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Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder jailed over bail breach (bbc.com)
180 points by ssorc 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 166 comments



Craig Murray's reaction is worth reading [1]. I realize he does not respond to the bail breach directly, but rather to what precipitated this chain of events.

> If the Swedish allegations against Julian Assange were genuine and not simply a ruse to arrest him for extradition to the United States, where is the arrest warrant now from Sweden and what are the charges?

> Only the more minor allegation has passed the statute of limitations deadline. The major allegation, equivalent to rape, is still well within limits. Sweden has had seven years to complete the investigation and prepare the case. It is over two years since they interviewed Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. They have had years and years to collect all the evidence and prepare the charges.

> So where, Swedish prosecutors, are your charges? Where is your arrest warrant?

> Julian Assange has never been charged with anything in Sweden. He was merely “wanted for questioning”, a fact the MSM repeatedly failed to make clear. It is now undeniably plain that there was never the slightest intention of charging him with anything in Sweden. All those Blairite MPs who seek to dodge the glaring issue of freedom of the media to publish whistleblower material revealing government crimes, by hiding behind trumped-up sexual allegations, are left looking pretty stupid.

> [...]

[1] https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/04/so-where-is-...


This whole "if the accusation is real then why hasn't he been charged?" pseudo-fact relies on a rather stubborn misunderstanding of the difference between the Swedish legal system and the UK one. Assange can't be "charged" in the sense that the Anglosphere thinks of it until he is physically present for trail; that doesn't mean that the charges haven't been put to him or that Sweden isn't actively pursuing the investigation.

Much of the commentary around the legal aspects of Assange's case it misleading or outright false.

See:

1. (2012) https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/media/2012/09/legal-mytho...

2. (2019) https://twitter.com/davidallengreen/status/11165977611288453...


I think that's how it works in UK to, you get arrested first, then charged, if you flee then you're wanted "to face charges", ie the charges will be pressed once you're caught. Does any legal system have a full court case first, then apprehend only those proven guilty? Surely without essential witnesses that's not possible.


> that Sweden isn't actively pursuing the investigation.

Ecuador started arranging for him to leave the embassy at least five months ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/dec/06/ecuador-says-u...

Why didn't Sweden have an extradition request ready? They had at least five months to prepare one.


Because Ecuador warned the US they would be kicking him out of the embassy, but did not warn Sweden. I don't think that is in doubt at all.

The US does not need Sweden's involvement to extradite and try Assange. The rape charges are separate and irrelevant to the charges he faces in the US, and whether the UK would even grant his extradition to the US is not a sure thing.

These two cases are unrelated, and the only reason they have been conflated is a concerted effort on the part of Assange supporters to discredit the accusations of sexual misconduct by lumping them in with his WikiLeaks activities and make up a whole lot of guff about CIA plots rather than just accept that he should face the criminal justice procedure for some shitty personal behaviour on his part.


They are related because UK might not extradite him to the US, but they might to Sweden, who might extradite him to the US.


> Ecuador warned the US they would be kicking him out of the embassy, but did not warn Sweden

Ecuador hardly needed to notify Sweden. It was international news. The Guardian article from five months ago that I linked was just one of many. "No one in the Swedish government reads international news" is not a credible explanation.

I see two possible explanations:

1) Sweden doesn't place a high priority on prosecuting famous accused rapists who've escaped justice for years, or

2) Sweden doesn't consider Assange a famous accused rapist who's escaped justice for years.


I don't think either of your "possible explanations" are borne out by the evidence, but then there are a dozen other explanations that are both more plausible, and whose truth-potential is not dependent on whether they make sense to you personally.


If the tweets you link are to be believed, we don't have to guess. Apparently no one in the prosecutor's office reads the news.

I don't find that believable, but whatever.


I'm not sure why you place so much importance on this seemingly small detail that, as far as I can tell, doesn't really have a broader contextual impact. That being said, without knowing more about the situation, it's completely believable that the prosecutor's office would not initiate legal action based on rumours in the news, especially since there have been so many rumours and predictions around what the Ecuadorian embassy intends to do with Assange and when they intend to do it.

It really does look to me like you are grasping at straws, but maybe I've missed something.


Why would you assume I'm "grasping" for anything, or that I'm defending Assange? Questioning the official story is not equivalent to being a fan.

I just realize Assange is a high-value target for political and legal attacks (including false allegations), so I think people who unquestioningly believe what they hear about him from official sources are naive. Haven't we all seen enough to know that governments and the media don't always tell the truth?

And when Sweden cracked down on The Pirate Bay we saw that the Swedish government is not immune to pressure from Washington.

All I'm saying is: wait for conclusive proof before leaping to conclusions.


> Why didn't Sweden have an extradition request ready

From what I recall about the situation from past threads is that Sweden cannot send extradition requests in advance. Most criminal courts don't go out of their way to break the rules as that costs and they have to justify the budget.

Also why spend extra time and money on something when they could just wait until he was under British custody? Where is the urgency when normal procedures would suffice?

The Americans went out of their way because this is a political matter to them and their budget was approved.


Sweden _can_ send extradition requests; they're just for 'questioning', not 'arrest'. The bail he skipped out on was for a Swedish extradition request.


According to your [2], more than 2 weeks ago, Swedish lawyers started preparing their case to request his extradition. Have there been any updates?


No there's no updates.

These things normally takes quite some time.


As far as I've understood the EAW process is super fast, am I wrong?


