5 December 2011

Julian Assange: he's not the messiah, he's just my boy


Kellie Tranter

Humanity's historical record may be long but there is no doubt that Julian Assange and his small team have already changed the world. Throughout history courageous people who have taken risks to challenge power and the injustices of its abuse have suffered terrible personal consequences, for there is nothing more terrifying for the power elite than an educated, questioning and unified populace.

Tonight Australian time Julian Assange will ask the English High Court for leave to appeal two points of law to the Supreme Court. The judges who dismissed his appeal to the High Court will decide whether or not to certify these points, which must be of public importance and go beyond the specific facts of his case. If he fails he will be extradited to Sweden within 10 days and incarcerated.

Tonight a mother faces the prospect of her son being extradited to a country that has authorised Interpol to make a public Red Notice for her son – its highest alert – in the first and only case of its kind, a country that has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for rendering people to the CIA in breach of international law, and that doesn't have bail; of her son being held in Gothenburg Prison (which has been criticised by the European Commission against Torture for the way it treats its foreign prisoners), being tried in secret, without a jury, before a judge and two retired politicians from parties that have already criticised him, and ultimately being extradited to the United States at the behest of a government which has shown a thirst for revenge and has a long history of disregarding the rule of law and engaging, by its own hand or by proxy, in human rights abuses. 

I took the opportunity to catch up with Christine Assange last week.  In a lengthy interview I heard about Assange the man, the father, the brother and the son, told by his mother - a fierce supporter but also perhaps also his most honest critic - and not by a Palantir powerpoint presentation.

Seven days a week, she finds herself reviewing any legislative or other changes that occur in the United Kingdom, the United States or Australia designed to affect her son or his work.  Australia's Wikileaks Amendment is a case in point.  She responds to letters of support, prepares for and gives interviews to raise public awareness, writes notes and annotates articles. Time doesn't always permit sleep or the luxury of regular meals. Even if she's exhausted she limits her time off because it takes her longer to catch up. She does, however, take the time to listen every day to Pete Murray's song Free. Julian, she tells me, is into independent music from indigenous cultures from all around the world (although he had a soft spot for Kenny Rogers when he was a very young boy).

Her resources are limited.  She's had the usual Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade line, "We're here if you need us", but support from the Gillard Government to date has been negligible. Recent events have underlined the Gillard Government's deference to the United States Government pursuit of Assange, like Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd’s tardy response to a letter from Gareth Pierce, one of Britain's high-profile human rights solicitors, the refusal to provide full and frank responses to all of Senator Ludlam's Questions on Notice, and ignoring calls that her sons life is in "clear and present danger".

In February this year former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts said:

"…there is a concerted effort to nail him–to shut Assange up… If the legal attempt fails, he'll simply be assassinated by a CIA assassination team. It's common practice for the CIA to do that."

With calls by prominent United States political figures for her son to face the death penalty, it's little wonder that Christine Assange describes herself as being in "battle mode, where there's no room for emotion."  She says she finds it "too difficult to engage her emotions."  She has "good days and bad days ... I have a strong team and I know that my son is on the side of right so I have the moral strength to keep going."  She speaks to her son regularly by phone, but they limit their conversations to generalities rather than the specific questions all mothers wants to ask their sons. Questions about his welfare or state of mind are off limits in case the conversations are being monitored.

She says that in the beginning her son had high hopes.  "He believed that once people had the facts that would be enough.  He had trust in the British legal system.  He believed that the Australian Government would stand up for him.  Sadly, the reality is quite different, and as a result he's currently caught between Sweden's domestic political agenda and the United States' agenda. .... He's dismayed at how far the corrupt will go to intimidate, or to collude with each other, or to go against the values of their own democracy." Even so, she says that "Although it's difficult, he is in good spirits that justice will be done."

Christine details how many in the media have continued to smear her son.  She describes the Swedish documentary Julian Assange, World’s Love Affair, which aired on Sweden National Television as the last in a documentary series about brutal dictators. She points out that "What is often forgotten is that he and his team provided the cables to the media for free. The media have benefited and made money as a result."

I asked her if she agrees with the description of her son being paranoid.  Her response: "What is paranoia? It is an unfounded fear." His treatment so far, including the calls for his execution by people in positions of power, demonstrates that his fears are far from unfounded.

Responding to her son being criticised by some in the media as an "activist journalist", Christine is quick to point out that "everything you write and every thought you have is loaded with value judgement.  Life is political.  But I disagree that my son is an activist journalist because he doesn't blindly follow the left or the right.  Wikileaks is a legitimate online publisher and my son is a legitimate editor-in-chief.  My son and his team publish the material and people can draw their own conclusions from that.  His work is based solely on publishing facts, not opinion.  He and Wikileaks have stuck their necks out to report the truth, which is what journalism should be about. Wikileaks and my son have put their lives on the line.  Instead of other journalists criticising them perhaps they should say, 'I wish I was that brave but I'm not'.  We use the term "activist" in a derogatory way but if that means bringing the truth to the people then good, there should be more of it."

Assange has also been accused of narcissism. Christine's response: "They can't shoot the message so they discredit the messenger. They attack Julian personally and his personal funds have been frozen.  There has never been an allegation that the cables published by Wikileaks are manufactured or untruthful.  The content of the cables has not been denied by any country.  Why isn’t anyone in the media pushing to discredit the cables?  No-one is perfect, Julian is human. He has been under enormous pressure.  He is a CEO of an organisation where, if mistakes are made, there are considerable consequences for his sources. So the buck stops with him.  He takes this obligation very seriously.  How many journalists running to a deadline have not been snappy from time to time?  Such comments about my son are petty in the extreme."

Accusations of narcissism don't seem to fit in with Assange's motives for starting Wikileaks.  According to Christine, "Julian is actually a private person, believe it or not.  The reason Wikileaks was started was to give whistleblowers in third world countries a way to speak out against dictators without fear of being gaoled or killed.  Never in his wildest dreams did he ever expect to receive the US material."

From taxi-drivers to Vietnam veterans, no matter where Christine goes she receives messages of support for her son and Wikileaks. She has "not received one phone call telling me that my son has done the wrong thing". But she is yet to receive a phone call from Prime Minister Gillard. For her, she has this message:

"Be the leader everyone hoped you'd be.  You could be a true leader if you stood up for freedom.  Other countries which stood up to the United States are still trading with them.  Nothing happened.  David Lange stood up to bar nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports or entering New Zealand waters and Canada’s Pierre Trudeau opposed the Vietnam War and welcomed American draft dodgers. Who's dictating our foreign policy, the United States or you?  And if you're a feminist then let's see it:  let's see you be strong and tough by standing up for human and legal rights.  If the ALP has lost its way then the new direction may be one of making Australian an independent democracy.  You talk about our shared values with the United States, but which shared values are you talking about? Applying pressure in Haiti against moves to increase the minimum wage to $5 dollar a day? The handing over of citizen political dissidents in Iraq to the Iraqi secret police for torture?  The persecution of whistleblowers? How do you want to be remembered? As the brave woman who stood up to a global bully, or the leader who cowardly coat-tailed or kowtowed to the global bully to pursue your own personal political ambitions?"

For the rest of us, she asks mainly that we speak up:

"Get informed.  Inform a friend.  Call talkback radio. Go and see your local Federal Member, regardless of their political party, and tell them you expect them to stick up for an Australian citizen, demand that they apply pressure to ensure that Julian is not extradited to the United States, and that they follow the diplomatic and legal advice provided in March this year to seek written humanitarian guarantees from Britain and Sweden, or you will change your vote at the next election."

Even if tonight's decision falls in her son's favour, she won't be rejoicing: it's just one battle of many she knows she will face.  If he's unsuccessful she will stay focused on the next steps in what promises to be a long quest for justice for her son.

It's easy to see why, for some, Assange has become the ultimate prize.  The information Wikileaks has published has given us a taste of how the power elite live and behave on their Laputa, their floating island hovering above the proles (that's us, the public). "Top secret" documents, which sit higher up the document classification ladder than the "confidential" and "secret" documents so far released by Wikileaks, must surely reveal the pure contempt in which the power players hold the rights of all citizens of all nations all around the world.  In their quest to use Assange as an example to others who might stray from the "work hard and do as you're told" mantra, one wonders whether the powers that be might not take a step too far, perhaps underestimating the effect Assange and his small team have had on the proles attached with strings to their island. 

I know no-one who wasn't outraged when they saw the US helicopter gunship murdering unarmed civilians in Iraq, and we have Assange to thank for telling the world that appalling truth.  We mustn't forget that, just as we mustn't forget the importance for our own rights, and for the integrity of our country and ourselves as a people, of everything else Assange and Wikileaks have been trying to do. Just as our politicians and our Prime Minister mustn’t forget their duty to an Australian in peril.

We live not in a world where "knowledge is power" so much as one where power abusers survive on deception and popular ignorance. That's exactly what Wikileaks' publishing aims to address: by getting things out in the open, and reporting honestly and accurately, people who are entrusted with power at least may be held accountable for what they do with it. A person like Julian Assange, who has the courage to act in the interests of each of us "little people", deserves our support – both individually and as a country - as the powerful try to close ranks around him. We must strive to see that he is treated justly and fairly, just as he has striven for that outcome for others.

Kellie Tranter is a lawyer and human rights activist.  You can follow her on Twitter @KellieTranter

Comments (201)

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Harquebus :

  • 06 Dec 2011 1:16:10pm

    Julian Assange, by exposing governments lies and hypocrisy, has saved more lives than he has endangered. He is hero and our government ought to be bloodywell ashamed of themselves for not supporting him.

    • Tiger :

      06 Dec 2011 1:08:34pm

      Hello Kellie

      I would like to hear your take on the human rights of the public servants operating secretly in other countries who were placed in danger by Julians' release of sensitive cables that identified them. And what about the 'little people' who are natives of these countries who were helping these operatives who are also outed because of it.

      Where are their human rights I wonder. Or dont they count?

      There are many brave and decent people who were put in harms way by his actions

      • thomas vesely :

        06 Dec 2011 12:29:58pm

        can not we petition the relevant UN body ?
        or our government ?
        somebody ?

        • Mark :

          06 Dec 2011 12:04:16pm

          A chilling picture is painted of the Swedish justice system here - one that I did not anticipate.

