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 Julian Assange 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.

Tags:

We steal secrets

July 15th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Lumiere Reader interviews Alex Gibney:

“WE STEAL SECRETS is as brilliant as you’d expect,” James Robinson wrote for The Lumière Reader after seeing Alex Gibney’s WikiLeaks documentary at its Sundance premiere earlier this year. “It’s a hypnotic, absurd human drama and Gibney turns it over expertly and from all sides. No one has put this story together in such a complete fashion.” Via Skype from his New York office on Friday, the enduring documentarian talked passionately with Alexander Bisley about Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and inspiration Martin Scorsese. …

ALEXANDER BISLEY: Here’s the rub. Two Swedish women including Anna, a WikiLeaks supporter you interview in We Steal Secrets, have made credible allegations of significant sexual crime against Julian Assange. How do his supporters maintain he should be above the law?

ALEX GIBNEY: I don’t know how they make that claim. I don’t know how he makes that claim either. In my view this is a big problem. I don’t think he should be above the law, or above criticism. Now he maintains that if he goes back to Sweden he’ll be extradited to the United States, and that’s why he’s not going. But there’s no evidence of that. In fact there’s evidence of just the opposite, that it’s harder to extradite him from Sweden than it is from the United Kingdom. 

I think that is a key point. The UK has an extradition treaty with the US. Assange has not been charged by the US Government. What he faces in Sweden is not extradition, but arrest and a trial for rape.

Now I happen to think the rape allegations are certainly not beyond reasonable doubt. But that is not the point. The accusers deserve a day in court, and Assange is not above the law.

AB: This seems to me the definition of power without accountability, which is supposedly Assange’s big thing.

AG: I agree with you. I think he’s all about holding others to account, holding the powerful to account. And he, in relation to these two Swedish women, has power. He has a huge pulpit and a large number of supporters, and he has allowed them to vilify these women without attempting in any way, shape, or form, to stop that. So yes, he’s not willing to be held to account in any way, shape or form, and that’s one of the issues I have with Assange and WikiLeaks.

AB: At first you too thought the Swedish story was a CIA honey trap? But having researched it thoroughly, you don’t believe that to be the case?

AG: I can find no evidence that it was a CIA honey trap, absolutely no evidence. So, people can say what they want, or imagine whatever they like, but until they produce evidence, as far as I’m concerned it’s a matter between one man and two women.

AB: You spent ages, including one six hour in-person session, talking to Lord Transparency about doing an interview, he suggested money, demanded control over the article, that you spread the gospel according to Assange, and then most extraordinarily, he then asked you to spy on your documentary’s other subjects in return for an interview?

AG: Correct. It was the last part that really staggered me. Julian likes intrigue, and he likes the idea of espionage. Julian likes to involve himself in all sorts of intrigue as if he’s in some kind of spy thriller, and suddenly he’s asking me for “intel”—he keeps calling it “intel”. He reprimanded Daniel Domscheit-Berg with language that was taken straight out of The Espionage Act of 1917. It’s this cloak and dagger stuff where Assange loses credibility, let’s put it that way.

He seems a control freak.

An interesting intreview.

Tags: ,

For some human rights?

February 12th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrew Stone at the NZ Herald:

A leading human rights lawyer yesterday hit out at a decision banning a West Papua independence activist from speaking at Parliament.

Jennifer Robinson, a member of Julian Assange’s defence team, is in New Zealand briefly with Benny Wenda, a leader of the self-determination campaign for West Papua, which is under Indonesian control.

Is the right not to be raped not a human right? Is it a human right to flee justice rather than fight rape charges in court?

Not sure how you can be called a leading human rights lawyer, when you argue against alleged victims of rape being given a chance to have their case heard in court.

Note I am not saying Assange is guilty of rape. I am saying that he is not above the law, and should fight his case in court. It’s paranoid nonsense to suggest two hard core left-wing anti-US activist Swedish women are part of a plot to get him to the United States.

Tags: , ,

No Right Turn on Assange

June 20th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant blogs at No Right Turn:

Faced with the prospect of extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, Julian Assange has done a runner, hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy and applying for political asylum.

Its a very weak case. Assange is not facing persecution in Sweden; he is facing justice for his alleged crimes. There’s no suggestion that he won’t receive a fair trial or that he would face cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. As for the fear that he will be subsequently extradited to the US, he will have the full protection of the ECHR on that. And the ECHR will not allow him to be extradited to face the death penalty or torture. Finally, despite his claims today, Assange has not been “abandoned” by the Australian government; they have made it clear that they will continue to offer consular assistance in the normal manner [PDF].

It is of course up to Ecuador who they grant asylum to and on what terms. But under the normal international law criteria, Assange wouldn’t qualify. He’s not a refugee with a well-founded fear of persecution; he’s just an alleged criminal trying to escape justice.

I can only agree with I/S on this issue.

Incidentally I did not think the case against Assange in Sweden was that strong, and that he would have a reasonable chance of an acquittal if or when trial proceeds. His behaviour, while deceptive, was not necessarily criminal.

Tags: ,

Assange is not a rapist but neither is he a hero

September 20th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A devastating critique of Julian Assange from Nick Cohen of the Guardian:

As soon as WikiLeaks received the State Department cables, Assange announced that the opponents of dictatorial regimes and movements were fair game. That the targets of the Taliban, for instance, were fighting a clerical-fascist force, which threatened every good liberal value, did not concern him. They had spoken to US diplomats. They had collaborated with the great Satan. Their safety was not his concern.

