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Cables Show US Seeks Assange 488

Posted by Soulskill
from the desperately-seeking-julian dept.
prakslash writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports that diplomatic cables they obtained show the U.S. investigation into possible criminal conduct by Julian Assange has been ongoing for more than a year, despite denials by the U.S. State Department and the Australian Foreign Minister. Further, the Australian diplomats expect that the U.S. will seek to extradite Assange to the U.S. on charges including espionage and conspiracy relating to the release of classified information by WikiLeaks."
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Cables Show US Seeks Assange

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  • Medal of Honor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:49PM (#41028497)

    Let's demand that Assange be issued the Congressional Medal of Honor and go after some of the lying scum that he helped expose.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:49PM (#41028505) Homepage

    It has been shown time and time again, journalism is exempted from these kind of things. They are the recipients of information, not the ones giving out secrets.

    Perhaps 20 years ago, people might have drawn a distinction between publishing on a computer network and publishing on paper, but today, those distinctions are muddy and in transition. (Before long, the ONLY way to keep publications secret will be to write them down and share them secretly.)

    We have a nation of law enforcers who are not enforcing the law... they are enforcing the will of the leadership which is NOT the same thing. I think law enforcement needs to go back to enforcing the law and to remain WITHIN the law when doing so.

    • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:58PM (#41028661)

      That is a very valid point. I'm sure his lawyer, once they determine he is in Guantanamo Bay and labeled and an "enemy combatant" would want to use that in his defense. Just have to wait for a few years to meet their client, a few more years of trials just to see if a foreigner held in a prison off of US soil is eligible for a trial in the US Judicial system, etc.

      • Yep welcome to the USSA comrade, where the only free men are the rich.

        BTW I think every one of us that have said about a billion fucking times here that "Its not about rape, its about the USSA snatching his ass" deserves a fricking apology from all those "No its not, its about a crime, its raaape!" dumbasses, so line the hell up. Oh and WE TOLD YA SO!

        Its pretty God damned sad when fricking Ecuador is the symbol of freedom and the USSA is the slimy country, but this ain't the country your grandparents fought for in WWII, its turned foul, the ground has gone sour thanks to a cabal of WallStreet, the MICs and PMCs, and the gov, all in bed together.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sribe (304414)

      It has been shown time and time again, journalism is exempted from these kind of things. They are the recipients of information, not the ones giving out secrets.

      That's generally true, but then there is no protection for, say, breaking into an office and stealing documents in order to publish them. And there is a continuum between active law breaking of that sort, and completely passive receipt of unsolicited information. If I were Assange, I would certainly not want to visit the US to find out if some one of my many activities had pushed far enough along that continuum that they could make a criminal case against me.

    • by jbeaupre (752124) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:09PM (#41028851)

      If you had read the article, you'd see that it is based on the Australians speculating. There's not much to quibble with the speculation (though the Slashdot title is misleading).

      But you'll also note that they think an indictment would be based on conspiracy. And in that area, journalists can get nailed. If you are just receiving information, journalistic protections are fairly powerful. But if you work too closely with the informant, then conspiracy can raise its head.

      Let me give two examples (hypothetical):

      1) Manning sends Assange the files unsolicited. Assange would be protected.
      2) Assange discusses with Manning how to hide his involvement in the disclosure. The discussion might lean towards conspiracy.

      The first was just receiving information. The second crosses the line from just transferring information to other activities.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:40PM (#41029389) Journal

        2) Assange discusses with Manning how to hide his involvement in the disclosure. The discussion might lean towards conspiracy.

        Conspiracy to leak information that as a foreign national on foreign soil he had no legal obligation to keep secret.

        Oh wait, I forgot US law applies across the entire planet, and probably Mars now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Americano (920576)

          Don't be purposefully obtuse.

          IF Mr. Assange can be shown to have *solicited* the data from PFC Manning, then the charge is espionage, which IS a crime in the United States, regardless of where you happen to be sitting when you're collecting your data.

