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I was writing a long post but I deleted it. I don't know what to say, I don't like the guy, but I have an even stronger dislike for how international politics and intelligence services work.



Yeah, really interesting to see how there was some sort of slow-motion character assassination over the years. Put him under pressure, wait for him to lash out, portray him as a raging lunatic and generally bad person. He went from an unsympathetic yet credible figure to one that's hard to side with for virtually anyone.

It's weird that for the most part, all his "crazy talk" has pretty much held up so far. I hope he's wrong about the extradition that's supposed to follow now, but honestly I doubt it. This is gonna go down in history as one of the more random biographies, and a pretty damning one at that.


> He went from an unsympathetic yet credible figure to one that's hard to side with for virtually anyone.

The MO is shoot the messenger. As old as the hills.

We aren't discussing what Wikileaks leaked anymore. We are discussing Julian Assange's cats. See how they shifted our attention? That's the power of a propaganda - eventually, it will work. They just have to keep at it, and they did.

Nobody even disputed what was leaked. Officials confirmed the authenticity and so far, 0% is wrong of the leaks. Yet, we are still discussing how the condom slipped, the smell of the cat, and so on, and so on.

No consequences for anyone, almost. We should focus on whether the leaks are legitimate or fabricated and then deal with the perpetrator(s) in a court of law. We should not focus on the person that had the platform to leak them on.

It's so easy to see that this is orchestrated. This cannot be a coincidence. I can only imagine the kind of pressure Ecuador was under for the last few years. Finally, they conceded. Can't blame them - you can't go against military superiority of that kind.


> We aren't discussing what Wikileaks leaked anymore. We are discussing Julian Assange's cats. See how they shifted our attention? That's the power of a propaganda - eventually, it will work. They just have to keep at it, and they did.

This is only true, if at all, today, on this forum. The mainstream press has been talking about Hillary's emails (and how they were obtained, and other fallout) for literally years now.


This is absolutely true since the minute they release the Helicopter video (aka. Collateral Murder). You haven't been paying attention.

Can't you see that we delve into insane details (cats, condoms, urine, smells), yet ignore prosecution for major things uncovered? By the way, the only one prosecuted for that whole accident was Bradley Manning. Even though the video clearly shows civilians being killed unprovoked and people laughing about it.

I mean, come on. This is just desperate attempt to control the narrative. It's pure old fashioned propaganda. That's it.


OK. But even if that's true of Collateral Murder. But what about the leaks I mentioned?

And did you read the military legal review of the collateral murder incident? You're free, of course, to disbelieve what it concludes, but I'm not sure what more process you could reasonably have hoped for on that topic since the military is (unfortunately) in control of all the relevant evidence.

(By the way, it is also not great for your theory that I don't even know what cat, urine, or smells you're even talking about.)


Look at my comment history for a recent example of a thread talking endlessly about cats and assange being an alleged rude house guest. it's constantly misdirected on reddit too.


Anecdotal, but I hadn't heard mention of cats until today where apparently some cat he had was a mini-celebrity or something to that effect. I have read that he has danced on Ecuador's last nerve for a while, but that's essentially it on the character/personality profile items. Oh, and his friendship with Pamela Anderson.

Prior to that there was the talk of he would turn himself in if Manning were released and then balked when Obama let Manning out shortly before leaving office. The Podesta emails, the exploits that the NSA or some US intelligence group who had in their warchest (and the brief fallout when some of those were exploited right after before a patch was pushed), and things of that nature.

Personally, I like the idea of Assange/Wikileaks more than the execution of it. The current example, both really, carries too much pretentiousness for my liking (the article/interview shortly after the initial leaks where he talks about releasing a massive archive for public downloading that is protected by password and his handlers have said password that they'll release if he is murdered read like a story out of Hollywood). More generally, I guess in some way I just wish those that were responsible for bringing to light the failings of governments and those in power were themselves mostly infallible.

Granted, if the max charge he's susceptible to is 5 years in prison, I'd almost consider his "asylum" in the embassy as time served and save taxpayers' money. His time in the embassy for all intents and purposes has neutered him as a figure.


