the internet lives to fight another day.
WikiLeaks supremo Julian Assange was granted bail on appeal by a London court this afternoon. After six days in jail he will be released with conditions, including a £240,000 surety. The next hearing in Sweden's attempt to extradite him in relation to alleged sex crimes against two women was scheduled for 11 January. However …
Erm, no he didn't. A Swedish court gave him *permission* to leave the country in early November IIRC.
It's also worth noting that he was arrested in the UK *by appointment*, i.e. he handed himself in voluntarily. Not exactly the behaviour of a man wishing to skip town, and most likely the reason for his bond being set.
He has a much greater chance of a fair trial in the UK than in the USA or Sweden.
His extradition can be blocked in the UK if they determine he's wanted for political reasons. Which he is.
He can get away scot free of charges in Sweden and still have to face charges in USA.
The USA will have him executed or imprisoned for 50+ years.
Do you really see him facing a worse punishment in the UK "g e" or do you, as i suspect, not know what you're talking about?
<Yawn> Oh, is that the I-see-a-conspiracy-behind-every-tree crowd flip-flopping again? First you lot claim that the nasty old Gov is banging him up so they can refuse him bail, stick him in solitary and hand him over to the Yanks at the drop of a hat. Then, when Assange gets bail, you immediately flip again and start saying it's only so the dreaded boogermen-assassins of the CIA can nail him in public! Please, just go lay down in a quiet, dark room for a while.
are you saying that the CIA don't engange in such tactics?
The original poster may well be barking up the wrong tree, but you are definitely wrong if you think that they don't.
The US has significantly failed in their PR damage limitations exercises, in fact they seem to be making things worse for themselves (probably as a result of arrogance one assumes).
What makes you think that someone twat won't just say..
'fuck it, we're in it up to our necks, we might as well get our hands on the little bastard'
and order a black-op.
Oh, that's right, black-ops only exist in movies. <YAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWN>
Has everyone forgotten about Bradley Manning, the guy that gave Mr Assange all these juicy headline grabbing leaks?
Because Wikileaks sure as hell seems to have forgotten and that poor bastard will be spending Christmas in the slammer wondering if he will be executed for treason.
Alan Rushbridger, Editor of The Guardian
Simon Kelner, Editor of The Independent
Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC
Wait, they're not being indicted? I could have sworn I was reading the cables on the Guardian's website, and watching news broadcasts regarding the contents of them on BBC Breakfast.
"Stephens also claimed that Sweden will defer its molestation and rape investigation if the US brings such spying charges"
This line confirms the motive behind the prosecution of Julian Assange- don't smear his character USA if you have a problem , kill him. Then the world will see what goes on in the governments around the world.
And the UK has a policy of not extraditing where the subject is likely to end up being executed.
Being as Mr Assange's final destination is more likely than the US than Sweden and various newspapers and Congressmen have called for his prosecution under laws carrying the death penalty I think and hope it's unlikely that the extradition will succeed.
... is that the stage is set for a deal. The Americans say "if you extradite him, we promise not to kill him"; the British gov't proudly announces "Look, we won this concession from the Americans!"; then Assange goes off to do 20-to-life in a federal prison, and everyone saves face.
It's happened before, it'll happen again.
"Sweden's ongoing attempt to extradite Assange is not his only legal problem. His lawyer Mark Stephens said in an interview with David Frost over the weekend that a grand jury in Virginia has been secretly considering indicting Assange under the US Espionage Act."
That appears to be typical of US secrets and makes a mockery of US security. Uncle Sam has lost the plot and is doing itself great self harm with its pathetic posturing trying to defend the indefensible.
If you have secrets you have something bad to hide ..... for anything good one just loves to share.
Of course, Mark Stephens could claim anything he liked and people like you would lap it up unquestioningly. If it's a "secret" grand jury how would Mr Stephens know about it? And before you lot hyperventilate yourselves into space, the Espionage Act does not carry an automatic death sentence for the guilty.
your flight has been delayed. As you're a VIP, however, we've arranged a private jet for yourself. The route will need to take a slight detour over 2 USAF air bases, but we trust our pilot! Here he is now, Captain Osama "FireBelt" bin RiggedToBlow. Please, go strap yourself into your electric... err... powered chair and we'll take off as soon as the runway's been cleared of that awfully sharp titanium debris..."