> In the case of the allegation in Sweden that did fall through the statute of limitation, the accusation was that during the act of consensual sex Julian Assange deliberately split the condom with his fingers, without consent. ... But the split condom given to Swedish police as evidence had none of Assange’s DNA on it – a physical impossibility if he had worn it during sex. And the person making the accusation had previously been expelled from Cuba as working for the CIA.

Interesting, this is the first I heard about the DNA evidence, which is compelling. The prosecutor's dropping of this charge is reasonable given the lack of any DNA present on the sabotaged condom.

Also should mention that Craig Murray is a personal friend of Julian Assange, something his blog readers are well aware of. Murray is the one who testified he personally collected the DNC email leak from a disgruntled DNC employee in Washington DC and hand couriered it across the Atlantic where he handed it over to Assange. This leak origin account contradicts the Russian hacker narrative regarding the DNC email leak.


Regardless of the allegation's basis in fact (or lack thereof)...

Based on all the problems Assange has faced in the last 8 years, it's pretty much "mission accomplished, total victory".


This is not a quote from the article? It seems to be taken from Craig Murray's website. Murray is no expert on forensics. See for example his embarrassing analysis here: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/the-impossib...


Presumably the staff of the two separate forensics teams that found no DNA on the split condom were quoted in the 100 page police report are qualified.

They did find DNA in the other woman's condom, but that condom was not split and there was no claim by her of condom sabotage.


No, I mean, he's not qualified to interpret the findings. It's far from obvious that a negative DNA test result means "definitely didn't wear the condom". (And more broadly, such a test is only informative if you can be sure that no other condom was used, which you probably can't.)


Why are you quoting a sentence that's not in the article? Nice way to appropriate BBCs credibility to your conspiracy theory.


I'm guessing that droithomme meant to reply to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19796933, but posted a top-level comment by mistake. That is not uncommon.

With that in mind, I've moved 19797118 to be a child of 19796933. Even if the guess is wrong, it makes more sense in that context anyway.


To be fair, this seems like a dishonest account of the situation. My understanding is that being "charged" in Sweden normally happens later in the process than in the USA/UK, so the fact that he wasn't "charged" isn't meaningful.


To be fair, you've nitpicked one minor detail in the above quote. The subtantive point still hands. Why is Assange not now wanted for questioning in Sweden?


It's a substantial part of the Swedish legal system, not a 'minor detail'.


A minor detail in the original quote!, not a minor detail in life. Please don't take the comment out of context.


Please stop spreading misinformation. They have stated in a press release that they will look into this case again. It was 2 weeks ago and these things takes some time.


He is. Even by one of your own sources, Swedish prosecutors started preparing the extradition warrant a couple of weeks ago.


Not my sources, I merely replied. The gp was another commenter.


Hasn't the crime expired?


No it hasn't. There's so much misinformation in this area that it's funny.

The original case was closed since the prosecutor didn't expect a conviction because Assange was hiding under a rock.


>> Hasn't the crime expired?

> No it hasn't.

IIRC, a couple of the less serious crimes expired but the most serious one remains prosecutable.


I assume we are talking about rape if we are talking about "the" crime. This is the one the Swedish prosecutor is bringing up again. I'm not sure what other crimes he was suspected to commit.


> I'm not sure what other crimes he was suspected to commit.

The rape charge is the one that's still prosecutable, but he'd previously faced allegations of "sexual molestation" and "unlawful coercion."

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-11949341:

> August 2015 - Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations - one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion because they have run out of time to question him. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape

Edit: This article clarifies the meaning of the other Swedish allegations by quoting them in detail: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/julian-ass...


isn't he?


The answer to Murray's questions is in the article.

Prosecutors dropped the rape investigation in 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of allegations while he was staying in the embassy.

They are considering re-opening the investigation.


So was a warrant issued or not? In the US, at least, being "unable to formally notify [someone] of allegations" would not prevent a warrant from being issued.


A warrant was issued, but while he was in the embassy the Swedish government couldn't serve him with a notification of it.

Top prosecutor Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39973864

You are unlikely to come to sound conclusions if you reason on the basis of your knowledge of US law. Sweden is not the US.


This is not the US, so US legal customs are irrelevant.


[flagged]


Shouldn't you be the one citing the Swedish legal process...?


Opinions are allowed but that doesn't mean they aren't just opinions.


This isn't in the US.

There are many differences between the US and EU/UK.


Referring to "Blairite MPs" in this context is so laughable it undermines this person as a serious political commentator.


Craig Murray is a former British ambassador.


And current nutjob. Check out his tweets/blogs around the time of the attempted Skripal assassination.

His questioning here is clearly in bad faith. Assange successfully evaded justice on most of his charges in Sweden because they have a statute of limitations. It's not something to celebrate.

The situation with Assange is all public record. Obama DoJ didn't pursue extradition, Trump DoJ did.

Separately to this, Assange was suspected of sexual offences in Sweden, most of which have now expired. Connected to those charges, he committed an offence under the Bail Act in the UK for which he has now been convicted.

Anyone arguing that USA was intending to extradite Assange in 2010 is misinformed or arguing in bad faith. Only Sweden wanted to extradite him in 2010 because they had strong evidence he had committed a sexual offence in their jurisdiction.

---

Downvoters - did I get something wrong?


Murray is interesting - he's intelligent and well-informed, but he leans so heavily against the UK intelligence services that he's unable to spot situations where they're probably not the villain. Like the whole Skripal case.

He regards "bellingcat" as an enemy; they are the supposedly independent blogger producing OSINT that showed the Russian missile launcher used to shoot down MH-17. These days I'm suspicious of people defending the argument that this wasn't Russia.