          So... straight to prison, guilty or not?... Is there restitution if he is proclaimed innocent?

          Will he be nabbed on the streets of Stockholm by the CIA if found innocent?

          No answers here. Only questions.

          It seems a very well constructed sequence of events that has Assange where he currently sits. Too well constructed.

          It's like reading a bad novel, devoid of subplot, other than those which take Assange to America, and the relentless pursuance of this single monotonous goal.

          The dirge like timing of legal events acts to dissipate the deserved rage, and the real urgency for action, that is actually required to protect one of our citizens.

          It's unfolding in slow motion, and we sit, lulled into inactivity. I would not be surprised if the US applies torpor as a tool of manipulation.

          Our government must make a stand.

          • The Liars Machine :

            06 Dec 2011 11:52:22am

            Whatever you do or think, don't you ever let gender crap blurry your visions!
            Another thing: Australia is not now the Australia it was ten years ago, and that apply to all other nation's too, of course. In ten years time from now same thing will happen.
            For the sake of good order, stay neutral but don't be silent. Be good, be a person.

            • b'berg :

              06 Dec 2011 10:41:17am

              Gee Ms Tranter, you make Sweden sound like some dark, regressive, authoritarian cess pool of all that is wrong with the world, instead of the progressive, social democratic country it is usually described as in these pages.

              Why the change of mind?

                • The Liars Machine :

                  06 Dec 2011 12:09:37pm

                  Well then was then. Not long time ago the general population was denied knowledge and today people are drowned in a Tsunami of knowledge and propaganda information. Actually, international news media is the biggest mass destruction weapon of all kind. Many world leaders join each other and are creating a separate nation of their own for them self. A new and secret constitution.
                  How shall we use it to make a better World? Is it really possible, in the very first place...
                  Machine Thought's is a horrifying thing to correct.
                  The establishment in the world could easy be our newest Gestapos without the general populations involvement.

              • Prime :

                06 Dec 2011 9:56:45am

                Yes. But what happened?
                Many awards. Much hype. No action. No seriously, what happened? Did Govt's fall? Troops withdrawn from IZ and AFG, Royal Commissions, people gaoled? Marching in the streets... Nope. Nothing much actually. Lot's of talk. Lot's of "extraordinary" and "amazing" and "greatest thing ever", but not much else.

                The only person gaoled is poor ole Manning, who was hung out to dry, and the only people to suffer were translators and local contractors in AFG, who were named and summarily executed by the Taliban (something which Assange knew would happen but 'they are collaborators and deserve to die'. What a great bloke)

                As a matter of fact, what most people got out of wikileaks is that the global diplomatic people do a pretty good job, sometimes things are covered up or marginalised and some countries do bad things. So what? Everyone knows this.

                Wikileaks failed. It achieved nothing. It was easily deflected by all Western governments and all it did was promote Assange. And kill some AFG people. But who cares about them.

                  • Jez :

                    06 Dec 2011 11:57:02am

                    As far as I am aware, no one has been killed due to the release of Wikileaks cables.

                    Might I remind those of you who make this accusation, it was the Guardian who leaked the passwords.

                    Why aren't they in hot water for this?

                    And why are you twisting the truth Prime?

                    • Mission Accomplished :

                      06 Dec 2011 11:58:00am

                      "No seriously, what happened?"

                      Well, a huge number of self-satisfied, moralising, opinionated, bourgeois wannabes got to feel righteous and smug. Without upsetting their government jobs or state supported super funds.

                      So, 'Mission Accomplished'.

                      • steve :

                        06 Dec 2011 1:42:46pm

                        Wikileaks also showed that the diplomatic world saw Rudd labor as a dysfunctional madhouse, something the Australian media refused to report at the time.

                    • Michael :

                      06 Dec 2011 9:51:09am

                      There is nothing more terrifying than a questioning public? I don't agree there's nothing more terrifying than a public that believes everything that is said. That is truly frightening. The perfect example is Global Warming or Climate Change. Criticise Climate Change and Global Warming and see what happens, the names you are called, the nastiness that happens and some even lose their jobs and are not allowed to speak as has happened in NSW. Recently it has come to light a public servant in NSW disputed the level of sea level rise stating it has been only 1mm. He hasn't been allowed to speak and lost his position as a result. When the Climategate emails were released vested interests demanded that investigations should take place and the responsible people imprisoned for stealing and releasing that information. It seems that it is alright to release some information, steal some information and release it but not other information. Other information should be kept confidential especially that of climate scientists. I wondered why myself others didn't. Powerful forces do work to keep things quiet and like to criticise those who say different. I would have thought that it doesn't matter what one does. If you are alleged to have committed a crime that you should be given a fair trial and justice should be seen to have been done. I may not agree with the law of another country but if I go there I have to accept it. Assange went to a country where they have made a law as stupid as I may think it is I am sure that many women would not. I often hear about powerful groups in society not being held to account for their actions. Members of the legal profession are one of those groups. I am not surprised that one of those who think that they are above approach should demand that someone else be. Some might call it arrogance.

                      • Doug Quixote :

                        06 Dec 2011 9:47:16am

                        Irresponsible, reckless and sociopathic do not make for a suitable hero. Assange is all of these, in spades.

                          • Jonathan :

                            06 Dec 2011 2:12:22pm

                            "… sociopathic …"

                            How could you possibly know whether this is true or not? I haven't seen him murder, rape, torture, pick fights, abuse drugs - have you? The US military, on the other hand …

                        • VoR :

                          06 Dec 2011 9:47:12am

                          Unfortunately Assange wouldn't be the first person to have been involved with something great, that was personally a little grub. His whole personal credibility now rests on successfully resisting the extradition, so that he can maintain the self-important international conspiracy fantasy that he's using to evade the legal consequences, if any , of his actions.

                          If he's charged, convicted, and given a fine or a short jail sentence and left to get on with his life, he'll look like a self-absorbed ponce. Even worse if he's not charged, found not guilty, or given a suspended sentence.

                          • Sweden calls :

                            06 Dec 2011 9:24:53am

                            Yup. There's no question.

                            It used to be the likes of Wilfred Burchett. But today, Julian Assange is the very epitome of the modern, left-leaning, "activist journalist".

                            And you'll never be allowed to forget it.

                            • _robert :

                              06 Dec 2011 9:07:49am

                              Daniel Domscheit-Berg has claimed Julian Assange used to boast about how many children he had fathered across the world. Indeed, Wikileaks staff have been warned by Assange they would face $19 million in damages for passing on unauthorised information about wikileaks.

                              Mr Assange has no character and is two-faced, self-indulgent hypocrite. That much is obvious.

                              Perhaps the chickens are coming home to roost for Mr Assange.

                                • Jonathan :

                                  06 Dec 2011 2:08:38pm

                                  "… two-faced, self-indulgent hypocrite."

                                  I don't pretend to know, but that is irrelevant as to whether he is being fitted up.

                              • DF :

                                06 Dec 2011 8:33:12am

                                Thank you Christine Assange and congratulations Kellie for producing this fine article.

                                Julian Assange should be very proud of his achievements:

                                Economist Freedom of Expression Award (2008)
                                Amnesty International UK Media Award (2009)
                                Sam Adams Award (2010)
                                Le Monde Person of the Year (2010)
                                Sydney Peace Foundation gold medal (2011)
                                Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (2011)
                                Voltaire Award of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (2011)
                                Walkleys Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (2011)

                                He, Wikileaks and his sources deserve our unwavering support.

                                I hope Christine has Pete Murray blasting out this morning.

                                  • Eddy :

                                    06 Dec 2011 9:01:57am

                                    Yes thanks for reminding us of his achievements.

                                    • VoR :

                                      06 Dec 2011 9:34:18am

                                      DF, no amount of awards puts anyone above the law. Support him by all means, but just not in evading the law. Send a nice card.

                                        • DF :

                                          06 Dec 2011 11:34:58am

                                          What the hell ? Going through a legitimate lengthy and costly appeal process is hardly evading the law. May I remind you that not only has he not been charged with anything he has had an electronic monitoring device strapped to his ankle for 365 days.

                                          • Jonathan :

                                            06 Dec 2011 2:07:17pm

                                            It's the world's governments that believe themselves to be above the law, as demonstrated by the illegal tactics employed against him.

                                    • g3 :

                                      06 Dec 2011 6:28:42am


                                      just thought id let u know...


                                      "little people"...***

                                      .................................all realative

                                        • itsacon :

                                          06 Dec 2011 9:40:20am

                                          .......and relatives

                                      • Neil Turner :

                                        06 Dec 2011 4:56:06am

                                        I have read most of the comments listed, I
                                        certainly hope the British Supreme Court take this
                                        sort of input into account before making their

                                          • Sea Mendez :

                                            06 Dec 2011 9:01:53am

                                            I hope the courts apply the law and ignore political pressure.

                                        • Penelope Bell :

                                          06 Dec 2011 3:11:40am

                                          Kellie, your article elucidates very well the inherent injustices in this case and properly justifies well-founded concerns for what lies ahead for Assange. However, it is what you don't address which leaves it somewhat wanting.

                                          The problem for Assange, his mother, (tragically heartbreaking), yourself and all who blindly support him with uncritical fervour, is one of transparent naivete.

                                          You wonder whether the powers that be are underestimating the "Assange effect". Paradoxically, they have done everything BUT underestimate it and that has put him where he is. It is Assange who has done the underestimating - he underestimated the magnitude of his actions. The establishment is concerned that a dangerous precedent has been set in the unauthorised releasing of classified information, no matter how innocuous the content was. It opens a potential floodgate, paving the way for others, others less responsible than Assange, others who will aspire to do likewise with no regard for political sensitivity, or potential threats to national security, etc. and is why the establishment cannot let it go uncensured. The potential for damage is spectacular. So, yes, you are right they ARE making an example of him, but I think with justification on the grounds of future potential risk.

                                          Then: " ... we mustn't forget the importance for our own rights ... for the integrity of our country..." . That too can be turned against Assange. The establishment too is concerned for the integrity of the country - at pains to deter the potential for anyone to leak highly sensitive material, which could threaten the integrity of its military operations, the integrity of intelligence operations, etc.

                                          You further say: "We live not in a world where 'knowledge is power' ... ". It is naive not to recognise the power of knowledge, particularly of classified knowledge in the wrong hands, the reason the establishment has acted and will continue to act against Assange with the utmost severity.

