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Wikileaks' Assange Begins Extradition Battle 479

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 Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:15PM (#35127598)

    Although I'm sadly perfectly prepared to believe that the two people in Sweden may have been 'encouraged' to make their claims, I'm not sure that Swedish extradition conditions are more defavourable to Assange than those of the UK. Remember this? []

    Assange does seem to have a point; if he is not (yet) subject to formal charges, why should he be forced to return to Sweden for questioning?

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:17PM (#35127636)

    Hypocrite? If you're going to make that sort of insinuation you had better provide some sort of a citation. Assange is hardly a saint, but you really can't say that he hasn't towed the line and paid for his beliefs. He offered to come in for questioning while he was in Sweden and asked permission before he left. He's releasing leaks as he has the resources to, and those resources are harder and harder to get due to various dubious actions by money processors.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:21PM (#35127672) Homepage

    Umm , I hate to point this out to you , but the UK has been a member of NATO for decades and the UK didn't extradite him to the US.

    But why let the facts get in the way of some cliched left wing rant eh?

  • Re:Eh (Score:2, Informative)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:32PM (#35127828) Journal

    We do not keep anyone in the general prison population in solitary for as long as we have Manning. []

  • Re:Is it me (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:36PM (#35127888)

    Is it me or this guy gets all the attention that should instead be devoted to the leaks' content?

    It's just the US.

    Seriously, go read a major European paper. Bonus points if you read a language other than English. In Europe they are giving a lot more coverage to the leaks than you will find in the comparatively uber-conservative, pro-establishment New York Times.

  • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:47PM (#35128026)

    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.

    Because Obama is not the dictator of the United States but must faithfully execute[1] the laws passed by the Congress when they are within the power of Congress to regulate. As it happens, Congress has the explicit power to determine what happens to captures[2] during a time of war. So blaming Obama here is somewhat ridiculous as he is simply not in an office charged with

    So far, Congress has forbidden the Executive from moving detainees from Guantanamo[3,4] by huge supermajority votes (90-6 in the Senate, for instance). The actual statutory language[5] is quite clear (quoted below). So if you want Obama to close Gitmo then you are essentially asking him to ask in open defiance of the law.


    None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act for fiscal year 2011 may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee who--
    (1) is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and
    (2) is or was held on or after January 20, 2009, at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense.

    [1] Article II, Section 1.
    [2] Article I, Section 8.
    [3] []
    [4] []
    [5] []::

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @01:52PM (#35128096)

    We can't extradite him because... then he might be extradited. Doesn't that indicate that the proper place for this argument would be any future extradition hearing in Sweden?

    No. One of the considerations of an extradition hearing is the human rights protected by the country to which he would be extradited. Many countries, for example, have the right to life enshrined in the legal system and so refuse to extradite anyone to a country where they might be executed (like the US) if the crime they are to be tried for could result in execution. They certainly don't leave it up to the courts in the other country to decide if that person is deserving of execution. Likewise, countries with a poor record of following their own laws or properly investigating may not be places where a country is willing to extradite people. Elements of the Swedish government have recently been discovered to have been illegally collaborating with US intelligence, thus bringing into doubt whether or not Mr. Assange's human rights would be adequately protected by the Swedish government.

    It is absolutely important for a government to look at the protections for human rights and state of the legal system in another country before deporting a person there. I mean would you like to be deported to a country to face possibly spurious charges when that country has a history of collaborating with other nations that make people magically and illegally vanish to secret prisons to be tortured? If it was your extradition trial wouldn't you want the government of the nation you're in to look at the potential of your human rights being thrown out the window by the legal processes of the other country?

  • by johanatan ( 1159309 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:01PM (#35128216)
    Those 'ideals' you speak of do not apply to 'enemy combatants'. Why is it so hard for some people to understand the nature of war?
  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:16PM (#35128398) Journal

    It wasn't that simple even in 2001. Yeah, they picked up a lot of timewasters, but few of those even made the trip to Gitmo. I'd venture to say that everyone there either waved a Kalashnikov or was involved in planning something involving said waving.

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:27PM (#35128552) Journal

    Please characterize the difference between a rat line run by a foreign intelligence agency, and how Wikileaks acquired their data.

    Yeah, no difference.

  • by Hope Thelps ( 322083 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:45PM (#35128774)

    No one is calling Assange a terrorist or a combatant of any form

    No one? I thought a number of people had, including the US vice president. []

    And didn't Sarah Palin say "He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?" []

    Okay, she doesn't represent the US government like Biden does but she's still "someone" and has a definite following amongst the US populace.

  • by markass530 ( 870112 ) <> on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:52PM (#35128872) Homepage
    well, what he did was akin to espionage, if he broke the law, then he should be tried. and the correlation to CIA allegedly kidnapping people, way off.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Monday February 07, 2011 @02:56PM (#35128916) Journal

    Uh, what do you think a rat-line is? Rat-lines were underground railroad type escape routes for Nazis. I fail to see how the concept applies to wikileaks.

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @03:09PM (#35129044) Homepage

    Under the Geneva conventions enforced strictly, they should have been shot on the spot as non-uniformed combatants. POW status is only available to uniformed combatants. If you are trying to blend into the enemy civilian population you get shot, period.

    So the US didn't do that. Instead, we treated them as some kind of cross between a combatant and a criminal with neither status being correct or even really definable. So you can't prosecute them as criminals because they haven't really broken criminal laws. Certainly they haven't broken any laws in the places where they were captured. You might be able to make up some kind of justification for them being criminals because of "conspiracy" but it has pretty well been established so far that even that kind of a stretch isn't going to work.

    Treating them as a POW isn't going to work. The war isn't with Yemen or Afganistan or Islam. The war is with extremists that have linked a particularly vile form of Islam with the idea that they can reestablish the 12th century by fiat, explosives and death. There will never be a "winner" until they win because you can't really defeat a religion without wiping out all the adherents. If you can afford to take the really long view they are winning and are going to win in the end. It might take 200 years but they will eventually just out-populate the infidels. It is the way religions in the past have won wars and it works. Takes a really long time and uses up a lot of landscape and lives but it works.

    Turning these folks over to some state, somewhere hasn't proved to work - nobody really wants them. For most of them, their own country (Yemen) has denied them repatriation. So there is no "sending them home". They can either be kept in a secure location or they can be turned loose, probably only in the US considering nobody else seems to want them. Repeatedly, various groups in the US (like the US Congress) has said they are not wanted in the US under any circumstances, even confined to prisons.

    If there were any eligible islands, you might dump them there - but there are no truely remote islands anymore. You could give each one a handgun and put them down in Harlem and see how long they lasted. Probably not long, if there was any prior notice. I'm not sure there are any other options for these folks at all.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @04:51PM (#35130038) Homepage

    It's an op-ed by senator Dianne Feinstein in the Wall Street Journal. Please let's keep things intellectually honest.

    OK, how about the State Department [], or 'diplomatic sources' [], or Homeland Security []?

    If we want to be intellectually honest, let's remember that the op-ed piece I cited was basically one of the highest results from Google, and that numerous sources have identified that the US could, in fact, be pondering trying him under the Espionage Act or somesuch. It's not like I pulled the notion out of my ass.

    There's no shortage of sources saying they'd like to be able to do that. It was all over the news in December when the news first broke.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken