US, UK Betray Basic Values To Get Assange At Any Cost

from the sad-day dept

While I've covered numerous aspects of Wikileaks, I've shied almost entirely away from the arrest of Julian Assange and the extradition fight to have him sent to Sweden, as well as the questions involving asylum in Ecuador. For the most part, I considered those things to be outside the scope of what's normally interesting around here. Whether or not you think the claims of what he did in Sweden were legitimate or trumped up, it was wholly separate from what he did with Wikileaks. That said, with the news today that Ecuador has, in fact, granted asylum to Assange, there are a few tidbits that have made the story extra interesting.

First up, is the absolutely astounding and shocking news -- as released to the public by the Ecuadorian embassy -- that the UK literally threatened to enter the embassy in order to get Assange and ship him to Sweden:
"You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy. We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange's presence in your premises, this is an open option for us."
If you don't follow diplomatic and embassy issues, this might not seem like a big deal, but it's huge. While it's mostly a myth that embassies are considered the sovereign territory of the countries they represent, under the Vienna Convention, the UK has agreed that such premises "shall be inviolable" and that its agents "may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission." The UK's very direct threat here s that it would ignore that international agreement just to get Assange. That the UK would be willing to take such an incredibly drastic step to extradite Assange seems completely disconnected from the nature of the accusations against him. It would also put UK diplomats at risk around the globe, as other countries would note that it did not respect the Vienna Convention, so why should they?

Then there's a deeply disturbing, but quite compelling, argument by Mark Weisbrot at The Guardian, that even if these things seem disconnected, it's pretty clear that the driving force behind all of this is the plan for the US to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act for his role in Wikileaks -- and this moment is particularly stunning. Historically, those who were being persecuted on human rights issues fled to the United States for asylum. Not the other way around. But here's a case where the exact opposite is true. And while many people have gotten past the point of believing that the US is a beacon of light on human rights issues, the fact that Assange had to take this action, combined with the UK's response, really acts as a distinct (and tremendously embarrassing) marker for a clear point in time in which the US turned from being a protector of human rights, to a persecutor against human rights.

The points raised by Weisbrot include the fact that Assange still hasn't actually been charged in Sweden. He notes that Swedish officials have been offered, multiple times, the opportunity to come to the UK to question him, and they've refused each time, including a recent offer from the Ecuadorian embassy to question him there:

We can infer that the Swedes have no legitimate reason for the extradition, since they were repeatedly offered the opportunity to question him in the UK, but rejected it, and have also refused to even put forth a reason for this refusal. A few weeks ago the Ecuadorian government offered to allow Assange to be questioned in its London embassy, where Assange has been residing since 19 June, but the Swedish government refused – again without offering a reason. This was an act of bad faith in the negotiating process that has taken place between governments to resolve the situation.

Former Stockholm chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem also made it clear that the Swedish government had no legitimate reason to seek Assange's extradition when he testified that the decision of the Swedish government to extradite Assange is "unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate", because he could be easily questioned in the UK.

I'm not willing to go quite that far, in that I'll grant the possibility that there is a legitimate reason for Assange to be extradited -- but the failure of the Swedish government to take easy steps to prove those legitimate reasons or to obtain the necessary evidence is concerning.

And that's where Weisbrot connects the US to the whole thing. While we've talked about UK-US extradition in other contexts, apparently Assange could not be extradited to the US from the UK based on any of the possible charges against him. But that wouldn't be true in Sweden. Which gives rise to plenty of reasons why Sweden and the UK might be under heavy diplomatic pressure to get Assange to Sweden -- even to the point of threatening to enter the embassy to get him. Weisbrot points out that there's plenty of evidence that the US is sitting on an indictment for Assange:
But, most importantly, the government of Ecuador agreed with Assange that he had a reasonable fear of a second extradition to the United States, and persecution here for his activities as a journalist. The evidence for this was strong. Some examples: an ongoing investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks in the US; evidence that an indictment had already been prepared; statements by important public officials such as Democratic senator Diane Feinstein that he should be prosecuted for espionage, which carries a potential death penalty or life imprisonment.
This, by itself, is quite troubling, as we've discussed in the past. No matter what you think of Assange (and, personally, I don't think too highly of his methods or his grandstanding), it's a massive stretch to think that he should even be subject to an Espionage Act claim. However, as we've detailed multiple times, the Obama administration has turned the Espionage Act from a law against spying into a law against whistleblowers who embarrass them. The administration has used the Espionage Act twice as many times as all other Presidents combined to go after journalists and whistleblowers. Even if you disagree with Assange's methods, or the way that Wikileaks has operated, this should concern you. What Wikileaks did was not "espionage."

This will have massive ramifications for US foreign policy on human rights issues.
Why is this case so significant? It is probably the first time that a citizen fleeing political persecution by the US has been granted political asylum by a democratic government seeking to uphold international human rights conventions. This is a pretty big deal, because for more than 60 years the US has portrayed itself as a proponent of human rights internationally – especially during the cold war. And many people have sought and received asylum in the US.

[...] Today, the US claims the legal right to indefinitely detain its citizens; the president can order the assassination of a citizen without so much as even a hearing; the government can spy on its citizens without a court order; and its officials are immune from prosecution for war crimes. It doesn't help that the US has less than 5% of the world's population but almost a quarter of its prison inmates, many of them victims of a "war on drugs" that is rapidly losing legitimacy in the rest of the world. Assange's successful pursuit of asylum from the US is another blow to Washington's international reputation. At the same time, it shows how important it is to have democratic governments that are independent of the US and – unlike Sweden and the UK – will not collaborate in the persecution of a journalist for the sake of expediency. Hopefully other governments will let the UK know that threats to invade another country's embassy put them outside the bounds of law-abiding nations.
Yes, others will claim that the US was never the beacon of human rights it set itself out to be. There are numerous examples of where the US has failed to live up to its own stated standards. But this case and all of the details around it seem to take things to a new level, and the idea that someone needs to seek asylum in Ecuador out of fear of being put to death for trying to increase transparency by releasing government records? That's going to wake more people up to these questions.

And even if we believe that the US is actually mostly good on human rights issues, these moves all make it significantly harder to have any semblance of a moral high ground in dealing with other nations around the globe. We have failed, quite publicly, to live up to our own set of ideals, and that makes it nearly impossible for our own diplomats to carry out any sort of human rights mission around the globe. It's one thing to be ashamed of specific actions by my own government. That happens. But, what horrifies me about this situation is that we've now built up this perfectly handy tool to make the job of US diplomats focused on human rights issues almost impossible. Any effort to seek better human rights elsewhere will be met with pushback as foreign governments point to the US's own awful track record on these particular items. It's really quite a shame.


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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    The difference now

    Yes, others will claim that the US was never the beacon of human rights it set itself out to be. There are numerous examples of where the US has failed to live up to its own stated standards.


    This is true. There is a difference in kind, however.

    In the past, when the US has failed to live up to its own standards, it was a mistake, a failure. Now, the US has altered the standards we hold ourselves to. We are not living up to the standards of the past, true, but we are living up to our current standards.

    This is what is making us lose legitimacy around the world, not mistakes. People understand that mistakes happen, and that when nations fail to uphold their own standards, that doesn't make them bad nations. Having unacceptable standards, however, does.

     

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      CraigF, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

      Re: The difference now

      Now, the US has altered the standards we hold ourselves to. We are not living up to the standards of the past, true, but we are living up to our current standards.


      And therein lies the problem. We, the American people, need to stand up and let our voices be heard this November. Are we content to let this sort of travesty continue happening in our name? How about the Dotcom/Megaupload fiasco, are we proud of that? SOPA/PIPA/the supposed CyberSecurity Act of 2012 (where they tried to take advantage of the Colorado shootings to slip yet more restrictions on the second amendment through)? I, for one, am not.

       

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        PT (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: The difference now

        CraigF, I don't disagree with you, but who exactly will listen? The current president is just building on the policies of unaccountable executive power that were claimed by the last one, and I have no confidence that if we change parties, the next will not double down on it again. As for Congress, don't make me laugh.

        "If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it." - Mark Twain

         

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      CraigF, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

      Re: The difference now

      Now, the US has altered the standards we hold ourselves to. We are not living up to the standards of the past, true, but we are living up to our current standards.


      And therein lies the problem. We, the American people, need to stand up and let our voices be heard this November. Are we content to let this sort of travesty continue happening in our name? How about the Dotcom/Megaupload fiasco, are we proud of that? SOPA/PIPA/the supposed CyberSecurity Act of 2012 (where they tried to take advantage of the Colorado shootings to slip yet more restrictions on the second amendment through)? I, for one, am not.

       

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      Robert, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 6:55am

      Re: The difference now

      Crap. The truth is that the US mass media Public Relations caimpagn about the US being a beacon of human rights has been completely broken down by the internet and the ugly truth has been exposed.
      Barack 'The Betrayer' Obama, just like all the other public relations driven asshats that run the US is attacking everyone that have helped to shatter the masquerade of who the US truly is.
      A ugly greed driven beast preying upon the world masquerading behind an idiotic worship of celebrities. Welcome to reality.