                                          Finally, you say that Wikileaks' was: " ... reporting honestly and accurately, [so that] people who are entrusted with power ... may be held accountable for what they do with it." What is good for the gander is good for the goose. The establishment is demanding that Assange be accountable for what he did with that power - it works both ways. Assange published classified material with no authority to do so and is being held to account. It is the breach of that authority which has brought him undone. He was naive to imagine that it would not; naive to imagine that his own and Wikileaks' public profile would protect him. His egoism in believing he was larger than national security, larger than the importance of secure intelligence, together with an over-blown belief in his own self-importance have, sadly, been his undoing.

                                            • Gary Lord :

                                              06 Dec 2011 7:49:30am

                                              The most disgusting Assange critics are those who dress up their attacks as feigned concern for his well-being.

                                              You speak of "the Establishment" and "national security". What do those words mean? Who are the faceless power-brokers who decide what's best for us and will not tolerate any dissent or even discussion?

                                              These are the same people who decided it was in our "national interest" to invade Iraq, the same greedy fools who send our soldiers to help secure oil pipelines in Afghanistan, the fat swine who pillage global economies while our planet slowly dies.

                                              Sorry lady, but that gig is up. Help us build a better world or get out of the way.

                                                • Claire :

                                                  06 Dec 2011 9:11:46am

                                                  Exactly right Gary Lord. Penelope Bell you are the one who is naive. Your comments are mis-informend and dangerous. Suggesting the government should disregard the rule of law and make an example of Assange shows how dangerous you are. And then you want to tell the author and us about rights. I agree with Gary, best for you to get out of the way.

                                              • Eddy :

                                                06 Dec 2011 8:59:57am

                                                Penelope Bell: I think it is you who are naive.
                                                Firstly, you presume to be able to speak for Assange. You say he underestimated his actions. How would you know his state of mind regarding his actions? Many authors / commentators who have interviewed Assange and written about him reveal that he was very aware of the potential magnitude of his actions - indeed having an impact is a core element in the design behind his actions.

                                                Secondly, Assange has not done anything illegal. For you to suggest the government is justified in making an example of him is not only naive, but also stupid. To suggest the rule of law and presumption of innocence should not apply to Assange shows how dangerous people like you are.

                                                Thirdly, you are encouraging our government to commit crimes against our citizens - what makes you think you are in a position to lecture others regarding our rights? Talk about naive. You also make the naive assumption that what ever the government decides should be classified is justified. Whistleblowers have always existed and democracy is stronger because they are willing to stand up and reveal the corrupt actions of those in power. It is naive people like you who presume to speak for others that are the real threat to democracy.

                                                • Alice :

                                                  06 Dec 2011 9:43:57am

                                                  Penelope, what a load of mis-guided nonsense. Here you are presuming to know what Assange thinks, telling the author about human rights and promoting subjective opinion as though it is objective fact. It is you who are naive.
                                                  Thanks Kellie and Julian, you make our democracy stronger.

                                                  • Owen :

                                                    06 Dec 2011 9:50:24am

                                                    Penelope, I hate to let some facts get in the way of your self indulgent rant, but Assange/Wikileaks has done nothing illegal. To say the government is justified in making an example of him shows you are little better than the dictators and corrupt officials Assange exposes. Ever heard of the rule of law?

                                                    • Jonathan :

                                                      06 Dec 2011 2:04:05pm

                                                      "… published classified material with no authority to do so …"
                                                      False - any publisher can publish leaked material. Every media organisation in the world relies on government leaks for stories. In a democracy we all have this "authority". Assange has broken no laws.

                                                      In general you seem to be saying that the accusations in Sweden are trumped up to protect the US establishment. This is precisely why this whole charade must be fought tooth and nail. People like yourself mouthed platitudes about their dear leader acting in their best interests as Hitler consolidated power. Many such people vanished from the face of the earth.

                                                  • Schnappi :

                                                    06 Dec 2011 2:52:12am

                                                    Many small minds attack the PM,why not attack an american newspaper magnate who deserted his own country,but will not support assange,perhaps murdoch and his lackeys want assange in america as a favour to those who do them favours.

                                                    • Not Tony Abbott :

                                                      06 Dec 2011 12:52:35am

                                                      Hilarious. (Nearly) every mother of a convicted rapist will say that "he is a good boy, he never raped his mother or his sisters, so far as I know"
                                                      - the evidence is hardly to be given much weight, and a lawyer should know better. Even one who is a human rights activist.

                                                        • David Ferstat :

                                                          06 Dec 2011 2:05:25pm

                                                          Assange, on the other hand, is NOT a convicted rapist.

                                                          He hasn't even been CHARGED with rape.

                                                          The Swedes only say that they want to question him.

                                                          Please be more careful in your comparisons.

                                                      • Not My Real Name :

                                                        06 Dec 2011 12:05:48am


                                                        I think your take on this is extremely oversimplified. Julian Assange is now a man of power- because of the system he set up and because of his international fame. Does that mean he's automatically corrupt? Well, not necessarily. Are all of those who hold political or military power corrupt? Well, no. Are all those who hold and exercise power (including Assange) wonderful people with only the interests of the world at heart? Obviously no again.

                                                        Life is far more complicated than that and you can't just make simple distinctions between heroes and villains. In fact, one of the realities of life that few people seem to want to accept is that many of the bad things that have occurred in history have been done by people with good intentions.

                                                        I fear that the same could be said of Assange. His intentions are perhaps good but the method he is using is not simply trouble free. It may have some good short-term effects, in terms of bringing a few people to account, but it may also have some severely bad ones, especially in the long term. These include making governments even more overbearing or manipulative in their methods in order to more successfully control the flow of information.

                                                        On another note, I don't think the word 'render' means what you think it means. Maybe a little more research on that one would be helpful.

                                                        • Gondwana Lad :

                                                          05 Dec 2011 11:36:20pm

                                                          Is there something about the phrase "Australian Citizen" that our government, the Opposition and some of the posters here don't understand?

                                                          • Bighead1883 :

                                                            05 Dec 2011 11:12:44pm

                                                            Julia Gillard you ad the balls to usurp Rudd,Have the balls to protect Assange as an Australian Citizen.

                                                            • anote :

                                                              05 Dec 2011 9:47:10pm

                                                              The message of the saga - Whistleblowers Be Warned.

                                                                • Owen :

                                                                  06 Dec 2011 9:56:59am

                                                                  I think the message of the saga is - cowards and corrupt government officials beware.

                                                                  • Help101 :

                                                                    06 Dec 2011 11:14:24am

                                                                    Indeed, the real whistleblower in this saga is still rotting naked in solitary confinement in a military prison in the USA.

                                                                    • VoR :

                                                                      06 Dec 2011 12:21:10pm

                                                                      In fact there was no mention of the whistleblower. His name is Bradley Manning, the US Army soldier who has been charged for revealing State information to an unauthorised person among other things.

                                                                      • Anon :

                                                                        06 Dec 2011 1:07:47pm

                                                                        Actually, the message of the saga was:

                                                                        Whistleblowers need to follow the correct procedure for showing corruption.

                                                                        The fact you don't like something for political reasons is not grounds to leak that thing to the media.

                                                                        Publish and be damned.

                                                                    • bushranga :

                                                                      05 Dec 2011 9:30:01pm

                                                                      What's the difference between Julian & Julia? The letter 'n' of course. Both are doing their best to fix the world in their own ways and I applaud both for trying, which is more than what me and you are doing.

                                                                      • iian :

                                                                        05 Dec 2011 9:01:13pm

                                                                        You don't shoot the messenger, you thank him.
                                                                        Julian is just one of the messengers, after all it was the Guardian & The New York Times that did the bulk of the publishing of US cables.
                                                                        Why is Julian being punished for reporting on war crimes, double dealing & double speak? Shouldn't the real criminals be brought to bear?
                                                                        All Julian's work has done is say the 'emperor has no clothes', this we already know so it's time the war profiteers put on some clothes & changed their behaviour, as that is what the bulk of peoples the World over wants.

                                                                        • Matheus :

                                                                          05 Dec 2011 8:43:08pm

                                                                          So did I miss the bit where Christine is also Julian's harshest critic? I didn't see one word of criticism. Even defending him against a charge of narcissism leveled at him by his ex-colleagues at wikileaks. A 'legitimate editor-in-chief' would have edited the reports to protect the lives of people who chose to collaborate, or are they not worthy of any protection?

                                                                            • George11 :

                                                                              05 Dec 2011 9:39:12pm

                                                                              Get a grip. The data ran to tens of thousands of pages. Assange recruited into the release of the data and to help redact it major media groups. That proves his intentions to act responsibly and also deflects charges of aggrandisement since Wikileaks wasnt the sole distributor.

                                                                                • Matheus :

                                                                                  06 Dec 2011 9:31:26am

                                                                                  I see. There I was thinking a legitimate editor-in-chief would edit things legitimately and take responsibility. Instead he talked a confused and angry army boy into giving him all the info then dumped it on the newspapers for them to edit and unedited online for anyone to read. Tens of thousands of pages? You mean it was just too hard to bother with? Wiki was the primary source of all data.

                                                                                    • Jonathan :

                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 1:48:34pm

                                                                                      "… thinking a legitimate editor-in-chief would edit things legitimately and take responsibility."
                                                                                      You're trying a bit too hard to make him sound "illegitimate". Does every editor-in-chief on the planet edit every word in her/his publication? You're applying one standard to Assange and a completely different one to them.

                                                                                      "… he talked a confused and angry army boy into giving him all the info …"
                                                                                      There is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever. Now, seeing as Manning has been subjected to both torture and punishment before trial (this is unconstitutional), even if they did torture a confession out of him it would not stand up in court.

                                                                                      "… dumped it on the newspapers for them to edit …"
                                                                                      Are you saying he twisted their arms? Get real, they were lining up from all over the world.

                                                                                      "… unedited online for anyone to read."
                                                                                      Not true. There was a systematic redaction process employed. The only "illegitimate" , "irresponsible" one was David Leigh of The Guardian who published the decryption key to an archive.

                                                                                      "Wiki was the primary source of all data."
                                                                                      Wrong - the US military was the source. Wikileaks operates an anonymous dropbox.