Calling Murray a "nutjob" is not conducive to a well-informed discussion about touchy subjects. His last summary of the Skripal case is [1], and while certainly controversial, hardly a "nutjob".

He was removed from his ambassadorship to Uzbekistan because he protested against human rights violations in Uzbekistan. This may not be what an ambassador should do, but displays integrity.

[1] https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/03/pure-ten-poi...


It's a common term in UK politics—he's not coining.


>All those Blairite MPs who seek to dodge the glaring issue of freedom of the media to publish whistleblower material revealing government crimes, by hiding behind trumped-up sexual allegations, are left looking pretty stupid.

Considering how well its working, I'd say they're left looking pretty smart.


What a disgraceful episode for our governments, the media, and the public who seem to have fallen hook, line and sinker for a blatantly orchestrated smear campaign. I don’t understand what the hell goes through people’s minds when they see such blatantly trumped up and unprovable charges levied against a big-time persona non grata of the CIA/Pentagon and decide to take them at face value. No matter that the US sprung their secret extradition request the second he left asylum. No matter that of course Sweden has no genuine interest in pursuing the original ‘case’. No matter that the US will cynically prepare more charges to apply once he’s on their soil. Apparently these sorts of dirty tricks are absolutely fine. Every step of the way we’ll have useful idiots lecturing us on the technicalities of the Swedish legal code.


He provably skipped bail.

EDIT: And tbh I'm not sure how the original arrest warrant for rape could be considered by anyone to be a "technicality".


That is true, but he was hiding in an embassy for the best part of a decade. That isn't a scheme to avoid 50 months in jail.

The jail sentence for skipping bail is the reasonable part of the whole story. No question that it was about as bad a case of bail-skipping as could be imagined.

The issue is more one of why exactly is the justice system involving itself in his business. He didn't think he'd committed a crime in Sweden. His 'victims' didn't think he needed to be arrested. The police didn't think he needed to be arrested at the time either. The word 'rape' seems to be something of a mistranslation on this one.

I gather (from Wikipedia) that he maintained he had consensual sex [0], so it's going to be interesting, if he does get to Sweden before the US grabs him, what actual evidence is involved.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assange_v_Swedish_Prosecution_...


[flagged]


Please don't post unsubstantive comments here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


What is your point then? Sweden were pursuing their original case until he became a fugitive. If he hadn't run, he would (most likely) have been extradited to Sweden, not the US.


The case was ridiculous. The way they pursued it was ridiculous. The way Sweden pursued extradition was ridiculous. The only lens through which it makes any sense is when you realise it’s a ruse to limit or remove his freedom, because he crossed the US government.


Sweden followed all normal procedures for an extradition request within the EU. Both the UK high court and the appeals court ruled he should be extradited to answer for accusations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.

If he feared the US, why the heck did he flee from Sweden to the UK in the first place? The UK is notorious for its one sided extradition treaty with the US.


Yes what they did is totally 'normal' if you ignore the elephants in the room that Assange had a legitimate claim to asylum from US persecution (and that they refused to promise no extradition) and that the case was ridiculous in the first place. He stayed in Sweden for five weeks after the event and they let him leave after he failed to gain a work permit.

Here's some of the ridiculous things:

  * the women admit to sleeping with him consensually before and after the alleged offenses,
    also housing him in their homes and hanging out socially
  * the accusations were made after the alleged victims consulted with each other at the police station
  * the only actual formal accusation that one of the women is standing behind is that Assange tampered with a condom.
     How the heck is anyone supposed to investigate that?
  * the initial prosecutor looking at the case dismissed it, but it was mysteriously re-opened by another prosecutor
  * once he left the country they raised an Interpol alert for his arrest, as if he was a terrorist
  * for years they refused to question him at the embassy, even though it was an easy way to move the 'investigation' forward
  * now that they have a chance to prosecute him, of course they will not bother


Again, he was scared of the US so he fled to the UK. That makes sense to you?

He had sex with someone who is asleep. Some who is asleep cannot consent. You understand that this is rape, right? The women involved does still want to take him to court and the Swedish Prosecution Authority is currently reviewing the matter. The other allegations have passed the statue of limitation and cannot be prosecuted.

To be clear, the alleged offenses happened between 13 August 2010 and 18 August 2010. They were reported to the police on 20 August. Assange was interviewed on the 30th and had left Sweden by 27th September 2010, after an arrest warrant had been issued. They had tried to interview him before he left.

On the 26 November 2010, a European Arrest Warrant was issued after hearings in both Stockholm District Court and the Court of Appeal (in which Assange's lawyer was present). The arrest warrant was issued by the Swedish Prosecution Authority. Subsequently this warrant was certified by the UK's Serious and Organised Crime Agency. It was also upheld by a district judge on 24 February 2011 and by the High Court on 2 November 2011.

So it's been thoroughly reviewed by two legal systems that both agree there is a case to answer.


It is not established that he 'fled' to the UK, versus leaving with permission, and obviously if they really wanted to they could have stopped him leaving.

It's not clear what exactly the accusation is or what the injured party actually wants. But the odds are that this is a ruse.


His own lawyer admits[0] that Assange was informed that Swedish authority were seeking Assange for interrogation, although the lawyer apparently suffers from a certain amount of selective amnesia (as many lawyers do).

It's incredibly clear what the accusations are even if you don't speak Swedish as they're spelled out in the European Arrest Warrant[1]:

> On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep. was in a helpless state.

> It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange. who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used. still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party's sexual integrity.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/feb/08/julian-assange...