"How can anyone consider him a flight risk - it would be professional and reputational suicide and probably massively damage Wikileaks."
Flight risk: he's not a UK citizen. I don't know the ins and outs of extradition treaties of Austrailia, UK, and Sweden, but not letting someone (especially a foreign national) leave the jurisdiction if there's a pending legal hearing seems pretty standard to me.
As for reputation, a lot of people would toss anything under a bus if it meant not going to prison. And with the clout this guy has, there'd be plenty of people that agreed. "He HAD to flee, otherwise the big, bad, USA was going to get him!"
"How can anyone consider him a flight risk - it would be professional and reputational suicide and probably massively damage Wikileaks.
By running it would effectly allow opponents and critics of Wikileaks to take the high ground."
Professional suicide? A professional what? Fencer of stolen informational/security/diplomatic secrets? High ground? What high ground is there for a self appointed trader in state secrets? He occupies a position midway between a number of categories; fence, thief, spy, warring state/organisation.
There is absolutely no high ground for him and, given that he has published state secrets of a number of states, he can expect only a good slapping, as can they all.
He is self appointed over the heads of the world community, don't forget that. He's asked for no authority whatever and, as is the case with ideologues, he is dangerous. Marx was an ideologue, he wanted only the best, ditto Jesus, ditto Muhammed, and so on. All ideologues do is turn their views into religions, which are then inflicted on millions in the form of death, starvation, maiming, torture and so on.
Putting aside the big objections to Tony Blair's war in Iraq (there were no WMD, there was no evidence to support the claim and some 7 years later we have found none), what he and Bush did by invading Iraq was to release Iran from the leash. In so doing we see a local superpower emerging, funded by the power of oil, rapidly developing a sophisticated arms industry with a capacity to launch weapons at and hit European countries and a nascent nuclear arms industry.
That's the law of unforeseen consequences, though it doesn't take an Einstein to work it out.
What is happening now is that various sources (including one placed close to the leadership of the People's Republic of China/PRC) are slowly being tracked down by a process of elimination. These sources will be punished, possibly by death, and this will discourage others. So the unofficial system of conflict regulation, namely knowledge of intentions and capabilities, is at risk because a group of soft pricks, schooled only in IT, having pretensions to journalism (which fig leaf claim here is akin to the claim 'satirical' in libellous US and UK magazines) feel they own the data, in the same way that the Pirate Bay feel they own MP3 data.
Later, they will themselves be owned, and moaning will not help.
Professional suicide? Is there a profession here? Espionage? Theft? Fencing? This is not so very much better than trading in arms.
if the (Sweedish) charges against him hold any water, they do seem flimsy to me.
But as long as he has not been found guilty of any crime, what legal right is there to hold him? If I were a UK judge I would be very wary of the chance that this is just to get him extradited to the US. Nice to see the beak at least trying to be impartial...
Enough with this "he's not been found guilty of anything" nonsense. If a court determines that there is sufficient evidence for someone to be tried and that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they might abscond before trial then they can be remanded in custody. There are currently about 15,000 people being held in UK prisons on this basis (roughly 20% of the prison population).
A similar process applies to extradition cases such as Assange. The fact that he (initially, at least) could not or would not give a permanent address in the UK hardly helps his cause.
I've no idea how strong the Swedish case is, neither I suspect do any of those posting here. But I see nothing upon which to build a mad conspiracy theory involving CIA black helicopters.
"if the (Sweedish) charges against him hold any water, they do seem flimsy to me."
Really? Have you done a search on them?
"She told the court the first complainant, identified only as Miss A, said she was victim of "unlawful coercion" on the night of August 14 this year in Stockholm.
The court heard Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.
The second charge alleged Assange "sexually molested" Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" one should be used.
The third charge claimed Assange "deliberately molested" Miss A on August 18 "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity".
The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on August 17 without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home."
