> “It was obvious that Mr. Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years,” the expert said. “Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.
> “The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” the expert said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.
This article by the UN expert is also well worth reading:
Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange - https://medium.com/@njmelzer/demasking-the-torture-of-julian...
> “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.“
That quote lacked information on who was exposing him and what that exposure actually was, so I followed your source. That source elaborates as follows:
> “In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.”
Apart from the last item, that all sounds either like hyberbole ("systematic judicial persecution" -- unless he is above the justice system, that's the system at work), or self-inflicted.
For context, I'm married to a person from a real developing country, as it's actually defined. I'm sending multiple family members to school there so they can get out.
Every single person in her family has done everything they can to get out. Every single person I know there has done everything they can to get out. Every single person they know has done everything they can to get out.
Getting out is the primary motivator for people in developing countries. Whining about the country being unfair is something that perhaps privileged children who know nothing about "developing countries" do -- other people get out.
The US is nothing like a developing country.
(assuming you can even find a place to take you - things are easier here for this crowd, tech skills are in-demand and usually open doors, but if you are highly skilled in working a register at K-Mart you're not going to find many countries open to you when you go to immigrate somewhere else.)
For a lot of people it's just easier to take the chance that you won't be one of the people who falls into the gears of justice. I won't even say "don't commit a crime" because (a) committing a crime is not even necessarily a requirement to end up in prison given how bad our judicial system is particularly surrounding plea deals/etc. Lots of innocent people end up in jail. And (b) virtually everyone regularly does things that are, by a strict enforcement of the US legal code, punishable by prison sentences. "3 felonies a day" is perhaps an exaggeration, but 3 felonies a month or a year is still a lot of potential legal exposure. The system relies heavily on prosecutorial discretion, which falls apart when you have prosecutors who are elected on the basis of high conviction rates instead of doing what is just.
To put it simply: 1% chance of being tortured, vs having to uproot your whole life. A lot of people will choose the 1% chance of being tortured.
If the US were really so bad, people would leave. The people who do leave typically leave for tax purposes opposite to your belief.
One of these times was on a late night Santa Cruz to SF drive, my friend and I got too tired to drive and slept on the beach near McNee Ranch state park, in the middle of being arrested, with five guns drawn, one officer said - this is verbatim 'That's a north face jacket, I don't think this guy is homeless. Are you Homeless?' and just like that I was restored to full white privileges and the arrest was off.
I don't think changing law enforcement is easy, I believe law enforcement reflects the power relationships of society - you won't change law enforcement with out changing the society in which it exists.
I love California, it broke my heart to leave, I'll never really know if I made the right decision, and I'm pretty sure if I didn't have four kids I'd be back there.
Either you are a slow learner, or you make a point to be a smartass with cops.
Do you think it's specific to American cops? Maybe try that with Algerian or Brazilian cops and see how things turn out for you.
This feels like conversation that could get personal and nasty quick. I don’t want that to happen, I get your point, if a problem is avoidable and you don’t avoid it, you’ve got to question why.
And do I really fail to submit out of democratic integrity or am I just stubborn? Honestly I don’t know.
Also I want to tell you about my friend, who when instructed to address Detroit police as ‘sir’ replied ‘I struggle to believe her majesty has granted you a knighthood’
He’s stubborn - he’s also ridiculously smart and charismatic, enough to talk his way out of a beatdown most of the time
I was asked if a bag of teriyaki beef jerky in its original packaging, the edge of which was sticking out of my pocket was drugs.
Eventually I was arrested for saying fuck off while walking away. I was charged, appealed eventually rejected because half of America does not actually have any rights at all unless you have thousands of dollars and if you need that money to buy medicine or pay rent you are fucked.
Then there is the time I was almost arrested by virtue of helping a black man move a couch from his own home because burglers always leave the electronics and jewelry and take the giant furniture.
I'd keep going but the other abuses are more personal.
Your perspective is based on being well off and white.
Since it is harder to _simply not be a criminal_ and prisons there are proven not to fulfill their role,
maybe OP simply wishes that this aspect of the country would improve. I don't think he/she was whining, or even saying that everything in the country terrible.
