’s apartment where he has been staying some days now and both women file complaints with police. Miss A now remembers that Assange used his body weight to hold her down during sex and that she was a victim of “unlawful coercion,” back on 14 Aug.

  20. Rob says:

    Assange was responsible for the most massive disclosure of national security classified information in history. The damage he has done is not known, because any damage assessment would itself, of necessity, be classified. But it is likely to have been very severe. Hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic reports were released to the world. Nations and non-state actors hostile to the US were handed a treasure trove of information which they will sift though to see what it tells them of US military operations, political positionings and diplomatic tactics, and the insights they gain will be used to materially damage the US, and possibly lead to the loss of lives in military theatres, and grave damage to the US in other domains.

    It is incumbent upon the US to pursue any legal redress it can achieve against Assange and his instrument (as alleged), Bradley Manning. If that means extradition to the US to face criminal charges, that’s what should happen.

    In the meantime, he is wanted for questioning in Sweden on allegations that he raped two women. Whether the allegations are credible and warrant formal charges is entirely a matter for the Swedish judicial system.

    Why this guy is a hero of the Left beats me. Oh, wait…

  21. Rex R says:

    I make no judgement about the validity of the Swedish accusations against Assange, and he should under normal circumstances go there and face his accusers.

    Sweden however refuses to provide assurances that it is not just a stop-over for his eventual deportation to the US.

    Claims that its easier to be deported from Britain, and claims that the UK must approve a Swedish deportation are a red herring. Just a legal guessing game. No-one can say for sure how it would play out with the courts and ministers of two or more countries involved.

    If Sweden is truly only interested in prosecuting their sex-crimes charges, then all they need to do is provide the assurance, delivered by a senior politician, that there will be no on-forwarding extradition, and then Assange would be nothing more than someone trying to evade sex-crimes charges.

    The fact that Sweden does not give this assurance – is tantamount to admission of their complicity in an extradition trap. The Swedes have no credibility.

    • Dennignesque says:

      There is absolutely no reason why Sweden should provide assurances. The four corners of the issue is Sweden seeks Assange’s extradition in relation to matters the subject of the application. That is it. There is no factual basis for even asking for the assurances; mainly pure speculation, assertion and less than educated guesses. On a more basic level why a politician of any country would provide assurances based on hypothetical scenarios is a question that answers itself. There are overwhelming public policy reasons for not doing so. As for “The fact that Sweden does not give this assurance – tantamount to admission of their complicity..” is illogical, plain and simple. No such inference can be drawn from a failure or refusal to give an assurance. There is no evidence of a conspiracy/trap to start with in which it is complicit. Plenty of runaway speculation for sure which doesn’t rise above gossip and conspiracy theories. What Sweden’s quietude is tantamount to is that it is unwilling to respond. And why not.

      • RexR says:

        Fine, but Sweden must also then accept that many many people around the world no longer see it neutral. It’s their call obviously if they’re willing to let their reputation be ttarnished.

        • Don says:

          RexR it’s obvious that many people around the world (and on this blog) hold the same view you do. But that does absolutely nothing to tarnish Sweden’s reputation, or even affect it in any way. This is what’s called a non-sequitur.

    • derrida derider says:

      Or, Sweden could take up Assange’s repeated offers to have the Swedish prosecutor question him in Britain and then decide if charges are warranted.

      The Swedes will neither do this nor give him, despite repeated requests, an assurance that he will not be forcibly rendered to the US whether or not Swedish charges are laid. Which is precisely what makes people think this stinks to high heaven. Why incur all this cost and reputational damage for something that could easily be resolved by a simple press statement and a plane fare for the prosecutor?

  22. Rob says:

    I can’t see why it matters where Assange could be extradited from. If the US authorities believe they have a case for trying him for offences against US law, then they can apply for extradition from Sweden of the UK or wherever they have a treaty or other agreement. If the relevant authorities agree there is a case against him, Assange gets extradited to the US and the law takes its course.

    I do wonder if the Assange fan club would be quite so vociferous if it had been Australian classified information he had disclosed.

    • derrida derider says:

      But Rob, he did release Australian “secrets” – you clearly didn’t read the newspapers. Like virtually all the rest it was diplomatic scuttlebut that, to the extent it was worth being “classified” at all, was deemed far more important to keep from the voters than from other powers.