Maybe so. But if that is indeed the product of a propaganda campaign, it appears to have been pretty unsuccessful since I've seen virtually no discussion of any of this in a mainstream news source. And even on HN and Reddit those topics, while discussed, don't seem to dominate the conversation the way you suggest.


> I can only imagine the kind of pressure Ecuador was under for the last few years. Finally, they conceded. Can't blame them - you can't go against military superiority of that kind.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but my guess is Ecuador only used him as a pawn to get something. Somebody else linked in this thread that they recently received like a 4 billion IMF loan. My guess is they immediately began angling to improve their own country in some fashion as soon as he stepped foot through their embassy doors.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but that's my guess. I feel like through this whole thing, they walked through shit and always intended to come out smelling like roses.


I also feel the same way. He may have committed some heinous crimes outside of the actual hacking/leaking but to say we all didn't benefit from what we learned regarding how our government spies on us would just be flat out wrong..


> He may have committed some heinous crimes outside of the actual hacking/leaking

Pretty serious throwaway comment without stating what "heinous crimes" were apparently committed..


If they were heinous then a) they wouldn't have needed a sealed indictment, and b) the US couldn't possibly claim jurisdiction, surely the country he committed them in would have laws covering it. So we can dismiss the possibility.


I found the Swedish rape case fishy. Are there any facts (going both ways) to speak of at all?


Corroborating evidence: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/797188 - "Sweden’s Serial Negligence in Prosecuting Rape Further Highlights the Politics Behind Julian Assange’s Arrest"


[flagged]


I'd massively disagree with the statement "You don't need to know more than that.", and I'd love to see some sources to back this up.

Randomly spewing "facts" with no evidence to back up your claim can be quite damaging.


This was widely reported back when the case was hot. It’s not exactly news.

https://www.rawstory.com/2010/12/assange-rape-accuser-cia-ti...


Seriously?

Quote: "While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group.

Professor Michael Seltzer pointed out that the group is led by Carlos Alberto Montaner who is reportedly connected to the CIA."

That's like five degrees of Kevin Bacon...


I can't even find any sources confirming that Carlos Alberto Montaner leads Las Damas de Blanco, including in pro-Castro sites.


Five degrees? I count two.

Edit: That's three edges between her and the CIA, and frankly Ardin to Seltzer is one, making the count two. One to Seltzer, one to the CIA.

If "reportedly" doesn't cut it for you, then you must think the CIA is the world's most incompetent intelligence agency because they evidently have connections to nobody at all!


Ardin -> Organisation -> It's boss -> CIA. 4 (+ infinity for "reportedly connected").

I'm actually assuming he's "reportedly connected" because he's the boss of an organisation whose leader is "reportedly connected".


> While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group.

Sure, it's possible she was working for CIA. But the story is that she was volunteering with wikileaks. Based on her background, does that sound unreasonable?


it’s not exactly news because it’s “rawstory” propaganda.

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Raw_Story


[flagged]


The linked article on Counterpunch has also been deleted.


"Nation state wants to destroy reputation of someone they claim is doing massive damage to them. Intelligence agency sanctions some character assassination, efforts to frame him for a crime."

Comes up with "wake up sex without a condom for an otherwise consensual episode", and operative isn't overly motivated to pursue charges.

If this is the best the CIA can muster, I don't feel outrage so much as profound sadness at the waste of our resources (leaving aside, for the sake of example, related moral or ethical questions, and merely talking abilities and logistics).


[flagged]


That's not what I read. What I read is he removed the condom during it, and she did not know this.


A bit more involved than that. They or one of them had agreed to sex with the use of a condom, and realized at one point, possibly waking up, that he was not using a condom, which could be argued to be non-consensual.


What crimes did he commit? Honest question. I heard that someone accused him of being a rapist but then dropped the charges so I guess it was false. What else is there?


What you've heard is false. The investigation was dropped simply because there was no way to proceed with the investigation with him still hiding away in the embassy. The investigation will be reopened if he returns to Sweden before August 2020 when the statute of limitations expires for the minor rape allegation.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39973864


Since I was not very familiar with the Swedish case, I checked Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#Swedish_sexual_...