[1] http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html


That's what the Swedish authorities are saying but for all we know the alleged victim is not even standing behind these claims. Since the Swedish authorities just want to 'interview' Assange there is no downside for them to use some trumped up accusations/statements as a pretext to get that interview (and get him into custody). Assange's lawyer is on record saying that text messages contradict the allegations. I doubt he's staking the defense and his professional reputation on a lie.


> the women admit to sleeping with him consensually before and after the alleged offenses, also housing him in their homes and hanging out socially

It follows that using your logic, a husband cannot rape his wife, no matter the circumstances, which is not only sexist but incredibly stupid logic

>the accusations were made after the alleged victims consulted with each other at the police station

Why does that matter?

>the initial prosecutor looking at the case dismissed it, but it was mysteriously re-opened by another prosecutor

This happens all the time

>once he left the country they raised an Interpol alert for his arrest, as if he was a terrorist

Interpol is not just for terrorists

>for years they refused to question him at the embassy, even though it was an easy way to move the 'investigation' forward

That's not how Swedish law works, he does not deserve special treatment


> It follows that using your logic, a husband cannot rape his wife, no matter the circumstances, which is not only sexist but incredibly stupid logic

That does not follow, but it does mean that in a case of one persons word against another, the subsequent behaviour of the accuser can make their accusation less or more believable.

>>the accusations were made after the alleged victims consulted with each other at the police station >Why does that matter?

Because when two people independently accuse someone of a something, it lends credibility. But if the two people in fact colluded in stating the accusation, they are not independent, and are less credible.

> Interpol is not just for terrorists

Sweden currently has 17 Interpol “red notices” and all of them are for murder and/or organised crime. I do not see any cases along similar lines to Assange, suggesting that the Swedish authorities were giving this case special treatment.


Indeed, there was no mystery involved in the reopening of the case. After the preliminary investigation was initially dropped on 25 August 2010, a lawyer representing one of the alleged victims requested a review of the prosecutor's decision. On 1 September 2010 (a week later) it was decided that the investigation should be resumed.


It may interest you to know that this lawyer was a former government minister and then a named partner at Bodström & Borgström, the other partner being both the justice minister who once presided over the illegal rendition of two terrorist suspects from Sweden to Egypt where they were tortured for the CIA, and also a member of the organisation which invited Assange to Sweden for a talk (one of the women was also part of this org). So I’d say it’s at least a little mysterious.


> The case was ridiculous.

So ridiculous he chose to hide in a broom cupboard for yearss rather than go to court for a trial.


He was hiding from extradition to the US. It's incredible that this is not obvious to you.


Hiding... in the UK initially. He would have been safer from the US in almost any other country aside from the US itself.


I doubt it. Look at Gary Mckinnon. I would rather be in the UK than Sweden. But regardless, he was on Ecuadorian soil.


Sweden disallows extradition for political reasons. If, after fleeing to the UK, he'd agreed to be extradited back to Sweden then both the UK and Sweden would have to agree to any extradition request, which would have been a far better situation then the UK alone.

Instead he ran from the UK authorities too. So it seems that Assange didn't have your faith in the UK. Either that or he was fleeing Sweden and not the US.


Why would he be worried about standing trial in Sweden? There's no way the accusations can be proven. Explain to me how the prosecution would work? If Sweden has a remotely sane legal system the case would be thrown out of court.


Is there a timeline of when the public turned against him. One which compares it to the spread of information/propaganda about his involvement with helping Trump win the election? I wonder if that was a key event in people becoming willing to accept any other information/propaganda that casts Assange in a negative light.


He never had much support once the smear that “two women accused him of rape” was intentionally leaked and broadcast. Most people don’t dig into the details, and no one wants to defend “a sex offender.” And, since the British high-brow media are such a bunch of weasels, he didn’t have much chance of overcoming it.


It changed when people realised the truth that was being revealed was the wrong truth. People remembered that huge swathes of society are built on lies and deceit and they aren't prepared to do better.


Hubris and self-loathing: Julian weaponised these human emotions against the American people, and they despise him for it.


While I am saddened by this decision I hope he now is able to get proper medical care and fight the case against extradition. As long as he is not on London streets the US can't just snatch him up. [1] [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Omar_case


There may not be and extradition case. It doesn't seem like Sweden is still keen, and on balance, the US mightn't want him either at this point.

It's not a guaranteed conviction. The president has an embarrassing YouTube reel where he "loves WikiLeaks" 50 times. It'll drag the contents of contentious leaks back into the spotlight. It could be more convenient to let it go.


> The president has an embarrassing YouTube reel where he "loves WikiLeaks" 50 times. It'll drag the contents of contentious leaks back into the spotlight. It could be more convenient to let it go.

But America isn't a dictatorship so the decision isn't exactly up to him. There's a whole legal system operating under their own framework that the president doesn't have much control over.


He can always issue a pardon, which would end the entire thing.


Thanks; today I learned the US President can pardon a non-US-citizen. Your post made me go look it up. I would never have thought...


The President can pardon all crimes against the United States- the citizenship of the perpetrator doesn't come into it.


Only federal crimes though, so if a state picked up any charges against him the president can't do much about it.


US States can't request extradition though because they can't maintain diplomatic relations internationally.


>There may not be and extradition case.

You should probably let the Met know. They seem to think there is one.

>UPDATE: Julian Assange arrest.

>Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station. This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court later today (Thursday, 11 April).

http://news.met.police.uk/news/update-arrest-of-julian-assan...


It is an extradition case: the US have made an extradition request for conspiracy to hack (only). Assange is currently held for that as well as the Bail Act offence.