It appears that there is a consistent theme in both allegations, inasmuch that Assange is alleged, in different places, on different times, to have committed the same offence, namely having sex without a condom with a woman, on one occasion against her will, on another occasion without consulting the woman. That is not flimsy. You might want to say that these two women are in cahoots, but this dewy eyed defence is very often the sort of thing put up by people who can see no wrong in an individual, no matter how much evidence is produced to the contrary. Need I dig into the history box and show you some examples? Would you like some show and tell? Would you like some examples from forensic psychology on categories of offence, offender types and profiling? It's very specific, the failure to use condoms either lacking consent or being denied consent Will you deny point blank? I suspect from what I have read here that you and others will. I am far more cynical.
Sexual health and hygiene is particularly important in Scandinavian countries, whose people collectively understood the need to use condoms long before the advent of HIV, YMLT remember that as you read about events in the next few days.
What is needed is a proper trial, in the jurisdiction, where the evidence is, not the nay saying of a lot of people rooked by the thought of 'infowars' to change the world, because they feel that state secrets have the same status as MP3s and any other data they care to illicitly access and pirate.
Elsewhere another Reg poster claimed that, because the women are anarchists, they can't be trusted. This is a classic form of argumentum ad hominem, namely arguing against the person rather than the facts, plus it is a smear. In addition to this, no one has paid attention to the fact that rape victims rarely come forward and, when they do, they are very reluctant and feel extremely humiliated. It is most easy to deter them from going any further.
I've seen little sign if any of the pro leaking lobby sticking to facts, though I've seen a lot to suggest they believe they have a right and as self appointed protectors of several billion people I can see this becoming more than a little farcical. It's childish, ill thought out, lacking in a coherent supporting argument, beginning with initial premisses founded on empirical facts, running there from through an unbroken logical/theoretical chain of a priori justification and ending with some truth.
It will end in tears, I'm sure of that.
"two-bit dictatorship which adores bending over and being the US's bitch "
It was for 12 years but we got rid of that bunch back in the spring. The current lot are under the microscope right now, we wait with interest to see if there's a spine in whitehall now.
Signs are good IMO, McKinnon was all but strapped in and selecting his in flight meal but that seems to have stopped. Best sign is that the merkins don't like Cameron, they sure as hell liked their grinning glove puppet.
Sweden charges Assange while he is in Sweden
Sweden drops charges
Sweden reinstates charges when he is in UK
Assange arrested and held on those charges in UK
US indicates they want Assange on spy charges. Luckily he is already in custody in a friendly country that has an extradition treaty with US.
Sweden says we really don't want him if the Yanks want him that bad.
Assange gets flown over the pond by friendly FBI agents.
Sweden gets a really favourable financial payoff from the US Government.
OK, the last two have not happened yet, but is there any doubt in anyone's mind that it won't???
The Australian government is already sucking up to the yanks and they have already declared him to be a very naughty boy. It will be just the same as the other aussie that ended up in gitmo. The Australian government will do nothing and behind the scenes they will get a nice present for christmas from the yanks.
<<will do nothing and behind the scenes they will get a nice present for christmas from the yanks>>.
..which we'll see sometime in the future on Wikileaks...
Don't the Yanks say, "What goes around, comes around"??
The words "Chickens" + "Roost" sprang to mind as soon as I saw the video "Collateral Murder".
Now, it seems we have Turkeys voting for Christmas. Anyone for a turkey-shoot? Or, is fish in a barrel more the Fed's style?
This is better than Agather Christie's 'Mousetrap'. The 'Mousetrap' ended. This won't.
If the Swedish government extradites Assange to the USA, they won't win another election in many decades, and be marked as traitors by a good % of their own population. Applying centre-right policies is one thing, playing a role part in this sad judicial charade is a different one. So the GOP in Sweden may get a financial payoff from USA, but they -the Alliance for Sweden- won't enjoy it for long.
And further on, if the States imprisons Assange -or murders him- a new wave of anti-Americanism will probably make them pay dearly for the privilege.
It's worth noting that he was arrested voluntarily - i.e. he showed up at the police station and handed himself in. Otherwise a good summary...
However I can't see that the US would actually need Sweden involved. If they indicated they wanted Assange on spy charges, the arrest sequence would work as above.
If the Swedes hadn't done /anything/ after Assange came to the UK, what difference would it actually have made?
Unless Assange was just on the point of fleeing the UK after spending some time here presumably *not* worried enough about the USA to make him go elsewhere, why would charges need to be laid to keep him here?