It seems that the allegations were dropped after initial questioning and he was told he was free to go, then a special prosecutor reopened the case and asked to question Assange, who by then was out of the country.

The statute of limitations for most of the allegations seems to have expired primarily because of the indecisiveness or otherwise mishandling of the case by the special prosecutor who reopened it in the first place, who maintained she couldn't interview Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy- which seems to have been incorrect.

From the wikipedia article:

In 2010, the prosecutor said Swedish law prevented her from questioning anyone by video link or in the London embassy. In March 2015, after public criticism from other Swedish law practitioners, she changed her mind and agreed to interrogate Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with interviews finally beginning on 14 November 2016.[167] These interviews involved police, Swedish prosecutors and Ecuadorian officials and were eventually published online.[168] By this time, the statute of limitations had expired on all three of the less serious allegations.


Sweden doesn't have trials in absentia? Judging by this document(https://rm.coe.int/168058f4b0), they do:

-------------------------------------------

Chapter 46 (proceedings in the district courts) Section 15 a If the matter can be satisfactorily investigated, the case may be adjudicated notwithstanding the fact that the defendant has appeared only by counsel or has failed to appear if:

1. there is no grounds to impose a criminal sanction other than fine, imprisonment for a maximum of three months, conditional sentence, or probation, or such sanctions jointly,

2. after service of the summons upon the defendant, he has fled or remains in hiding in such a manner that he cannot be brought to the main hearing, or

3. the defendant suffers from serious mental disturbance and his or her attendance as a result thereon is unnecessary.

Orders under the Penal Code, Chapter 34, Section 1, paragraph 1, clause 1, shall have the same standing as the sanctions stated in the first paragraph, clause 1.

However, this does not apply if, in connection with such an order, a conditional release from imprisonment shall be declared forfeited as to a term of imprisonment exceeding three months.

In the situations stated in first paragraph, clause 2, the case may be adjudicated even if the defendant has not been served the notice of the hearing.

Procedural issues may be decided even if the defendant has failed to appear in court. (SFS 2001:235)

-------------------------------------------

Looks like a perfect fit for Assange's case. Why didn't they try him this way?


This is correct according to the text of the law.

However, according to precedents the criteria “the matter can be satisfactorily investigated” is not easily satisfied in case of serious crime that is contested (see the court case RH 2011:4).


I believe there were never any criminal charges filed against him, he was only ever investigated.


Okay, let's look at a hypothetical - you say the investigation was dropped because they couldn't interview him. What is the practical difference to the investigators if they interview him and he says "I refuse to comment on anything"? There must be some way to move forward without cooperation from the accused - Assange isn't the first person to flee a country pending an investigation. Why didn't they do so?

Looking at Swedish law, they have a rough equivalent of Miranda - https://open.karnovgroup.se/processratt/fuk Section 12(google translate):

- Do not have to comment on the suspicion and not otherwise have to contribute to the investigation of their own debt


It is unfortunately common for rape cases to go unreported/unsolved because of the lack of physical evidence. I certainly don't blame investigators for trying to interview the acused, but without evidence or a confession there's nothing for them to do.


No, they chose not to interview him at the embassy or via weblink, because had they done so, the case would have been closed. They rather keep it open.


Accused criminals don't get to set the rules. There are many jurisdictions where criminal trials in absentia are not possible, legally. That's mostly to the benefit of the accused.


He was a suspect, not a criminal.


"suspect" and "accused criminal" are synonyms.


Technically yes, but in reality, no.

Consider “he whom rape charges were brought against” and “the accused rapist”.

Or how about this? “The accused child-murderer Assange”

Words, put certain ways by bad actors towards bad ends because they are inflammatory, are a thing.


>That's mostly to the benefit of the accused.

How? if they can get a conviction they should get the conviction. For eg, Vijay Mallya from india was convicted of a crime and india is now seeking his extradition. how does it make sense that you keep the case open?


