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Assange Could Face Execution Or Guantanamo Bay 973

An anonymous reader writes "WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange faces the real danger of being executed or languishing in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay if, as a result of his extradition to Sweden, he ends up in the hands of the Americans, his lawyers argue. In a skeleton summary of Assange's defence, posted online, Assange's lawyers argue that it is likely that the US would seek his extradition 'and/or illegal rendition' from Sweden. In the United States 'there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere,' his lawyers write."
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Assange Could Face Execution Or Guantanamo Bay

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  • attorneys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I8TheWorm ( 645702 ) * on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:00PM (#34839792) Journal

    Of course his attorneys are doing whatever they can to prevent him shipping out. Is this news?

    • Re:attorneys (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:03PM (#34839840) Journal

      Is this news?

      It's news that the lawyers have caught up to what everyone on the internet was thinking when they first encountered Wikileaks. Usually they're multiple years behind on this sort of thing.

    • by Timmy D Programmer ( 704067 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:44PM (#34840532) Journal
      Not that it has ever happened before, but since anything negative said about the USA is automatically believed and embraced I think we can all agree his best defense is that if he is sent to the USA he will likely be dipped in peanut butter, and dropped in a pen full of grizzly bears. Cuz, we do that sorta thing. ;-)
    • Re:attorneys (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:46PM (#34840568) Journal

      To clarify: The UK does not extradite people to countries where they will face execution or torture. If the defence can show that it's likely that extraditing him to Sweden would result in his execution or torture in the USA, then extradition to Sweden will be denied.

      This is a pretty standard approach in any extradition hearing in the UK. The other most common approaches that have worked in the past are to show that the defendant will not receive a fair trial or that the 'crime' is not considered as such in the UK (for example, people would not be extradited for drawing offensive cartoons of Mohammad, even to somewhere that would give them a fair trial and would only give them a small fine if they were found guilty). Neither of these approaches is likely to work in this instance - the Swedish legal system has a fairly good reputation individually and rape is a crime over here (although some of the allegations would only be classed as sexual assault, and some as just being a bit of a pillock, the latter of which isn't usually illegal).

  • What grounds? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheL0ser ( 1955440 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:02PM (#34839824)
    Maybe I'm missing something, but last I knew "We don't like him" wasn't a valid reason for shipping to Gitmo or executions (not that there always is a valid reason, but still...). Assange isn't a US citizen, so that throws treason out the window, so what's the justification?
    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by imamac ( 1083405 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:03PM (#34839844)
      If he's dubbed a terrorist by the US government...
      • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:14PM (#34840034) Homepage

        It's bullshit. What about the site admins for Wikileaks, or the dozens (if not hundreds) of media employees around the globe that are sitting on the full cable file and letting it trickle out? What about the security guys in the military, whose job it is to ensure stuff like this doesn't happen?

        Assange is nothing but a mouthpiece. The fact that he's the primary target in this whole thing is just as asinine as the US Government's strategy to prevent leaks being leaked [techspot.com].

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by akgooseman ( 632715 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:06PM (#34839894) Homepage
      Actually, the USG not liking someone is exactly why that person might end up in Gitmo. Circumventing the legal system is what makes Gitmo useful to the government.
    • Re:What grounds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mrxak ( 727974 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:10PM (#34839960)

      The grounds are "hey, we're lawyers, we can charge our client by the word in our legal arguments before the judge!"

      The more ridiculous grounds they can come up with, the more money they make, and the more attention Assange gets. It's win-win.

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:12PM (#34839986)

      A bunch of people in the US self-identify with the Federal Government, and believe that it and this country are one and the same, so therefore publishing leaked documents embarrasses the Federal Government, thus the US, thus they personally are humiliated.

      So it cuts their IQ by 20 points and makes them angry and cry for blood.

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:13PM (#34840010)

      Tell that to all the other non US citizens sitting in gitmo for years without a trial or charge.

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:13PM (#34840014) Journal

      He could possibly still be charged on espionage, racketeering and related laws. Treason is actually very limited in the US by the US constitution even if he was a US citizen.

      None of those carry a death penalty unless the violation of the laws directly result in someone's death. However, that still shouldn't be much of a concern because the US often agrees not to pursuit the death penalty as a condition to extradite someone from different countries.