European misunderstanding and distortion of American society never fails to entertain.
"American Airlines overcharged you by $1 and you're complaining? WHY NOT JUST START AN AIRLINE YOURSELF?"
If only we were all god, your comment would be helpful.
It also happens that I don't have children or family members that need me to care for them, etc. It would get significantly harder if I had to deal with that (though I did move a cat internationally, which was not trivial).
The irony of course is that having the privilege for all that (cash reserves, highly employable skillset, etc) means that most of the problems in the US don't actually affect you as much as others. The people who are getting screwed the worst by the terrible systems in the US are in no position to extract themselves.
Can you explain this to me? It seems like an extreme way to live that would preclude anyone from living anywhere that's not perfect or using anything that's not perfect. (And nothing is perfect.)
Why not just address the criticisms individually, rather than arbitrarily bundling them into a person's decision on where to live and what to use?
See: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty
You: "Why don't you just move?"
This really sounds like saying "Cheer up!" to a person suffering from depression.
That's reality in a developing country.
The US is not in any way like a developing country. Comparing it to one is an act of such entitled privileged whining it's absurd.
> That's reality in a developing country.
> The US is not in any way like a developing country. Comparing it to one is an act of such entitled privileged whining it's absurd.
I think you just argued against your own point?
1) You're saying that people from developing countries are desperate to get out. (I have no issue with this claim.)
2) Then you say: the US is not like a developing country.
The post of yours that I responded to effectively says to US citizens "why don't you just move?".
I'll note that: Point 2 (as stated by you!) means that the entirety of point 1 is completely irrelevant if you want to argue against what I said.
Seriously, if you believe other threads on HN are so much better, why stay in this thread?
But apart from the holier than though putdowns, are the comparisons valid?
Because you’d make a much better comment chain with “the comparisons are invalid because XYZ” than “you’re entitled and whiny and I know people who suffer more”
The US is a big place. Not all of it is paradise. I've heard foreign exchange students from countries like Russia, placed in rural communities like Wyoming or Nebraska, describe the conditions back home as better than where they are placed in the US. I've read books describing the Chicago projects at the height of their badness and then visiting some of the poorest cities in Latin America and seeing parallels.
The US is rich, sure, but that wealth is very heavily concentrated along coastal and border states. Saying the US is "nothing" like a developing country would be a false statement as it doesn't take into account the sheer contrast of livelihoods that we have here.
I can't speak to living in the USA but I have lived in Milawe and Fiji, and honestly being poor is definitely bad but some of the stuff happening in the US is a whole other kind of dystopian terrifying.
Fly through a big Asian hub and you have none of that BS, modern clean efficient airports with working toilets that can actually flush and better food.
Not a hard decision.
It all may have changed, but until I hear otherwise (or that the TSA have decided to calm down) I'm happy with my choice.
Edit: As the other comment mentioned, this was also all just for a flight transfer.
In most of Europe, one scans their passport, has their photo taken, and may need to tell a border guard why they're visiting. It takes less than five minutes, even for the former Soviet Union country I visited earlier this year.
If one is traveling to the US from Dublin, there's a sort of franchise of the USA wing of the airport that's quarantined off from everything else, where one has to go through another slow baggage inspection/body scan, even though the Irish Airport staff have already conducted identical inspection/scanning on every passenger there. Then there's a ~1-hour line (looked about twice as long for non-citizens) to wait to be grilled by customs and immigration. Total overhead for me was ~3 hours once I got to the airport there.
When flying in to Seatac, the CBP staff (the first representatives of the US that one talks to, in order to discuss anything being brought along) are all super-muscular giants dressed in full body armour, for maximum intimidation.
As A US citizen, it's embarrassing that our country treats visitors this way. I wouldn't visit if I were from outside the country either, which is almost certainly one of the goals - discourage foreigners from visiting, and discourage citizens from seeing what it's like anywhere else.
So yes, you do think an airport is at least a good starting point for forming an opinion about a country.