                                                                              • Jonathan :

                                                                                06 Dec 2011 2:14:27am

                                                                                There was a systematic policy of redacting names of informants in collaboration with media partners. The documents were released slowly, except when David Leigh of The Guardian decided to publish a decryption key to an archive. You can't blame WikiLeaks for that. The US Defense Secretary said previously that no harm had come to anyone due to the releases.

                                                                                  • Michael :

                                                                                    06 Dec 2011 1:59:12pm

                                                                                    Nonsense. Assange only bothered to start removing names of collaborators once people realised how reckless he had been and huge pressure was put on him. It is highly likely people have been tortured and killed as a result of his actions.

                                                                                    The man is an anarchist with an enormous ego; I fail to see why he shouldn’t face the consequences of his actions.

                                                                            • sea mendez :

                                                                              05 Dec 2011 8:38:26pm

                                                                              Wikileaks 'revealed' in 2011 that al-Qaeda has a cheap, portable and reliable device that can distribute cyanide gas. Like so many wikileaks cables it destroys the standard far left conspiracies. The Al-Qaeda threat is real. Cable after cable after cable show the US really is worried about militant Islam.

                                                                              Cable after cable after cable show real Americans working diligently to combat AQ and build a stable Afghanistan.

                                                                              But a coterie of lying far-left propagandists continues to trumpet the cables. Look! This is what we have been saying all along! They're careful to omit the details though.

                                                                              Tranter comes to their aid. She's discovered the reason the grand conspiracy hasn't been corroborated by the cables. There another secret tranche that we haven't seen. Just imagine what's in those!

                                                                              So we're asked to believe the cables demonstrate the existence of other cables which would prove the conspiracy - if only we could see them. This is the very definition of conspiracy theory.

                                                                              What of the 'revelations'? Ron Suskind revealed the cyanide device in his 2006. David Finkel discussed the 'Collateral Murder' incident in detail in his 2009 'The Good Soldiers'. Unlike Assange he didn't omit key details.

                                                                                • Jez :

                                                                                  06 Dec 2011 2:04:21am

                                                                                  'The Al-Qaeda threat is real. Cable after cable after cable show the US really is worried about militant Islam. '

                                                                                  This to me is how the US keeps folk like yourself in fear. It enables the fearful and angry side of the US to have a focus that is not within their country.

                                                                                  It also gives their "defence" industry something to chew on.

                                                                                    • Sea Mendez :

                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 8:59:31am

                                                                                      "his to me is how the US keeps folk like yourself in fear."

                                                                                      Do you not think a mass cyanide attack is cause for concern?

                                                                                      I'm not in fear. I think it was Al Gore who summed up my opinion. We should view terrorism like we view organised crime. An annoyance we can manage but never eliminate.

                                                                                      I believe for example Bush massively overeacted to the threat. Hardly trembling in my boots am I?

                                                                                      But you're missing the substance of my point. The cables show the threat is real. They refute the people who say the threat is invented. But those same people lie and claim coroboration from the cables.

                                                                                      And here's a subtlety for you. The US authorities didn't go to the media about the cyanide device (which they found in 2002). Suskind say this is because they didn't want to induce panic.

                                                                                      Suskind talks of a delicate balancing act. Politicians hype some threats for political reasons. Authorities and politicians reveal some threats for legitimate information purposes. Authorities hide some threats because they don't want to provoke fear.

                                                                                        • Jez :

                                                                                          06 Dec 2011 12:21:48pm

                                                                                          Don't you think that invading countries due to this fear will only radicalise more people?

                                                                                          I don't think that military invasion makes us any safer - on the contrary. Bad strategy.

                                                                                          • Jonathan :

                                                                                            06 Dec 2011 1:06:32pm

                                                                                            As you imply, terrorism is a police and intelligence matter. The biggest liars are the military-industrial complex and their lackeys in politics who scored two major pump-priming exercises on false pretences. The IAEA has been stacked with yes men to engineer a war against Iran.

                                                                                    • Jonathan :

                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 2:19:41am

                                                                                      The Washington Post (I think it was) sat on that video for two years - why? WikiLeaks provided both raw and edited versions, so how can you say "Unlike Assange he didn't omit key details."?

                                                                                      • Penelope Bell :

                                                                                        06 Dec 2011 4:15:49am

                                                                                        Well put. So many 'convenient' truths peddled by those who ignore the facts.

                                                                                    • bushranga :

                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 8:22:38pm

                                                                                      We are all Julian Assange.

                                                                                      • marcus :

                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 8:21:10pm

                                                                                        My goodness, you love your Julian don't you? Reading about the truly awesome nastiness of the Swedish judicial system it seems like it is as bad as Iraq under Saddam.

                                                                                        Hold on though? Isn't this the same Sweden that used to be a model for the the lefty progressives? What can have happened? Don't they still have IKEA? Or is that the Danes?
                                                                                        My guess is that the only way that Julian can be held up to be a saint is for the Swedes to be portrayed as latter day Stalinists.

                                                                                          • George11 :

                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 9:32:11pm

                                                                                            You should read a little more deeply how the Swedish legal system has handled this case before your spiteful little comments.

                                                                                            In Australia these allegations wouldn't make it passed a desk sergeant in the local copshop.

                                                                                            • Eddy :

                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 9:48:04pm

                                                                                              marcus: your exaggerated comparisons only serve to display your ignorance and highlight to others your lack of understanding regarding the issues.

                                                                                              • Andrew :

                                                                                                06 Dec 2011 5:53:54am

                                                                                                I have lived in Sweden for the last seven years. I understand why people are skeptical when Julian Assange legal team says that Sweden is a dictatorial feminist country. After all it has a low crime rate, exceptional parent-leave entitlements, a humane welfare state and laws that protect the disadvantaged. One would assume that it smart and sophisticated.

                                                                                                Sweden however does have a cultural trait that would surprise most people. Swedes are generally know as people who are scared of conflict. Generally Swedes don't reject this definition. However there is a type of Swedish woman that reacts in a disproportionate passive aggressive manner who isn't scared of conflict.

                                                                                                If you wrong this type of Swedish woman then run to the hills - Julian Assange. They get this psychological dysfunction in their heads like a kid with ADHD. They can't focus on anything else except hunting you down until they hurt you as much as they can. Before you jump to the conclusion that I have some gender bias here, you should know that my Mother experienced such a woman on holiday here two years ago. It was so traumatic, my mother still cries when she thinks about it.

                                                                                                Unfortunately this type of woman is given the liberty to take their madness into the legal system. Paradoxically the cultural trait of being scared of conflict has allowed for the rise of those who aren't scared of conflict. That is why Julian Assange won't get a fair trail here.

                                                                                            • Aquila :

                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 7:53:40pm

                                                                                              Sweden, frequently cited as a paragon of social democratic progress is painted by Kellie, for the needs of this article, as some sort of Scandinavian Yemen.

                                                                                              Nor is Kellie's already wonky credibility enhanced by quoting Paul Craig Roberts as an authority. He is a hyperbolist (if there's no such word there should be) and believer in a 9/11 conspiracy. Of course he'd see a CIA assassination as a likelihood.

                                                                                              And it is this conspiratorial tosh that seems to be driving his reluctance to face the Swedish courts. On the face of it, our government has no more grounds to object to Assange facing the Swedish court than it had to object to Corby, or the recent 14 year old facing the courts in Bali.

                                                                                                • sea mendez :

                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 8:40:07pm

                                                                                                  "believer in a 9/11 conspiracy"

                                                                                                  I think you'll find that's quite acceptable to many of the pro-Assange crowd.

                                                                                                    • Annies Banora Points :

                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 10:22:28pm

                                                                                                      sea mendez - talk about a sweeping generalisation. Regardless of whether you disagree with Assange theres no reason to make such ridiculous claims - its not like you at all!

                                                                                                      • Dino not to be confused with :

                                                                                                        06 Dec 2011 7:18:58am

                                                                                                        Sea Mendez, Aquila,
                                                                                                        I think you will find that Julian has upset alot of people by saying he doesn't have time for 911 skeptics, or words to that effect.
                                                                                                        That should increase your admiration for him shouldn't it?

                                                                                                    • Logan :

                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 9:28:25pm

                                                                                                      Corby was arrested and charged.

                                                                                                      • Helvi :

                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 9:53:24pm

                                                                                                        Aquila, I tend to agree with your post, what is there to to worry about facing a Swedish court...Sweden is no Yemen :)
                                                                                                        Australian people have strange ideas about the Scndinavian countries...

                                                                                                        • Eddy :

                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 10:15:17pm

                                                                                                          Aquila: I live in Sweden. I think people like you find the realities of this world hard to cope with. To help you deal with your fears, you rationalise anything horible as a conspiracy dreamed up by crazy people and like to think of government as your protector, an institution that could never deceive you or commit crimes.
                                                                                                          Swedish trials regarding the alleged actions of Assange are held in secret without a jury.
                                                                                                          In relation to the US, I suggest you read the public records regarding Nixon and the crimes he committed, Vietnam and the pentagon papers, Senator McCarthy and his communist witch hunts etc. People like you said the same things about those issues at the time. It is your fear that allows corruption to happen, but the courage of people like Kellie and Julian will always be more persuasive.

                                                                                                            • thomas vesely :

                                                                                                              06 Dec 2011 11:47:42am

                                                                                                              well said.

                                                                                                          • Jonathan :

                                                                                                            06 Dec 2011 1:52:19am

                                                                                                            He offered multiple times to attend a police station in Sweden with his lawyer, but this was rebuffed. He has offered to be questioned in Britain - this was also rebuffed. The Swedish Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and prosecutors have made prejudicial public statements about him that would be in contempt here. The police have continually leaked details to newspapers that have cast him in a bad light. The bench will consist of one judge and two political hacks. Sweden has a history of helping with extraordinary renditions. The Swedish Government has secretly signed up to NATO, which is unconstitutional, at the behest of the US Government. WikiLeaks exposed this. If you can't see that he has sound reasons for having a "reluctance to face the Swedish courts" then you must have government-approved blinkers on.

                                                                                                        • sea mendez :

                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 7:30:18pm

                                                                                                          No one has explained to my satisfaction why Assange choose to edit out footage of armed men in the 'Collateral Murder' video. No one has explained to my satisfaction why he edited out the confused but substantial deliberations before the decision to shoot.