      • Rob says:

        AFAIK, Assange did not acquire or release any Australian classified information. All the stuff passed by Manning was US material, because, of course, he only had access to US databases. There were Australian references, because the material disclosed included cables from the US Embassy in Canberra. But they were not Australian secrets.

  23. Rob says:

    In addition to which, Rex, you’re missing the major point. Manning (allegedly) stole hundreds of thousands of military and political secrets from the US, and Assange made them available to the US’ competitors, rivals and enemies – in the latter case, including elements against whom US forces are currently engaged in combat. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with US policies or not. Do you really think that the US has no right to be affronted by Assange’s actions nor seek legal remedies against him if such be available? I think it does.

  24. Don says:

    all they need to do is provide the assurance, delivered by a senior politician, that there will be no on-forwarding extradition

    Presumably Sweden has no separation of powers doctrine like Australia has. Thus a politician can interfere with judicial processes as above? In Australia I wonder if the executive government could give such an undertaking? Ken?

  25. Rex R says:

    No Rob, Sorry it’s not the major point. Of course the US is affronted. But not even Andrew Bolt is arguing that Assange should be punished for publishing the cables. He is just not sure.

    This case is all about extradition to Sweden on sex crimes charges. Assange says its hidden trap. Ecuador has pretty much verified this. Sweden could have solved the impasse – but is has chosen not to.

    Don has a more relevant point. What is the relationship between the Swedish legal system and Swedish politics? My guess is that Sweden will be claiming that they don’t interfere in judicial processes, and therefore cannot pre-empt any hypothetical request for extradition. It’s a matter for the courts they’ll say. However that’s a cop-out argument in this case. This is a game of politics – not law.

    If they chose, Sweden could simply announce that once Assange’s sex crimes case has been dealt with then Assange will be sent straight home to Australia. They could wash their hands of the matter, and let the US extradite him from here. Not a good look for Julia – but a far better look for Sweden.

    The fact that the politics is not playing out this way is evidence that a deal has been struck between the US and Sweden. They’ll only come clean when they have him in custody. It’s pretty clear that the Swedish legal process is being used for political purposes, and it’s clear that that’s the way they plan to continue.

    • Tel says:

      My guess is that Sweden will be claiming that they don’t interfere in judicial processes, and therefore cannot pre-empt any hypothetical request for extradition.

      Under most jurisdictions, the prosecutor has some leeway to make arrangements. It doesn’t have to be in any way directly linked to the political process. Mind you, let’s remember that the chief prosecutor has already formally dismissed both the rape charge and arrest warrant, but then got replaced with a “special prosecutor” who re-opened the case. Given that people are willing to accept that as Kosher, seems that the concept of formally questioning him inside the UK would not be such a big stretch, even perhaps giving the defense access to the already collected evidence (e.g. SMS texts) might be acceptable.

      I have no doubt someone will point me to some little known Swedish statute that makes this all impossible, but some of us still cling to the whole “justice must be seen to be done” schtick.

  26. Rob says:

    That doesn’t seem right, Rex. You say, “Sweden could simply announce that once Assange’s sex crimes case has been dealt with then Assange will be sent straight home to Australia.” But if he has committed an offence against Swedish law, presumably he will face a penalty – possibly imprisonment – which will have to take place in Sweden. If acquitted, the Swedes are not going to be in a position to do anything. Assange will be free to go wherever he wants.

    There is absolutely no evidence of anything whatsoever being cooked up between Sweden and the US, as far as I can see. I think you’re being quite pointlessly conspiratorial about this.

    As for Bolt, well, I’m not sure either. It depends entirely on the state of US law as to whether an offence has been committed or not.

  27. Rob says:

    Besides, Ecuador’s position in all this in nakedly hypocritical. Its Leftist President, Correa, is a fully paid up member of the South American anti-US axis now led by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Since election in 2007, Correa has been steadily closing down opposition and independent media voices. No friend of press freedom he, then. He is simply using the Assange matter to take a shot at America – as Assange knew he would. That’s why he sought asylum there.