Seriously that is crazy. Like the port authority is a good example of New York City. I don't even know how to respond to that.
No, you think that is crazy. That's your opinion, not a fact.
> Like the port authority is a good example of New York City.
I think you are missing the point.
> I don't even know how to respond to that.
I would like to go back some time, just not right now.
American is a combination of a first world country and a third world country under one government. Which one you are born into is a roll of the dice. People travel between the two, but one of them is not shrinking as fast as it should.
The fact that I can point at that doesn’t make me want to move to Sweden, it makes me want to work harder to take care of my neighbors and to change our political climate.
Right, because should an American decide that they like country X more, they can just move to country X, which is waiting for them with open arms.
Like, anyone could be Swedish, right?
Immigration is an easy-peasy thing; who can possibly find it difficult to get a job overseas, learn a language, leave family and friends behind, get an entire new social and support network, lose a ton of money and/or most of your possessions in an overseas move (re-purchasing is often cheaper, but costs a ton either way), jump through a thousand bureaucratic hoops, all with no guarantee of actually having long-term prospects in the country paper-wise.
That's, of course, assuming that no American has crippling debt that would effectively prevent them from going somewhere where people can comfortably live on a smaller salary (since their education and healthcare are free).
No sirree, not a problem at all. Love it or leave it, and when you do, don't come back, just get another citizenship somewhere. Somehow. Should be easy, right?
Also, nobody in their right mind would think to criticize some aspects of a country (healthcare, justice system, etc), while enjoying some others (opportunities as a software developer) that make it worth it to be here. Not even immigrants.
Tell you what, even in 90-s Ukraine, one wouldn't think much about calling an ambulance if someone was real sick. And I wasn't afraid of the cops there. They were corrupt, but predictable; worst case, you have to bribe them. Police shooting unarmed civilians was unheard of. I don't think I've even seen a gun before I moved to the US.
The US has some catching-up to do.
You're speaking from a position of such great privilege that you don't even have a frame of reference to accurately talk about a developing country. They're leaving because they would rather make 500 dollars a month working 20 hours a day at three jobs in Dubai than make 2-5 dollars a month working 20 hours a day at subsistence farming or worse, and they're often doing it so they can support those back home who don't have the skills to find sponsorship to work abroad.
They learn a skill that will let them leave, or they find an agency that is hiring people to work abroad. I know plenty of people who have left their country to find jobs elsewhere -- many of them in the US, many in Japan. Any good nurse from southeast Asia who wants a job can usually get sponsored to come to the US -- there are other professions as well, some in the US and some elsewhere.
And sure, the conditions you describe are unimaginable there. But there's more to the world than the Glorious USA and subsistence farming at $5/month.
You are setting the bar waaaaaay too low. There are many shades out there. There are plenty of countries where the opportunities are much more scarce than in the US, but which nevertheless got a lot of things right that the US got wrong.
And you can make your own "real developing country" definition, just don't expect others to know it. Probably for the best to just name the country you have in mind.
Perhaps you mean "least developed countries"? That's beside the point, however.
The point is, making up definitions and using the equivalent of "love it or leave it" when it comes to talking about the US won't get you far in terms of getting any point across.
And I didn't say "love it or leave it", I asked a question. People who hate where they are, complain about it incessantly, compare it to things they've never experienced in order to denigrate it absurdly, cons the fuck out of me with why they stay.
Cars are already made of recycled materials, especially steel and aluminum. But metals in old cars are melted down in foundries and reconstituted to the proper alloys before being used in new cars; they're just used-as is.
To go back to this analogy, that's basically like completely eliminating the government and creating an all-new one from a blank slate. I don't think you were thinking of doing anything that extreme.
And historically speaking, the only time this happens is usually after a major war when a country loses and becomes occupied by another power (Germany & Japan, WWII), or after a bloody revolution (Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, French Revolution in France). #1 is pretty much impossible here, and #2 is not something I want to be around to witness. The most likely outcome is something much more like #3: the fall of Rome, but on a much shorter timescale. That isn't something I want to witness either.
