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Wikileaks' Assange Begins Extradition Battle 479

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the let-the-battle-begin dept.
arisvega writes "Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has begun his court battle against extradition from the UK to Sweden. He faces allegations of sexual assault against two women, which he denies. Mr Assange, 39, argues Swedish prosecutors had no right to issue a warrant for his arrest because he has not yet been charged with any offences. At the extradition hearing, in London's Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, his lawyers are also challenging the move on human rights grounds. Mr Assange's legal team, led by Geoffrey Robertson QC, argues that if their client is forced to return to Sweden he could be extradited to the US, or even Guantanamo Bay, to face separate charges relating to the publication of secret documents by Wikileaks."
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Wikileaks' Assange Begins Extradition Battle

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  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:02PM (#35127436)

    or even Guantanamo Bay

    I think this line alone is a commentary on both the hyperbole used by his lawyers and the sad state of the US reputation in Europe.

  • Is it me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jerep (794296) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:04PM (#35127462)

    Is it me or this guy gets all the attention that should instead be devoted to the leaks' content? I bet most people following assange' ascention to stardom don't even read wikileaks.

  • Guantanamo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenrblan (1388237) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:07PM (#35127498)
    If the US were trying to extradite Assange to put him in Guantanamo, why would there be a need to wait on his appearance in Sweden. The UK is just as likely to allow that extradition as Sweden. His lawyers have come up with an excellent straw man.
  • Re:Is it me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by decipher_saint (72686) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:09PM (#35127524) Homepage

    It's the old song and dance

    "Hey look! A guy who started a website for SHARING SECRETS! Never mind the secrets over there..."

  • by aynoknman (1071612) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:09PM (#35127526)

    or even Guantanamo Bay

    I think this line alone is a commentary on both the hyperbole used by his lawyers and the sad state of the US reputation in Europe.

    Why do you think it is only in Europe that US reputation has suffered as a result of its actions over the past decade?

  • Re:Is it me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:15PM (#35127606)

    Which is the problem. They didn't have enough evidence to charge him when he was in the country, but then after he left they changed their mind. Considering that there originally wasn't enough evidence to justify having him in for questioning, I don't think that you can really assume that this is going to be a fair trial. At this point even if he is guilty, any guilty verdict is going to look politically motivated because the process has been so botched.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:16PM (#35127610) Homepage

    I think this line alone is a commentary on both the hyperbole used by his lawyers and the sad state of the US reputation in Europe.

    ORLY? When the Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] is saying that he should be tried under the Espionage Act ... I don't think Guantanamo is exactly a big huge stretch to imagine.

    Maybe that reputation is based on things like the CIA kidnapping people [msn.com] in foreign countries to be whisked away to "unofficial" places?

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:16PM (#35127612)

    He's a hypocrite because he's quite happy to throw out private government files into the public domain but when it comes to details about himself he'd rather keep quiet about its a different story. Google about his current spat with The Guardian newspaper.

    He's someone who's obviously not prepared to eat your his dogfood and frankly to me he comes over as a petulant childish authority baiter who'll potentially risk people lives just so he can feel better about himself by sticking it to the man.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:19PM (#35127654) Journal

    Wow. You really can't understand the difference between the secrets of a democratic government, and an individual citizen? How would releasing data about an individual help Wikileaks reach its stated goals?

  • Re:Eh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:25PM (#35127722) Journal

    That is not the only thing we are doing to him, but yes, being held in solitary for long enough is definitely considered torture as it can lead to lasting psychological damage.

  • Re:Is it me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:26PM (#35127750)

    The NY Times spent a few weeks going over the leaks' content, with the leaks as the front page story quite often. I suspect other respectable outlets did the same. The problem is more that most people get their news from cable TV, where real news always takes second billing to scandals, shootings, and abductions of pretty white girls.

    In fact, just to see how bad it was, I went over to CNN's website, where the title of this story is "Could Assange end up in Gitmo?" Typical of tabloid journalism, they take some outrageous and shocking headline, phrase it as a question (so that they can't be proven wrong), and rack up the page views. At least CNN gives the story a reasonably high booking. MSNBC is running with "Is Facebook the new Craigslist for hookers?" (there's that outrageous question again). And Fox's top story is "Did Google Exec Spark Egypt Revolt?" (yet another question, this time with an almost farcical suggestion).

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:34PM (#35127856)

    I want to know why Obama hasn't closed the damn place yet. One of the major reasons I voted democratic in the last presidential election was to put an end to this sort of thing.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:40PM (#35127940)

    Agreed. The obvious answer is that there is some massive resistance from within the government bureaucracy that is making it a difficult task. Or he learned something after taking office and getting "commander-in-chief" security clearance that changed his mind. I'm inclined to think that it's just the former.

  • by Framboise (521772) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:42PM (#35127962)

    The naive ex-president wanted to participate to a gala evening in Geneva, Switzerland, on Feb. 12th. Under the risk of being arrested for violation of international treaties about torture, his visit has been canceled today.

    The US media like to give as motive threats of protesters...

     

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:47PM (#35128022)

    Agreed. The obvious answer is that there is some massive resistance from within the government bureaucracy that is making it a difficult task. Or he learned something after taking office and getting "commander-in-chief" security clearance that changed his mind. I'm inclined to think that it's just the former.

    Option 3: He was always a devious snake and never intended to live up to his campaign promises, just like every other politician.

  • by eln (21727) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:53PM (#35128100) Homepage
    He made sort of a halfhearted attempt at it toward the beginning of his presidency, but dropped it after a huge public outcry about the possibility of moving any of the prisoners to facilities in the mainland US. It didn't help that very few Congresspeople wanted to openly support the idea of having terrorists (even suspected terrorists) housed in prisons in their districts.