Has that request been made yet?


Yeah, Scotland Yard confirmed it about an hour after his rearrest.


The President can ask the DOJ to drop things, but they don't "have to" listen.


Has the US ever “snatched up” someone from the middle of London?


Not in London, but GP linked two examples (one in Macedonia and one in Italy). There are also many other examples of CIA-run extraordinary rendition[1].

However in these cases they were both done with co-operation from the local police (or military) and government as part of the US "war on terror" (abductions without local government approval have also happened in the past -- Mossad did this in the 1960s[2] -- but I don't recall a US example).

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann#Capture


Going to throw out there that they've done the same in Sweden as well.

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


Where is the cooperation here? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Omar_case I really fail to see it.


In the second sentence:

> The case was picked by the international media as one of the better-documented cases of extraordinary rendition carried out in a joint operation by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Italian Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [emphasis added]

A joint operation implies there was co-operation. I'm not saying the US has never conducted extraordinary rendition without local government involvement, just that the two examples aren't like that.


You are right then. I missed it because I was focusing on the way the Italian judiciary handled the case afterwards, which indicates the clandestine nature of the co-operation.


They've done it in countries to which they are way less "aligned" than the UK [0] and the UK has historically been the US's strongest partner on all things "national security/terrorism".

In that context, I wouldn't really be surprised if it's happened before, tho the blowback potential, if it should become public, would be massive so it will probably be kept under extremely tight wraps.

[0] https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/20-extraordina...


For whatever reason, the UK has been extremely against extraordinary rendition despite being aligned with the US.

It was a decent sized scandal that rendition flights had even just refueled in Diego Garcia (a UK territory).

These sorts of things can't be looked at in terms of broad 'alignment'.



Word, I didn't see that last year.

So yes, even just refueling is something the MSPs demand action over.

Not sure why that's worthy of "come on" like it invalidates my point.


>even just refueling is something the MSPs demand action over.

Yep, Members of the Scottish Parliament have been pissed off. Scottish police were blocked from doing anything however. Westminster unfortunately rides roughshod over both of them and has been a supporter of the rendition flights, as noted in the article from The Times.

>"The CIA has been accused of using Scottish airports to facilitate the transfer of terrorism suspects to overseas black sites for interrogation and torture.

>A report by Westminster’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) says that MI5 or MI6 was involved in at least 50 rendition operations."


Yes, it's contentious and causes a huge deal everytime it hits the media, but ultimately they allow refueling.

They don't allow extraordinary rendition starting from the UK.


We do grab people and then give them to the USA, help set up the bases, let our airports be used for the flights, our officers take part in interrogations and our soldiers guard the whole thing while blocking our own police from investigating it, but no, we don't generally practice extraordinary rendition starting from the UK and ending up in the USA, for one thing our diplomatic agreements and cooperation mean it isn't neccessary.


[redacted]


[flagged]


I'm trying to decide if this line of thinking is scary or wondrous.


Well, it seems he is now subject to re-programming at the hands of the military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex:

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2019/05/assange-and-beyond-pra...

.. sorry to say, my prediction came true.

“[Julian Assange] is presently under close observation in prison hospital because he has suffered ‘severe transient psychotic episodes.’ My source(s) indicate these episodes occurred after two sessions of coercive interrogation at the hands of UK and US officials. The source(s) stated the HUMINT interrogators used psychotropic drugs in the course of the sessions.”


We can be certain that after the failure of MKUltra, no freedom loving first world government ever engaged in such an experiment again. And even if they had, they surely would have informed us of the fruits of such research if any were found.


Well, no, but I feel like there's a huge jump between that, which clearly was a failure and "we can mind control people now and were going to do it on Assange". If the US were capable of such actions with ease, I feel like we'd see a lot less conflict in the world as political opponents were slowly stifled, and that doesn't seem the case.

Also, what benefit would that have? If the people who Assange truly speaks to are already claiming that he's going to be brainwashed, who does his brainwashing influence? Is there a large group of Wikileaks fence sitters who are arguing that "I'd believe him if he were just a little more mainstream"?


>If the US were capable of such actions with ease, I feel like we'd see a lot less conflict in the world as political opponents were slowly stifled, and that doesn't seem the case.

This is assuming the less conflict is the desired result. It seems that having conflict leads to greater voter support of taxes being spent to protect against that conflict and to adoption of more authoritarian policies.

There is also far more instances of conspiracy theories being true than just MKUltra, some of which serve to fill in the gap.

As for the why him... why would they have gotten a CIA agent tied up into the whole mess to begin with?


> There is also far more instances of conspiracy theories being true than just MKUltra, some of which serve to fill in the gap.

Yes, I particularly enjoy the ones about aliens - some conspiracy theories being true doesn't mean others are as well - each must be judged on it's own merits, and not as a group.

> As for the why him... why would they have gotten a CIA agent tied up into the whole mess to begin with?

Who are you referring to with the CIA agent? And let's be honest, he trades in classified documents - why wouldn't intelligence be involved with him?

I still don't understand what value brainwashing him would have - assuming he's not already compromised by some other power in this clandestine game of cat and mouse that apparently exists below the mainstream medias reckoning, why would we believe he is in fact one of the good guys?


It's no longer a theory once proven, surely we can extrapolate from conspiracies known to have occurred without reaching alien-tier


MK Ultra was not a failure. The lessons learned were, for example, well applied at the "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields" sites in Guantanamo to create double agents ..


I think its wondrous that anyone things its okay to ignore Guantanamo and the hundred other CIA black sites where this kind of activity is the norm. Its also scary.