Why bother getting the Swedes to do anything?
How long would it take to get a Grand Jury to approve the laying of charges, if an administration had any kind of rush on.
Surely it couldn't take too long?
At the moment, the USA has the luxury of being able to talk about what it wants to do, but I'm guessing that if Assange had been free and suspected to be about to leave, they'd have managed to do without that luxury if necessary.
On the other hand, whatever the actual merit of the Swedish allegations may be, if the Swedes were genuinely just looking at processing the case like any other, then it'd be fairly understandable why they might not want to get at all involved in the whole extradition thing. There'd be little chance of glory, and potentially all kinds of legal hassle which they can turn into Somebody Else's Problem just by deferring their investigation.
Who wouldn't take that option if they had the chance?
If deferring the investigation is the smart move even if the investigation is a genuine one, it wouldn't make logical sense to use a deferral as evidence that it's part of a conspiracy
My understanding of the extradition process is that Sweden has to give notice to Britain if it is going to further extradite him to the USA. Britain would then be forced to decline, as a conviction of espionage carries the death penalty in the US. It may not all be as bleak as we think.
Puh-lease, go read up on the Espionage Act before you post any more twaddle! There is no automatic death penalty, in fact I cannot find a reference to anyone ever being sentenced to anything other than jail under that Act. You have to be guilty under Section 2b of the Act to even look at the death penalty (and then there is a thirty year sentence option), and for that you would have to be in proven communication with an enemy, secretly giving details of US forces' movements with the express intent of causing them harm. Sorry for you conspiracy lovers, but Wikileaks releasing diplomatic cables saying the Suadis hate Hezbollah isn't going to land Assange in the chair.
And even if it was, can you seriously see the Obumbler, a man obsessed with his standing in the World press, sending Assange to the chair? At worst, even if Assange is extradited, he'll get an opportunity for an ego-massaging trial, with his every pronouncement telegraphed to the World by an eager press, followed by a few years max to polish up his autobiography. Assange has already set up Manning as the real patsy, and the US administration will be much more interested in cutting a plea bargain with Assange in return for evidence on Manning so they can slam him as hard as possible, because they will want to discourage any other leakers.
This is correct.
Soering v the United Kingdom is the case that established this with the European Court of Human Rights. Sweden would be in breach of the Convention if they extradited him to the USA if there's the possibility he would face the death penalty also.
There's a decision that *really* pissed off the Americans ;)
Despite 'obtaining guarantees' (yeah right) from the septic government that he'd never face the death penalty, then as long as it's on their statute books for punishments I'd guess it would certainly fulfill a 'possibility' so he couldn't be extradited on those charges.
Of course, he could get charged with (C) or something totally different and get extradited on that and meet with a black helicopter on a dark night...
However, if the US is wise and waits for our Jules to land on Swedish soil before applying for extradition, there is nothing the UK can do about it. Jules will know about this sort of thing if he's been reading the diplomatic cables in the possession of his organisation, thus putting him and it in a position that makes them a blend of thief, spy, terrorist and warlike state.
Oh he'll pay alright. It's impossible for any state to simply sit there and allow this to happen. The whole thing will be taken down at some point, and probably with an extent of international co-operation that Jules will deprecate.
>>"That's one judge that had better not be hoping for any cushy appointments for the rest of his career."
Why should it affect their career?
Even if, as some people seem to think, the entire assault allegation thing is fake, the point is supposedly [at least at the moment] just too keep Assange in the country until the US manages to eventually sort out an extradition request.
Whether he's in jail or not doesn't make any difference to that.
Though I guess for the real conspiracy junkies, if anything happens to Assange while on bail, it'll have been obvious all along that granting the bail was part of some Evil Plan, and the judge was a Baddie rather than a Goodie.
Its not really bail, its basically house arrest. Some potential murders have got far less bail conditions than he has been given.
It is basically house arrest. e.g.
"obey a curfew at an address in Suffolk"
"wear an electronic tag"
"report to a local police station every evening"
"cash guarantees of £240000"
Plus you can also bet his phone conversations will all be monitored.
At least he is out of jail, but its no victory.