          As such, it would be completely reasonable for the US to request his extradition to face charges of espionage here in the US. This would be complicated by several things:
          1) Whether the extradition treaty recognizes espionage as an extraditable offense - some

        • by kiwimate (458274)

          I think you're being willfully unreasonable.

          The US generally cannot (despite what Hollywood and Slashdotters like to think) just go and grab folks from other sovereign countries without repercussions*. (They can request extradition, and governments have a deep interest in civilized cooperation. But that doesn't apply in this instance.)

          If, on the other hand, Assange shows up on American soil, then the U.S. has jurisdiction. Just like the U.K. has jurisdiction while he's in the U.K., or Germany has jurisdicti

          • by jschrod (172610)

            The US generally cannot (despite what Hollywood and Slashdotters like to think) just go and grab folks from other sovereign countries without repercussions*.

            There are so many illegal actions (regarding International treaties) that my mind boggles that you call them no repercussions, From my own country (Germany), the USA has abducted people, put them into Guantanamo[sp?], and didn't bother at all about consequences

            Many people have been illegally deported to foreign countries, by the USA, and have been tort

  • Previous Charges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:51PM (#41028531)

    It's becoming more and more evident by the day that the so-called "charges" that put him on the run in the first place are bullshit. This is about the US capturing Assange any way possible.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:54PM (#41028605)

      if the *charge* is about sex and it had nothing to do with a US person or even on US soil, what the HELL is the US's interest in this?

      again, I say, this does not pass the smell test.

      its all about saving face and making an example, to deter others from exposing dirty laundry.

      100% that's all this is about.

      and that's why it should not be allowed, for the US to have him.

      and don't get me wrong, I don't care that much about this particular guy. I don't know that much about him (and neither do you, really). but the fact that the US is going after him for exposing their lies and deceipt - THAT is a rallying cause. its not about the man.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually the charge is about allegedly not wanting to use a condom, and then breaking it intentionally when he was forced to wear one. It qualifies as "rape" here. None of the defendants actually wanted to press these charges, but the prosecutor did anyway. Or rather, someone did, and then the prosecutor dropped them, then it became a media thing, and for no apparent reason a new prosecutor stepped in and said of course they'd take it up again, and so on.

        So basically, the charges are highly dubious, and eit

    • Re:Previous Charges (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:06PM (#41028789)

      has he actually been charged in sweden? I thought part of the big controversy was that he was not actually charged, they wanted to force him to go to sweeden to "question" him, even though he volunteered to host them, and answer any questions many, many times. They either want to extradite him, or do one heck of a "perp walk" on TV to shame him, and I don't think he's actually even charged, let alone proven guilty.

      • Re:Previous Charges (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Americano (920576) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:25PM (#41029137)

        Under Swedish law, they cannot file formal charges in Sweden until they interview him. Whether or not that interview strictly needs to take place in Sweden is an open question - I've seen some lawyers claim it must, I've seen other lawyers claim there's no such law, but I've yet to see anything remotely like a definitive answer, either in the wording of the law, or specific precedents where it's been done before.

        Though even if it isn't required to happen in Sweden, I would say that it's unwise to set a precedent in which you allow a suspect in a criminal matter to dictate the terms under which he'll agree to an interview about the charges. In any other situation, if a judge says, "return here for an interview," and the suspect says "yeah, no thanks, but you can totally send someone over here for a chat," the suspect will get slapped with contempt of court sanctions... allowing a suspect to undermine judicial authority like that (essentially, thumbing his nose at the Swedish legal system and saying "fuck off") can have other long-range implications that Sweden may not be willing to bear the cost of.

        • Re:Previous Charges (Score:5, Informative)

          by chrb (1083577) on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:14PM (#41031741)

          allowing a suspect to undermine judicial authority like that (essentially, thumbing his nose at the Swedish legal system and saying "fuck off") can have other long-range implications that Sweden may not be willing to bear the cost of.