If this is happening at G'mo, it sucks. I haven't heard of any unbelievable turns of faith out of there that brainwashing would cause.


I guess waterboarding is just more fun than the 6 step Manchurian candidate afternoon seminar?


Of course you wouldn't know - this is why these sites are operated clandestinely, and you - the American people - will never know what your government is doing in your name at these sites.

Just like the people of the UK don't know what is being done, in the name of their ruler, in sites such as Belmarsh.

Those who find this incredible, might want to look - for themselves - at Belmarsh's long history of being a used as a programming site. The idea of Assange becoming the subject of mind control procedures in Belmarsh is, unfortunately, not un-realistic. The UK and its master, the USA, has a long history of these kinds of activities in cases where it is politically expedient .. if this is unreal to you, I suggest you have a milquetoast view of the intelligence community. Read the Wikileaks.


So where does the real end and the incredible begin, in your opinion? If it appears on Wikileaks it's going to be the truth? Does it end at what's on Wikileaks? What's your requirements for proof to accept incredible, non-milquetoast claims?


The American people should work to de-classify the black sites, and close down Gitmo - only then will the incredible actions of America's ruling elite intelligence classes become fully understood.

Yes, read the Wikileaks. Investigate for yourself and move outside the comfortable safety bubble of mainstream mediathink, which makes such acts 'too incredible to be true'.

It starts with Wikileaks, but ends with effective use of political power by the American people to ensure these heinous acts are revealed to the world. That is, entirely, the point of Assange in the first place - that Americans are being swindled by their governments secrecy into being complicit in crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Or, is your standard "we have been told we are all the good guys, so - no matter what 'mah Russians' have to say about it - we are the good guys"?


I didn't get a great answer in regards to your requirements for burden of proof - you didn't expand upon the other evidence or your requirements for accepting these items. I understand and accept that there's a rift between mainstream reporting and what's actually happening, I'm sure we are all aware that not everything is above board, and their IS absolutely secret stuff happening, but if it appears on Wikileaks, do you treat it as the absolute truth, knowing that it is also has a completely opaque vetting process?

The exact same sort of obfuscation that you claim is being used to pull the wool over the mainstream could be being used on those who see the "truth", couldn't it? If the message was modified to appeal to your ideals, why is Wikileaks a source that's in any way more trustworthy than the mainstream?


Wikileaks is not the one torturing people, dropping bombs on innocent people, committing war crimes on a regular basis.

The people of America, are.

Wikileaks are also not the only ones reporting on all of these acts. Certainly, one must seek multiple sources.

Read the Wikileaks - START there.

But then follow up with Amnesty International, AirWars.org, and any one of a number of other non-state/non-corporate organs of Americas military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex.

>why is Wikileaks a source that's in any way more trustworthy than the mainstream?

"Mainstream" American media is owned by the military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex, who stand to profit greatly from media coverup of its crimes.

It doesn't take much work to discover that truth.

EDIT: Where has Wikileaks ever lied? It has only ever released the facts. Its up to you whether you like those facts, or not .. of course, that depends if you have the temerity to face up to the criminal behaviour that Wikileaks has exposed ..


I understand we have reason to distrust the mainstream monolith, but I don't see why I should trust Wikileaks. You're not providing evidence for, just arguments against. "Because it's not mainstream" gains it nothing. So is Infowars.


I've seen two arguments on why to trust Wikileaks.

Wikileaks itself likes to say nothing they have published has been disputed as being incorrect. Since 2006 they have never published a retraction/correction and Wikileaks claims that no one has proven a factual inaccuracy in any of the documents they published. I don't know of any factual inaccuracies myself, but if you know of any I would be interested to hear about it. I think most can agree that this is uncommon in most media (mainstream or otherwise).

Another weaker argument is the incredible lengths various governments have gone to suppress Wikileaks. The demonization of Wikileaks (especially in the media) is sometimes cited as a reason to trust its publications. The argument goes that because Wikileaks is attacked by such powerful and arguably corrupt institutions that Wikileaks must be a perceived threat to these institutions. On its face, this argument is much weaker than the previous one. Censorship of InfoWars makes the comparison you made seem quite apt in this regard. Another counterargument to this point is that apparent opposition can be purely theatrical similar to professional wrestling. Lenin's quote on controlled opposition is appropriate in this context.


"Another weaker argument is the incredible lengths various governments have gone to suppress Wikileaks."

This is an extremely weak argument. Various governments have gone through great lengths to suppress neo nazi propoanda but that's not because the neo nazis are actually speaking truth to power. Just because you are the underdog doesn't make you the hero.

More importantly, the argument begs the question: Who's to say that the US government is corrupt? Wikileaks is to say. How do we know that Wikileaks is telling the truth? Because the US government wants them gone. Why does the US government want Wikileaks gone? Because it is corrupt.

"Wikileaks itself likes to say nothing they have published has been disputed as being incorrect"

How would you fact-check Wikileaks? The majority of what they publish is leaked documents. The issue with those is not veracity but authenticity. Are all of the documents on Wikileaks authentic? Maybe but how would you know? You'd have to trace the source of the various leaks and Wikileaks doesn't usually share that.

"Since 2006 they have never published a retraction/correction and Wikileaks claims that no one has proven a factual inaccuracy in any of the documents they published."

This doesn't speak to their favor in my mind. Newspapers publish retractions not to cover for lies but to correct mistakes. Nearly everyone makes mistakes. If a newspaper doesn't publish any retractions ever, it's not because they have an amazing track record of journalistic excellence, but because they are unwilling to admit to their mistakes and makes them less trustworthy not more.