I suppose there is William Tell, Robin Hood (no, to USA cousins that is not robbing hood - a different thing altogether), ... Hughie Green (ok, just kidding :-) )...
And I further suppose that someone ought to whisper to USA authorities something like: Look, you can win a battle and by doing so lose a war? Or maybe: look by winning a war you may make a valedictory look like the far better option?
And that sometimes winning means losing and to the other parties losing means winning (this is the bit the US seems to misunderstand the most).
For such a large nation with wonderful resources, brilliant minds and leaders in technological advances, ... they really do seem to be experts at shooting themselves in the foot (as the expression goes).
When will they ever learn? (Vietnam = No! Afghanistan = No! Iran = No! Iraq = No! ... Assange = No!)
The matter is complexified when official documents lead to actions to castrate Assange and at the same time turn a blind eye to other illegal actions perped by establishment figures?
It seems so sad, very very sad
.. but why all this conspiracy theory stuff? His Lawyer's job is to get him out of prison (and out of these charges) any way possible; and unless there's been an official statement from the US government, how is any of this more than speculation?
Also, while it's unclear what really happened in Sweden (none of us were there), how does any of this get linked to some massive conspiracy? I mean, if the scary boogeymen wanted to 'remove' him from the picture, I'm sure they would've already, in a quieter and less obvious way.
Lets just wait and see. Maybe Emperor Assange is being trolled by the Swedes, but to jump from there to a worldwide conspiracy is a bit much.
"but why all this conspiracy theory stuff?"
For the usual reasons.
Some people like to feel they're in on a Great Secret, or that they're the only ones who can see the Truth, when in fact many other people see the *possibility* of a conspiracy without finding any deep emotional need to believe one is happening before there's decent evidence.
killing him may martyrise him in many ways and of course reinforce the entire conspiracy thing as well as confirm that americaland goes around doing what it pleases
whereas a drawn out charade of charges > no charges > charges again (you can bring old charges back you dropped in Sweden?) > no charges if you want him for spying soon makes the public bored and in the meantime you plot how to publicly discredit him so historically he becomes nothing more than a cartoon character instead of a martyred hero of free speech.
Then kill him years down the line because you're a big, powerful spiteful country with grudges and because you can and everyone has forgotten about him.
Correct. Someone earlier suggested that the British police would determine guilt or innocence, but this cannot be so because a) they are finders not triers of fact b) the alleged offence was committed in another country, under that country's laws, and c) the evidence and evidentiary process is exclusively in Sweden, not in Paddington Green/whatever plod house.
>>"If Assange is allowed to be out on bail he's as good as gone with all his money."
In which case, why didn't go earlier, while he was supposedly in discussions (or attempting to be) in discussions with the Swedish authorities, since that would indicate he knew they hadn't lost all interest.
If he has some better place lined up free from any fear of extradition, what was he doing staying in the UK, if he's so suspicious and cautious?
Was he waiting until the very last minute to leave just for the thrill?
Though of course, that equally applies to people suggesting that the warrant/arrest is obviously just a way of keeping him here until the Americans can be bothered to ask for him.
If he was happy to stay here even when he was trying to negotiate with the Swedes, presumably he'd have been no less happy, and maybe even happier, staying here if they'd said that they'd concluded there wasn't a realistic prospect of a trial.
Then the Yanks could have sprung a surprise charge on him whenever they wanted.
>>"Many criminals get to wear the tag *as their punishment after conviction*"
Which is entirely irrelevant to its use for people on bail.
What is relevant is that many people on bail can get to wear tags, if they're considered a potential flight risk, or to enforce a court curfew, and that can apply to teenagers accused of street crime.
If it has been argued in court that Assange is a potential flight risk, if there was no kind of monitoring and he did do a runner, some people would have serious egg on their faces, and fitting a tag can simply be a way of covering themselves.
Let's just look at some of the names who have been offering to contribute to his bail: Ken Loach, Tariq Ali, John Pilger, Jemima Khan.
This isn't "Yes, M'Lud, the defendant's Uncle Fred and his brother in law Honest Charlie are willing to write a cheque post-dated for next Tuesday"...
"funny, that the same day berlusconi wins his confidence vote. and people wonder why 'democracy' is slated..."