       

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      Jessica Lohse, Aug 19th, 2012 @ 2:55am

      Re: The difference now

      "I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it again."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    I am a bit confused here.

    As I understand it Assange is an Australian citizen not UK, that he ran Winkileaks from the EU not Australia or the UK, and that he did not invade or have direct contact with a US government computer to get the information.

    What I do not understand is what is Australia position in this?

    Why he ran the website from Europe?

    Why could he have not just grabbed the first flight back to Australia when trouble started?

    Or why the UK is rolling over for the US?

     

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      DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      I can't answer fully and I don't have time to find the source ATM, but my recollection is that Australia basically washed their hands of the situation and refused to intervene.

       

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      Frances, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:47am

      Re: Australia

      Australias position on this is. our government is totally gutless. cowtows shamelessly to the US and only jumps when its told too. Thank you Equador.

       

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      The eejit (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      Australia were just going to hand him over to Sweden. He had a pre-extrdition hearing, upon which there were conditions set.

      Assange has broken these by seeking asylum and transport out of the UK via the Ecuadorian embassy. What can now hapen is that the British government can now perfectly legally arrest him for breach of bail (under contempt of court).

      However, ethically speaking, this would be...a really unwise thing to do, without considerable gamesmanship of current laws (and even with).

      What I would like to see happen is that Assange is jailed for his contempt charge, and the Swedish investigators have the capacity to interview him, pending prosecution, and a guarantee of non-extradition to the US from Sweden, at least until his sentence is served in Sweden.

      That, however, is about a likely to happen as the IFPI publishing an honest report into copyright in the musical industries.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

        Re: Re:

        Invading an embassy is an act of war. Don't think Equador won't use lethal force to protect it's embassy. All nations do.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And amnesty is rooted in political persecution. Assange has sought amnesty to avoid return to Sweden to face criminal charges of rape. If Ecuador can pervert the dignified tradition of granting political amnesty in a matter related to an accused rapist, then I think it's unrealistic to demand GB respect the sovereignty of an embassy harboring a criminal fugitive.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Which part of "Assange still hasn't actually been charged in Sweden" are you having a hard time with?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              People are still saying that he is wanted for "sex without a condom" which is an offence only in Sweden. Wrong. The European Arrest Warrant issued in respect of him clearly gives four offences that he is wanted for. They are one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one of rape.

              The issue of whether these were offences under English law was considered by the High Court (click for judgment). Look at paragraphs 3, 78-91 (91 in particular). It is very clear that the alleged offence is rape under English criminal law. This very clear post by David Allen Green also sets out the situation: "English courts have held – twice – that the relevant allegation would also be an allegation of the offence of rape in English law"


              http://pme200.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/assange.html

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 8:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Not accurate in the slightest. Assange is wanted for questioning in two cases where THE WOMAN IN QUESTION WANTED TO DROP THE CHARGES.... until someone came a'knocking on their doors and pressured them to keep the charges going, that some people have linked to the CIA.

                 

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            Micaela (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Remember that Britain didn’t raid the Libyan embassy after a London police officer was killed by a shot police say was fired from inside embassy grounds in 1984 and you get an idea of how deeply the government feels the need to seize a man still not formally charged with any crimes by Sweden, the nation that seeks to extradite him for questioning in allegations of sexual misconduct."

            http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/brits-threat-to-storm-embassy-to-ge t-assange/

            ACoward can you see now how unrealistic it isn't? More like an hypocritical, 'we're not even going to bother to disguise how much we bend over for the US anymore'?

             

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              Tim Griffiths (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, they didn't, because they didn't have the legal right to. What the did instead was pass the "Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987" in response to what happened that would allow them to in future.

              In other words the law the UK is saying gives them the rights to enter the embassy now is a direct result of what happened at the Libyan embassy then. They felt so deeply about what happened then they passed a law to make sure it would not happen again. Using it to try and spin a point is lazy and uninformed rubbish and should be ignored.

              Now there are big questions regarding the Act and if it can be used in this situation but there is an argument to be made that it does so the UK is not really throwing out legal president or anything.

              What they are doing is using it as a bullying tactic and likely don't intend to actually test the legal or diplomatic issues that would come as a result of doing so. They can simply sit outside and wait for the guy to come out.

              The whole thing stinks and it makes me feel sick to be British right now but please do not be misleading about the legalities at play.

               

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            John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 4:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Assange has sought amnesty to avoid return to Sweden to face criminal charges of rape.


            I believe that Assange's position (and Ecuador apparently agrees) is that the rape charges are trumped up, and he is really being subject to political persecution.

            And, I have to say, it strongly appears to be the case from the outside.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 6:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It's not rape, it's sexual misconduct that he is accused of.

              The punishment for Sexual Misconduct? A fine.

              The UK is threatening to become an unlawful nation on the grounds that a man may need to pay a small fine in another country.

              Nope, couldn't possibly be more at play.

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 6:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Rape? Sexual misconduct maybe but not Rape.

            Even then the most he would punished is a FINE for it.

            Source: Swedish law.

             

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        DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re:

        What I would like to see happen is that Assange is jailed for his contempt charge, and the Swedish investigators have the capacity to interview him, pending prosecution, and a guarantee of non-extradition to the US from Sweden, at least until his sentence is served in Sweden.

        The thing is, Swedish investigators have had basically an open invitation to interview him and have refused to do so. I don't think Sweden has any interest in actually charging him, they just want to get their hands on him so that they can ship him to the US.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 8:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hit the nail on the head here. This is not about 'getting justice for a victim of rape', this is about charges that the women in question wanted to DROP until someone knocked on their doors and pressured them to reinstate the charges.

           

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      tracyanne, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 3:52pm

      Re: What is Australia's position

      Australia's position is bent over, with it's pants down waiting for the US to have it's way.

      Australia's record of aiding assisting or in any way protecting it's citizens from the actions of foreign governments is at best abysmal. When it comes to the US it's record is even worse.

      When the US says jump Australian governments ask "how high?"

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 5:54pm

      Re:

      The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, of which I am a citizen, does what the USA says, when it says it. Unfortunately.

      It has allowed it's citizens to be extradited to the USA for 'piracy' related matters before.

      It has allowed one of it's citizens (David Hicks)to languish in Guantanamo Bay for years without lifting a finger to help him or a voice in protest.

      It is generally accepted here that when the Government of the time found it was facing electoral defeat it stepped in and 'saved' him and then made much of bringing him home to serve his jail time in Australia during the election campaign.

      From the Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hicks

      The following month, in accordance with a pre-trial agreement struck with convening authority Judge Susan J. Crawford, Hicks entered an Alford plea to a single newly codified charge of providing material support for terrorism. Hicks's legal team attributed his acceptance of the plea bargain to his "desperation for release from Guantanamo" and duress as "instances of severe beatings, sleep deprivation and other conditions of detention that contravene international human rights norms."

      In April 2007, Hicks was returned to Australia to serve the remaining nine months of a suspended seven-year sentence. During this period, Hicks was precluded from all media contact and there was criticism[citation needed] for delaying his release until after the 2007 Australian election. Former Pentagon chief prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis later alleged political interference in the case by the Bush administration in the United States and the Howard government in Australia.[15] He also said that Hicks should not have been prosecuted.[6] Hicks served his term in Adelaide's Yatala Labour Prison and was released under a control order on 29 December 2007. The control order expired in December 2008. Now married, Hicks lives in Sydney and has written an autobiography.

       

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    Tripp, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    So, show of hands: Who's still going to be voting for Obama come November?
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    How did all of you with your heads in the sand hear my question?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:23am

      Re: Re:

      And vote for who? Romney? Some third party? Look, we have a choice between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. Both are going to continue this prosecution of whistle blowers because precedent has been set that it is okay to. Sorry to say but my vote is going to be against the Giant Douche.

       

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        Chargone (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re: Re:

        well, you Could try remembering WHY you have the right to bare arms.

        hint: it's fixing this sort of bullshit.

         

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          G Thompson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          Every time I hear the phrase "right to bare arms", I either:

          * think of the poor bears , or
          * think of lumberjacks in t-shirts with bare arms with the Monty python lumberjack song running through my head.

          Yes I know.. nearly three am here.. and enjoying the Insanity

           

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            weneedhelp (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Your comment reminded me of this:

            Memories lost in a nation's sleep
            In the dreams of contented sheep
            Can we ever hope to find solutions
            When our country has sold the Constitution

            All too wrong to be right
            The answer's there, we just lack the sight
            Race wars fed by prejudice and fright
            The love of a nation for its people
            burned through the night

             

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            Atkray (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I read your last line,

            "Yes I know.. nearly three am here.. and enjoying the Insanity"

            and when I hit the am instead of a.m. I realized it was meant to be read in Yoda's voice. Well done.

             

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            The eejit (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'd much rather have bear-arms. Then I wuoldn';t need to stop talking to eat.

             

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            JMT (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 4:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What about the right to arm bears?

             

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          weneedhelp (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          Sheep cant hold guns.