                                                                                                          Assange apparently is committed to the truth. Why couldn't he trust us with these facts? Surely not because they weaken his charge of murder.

                                                                                                          Can Tranter, a lawyer, maintain her definite verdict of murder when such evidence is considered?

                                                                                                            • BarondeCharlus :

                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 8:33:17pm

                                                                                                              Not only did i see the armed men in the video, it was and is perfectly normal to be armed in the middle of a war-torn city.

                                                                                                                • sea mendez :

                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 8:57:37pm

                                                                                                                  There's a short edit and raw footage. The raw footage shows the armed men. To his credit he did release the raw footage. But why edit it in the first place?

                                                                                                                  I'd say its perfectly normal for confused US soldiers under fire to consider shooting armed men.

                                                                                                                    • Jonathan :

                                                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 1:16:03pm

                                                                                                                      "… why edit it in the first place?"
                                                                                                                      Do you ask this of CNN or Fox when they dumb down vision to a few seconds? Organisations such as those often introduce blatant pro-US Government bias and never provide their raw video files.

                                                                                                                  • sea mendez :

                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 9:39:29pm

                                                                                                                    Just watched it again. I'm was wrong. I agree you can see armed men. But the pre-amble text says some of the men 'appear' to have been armed. Not 'were' armed. Also we have handy arrows super-imposed on the footage pointing out cameras. No handy arrows designate weapons.

                                                                                                                    Elsewhere in the opening text the US military 'claimed' the victims died in battle. Well we know from David Finkel that the 2-16 battalion had been heavily engaged in the area. That's why they called the Apache in the first place. 'Claimed', I believe, robs the viewer of vital context. The Apache crew expected to find heavily armed and effective insurgents.

                                                                                                                    I find it interesting that The Washington Post is quoted regarding the incident in the film.

                                                                                                                    I still charge that the editing robs the viewer of context. Once you take out the loops and slow-mo and text you've got the raw 40 minutes condensed to less than 12 minutes.

                                                                                                                      • ant :

                                                                                                                        06 Dec 2011 7:49:18am

                                                                                                                        The context, Sea Mendez, is that some un-named and faceless operatives somewhere in America killed some Reuters journalists and attacked a van full of civilians who stopped to assist the wounded thereby also shooting two childen. You can charge whatever you like and you can play with the story as much as you like but you can't change what happened and you're missing the point. The reason so many people were shocked and outraged was that the people who killed the journalists and civilians acted as if they were playing a video game. And most chilling of all, the US military refused to allow the children they had shot to be sent to an American hospital to be treated. Perhaps they thought that might be an admission of guilt. The fact is, if you look in a mirror and don't like what you see, it's futile and illogical to blame the mirror.

                                                                                                                • Jez :

                                                                                                                  06 Dec 2011 1:50:59am

                                                                                                                  Having seen the whole video Mendez, I can say that none of these deliberations justify the murders. It seems that you think that they do?

                                                                                                                  I find this very disturbing.

                                                                                                                  Might I remind you that none of their foe were trying to invade the US.

                                                                                                                  This is a fight to protect US financial interests, at great expense to everyone, including Americans.

                                                                                                                  If there was a significant threat from Islamic terrorists, they would have made plenty of attacks on us by now.

                                                                                                                  Sure, there are a few whackos around, but remember we are more at risk from right wing gun heads representing the extreme side of politics inhabited by Mendez, Marcus, Aquila and others.

                                                                                                                  And the events of 9/11 are a conspiracy. Until someone can explain in detail how building 7 went down without explosives, it is an open question.

                                                                                                                  For the US to lift its popularity here and around the world, they need to release Manning, lay off Assange, get out of Afghanistan and Australian politics and properly investigate 9/11. And that's just for starters.

                                                                                                                  I don't think average Americans know how unpopular their leaders have made their country, which is a shame as most yanks are pretty decent people.

                                                                                                              • Annies Banora Points :

                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 7:19:23pm

                                                                                                                Christine Assange - as a mother I feel really very deeply for you! It amazes me that as an Australian we teach our children to stand up for their core values and beliefs to essentially live them and not to be afraid of consequences because you have to live a life that clearly demonstrates who you are - and living in a democracy its easier for us than those, as we've repeatedly witnessed, who do not live in a democracy. Well in theory anyway.

                                                                                                                I think what is becoming more apparent is to what extent the US controls our governments left or right. It's depressing and oppressive. The message is we are just another state of the US with none of the rights so let the apathy continue and reign. I dont think Sweden will send him to the US they would be seen as a pariah state if they did. From what I also understand is that the majority of Swedes disagree with their government that they are ashamed by their actions.

                                                                                                                Take heart too many people realise the multiple over reactions is in part expected of them to be seen to be outraged.

                                                                                                                  • bushranga :

                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 8:34:33pm

                                                                                                                    Until recently I was upset, even possibly angry that Australia followed the US traditions against what could be supposed disastrous consequences however, taking it further and playing it out I have changed my mind.

                                                                                                                    Out of all sides, even given the war on terror, whose side, apart from the US, would be an upgrade to our current existence? Whilst I often decry what they do to others in our name, who would be better at giving us some kind of future. In the big picture, the USA is our friend and, although I don't agree with many of the regimes policies, they really are still our best chance of us having a future.

                                                                                                                    Take away the religious nutters, which is slowly happening anyway, and it will be a future we could all look forward to.

                                                                                                                      • Fiona :

                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 9:11:55pm

                                                                                                                        For some reason, some people choose to overlook this. The USA is far, far, far from perfect, and has done some truly terrible things. But, what country is any better ?. What form of government is better then an imperfect Western democracy ?. What superpower has ever been 'better' : The Roman Empire, Colonial Britain, Imperial Japan, the USSR, modern China ?. What country does not put it's own self interest first ?. How many countries have freedom of speech, religion, etc.?

                                                                                                                        We are right to criticise our own government, and the US government on many things they do, but let's not forget the big picture, and at least be grateful we CAN criticise them. Many people around the world don't have this 'right'.

                                                                                                                        • Brett :

                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 9:49:02pm

                                                                                                                          Read up on on the Roman empire. This is just hoping the crocodile will eat you last.

                                                                                                                            • bushranga :

                                                                                                                              06 Dec 2011 8:59:47am

                                                                                                                              Nothing to do with crocodiles, take away the religious nutters (Bush, Howard & Blair were religious nutters too) and I could even respect western democracy ideals.

                                                                                                                              Do I want Islamic or Catholic rule? No F'ing way! Can I get this freedom to be me anywhere else? No f'ing way!

                                                                                                                              Power & might have nothing to do with my observations, it's our way of life that I think can't be topped. I can stand up & say I think the war on terror is f*cked without fear of being gutted in the streets.

                                                                                                                              I believe democracy & capitalism is the best system (though not this corporatism crap we're being forced to swallow) because it gives us a reason to try harder whilst giving everyone a vote in the system. Things may get hairy at times but 'right' always wins in the end.

                                                                                                                          • Annies Banora Points :

                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 11:02:19pm

                                                                                                                            bushranga - I understand that people like to feel comfortable with what is familiar - after all life is becoming more intense.

                                                                                                                            I am one of those people that welcome change life is dynamic not stilted and by welcoming inclusion of many more perspectives we all benefit in the long term. The way the world is we seem to be contracted into a world dominated framework an Us v Them polemic that alienates many peoples voices. By accepting that the US dominate the narrative and speaks for me upsets me because its a false premise and IMO the reason why even Americans themselves feel alienated in their own country.

                                                                                                                    • Wilton Troop :

                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 6:54:38pm

                                                                                                                      Our PM has no trouble talking to a detained brat in Bali, but fails to contact someone who's making a positive difference in this world.

                                                                                                                        • marcus :

                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 8:23:14pm

                                                                                                                          Of course, she is a complete coward. She has refused every invitation to appear on the Bolt Report. I assume that's who you are talking about.

                                                                                                                            • mikhail :

                                                                                                                              06 Dec 2011 7:16:40am

                                                                                                                              the bolt report?
                                                                                                                              you're kidding right?! the measure of a prime minister's performance is not which hateful sensationalist television slander shows she does or does not appear on.
                                                                                                                              no politician validate the efforts of a joke 'commentator' like bolt by giving him their time.

                                                                                                                          • Mike :

                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 8:40:06pm

                                                                                                                            Not to mention the Bali brat was actually convicted by a court of a drug offence.

                                                                                                                            In comparison, Gillard continued to call Assange a criminal even after the AFP advised he had not committed any offence.

                                                                                                                              • bushranga :

                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 9:27:49pm

                                                                                                                                PM Gillard did not say he was a criminal. She said the documents he was disseminating were sourced illegally. Not a big Gillard fan but let's not get media-hype confused with reality.

                                                                                                                        • Charlie :

                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 6:38:45pm

                                                                                                                          These chest-thumping US politicians and their ilk should be reminded that, once opened, the door of assassination can swing both ways. It should be made clear to them that the price for killing an Australian citizen might be one they aren't personally willing to pay.

                                                                                                                            • marcus :

                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 8:26:30pm

                                                                                                                              Do you serioulsy think that "US politicians" are organising an assassination attempt on Jules? You've been watching too many John Travolta movies.

                                                                                                                                • George11 :

                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 9:33:44pm

                                                                                                                                  Ah, the US carries out assassinations every day. Mostly theyre unknown arabs so probably doesnt register on your cracked morality radar.

                                                                                                                                  • Charlie :

                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 10:18:19pm

                                                                                                                                    Even a cursory glance would provide you with an abundance of verbatim quotes by US politicians and presidential candidates calling for this action.

                                                                                                                                    If they're willing to kill their own citizens in targeted assassinations, why is this so difficult for you to understand?

                                                                                                                                    • Sylvia :

                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 10:29:55pm

                                                                                                                                      Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction?

                                                                                                                                      • pud :

                                                                                                                                        06 Dec 2011 10:41:12am

                                                                                                                                        The US President has the power to order the assassination (via drone) of any US citizen or perceived enemy of the US anywhere in the world. Without proof and obviously without trial. The US President has the gall to use the word 'Justice'.

                                                                                                                                • Zoltar :

                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 6:36:04pm

                                                                                                                                  A noble try Kelly.