  28. paul walter says:

    Re Rob’s comment about intelligence disclosures and “damage”, the danger if any, could only be directed toward those who themselves are responsible for illegal acts in other people’s countries of the sort that countries like the US and Britain themselves would not even dream of tolerating.
    One such act involved the murder of unarmed civilians by helicopter gunship in Iraq and I’ll wager the culprits there went unpunished unlike Assange, who’s heinous crime appears to be the wearing of a leaky condom.

  29. Don says:

    the wearing of a leaky condom

    Yes, pesky things condoms. They do tend to leak (if you get my meaning) when they not placed over the ol’fella when the latter’s getting excited to bursting.

  30. Rob says:

    No, the allegation was that he didn’t wear a condom and refused to desist when his partner requested him to. As I understand it, that constitutes rape under Swedish law. Agree with it or not, that’s their law.

    And, paul, that’s a furphy. Assange has said that he whole point of WikiLeaks is that there ‘should be no secrets’. Easy for him to say; non-elected, non-appointed, non-official with no responsibility or accountability whatsoever. Obviously, he knows better than an elected government whether something should remain secret or not. Not.

    From time immemorial, diplomacy has been confidential. And for good reason. No confidentiality equals no diplomacy. That’s the way the world has always been, because it can’t be any other way. Every government knows this. Thanks to Assange, it’s going to be much harder for the US to raft in those waters from now on. And that, of course, was the intent.

  31. paul walter says:

    The point remains, the Swedish government has refused to even interview Assange, there are not even charges, let alone a trial requiring of his presence.
    The pressing need need to inteview him specifically on Swedish soil indicates some thing more sinister afoot, of the like the 4 Corners episode of a month or two ago indicated.

    You would be comfortable with the fairness of the treatment you were receiving if you were in Assange’s shoes?
    If not, perhaps you should shut up, with your cold blooded, mealy-mouth legalese.
    Btw, the people responsible for the massacre in Iraq, filmed and released by Wikileaks later, were never charged, despite the film evidence. Since you are all of legalese with no concern for real justice, you would be happy with this, as you would be if the US extradited Assange with the connivance of the Swedish and British, to face the same actual travesty of justice already represented in Manning’s plight.
    My bet is that you know the reality of the issue, but are being consciously selectively, perversely dishonest and misleading in the presentation of your anti Assange smear, altho I wonder at your underlying motivations for this.

    • Dennignesque says:

      The Magistrates Court, the High Court and the Supreme Court in the UK have all found against Assange on the issue of extradition. Do you want to have a nation of laws or men. The former is always preferable. The other is tyranny. What exactly is the unfairness in the process here (beyond the complaint that it was not the result you wanted)? Assange was well represented. He exercised his appeal rights. Where is the actual evidence (as opposed to speculation, assertion and old fashioned “I reckon”) that the USA will extradite Assange and the Swedish will connive in having him extradited? Conspiracy theories deserve the light treatment they get in adult company.
      Backing a truckload of antipathy about the USA and its activities in Iraq (for which there is plenty to critisise) onto a specific issue does little to advance the sum of human knowledge.

      • derrida derider says:

        I don’t think on the UK LEGAL issues there is serious disagreement – under the December 2001 Framework Agreement the UK courts are bound to honour a European Arrest Warrant with few questions asked (another “antiterrorist” law with unanticipated consequences – or perhaps not so unanticipated).

        But that is an entirely separate thing from the motivations of the UK and Swedish government in zealously and expensively pursuing a breach of bail conditions on what is a very dubious charge (well, actually of course there’s not even any charge) over something that would not even be a crime in most countries (including the UK).

        It is difficult to explain their crime-fighting priorities here without believing that they have an entirely different “crime” in mind.

  32. Rob says:

    But it’s not a travesty of justice. It is justice.If Manning downloaded that material – 100s of 1000s of classified documents – and passed them to Assange, he was guilty of a very serious criminal offence, under a law passed by the US legislature, being the elected representatives of the people. It would be exactly the same case in Australia.

  33. paul walter says:

    Whose law, whose justice?

  34. Rob says:

    America’s, naturally. That’s where the crime was committed, and the US is the injured party.

    • Don says:

      You’re being remarkably civil in all this Rob, despite being subjected to mindless abuse by another contributor. Well done.

      • Rob says:

        I learned my lesson about being uncivil on the blogosphere some time ago, Don, after having been taken to pieces for it by experts. I learned that abuse doesn’t win arguments; sadly, quite often, neither does rational analysis.

        • john r walker says:

          The case in the US would provably hinge on whether Assange’ reporting of the leaks was covered by the constitutional doctrine against prior restraint in publication or whether it was such a threat to vital national interest as to fall under acts like the espionage act and the atomic energy acts. The US vs Progressive case involved such a judgement.
          Which side of such a test Assange would fall on who knows. (Though most of the information released was not of the ‘how to make a h bomb ‘kind.)

  35. Don says:

    The continuing denigration by the left in this case, of women’s right not to be sexually abused (including strongly manifested on this thread) is just astonishing. Just show how easily their social justice priorities can be poleaxed by “other priorities”.

    I’m currently reading a fascinating book on my Kindle called “Inhuman Bondage” by David Brion Davis about the history of slavery. The author relates the sad case of slave Celia, hanged in 1855 for defending herself against a rapist. For some reason this case and thread strongly resonates with that case.

    I’m not a feminist, more an old fashioned male who deplores the conduct towards women by some of my fellow males.

  36. Pedro says:

    Why should Sweden provide an assurance that Assange will not be extradited to the US. Imagine if he was a Swede trying to avoid extradition to Australia for crimes here and the PM said that we would not at anytime allow him to then be extradited to the US. Clearly that would be wrong. Our govt does not run the legal system in that way and I dare say the Swedes are the same.

  37. paul walter says:

    That would be corrupted legal processes, wouldn’t it Tel?
    Like the US withdraws intelligence-sharing with Sweden unless the Swedes cook up something over Assange?

  38. paul walter says:

    New Matilda has up an interview with Noam Chomsky also debunking the persecution of Assange, reckons that far from the current maltreatment he should receive the Medal of Honour.
    Against some of the myopic and blinkered piffle in this thread, I’ll still take the grave risk of Robertson, Burnside, Chomsky, et al.

    • Rob says:

      Ah, Noam Chomsky has stumped up for Assange. Now there’s a surprise. Chomsky was recently – and amusingly – described as ‘an anti-American monomaniac’. He has a long-standing idee fixe, and the idea on which he is fixated is the implacable, ineradicable, ubiquitous, universal and inevitable evil of the United States. Of course, all this is purely delusional. Nonetheless, it is Chomsky’s reality, despite the fact that it exists only in his own imagination.

      He supports Assange because Assange has damaged America. IIRC, Hillary Clinton has said that if she has two terms as Secretary of State, at the end of the second she would still be dealing with the fallout from WikiLeaks. In other words, she would still be in damage control. No wonder Chomsky rejoices.

      As for a Medal of Honor, the US government could hardly be expected to acquiesce in, and even reward, the gaping breach in its national security regime which is represented by the WikiLeaks disclosures. Unsurprsingly, Chomsky, from the security of the psychotic castle in the air he has built and called Amerikkka, is unable to see that rather obvious point.

      • Rob says:

        A propos, quite coincidentally, I happened on an excellent piece on Chomsky – an exchange between Michal J Totten, the world’s best photo journalist, and Benjamin Kerstein, author of Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite.

        The money quote:

        What we’re looking at with Chomsky is a man who has dedicated essentially his entire public life to political evil. I think we are justified in calling such a person a monster.

  39. john r walker says:

    The US UK military and socio economic alliance is very longstanding. The UK has extradited UK citizens to the US to face charges over downloading music files…. it seems a little strange to think that the US needs Assange to be exported to Sweden before they can attempt to have him extradited to the US to face charges.

    And whilst Sweden might be a little different in its approach to legal process , but it looks like a unlikely place to begin a dark rendition to Guantanamo Bay…. Sweden is well known for a long standing culture of doing things in a independent way.

    The whole thing looks more like a f up than a deliberate plan.

  40. Thomas the Tout says:

    I think Rex R~, and Dennignesque, are really one and the same, but putting up contrary arguments for the sake of fun. Sorry to be personal, but I just cannot give serious regard to Rex’s position.