          Like Warren Anderson [wikipedia.org], who was charged with the culpable homicide of 8,000 people, left India and refused to come back until they said they wouldn't charge him, and who then jumped bail and left India after he was charged? Did the U.S. government respect the judicial authority of the Indian courts? No - it refused to extradite Anderson because they said there "wasn't enough evidence". And yet when the United States wanted to extradite bin Laden, and the government of Afghanistan requested evidence of his crimes, the U.S. government refused to provide it. When it comes to international politics and law, the U.S. is not afraid to apply double standards.

  • by Fencepost (107992) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:51PM (#41028541) Journal
    I'd love to see Assange go somewhere that's seeking to extradite Bush and/or Cheney and offer a swap.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:52PM (#41028563)
    Not only did US personnel break their own moral, ethical and legal boundaries but now they want to kill the messenger. Going after Assange makes the US look more like China than a democracy.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:01PM (#41028707)

      I'm afraid to comment on this story, post it to Facebook or to have my political views heard, for fear that it might prevent me from future government jobs, or possibly even from crossing the border.

      The U.S. is lying. Sweden is lying. The U.K. is supporting them. This story makes it clear that "Western" governments can't be trusted to uphold their own founding values.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Kill the messenger is wrong for the people that is target for the message, like the citizens of US and in general the rest of the world. Is not like they don't like the message, they already know it, just want to avoid that people know it, and warn others that could try to spread similar messages. What should be interesting is that there are US citizens that want Assagne in jail, the one that gave them some insight of what really do the people that they elected to represent them.
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:53PM (#41028585)

    However, the Australian embassy in Washington reported in February that “the US investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr Assange has been ongoing for more than a year”....

    The released diplomatic cables also show that the Australian government considers the prospect of extradition sufficiently likely that, on direction from Canberra, Mr Beazley sought high level US advice on “the direction and likely outcome of the investigation” and “reiterated our request for early advice of any decision to indict or seek extradition of Mr Assange”.

    So, in other words, asking for advanced warning if the US does even make plans to request extradition equates to "US intends to chase Assange"? Really? I mean I have no doubt that if the US thought it could bring charges against him that didn't possibly fall under First Amendment protection, it probably would, but that is the evidence you have? The Australian embassy asking for advanced warning? That's not evidence. That's barely above speculation. Actually, no, it is speculation.

    • by Uberbah (647458) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:07PM (#41028815)

      "In a statement issued after the Ecuadorean decision to grant Mr Assange political asylum, Mr Hague said the UK was under a "binding obligation" to extradite him to Sweden."

      They're willing to throw centuries of tradition on diplomatic immunity out the window because of a "binding obligation" to extradite him.

      When he hasn't been charged, his accusers have left the country, and he sought (and was granted) permission to leave Sweden in the first place. If you don't smell something rotten here, you've got a clothespin over your nose...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Americano (920576)

        Look, the UK has TWO treaty obligations that are in direct conflict here:

        1) Their treaty with the other member states of the EU agreeing to be bound by the EAW extradition framework;
        2) Their diplomatic treaties with Ecuador;

        Pretending that one "trumps" the other, or one is stronger than the other is stupid. The UK government decides which obligation serves its own interests better - other countries can lodge complaints, and make an argument at the UN or in the media... but what it boils down to is, the o

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:22PM (#41030017)
          Oh man.. here we go again.


          Let me answer your questions:

          1) It would, as a matter of fact, be easier for the US to extradite from Sweden. There is a bilateral treaty between the US and Sweden that allows for extradition without consent from the UK or minimum tests.
          Read this [justice4assange.com] and this [justice4assange.com].
          2) See above links.
          3) Ecuador is NOT shielding Assange from prosecution from Sweden BUT from extradition and persecution by the US. Assange is willing to go to Sweden tomorrow to answer any Swedish charges if they can assure him he will not be handed to the Americans. They refuse to provide such an assurance. Look, Assange is not some ordinary mugger. He has done some significant things that have riled up the powers that be. If the suspect in your example was anything like Assange, I would be OK with it.

          .
        • by PRMan (959735) on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:33PM (#41030181)
          3) Yes. I absolutely believe that POLITICAL ASYLUM is intended to work exactly as you have described.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:03PM (#41030587)

          Do you really believe that diplomatic immunity was *intended* to be used in the way Ecuador is trying to use it, to shield an alleged criminal from prosecution? And would you be okay with that if, say, Mr. Assange got mugged, identified a suspect to the police, and then the suspect fled to the US embassy seeking asylum? Because if Ecuador can do it... why can't every other country use its diplomatic immunity in a disingenuous fashion, as well?

          You mean, like József Mindszenty [wikipedia.org], who the US shielded in their embassy for 15 years? Like Fang Lizhi [wikipedia.org]? Like Victor Haya [unhcr.org]? Manuel Zelaya [wikipedia.org]? The answer is, they (including the USA) do.

  • No surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:54PM (#41028599)

    Anyone who is surprised by this (or who thinks that Sweden is not a part of it) is simply not paying attention.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:50PM (#41029565) Homepage Journal

      Anyone who is surprised by this (or who thinks that Sweden is not a part of it) is simply not paying attention.

      But, but ... the Swedish prosecutor has gone on record saying specifically that Sweden won't extradite Assange for torture or the death penalty.

      Seriously, though, I hear Julian is going to be out front on Sunday. It would be quite an art project if two hundred other young clean-shaven thin white men with white wigs, white button-down shirts, gray wool pants, black dress shoes and socks, and Guy Fawkes masks all swarmed him and then got into passing cars.

  • Sheesh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carrier lost (222597) on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:57PM (#41028637) Homepage

    You'd think the guy performed a punk concert in a church or something.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:02PM (#41028721)

    That would be hoot and half! They could call it "Pussy Leaks."

    I'm not sure that in Putinist Russia, such a thing would be permitted, though. Live from the Gulag . . . ?

  • by arcite (661011) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:09PM (#41028859)

    - do push-ups and sit-ups every morning (reduces sores and reduces chances of deep vein thrombosis!)

    - don't just eat pizza and ramen! Consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily

    - keep hydrated! You're in England now, Tea is cheap!

    - Be sure to catch the morning sun! Find a sunny window and soak in the nourishing strength of the rays. You don't want rickets!

    - personal grooming improves self-esteem and keeps up morale. Just because you're stuck in a tiny room with few visitors doesn't mean you should let your hair grow out and start braiding. Beards are for nerds and mountain men. Buzz cut looks professional and sharp!

    - along with personal grooming, iron your clothes for public appearances (err...skype video chats). A snappy dresser shows leadership and determination.

    - use the free time you have wisely; catch up on lost episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men - hey, you might even learn something.

    - solitude = deep thought = time to read! Like past unjustely imprisoned geniuses, Napoleon, Galileo, Ann Frank ect..., all found solace and comfort in their books. Cherish the printed page!

    - The Harrods food court is across the street; use this opportunity to train your culinary palette. I suggest starting with Mexican and working your way to Indonesian.

    - remember, it could always be worse! Nelson Mandela didn't have access to hi-speed internet (though he did get daily walks out doors: but everythings a trade off!)

    - Oh and lastly, never forget; the first duty of the political prisoner is escape! Good luck Sir!

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      - Be sure to catch the morning sun! Find a sunny window and soak in the nourishing strength of the rays. You don't want rickets!

      This is England we are talking about. Morning sun! Ha, The best he can hope for is morning clouds.