Some people might even consider that act patriotic or a duty of a citizen to do so.
The US respects the rights people have, and the US gives tremendous opportunity. Is it perfect? Of course not. Are there issues that need to be addressed? Of course there are.
But to compare the US to a developing country is simply profoundly ignorant and a display of such privilege that it shows one simply can't even fathom what a developing country actually is.
I've been there. I've been all over the US, I've volunteered in homeless shelters in the US, I've travelled extensively in southeast Asia. The homeless in the US would be considered extravagantly wealthy in many places in southeast Asia. Southwest Asia too, I've been deployed there more than once.
The US is not a developing country or anything near it. We're the premiere first world country, and we provide opportunity beyond the wildest dreams many people worldwide can ever imagine. That's why the people in real developing countries generally want to come here.
Many of the world's most dangerous countries and most brutal justice systems are in Latin America. The US looks bad from a northern European perspective, but it's far from the worst in the West.
I'm not a fan of the US prison system. But are you seriously claiming that the whole justice system is worse than Venezuela or Honduras?
So it says that it is the worst in the west (a term that usually does not include south/central america, even though they are west on a map), and that it is closer to a third world country than many in the west.
From my casual reading that seems pretty much on point.
The justice system does not just mean the prison system, it encompasses laws, police, courts, correctional facilities, some portions of mental health treatment.
If we are bringing up the freedoms enjoyed by citizens in different countries I'd also point out that how the constitution is interpreted seems pretty arbitrary over time depending on who is in the supreme court and what the political climate is. As an example I'm not even sure how solitary confinement can not be considered a "cruel and unusual punishment" under the eighth amendment. I don't get how NSA data collection is not a impacting the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" of Fourth Amendment. The second amendment seems pretty cut-and-dry in the text that any American should be allowed to have a rocket launcher and that background checks are illegal. I'd hate for that to come true, but if you are following the principle that the constitution supersedes all lower law then it seems logical.
Most western democracies seem to have similar freedoms and similar guarantees that the government will follow similarly given that they are also enshrined in law.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but when I hear americans talk about their freedoms they seem to talk in absolutes, but in practice it's no more free or secure than similar freedoms given by laws in many other western countries.
Amendment 1: Why is "In God We Trust" on our money?
Amendment 3: The only time it ever was litigated (in Engblom v. Carey) the government won because a bureaucrat cannot be faulted for not knowing such an obscure law.
Amendment 4: Have you seen what the NSA is doing? Also "unreasonable search and seizure" is, under the doctrine of civil forfeiture, perfectly permissible as long as it is your assets being sued and not you.
Amendment 6: Our out of control plea bargaining system makes a joke out of "fair trial".
Amendment 7: The point of a jury trial is that the jury can choose not to enforce a bad law. The legal system misinforms jurors about this to keep jury trial from being meaningful.
Amendment 8: The overuse of solitary confinement, recognized the world over as a form of torture, certainly qualifies as "cruel and unusual punishment". I don't see that the USA has kept the spirit of this one!
Amendment 10: I'm guessing that you are not familiar with the massive growth of power of the government due to the systemic misinterpretation of the Commerce Clause starting in the 1930s. But the ability of the federal government to regulate local workplaces was not intended by anyone.
It is easy to wave a phrase like "our Constitutionally protected rights" around and believe that things are OK. But if you actually pay attention, you'll find that that Constitution has been a lot less protection than most Americans believe it has.
(Which is worth a lot more to me than money without some pithy religious crap on it, which realistically impacts me not an iota.)
I lean in favor of the practice of jury nullification, but I can't see how you can make the argument that juries exist expressly to judge good vs bad laws.
Relative to religious oppression in numerous countries (Uighurs in China, current news, any apostasy (alternate religions, atheism) in several countries, religiously-linked laws again in numerous jurisdictions), a phrase on currency, whilst strictly clearly in conflict with the amendment, is fairly low stakes. The de facto religious tests for officeholders in much of the US would be a better example.