      What is happening here is little more then then stating a defense to guard against extradition out of England in the first place. They are stating every possible scenario including ones muttered by "prominent figures" who a good portion of the US thinks are crazy, ignorant, or bat-shit stupid. They are even arguing that the prosecutor who issued the warrant didn't even have authority to do so.

      There is nothing new or revealing here. His lawyers are simply putting everything possible on the table to show extraditing Assange should not happen. If they don't bring it up in lower courts, they might not be able to in higher ones.

      • Re:What grounds? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mrxak ( 727974 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:29PM (#34840280)

        It's pretty hilarious, because the prominent figure they're talking about is Huckabee. This is a man who is not a lawyer, not even a government official, and certainly has no bearing on who gets charged with what, or who gets executed. Plus, uh, yeah... Huckabee wasn't talking about Assange either, he was talking about the people who leaked stuff to Assange, at least as far as I can tell from the quote.

        Presumably any judges looking at the arguments would do a modicum of research and find out just how stupid this argument is. But again, the lawyers are just throwing everything out there, and hoping something sticks. I don't know a lot about their legal system over there, but perhaps it will also give them some added grounds for appeal if they lose. IANAL.

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:14PM (#34840026) Homepage Journal

      On no grounds. U.S. officials have not shown that Assange has committed a single crime in the U.S. He is merely wanted here for questioning, probably to prosecute those who did violate U.S. law, such as any of Bradley Manning's co-conspirators or to find out who leaked the Iraq war logs, the U.S. diplomatic cables, etc.

      Gitmo is a facility of the U.S. Navy; I doubt he'd be held there as he's wanted by the Department of Justice, not the Pentagon.

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:16PM (#34840080) Homepage Journal
      Were the people currently in Guantanamo US citizens or in US jurisdiction at the time of their "arrest"? "We don't like him" seems to be exactly the normal reason for being sent there.

      Let's face it, when was the last time the USA didn't take an opportunity to look as hypocritical as possible on the world stage?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      The US government doesn't need a reason to imprison and kill people. We abandoned the rule of law on 9/12/2001.
    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:19PM (#34840132) Homepage

      "We don't like him" wasn't a valid reason for shipping to Gitmo or executions

      Does it matter whether there's a valid reason or not? The way Gitmo is structured, you get sent there by the executive branch without ever receiving trial, and remain there occasionally getting a kangaroo court to say "yeah, keep him locked up" every year or so. There have been innocent people, including some US citizens, subjected to this sort of treatment in a blatant violation of the US Constitution.

      Assange has been very clear through all of this that the reason he doesn't trust the US government is precisely because they've shown no inclination to follow their own laws.

    • Re:What grounds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zarthrag ( 650912 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:59PM (#34840782)
      Treason doesn't mean much. Since the president has the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad, Assange can just get the label "enemy combatant" and it's open season. Gotta love those loose constructionists.
    • Re:What grounds? (Score:5, Informative)

      by joebok ( 457904 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @06:55PM (#34841520) Homepage Journal

      "We don't like him" and not being a citizen is pretty much the summary of how people were imprisoned at Gitmo - they are called "enemy combatants" to avoid POW status. Somehow these people are too dangerous to be let loose but too innocent to stand trial.

    • by sgt_doom ( 655561 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @08:07PM (#34842274)
      The US gov't has deemed Assange a "high-tech terrorist" which qualifies them in their diabolical reckoning as an enemy combatant, which makes it OK, under the satanical US PATRIOT Act, to do an extreme rendition on him.

      Now, Assange's attorneys have correctly argued against his extradition to Sweden, on a number of grounds, one of the most correct and crucial being that a local city (Goteborg, or Gothenburg in English) prosecutor (Marianne Ny) cannot petition for an Interpol arrest warrant -- nor extradition order -- it must originate at the highest government level.

      Now you ask, but why would the Swedes want to extradite Assange of Wikileaks to Gothenburg? Because that's where Jeppesen Systems AB, the company affiliated with Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan, better known as Boeing's "Extreme Rendition Airlines" is located.