           

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          arrow101 (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:08am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          because shotguns defend so well against drones and smart bombs...

          you wont even hear the apache helicopters until they are on top of your position nitwit :)

           

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            Chargone (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            ... Not actually a citizen or resident of the US here.

            just ever hopeful that you'll finally clean up your own mess before my own country is next on the list of places your system destroys. we have enough of our Own problems, thank you very much.

             

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              Chargone (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              and why on earth are you shooting at drones or smart-bombs rather than execs and/or politicians? :P

              drones and smart-bombs you run away or hide from.

              or, you know, use something that's Not a Shotgun.

              (seriously, you can build a short range cruise missile with off the shelf consumer parts for under $3000. it's been done.)

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

        Re: Re: Re:

        And get a repeat of W. Bush's re-election where he promptly misinterpreted his reasonable margin of victory as a hearty slap on the back and a 'keep up the good work?' Fuck that noise. After his first term I'd hate to see what Obama (and Biden!) would do with another four years in office.

         

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          Coyote (profile), Aug 19th, 2012 @ 4:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          I think we all would hate what they would do, but unfortunately, they aren't the worst candidates here, by any stretch of the imagination. I fear Romney/Ryan would do far worse to the country in one term than Obama could in another four years.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re: Re:

      None of the above.

       

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      Loki, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:36am

      Re: Re:

      Most people who will vote for Obama either still believe that the Democratic Party still represents the Democratic Doctrine/Principles upon which it was founded (which they do not) or they simply feel they cannot allow Romney into office at any cost.

      Most people who will vote for Romney either still believe that the Republican Party still represents the Republican Doctrine/Principles upon which it was founded (which they was not) or they simply feel they cannot allow Obama another term in office at any cost.

      The majority of the rest of the population, who largely believe the politicians in this country are solely in the pockets of one or more of the major corporations who they feel truly run this country, feel they will be violated regardless of who gets into office. The majority of these people will choose to stay home come election time, as they feel voting means they are giving consent to be sodomized by their government.

      That, whether most people choose to consciously voice the sentiments or not, is the state of politics in America today.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re: Re:

        This ... A million times....

        Now my questions is HOW DO WE CHANGE IT FOR REAL?

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          There's the fast way that is very likely to fail outright or succeed but result in something much worse (revolution) or the slow way that is likely to work but requires persistence and patience.

          The slow way is how the current crop of fascists gained power in the US. We can do the same. Essentially, it's very simple:

          Begin putting people who think like you do into office. Not the big, national offices 9at first), but the small, local offices. Commissioner, sheriff, dog catcher, etc. The reality is that in the final analysis these positions collectively wield more power anyway (did you know that the most powerful law enforcement position in the nation is the county sheriff? It's true!) and in the long run, the people in these positions will eventually rise to national offices.

          This is how the corporatists did it, it's how the tea party did it, and, in fact, it's how every powerful political force in our nation's history has done it.

          It's the only way out. It won't necessarily make things better for you or me, but it will make things better for our children, and the generations a-comin', but there is literally no other realistic option.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And just WHY is revolution much worse?

            As the people that made this country said, sometimes the tree of Liberty needs to be watered by the blood of patriots. Personally, I'm damn tired of things getting worse and worse for you and me, and if having a new Declaration of Independence fixes it so much the better.

             

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              Jan Bilek (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Let me remind you that the revolution does not necessarily need to be bloody. I had the opportunity to witness one revolution that was non-violent and yet capable of overthrowing the regime (the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, 1989). Something like that can happen again... maybe even in the US if things get bad enough.

              And a fun fact: I also remember that even few days before the revolution almost nobody believed any revolution would be possible. Things like that can escalate surprisingly quickly.

              Although my guess is that in your country things will need to get much worse before regular people start to care. I have not stepped on US soil for almost ten years now but from what I hear it's still too easy to avoid seeing bad things that your government does just by not watching the news.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You could argue the US had a bloodless coup after the Supreme Court elected Bush in the only one-time decision in history -against the popular vote.

                Reality is that political campaign's are financed by < 1,000 donors. They make sending in $20 or $100 to your favorite politican appear like bugs in the dirt.

                The Arab Spring scared the beejezus out of those 1,000 donors because they know very few of their policies are popular with the general public. This is one of the reasons cybersecurity, dcma, MegaUpload, TV Shack, etc. have been hijacked by DOJ and the administration to shut down dissent and make corporations happy.

                Obama may be a continuation of Bush policies, but Romney-Rand-Paul are further to the right. They believe "democracy" is for corporations and not people. The US has always been a "representative democracy" in that it's not based on the majority of the popular vote. "WE" as citizens, do not count and never have.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "You could argue the US had a bloodless coup after the Supreme Court elected Bush in the only one-time decision in history -against the popular vote."

                  At the time I lived in Broward County Florida.

                  With a county that is often referred to as a ward of New York City, a major Jewish population, a Liberal Democrat as Supervisor of Elections, and a general belief that Republicans are enemy I find it hard to believe that there was a conspiracy to place a Republican in the White House. The conspiracy part I have no problem with it is just the objective I have issue with.

                  My personal belief was that they were follow a plot hatched in the Chicago political rule book.

                   

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                John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                And a fun fact: I also remember that even few days before the revolution almost nobody believed any revolution would be possible. Things like that can escalate surprisingly quickly.


                A good friend of mine is a historian specializing in ancient military history. Get him talking and he'll expound on this point at length.

                Essentially, nearly every revolution in history happened this way. In retrospect, revolutions seems inevitable and predictable, but when you look at the contemporaneous accounts of them it becomes clear that they took everyone (even the revolutionaries) by surprise. Things go from general discontent to widespread revolt in a matter of days, usually triggered by some event that would otherwise have seemed insignificant.

                 

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              John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And just WHY is revolution much worse?


              Revolution is much riskier. Historically, revolutions tend to be bad bets. Even when they succeed, they tend to put even more oppressive regimes into power. That the US had a successful one was an unusual result, not the norm.

              In my opinion, revolution is what you do when you have literally exhausted all other options. In the US, we're very far from having exhausted all other options. We've barely begun to explore the ones we have.

               

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                Jan Bilek (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 2:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I respectfully disagree... even from personal experience. I had the opportunity to compare living in Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic before and after the revolution... and the "after" is way better. I would argue that at least anti-communist revolutions were kind of success.

                Even the French revolution - despite guillotines and "regressions" - could be considered great success - it basically laid groundwork for modern democracies - liberté, égalité, fraternité, who could argue wit that, right?

                 

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                  John Fenderson (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Yes, good points, all. I may have to be less trident in my assertions. But I still think that when you look at all revolutions history records, it's pretty clear that a revolution is a very risky thing.

                   

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              Jacob Blaustein, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 3:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Alright smart guy you set it up.

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "This is how the corporatists did it, it's how the tea party did it..."

            Unfortunately, the Tea Party, despite it's initially-noble intentions, is now only a sock-puppet for the corpratists.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          The Pirate Party (with it's unfortunate name, but great platform) needs to get it's ass over to the US.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re: Re:

        This ... A million times....

        Now my questions is HOW DO WE CHANGE IT FOR REAL?

         

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          Jay (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          Simple: Change Congress to represent the people's interest, not corporate interests. The Tea Party promoted a lot of obstruction to bills to help people who weren't rich out their donors. Vote them out. Get involved in local politics and get your viewpoint heard. Stop looking for a savior in Obama or Romney and find a constituent that represents you interests and get on board. Voting never had been a spectator sport. Tag, you're it.

           

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            Anthony, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Preach it!!!! People forget how much control we should have, and yield it to corporations out of moral apathy and malcontentedness. It is like trying to motivate Eeyore the Donkey :(

             

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          The eejit (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          Step one is to amke corporate donations blanket illegal. And anyone caught gets an automatic Life without parole: whether it's the US President or some Average Joe with barely a buck to their name.

           

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        Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: Re:

        I'd like to see a voting process wherein all eligible voters votes are by default "None of the above" and they have to vote for something in order to change that. If "None of the above" gets more than 50% of the vote, then the vote is considered null and void, and any candidate in that election is eliminated from future elections until such time as someone is elected.

        As an example, the 1996 US election had only 49.1% turnout. That would mean nobody gets the office they were running for, a new election would be held ad Clinton, Dole and Perot would all be barred from being possible candidates. If 50% of eligible voters can't even be bothered to show up for an election, then you know you have really crappy candidates.

        In addition, in the case that 50% of eligible voters do vote, then a candidate needs to get at least 90% of those votes. If 100% of eligible voters show up, they only need greater than 50% of the vote, and there would be some linear scale between that.

        Perhaps adding a requirement that any candidate needs to get more than 60% of the vote would go far to making candidates actually likable.

         

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          Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 5:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Re:

          Epic win. That would force the parties to have their supports to engage politics and would probably rise more awareness towards politics. I can see a few flaws there but it's certainly better than the current system.

           

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        Anthony, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

        Re: Re: Re:

        Maybe people should get involved in the restoration of the political process instead of pouting in bouts of cynical self-defeatism (this is not directed at you, but at the cynically apathetic droves). You are a hundred percent correct in your evaluation of the various camps. Now the question is posed. How do we change apathy into commitment toward authentic change?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Re:

      And what are the alternatives? Obama is an extension of the Bush policies. Romney and Paul are further to the right in that they both believe in "democracy" is for corporations, not citizens. Obama is the lessor of the evils.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:14pm

      Re: Re:

      "So, show of hands: Who's still going to be voting for Obama come November?"