Wikileaks is not a newspaper and what they publish is not so much factual claims as simply leaked material as they receive it, so talking about factual claims in Wikileaks material doesn't really make much sense anyway.

"Wikileaks claims that no one has proven a factual inaccuracy in any of the documents they published."

What does this really mean? They published thousands of US diplomatic cables. Does Wikileaks really mean to claim that no US diplomat ever made a mistake or lied in any of those cables? I doubt it. Are they only talking about secret programs that they revealed? How could we verify that? This has the quality of forcing one to disprove a conspiracy theory. What's their standard of proof? Can you prove the Freemasons don't control the US government?


What has Wikileaks released that ended up being false?

EDIT: Just because you don't like what they have released, doesn't mean it is factually incorrect. It is factually correct, based on real evidence, that the United States of America has committed war crimes for which it has not prosecuted the perpetrators. It is factually correct that America has been involved in the destruction of sovereign states all over the globe.

It is factually correct that Clinton is duplicitous.

Just because you don't like these facts, doesn't mean that Wikileaks cannot be trusted.


You're telling me everything Wikileaks has ever produced has proven to be demonstrably true? Because I don't know how you'd prove many extraordinary claims false. It's hard to prove the negative.


Got an example of something that Wikileaks has released that ended up being 'false'? Because Wikileaks isn't in the business of releasing 'opinions' or 'speculation' - it releases data and material facts, for the general public to make its own conclusions.

Ask yourself this question: why is it so hard for you to consider that Wikileaks never lied to you? Who has convinced you that it is an organization that cannot be trusted?


I'm extraordinarily concerned if someone believes any source above reproach. Has every wikileaks leak been proven true, is it that there are a ton of unproven ones, and a handful of verified? What's the ratio?


I dunno, you tell me? The war crimes are true. The crimes against humanity are true. All of the evidence that has been presented by Wikileaks to demonstrate that the USA regularly assassinates innocent people: quite true.

You might not like the truth, but that doesn't excuse you from investigating it for yourself, especially when its in your name as an American that these crimes are being committed ..


Someone is stealing my identity then, I'm not American.


> Of course you wouldn't know - this is why these sites are operated clandestinely, and you - the American people - will never know what your government is doing in your name at these sites.

And yet, you seem to.


I don't have any particular emotionally charged programming against informing myself about and investigating America's crimes against humanity using multiple sources, since I don't live in the American hubris bubble. Of course, Americans may argue 'this just makes me prejudiced against America', to which I can only respond "my prejudice against America is based on direct familiarity with America's victims of its criminal wars - i.e. the armless orphan children in the local refugee camp" .. but most Americans wouldn't know anything about the victims of their wars. Too painful for them to know anything, at all, about it - especially when there are so many GoT episodes to complain about...


Senator Joe Manchin explaining Assange's arrest, and some interesting ideas on property;

>"I understand they, I understand they intervened on our behalf.

>So we're going to extradite him and we're going to get him back, it'll be really good to get him back on United States soil.

>He's our property. So we can get the facts and the truth from him."

https://twitter.com/NewDay/status/1116322371781058561/video/...


get him back?


Get him back [to the usa] - is implied


he was in the USA?


> Two other charges of molestation and unlawful coercion had to be dropped in 2015 because time had run out.

I expect better from the BBC. He was never charged with anything related to that investigation. There were no such charges to drop; this statement is factually inaccurate.


I suspect that the USA isn't keen to make him a martyr, and that key players recognize the minimal value in prosecuting him now. It will be interesting to see how they utilize this nearly year-long reprieve from Assange's political posturing.


I'm not sure many folks would think of him as a martyr. A lot of the previous good will about leaking important documents seems to have been washed away by Wikileak's crafting things to form their own narratives.


Having a bias and "crafting things to form their own narratives" are two very different things. Yes, Assange has an anti-HRC bias because of his beliefs (rightly or wrongly) of how she would act as president. Unfortunately, all reporting is biased. I would love it if WikiLeaks was a completely-unbiased news source but such a thing really doesn't exist. Publishing the Iraqi/Afghan war logs was an example of having an anti-war bias.

But all of the leaks were factual, no "crafting" to form a narrative involved. The DNC did undermine Bernie Sanders, she did say she had "private and public positions", and a whole host of other things. Just because they didn't publish what the RNC was doing doesn't make the leaks any less true or important.


It's not necessary for him to be a popular martyr for him to be an effective martyr.

There are many people who continue to hold him in high esteem, despite claims about his organization's ulterior motives.


Name one unbiased news source. We are in the age of information wars.


Crafting things to form their own narratives isn't bias, it is a choice.


Name one thing Wikileaks has posted that isn’t true, please, for citation on your claim.


Their own tweets about what they're going to release and their actual actions, their own characterization of the information, their choices not to release some information.

I also really don't think it is a difficult concept to understand that when choosing what to release and what you don't release you can greatly influence what is "true".

Let's say I was a military organization and I released some information that I killed 12 terrorists.... but I didn't say that I killed 200 civilians doing so. I could use your same argument "point out something I said that wasn't true"... but obviously I wasn't telling the whole story.


He'll be oput in 6 months if he isn't an idiot. https://www.gov.uk/types-of-prison-sentence/determinate-pris...


And since his cat won't be with him, he might even manage to do that.


It’s not civil disobedience without accepting the consequences of one’s actions.


Civil disobedience doesn’t necessarily require rolling over when a power you’re standing against assets itself. He can maintain his legal innocence and moral standing if he wants to.