                                                                                                                                  Gillard is too enthralled by Obama to stand up for Assange, regardless of how much pressure is exerted upon local members on this issue. The only way for Australia to support Assange is to remove Gillard, and replace her with a leader that is not a US puppet.

                                                                                                                                  • Lj :

                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 6:20:12pm

                                                                                                                                    Thanks Julian & co for Wikileaks, for revealing the ugly ugly truths that the rich and powerful want to hide. Kudo's Christine for keeping the fight going here in Aus.

                                                                                                                                    Shame Julia Gillard, shame on the many other weak politicians and gutless journalists only too willing to serve the evil that Wikileaks exposes.

                                                                                                                                    • Christie :

                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 6:04:55pm

                                                                                                                                      There are sexual assault charges against him. If there is enough evidence to support the charges, then he should be extradited to Sweden to answer to them. This should be done under proper process, with presumed innocence and with full adherence to his legal and human rights

                                                                                                                                      As for the "Top secret documents which... must surely reveal the pure contempt in which the power players hold the rights of all citizens of all nations all around the world." I'm sorry but that is just ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                      For the record, I'm a left leaning supporter of human rights and hysterical rants like this do nothing to support the cause.

                                                                                                                                        • Eddy :

                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 7:47:56pm

                                                                                                                                          Christie: You should make an effort to understand the facts before commenting. Firstly, Assange has not been charged. Secondly, in Sweden these trials are held in secret without a jury. Supporting that process is hardly supporting human rights. Third, fear pushes people like you to side with power and attack those perceived as less powerful. Julian Assange has incredible courage, he has done us all a great favour. If you are unable to recognise this or at least willing to make an effort to understand the facts, then I suggest it's best for you not to get involved by promoting mis-information.

                                                                                                                                            • Penelope Bell :

                                                                                                                                              06 Dec 2011 3:50:03am

                                                                                                                                              " ... in Sweden these trials are held in secret without a jury. Supporting that process is hardly supporting human rights."

                                                                                                                                              What a load of codswhalop. We have closed hearings here in certain circumstances. Do you think that Assange won't have legal Counsel representing him looking out for his interests; that the proceedings won't be recorded verbatim? Any miscarriage of justice will be on the record, there for the entire judiciary and legal system to challenge, including his own team of lawyers.

                                                                                                                                              Closed hearings in sexual misconduct cases are progessive - isn't that what leftist luddites pride themselves on being? Their purpose is to prevent the 'dirty linen' of all involved from being dragged through the mud by unscrupulous and insensitive media masochists. If you were up on a rape charge, I am sure you would be grateful for that, rather than all and sundry knowing the size of your penis and when, where and how it went.

                                                                                                                                                • Eddy :

                                                                                                                                                  06 Dec 2011 9:30:15am

                                                                                                                                                  Penelope Bell: Once again your ignorance is on display for all to see. The Australian Constitution gaurantees our citizens the right to trial by jury. That's a strong statement regarding the way we view the rights of our citizens. Allowing two ex-politicians to determine the outcome instead of a jury made up of citizens is hardly progressive.

                                                                                                                                                  • Kev :

                                                                                                                                                    06 Dec 2011 9:39:51am

                                                                                                                                                    Penelope Bell, how is it progressive to have two ex-politicians determine the outcome of court proceedings? Do you understand the notion of seperation of powers and the role it plays in a democracy?

                                                                                                                                                    • Bert :

                                                                                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 9:47:06am

                                                                                                                                                      Penelope, your comments show you have an inflated view of your own opinion and ignore many relevant facts. Please stop flattering yourself.

                                                                                                                                              • Reeper (The Original) :

                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 8:29:51pm

                                                                                                                                                There are NO charges against him at this point. He has been asked to answer questions, nothing more. He has offered to answer those questions in Great Britain, but this offer was declined.

                                                                                                                                                Anna Ardin has never asked the police to bring charges of any form against Assange, she simply asked them if Assange's failure to use protection during consensual sex without her knowledge was an offence. In any other country this is not a crime (unless an individual knowingly exposes the other party to HIV, which is not the case here). The act was consensual, no harm was done and it remains unclear if the incident is even within the parameters & spirit the Swedish legislation was designed to protect, let alone warrant a trial or penalty of any form.

                                                                                                                                                Matters of sexual assault are a highly serious matter, however this whole situation risks diminishing the seriousness of the physical and psychological trauma experienced by true victims of assault.

                                                                                                                                                  • SueB :

                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 9:18:39pm

                                                                                                                                                    You seem to know all the facts, including each participants STD status. With promiscuous people who can be sure from one encounter to the next?

                                                                                                                                                    Ardin felt damaged or worried enough to make enquiries to the police.

                                                                                                                                                    • Penelope Bell :

                                                                                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 4:02:42am

                                                                                                                                                      Agreed in so far as it seems the whole case hinges on whether or not the second copulation - when Ardin was approached by Assange in her sleep - will be deemed 'consensual' or not, as it was at that time that he had unprotected intercourse with her, aware that she had not agreed to that on the previous occasion. She will have to present some evidence of resistance, I should imagine, once she realised he was not wearing any protection.

                                                                                                                                                      Either way, it demonstrates sleezy and dubious moral principles on his part, with a complete disrespect for the female's rights.

                                                                                                                                                  • Jez :

                                                                                                                                                    06 Dec 2011 1:13:53am

                                                                                                                                                    No, this rant is necessary to keep up awareness - hopefully you have realised your lack of awareness of something that any self respecting human rights supporter should know about.

                                                                                                                                                • redexile :

                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 5:50:41pm

                                                                                                                                                  I can't believe the bloke is still alive and hasn't met with a terrible 'accident'.
                                                                                                                                                  I am also saddened not only by our own government washing their hands of him but also by the ease with which the normally strongly independent UK judiciary has been subverted to the serve the US government's wishes in this case, the whole thing stinks to high heaven!

                                                                                                                                                    • sea mendez :

                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 7:19:55pm

                                                                                                                                                      "normally strongly independent UK judiciary has been subverted"

                                                                                                                                                      Maybe it still is strong. Maybe it hasn't been subverted. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                        • redexile :

                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 9:38:34pm

                                                                                                                                                          Maybe, but only time will tell I suppose, I still say it's on the nose; why Sweden...very convenient. Like I said we'll see.

                                                                                                                                                  • Dino not to be confused with :

                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 5:48:31pm

                                                                                                                                                    I think I met Julian many years ago and we promised to each other(we were young then) that we would change the world to make it a better more peaceful place. We argued which roads to take and said our farewells.
                                                                                                                                                    He has done much more than I.
                                                                                                                                                    The legal issue is something I know little about.

                                                                                                                                                    • Barrie :

                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 5:41:10pm

                                                                                                                                                      Thank you Kellie Tranter for a spirited article.

                                                                                                                                                      While John Howard, George Bush and Tony Blair remain free and unpunished for the crimes they committed by illegally invading and destroying millions of lives in Iraq we cannot trust any of the countries whose governments promoted and supported that crime.

                                                                                                                                                      Julian Assange and Bradley Manning are heroes and will be remembered as such, not so the people and governments who want to victimise them in order to 'save face' or make a political killing in order to show how politically ethical they are.

                                                                                                                                                      Christine Assange needs all the support she can get, she is brave and articulate and just in what she says.

                                                                                                                                                        • marcus :

                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 8:36:54pm

                                                                                                                                                          Who is this Bradley dude anyway? Who gives a tinker's about him? Not Ms Tranter.

                                                                                                                                                          Is he the bloke who is looking at a REAL death sentence for treason? That's as opposed to the other chap who is up for some sort of sexual misconduct charge.

                                                                                                                                                          I notice Ms Tranter didn't mention the Bradley chap at all. Julian is supposed to have risked everything and is therefore a true saint but all he really did was dump Bradley's files onto the server. What a hero he is?

                                                                                                                                                          Julian is under loose house arrest at one of his welthy chum's mansions and Bradley whatshisname is under close confinement looking at a potential lethal injection. Poor Julian!!

                                                                                                                                                            • Jonathan :

                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 11:47:15pm

                                                                                                                                                              Wikileaks tried to provide a lawyer to Manning straight away, but the government refused to allow it. Your moral slippery slope re: his torture is scary - somehow because Manning has suffered horribly (and unconstitutionally) it's all right for Assange to "only" be punished by a year's detention when he has not even been charged.

                                                                                                                                                              • Jez :

                                                                                                                                                                06 Dec 2011 1:08:36am

                                                                                                                                                                No one who knows about the Wikileaks saga forgets Bradley Manning. He did a brave thing for the benefit of humanity.

                                                                                                                                                                Julian Assange is also doing brave things for humanity. He is the public face of an organisation seriously antagonising the powers that be.

                                                                                                                                                                Both true heroes Marcus, the internet loves them.

                                                                                                                                                                The internet will remain very angry at those oppressing them.

                                                                                                                                                                • Penelope Bell :

                                                                                                                                                                  06 Dec 2011 4:11:41am

                                                                                                                                                                  There's no mileage in hailing Bradley a hero. No warm and fuzzy bleeding-heart feelings invoked. No public interest in a poor, misguided mis-fit of a kid, who couldn't get it together and risked all, never to be spoken of, seen or heard from again, so why should anyone care - least of all the media - the champions of the underdog.

                                                                                                                                                                  Same old 'power of association' and pandering to public opinion at work.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Tom :

                                                                                                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 9:37:20am

                                                                                                                                                                      Penelope Bell: You presume to speak for others, which shows your arrogance and how naive you really are. Bradley Manning has strengthened democracy, if you lack the ability to see how, then best if you don't comment.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Dino not to be confused with :

                                                                                                                                                                        06 Dec 2011 10:35:58am

                                                                                                                                                                        He is incommunicado. I can guarantee you there are many who care about him.

                                                                                                                                                            • Trekka :

                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 5:38:51pm

                                                                                                                                                              Everyone seems to be wilfully missing the point; he's in trouble for alleged sexual offences, nothing to do with Wikileaks. But then the left has a habit of excusing its heros of such offences, take Roman Polanski for example.

                                                                                                                                                                • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 7:19:14pm

                                                                                                                                                                  Is Julia G from the Left?
                                                                                                                                                                  It's nothing to do with "sexual offences," absolutely nothing to do with it!

                                                                                                                                                                    • Azrael :

                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 8:34:08pm

                                                                                                                                                                      JG is from the left-wing faction of the ALP (even if she doesn't act like it when in power).

