On The Arrest Of Julian Assange

from the this-is-what-we-cover? dept

To date, I had avoided all of the stories both about the allegations against Julian Assange in Sweden, as well as his arrest this morning. But people keep asking us to cover it. Frankly, I'm not sure what to say about it. Assange's former lawyer's writeup for Crikey, in which he presents a compelling, if extremely one-sided view of how Sweden appears to be "making it up as it goes along," is an interesting read but, again, it is extremely one-sided. Slate's more level-headed analysis of questions concerning consensual sex laws is also worth reading.

The reason I have not covered this is, while this whole thing has obviously become political, these charges do not, officially, have anything to do with Wikileaks. Perhaps the two cannot be separated but there's a lot of FUD flying from all sides on this right now and it seems rather early to comment on all of this.

However, I think the larger point is that too many are looking to connect this issue more closely to Wikileaks than it deserves to be connected. We're interested in Wikileaks from a public policy perspective and what it means for free speech, whistleblowing and journalism in a distributed world. I have no idea what happened between Assange and those two women in Sweden and it's difficult to see how adding any commentary on the matter at this stage really adds anything to the discussion.

Filed Under: arrest, julian assange, sweden, uk, wikileaks


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  1. identicon
    bikey, 8 Dec 2010 @ 9:01am

    assange, swedish law, etc.

    I think you're right that making any further comment would serve no purpose. Gods, if only more people thought like that... But, I think you're wrong that the second article is more balanced. It really doesn't matter a hoot what US law (in whatever state your talking about) says about rape. The US is not going to try to 'extradite' him on the basis of rape - no 'rape' occurred in the US. They are going to grab him from a Sweden that has sadly lost its moorings completely, or a UK which has had moorings for a long time, except to the foot of the US. The European Arrest Warrant under which Sweden is requesting him doesn't require the 'dual criminality' (i.e. the offense has to be an offense in both countries) that old-fashioned extradition treaties used to require, so even UK rape law is irrelevant. The first article is in no way sooooo one-sided. It merely illustrates that, as in copyright, Sweden is under some sort of pressure/threat from the US to act however it can, no matter how embarrassing and sovereignty-destroying its acts may be.

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