Amendment 3 is tested so infrequently largely on account that the practices it defends against simply are not practiced except by very remote, very rare parallels. (There was a more recent case in Nevada several years ago, though ultimately the principle wasn't tested.)
I'd disagree on the 10th / commerce clause in that the effects of commerce are highly externalised. There's little way to reconcile the conflict here.
I'd be more willing to go with your 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th examples, though even in the case of the 8th, what's now considered "cruel and unusual" differs widely from what was seen as such in the 1780s.
More generally, circumstances have changed (and judicial interpretation is so conservative) that many of the concerns of the late 18th century translate poorly to the early 21st.
I'd also argue that it's a distributed set of concerns, and capacity to act on account of those, which almost certainly matters more than words on paper (or velum), no matter how revered.
Stop preaching fake constitutionalism. You don't understand what you're talking about. Congress isn't establishing a federal religion by putting "In God We Trust" on money. This edgy internet atheism is getting old.
Let's be clear:
The judicial interpretation is that "In God We Trust" is acceptable only because it is meaningless, despite the fact that it was clearly meaningful to the people who decided to use it, and despite that fact that this supposedly meaningless motto is used in thousands of little ways to mistreat atheists across the country.
He was concerned it was sacrilegious, not that it violated the 1st Amendment. Learn reading comprehension.
We have three types of penal systems here in the United States: the actual court system, the unconstitutional-yet-protected-in-court 100-miles-from-the-border Constitution-exemption zone that contains two thirds of the US population (and a large portion of the country's non-citizens),[1-2] and the unconstitutional-yet-barred-from-being-contested-in-court intelligence agencies.[3-5] It's hard to claim that you're doing that much better when you're only so far from Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay, or one of the other hundreds of black sites. Worst is when these systems mix, but it happens more and more often now.
[1-2 I realized this is a weird claim, but it's true, and here are two of the outlets furthest from one another politically claiming it's true to give evidence that it is]
What do you expect, a pat on the back for not being as bad as those?
Prisons are meant as a way to take people's freedom away for some amount of time, not to sneak in extra corporeal punishment by making them as shitty as possible. What is happening in the US is definitely the latter, and what's worse, many people seem to cheer for it.
This suggests a terminology issue -- we have the same problem here in Australia.
If you assume the system is intended to mete out justice, little of it will make sense.
If you think of it as a legal system, and consider it's working precisely as its benefactors & maintainers want, the arrangement makes much more sense.
I am of course assuming that he wouldn't be extradited to the US, in which case not surrendering was the correct choice.
How can you make this assumption given that he was extradited for the exact reasons he mentioned?
Which was still bad enough to deserve a written condemnation from the UN.
The US simply ignores all these reports by various international oversight organisations such as the UN, or the ICC (there are strictly per definition no war criminals among US citizens isn't that great).
So yeah, ending up there, especially after you pissed them off, is something to be avoided at all costs.
Doesn't mean that someone is deserving of any and all treatment that is strictly "not as bad" (because that's a pretty friggin low bar).
Did you miss the part where Assange went through all this trouble to not go to Sweden because there was the POSSIBILITY of him being extradited to the US end ending up in that prison system?
Yes he could have also done nothing and run the very real risk of ultimately getting the worst treatment that you enact upon your brothers and sisters. But that is the whole thing he was trying to avoid.
If in the process of that, he was exposed to "severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture", which MAY or MAY NOT be worse than the US prison system (which is a pretty low bar to clear and pretty bad either way), then yeah he pretty certainly has a case to be made in the parts of the world where we pretend to treat human beings with dignity.
The entire point was to not end up in the clutches of the US, so if your point was "if you think that's bad, look at the US", then here's a big WELL DUH for you ...
IMHO you should all be ashamed. The very fact that even in a normal adult conversation, an American can gleefully make a remark about anal rape and how they wish it upon whatever criminal. Sexual violence in your prison system has become so normalized that it's gotten its own little disgusting euphemism in your language: "pick up the soap". Even in polite company, use that little phrase and it's suddenly a-okay to joke about rape.