    There was also a lot of fear about what would happen if some of these people were given fair trials and actually found innocent. It was felt even the possibility of such a thing was too politically dangerous to take chances with.

    It was one of the first of many examples of this president preferring to alienate his base in order to maintain the naive hope that he could bridge the political divide in this country.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:53PM (#35128114) Homepage

    Why do you think it is only in Europe that US reputation has suffered as a result of its actions over the past decade?

    For example, in Egypt, where the US-trained police force engaged in oppressive tactics against mostly peaceful demonstrators, attempting to disperse them with teargas canisters marked "Made in the USA". Or Yemen and Pakistan, where we're regularly blowing up apartment complexes with drone strikes in the hopes of getting the 1 bad guy we believe to be in there. For some strange reason, people get upset when they head home to spend some quality time with their family only to find dead bodies in a pile of rubble.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:59PM (#35128188)

    Nah. That's too cliche. I've known enough people personally who actually *step up and try to make things better* - and fail to make everything better - to know that it's damned hard to change everything. If you really think that it's possible to promise massive political change and then actually make every promise come true (and anyone who doesn't is a devious snake), you're a deluded fool. The best that anyone can do, even at the level of POTUS, is to nudge things one way or the other and hope that some of it takes.

    If you think you can do better, then by all means step up and give it a go.

  • by HBI (604924) <kparadineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:01PM (#35128218) Homepage Journal

    I dislike the guy but I think he just realized the domestic political realities that caused Bush to open the camp at Gitmo in the first place. NIMBY is one big issue. No one wants a trial near them, or incarcerations of known Muslim enemy combatants near them. It's not like a camp full of Germans in WWII, these guys haven't given up the desire to fight us. So you put it in Castro's backyard. Another issue is Federal court jurisdiction and pesky lawyers trying to interpose civilian authority over a fundamentally military matter. So you stick it in a purely military reservation overseas. It's about as good a solution as can be arrived at.

  • by mcvos (645701) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:12PM (#35128344)

    There was also a lot of fear about what would happen if some of these people were given fair trials and actually found innocent. It was felt even the possibility of such a thing was too politically dangerous to take chances with.

    They are being illegally imprisoned without trial because they might be found innocent? Justice in the US is truly dead.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:20PM (#35128448)

    My iPhone turned FML into XML. Anyone who doubts the iPhone's nerd cred can go to hell.

    Guess I'm going to hell, then, because I seriously doubt the iPhone's nerd cred.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:22PM (#35128468)

    What truth? He engaged in espionage against the United States - that isn't in dispute.

    That is very much in dispute. Publishing leaked information that is a protected government secret is legal according to the courts, ala the Pentagon Papers. Unless there is some evidence that he conspired to help get those secrets in the first place, then he's probably in the clear according to US law, but in any case that is a huge point that IS in dispute, at best.

  • Because (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:22PM (#35128470)

    I want to know why Obama hasn't closed the damn place yet.

    Because he's just George W. Bush with better speech-giving skills.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:33PM (#35128624) Journal

    You are absolutely wrong. We sent people to gitmo with no evidence but a neighbor saying "Yeah, that's the guy." Maybe they didn't like him, maybe he had the same last name as a terrorist. Absolutely, without a doubt, there are innocent men in gitmo.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Guant%C3%A1namo_Bay_detainees [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp [wikipedia.org]

  • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:37PM (#35128676) Homepage Journal

    NIMBY is only a small part of it.

    The remaining prisoners at Gitmo were put there through unlawful means. Under USA law, if they were to be brought to a fair trial the judge would have to let them walk. The evidence is that badly tainted by fucked up procedures that it would not be admissible.

    Bush and Cheney could have done a final solution to these problematic prisoners while they were in office; do it under the cover of the emergency provisions they granted themselves, or just do it under cover: move all the prisoners to a detention barge in Guantanamo Bay and then do like the battleship Maine... oh so sorry, what could have caused that bang? But Bush and Cheney lacked the political guts to finish what they had started, and now we have a mess that is impossible to clean up.

  • by morgauxo (974071) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:56PM (#35128910)
    First.... This was the case before he ever made the promises so it doesn't change the fact that it was all BS.

    Second... If we ever had a president that actually had balls he would address the people and say... I promised you A, you voted for me.. The ball currently lies with congresspeople B-Z, they told me to go to hell, now go tell them what you want.

    Of course anybody with that kind of balls would never make it that far in politics. What I don't get though is why don't they grow them once they become president? It's a dead end job anyway. Since when do former presidents go back into office in some other position? I guess I could see waiting until a second term but that is no guarantee to get re-elected. Wouldn't it be better to go down in a one term blaze of glory making huge waves then be just another 8 year pansy?
  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy&anasazisystems,com> on Monday February 07, 2011 @03:20PM (#35129150)

    What about the people kidnapped from places in Europe, that are not battlefields, or arrested in the US?

  • by Znork (31774) on Monday February 07, 2011 @05:03PM (#35130162)

    "I am guessing that the people in Gitmo are die-hard enemies of the US"

    Well, if they weren't when they were rendered, one can imagine that a decade of illegal imprisonment of even the most innocent man can probably make them a bit miffed.

    And even handing them a load of money as an apology might not be entirely optimal; some who might not find money of adequate value to replace ten years of life could end up donating the funds to terrorists...

    It's that age old problem. Once you start really screwing people over some of them can't seem to take a joke. So in trying to make the world 'safer', it ends up being both a worse and less safe world.

Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down. -- Collis P. Huntingdon, railroad tycoon

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