Now there is an interesting point. What are the alternatives? Theocracy? Oh no I hear you say. OK then, Marxism (communism) which - being based on Plato's republic - has a system of guardians (the communist party which is the vanguard of the revolution) the soldiers (a touch menacing, what) and the people? Meritocracy? Plutocracy? Anarchy? Small communes, isolated from one another, acting like trading nations, but with no collective health, social security, defence and other core state mechanisms? Perhaps you have not thought things out, but Plato did. He ultimately concluded that democracy is the least of all evils, and at least affords the maximum number of people (an electorate from, say, age 18 upward, that is to say the age at which full citizenship duties including military and civil service can be assumed) the opportunity, once every five years, to hold their government to account.
As adumbrated above, the alternative is to concentrate power and its regeneration in the hands of the few. Whilst /ideally/ many alternative systems seem better, that is merely (in the Platonic sense of the word) ideal. The practical reality, as we have seen in democracy, is that twisted, sanctimonious and corrupt individuals help themselves to money, make illicit wars and so on. *However*, in the hands of a non elected system (do note the transition from such a system to, say, dictatorship or similar, begins with the election of a 'president for life') there is almost NO way to hold these people to account, and thus eject them from office. Unless of course you elect your meritocracy, your dictator, your one party state (that's what the Soviets did, allowing people to vote in candidate selections before holding elections)...
...notice also that Assange is a self appointed guardian of international public morals, having no mandate of any people or elected representative at all; Assange has appointed himself a guardian, and it would seem that 'Anonymous' or at least a part of it are his self appointed 'soldiers'. That makes us the proles. He is doing this for our own good, the nature of which he, Julian Assange, has determined on our behalf. How /kind/ of him...
...the major problem that we've had with politics is that people (the electorate) have disengaged. Politics and government are now treated like MacDonalds, something on the menu you order, pay for, consume and forget, each recipe put together by the most skilled of chefs and presented/defended by spin doctors. You get what you pay for. The way you pay for politics is through engagement. Be involved, persuade others to be involved. Realise that what you have, although imperfect, is probably a variation of the least harmful form of government, in spite of its current tyranny of political correctness and loose purse strings. (Note here that the current government has inherited that, is trying to unpick invasive legislation, but will be held responsible for it, such is the lead time in politics.)
The moment you unseat democracy without consciously and carefully articulating the alternatives, which consist in various ways of concentrating power in the hands of the few, or merely one, you lose control. Someone else stays permanently in the driving seat, and you don't have the right to choose them every five years. It's done for you.
Think about it before you throw it away because, once lost, it is hard to regain. Ask the German and the Russian people. Ask the Iranian people [...]
It looks to me as if the only way the US can get out of this mire is by actively pursuing all perps or potential perps in WikiLeaked documents with the same and equal vigour that US authorities are pursuing Assange.
Discuss: if not, why not? And: If not, why not in the land of the free?
It being that Assange et al. (and his denial of ownership falls at the first fence, because he is the front for released information) now occupy a position somewhere between thief, terrorist, spy and warlike state (most especially without prior declaration) this would seem to be the logical corollary, and it is one that the leakers and their fans must expect. If you in any way attack an individual or group, including a state, expect to be in receipt of at very least a kick in the crutch, and stop bloody *whining* about it when you are in receipt of said response to your illicit acts.
So there's no mention of Bradley Manning. He leaked secrets, is in military prison and is likely to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. He has apparently committed a crime, no-one appears to be arguing the case, and if you leak national secrets, no matter how low level, that is a crime; he must have known the risks and penalties. That's why no-one's shouting it from the rooftops, since all signs seem to indicate that he did it... and really 'guilty man is guilty' isn't really worth shouting over and over.
This case is actually rather important, though.
We have a non US citizen, who has committed no actual *crime* in the US, being wanted ultimately for extradition to the US... he didn't steal the information, he published what he was provided with, i.e. freedom of the press which last I checked was constitutionally guaranteed.
If not, the folks at the Guardian, the BBC, the NYT and others should be classified similarly and wanted by the US... unless, funnily enough, the US knows it hasn't really got a leg to stand on here.
Yes, their nose has been put out of joint, but from where I'm standing, the more they try, the harder they push, to get Assange on their turf, the worse it looks.