                                                                                                                                                                      Secondly, sexual assault has a hell of a lot to do with it - it is what Assange is charged with. Sweden has far greater independence from the US than the UK does (yes, the UK, like Australia, South Africa and other commonwealth countries, has a strong tradition of the rule of law, but just as the history of the UK, South Africa, Australia etc shows, that is no guarantee of civil freedoms).

                                                                                                                                                                      All of the measures that the author is complaining about - hearing in front of judge alone in rape cases, lack of bail for sex offenders, exclusion of the media from rape cases - have all been won from the long-fought campaigns of feminists, seeking to reduce the infamous psychological scarring suffered by victims of rape during the trial process. Many victims of rape describe the trial as being akin to being 'raped all over again'. The measures that Tranter complains about were all hard-won rights that feminist and anti-rape groups sought in order to make it easier for women to report and prosecute rape.

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not saying that they are necessarily correct. But as someone with considerable experience as a criminal lawyer in Australia, I can say that I have never met a SINGLE lawyer in Australia who is completely happy with the way that prosecution and hearings of sexual assault trials occur in Australia, and most inquiries into the matter have suggested some combination of the measures adopted by Sweden.

                                                                                                                                                                      It is true that one of the alleged offences would be a minor offence in Britain, and is ALSO only a minor offence (a fine, akin to a driving offence) in Sweden. The other one is actually straight-up rape, and if the victim's story is true then he would be easily convicted of rape in Britain, or Australia for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                      I applaud the actions of wikileaks and Bradley Manning, and of Assange in contributing to them. But wikileaks is not just one man. Moreover, people are complex - I have seen FAR too many rapists walk free because the defence shows that they have done truly wonderful work for the community. The sad truth is, that sex offenders can come from any walk of life - they might be the greatest artist of our era, they might dedicate their whole lives to charity and they might be someone who strikes a blow for information and the public good over government control.

                                                                                                                                                                      Too many people cannot understand this, and so let rapists walk free, blaming the victim for blackening the name of such a distinguished individual. Sure, admire Assange's work, but let that stand as reason to mitigate his sentence when tried and if convicted.

                                                                                                                                                                      Almost ALL rapes involve a man's word against a woman's word. That's because they occur in private. Don't blame the victim for being in the same situtation as most rape victims everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                      For what it matters, the victims blogs leading up to the incident showed

                                                                                                                                                                        • bushranga :

                                                                                                                                                                          06 Dec 2011 9:23:21am

                                                                                                                                                                          Calling what Julian is accused of rape is degrading to anybody that has truly been raped. It demeans the term and trivialises the horror of a real rape. The term rape (and its connotations) should be reserved for the horrific event it is when it does occur or we risk that we all take the term for granted.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Jonathan :

                                                                                                                                                                            06 Dec 2011 1:38:35pm

                                                                                                                                                                            "… it is what Assange is charged with."
                                                                                                                                                                            No, he has not been charged with anything.

                                                                                                                                                                            Are you aware of the treaty between Sweden and the US that gives the US first crack at an accused? It allows for virtually no judicial review in Sweden. Britain is starting to more strongly resist its one-sided extradition treaty with the US. There are noises in the Parliament to amend it. In comparison, extradition from Sweden is a fait accompli.

                                                                                                                                                                        • marcus :

                                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 8:39:10pm

                                                                                                                                                                          The only charge he is facing is for various sexual misconducts. Otherwise he is free to come and go as he pleases. Free as a bird. Unlike his patsy Bradley.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Jonathan :

                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 11:40:33pm

                                                                                                                                                                              He has not even been charged with anything! This is sickeningly unjust. Manning is not a patsy - the WikiLeaks submission system makes it impossible to trace who has submitted any documents.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Zoltar :

                                                                                                                                                                                06 Dec 2011 12:53:55am

                                                                                                                                                                                Manning is in trouble for bragging about what he allegedly did.
                                                                                                                                                                                Assange is in trouble for sleeping with women whom allegedly bragged about their encounters, and then cried rape.

                                                                                                                                                                                Assange hasn't been charged.

                                                                                                                                                                        • sea mendez :

                                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 7:22:58pm

                                                                                                                                                                          Everyone has a habit of excusing their heros of such offences. The only difference is the left makes a great show of pretending they don't.

                                                                                                                                                                          Their attitude to the Assange allegations has been vile and short-sighted. Wait their dispicable back peddling when the alleged is a right wing politician.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Logan :

                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 7:32:43pm

                                                                                                                                                                            Offences he has already been questioned about, in Sweden.

                                                                                                                                                                            The two women involved both admit they had consensual sex with assange. Both bragged about the encounter through text message in one case and twitter in the other.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Hmmm :

                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 8:20:28pm

                                                                                                                                                                              It has everything to do with Wikileaks! The sexual assault charges, which may or may not be genuine (we may never know), are being used to "secure" Julian so the US can get their hands on him. And then it won't be about the sexual assault charges, will it?

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure the US has no interest in his crimes allegedly committed in Sweden. If (when?) he is shipped off to the US in a little red bow from Sweden, there is no doubt he will be tried for other manufactured "crimes" and murdered extra-judicially. The US has probably THE WORST record of human rights abuses and continues to act against the principles their country was founded upon.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Helvi :

                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 8:31:37pm

                                                                                                                                                                                All I want to know about Roman Polanski is the quality of his movies, of his art.
                                                                                                                                                                                He made good movies,I'm not interested in his private life, nor his politics.
                                                                                                                                                                                The same goes for any artist, Picasso, Patrick White, Tolstoi, any of them...

                                                                                                                                                                                  • SueB :

                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 9:23:42pm

                                                                                                                                                                                    Does being an artist mean you can drug and rape a 13 year old girl?


                                                                                                                                                                                    • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                                      06 Dec 2011 7:36:25am

                                                                                                                                                                                      You mean, Helvi, you don't care if they're mass murderers, rapists, terrorists...
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sure you can evaluate and analyse and even consider their art great but you don't care what sort of human beings they are and what damage they might have caused other human beings?

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mark James :

                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 8:42:36pm

                                                                                                                                                                                    Trekka, Samantha Geimer excused Polanski for his offences. Is she one of 'the Left' too? http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/07/roman-polanski-victim-director-is-not-a-threat-prosecution-should-end.html

                                                                                                                                                                                    And how about that well-known lefty, Margaret Thatcher, excusing General Pinochet for his offences? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/304516.stm

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Trekka :

                                                                                                                                                                                        06 Dec 2011 6:14:25am

                                                                                                                                                                                        It is not in her remit to forgive him, its simply illegal to rape 13 year old girls no matter what they think about it at the time or latter. Look at the comments, makes my point, still forgiving him in the name of art, unbelievable.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Albert :

                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 5:31:53pm

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's sad that so called great democratic nations are playing mockery with people.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The worlds leaders better correct the course or face another revolution led by China to have their model of communist rule On so called developed and developing democratic nations.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Assage is true leader of unheard people voices from India, Africa, and next generations.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 5:28:16pm

                                                                                                                                                                                    Once again, enormous thanks, Kellie!
                                                                                                                                                                                    How like her son is his mother! Tireless, passionate, intelligent, relentless protector of justice!
                                                                                                                                                                                    How unlike our PM, who is yet to understand the full significance of her job and to do it justice.
                                                                                                                                                                                    The more virtuous your deed the more it will be attacked by the crass that have risen to the surface.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • BarondeCharlus :

                                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 5:26:22pm

                                                                                                                                                                                      The fact is that the Wikileaks documents is the greatest scoop in the entire history of journalism.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It may have been a little easier to obtain the documents than the Pentagon Papers, but they were essentially a report not a dossier.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Unlike Ellsberg, Assange never stole anything. All he did was publish it in association with newspapers that disowned him in a cowardly manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Even Ellsberg also gave up on the NYT which finally only published the Pentagon Papers because if they refused them they were still going to be published and hence their refusal would look cowardly.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The fourth estate is guilty of both envy and cowardice in their collective reluctance to support someone who has revivified the act of journalism.

                                                                                                                                                                                      To know that our Chinese-speaking Foreign Minister is nudging his American colleagues to war against China, if necessary, is something that it is important to know for our survival, and is anything else more importatnt.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • BlackMagic :

                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 5:25:04pm

                                                                                                                                                                                        "I took the opportunity to catch up with Christine Assange last week"

                                                                                                                                                                                        You should also have taken the opportunity to catch up with the facts of the case Kellie. He's only wanted for questioning in Sweden. There's no warrant out for his arrest, nor has he been charged with any offence, but your third paragraph has him being extradited to the US in the blink of a jaundiced eye.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't get past the third paragraph; it didn't seem worth the time. You've declared where your interests lie and your interests doesn't interest me.

                                                                                                                                                                                        One question though: if Assange is so confident he has no case to answer on the rape accusations why is he burning up so much effort and money trying to avoid his day in a Swedish court?

                                                                                                                                                                                          • David Ferstat :

                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 6:04:56pm

                                                                                                                                                                                            "One question though: if Assange is so confident he has no case to answer on the rape accusations why is he burning up so much effort and money trying to avoid his day in a Swedish court?"

                                                                                                                                                                                            If you'd bothered to read the article, instead of proudly waving the flag of your ignorance from the battlements, you'd know the answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            As Ms Tranter observed, Sweden "has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for rendering people to the CIA in breach of international law ..."

