No reason for Assange not to go to Sweden now

November 27th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting US news organisations and journalists, United States officials say.

The officials stressed that a formal decision has not been taken and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impanelled, but they said there is little possibility of bringing a case against the Australian, who has sought asylum in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, unless he is implicated in criminal activity other than releasing online top secret military and diplomatic documents.

The Obama administration has charged government employees and contractors who leak classified information – such as former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning – with violations of the Espionage Act.

But officials said that although Assange published classified documents, he did not leak them, something they said significantly affects their legal analysis.

I thin that is the right analysis. It is the leaker who breaks the law, not those who receive them.

He is facing sexual assault charges in Sweden. Assange and some of his supporters have said he fears that if he goes to Sweden to face those charges, he will be extradited to the United States.

But current and former US officials have dismissed that defence.

“He is hiding out in the embassy to avoid a sexual assault charge in Sweden,” Miller said. “It has nothing to do with the US government.”

Assange should stop hiding in the embassy and allow his alleged victims to have their day in court. He may well be found not guilty, but he is not above the law and should stand trial just as anyone else would.

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31 Responses to “No reason for Assange not to go to Sweden now”

  1. kowtow (7,877 comments) says:

    Julian who?

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  2. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    It took them a long time to work that out … and Assange is now paranoid, paranoia that extends to a fear of being held accountable for his own leaks without consent in Sweden.

    But there really was an attempt to make people fear the consequences of facilitating the leaking of information – as a conduit to the wider press/media. There was an attack on Wiki Leaks – servers and funding to diminish its capacity.

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  3. martinh (1,163 comments) says:

    The officials stressed that a formal decision has not been taken and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impanelled, but they said there is little possibility of bringing a case against the Australian

    Gees David you must be the most gullible person in the world to swallow that one as any kind of guarantee that they wont go after him

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  4. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    He is a treasonous bastard, should be charged, and deserves everything he gets.

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  5. Keeping Stock (10,162 comments) says:

    Quite so kowtow; he’s probably pissed off that Edward Snowden knocked him off the front pages. And I’m guessing he’s getting mighty sick of the Ecuadorian embassy by now, and the feeling is probably mutual for his hosts.

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  6. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    “It is the leaker who breaks the law, not those who receive them.”

    Can that be right? In New Zealand we have an offence of receiving stolen goods. Shouldn’t something similar apply in this case? Perhaps Graeme Edgeler or F E Smith could enlighten?

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  7. Albert_Ross (266 comments) says:

    What Random Punter said. Surely there should be an obligation, if you receive such material, to return it; and a prohibition on publication?

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  8. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    What he is accused of would be laughed out of court in NZ

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  9. metcalph (1,397 comments) says:

    Random Punter, in cases like these the courts look to existing practice. And the practice has been that media that print leaked information are not charged. Whether this ought not to be the case is irrelevant – Congress is the appropriate forum for that.

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  10. MH (680 comments) says:

    Protected Disclosures Act…..the difference between Assange and assuage.

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  11. davidp (3,551 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson>What he is accused of would be laughed out of court in NZ

    Are you talking about the Swedish accusations? Because similar cases have attracted a lot of attention in the media here recently, where the consensus seemed to be that women shouldn’t be subject to a culture of rape. That applies equally to Roastbusting Auckland youth and Australians hiding from justice.

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  12. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Assange should stop hiding in the embassy and allow his alleged victims to have their day in court

    And if there’s evidence the accusations are false, his accusers should face prosecution…

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  13. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    the consensus seemed to be that women shouldn’t be subject to a culture of rape

    Except there is no culture of rape. Unless we have a culture of murder, and child abuse, and arson, and robbery, etc. But then use of the word “culture” would be kind of redundant.

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  14. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Naomi Wolf – a strident feminist – has doubts about the validity of the accusations against Assange.

    Dear Interpol:

    As a longtime feminist activist, I have been overjoyed to discover your new commitment to engaging in global manhunts to arrest and prosecute men who behave like narcissistic jerks to women they are dating.

    I see that Julian Assange is accused of having consensual sex with two women, in one case using a condom that broke. I understand, from the alleged victims’ complaints to the media, that Assange is also accused of texting and tweeting in the taxi on the way to one of the women’s apartments while on a date, and, disgustingly enough, ‘reading stories about himself online’ in the cab.

    Both alleged victims are also upset that he began dating a second woman while still being in a relationship with the first. (Of course, as a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That’s what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!).

    Thank you again, Interpol. I know you will now prioritize the global manhunt for 1.3 million guys I have heard similar complaints about personally in the US alone — there is an entire fraternity at the University of Texas you need to arrest immediately. I also have firsthand information that John Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, went to a stag party — with strippers! — that his girlfriend wanted him to skip, and that Mark Levinson in Corvallis, Oregon, did not notice that his girlfriend got a really cute new haircut — even though it was THREE INCHES SHORTER.