It's very simple. If it's that normal, that expected, that people in prison become victims of sexual violence. Then that is what you're sentencing them to. Which is corporeal punishment. Which is barbaric.
So think about that next time someone jokes about someone going to "federal pound em in the ass prison", what they are in fact advocating is that they deserve corporeal punishment by anal rape. There's something to be said about the countries where they give you beatings or lashings, they do it publicly so at least it functions as a deterrent. You hide it and pretend it's a joke because lol buttrape.
So no, don't EVER bring up the American prison/jail system as some sort of "example" for how to treat criminals .. and maybe check yourself if you DON'T find it disturbing and inhumane.
...brothers and sisters
Before someone brings up "muh drugs" and only cites stats from federal prisons...
"In 2011, 55.6% of the 1,131,210 sentenced prisoners in state prisons were being held for violent crimes (this number excludes the 200,966 prisoners being held due to parole violations, of which 39.6% were re-incarcerated for a subsequent violent crime). Also in 2011, 3.7% of the state prison population consisted of prisoners whose highest conviction was for drug possession (again excluding those incarcerated for parole violations of which 6.0% were re-incarcerated for a subsequent act of drug possession)."
If you want a legal system that treats citizens fairly, you want one focused on rehabilitation. Locking someone up simply doesn't accomplish that goal. Dehumanising prisoners doesn't either.
What's more, crime is a proxy for socio-economic status, which given the greater inequality in the US, partly explains the disparity with other developed nations.
My understanding is that vengeance and suffering are not good teachers and once the vengeance is exacted and the suffering is complete, the criminal comes and and causes more suffering to the innocent.
If this is true, then by arguing for harsh treatment for criminals, you're arguing for a state of affairs in which more innocent suffer.
If causing the innocent to suffer is so bad, then maybe we should be making policy that reduces it.
It is a foreign power putting diplomatic pressure on the Swedish government to put pressure on a man who has embarrassed them.
It's not the only thing in the Assange case which is blatantly political persecution. You got to wonder how most of the press can keep pretending it's not.
The fact that Assange fled Sweden for the UK, skipped bail, and then concocted a Swedish conspiracy theory is a bit on the implausible side.
>He was never formally charged
My understanding is that the Swedish system does not allow formal charges in abstentia.
The Senate would have to have 67 votes in a majority republican controlled body to remove him. That simply will not happen -- even in the House, which is politically far more independent, the Democratic Party was not able to get a single Republican vote, and even had defectors from their own party just to authorize the proceedings at all.
You can't win an impeachment trial without broad bipartisan support, and there is exactly zero bipartisan support for this proceeding.
Nixon was a generally popular president and it took a long time for his support to start slipping. His famous line "People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got." wasn't nearly as in poor taste as it seems in hindsight.
You aren't paying attention very closely.
And calling systemic judicial prosecution "torture" is most certainly hyperbole. It's the job of the judicial system to prosecute people who break the law, and it's definitely better if they do so in a systemic rather than arbitrary way.
So while it's entirely possible that Assange shows symptoms of torture, the question remains who tortured him. For a long time, by his own choice, it was only the Ecuadorian embassy that had access to him.
Never mind that Assange was ridiculed for most of those ten years for claiming that US would seek his extradition.
His understanding of the world, including the assessment that Sweden is extremely servile to the US in security/foreign policy matters, has been vindicated again and again.
- Sweden dropped the charges after the US pressured them to
- The US has been seeking his extradition for years
- Sweden is extremely servile to the US in security/foreign policy
- He raped a girl in Sweden
He was just wanted for "inquiry" about the possible case. And some details of the case are here described, by the woman in whose apartment he slept, as organized by her:
"The statement records Miss A describing how Assange then released her arms and agreed to use a condom, but she told the police that at some stage Assange had "done something" with the condom that resulted in it becoming ripped, and ejaculated without withdrawing."
"When he was later interviewed by police in Stockholm, Assange agreed that he had had sex with Miss A but said he did not tear the condom, and that he was not aware that it had been torn. He told police that he had continued to sleep in Miss A's bed for the following week and she had never mentioned a torn condom."