      Beginning to get the Big Picture, now? Never have so many resources been focused to obtain one individual in the past few decades. And yes, I strongly suspect they've spent far more on tracking and ops in shutting down by Wikileaks (tasked at least three gov't supercomputers to DDoS those Wikileaking sites) and their Wikileaks Task Force at the CIA (WTF). Now why didn't they put as much effort into that fellow, what's his name?

      Oh yeah....Osama bin Laden?

  • by Deathnerd ( 1734374 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:03PM (#34839830)
    Yup, it's 2011. So why does feel so much like 1984?
  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:03PM (#34839846)

    I'm not saying it's good that America does these things. I have a tremendous sense of schadenfreude about the American government feeling some pain for its indefinite detention and torturing. As an American, I'm disgusted that my government has betrayed our ideals, but I also know that as one person I'm very unlikely to effect change. Maybe Assange can take our government to task more effecitively than any normal American citizen could.

  • by Suki I ( 1546431 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:04PM (#34839870) Homepage Journal
    With the way Sweden made their rape laws, he is lucky that they don't have a death penalty for men saying hello to women first.
  • Riot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DontLickJesus ( 1141027 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:04PM (#34839878) Homepage Journal
    I hope if that man ends up on American soil that the citizens of this country (US) riot and raise fucking hell. What our government plans to do is wrong, it's illegal, and they know it. So does every citizen and every member of the press.
  • Related Coverage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:05PM (#34839886)

    In related news, the Guardian has in-depth coverage of his extradition hearing [guardian.co.uk], including a list of legal arguments he's making and how the death threats he's received from US politicians are particularly worrying in light of the shooting in Arizona. Also, the right-wing blogger behind JulianAssangeMustDie.com [mediabistro.com] has been exposed. The domain was registered by Melissa Clouthier.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:06PM (#34839888)

    That's pretty funny. If the US wanted him "renditioned", they would have had him already from the UK. He's much more likely to be safe from US rendition in Sweden.

    However, in Sweden, he will have to get up on the stand and answer for his sexual behavior, and that's what he's really worried about.

    It's not entirely clear from what I've read that he's an actual rapist, but it sure sounds like he's a real jerk.

    • by joh ( 27088 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:57PM (#34840760)

      That's pretty funny. If the US wanted him "renditioned", they would have had him already from the UK. He's much more likely to be safe from US rendition in Sweden.


      From cable 07STOCKHOLM506:

      "Swedish military and civilian intelligence organizations are strong and reliable partners on a range of
      key issues[...]. Due to domestic political considerations, the extent of this cooperation in not widely known within the Swedish government and it would be useful to acknowledge this cooperation privately, as
      public mention of the cooperation would open up the government to domestic criticism."

  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:08PM (#34839926)

    While I believe that Wikileaks is likely some form of an intel operation/possible manipulation in and of itself to some degree, I still support the concept behind Wikileaks.

    Unfortunately I think that this statement by his lawyers may be correct. It's sad, but America is no longer the beacon of hope and freedom for the world that it once was - it's a bloated, corrupted, fading superpower. In a way we're the world's largest banana republic. It makes me very sad, because I love my country - but loving your country doesn't mean shying away from criticizing the government or exposing it's misdeeds - in fact, it means the opposite. This nation was supposedly founded on dissent and the rights of man, and to hear those in power try spin the law (including the Constitution) to suit their twisted needs is sickening.

  • by Bemopolis ( 698691 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:09PM (#34839932)
    The fact that this argument cannot be dismissed as ridiculous, hyperbolic poppycock is testament to how far the United States has fallen in the world's estimation.
  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:13PM (#34840004) Homepage

    Assange is being accused of "sex by surprise", which is a Swedish law that states that you need explicit permission to engage in consensual relations each time it happens, no matter what happens before or after. In his case, the woman he "attacked" made him breakfast after her "rape", and they continued their relationship for weeks, until she met a different woman who had also slept with him (after acting like a virtual stalker towards him).

    It was only after they compared notes, that they approached Assange and asked him to get a STD test. He refused, and they spoke to the police.

    Initially prosecutors declined to take this case, but then the whole Wikileaks scandal broke, and a different prosecutor (from a different area of the country) was assigned to the case, and tried to peruse it.

    Assange repeatedly tried to speak to this prosecutor, but she apparently did not want to speak to him. Eventually, he was told he was free to leave the country, which he did.

