Assange expelled from embassy and arrested for both Bail Act offence and US extradition request

Govi

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There is no crime called "narcissism" -- would that there were -- but there are crimes such as rape, bail-jumping, and hacking a government computer system. Though not a crime listed on any books and therefore not one for which he could be tried, subverting the American republic by getting a demagogue elected is the most serious addition to that list. Thus far, by assisting Trump's election, he has caused the deaths of many, the inhumane treatment of thousands of refugees and their children, and most lately, the most serious attempt to deny women the right to exercise needful control of our bodies by aborting unwanted pregnancies.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Seems to me that we need to separate what we think of Assange from his various legal problems.

That is, the argument "Julian Assange did the public a great service by publicising governmental wrongdoing, so he can't possibly have raped or sexually assaulted anyone" is incoherent, but so is "Julian Assange is in bed with the Russians and helped get Donald Trump elected, so he should be extradited for assisting Chelsea Manning."

While I am in no doubt whatsoever that he should have faced trial in Sweden, since there was certainly a credible case to answer, I'm rather more sceptical about this US request, since he really doesn't seem to be accused of very much.

The indictment, as I understand it, doesn't suggest he was at all involved in encouraging or assisting Chelsea Manning to steal data from the US military, nor does it concern any of the harm that Assange caused, or may have caused, by releasing the data.

Rather, it concerns one individual incident when Manning was uploading the cache. The business with cracking the password wasn't to enable her to abstract more files; as it seems to me, that was simply about enabling her to log in on a different account (with same security level) in order to make it more difficult for investigators to tell who was uploading the data she'd already stolen.

Furthermore, it's not clear to me whether Assange ever did, in fact, attempt to assist her or whether she'd expressed her concerns about being detected and asked for his help with the password, to cover her tracks, and he'd simply humoured her by offering Wikileaks' technical assistance with this, without intending to do anything about it, simply to reassure his nervous source and to keep her onside.

Similarly, I'm not sure that the "Curious eyes never run dry" remark really amounts to much other than encouraging his source to keep her eye out for further materials, which is the sort of thing any journalist might say, to my mind.

This makes me feel uneasy about the US application because it seems to me a back-door way to criminalise what, in different circumstances, might be considered legitimate behaviour by a journalist anxious to reassure a nervous source.

Whether or not Assange is a legitimate journalist doesn't really matter much in this context, I think, since that opens the door to different standards of criminality for officially recognised journalists and for everyone else, which could lead to all sorts of problems.

So while I am perfectly content that Assange is now in prison for Bail Act offences, which he obviously committed, and while I still hope that Sweden will reactivate their request for him to be sent for trial there on the rape charges, I'm a lot less happy about the US extradition request.

That's not because I approve of Assange in any way but because, just as I don't think his activities with Wikileaks make him immune from the criminal law on sexual assault, I don't think the fact he's a thoroughly unpleasant and irresponsible character mean that he forfeits normal legal protections, particularly when these are protections on which many journalists rely.

Anyway, he's where he should be now, and won't be going anywhere while the application and subsequent appeals are heard, which will probably take at least two years.
 

Govi

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If the US request for extradition of Assange doesn't meet the extradition treaty's standard of evidence, I trust that the UK will deny it. Ditto, Sweden's request, if renewed.
 

Cristalle

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This makes me feel uneasy about the US application because it seems to me a back-door way to criminalise what, in different circumstances, might be considered legitimate behaviour by a journalist anxious to reassure a nervous source.
That is exactly what this is, and journalists the world over should be concerned about it. Too few are speaking out about it.
 

Innula Zenovka

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If the US request for extradition of Assange doesn't meet the extradition treaty's standard of evidence, I trust that the UK will deny it. Ditto, Sweden's request, if renewed.
The standard of proof in extradition cases is pretty low, so while Assange will doubtless argue it's not been met, I think a British court will probably agree that a grand jury indictment is probably sufficient.

The serious arguments are going to be about whether the behaviour complained about constitutes a crime in UK law and whether extraditing Assange would contravene his human rights (particularly freedom of expression, a fair trial, and protection from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment). Jurisdiction might be an issue, too.

As to the Swedish request, all those points were argued last time round, so I think that if Sweden want to reopen the application, that won't be an issue. There are a whole load of technical points about any new request for a warrant that his team could raise and which would certainly delay things (particularly if Brexit actually happens mid-way through the process) but since he'll be in custody this time, he might prefer to get on with his life by attending the Swedish court and arguing his case.
 
