Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Yes, I am Still Fascinated

In the news the other day, the Attorney General Robert McClelland admitted that if Assange required help, Australia would provide consular help to him if he was arrested. That help might amount to little more than a meeting, a private letter that spells Fuck You, but it's still nice of them to admit that he is an Australian citizen. Now, if they could get around to the point where they admit that he hasn't broken any laws with releasing this material, grow a spine, and claim that it's good for transparency and democracy in general, I'd be happy. Of course, maybe the cables about UFOs will say, "Holy shit, I just saw a martian, and he was like, like, grey and had bug eyes and a ray gun and he had a Charlton Heston DVD set and Hilary Clinton's number."

Here's an interesting read called 'The 9 Weirdest Things About the Wikileaks Story':

2. Julian Assange Has Not Broken Any Laws ... Yet Our Government and Others Treat Him Like He Has

A Canadian advisor called for Assange's assassination, Joe Lieberman pressured Amazon to hypocritically tear down the cables, and officials and media repeat accusations that he is a terrorist despite the fact that the Wikileaks' actions have resulted in no physical harm to anyone -- unlike, say, certain governments. But amid all this, it is important to note that neither Julian Assange nor WikiLeaks have broken any laws, whether American or Australian, in releasing the leaked documents. And yet some lawmakers are so hysterical, such as GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch O'Connell, they are suggesting the US invent new laws, solely for the purpose of bringing Assange to trial. Meanwhile, the government continues to intimidate companies who host the cables, with no actual legal ground whatsoever. As Glenn Greenwald points out:

People often have a hard time believing that the terms "authoritarian" and "tyranny" apply to their own government, but that's because those who meekly stay in line and remain unthreatening are never targeted by such forces. The face of authoritarianism and tyranny reveals itself with how it responds to those who meaningfully dissent from and effectively challenge its authority: do they act within the law or solely through the use of unconstrained force?

The Swiss government has also frozen his legal defense fund, so even if someone does invent a way to nab him legally, his right to a fair trial is compromised.

And, on the topic of the rape charges, there's a bit more information. It's not cool stuff, but if true, hardly equals the international arrest warrant--but this link, at least, doesn't come with the ring wing feminist conspiracy angle, which I always found a bit disasteful.

6. Sex by 'Surprise'.

The charges against Assange in Sweden have now been characterized as “sex by surprise” -- and no one seems to know exactly what that even means.

Assange's London attorney, Mark Stephens, told AOL News today that Swedish prosecutors told him that Assange is wanted not for allegations of rape, as previously reported, but for something called "sex by surprise," which he said involves a fine of 5,000 kronor or about $715. "Whatever 'sex by surprise' is, it's only a offense in Sweden -- not in the U.K. or the U.S. or even Ibiza," Stephens said. "I feel as if I'm in a surreal Swedish movie being threatened by bizarre trolls. The prosecutor has not asked to see Julian, never asked to interview him, and he hasn't been charged with anything. He's been told he's wanted for questioning, but he doesn't know the nature of the allegations against him."

The charges have something to do with condoms, and their lack of use, or breakage, although it’s largely unclear exactly what. The women accusing him of rape, molestation and other charges have stood behind their accounts, but Assange believes the Swedish government's seemingly wishy-washy actions are part of a larger conspiracy to nab him for WikiLeaks. The New York Times:

According to accounts the women gave to the police and friends, they each had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual. One woman said that Mr. Assange had ignored her appeals to stop after a condom broke. The other woman said that she and Mr. Assange had begun a sexual encounter using a condom, but that Mr. Assange did not comply with her appeals to stop when it was no longer in use. Mr. Assange has denied any wrongdoing and has questioned the veracity of those accounts.

Yesterday, new warrants were issued for Assange and he is presently making arrangements to meet with Scotland Yard. The premise for the warrants has not been revealed.

None of the nine points is about the New York Times being the bitch of the American government, however. But perhaps that's not news, really.

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