    Now we learn that at least one of the women supposedly who accused him of this is not cooperating with the prosecutors.

    I'm not sure what to call any of this, and I'm completely torn about whether Wikileaks is good or bad, but this sure as hell isn't any normal kind of rape accusation to me. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    • Counter-intuitively, what turned out to be kind of a shitcase for Assage personally, is also a good thing for Wikileaks, as it simply draws more popular attention to their releases. Actually, I would not call Assange stupid even if he keeps blowing on this flame, as it would be quite selfless. Remember: just like any news is bad news in a fire department, any news is good news in a newspaper.
    • by sangreal66 ( 740295 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:30PM (#34840288)
      This 'sex by surprise' nonsense is bullshit peddled by Assange's lawyer (much like this Gitmo nonsense). Read up on what he is actually charged with. Pretty much everything you said is false.

      Her account to police, which Assange disputes, stated that he began stroking her leg as they drank tea, before he pulled off her clothes and snapped a necklace that she was wearing. According to her statement she "tried to put on some articles of clothing as it was going too quickly and uncomfortably but Assange ripped them off again". Miss A told police that she didn't want to go any further "but that it was too late to stop Assange as she had gone along with it so far", and so she allowed him to undress her. According to the statement, Miss A then realised he was trying to have unprotected sex with her. She told police that she had tried a number of times to reach for a condom but Assange had stopped her by holding her arms and pinning her legs. The statement records Miss A describing how Assange then released her arms and agreed to use a condom, but she told the police that at some stage Assange had "done something" with the condom that resulted in it becoming ripped, and ejaculated without withdrawing. When he was later interviewed by police in Stockholm, Assange agreed that he had had sex with Miss A but said he did not tear the condom, and that he was not aware that it had been torn. He told police that he had continued to sleep in Miss A's bed for the following week and she had never mentioned a torn condom.

      On Wednesday 18 August, according to police records, Miss A told Harold and a friend that Assange would not leave her flat and was sleeping in her bed, although she was not having sex with him and he spent most of the night sitting with his computer. Harold told police he had asked Assange why he was refusing to leave the flat and that Assange had said he was very surprised, because Miss A had not asked him to leave. Miss A says she spent Wednesday night on a mattress and then moved to a friend's flat so she did not have to be near him. She told police that Assange had continued to make sexual advances to her every day after they slept together and on Wednesday 18 August had approached her, naked from the waist down, and rubbed himself against her.

      The following day, Miss W phoned Assange and arranged to meet him late in the evening, according to her statement. The pair went back to her flat in Enkoping, near Stockholm. Miss W told police that though they started to have sex, Assange had not wanted to wear a condom, and she had moved away because she had not wanted unprotected sex. Assange had then lost interest, she said, and fallen asleep. However, during the night, they had both woken up and had sex at least once when "he agreed unwillingly to use a condom". Early the next morning, Miss W told police, she had gone to buy breakfast before getting back into bed and falling asleep beside Assange. She had awoken to find him having sex with her, she said, but when she asked whether he was wearing a condom he said no. "According to her statement, she said: 'You better not have HIV' and he answered: 'Of course not,' " but "she couldn't be bothered to tell him one more time because she had been going on about the condom all night. She had never had unprotected sex before."

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

  • Uh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by monoqlith ( 610041 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:16PM (#34840068)

    This is pretty thin. It's not clear that Assange could be vulnerable to criminal charges of say, treason, in the US since he is not a citizen of, nor loyal to, the US. WikiLeaks does not have servers in the US. Moreover the 'figures' that the lawyers cites as saying Assange should be executed have no actual authority in the US. They cite Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, neither of whom hold political office and (I'm guessing - and hoping) will not have any official political power in the near future.

    This is Assange's own lawyers trying to prevent extradition to Sweden, which has actually filed criminal charges against him. I'm all for what Assange does, but this is exceedingly unlikely to come to pass.

  • Tin foil hat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:23PM (#34840196)
    Sounds like the rantings of a paranoid schizophrenic. Reminds me of the SNL skits where Assange reminds people that no matter how he dies, even if it's decades from now and peacefully in his sleep, "it was murder!".

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"