      Odds are the orders for this come from lower in the chain of command than Obama, probably from a Republican or Republican gadfly.

       

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      Eric, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

      Re: Re:

      I think Assange is better off with Obama in office than Romney given his positions on these sorts of things:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Mitt_Romney#Guantanamo_Bay

      Personall y.. I will probably vote third party, but all likelihood points to that being completely in vain and Obama winning anyway.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:51am

      Those Who Paid for Ameica Will Get Their Money's Worth

      The following are 40 ways that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are essentially the same candidate....

      1. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both supported TARP.

      2. Mitt Romney supported Barack Obama's "economic stimulus" packages.

      3. Mitt Romney says that Barack Obama's bailout of the auto industry was actually his idea.

      4. Neither candidate supports immediately balancing the federal budget.

      5. They both believe in big government and they both have a track record of being big spenders while in office.

      6. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both fully support the Federal Reserve.

      7. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both on record as saying that the president should not question the "independence" of the Federal Reserve.

      8. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both said that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did a good job during the last financial crisis.

      9. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both felt that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke deserved to be renominated to a second term.

      10. Both candidates oppose a full audit of the Federal Reserve.

      11. Both candidates are on record as saying that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has done a good job.

      12. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both been big promoters of universal health care.

      13. Mitt Romney was the one who developed the plan that Obamacare was later based upon.

      14. Wall Street absolutely showers both candidates with campaign contributions.

      15. Neither candidate wants to eliminate the income tax or the IRS.

      16. Both candidates want to keep personal income tax rates at the exact same levels for the vast majority of Americans.

      17. Both candidates are "open" to the idea of imposing a Value Added Tax on the American people.

      18. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both believe that the TSA is doing a great job.

      19. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both supported the NDAA.

      20. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both supported the renewal of the Patriot Act.

      21. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both believe that the federal government should be able to indefinitely detain American citizens that are considered to be terrorists.

      22. Both candidates believe that American citizens suspected of being terrorists can be killed by the president without a trial.

      23. Barack Obama has not closed Guantanamo Bay like he promised to do, and Mitt Romney actually wants to double the number of prisoners held there.

      24. Both candidates support the practice of "extraordinary rendition".

      25. They both support the job-killing "free trade" agenda of the global elite.

      26. They both accuse each other of shipping jobs out of the country and both of them are right.

      27. Both candidates are extremely soft on illegal immigration.

      28. Neither candidate has any military experience. This is the first time that this has happened in a U.S. election since 1944.

      29. Both candidates earned a degree from Harvard University.

      30. They both believe in the theory of man-made global warming.

      31. Mitt Romney has said that he will support a "cap and trade" carbon tax scheme (like the one Barack Obama wants) as long as the entire globe goes along with it.

      32. Both candidates have a very long record of supporting strict gun control measures.

      33. Both candidates have been pro-abortion most of their careers. Mitt Romney's "conversion" to the pro-life cause has been questioned by many. In fact, Mitt Romney has made millions on Bain Capital's investment in a company called "Stericycle" that incinerates aborted babies collected from family planning clinics.

      34. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both believe that the Boy Scout ban on openly gay troop leaders is wrong.

      35. They both believe that a "two state solution" will bring lasting peace between the Palestinians and Israel.

      36. Both candidates have a history of nominating extremely liberal judges.

      37. Like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney also plans to add "signing statements" to bills when he signs them into law.

      38. They both have a horrible record when it comes to job creation.

      39. Both candidates believe that the president has the power to take the country to war without getting the approval of the U.S. Congress.

      40. Both candidates plan to continue running up more government debt even though the U.S. government is already 16 trillion dollars in debt.

       

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        Seegras (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:34am

        Re: Those Who Paid for Ameica Will Get Their Money's Worth

        36. Both candidates have a history of nominating extremely liberal judges.

        HA-HA! Impossible. These judges aren't "liberal", and neither are Romney or Obama: http://politicalcompass.org/charts/us2012.php

        Do you believe just because of his healthcare pet project, I would think of Obama less a prohibitionist authoritarian than he is? You right-wing nuts don't even recognize one of your own.

         

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        Cory of PC (profile), Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 6:19am

        Re: Those Who Paid for Ameica Will Get Their Money's Worth

        "34. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both believe that the Boy Scout ban on openly gay troop leaders is wrong."


        And this is a bad thing how?

         

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      mrdarkrai, Aug 19th, 2012 @ 3:49pm

      Re: Re:

      Sadly, the entire economy would be sold to billionaires as an alternative. i do not want to be under bush's thumb again

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    The guy sexually assaulted women. He is a walking human rights violation. Let's not put him up on a pedestal.

     

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      Anony Mouase, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      He " allegedly " assaulted a woman in sweeden, My guess, it's a trumped up charge just to get their hands on him to extradite him to the US.

       

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        Seegras (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:17am

        Re: Re:

        He slept with two women (both affiliated to wikileaks, by the way) -- and the women found out he slept with both of them a few days later, got mad and decided to get even.

        There are some nice tweets of one of the women regarding sex with Assange, and if you read them you'll immediately notice that she didn't feel abused then, quite the contrary..

        So the reason for this trial probably has nothing to do with the USA, but the decision by the Swedish attorney general to take over and to go on with it pretty much happened because of US pressure.

         

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:59am

      Re:

      He's informally accused, not even charged. Besides, I don't see anyone putting this guy on a pedestal.

       

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      anon, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      I would never put anyone on a pedestal, but to repeat these lies is just insane. He is wanted for questioning for not having used a condom when he had morning sex with someone he had sex with the night before. And the two women in question did not lay charges with the police they asked for him to have an STD test done . The police for some reason decided that they had to charge him.
      If Sweden could just agree not to hear an attempt to extradite him but return him to the UK after questioning him this would be over a long time ago, but they do not want to do that for reasons that seem to be very obvious.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      If he sexually assaulted women then why did Swedish police and prosecutors find the sexual assault claims not credible when they investigated them a few years ago, before Assange became famous for wikileaks?

      Right after Assange became famous those same 'not credible' accusations suddenly became credible enough to warrant an extradition, despite no new evidence in that case surfacing against him.

       

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      MD, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:33am

      Re: Sex Assault

      Seriously? The guy had sex with two women without a condom (with their consent). Maybe the consent is debatable with B because they also had sex in the morning, apparently before she was fully awake. When A found out about B, at a party a few days later, she went to the police. the police turned it into an extraditable non-charge non-crime. They just want to question him on suspicion - however, they want to do this in Sweden, won't do it in England.

      When's the last time you heard of the police taking a charge like that seriously, if no disease was involved?

       

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        Erick (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:35pm

        Re: Re: Sex Assault

        Where I live, in Maryland, they take charges of rape seriously until they do enough investigation to either go forward with a charge or not go forward with a charge. I'm a counselor and have been tangentially involved in a lot of these cases.

         

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      DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:47am

      Re:

      And when was he convicted of this?

      If Sweden can't even be bothered to try to make a case to Ecuador as to why Assante should be extradited to face charges, my guess is that the charges themselves are bullshit. But that's just me

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:55am

      Re:

      You realize that one of the women that he "sexually assaulted" kept coming back to see him, right?

      Yeah, obviously it was so nonconsentual that she got tricked to repeat performances!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      It's illegal in Sweden to continue intercourse if the condom breaks without stopping for consent. That's what the charges are for here.

       

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        DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re:

        Um what charges? he has never been charged. they want to extradite him for 'questioning'.

         

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        Coyote (profile), Aug 19th, 2012 @ 5:53am

        Re: Re:

        Yet Sweden refuses to question him, though they are given every chance to, on these charges, but always refuse. Do you not wonder why that is?

        Sweden just want him in their country, so they can extradite him to the U.S, so he can face prosecution for whistleblowing and Espionage, which carries with it potential death.

        Unless you can provide evidence as to why this is not a logical progression of actions that point to some hefty amount of curious happenings that make no goddamn sense legally and logically, why do you try to defend Sweden and the US on this issue?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 4:37pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:11am

      He isn't charged with sexual assault and both women told police the sex was consensual. You are a poisonous and ignorant libeller.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 7:54pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:11am

        Here is a description of the encounter by the pig's own lawyer:

        Emmerson went on to provide accounts of the two encounters in question which granted — at least for the purposes of today’s hearing — the validity of Assange’s accusers’ central claims. He described Assange as penetrating one woman while she slept without a condom, in defiance of her previously expressed wishes, before arguing that because she subsequently “consented to … continuation” of the act of intercourse, the incident as a whole must be taken as consensual.

        In the other incident, in which Assange is alleged to have held a woman down against her will during a sexual encounter, Emmerson offered this summary: “[The complainant] was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … [she] felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … [she] tried several times to reach for a condom, which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and trying to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. [She] says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.”

        What if that was your sister. How'd you feel then?