It's war, more or less. Those who argue otherwise vainly occupy or support the position of attacking someone using IT and espionage and then publishing the results. They will be taken down in a variety of ways, and they will be in receipt of punishment. What will subsequently happen is that our online freedom, already incrementally damaged in the past 10 years, will be even more constrained than before.
What is happening is that, though the commercialisation of the net and through the increasingly muscular and aggressive abuse of the net, our freedom is disappearing. If I telnet into a Usenet server and post to Usenet I expect that it will be viewed as a crime now.
I have seen some 20 years of erosion, but the past 10 are spectacular. The legacy of Jules et al. will be a massive loss of freedom, the spawning of new offences, greater state vigilance and more prosecutions. Freedom consists at least in part in the act of not using it but, in the age of using credit because it is there, of drinking excessively because it can be done, of downloading MP3s because they are there, the freedom to steal sensitive information, upload it to web and FTP sites has been so exhaustively exercised that I think we have run out of road.
Now it is almost impossible to make a derogatory comment without being sued or sacked. Unless of course the poster knows how to do so anonymously, in such a way that they cannot be traced. However, if you think that proxy chaining, Mixmaster and Cypherpunk remailers and 'anonymous'/open Usenet servers and similar really are safe, well you are probably dreaming.
The Dutch teenager who has been arrested because the LOIC did not conceal his IP would agree in part with that, and even attempts to conceal will probably fail from some point in the future, substantially because of current developments.
So the real upshot of all this is probably that you will have to pay greater attention to your online behaviour if only because most of it constitutes a printed medium, meaning subject to the laws of libel (which in the UK are punitive and too easily exercised by those with cash), not the laws of slander, which is less easily proven. It is also the case that the laws of property and national security will be applied here and, as a matter of fact, it makes sense. No territorial/national entity is going to be popular with its electorate when they find that someone has just nicked something, damaged their security [...]
Wave goodbye to some of your freedoms and, as you do, mutter [sotto voce] 'Thank you Julian'.
>>"We have a non US citizen, who has committed no actual *crime* in the US, being wanted ultimately for extradition to the US... he didn't steal the information, he published what he was provided with, i.e. freedom of the press which last I checked was constitutionally guaranteed."
Wait and see what the US tries to charge him with, if they do go for extradition.
Presumably they'll have to show how what they're accusing him of would be illegal in the place they're trying to get him from?
Would the Constitution even cover potential conspiracy before the fact to illegally obtain information?
@Anonymous Coward 15th December 2010 01:24 GMT
You are a troll, now prove your innocence.
Note for the retarded: in civilized countries it is the norm that guilt has to be proven by the prosecution, as opposed to the defendant proving their innocence. That sort of thing went out in the middle ages some time, which explains why the presumption of guilt still persists in some backward countries which have lots of sand and oil. Of course, if you're from the home of the lynch mob, you may wish to align yourself with these forces of darkness.
The fact that Sweden is using up a lot of goodwill in persecuting Assange means it is painting itself in to a corner where it will have to have a trial to justify all this show-boating in London. After all this posturing, they still only 'want him for 'questioning' rather than to stand trial.
It looks more and more political than just a sexual assault.
Let's hope he is out for Christmas.
"[...] just a sexual assault"
Oh really. Assaults on the person, assaults on the state, one more immediate than the other or, as Stalin once remarked, the death of an individual is a tragedy, the death of millions a statistic.
It's all a matter of proportion, isn't it? So is one item worse than another, sexual assault vs assault on a state, and would you expect the individual claiming she was sexually assaulted to withdraw her allegation? Would you expect the US to withdraw their responses to assaults on their security?
Do grow up and quit the childishness.
I always wonder about people when I see them replying to a number of posts in a thread repeating essentially the same thing.
However, you seem to be saying two things - there is no conspiracy theory and if there is it's exactly what you would expect a state to do.
Well firstly regarding conspiracies, would a normal suspect for sexual assault (as I don't believe those charges correspond to the British definition of rape) be kept in solitary confinement and have limited access to their legal team and others?
