Few people would disagree that Julian Assange is a deeply unpleasant human being.
Writer Andrew O’Hagen, employed by Assange to ghost-write his “autobiography”, spent months with him and has nothing nice to say about him, indeed very much to the contrary. So too many prominent folk who aligned themselves with him in his efforts to avoid extradition to America, all of whom came to regret it.
Britain finds itself in a difficult spot on Assange given its extradition agreement with America and has left it to the courts. But Assange is now at the end of the road, as one suspects is Dot Com here in New Zealand, in further appeal opportunities.
The Americans accuse Assange of conspiring with Bradley Manning, a soldier in Iraq at the time, to disclose classified documents.
Manning has since decided he is a woman despite the biological evidence to the contrary, and changed his name to Chelsea Elizabeth. Currently he trots about in a dress.
He was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, subsequently serving 7 years before his sentence was commuted by President Obama.
As it turned out the “classified information” was not specially significant but in various ways was embarrassing. The most publicised event disclosed US soldiers killing innocent civilians. I don’t wish to be glib about that but it’s a fact of life with warfare. It’s been a huge issue in Australia of late in a libel action by Australia’s most decorated soldier against various media outlets. The outcome is now with the judge.
Similar accusations have arisen in New Zealand in recent times with our own military. Sadly, as we read daily in the Ukrainian reports, as said, it’s a reality with warfare. That aside if anything, the documents publicised pointed up the utterly anachronistic nature of embassies as most of the material appeared to be US embassies’ reports about their host nations. Many caused offence such as the ambassador to Thailand writing that Thais have no artistic culture of dance, theatre, art etc; a ludicrously ignorant comment.
As for New Zealand, the ambassador reported on then National leader Don Brash’s love life, and so it went. By and large all utterly innocuous material.
Initially the Americans sought Assange on the grounds of publishing secret material but as every media outlet in the world also reproduced the Manning turd’s material, that change became farcical. So now the alleged crime is conspiring with Manning.
Here’s where I’m at a loss. Assange is an Australian and unless in America, is not subject to its laws. There are countless legal activities in different countries that are illegal in America but that doesn’t mean America can charge foreigners for such things.
For example, let us say I was a car buff (which I’m not) and wrote a letter to an American friend re his new Porsche. In it I urged him to get out on the open road and try it out at 200mph. He does so and gets nabbed and then the cops find my letter. Could they seek my extradition for conspiring to break their law? It’s ridiculous but no different in principle to the Assange situation.
The sole offender in this matter was Manning and there the matter should rest.
It’s all about controlling the press, not Assange personally. I’m just surprised it has not been a big issue in Australia, or had a politician try to make it an issue. I presume the Australian press is as beaten down as the NZ press is.
I or for that matters most others don’t know Assange from a bar of soap..
All this extradition is a reflection of is politicians sending out smoke signals to others to avoid the path Assange and dotcom have followed.
What we do know is politicians will do anything to maintain power, with the result self evident in the decay of New Zealand society…
We need a good clean of the politicians and the bureaucrats hiding behind them over most western democracies, before all our rights are taken away…
The cure for war is Peace. There is no cure for stupid people who consistently break the rules, conspire against the country that they live and work for. There will always be some that want to grow their profile, like Manning, Assange, and end up being a pain in the proverbial for those who have to enforce the law for the cries committed. In the old days, conspirators were killed, which they knew then was the cheapest way to quickly stop what they were doing. Why can’t we all just get on with each other, obey the laws, keep our word on secrecy documents that we sign? Human Nature – I wonder if there’s a cure for that? AI maybe …
Ah no. There are many governments around the world furious with Assange not because of a handful of embarrassing videos. (The US has long stopped caring about that, seeing it as a way of making sure “bad guys” know what’s in store for them.)
The anger at Assange is because he dumped tens of thousands of classified documents out on to Wikileaks without the slightest thought about what was in them. The papers identified quite a large number of US and UK “sources” who had been working inside dangerous countries as spies. Many of these people were helping stop the spread of nukes or chemical/biological weapons etc. Most of these people and their families were then rounded up or forced to flee for their lives.
No responsible Journalist (as Mr Assange claims to be) would ever do anything that irresponsible, but its exactly the kind of self aggrandising egotistical move that defines him.
As to jurisprudence-most countries allow for the extradition of foreign nationals under unusual circumstances. Mr Assange should have taken his chances on the first amendment rather than his cowardly self imprisonment.
Bradley Manning ought to have gone to Australia for refuge from the American authorities . And shortened his name , instead of his male appendage . One doubts very much that the Aussies with allow someone called Brad Man to be handed over to the FBI .