        In addition, there is a European arrest warrant for him for sexual battery and rape. Mind you, this is Assange's lawyer's version of the encounters. Needless to say, he's putting the best face on it he can.

         

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          Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:11am

          What is the source of this? Add credibility by linking the source.

          What if that was your sister. How'd you feel then?

          Oh nice, trying to appeal to emotion. I'd ask the following question: "Why make it public so long after it happened?". He has a quite central role in how freedom of speech will be from now on. I wouldn't be surprised some1 dug into his life and found out about his sexual partners to then use one or two of them as means of destroying the guy for some money. There are enough ppl out there that would flat out lie for a good amount of money.

          So before we judge can we have the source?

           

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      Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 5:52am

      Re:

      This was the first accusation, then it became light rape (srsly?) and now it's just sexual harassment. Speaks tons of how strong the case is.

      Ona side note...

      Officer: Sir, you are under arrest for raping the girl.
      Man: But mr officer, the condom accidentally slipped off, I'm still puzzled on how that happened!
      Officer: Did the girl agree with the accidental slip?
      Man: Mr Officer, it was an accident. She had to pick it off from inside after we finished.
      Officer: Nonetheless she did not give you consent to proceed with the accident. But since it was an accident I will downgrade the accusation to "light rape".
      Man: !!!!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    "And even if we believe that the US is actually mostly good on human rights issues"

    *cof* lol

    "these moves all make it significantly harder to have any semblance of a moral high ground in dealing with other nations around the globe."

    I'm laughing so hard.
    It hurts.
    The last two words being what the funny foreign detainee said during the interrogation, over and over, at least while they had enough air.

    "We have failed, quite publicly, to live up to our own set of ideals"

    Failure, is when you attempt to achieve something but do not succeed. Setting out to do the opposite thing is not failure, that's success.. but at something else.


    "and that makes it nearly impossible for our own diplomats to carry out any sort of human rights mission around the globe."

    Yup, it does make it harder to spy on enemies, friends and allies and more importantly makes it harder to destabilise countries from within. Never mind, there's still terrorism to support and terror to inflict. Have some brave men and women fly drones remotely and murder people to take your collective minds off the setbacks.

    "It's one thing to be ashamed of specific actions by my own government. That happens."

    Yup it does, and it happens to all of us from time to time.
    Usually, it's just how our governments treat our own people we have to worry about. When it comes to actively harming others, that's even worse.

    "But, what horrifies me about this situation is that we've now built up this perfectly handy tool to make the job of US diplomats focused on human rights issues almost impossible."

    Do those actually exist, or do you mean spies and saboteurs?

    "Any effort to seek better human rights elsewhere will be met with pushback as foreign governments point to the US's own awful track record on these particular items."

    Yes, it becomes more difficult to club enemy nations with accusations of human rights abuses with that background.
    Still, being involved in 2 wars didn't stop Obama from being given the Nobel prize for peace because he vaguely said he would end them eventually.
    Lehrer would have been correct if he had actually declared satire to be dead when Kissinger of all people was given his in 73 and if there was any doubt about it
    Having had a major part in starting two wars of aggression in the middle east didn't stop Tony Blair from being made a middle eastern "peace envoy".
    So I doubt it will stop US diplomats from using the human rights cosh on nations it doesn't like while refraining from saying anything for the same things in allies nor will it stop them from desperately trying to bypass them at home.


    "It's really quite a shame."

    I agree.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      Obama got the Nobel price for peace for being elected to office, not for what he has did after that.

      Ie. Obama got the Peace Prize for race not accomplishment.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re:

        Weird, Kissinger wasn't black and Tony Blair almost certainly still isn't.

         

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        anon, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re:

        He got the peace prize for his commitment to peace around the world for what he said before he became president, I believe that since he became president they have regretted giving it to him.

         

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      weneedhelp (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      There is no better comment to push for a sad but true button. I am going to read the rest of the comments and go away for a bit. Too damn depressing.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Frankly, I don't view living at the Ecuadorian Embassy for the rest of his life as much different than jail. He will run into real problems if he ever requires a medical or dental procedure. And eventually, I think the mission will get sick of their "houseguest" and their hospitality will drop off notably.

     

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    wild_quinine (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    What's fishy?

    While we've talked about UK-US extradition in other contexts, apparently Assange could not be extradited to the US from the UK based on any of the possible charges against him. But that wouldn't be true in Sweden.


    Evidence for this, please. Heard this claims numerous times, still not seen any evidence that it is correct.

    As previously stated, the UK loves to extradite its citizens to the US, and Sweden has (at least initially) stood up to them a few times over the years.

    I'd assume he'd be in a worse fix in the UK than in Sweden if the US wanted him, especially because apparently the UK would need to approve any further extradition to the USA from Sweden, because of the way extradition law works.

    So... What's the evidence that Sweden is a worse place for Assange than the UK, other than that he's been accused of a crime in Sweden?

     

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      Dan, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:35am

      Re: What's fishy?

      I have sought but have not been able to find out why the US does not request for Assange to be extradited directly from the UK.

      Somebody presented me with a very nefarious (admittedly conjectural) possibility. This assumes that the UK will not extradite unless Assange is charged with a crime in the US; if someone can verify, that would be great. If a federal (civilian)grand jury indicted Assange for conspiracy or the violation of the act itself, it would then have to try him in the federal court system. If Sweden allows extradtion without charge (it certainly requests it), then Assange could be sent to the US and indefinitely detained under NDAA (which the administration has declined to state does not extend to journalists). Assange would not need to be indicted or enter the federal civilian criminal justice system. All conjecture. Very scary. I hope my goverment would not pursue such a course of action against a journalist.

       

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        The eejit (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re: What's fishy?

        No, you're right in that NDAA does extend to journalists.

        The government seems to have an exceptionally narrow definition of journalist, however.

         

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      Someone Anonymous, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:52am

      Re: What's fishy?

      In 1984, Sweden and the US entered into a supplementary extradition treaty that makes any criminal offense with a 2+ year penalty a cause for extradition. In the UK, however, extradition may not occur for political crimes, for which the US almost certainly hopes to pursue Assange with after the Manning trial has concluded. As a result, this could entirely prevent extradition from the UK yet is a non-issue in Sweden.

      In addition, the supplementary extradition agreement with Sweden includes a "temporary surrender" clause that would allow Sweden to transfer custody to the US before they've concluded their own cases against him. In essence, the US can very easily get their hands on him from Sweden but it may be near impossible (based on the probable charges) to do so from the UK.

      For reference, both the original treaty and the supplement can be found below.

      http://internationalextraditionblog.com/2010/12/08/julian-assange-sweden-and-u-s-extraditi on-treaty/

       

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    Duke (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    UK government in a tight spot

    First up, is the absolutely astounding and shocking news that the UK literally threatened to enter the embassy in order to get Assange and ship him to Sweden:
    ... under the Vienna Convention, the UK has agreed that such premises "shall be inviolable" and that its agents "may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission." The UK's very direct threat here s that it would ignore that international agreement just to get Assange.
    As usual, the full story is a bit more complex than this. Basically, under the law given, the UK government has the power to revoke the embassy's diplomatic status. This is a rather odd law (and seems to have only been used once, in the 80s, to evict some squatters from a disused Cambodian embassy), but explicitly states that consent for an embassy cannot be withdrawn unless permissible under international law (see s1(4)). If the UK government were to try to do this, they could face a court challenge under the domestic legislation, and that could take a long time to sort out.

    It sounds like what they would be doing (potentially legal under international and domestic law) would be to withdraw permission for the embassy on the grounds that it was being (ab)used to harbour a fugitive (Assange having finally broken English law when he broke his bail conditions), and then they could legally go in and arrest him (but not any Ecuadorian diplomats).

    Unfortunately, the UK government is in a rather awkward position whereby it *has* to take all legal steps it can to hand over Assange (due to legal obligations under UK and EU law), and that includes both making this threat, and trying to carry it out. It's a real mess.

    On a couple of other points, the Swedish authorities have turned down offers to question him in the UK, the Ecuador embassy or via video-link, but there isn't anything improper about this, and it may be because they want to actually arrest, charge and try him for (fairly serious crimes), something it seems that they cannot do without him.

    As to refusals to give assurances about not handing him over to the US, this also sounds a lot more damaging than it may be; from a constitutional point of view, while Sweden will have laws (not least via the EU or ECHR) preventing it from extraditing people in certain circumstances (i.e. where they could face the death penalty, inhumane or degrading treatment, or an unfair trial), and so any attempt to extradite Assange to the US could be challenged under those laws, it would be inappropriate, if not unlawful, for them to pre-empt such a decision by offering assurances now.

    At least, that's my ... what's the going rate for 2 cents in GBP or SKR?

    More details on revoking diplomatic status here: http://www.headoflegal.com/2012/08/15/julian-assange-can-the-uk-withdraw-diplomatic-status-from-the- ecuadorian-embassy/
    A good summary of some common myths/background facts to the situation here: http://pme200.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/assange.html

     

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    Pinstar, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Mr. Dotcom

    I'm surprised nobody has drawn any parallels between Julian Assange and Mr. Dotcom, with legal rights being withheld or circumvented because someone was acting 'arrogant' and against the interests of the US.