  41. RexR says:

    Well Thomas, maybe you’ll give more serious regard to John Hewson’ position

  42. john r walker says:

    Asked an American legal friend about Assange , the US legal system and extradition from the UK.

    (1) It is far from certain that he has violated United States law; as applied to him, the Espionage Act may well be an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of speech.
    (2) There is almost certainly a grand jury empaneled to consider charges against Assange; he need not be in US custody for such charges to issue.
    (2) For reasons that I do not at present recall, direct extradition from the UK to the US is considered impossible or unlikely.……

  43. hammygar says:

    I watched Julian’s brilliant speech yesterday from the embassy. I thought it was first class oratory, and will go down in history as one of the great freedom orations.

    Thanks heaven we still have in this world freedom-loving regimes like Ecuador to combat totalitarian States like the UK, USA and Sweden who think nothing of extinguishing the rights of individuals to further their own dictatorships.

    Shame on commentators on this blog who support these thuggish and corrupt regimes.

    • john r walker says:

      I am nominating you for the Nobel peiace prise
      I just need $50 for the registered letter.

      • Rob says:

        I wasn’t going to do this, and I probably shouldn’t, so my apologies, Ken, if I’m abusing your hospitality.

        But this statement from Hammy is completely…. well, let’s say completely – unreasonable.

        Thanks heaven we still have in this world freedom-loving regimes like Ecuador to combat totalitarian States like the UK, USA and Sweden who think nothing of extinguishing the rights of individuals to further their own dictatorships.

        Just think about that for a minute.

    • Rob says:


      You should have a look at Peter Hartcher’s column in the SMH this morning.

      The moment Assange decided to seek shelter in Ecuador, however, he betrayed the principles he claimed to represent. He made donkeys of everyone who had defended him.

      Why? Because Ecuador, under its President of the last five years, Rafael Correa, has become one of the world’s leading oppressors of free speech. Correa has appropriated, closed and intimidated many media outlets critical of his government. He has sued journalists for crippling damages.

      In the press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders, Ecuador has dropped from having the 56th freest press in the world to the 104th, lower than Kuwait and the Republic of the Congo.

      So while Correa welcomed Assange to what he called ”the club of the persecuted”, he has been persecuting his own country’s reporters.

  44. paul walter says:

    Hartcher? Hartcher calls “hypocrisy”, but I wonder what he would do in the same position as Julian Assange? He daren’t risk his job writing lies for Gina, let alone his life.

  45. paul walter says:

    The trajectory of Hartcher’s piece is to discredit Assange by association through the denigration of Correa.
    But in another piece of hypocrisy, Hartcher (and Rob) neglects to inform us that Ecuador is the original “Banana Republic”, ruined by 500 years of colonialism, including over a century of US interference. It is the original Banana Republic, in fact. This is because of the grip the US giant United Fruit, a successful recent intruder on Australian banana production, held over Ecuador for decades, its power and influence secured by the threat of the Marines being sent in when local resistance flared.
    Ecuador’s trouble go back far beyond Correa, who has inherited the mess left by the Spanish, then the USA.

  46. Rob says:

    That may well be true, paul, but whatever happened in the past doesn’t seem to me to have anything to do with his suppression of free speech and a free press in the present.

  47. Q says:

    Rob and Harcher are on the money.

    Julian is a rank hypocrite.
    We know already the UK cannot give him to Sweden if he was to be then transported to the USA.
    We have no evidence that the USA will actually do this.

    in the mean time Julian is facing a serious criminal charge

  48. wmmbb says:

    The intercession of Ecuador, in relation to international law, is a game changer. If you look at what I imagine to be the legal stance – and I am no lawyer – of the UK and Sweden, it is possible to understand their positions, with the exception of the foolish expressed intention to violate the diplomatic immunity of the Ecuadorian Embassy. It seems to me that now Ecuador has provided political asylum ( I hope I have got that right) that the context has significantly changed, and that the Sweden, in particular, and the UK will have to adapt their positions. Now if this were to strengthen international law, aside from consideration of the conduct of the individuals involved, it seems to me it would be a good development. Realistically, I do not foresee the United States playing a positive role, and I would hope against observation that such pessimism would prove unfounded.

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