Then, another miss "Miss W" some days later:
"However, during the night, they had both woken up and had sex at least once when "he agreed unwillingly to use a condom"." ... "Early the next morning, Miss W told police, she had gone to buy breakfast before getting back into bed and falling asleep beside Assange. She had awoken to find him having sex with her, she said, but when she asked whether he was wearing a condom he said no."
"In submissions to the Swedish courts, (Assange and his lawyers) have argued that Miss W took the initiative in contacting Assange, that on her own account she willingly engaged in sexual activity in a cinema and voluntarily took him to her flat where, she agrees, they had consensual sex. They say that she never indicated to Assange that she did not want to have sex with him. They also say that in a text message to a friend, she never suggested she had been raped and claimed only to have been "half asleep"."
Such nasty cases. The women "compared their impressions" (they were it seems friends) and then went to police, once he was away. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange...
The Assange case got uniquely handled in every single step. Even a court found that the prosecutor mishandled the case. Proportionally the case used more money than any other case, used stronger legal method than any other case, and did not follow the judicial rules that all cases should follow.
Journalists has asked the prosecutor if the case had a high likelihood to find Assange guilty even without any witnesses. The answer that was consistently given before the US extradition request was yes, the case looked good in the eye of the prosecutor, years in and years out. Now, all suddenly, the answer is no. Now all the sudden the prosecutor say it is hard to convict someone without witnesses.
The behavior demonstrated by the prosecutor is one of a politician system. It gave special attention. It swings with the political winds. Being the targeted of that is torture.
This is 1A 100% political persecution if you don't close both your eyes.
Not only hyperbole, but it's entirely self-imposed. He wasn't confined to the embassy, he chose to stay there rather than face trial. He chose "deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation" over defending himself against the accusations.
The US was once a great defender of liberty and democrac, but when you talk to its average citizen nowaday you start to get truely weimarian vibes.
That is how much anyone cared about defending the liberty of the alleged rape victim.
I agree that the US are overreaching.
The New York Times withheld the story about Bush' illegal wiretapping program for a year, helping Bush secure reelection in 2004. They did so on flimsy "national security" grounds. The only grudgingly published the story when the journalist who had uncovered it threatened to publish it on his own. Some American news media is far too cozy with government. If they support the persecution of one of the most important journalists of our time, they're a truly rotten bunch.
This whole situation was ridiculous and kafkaesque. Charge him or do not charge him, and if you do charge him then, any only then, demand extradition.
I'm pretty sure most people are not allowed to dictate terms to law enforcement as they conduct an investigation. Why should Assange be different?
It's not a stretch that he preferred ""deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation" over what the US would do to him.
Doesn't mean that's fair or just. Just that he chose something less inhumane than the US.
He stayed in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid arrest. His conditions are self-imposed.
He fled Sweden, which has stronger protections against extradition, for the UK which has weaker protections. Had he been extradited from the UK to Sweden, further extradition to the US would have been prohibited.
It happened. He was proven correct.
The people who disagreed were just wrong.
And I think it is OK to call the people who didn't believe this, to have been extremely misinformed.
In other words, the legal avenues that the moron could have availed himself of a decade ago are now open to him.
If anyone thinks that Assange was ever in danger of being extraordinarily renditioned to the US from Sweden then they need to consider that a decade ago he was high-profile enough for the Ecuadorians to stick their necks out for him.
It's something, but i'm not sure I agree with calling that torture.
Is his only current crime skipping bail on charges he believed were fake?
Clearly, facing deportation to the US is problematic for a number of reasons, mostly that it's impossible for even Snowden to get a fair trial there, let alone an Australian citizen.
It makes no sense if one believes that they were accused of fake charges based on political pressure and are to be judged on a rigged legal system.
It would be like if J.E.Hoover had his eyes on you, had his police build some BS charges, and made sure (whether by police planting evidence, fake testimonies, etc or by having his judge pals on the case too) you'll be convicted.
Would you take your chances to have the case judged?