    Here is hoping someone leaks the diplomatic cables from the US trying to orchestrate this.

     

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      JustThisGuy, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:59am

      Re: Mr. Dotcom

      The two cases are significantly different. First, Dotcom was accused with copyright violations. (And I do think the charges are bogus)

      Assange put out classified information. And before you say no one was hurt, just embarrassed, I know people who would argue with you. They dug up some of the bodies.

      These same people were also waiting for the order to terminate Assange. They were disappointed that it wasn't given.

      I'm sure I will be corrected, but I believe the owner of techdirt is also a lawyer or at least trained in the law.

      Assange has no protections under US law. He can be considered an enemy agent and killed on sight. He gave intelligence information to those actively in battle with the United States.

      As was mentioned before in the comments, he has never been in the US, his servers are not in the US and he is not a US citizen or legal resident alien. He has zero rights under American law.

      And no, I am not a lawyer, but I do know someone who is both retired military and a retired lawyer. He has said that we can kill Assange any time we want over this UNLESS Assange were to surrender himself to US authorities. Then he would have the right to a trial.

      However, as far as In know we aren't actively looking for him. He's using the US as a way to get out from under a couple of rape charges. Nothing more.

      As to the British forcing their way into the consulate? I agree that this is a bad idea. There are other ways to pressure Ecuador that won't give the appearance of violating international laws.

      1) evacuate the British embassy in Ecuador.
      2) Cut all power and water to the consulate.
      3) wait them out.

      Frankly, the safest place Assange can be is trapped in that embassy or in a prison somewhere. He's ticked off other countries that will hunt him down and put two in his hat.

       

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        RD, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re: Mr. Dotcom

        "He's using the US as a way to get out from under a couple of rape charges."

        Right! Except for the part where he was not either accused of nor charged with rape. Or charged with ANYTHING for that matter.

         

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          Duke (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Mr. Dotcom

          He is accused of rape. And that's actual rape, not "rape", not Swedish rape, but rape in the sense of sex with someone without a reasonable belief in consent.

          He hasn't been charged with rape for the simple reason that (from my limited understanding of the Swedish criminal justice system) you can't really be charged with anything without being there.

          He has, however, breached is bail conditions in the UK, and it will probably be rather hard for him to get out of that one (legally).

           

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            bratwurzt (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 5:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Mr. Dotcom

            Yeees, because we all know how swedish justice system is perfect (*khm* Piratebay anyone? *khm*).

            He is accused of rape like this:
            On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:24am

      Re: Mr. Dotcom

      sexual assault is more than arrogance or against US interests

       

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    zegota (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    Man, the Internet is sure falling over itself to make sure rape doesn't get prosecuted! Yay rape culture! Sure, he raped a couple of women. But it wasn't like it was "rape-rape", and come on, isn't his dedication to FREEEEEEDOM more important?

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      Using your same logic YOU too have raped women as well.

      What? your annoyed at me for stating this opinion?

      you deny that you haven't? you can prove that?

      you mean I have only made a wild accusation since you (as far as I know) have never been charged nor found guitly in a court of that offence?

      damn hey...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re:

        Ummm, there are two female complainants who have made those accusations against Assange. You have some witnesses do you?

         

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          silverscarcat (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But didn't the charges get thrown out?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And the US could have easily paid them off to do this so they could get Assange.

          Clearly it did not work.

           

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          ANON, Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 7:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They then can file the charges. They still have not after all this time. If this was about "rape" and they could prove such a thing, they would file the charges. File the charges. File the charges.

           

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:51am

      Re:

      Um, he hasn't been charged with rape. ANYWHERE. Care to try again?

       

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        Duke (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re:

        Um, he hasn't been charged with rape. ANYWHERE. Care to try again?
        Slightly misleading as it seems you can't charge someone with something in Sweden unless they're there to respond to it etc. Something the US could learn from, re Dotcom, Assange, O'Dwyer to name a few.

        He is, however, accused in Sweden of rape (along with two counts of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion - conduct which could amount to two or three counts of rape and one of sexual assault in England), and one assumes will be charged with that if/when the Swedish authorities are in a position to do so.

        [Of course "charge" is an English word, not a Swedish word, and given that it is being used in a legally-technical sense, and is a legally-technical word, it might not translate properly; see, for example, Assange's Supreme Court appeal which hinged on different translations and definitions of a "judicial authority".]

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Here is a description of the encounter by the pig's own lawyer:

        Emmerson went on to provide accounts of the two encounters in question which granted — at least for the purposes of today’s hearing — the validity of Assange’s accusers’ central claims. He described Assange as penetrating one woman while she slept without a condom, in defiance of her previously expressed wishes, before arguing that because she subsequently “consented to … continuation” of the act of intercourse, the incident as a whole must be taken as consensual.

        In the other incident, in which Assange is alleged to have held a woman down against her will during a sexual encounter, Emmerson offered this summary: “[The complainant] was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … [she] felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … [she] tried several times to reach for a condom, which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and trying to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. [She] says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.”


        What if that was your sister. How'd you feel then?

         

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        Erick (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:32pm

        Re: Re:

        They do have a process to which they attend that seems to require them to question him (I would guess to PROTECT his rights) before they charge him.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      when was the last time the UK government raided an embassy for a 'mere' rapist?

       

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      Arthur (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:04am

      Re: "Rape"

      Not too bright, are you?
      The "Internet" is concerned with Assange being extradited to the US and facing a possible death sentence for publishing (not stealing) information.
      The alleged rape is not the point. Would it be proven in court? Probably not, Assange would likely be extradited to the US immediately and never go to court in Sweden.
      For you to claim that the only reason people defend Assange is because he is accused of rape shows that you are incredibly stupid, a troll or your purpose is to shift the discussion away from the real, very important factors of all this.

       

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      RD, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      "Man, the Internet is sure falling over itself to make sure rape doesn't get prosecuted! Yay rape culture! Sure, he raped a couple of women. But it wasn't like it was "rape-rape", and come on, isn't his dedication to FREEEEEEDOM more important?"

      Right! Except for the part where the sex was completely consensual. 'Cause, you know, consensual rape is wrong. Or something.

       

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      MD, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:45am

      Rape???

      he had consensual sex with two different women. They didn't complain until they compared notes at a party a few days later.

      If the average Jane Roe tried to turn that into a rape charge against John Doe, it would be laughed out of the police station, it would not even make it to court. Consent usually implies that you consented; no take-backs a week later.

      Concerns about STD's, as long as it's not willful knowing infliction of HIV, does not qualify as a crime; regardless, it's not rape. It's been well over a year and no indication that there is any disease involved.

      I would think if a country wanted to extradite someone, they would at least provide details to show a crime had been committed. Still nothing...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      Yes, asking the UK to respect the Vienna Convention is just another way the man-o-centric male-ocracy perpetuates rape-culture...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 4:36pm

      Response to: zegota on Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

      Idiot. Neither woman claims to have been raped. Both told Swedish police the sex was consensual. Please think twice before spreading your supercilious bile in future, it does more harm than good.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 6:31am

        Re: Response to: zegota on Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

        From the Huffington Post:

        Seems like the women, through their lawyer are demanding he be brought to justice for this so-called "consensual sex".

        "Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he fled to avoid extradition charges to Sweden. He is wanted there to face allegations of rape, but he fears that he will be swiftly transferred to the United States, where he says he could be prosecuted for leaking classified material through WikiLeaks.

        Sweden has denied that it has any such intentions. A lawyer for the women who have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them told Reuters that the idea was "absurd," and that Assange needed to be "brought to justice.""

         

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          Someone Anonymous, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 9:06am

          Re: Re: Response to: zegota on Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

          Swedish defence lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, via the Guardian:

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange-sweden

          "We understand that both complainants admit to having initiated consensual sexual relations with Mr Assange. They do not complain of any physical injury. The first complainant did not make a complaint for six days (in which she hosted the respondent in her flat [actually her bed] and spoke in the warmest terms about him to her friends) until she discovered he had spent the night with the other complainant.

          "The second complainant, too, failed to complain for several days until she found out about the first complainant: she claimed that after several acts of consensual sexual intercourse, she fell half asleep and thinks that he ejaculated without using a condom – a possibility about which she says they joked afterwards.

          "Both complainants say they did not report him to the police for prosecution but only to require him to have an STD test. However, his Swedish lawyer has been shown evidence of their text messages which indicate that they were concerned to obtain money by going to a tabloid newspaper and were motivated by other matters including a desire for revenge."

           

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      tracyanne, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 7:01pm

      Re: no

      It is alleged that he raped 2 women, the Swedish prosecutor has so far refused to provide evidence or indeed interview Assange when given the chance.

       

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      Jay, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:42pm

      Re: Not Rape

      Assange did not RAPE anyone. He is alleged to have broken a Swedish 'law' that stats even if sex is consensual, if a condom is not used (or in this case -broke) then it is assault. In addition, the second victim claims she awoke with him ejaculating on her....(she is the only one who filed a complaint - with the help of the first alleged victim). However, the first prosecutor threw the claim out! It was a 'special prosecutor' who re-opened the claim AND added the statements from the first alleged victim to the case. A legal rep. stated that the first alleged victim's testimony was significant 'in his judgment as a lawyer' - even though she never initially filed a complaint. The story goes on-and-on and wreaks of BS!