Mostly it's due to the accused's right to confront the accusations and be heard. There is also a lot of ugly history of using trial in absentia to, for example, get rid of political enemies: quickly convene a trial and convict them while they are abroad, avoiding a long trial allowing them to make their case and forcing them into exile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_in_absentia

Note that Mallya has not been convicted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijay_Mallya#Accusations

He is charged with different crimes and therefore there is a warrant out, and a request for extradition: "When he failed to appear, the Supreme Court said the contempt case would only proceed further after he is produced before the court".

There are also multiple court verdicts in favour of banks and business partners, but those are all civil law, not criminal.


ok thanks for the correction


The police in Sweden and every other country would save so much money if they could just ask the suspected criminals to be interviewed over skype instead of having to fetch them and take them to a police station. Or why not ask the person to be interviewed where they want it to happen and the police can come to them, with the prosecutor.


We could also save so much money if the criminals would not need to go to prison for which we pay, but decide where they want to stay and inform the police.


That's what we do for billionaires like Martha Stewart and some millionaires. Anyway there is a huge difference between suspect, person of interest, and convict.


With we you surely mean the US, don't you? I only know about "Martha Stewart" from the famous "Don't talk to the police" video.


You are misrepresenting the article or may not understand the finer details here. One example: Ny says they "Sweden did not expect Ecuador's co-operation in formally notifying Mr Assange of the allegations against him", yet that makes it clear that Sweden has not attempted to formally notifying Mr Assange.


That's ridiculous reasoning, if there was evidence he could be convicted without ever being interviewed or being present.


They can’t convict without a trial, and they can’t get a trial until they have Assange in custody or if he agrees to a trial via an intermediary.


TIL: some European countries allow a trial in absentia, some don't.

Do you have a reference that they are not possible in Sweden?

I can't find anything either way.


Even if they're possible, the fact that they haven't chosen to do so doesn't mean they don't have evidence. What would the point be anyway? They have to get custody to actually enforce any possible sentence.


The charges were dropped by the accuser long before the Swedish authorities dropped their own investigation.


> [..] but then dropped the charges so I guess it was false.

There are many reasons for dropping charges besides "she obviously lied". One of the reason might be that nobody wants to get all this attention and ensuing insults and death threats.

In this specific case, there wasn't even much debate over facts, only law. She refused to have sex without a condom, then woke up to him having sex with her, without a condom.


That isn't "facts"! There was tons of evidence at the time that the women were lying, the charges were dropped because there was zero chance of any conviction given their behaviour. How quickly people forget!

Reasons the women were lying: the first had tweeted and texted about how happy she was to have slept with Assange. She later tried to destroy this evidence after deciding she'd been "raped", a decision that was triggered by meeting another woman he'd also slept with and getting mad she wasn't the one.

The reason Assange went to the embassy after the charges were resurrected is that it was obvious the case was a dud as it has already been dropped due to the hopeless case of the witnesses. So why did Sweden suddenly decide to try again? Assange was right to judge it as being politically motivated.


There has to be more than one accusation to prove guilt. Did police get any physical evidence?


Skipping bail; failing to surrender to the court after he was previously released on bail. The sexual assault case against him in Sweden has since been dropped, but the warrant for skipping bail is still active.


Though given his situation and the quite likely extradition to the US, who wouldn't have done the same? Technically something criminal but..


Why would he be extradited to the US instead of Sweden?


If he was extradited to Sweden, he would shortly be extradited from Sweden to the US.

The Swedish government always folds like a wet paper towel as soon as the US asks for anything.


It is not up to the Swedish government if he gets extradited, it is up to the courts.


And nobody should want governments to have a say in who gets extradited, even though it may be a popular idea in a few politically charged cases. Best to leave criminal justice systems as far from politics as possible.


Because the he has already been indicted in the US on secret charges, but presumably something Patriot Act related due to Wikileaks involvement with the Iraq war.

Remember, the US government views Wikileaks the same as ISIS.


If I were a betting man, I would probably say this is not true. He most certainly got indicted for interfering in 2016 election and hacking Clinton/DNC emails.

I don’t have a horse in this race. Just follow this as I think it is very entertaining.

Edit: It could be both!


Looks like I lost. He is being charged for the dissemination of classified material.