    Terrorists. Go get ‘em, Interpol!

    Yours gratefully,

    Naomi Wolf

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  15. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Case against Assange is an “insult to rape victims worldwide”.

    http://feministing.com/2010/12/14/naomi-wolf-responds-case-against-assange-is-%E2%80%9Can-insult-to-rape-victims-worldwide%E2%80%9D/

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  16. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    Thanks Metcalph.

    “And the practice has been that media that print leaked information are not charged.” Do you know if that applies to private individuals? For example, if I receive someone else’s stolen mail (bank statements, medical information etc), am I entitled to open it and publish the contents, or otherwise use it to my advantage with impunity?

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  17. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    Are you talking about the Swedish accusations? Because similar cases have attracted a lot of attention in the media here recently, where the consensus seemed to be that women shouldn’t be subject to a culture of rape.

    You should read about the case. He’s charged with “surprise sex” I think.

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  18. metcalph (1,397 comments) says:

    “And the practice has been that media that print leaked information are not charged.” Do you know if that applies to private individuals?

    It would apply to a blogger or a tweeter as they fall under the definition of freedom of the press (ie being allowed to publish whatever one wanted).

    For example, if I receive someone else’s stolen mail (bank statements, medical information etc), am I entitled to open it and publish the contents, or otherwise use it to my advantage with impunity?

    Stolen information and leaked information are different as apples and oranges. Using it for advantage suggests blackmail which I’m sure is criminal.

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  19. Albert_Ross (266 comments) says:

    Stolen information and leaked information are different as apples and oranges? Really? How exactly is the difference characterised?

    Which description applies to the information provided to Julian Assange by Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden?

    Using it for advantage suggests blackmail – not necessarily. Blackmail involves /not/ revealing the information, merely threatening to do so – once the information is revealed there can be no blackmail. There can, however, be advantage to the revealer and harm to the revealee, both of which have happened in this case; and it still seems perverse that no offence is committed by the one who does the revealing, for that’s the action that actually creates the harm.

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  20. Yoza (1,654 comments) says:

    Julian Assange would be ‘disappeared’ to a US gulag the first chance the bastards get.

    You would have to be border-line insane to believe that someone who so effectively publicised atrocities committed by the US military would be allowed to get away with that without being seen to be severely punished. People who question the right of the US state to kill, torture, kidnap, maim or imprison anyone anywhere need to be marginalised or, as in Assange’s case, if that is not effective, silenced in other ways.

    The campaign to get Assange has nothing to do with alleged sexual indiscretions committed in Sweden, those charges are a beat up to move Assange to a situation where his ‘disappearance’ can be efficiently facilitated.

    There are too many writing at Kiwiblog who believe it is the public who should suffer the rigorous scrutiny of the state, whereas Assange offered up the state for the rigorous scrutiny of the public – and in the eyes of the state that is the deadliest of sins.

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  21. metcalph (1,397 comments) says:

    Stolen information and leaked information are different as apples and oranges? Really? How exactly is the difference characterised?

    Avail yourself of the legal principles. Stealing information implies you acquired the information and had no right to read it. What Assange did was different. He received the information from someone who had the right to read it even though the dissemination of information to himself was unlawful.

    Yoza:

    You would have to be border-line insane to believe that someone who so effectively publicised atrocities committed by the US military would be allowed to get away with that without being seen to be severely punished

    We must be speaking of different Assanges because I do not know of any publicised atrocities revealed by the Assange currently hiding out in the Ecuadorean Embassy. The one event that comes closest to an atrocity happens to be a helicopter crew shooting someone who they legitimately believed was carrying a weapon. A death in through a mistaken belief is not an atrocity.

    People who question the right of the US state to kill, torture, kidnap, maim or imprison anyone anywhere need to be marginalised or, as in Assange’s case, if that is not effective, silenced in other ways.

    Except that Assange had fuckall to do with articles about drone warfare, waterboarding, Quantanamo Bay and the like. Bradley Manning revealed State Department Secrets while Edward Snowden revealed NSA secrets. Drone warfare and the like is carried out by the CIA and the Pentagon which remains unbreached.

    The campaign to get Assange has nothing to do with alleged sexual indiscretions committed in Sweden, those charges are a beat up to move Assange to a situation where his ‘disappearance’ can be efficiently facilitated.

    A bullshit allegation which can be simply disproved by the mere observation that it would be more difficult for the US to extradict Assange from Sweden then it would be from the UK. If Assange had committed a crime, they could extradict him. But to do it from Sweden, they would also have to liase with the British Authorities as well as the Swedish.