       

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      ANON, Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 7:29pm

      Re:

      Troll? I still do not see any charges.. Only a request to question him. If he did something, press charges.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    the problem is that the US has decided that it has the right to do what it wants anywhere in the world. countries that object are threatened in one way or another until they submit. i am not surprised at the UK or Sweden collaborating in this but i am surprised that the UK has joined in on this particular fiasco. it is going down the same road as the US and very quickly losing any and all credibility world wide as a reasonable, sensible country run by people with those attributes. Sweden, however, has already shown how loyal it is to the US given the way it cowered down to the pressure exerted over TPB, the spectrial, the bias judge and the extortionate sentencing and fines just to please certain members of the US government who have close ties with Hollywood. being associated with any of these countries is not a good thing now and i cant see how any ambassador from any of these countries could possibly condemn what happens in Iran or N.Korea, for example, and keep a straight face and expect to be taken seriously. can someone please tell me what the hell has happened to what were the pillars of democratic countries, the USA and the UK, to drive them so far down the path of disrespecting people and their rights as opposed to staying open, honest and trustworthy?

     

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      MD, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:48am

      UK and US

      You're surprised?

      The UK fell off the credibility bandwagon when Tony Blair agreed to be Bush's lapdog in the Iraq war. Funny thing, usually the owner is smarter than the pet. What happened?

       

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    relghuar, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    ...beacon of light on human rights issues...

    Oh, US is definitely a beacon of light for me!
    Giant, bright red light writing "STAY AWAY" all over the sky.

     

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    Rekrul, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    the problem is that the US has decided that it has the right to do what it wants anywhere in the world. countries that object are threatened in one way or another until they submit.

    That's what happens when you have a president who thinks he's a king.

     

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    cosmicrat, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Gore for pres.

    This all wouldn't have happened if we had elected Al Gore president...oh, wait, we did. Oh well...

     

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    Tunnen (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:07am

    It seems a little strange that the UK, or any government, would go this far as to almost cause an international incident over this one guy. There are plenty of horror stories of embassy officials abusing diplomatic immunity with charges that are equal to or worse then what Assange is alleged to have committed. You never saw the government risking an international incident to go after them.

     

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      Tunnen (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

      Re:

      In following the deveolpments of this story, I looked into some of the history of that law (Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987) that they are trying to use. It came into being after an incident in 1984 where a police officer was killed from gunfire that came from the Libyan Embassy. The embassy was surrounded in an 11 day standoff. In the end, the staff was allowed to leave the embassy and were expelled from the UK.

      We have an incident where an alleged murder (Crime happened in UK) was allowed to leave the embassy and return to their country. But we have an alleged sexual assaulter (Crime happened in another country) that they are risking to storm an embassy over?

      So, to me that looks like sexual assault in a foreign country is important enough to warrant a huge diplomatic incident, where the death of a local police officer and injury to other citizens does not.

       

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    droozilla (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    There's no rape. No charges. Just an evil government using the UK Puppets (and that's exactly what they are) to get rid of someone they don't like because he helped people know the truth about what's really going on.

    If I'm Ecuador, I start making the UK Embassy in their country very uncomfortable.

    The war for truth is on. What side are you taking?

     

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    arrow101 (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    will the Olympic asylum seekers receive the same rebuke from the UK home office?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Someone in the uk government is either

    A) being pressured

    B) trying to get some browny points

    C) or misusing their position in order to showoff

    D) really beleives this is right

    -----------------------
    A) Possible leniency if they help expose the "nature" of the pressure

    B) Fired and fined considerably

    C) Fired and Life, behind bars

    D) Slapped, and THEN fired

    Get back to me when politicians start thinking along those lines

     

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    Atkray (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:07am

    On the Bright side...

    Looks like Ecuador won't be joining TPP.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Assuage did actively try to persuade a US soldier to violate the law and then posted the unredacted results online for everyone to see. His actions lead directly to the death of US allies. Whether or not we in the US are perfect, I can see why people have an axe to grind with him.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      Damn right, it's only US actions that should lead to the death of US allies. It's the natural order of things.
      Claims about supposed deaths relating to the publication of information relating to crimes the US has perpetrated is enough to put the blame for deaths onto wikileaks and Assange.

       

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      Ed (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 6:22pm

      Re:

      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:11am whined:

      His actions lead directly to the death of US allies.
      Really? You have proof of this claim, which nobody else has ever been able to provide? Why have you sat on this proof all this time when it could be so important!

       

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    AC, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    I sugest everyone read this, he has a case to answer even his lawyers admit that
    http://pme200.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/assange.html

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Lacking a criminal indictment against Assange in Sweden, how are they able to ask for his extradition?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Not true

    He's only been accused of sexually misconduct with the women. All they want to do is question him, but refuse to do it anywhere but Sweden. If we all start living by that standard. All I have to do is claim anonymous coward sexually attacked me and now we can raid your embassy. It completely destroys the very foundation of any legal system. It would mean A accusation equals loss of any rights for a person or country.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

      Re: Not true

      Assange is subject of a European arrest warrant for rape (among other things) and is a fugitive by virtue of bail jumping. Those are more than allegations.

       

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        Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: Not true

        Fugitive by virtue of bail jumping yes but he's now under political asylum granted by Ecuador so it does not matter. And he was under house arrest for political reasons so Ecuador did it right.

        As for the rape allegations the case is very weak and smells of political pressure again precisely why Ecuador gave him asylum. I'm fairly sure Ecuador will extradite him to Sweden if Assange is proven guilty of sexual assault.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 10:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Not true

          Fugitive by virtue of bail jumping yes but he's now under political asylum granted by Ecuador so it does not matter. And he was under house arrest for political reasons so Ecuador did it right.

          Diplomatic, not political asylum. There's a big difference. And violating the terms of his bail was a separate crime. Ecuador knew that harboring him constituted a new crime in a new jurisdiction and did it anyway. So no, it is not right.

          As for the rape allegations the case is very weak and smells of political pressure again precisely why Ecuador gave him asylum. I'm fairly sure Ecuador will extradite him to Sweden if Assange is proven guilty of sexual assault.

          How is he going to be "proven guilty of sexual assault" if there's no trial. Are you really suggestion that Sweden can try him in absentia and then ask that he be returned? God, are you thick.

           

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            Ninja (profile), Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 4:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not true

            There's no evidence presented, no charges no nothing. He offered to collaborate with Swedish authorities from the UK and he's still willing to even from inside the embassy. Sorry, before you stage a full trial there are procedures to make sure there's a case. So far there's no case against Assange.

             

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    sehlat (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Governments vs. Reality

    It's a divorce case, in case you hadn't guessed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

    it seems to me that the USA has lost all credibility for being an honorable country. it also seems that it is incapable of taking this loss by itself and insists on putting other countries in the same position. for some unknown reason, perhaps a misdirected loyalty, perhaps pure fear of reprisals, the UK is following (leading) it into the abyss, with Sweden very close behind. when they have not made charges against Assange, have refused offers of questioning him in the Ecuadorean embassy, it must surely mean that the only excuse for trying to make this asylum an International Incident is because he is going to be extradited straight to the USA. the conduct of the Swedish government and law enforcement is appalling and to me this just enhances their willingness to do whatever they can to please the US, just as they did in The Pirate Bay fiasco. i wonder why it is that those eager to please the US cant see that there would be no such help in a reverse situation and that they would be left out on a limb when shit hit fan

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Act of war?

    If I ran a country, I'd consider any intrusion into any of my embassies abroad by armed goons belonging to the armed forces or law enforcement apparatus of, or acting with the sanction of, the host state to constitute an act of war. I'd sever all diplomatic ties with that state immediately, if it was anything other than an honest mistake, recalling my ambassador there and expelling their ambassador from my borders.

    At best, I'd expect a state that behaved in such a manner to wind up a pariah state like North Korea or Iran, one lacking diplomatic relations with pretty much anybody and regularly slapped with economic sanctions. At worst, I'd expect it to end up on the losing end of an actual shooting war.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Act of war?

      What? Ecuador vs. Great Britain in a war? It would last a week. Remember the Falklands and how that went for a much more formidable opponent. Does Ecuador even have the military capability to bring hostile action against the UK? That's a total joke.

       

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        Androgynous Cowherd, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Act of war?

        If the UK actually did as it threatened, I expect it would lose many allies, and Ecuador would gain many. Mind you, if the US stuck with the UK things would be sticky.

        But not respecting the sanctity of an embassy is pretty serious shit. The US would probably have to publicly distance itself from anything of the sort, and that might leave the UK in a very cold place, internationally speaking.