I’m sure he is fully aware that his actions have put his life in danger, but I’m also sure he doesn’t believe he should accept this fact without fighting.


It literally requires that. It’s what the “civil” part of the term means. Otherwise it’s just disobedience. Go read Letter From An Alabama Jail.


It’s very debatable that that’s what the ‘civil’ means. Frankly, the term is ambiguous, and really that ambiguity seems to be intentional - it can mean many different things to many different people. I haven’t read Letter From An Alabama Jail, but a person’s civil disobedience doesn’t stop being civil disobedience because they don’t follow MLK’s formula.


> His continued residence at the embassy and bringing him to justice had cost taxpayers £16m, she [Judge Deborah Taylor] added.

Disgracefully dishonest in multiple ways. Not to mention, the police force's continued incompetence should have no bearing (maybe it didn't).


You haven't said what is dishonest? Did they do their sums wrong? Did it not cost £16m?


To imply he was responsible or even warranted such an expensive operation is ludicrous. Second, it's bad - but not unexpected - that the US' secret arrest warrant, which it turns out did exist, was not factored in.


Assange is not responsible for deliberately skipping bail?

I'm somewhat shocked by the idea that people should be allowed to get away with breaking the law just because it would be expensive to catch them. I don't think many British people would agree with that attitude.


I imagine a few people a year skip bail, and I think it's fair to say most of them don't have a 16 million police operation thrown at them.

People also seem to be happy to forget the UN has found he has been arbitrarily detained [0]. The judge could have factored that in, she did not, probably to save face in light of a ridiculous 16 million pound police operation and pandering to US relations.

[0] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?N...


>I imagine a few people a year skip bail, and I think it's fair to say most of them don't have a 16 million police operation thrown at them.

So? It's only to be expected that more money will be spent on enforcing the law when it's being flagrantly violated in the public eye.

I think in reality you object to any attempt to hold Assange to account for skipping bail, and you'd be no happier if only, say, £10,000 had been spent in attempting to do so. If you don't object to the law being enforced, I don't think you can really object that "too much" money is being spent. It's up to the relevant authorities to figure out when enough is enough, financially speaking.

The UN finding was daft, as Assange was not detained at all, and hence obviously not arbitrarily detained. If you look into that in more detail, you'll find a dissenting view by one member of the relevant panel - presumably the only person with his or her head screwed on:

> The finding in Assange’s case is a surprising one. As a dissent by the working group’s Ukrainian member, Vladimir Tochilovsky, points out, there is a thin basis upon which to argue that Assange is detained in the Ecuadorean embassy. “Mr. Assange fled the bail in June 2012 and since then stays at the premises of the embassy using them as a safe haven to evade arrest,” Tochilovsky wrote. “Indeed, fugitives are often self-confined within the places where they evade arrest and detention.”


> "I don't think you can really object that "too much" money is being spent."

If you are UK taxpayer, you can.

> "It's up to the relevant authorities to figure out when enough is enough, financially speaking." It is, but when they spend more than seems appropriate for the offense, then questions and doubts about the incentives pop up.


Skipping bail is a serious offense. The criminal justice system would collapse if people were routinely able to skip bail without consequences. This point is especially pertinent when the person who skips bail is in the public eye and everyone can see him getting away with it.

As a UK taxpayer myself, I'm happy to see the rule of law eventually prevail in this instance. It strikes me as stingy and short-sighted to value that outcome at less than a few million pounds.

> It is, but when they spend more than seems appropriate for the offense, then questions and doubts about the incentives pop up.

Not really. I'd use the Madeline McCann case as a comparison. Millions of pounds of public money were spent looking for one missing girl who was (sadly) quite unlikely to be alive. You can question whether that's money well spent. But it doesn't take a conspiracy theory to explain why large amounts of money sometimes get spent investigating cases that are extensively covered in the news.


if a country charges a man with sleeping with another man, one which carries a potential death sentence, and after bail he claims asylum in the west, would you consider his skipping bail a perversion of justice?


It's not a possible scenario, since there are at least two reasons why a European Arrest Warrant couldn't be issued in those circumstances.

(i) An EAW can only be issued for something that's a crime in the country that issues it.

(ii) European countries can't extradite people who would face the death penalty on conviction.


I will note that the "secret arrest warrant" (grand jury indictment) appears to have only existed for a little over a year; there is currently no evidence that one existed for the majority of Assange's residence in the embassy.


Yea, £16m for a lucrative posting for a bobby just to stand around.

The courts could have been forward thinking and left his bail-skipping as a misdemeanor.


[flagged]


Well that’s just a touch melodramatic.


[flagged]


Please don't post unsubstantive comments here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Reminder:

(the following in quote marks are direct quotes from the alleged victims.)

On 17 August, SW wrote "JA did not want to use a condom".

On 20 August, while at the police station, SW wrote that she "did not want to put any charges on Julian Assange" but that "the police were keen on getting their hands on him".

According to the statement she was "chocked (sic shocked) when they arrested him" because she "only wanted him to take [an STD test]".

On 21 August, SW wrote that she "did not want to accuse" Julian Assange "for anything" and that it was the "police who made up the charges (sic)"

On 23 August, SW wrote that it was the police, not herself, who started the whole thing.

On 26 August, AA wrote that they ought to sell their stories for money to a newspaper.

On 28 August, AA wrote that they had a contact on the biggest Swedish tabloid and SW wrote that their lawyer negotiated with the tabloid.

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-07/julian-assange-goe...



This gives the US a year.




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