    There are too many writing at Kiwiblog who believe complete and utter bullshit and I’m one of them

    I took the liberty of correcting your final paragraph so as to more closely reflect reality.

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  22. davidp (3,551 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson>You should read about the case. He’s charged with “surprise sex” I think.

    One of the women had insisted he wear a condom, which he was reluctant to do. She woke up to find he was having unprotected sex with her. I can’t see how anyone can give informed consent when they are asleep. It sounds like rape to me.

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  23. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    A bullshit allegation which can be simply disproved by the mere observation that it would be more difficult for the US to extradict Assange from Sweden then it would be from the UK. If Assange had committed a crime, they could extradict him. But to do it from Sweden, they would also have to liase with the British Authorities as well as the Swedish.

    Now who’s missing the point. Prosecutors could question Assange in the UK. There’s absolutely nothing to stop them from doing so.

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  24. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Of course Mr Farrar is very concerned that the alleged victims need to have their day in court. That begs the question: why don’t prosecutors go to the UK and question Assange? Clearly, prosecutors are not overly concerned with the alleged victims…

    http://www.government.se/sb/d/2710/a/15268

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  25. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    “If I were Assange, I would not feel safe going to Sweden now. Though Assange has not been charged in Sweden, the Swedish public prosecutor has declined many offers over the past year that she question him in the UK. This raises questions of good faith.

    Also, it is not clear how Sweden might respond to any US request for his temporary surrender to the US, if American charges were laid against him on arrival in Sweden. The present conservative Swedish Government has a history of acceding to all US rendition requests during the War on Terror.” ~ Tony Kevin, retired Australian diplomat

    http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=29449#.UpVCd4P2_IU

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  26. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    No one was interested in Assange’s sexual dalliances until wikileaks.

    What a set up

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  27. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    davidp (3,054) Says:
    November 27th, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Tom Jackson>You should read about the case. He’s charged with “surprise sex” I think.

    One of the women had insisted he wear a condom, which he was reluctant to do. She woke up to find he was having unprotected sex with her. I can’t see how anyone can give informed consent when they are asleep. It sounds like rape to me.

    If a woman wakes a man up by stroking his penis has she sexually violated him? He was asleep and unable to give informed consent. Should he seek counselling from a victim support group? What if they had gone to sleep after a fight?

    The woman who was allegedly asleep knew the first complainant who told her about her sex with Assange. Reporting it as the worst ever, that it was violent, and about the ripped condom and unprotected sex. Does it make sense that if a woman’s friend tells her about her rape, that she goes “Hey I know, why don’t I have sex with my friends rapist”?

    Assange sounds like a douchebag. A rapist? Doubtful.

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange-sweden

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  28. Yoza (1,654 comments) says:

    metcalph (1,156) Says:
    November 27th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    The one event that comes closest to an atrocity happens to be a helicopter crew shooting someone who they legitimately believed was carrying a weapon…

    Anyone who can dismiss the slaughter carried out by the US helicopter crew as, “…shooting someone who they legitimately believed was carrying a weapon…” is insane. This is what ‘crimes against humanity’ look like, that the US is extremely uncomfortable that this atrocity was so widely publicised is understandable. The only thing that singles out this particular atrocity is the amount of attention it received, this bloodbath was just an example of the tens of thousands of similar crimes being carried out by the US and its stooges throughout Iraq, crimes which went unreported.

    It is the crimes committed by the security apparatus of the US that are the problem, Julian Assange’s ‘crime’ is shining a light onto these macabre activities. Understanding such a concept is simple, attempting to airbrush the historical record to sanitise the US while demonising Assange has been one of the more pitiful failures of the media and the establishment.

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  29. Dave Mann (1,184 comments) says:

    The sexual assault charges are bullshit, trumped up to get at Assange. Assange looks like homosexual to me, judging by his overall manner, demeanor and his way of speaking. I honestly doubt that he would sexually assault any woman (not that I support his actions).

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  30. BlairM (2,303 comments) says:

    Suggesting Assange should stand trial under the appalling Swedish “rape” laws is as ridiculous as suggesting we should extradite all former Muslims back to their home countries to stand trial under apostasy laws.

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  31. Bazar (38 comments) says:

    face the law?

    And what law is that exactly?
    Last i heard, Assange wasn’t under arrest, the police simply wanted to “ask him questions”.
    But not over the phone or video link, oh no. For some reason these questions had to be asked in person, on swiss soil.

    The entire case is a sham, one which the swiss should be embarrassed over, because its clear its the US pulling their strings.
    It wouldn’t be surprising in the least if the moment he arrived on swiss soil, the US pulled some legal extradition attempt on him there, where the laws are far different to the UK.

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