        For this, and other, reasons, the threat was most likely a bluff, and may even have been blurted out by someone in the UK Foreign Office "out of turn". It's a stance they'd be wise to back away from. You don't break long-standing and nearly-universal treaties like the Vienna Convention lightly.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Julian Assange seems to want to be a martyr but he's missing his chance and should have the balls to face his accusers. Go along with the show if only to prove that the UK, Sweden and the US are in fact colluding to bring him to the states. The whole idea behind Wikileaks is to expose corruption and what better way to illustrate that point. But I'm not into giving the man a pass regarding the sexual allegations simply because of his work with Wikileaks and it's shocking that a lot of people seem perfectly okay with that. Same goes for Polanski. What a couple of dicks with dicks and all the other dicks who don't care what those dicks did with their dicks. Man up.

     

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      DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      Just like the Swedish authorities have with him. oh wait..

       

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      Keii (profile), Aug 19th, 2012 @ 11:32pm

      Re:

      If he just goes with it and gets extradited to the US, his story is over and Americans will forget and go on about their business.
      The longer he resists, the more chances the US have to screw up, the longer the story stays in the headlines and the more people see/hear/talk about it.

       

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    In NH, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Why would Obama start respecting people now?

    Obama doesn't have the decency to respect the right to life of a new human being as it's being born, he's fine with it's brains being sucked out--why would he bother respecting the rights of anyone who can actually speak to disagree with him?

     

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      DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Why would Obama start respecting people now?

      Really.. this has NOTHING to do with THAT issue.

       

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        Chargone (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

        Re: Re: Why would Obama start respecting people now?

        well, not if you want to maintain any degree of sanity in the resulting debate/argument, anyway, no.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

      Re: Why would Obama start respecting people now?

      "Obama doesn't have the decency to respect the right to life of a new human being as it's being born."

      You're against abortions in cases of rape and/or incest?
      Interesting, boy.
      Sad, but interesting.

       

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    kenichi tanaka, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    The United States and the United Kingdom are treading on very dangerous waters here. Not only are they willing to go to any lengths to ship Assange to the United States but that they're willing to violate the diplomatic status and sovereign rights of another country in order to do just that.

    I take great issue with the fact that the United Kingdom is threatening to invade the embassy in order to get Assange. The minute they invade the embassy, they will have, in effect, invaded the sovereign territory of another country and that will signal an all out assault on every American, Sweden and United Kingdom diplomat that is serving in any function in any country.

    This will set a very dangerous precedent and I hope that these countries have the life insurance for their diplomatic envoys paid up because this will open a Pandora's Box of problems with all three countries.

    Ecuador simply requested from Sweden and asked them to assure that Assange wouldn't be extradited to the United States. I find it extremely odd that Sweden wouldn't grant that special request. Since they couldn't agree to that, it sounds like the United Kingdom and Sweden are trying to pull as fast one and that they always intended to extradite the man to the U.S.

    It's going to be open season on any diplomat in the service of the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Look forward to seeing those diplomats arrested and/or assaulted in Ecuador and worldwide if the Ecuador embassy is assaulted by force. It's been a given that an embassy is considered sovereign property and that nobody can enter their premises under any reason. It's sovereign territory.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      I don't think anyone has anything to fear from Ecuador.

       

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        Ninja (profile), Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 4:18am

        Re: Re:

        I do think every1 has a lot to fear in the event of losing international support. Ecuador is not gonna be alone if there's war ;)

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 8:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A war? Are you nuts? How about imposing an economic embargo like exists with Cuba. I think Assange would soon be handed over when Ecuadoran GDP plummets, unemployment skyrockets and citizens are rioting. Hell, I think the threat would be enough. El Presidente cares more about hanging on to control of his banana republic than Assange.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    Re:

    Other than Venzeula and half of South and Central America, you might want to throw Cuba and China into the mix ... I can see the allies growing from there.

    The buddy list on the side of US has become quite small.

     

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    Ben S (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:59pm

    What about Sweden?

    Why is Sweden not also implicated in the article title?

    Or are you saying that Sweden has no Basic Values to betray?

     

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    bsod, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 11:06pm

    link

    That embeded nytimes link you used in the first paragraph went far out of its way to depict assange as a dirty evil person who doesn't flush the toilet and leaves socks around the place. Not that it's untrue it just didn't hold the vibe of an unbiased article. Why not use one of the billions of other links that confirm the story just to keep it simple: http://www.thelocal.se/42658/20120816/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 1:31am

    Cases like this demonstrate that consensual, obedient slavery to corporations and unchangable government is no longer just the destination, it's the journey we've already begun.

     

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    Khannea Suntzu (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 5:44am

    This is probably the most effective manner in which to lose hearts and minds world-wide.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    I wonder how long it will be before Ecuador evicts him from the embassy for refusing to flush the toilet? Reports from previous hosts indicate he's a rather nasty houseguest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Swedish person here, with a bit of clarification on Swedish law.

    Sweden is an odd country, in that Swedish politicians only have indirect control over the administration. They make laws and rules, but are forbidden to interfere with individual cases.

    In this case, it means they have set laws about rape and extradition, but they have no power over what actually happens to Assange.

    On one hand, this means they can not give any assurances to the outcome of any extradition requests from the US, as they are not allowed to influence court decisions. On the other, it also means that it is 100% useless for any government to pressure Sweden into anything. (Except changes to the law, which will not apply retroactively.) He will be tried by the same rules as anyone else.

    This is, by the way, why the Pirate Bay was able to give insolent answers to the US for years without fear of a "Kim Dotcom"-style raid. The only thing the politicians could do was the change the law, which they eventually did.

    ...not that anyone will read this, 150 comments down.

     

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    Anon Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    That is exactly the hypocrisy I would expect from a country that executed Japanese military officers after WWII for waterboarding American GIs, but now uses the exact same techniques on its own enemies using a moral justification that is about as believable as a teens excuses for coming home after curfew drunk...

     

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    Overcast (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    Of course, our so-called "leaders" are trying to turn our society into a tyranny - just like in the middle ages.

    Funny how technology moves forwards, but politics really never 'improves' much - well, maybe a bell curve with the peak being around 1776.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have leaders that actually progressed like technology does?

     

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    mhenriday (profile), Aug 18th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Correction

    «Former Stockholm chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem ...» Mike, the above should be corrected to read «Former Malmö chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem ...» In a case like this one, with extremely odd manoeuvres by many parties, not least the Swedish judicial establishment, it is important to see that factual mistakes don't smuggle themselves into one's presentation....

    Henri

     

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    lolapgaston (profile), Aug 19th, 2012 @ 5:14am

    Julian is a hero. His motives may be good or bad (money or power or political agenda) but he has exposed the shameless cowards through and through.

    Lola P Gaston
    BYU Football

     

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    lolapgaston (profile), Aug 19th, 2012 @ 5:15am

    Julian is a hero. His motives may be good or bad (money or power or political agenda) but he has exposed the shameless cowards through and through.

    Lola P Gaston
    BYU Football

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:06am

    Assange played a very dangerous card here. And yet it will be very effective regardless of the outcome. If the UK breaches the Ecuadorian embassy it will have massive international consequences. Their citizens in foreign soil will be at great risk. It will also have huge impact on the US international relations and possibly put Americans that are outside US in danger. Sweden may actually have a lot to explain too. And he'll become a martyr.

    On the other hand, if he manages to go to Ecuador he'll be able to resume his activities there and will be fairly safe (he can still be murdered by the secret service), Ecuador will be seen as one of the new bastions of freedom (huge diplomatic win) and the UK/ US and possibly Sweden will still have a lot to explain.

    I'm not sure if that's what he intended but in the end it's simple a win/epic-win situation for both human rights and freedom. From my view, while I do not wish any ill to Mr Assange (I particularly think he's quite the genius on how he's conducting this), I think the UK could throw shit in the fan and invade the Ecuadorian embassy. It'll cause some large collateral damage that could speed up a lot of things. But as I'm still a human being, for the good of Mr Assange, I hope he gets political asylum.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 9:34am

    To HELL with right and all that! This made some politicians and rich bastards look BAD - we can't have that!!

    I suspect these tyrants would blow up the world to make themselves look good. Problem is - a tyrant can never, ever look 'good' or be 'safe'.

    That's the funny thing about it - those in supposed 'power' - the tyrants of the world... for all their 'power' they still must cower behind guards, bullet proof glass, and in bunkers. Wow, impressive 'power' - indeed!

    If that's "Power" - I'd prefer to be a piss-ant.. :)

     

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    vbevan (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 8:39pm

    Spelling

    It's pretty clear that the driving force behind all of this is the plan for the US to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act for his role in Wikileaks


    You spelt persecute wrong.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Here is the version of the story from his own lawyer:

    In the other incident, in which Assange is alleged to have held a woman down against her will during a sexual encounter, Emmerson offered this summary: “[The complainant] was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … [she] felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … [she] tried several times to reach for a condom, which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and trying to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. [She] says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.”

    And that's Assange's lawyer's version which is probably the best face that could be put on the circumstances.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 9:25am

    you don't "have" to give diplomats immunity, it is a shared idea, I grant it to you, you grant it to me, funny you only consider Ecuador sovereignty , but not England's, toss them out and send that criminal assange to jail, where he belongs

     

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    lolapgaston, Sep 9th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    No matter what they do with Assange. I still think that he did a great job in exposing all the politicians globally.

    _______________________


    anuncios gratis
    anuncios gratuitos

     

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