The Collateral Murder leaks that showed the United States guilty of war crimes.


I don't particularly classify that as a heinous crime.


It isn't heinous; it carries a maximum penalty of two years (which is actually one year, given automatic release) and normally much less than that.

The courts do, though, take a dim view of scofflaws. And especially those who successfully evade proceedings by doing so. And even more so those who put the authorities to trouble to bring them back to the court. So my guess is that there will be a trial on it, followed by a sentence in the upper end of that range.


In Assange's situation, I would have made the same gamble.

It's only logical to hedge a potentially decade-long sentence with a likely inescapable two year sentence.

When the charges are bogus and you know that they are being used to censor your work, which positively impacts the lives of millions of people, you may also consider it your civil duty to evade a wrongful arrest.

I'm incapable of providing a good reason why Assange should have just submitted to the bogus rape charges.

And the fact that sympathizing with him in this regard in an open forum has a high chance of impacting my civil freedoms at some point in the future just magnifies the impact of the work he was trying to achieve when all of this started.


So, in the initial phase, he gets to decide that charges against him are bogus, and that he doesn't need to submit?

I think this description is a little too martyring for my liking.

I'd love to know what civil freedoms of yours you believe are going to be impinged by virtue of this post.


> So, in the initial phase, he gets to decide that charges against him are bogus, and that he doesn't need to submit?

Are you supposed to let your accuser have 100% say in whether you are guilty, even if you believe the system is rigged against you and you are acting in good faith?

Such an attitude is subservient and enables totalitarian governments to operate under the guise of justice.

You have to understand that nothing gives any body of government legitimacy just because other governments recognize it. The only thing that gives your government power is your permission as a citizen. My country was founded on this sentiment.

When Martin Luther King said:[0] "I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law,"

he was not thinking of whistleblowers and the fact that their greatest impact on society comes from maintaining their sovereignty in spite of globally coordinated efforts to censor and imprison them.

Assange was operating in good faith that his life's work might end the moment he stepped foot back in Sweden. He chose not to recognize the authority of a State he was actively politically engaged with. Countries do this every day.

Just because he doesn't have an army behind him to legitimize his claim to sovereignty, doesn't mean he doesn't have the right to that claim and the right to achieve his sovereignty by any means that can be ethically justified.

To claim that he does not get the right to decide for himself, as all men do, whether to recognize what a particular group of people with guns and land command of him, is to claim that he is not human, because that is a natural human right.

I have personally been the victim of an illegal charge despite overwhelming evidence in my favor, and received the maximum possible fines and jail sentence. Going to jail made sense because I wanted to just get my life back on track after my government destroyed it, as soon as possible. But it was not the morally responsible thing to do. I didn't even commit the crime I was convicted for. The morally responsible thing to do would have been to not submit myself to the illegitimate city government which prosecuted me.

> I'd love to know what civil freedoms of yours you believe are going to be impinged by virtue of this post.

Any number of things.

My country asks for social media accounts when applying for a passport, sure it's optional now, but give it time.

Automation and machine analysis will ensure my Hacker News account factors into my Social Credit score.

If you get out from under your rock you would see similar things happening in many countries across the globe.

[0] https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham....


Or you could believe that your reputation is so important that you should defend your self responsibility for your crimes to preserve the credibility of your civil work.


Why would one believe such a silly thing? If I heard a doctor was accused (or even convicted) of shoplifting that wouldn't ruin the credibility of the lives they have saved. If Galileo was also a racist and a murderer that wouldn't reflect poorly on heliocentrism (although he probably wouldn't have a satellite navigation system named after him).

Even if Assange had violently raped and murdered multiple people (which would absolutely make him a terrible person) how would that affect the credibility of his civil work in any way? Does it make the truths that he helped expose any less true?


Judges and the justice system doesn't like it if you disrespect it. The worst thing you can do is question the legality of a judge to his face. It will end in "a sentence in the upper end of that range."