David Leigh and Luke Harding’s history of WikiLeaks describes how journalists took Assange to Moro’s, a classy Spanish restaurant in central London. A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. “Well, they’re informants,” Assange replied. “So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths.

Ouch, and it gets worse.

James Ball joined and thought that in his own small way he was making the world a better place. He realised that WikiLeaks was not what it seemed when an associate of Assange – a stocky man with a greying moustache, who called himself “Adam” – asked if he could pull out everything the State Department documents “had on the Jews”. Ball discovered that “Adam” was Israel Shamir, a dangerous crank who uses six different names as he agitates among the antisemitic groups of the far right and far left. As well as signing up to the conspiracy theories of fascism, Shamir was happy to collaborate with Belarus‘s decayed Brezhnevian dictatorship. Leftwing tyranny, rightwing tyranny, as long as it was anti-western and anti-Israel, Shamir did not care.

Nor did Assange. He made Shamir WikiLeaks’s representative in Russia and eastern Europe. Shamir praised the Belarusian dictatorship. He compared the pro-democracy protesters beaten and imprisoned by the KGB to football hooligans. On 19 December 2010, the Belarus-Telegraf, a state newspaper, said that WikiLeaks had allowed the dictatorship to identify the “organisers, instigators and rioters, including foreign ones” who had protested against rigged elections.

Wikileaks did some great stuff in their early days, when they were the enemies of dictators. With Assange involved it is hard to see how they can recover.

In Ethiopia, however, Assange has already claimed his first scalp. Argaw Ashine fled the country last week after WikiLeaks revealed that the reporter had spoken to an official from the American embassy in Addis Ababa about the regime’s plans to intimidate the independent press. WikiLeaks also revealed that a government official told Arshine about the planned assault on opposition journalists. Thus Assange and his colleagues not only endangered the journalist. They tipped off the cops that he had a source in the state apparatus.

What fine work.

Tags: ,

Assange arrested

December 8th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Julian Assange has been arrested in the UK and being held without bail awaiting extradition to Sweden.

My take on Assange and Wikileaks:

  1. The rape and molestation charges are quite clearly bogus. There is significant proof that his sexual relations with the complainants was completely consensual. They are just angry that he was sleeping around. That is pretty scummy behaviour on his part but far from illegal.
  2. Like most, my initial instinct was to wonder how the NSA had managed to get rape charges laid against Assange. But I don’t think one can point the finger at the US Govt. At least one of the complainants is a left-wing politician, who is a most unlikely front for the US military-industrial complex. Her motivations seem personal, not political. She has actually written before about getting revenge on people etc.
  3. Wikileaks in its early days exposed significant wrong doing in multiple countries and was a force for good.
  4. It seems to have become obsessed with the United States, and has somewhat lost the plot.
  5. Exposing the footage of civilian killings in Iraq is arguably justifiable, but publishing tens of thousands of diplomatic cables is not. Revealing what Kevin Rudd said to Hillary Clinton on China could have a disastrous impact on stability in the region.
  6. The nature of the Internet means that Wikileaks will not be closed down. It has hundreds of mirrors.
  7. However it is entirely predictable that companies such as Amazon, Paypal will choose not to provides services to Wikileaks. They have every right to decide not to do so based on their disapproval of what Wikileaks does. Actions have consequences and Wikileaks is no different.
Tags: ,

The Assange case

December 4th, 2010 at 8:12 am by David Farrar

Radsoft looks at some deleted tweets from one of the accusers in the Assange case in Sweden.

On 14 August she tweeted about Julian wanting to go to a crayfish party and at 2 am on 15th August she tweeted how she is with some of the world’s coolest smartest people.

It was on the 20th August she went to Police and complained she was molested by Assange on 14 August. The tweets seriously undermine that case.

These tweets have since been deleted but Google Cache has kept them.

They put the case in context:

Julian lives in Anna Ardin’s flat from 11 August until 19-20 August. During this time Julian and Anna have sex. Around 18-19 August Anna gets a call from a woman wanting to speak to Julian. When Anna realises that Julian’s also had consensual sex with this woman, something happens. The two women who are both christians and are connected to the Brotherhood Movement and were at the seminar at the Brotherhood Movement realise immediately that Julian doesn’t have any long term serious intentions with them. They decide after discussing the matter to file complaints against Julian Assange for sexual molestation.

What Assange did is exploitative and sleazy, but it is not a criminal offence to sleep around.

His own son commented on Facebook:

that man does have a way of making a lot of female enemies

which suggests Assange leaves a lot of women feeling exploited by him. But again, that is a long way from suggesting non-consensual sex.

Tags:

Julian Assange

December 2nd, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Without being overly conspirational, I wonder if he will be still alive in 12 months time? Pissing off almost every country on Earth isn’t the best of ideas possibly.

Tags: ,

The Wikileaks rape charges

August 24th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Many will have seen the story about the Swedish Police announcing rape charges had been filed against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The charges have now been dropped.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. In fact I like to mock people who think Bush planned 9/11 etc.

But I have to say that when I heard of the rape charges against Assange, my first reaction was to wonder “How the hell did the NSA manage to arrange that?”

Tags: , , ,