Sure, because trumped up charges are symptomatic of a working justice system.
As to why Sweden, who knows why they thought that would be preferable. Maybe just to smear his reputation a bit, to soften the protest at the treatment they want to give him? Very successful if so.
But either way, you're talking about the people who forced down the Bolivian president's plane because they thought Snowden might be hiding in it. When they say "the law only matters when the outcome doesn't", this would be an example of a case where the outcome (stop Wikileaks) mattered.
It is great that people are speaking up about the conditions under which people are punished and the no-win games that put them there. I only wish people could do so when it isn't some high-profile person.
No, he's already served the time for that. He's held strictly for extradition by now.
That's not torture.
Solitary confinement is often used during war. That Assange is incarcerated in a civilian prison doesn't necessarily diminish or change the effectiveness and impact.
In 2016 another group of UN experts found his situation to be "arbitrary detention":
> In its official Opinion, the Working Group considered that Mr. Assange had been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth Prison in London, followed by house arrest and then confinement at the Ecuadorean Embassy.
> The experts also found that the detention was arbitrary because Mr. Assange was held in isolation at Wandsworth Prison, and because a lack of diligence by the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office in its investigations resulted in his lengthy loss of liberty.
> The Working Group established that this detention violates Articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and Articles 7, 9(1), 9(3), 9(4), 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN expert panel finds
> The Opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are legally-binding to the extent that they are based on binding international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The WGAD has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.
> The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by States in the procedure, the adversarial nature of is findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council. The Opinions of the WGAD are also considered as authoritative by prominent international and regional judicial institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights.
Journalist John Pilger also made the point that Britain and Sweden participated in and have previously supported this UN group:
> The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - the tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations - last year ruled that Assange had been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden. This is international law at its apex.
> Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. In previous cases ruled upon by the Working Group - Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran - both Britain and Sweden gave full support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange's persecution endures in the heart of London.
You write "Should we really accept a case that's made because of the authority making the argument rather than the argument itself?"
What makes you think that Britain and Sweden's refusal to accept the outcome has anything to do with the evidence presented? The UN group found against Britain and Sweden, and they didn't like that outcome. Isn't that a likely explanation?
Here I thought legal factfinding was the purview of a courtroom, rather than the court of public opinion.
But if you run from the law, why should Assange or a human rights expert expect to be handled like in a 5 star hotel?
Truth isn't a universally objective concept outside of math.
Why are you being so rude?
The free country responsible for the Guantanamo secret prison? We are talking about the same one?
I still consider the US, Sweeden, and the UK "free countries".
As far as "free countries" go, it's really the worst to end up.
Did you seriously forget all the UN reports about human rights issues in the US? Yeah the US ignores them, but the rest of the world knows it. It's really pretty bad.
Yeah, it's funny how HN typically goes evidence-free where pet politics is concerned.
I'll eat my hat if someone on here can name a single precedent of someone being tortured in the U.S. before being tried for a crime similar to what Assange would be accused of.
Edit: and citations, please!
That's oddly specific, but still be careful what you're asking for. "Police torture suspect" gives a lot of results, for example: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Burge
There's a good chance some of those 200 cases were rape cases.
Then there is also the torture of terrorism suspects, if you wish to take that angle since Assange has repeatedly been labeled a terrorist.
Here's two more Wikipedia articles that may be interesting to you:
Especially interesting may be the "Domestic Torture in Modern Times" section if you wish to focus on what happened domestically.
Always worth a read.
What measure of proof do you require?
- "the field of the sheep" - the field only contains sheep
- "the wool of the sheep" - the wool only belongs to the sheep, not the cows, pigs, goats etc.
In the same way, America belongs to some very free people, and the rest are conned into touting that from under whatever thumb they happen to be.
Freedom is freedom for minority rights and opinions to not be quashed by the majority. Thus the term "the tyranny of the majority"
A majority can "not care" about systematic racial injustice and other inequities. The consent of the majority doesn't make the system "free".
The alternatives have proven to involve a great deal less freedom.
Have you ever stopped to think that there is no such thing as free?