  • The gameplan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sageres (561626) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:36PM (#41029323)

    It seems that neither the general public nor the Assanage understand the game-plan. It is fairly easy. They intend on making him so paranoid that he will become a prisoner of his own making. Even if he manages to get out of London unmolested by the British police their security aparatus, and get to Ecuador -- he will be a wanted man across the entire Commonwealth spectrum, because in effect by leaving he will be breaking British law. That will effectively make him both a most wanted and persona-non-grata within much of the world. The only places where he will be able to travel freely would be within the new Bolivarian states, Russia and perhaps some of the Middle East.
    But even than he won't be able to travel freely at all, and perhaps will not be able to step out within the confines of his future place of living in Ecuador, because there will be many who would want to capture and deliver him to any British enclave. (in Americas think Stanley, or Georgetown, or even Ottawa).
    And the best part about it -- all Americans have to do is to continue denying that they are actively perusing him while giving subtle hints and "leaks" that they actually do.

  • by kunyo (863739) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:44PM (#41029435)
    But your goverment must really switch to a more democratic perspective if they want to be legitimated to be World's policemen
  • Unfortunate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rabtech (223758) on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:19PM (#41029973) Homepage

    It is quite unfortunate and demonstrates that US leaders still don't "get" it. They think that prosecuting Assange will have some kind of effect on Wikileaks when nothing could be further from the truth.... or they're just trying to get back at him out of spite (same reason they tortured Manning when he was obviously guilty and a simple court martial would have seen him put in prison for the rest of his life. Why degrade ourselves?)

    The reason the US isn't explicitly asking for extradition is probably because we intend to perform an "extraordinary rendition" and snag him from Sweden illegally (but with Swedish cooperation), then imprison him in Gitmo forever without trial.

    I wish I were joking. My grandfather volunteered for WWII; It makes me sad that we have thrown all the things he fought for in the trash can, first in a blind attempt to fight communism (when the prudent course was just to let it die under its own weight just like the USSR did), then in a blind attempt to fight a "war on drugs", and now in a blind attempt to fight a "war on terror".

    Oh well... so many Americans are petty and FYGM these days. I guess it's no surprise that our politicians are too. When we had the Soviets to fight against it forced us to push all objections out of the way and cooperate for the common good. We managed to do such great and big things back then... We voted to tax ourselves to build the Interstate Highway system. Imagine proposing a tax to build a national "Internet Highway" today!
    The threat of communism put the Fear Of God(TM) into the rich and forced them to share the wealth, which in turn improved everyone's lives. Now it's all slipping away.

    What a sad state of affairs.

  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:30PM (#41030123)

    If he is in the UK (as he has been for some time), why wouldn't we just ask the UK to extradite him? That's the only thing that doesn't seem to add up when people yell, "The rape charge is just an excuse to extradite to the US"!

    Is Sweden our extradition bitch or something? They say yes to every request we make???

  • by bernywork (57298) <bstapleton@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:33PM (#41031895) Journal

    This is disgusting. While I'm not Julian Assange's fanboi by any stretch of the imagination; I'd love to see the government that I grew up with grow a pair and at worst say "Well, I guess we're taking this one on the chin", he's to be tried in the country that he comitted the offense, and if he is serve time, to serve time in Australia under prisoner exchange.

    At best, I'd rather like seeing Julia Gillard say "By your own rules, Freedom of Speech and press which you enforce on other countries is coming home to roost". Your country hasn't been de-stabilsed, nothing is that differernt. Sure, it's put a few noses out of joint, but why crucify a man over all this. There are many different elements like this in society, time to face up to them.

  • by Conspire (102879) on Friday August 17, 2012 @10:06PM (#41032579) Homepage
    What I find intriguing is if Assange had published China state secrets and cables the US would be most likely be providing him with asylum and trumpeting "China oppression of free speech" and "China crackdown on international research dissidents", etc............ It is sad when international laws are broken by a state to make an example of one person with the intent to scare the rest of humanity into blind submission.

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