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Given that Assange couldn't behave himself even while he was hiding in the embassy, I think the best idea for the US is to let Sweden take him for now and be patient. As soon as Assange has a working internet connection, it won't be long before he does something that gives them a fully legit cause for extradition and prison. He doesn't strike me as the kind of person who will behave impecably to stay out of trouble :D I doubt he can really gauge public opinion and know when he's going too far either. Certainly not with cult-like followers encouraging their "hero".
 

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Bartholomew Gallacher

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One of the conditions, to which the UK agreed, according to the president of Ecuador, for jettisoning Assange out was this:

Britain has guaranteed to Ecuador that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to a country that has the death penalty, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday after Assange was arrested in London.
“In line with our strong commitment to human rights and international law, I requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty,” Moreno said in a video posted on Twitter.
“The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules.”"



So if the UK sticks with it, this would be ruling out the USA.
 
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Chalice Yao

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We do need transparency and whistleblower sites. And I do have concerns about the charges against the accused rapist lodged in the US (but not the rape charges). As for Wikileaks, they ahve become a parody of themselves and Assange can burn in hell.
Wikileaks' downfall began when it - i.E. Assange - became biased and in any way politically active.
People rarely mention the days before Wikileaks' media involvement, but the site used to simply (at least seemingly) neutrally post any leaked documents that were handed to it. No big fanfare, no dramatization. It was literally simply a wiki for leaks - the reason why it had its name.
It was interesting, it was neutral. It should have kept going that way.

But the moment Assange made things about him being the big hero, about stirring up media fanfare and making Wikileaks more and more about 'the next big leak against the evil overlords is coming!' announcements...that's when things ended up in the crapper.

Even the whistleblower institutions that 'officially' work on big cases with more involvement (Big props to The Guardian) tend to do so with professionalism and a more...'scientific' mindset. Objective analysis. And I think that is the key: *if* a whistleblower site wants to be more involved in actual analysis of leaks, it should do so with an objective, analytic approach.

Wikileaks is anything but that these days.
 

Free

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Besides, it's not even really a wiki.

:kittyball:
 

Innula Zenovka

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One of the conditions, to which the UK agreed, according to the president of Ecuador, for jettisoning Assange out was this:

Britain has guaranteed to Ecuador that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to a country that has the death penalty, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday after Assange was arrested in London.
“In line with our strong commitment to human rights and international law, I requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty,” Moreno said in a video posted on Twitter.
“The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules.”"



So if the UK sticks with it, this would be ruling out the USA.
No, it doesn't rule out extradition to the USA at all.

It's been settled law in all member countries of the European Convention on Human Rights since Soering v. United Kingdom (1989) that no ECHR country may extradite in cases where the defendant is at risk of the death penalty without guarantees from the receiving country that the death penalty will not be sought in the case. Ditto torture.

So all the UK did in this case was confirm in writing that it would continue to follow British law and the ECHR in this case, as it has done for the last 30 years.
 

Cristalle

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No, it doesn't rule out extradition to the USA at all.

It's been settled law in all member countries of the European Convention on Human Rights since Soering v. United Kingdom (1989) that no ECHR country may extradite in cases where the defendant is at risk of the death penalty without guarantees from the receiving country that the death penalty will not be sought in the case. Ditto torture.

So all the UK did in this case was confirm in writing that it would continue to follow British law and the ECHR in this case, as it has done for the last 30 years.
Given our penchant for extended and aggressive use of solitary confinement, which is a form of torture, it should rule us out, but I doubt that will be the case.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Given our penchant for extended and aggressive use of solitary confinement, which is a form of torture, it should rule us out, but I doubt that will be the case.
US prison conditions often feature in extradition and human rights cases, both in the UK and the rest of Europe. I would certainly expect that Assange's lawyers will raise the prospect of Assange being kept in somewhere like that supermax facility in Colorado as a reason for refusing the request on human rights grounds.
 

Casey Pelous

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To me, it seems likely there's some sort of rather serious mental illness at play here. It was probably always present -- the dude sort of defines "more than a little wrapped up in grandiose paranoid conspiracy stuff" -- but smearing poop on the walls? Holy sheep, folks, that's the stuff of severe mental illness. (Well, and some rock bands; but I repeat myself.) And that fellow they dragged off to jail did not look as if he was fully oriented.
 
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