Secondly, whilst it may be what we expect of states, nevertheless they must be held to higher standards. Even in war there are laws that must be followed. Just because the enemy engages in illegal conduct does not justify us doing the same.
Liu Xiaobo says stuff the Chinese govt don't like, they lock him up and the Swedes (no doubt with a nod from the US of A) give him a Nobel prize. And the Chinese get all pissy about it.
Assange publishes stuff the US govt doesn't like and the Swedes slap on a convenient sexual assault charge that was previously thrown out while absolutely no pressure whatsoever was applied from Washington, and the yanks come up with an espionage rap.
Not at all hypocritical double-standards?
When are the Chinese going to give him a prize?
Paris, who will do whatever suits her own self-interest at the time.
The point is that Assange et al. are responsible for the publication of US state secrets, Saudi State secrets and even by implication the pointers to the identity of a source within the PRC, who will most certainly be tracked down by process of elimination and punished, ditto the Saudi Informant(s).
Assange has no international mandate for doing what he is, he has no right to control the secrets he is fencing on behalf of a variety of people who have committed the crime of giving state secrets away, which will be against their contract of employment.
If the Wikileaks crowd did not anticipate this then they are fools, and those who believe that the US should not pursue the leakers and denigrate the US collectively using the argumentum ad hominem, well they are children and are very likely to receive a big surprise. Don't expect the US to sit there and nod politely. If you do you are in for a shock, especially if you have contributed to what is happening. The US will exercise its right to defend and protect its assets, and it is the case that the chain of individuals involved in the Wikileaks affair, from the insider to Assange and crew, occupy a position that is midway between a number of categories; spies, thieves, terrorists, war markers, fences [...], and the US is fully entitled to take out anyone at all who betrays or otherwise reveals their secrets.
As I say, anyone arguing they've no right to do so is in for a surprise, but not me; I fully expect to hear of some unusual events over the next months, and I fully expect a dramatic Hollywood film, including assassinations, infection (HIV, necrotising fasciitis, Ebola virus [...], and I won't be surprised to hear the sound of anguish from those responsible and their fellow travellers. All the while a question will run through my head; 'did they expect anything different?'.
The current relative silence on the matter, as far as organs of state and the executive who really matter are concerned, is noteworthy. Something is being hammered together, things are being done. Expect a flexible response, that is expect a variety of 'solutions' and, above all, *don't* be surprised and don't feign it in or anguish public, because people like me will remind you that it was seen to be inevitable.
Do I need to use illuminated, ten foot sign writing, telling you that interfering with the affairs of state of any country, never mind a democracy, is to invite dire responses, or has the message penetrated?
Yes, that is what used to happen in the cold war days eg some nations declare a person criminal and other nations declare same person as hero.
Libya, China, Iran ... to award Assange hero of the masses illustrating antisocial nature of western corporate, imperialist greed?
I hope things don't go back to those days
>>"Assange publishes stuff the US govt doesn't like"
It's not just an issue of whether they like it, but whether they can prosecute him for his part in the obtaining of it and/or the publication.
If they want to avoid hassle from real journalists, and from the Constitution, they may concentrate on the former.
That way, the NYT, etc are totally in the clear and any failure to go after them is much harder to portray as double standards, and the Administration can go on and on about how much they support a truly free press, but how they obviously can't condone a conspiracy to steal secrets.
"And the Swedes slap on a convenient sexual assault charge that was previously thrown out"
The investigation was never abandoned - it was just that there was an initial (pretty much 'emergency') arrest warrant which was quickly cancelled after an initial look at the case, then an ongoing investigation, and eventually a decision to issue an arrest warrant for interview.
Try and imagine there'd never been the initial warrant, but just an ongoing investigation leading to an eventual warrant for arrest for questioning.
Would *that* have been considered as not being suspicious, or being much less suspicious by the conspiracy types. I doubt it.
Likewise, if Assange had been arrested for questioning (or charged) in September or October, would *that* have been seen as less suspicious?
Of course not - it would have been seen as detaining him in Sweden for nefarious reasons and/or trying to scare him away from later releases of information.
Basically, *any* course of events after the initial complaints apart from a official declaration of innocence would have been taken as proof of a conspiracy by people who don't want to even consider the possibility that their hero might not be perfect, with a story constructed to fit the history.