As someone who has gotten the maximum end of that upper range for the most bogus (and illegal) charge possible after trying to fight it in court instead of tucking my tail between my legs... Yes. You are correct. An overwhelming majority of judges take their jobs very personally and imagine themselves to be infallible embodiments of the law.


breaching bail is not actually a criminal offence

https://greenandblackcross.org/guides/should-i-ignore-police...


That article says, "Failure to surrender, ie. not turning up on the date given on your bail sheet (whether to a court or to return to a police station) is a crime."

What's not a crime is breaching the conditions of your bail, e.g. you can't go to political protests if you're released on bail.


People interested in bail in England and Wales might be interested in the CPS page, which sets out who can get bail and why, and what counts as surrendering for bail or not: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/bail

In particular, https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/bail#a19

This shows that breaching your bail conditions means you may be arrested and either re-bailed, or taken into custody.


That article is about police bail. Assange was bailed by the courts. The breach of court bail is an offence punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment.


I don't think OP is taking a position either way on whether Assange was guilty or not. It's that regardless of the outcome of the rape allegations against him in Sweden, we learned more about the shady goings on in our government due to the drops that were leaked to Wikileaks.


The charges were suspended under Swedish law, however they can be brought back, they haven't been outright dropped.


The state prosecutor accused him of being a rapist. The alleged victim didn't accuse him of anything and only went to the police in an attempt to contact him to tell him to be tested for STDs since the condom broke. The state prosecutor found a way to twist that into a rape charge under Sweden's laws, even though the purported victim disagreed. Those charges were later dropped.

The only "crime" he committed was refusing to cooperate and fleeing the country, since he saw this only as a pretext to get him in custody for US extradition, which objectively was the case (the US wasn't hiding its attempts to get him extradited).


He did not "flee" the country - he asked and was allowed to leave - the rape case was later reopened while he was in the UK and a European arrest warrant was issued by Sweden.

That was extremely strange and suspicious so he resisted the extradition first legally then by fleeing into the embassy. And in there he deteriorated greatly - spiraled into conspiracy and paranoia.


Are you claiming that the police report is false or the Guardian is mistaken?

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange...


The Guardian was mistaken, according to the alleged victim's own statements at the time.

> The alleged victim didn't accuse him of anything and only went to the police in an attempt to contact him to tell him to be tested for STDs since the condom broke.

Strange how her lawyer today told the press that the victim hopes that Sweden re-opens the rape case. Definitely no ill will towards Assange, only concern for his health.


It's nearly a decade later. Maybe she feels differently now?

It was dropped due to technicalities.


He skipped bail. That is a crime. He literally locked himself up for 7 years for something that in the UK would never have been as severe as 7 years of imprisonment.


At this point, his "crime" is simply evading arrest. It will be interesting to see what they charge him with to justify a seven year siege.


If you spent a decade hiding in the basement because you're afraid of the neighbour's cat...

...it's not the cat's fault, and the cat doesn't have to prove that it is a vicious killer one needs to hide from.


> It will be interesting to see what they charge him with to justify a seven year siege.

I think only Assange and Ecuador really had it in their power to alter the length of the "siege", I don't think the Met Police were going to simply say "whatevs" once he had skipped bail.


You think wrong. The police decides all the time to call off operations. There is a difference between dropping the charges (that one they probably wouldn't do) and stopping the 24/7 patrolling of the embassy.


They stopped the 24/7 patrols years ago.


Absolutely. So much for "heinous crimes", hey?


They will charge him with jumping bail. Someone contributor here says that carries max 2 years.


Fleeing the arrest for fake rape-allegations staged by the CIA.

I can’t see why anyone would do that if they valued their own personal security. /s


True, to me he's not exactly an attractor of sympathy. It's neither clear whether he is guilty regarding the - dropped (!) - sexual assault case or not, but mere speculation. On the other hand one must say he acted quite self-less by publishing information on how governments act in a criminal manner. Intelligence services in particular, if they should have any right to exist they must do so in the most ethical manner as there is zero way for the public to see what's going on - them, in an ideal world helping us protect against the most evil parts of society. But if they can't manage to be ethical, it's cynical that people like Assange get locked away.


The sexual assault case is not dropped. They said they will resume it today.




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