                                                                                                                                                                                              • BlackMagic :

                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 9:46:15pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                If you'd bothered to read my comment, instead of proudly waving the flag of your rudeness from the battlements, you'd know that I stopped reading the article after paragraph three.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Paragraph three contains a lot of colourful suggestions and allegations, including your quote about Sweden "rendering people to the CIA". Sweden did that once, in 2001, and ended up paying one of the people rendered $500,000 compensation. It's hardly likely that Sweden would allow Assange to disappear from its jurisdiction in such a high-profile case as this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Your poster boy, who incidentally is well known for not having a fixed abode, has been asked to answer questions in a sexual assault allegation. He doesn't seem to be prepared to provide the answers on Swedish soil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Now I suggest you have a Bex and a lie down. There's a good boy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • ant :

                                                                                                                                                                                                    06 Dec 2011 8:13:31am

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Your poster boy, who incidentally is well known for not having a fixed abode, has been asked to answer questions in a sexual assault allegation. He doesn't seem to be prepared to provide the answers on Swedish soil."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not having a fixed abode? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Is there no end to his perfidy? Assange went voluntarily to the Swedish police, twice, and stayed around for forty days. The police told him they had no interest in arresting him. The original public prosecutor dropped the case like a hot potato and said he had no case to answer. Only when a politician got involved - a politician who as Minister for Justice was involved in 'rendering' asylum seekers to the CIA who sent them to Egypt where they were tortured, did that change. This politician got the ball rolling again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's also more than a little strange that after Assange went to the police for a second time and was interviewed by them, prior to leaving Sweden for Britain, the website of the Public Prosecutor's office waited until he had left Sweden to announce that Assange was being charged in his absence with rape, giving the impression that he was a criminal on the run. And however you want to spin all this you can't change the fact that the politician who insisted the case be re-opened is the man who rendered those men to the CIA, knowing they would be tortured. And what woman who has been raped boasts about having the man in question in her bed and calls him and his friends, in a tweet, 'the coolest people on the planet'? What woman who has been raped throws a big party for the man in question the next day? Once the 'rape' stories were being thrown around the tweets were removed. The rape allegations have still, after a year, not led to charges and it's obvious they are only a holding tactic to keep Assange where they can see him while they try to get a grand jury indictment for espionage up in America. It's hard to see how that charge will ever stick since the First Amendment protects freedom of the press and freedom of speech. It's a political witchhunt. His enemies know it is, but they also suspect they can't make anything stick in court on espionage charges. Thus the 'rape' allegations to both blacken his name and keep him under house arrest, uncharged with anything while they think of something to charge him with.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Logan :

                                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 6:10:33pm

                                                                                                                                                                                              Since when is someone extradited without any charges being laid?

                                                                                                                                                                                              If they can extradite him to Sweden for questioning, then why is it so unbelievable they will extradite him to the U.S, also for 'questioning'.

                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW, he already has been questioned in Sweden and complied with Swedish authorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The only thing that could possibly amount to rape in this case is the accusation that he deliberately broke a condom. The woman admits she did not see this, and only infers it. The same woman still allowed him to sleep in the same house, did not make a complaint for several days and in fact bragged about it on twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you realise that in Sweden it is also rape to have sex with a prostitute?

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sunny - the real one :

                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 6:32:46pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                Clue. Julian Assange may have better things to do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                • drjohn :

                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 7:28:33pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would suggest that his fears of the powers that be are entirely justified. What would you do to avoid facing court or questioning in a foreign country if you knew you were innocent? Much the same as Julian Assange most likely.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • ABC4LNP :

                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 5:22:49pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                This is so obviously a witch hunt, why don't they just come to England and quesiton him, Aus govt must act on this

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Liars Machine :

                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 5:06:30pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Politics in Sweden is indeed an opaque game!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Citizens often called: En Svensk Tiger translated to A Swedish Tiger, and meaning; Swedes remains silent and shut-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The expression was coined during the second world war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • RJB :

                                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 5:05:46pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry. I don't buy it. Perhaps if it was just the interview without the heavily one sided opinion piece it was wrapped in; but no, I had trouble keeping on after the third, paranoid, conspiratorial paragraph. Did you intentionally mean to not include the bit about why he is potentially heading to Sweden in the first place? You know, the 'R' word?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • David Ferstat :

                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 6:27:31pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, you mean rape?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oddly enough, the Swedes haven't laid rape charges against him. They say that they only want to interview him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        But, if they only want to question him, surely it would be cheaper to fly two prosecutors or policeman to London than to pay (invariably expensive) lawyers to chase him through the courts?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Matheus :

                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 8:50:08pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Would he have to talk to Swedish prosecutors if they came to visit him in the UK? Just a question. I think not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Jonathan :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 11:34:08pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                At multiple points when he was in Sweden, his lawyer offered that he would answer questions at a police stations. These offers were turned down. Ditto when he was back in Britain. The legal system is being abused for political ends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • margaret :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  06 Dec 2011 5:25:04am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually you are wrong there. He has already spoken to the Swedes, and would do so again if they came to the UK.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This whole "rape" case in Sweden was resolved until the Bradley Manning thing, and then all of a sudden it became good politics in Sweden to re open the "investigation".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Craig :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    06 Dec 2011 5:59:17am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Assange has volunteered to talk to Swedish police or prosecutors in The UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He also made himself available for several days whilst still in Sweden to speak to the prosecutor. The prosecutor declined the offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Assange has made it clear he is ready to talk, just not in Sweden (or the US).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Even if you believed (falsely) that he was unwilling to talk to the Swedes in the UK, how does extraditing him to Sweden increase the chances of him talking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The only possible reason for the extradition is to remove him from the public eye, into Sweden's closed door courts, a locked cell and then a bundling to the US for further secret 'justice'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And the real criminals in this are the Australian Government, who have abandoned one of our citizens due to pressure from another nation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This could happen to anyone in Australia.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We do not live in an independent democracy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Vivian :

                                                                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 5:04:46pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think Kellie Tranter's article is a well argued one and I continue to fear for the safety of Julian Assange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Giskard :

                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 5:02:48pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                            What basis do you have to assume that he will be extradited from Sweden to the US? None, do you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mike :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 5:33:46pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Members of the US Congress have openly called for Assange to be assassinated. Given Sweden's history of supporting illegal renditions to the USA, this should be sufficient cause.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Liars Machine :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 5:37:27pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here is the answer to your question!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As the Swedish Prime Minister already, a half a year ago, publicly to the world media described Julian Assange to be the: "Peoples Enemy Number One", what do you think his government appointed/issued Judge and Jury shall say, to not lose their position's or face?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Something similar was said by the Australian PM the very same point in time and during court procedures.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That just simply can't be legal!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • MJMI :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 5:01:39pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Christine Assange is up there with Terry Hicks in the pantheon of parents who stood with their kids when the going got tough. I admire them both and am appalled at the continuing failure of our political "leaders" Gillard and Abbott to support an Australian citizen in dire straits. Quite a different outcome when a 14 yo acts stupidly in Bali - because obviously big brother USA was not upset by that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                But the rendition of Hicks to Guantanamo gives us legitimate concern that the USA will stop at nothing to silence Julian Assange. And the Swedish Government is as bad as ours in its keenness to curry favour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Kellie for reminding us what is at stake here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • gc :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 4:48:08pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And for your conviction to Kellie, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is truly sickening that we have such a pathetic bunch of moral cowards deciding the truth is inconvenient to their collective mouths in the trough operations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • scott :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 4:47:13pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Regardless of what you think about Assange, the way that various governments, Australia's most of all, has been viscious, cowardly and dishonest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Chi :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 4:39:24pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "there is nothing more terrifying for the power elite than an educated, questioning and unified populace"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well they're not likely to be to worried at the moment then. Of the three things listed, questioning is the only one that's getting a little bit of a work out. And even that is fairly superficial, more akin to complaining really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "For the rest of us, she asks mainly that we speak up" That's a bit of an ask for a bunch of sheep. It's been a long time since "Animal Farm" but the parallel of the powerfull with their snouts in the trough while the sheep get fleeced or slaughtered seems about right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Just as our politicians and our Prime Minister mustn't forget their duty to an Australian in peril."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They'll ignore it as long as the media and the people do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • _robert :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 4:33:23pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Assange deserves our support? Is that a joke? He wasn't elected. He isn't part of the traditional media. He didn't have a history of community activism prior to starting wikileaks. Who is this guy again? Can anyone tell me exactly what he does with money donated to wikileaks? If not then he's no better than a Nigerian lottery scam artist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ant :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 5:07:02pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They came for Bradley Manning and I did nothing. They came for Julian Assange and I did nothing. By the time they came for me there was no one left to do anything. Wake up _robert. Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for all of us and for democracy and freedom of information and freedom of speech. Your comparison of Assange with a Nigerian lottery scam artist is beneath contempt and makes it clear that you just don't understand what's going on or what's at stake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The fact that he isn't elected and isn't part of the traditional media is what gives him credibility since both these branches of civil society have lost all credibility by their cowardice and deceit and their addiction to right wing agendas instead of the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • John :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 5:15:24pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What about his rape accusation. sweep under the carpet eh? You must raise both sides

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 5:32:40pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No charges have yet been drawn. Not by any judicial body, anyhow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Mike :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 5:37:09pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John, the Swedish police have had every opportunity to go to London and question him. Instead they want to extradite him. The normal method of questioning is to issue a summons. An Interpol Red Notice for somebody who has not been charged with any crime is highly unusual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And Sweden has a very different definition of rape to the rest of the world. If you have consensual sex and the condom breaks, under Swedish law that is rape. That would not be a crime anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • hph :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 6:08:10pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What about it, John?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is it true? Is it false?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Annies Banora Points :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 6:47:05pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John - It was my understanding that the woman who was making this claim refused to sign it and walked out. The Prosecutor decided to proceed regardless. It is also my understandint that if in Australia someone made a claim of this type and decided not to proceed with it - it would not be acted on by the police. My point is why? I think we all know the answer to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sunny - the real one :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 7:15:19pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Any excuse to string him up? That issue had been covered ad-nauseum. If you need to pick on something largely irrelevant to the whole picture, then your nose may be the handiest place to start at...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Reeper (The Original) :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 9:08:35pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Its not a rape charge. Its not even a charge at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He is wanted for questioning over an incident where a condom was not used during consensual sex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 5:31:55pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jeeezus, ant you always tear the thoughts out of my brain!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How do you do that? Martin Niemoller and Hemingway flooded my brain from Kellie's first sentence!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • ant :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 8:02:34pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was actually thinking of John Donne and Niemoller, atomou, but Hemingway fits as well. Donne also wrote that 'no man is an island'. The people who criticize Assange as if HE'S their enemy always forget that, if they ever knew it. His fate is ours if the present direction of western society continues on its wayward path. Once you criminalize freedom of speech and freedom of information and turn the justice system into a weapon of political revenge you don't have to be too clever to work out that Big Brother has won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Annies Banora Points :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 10:37:50pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  very well said ant! I just got a clear visual now why you chose your ID while reading your post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What amazes me also is that mainstream media who are run by 'very rich people' are fine by govts regardless of their personal agendered propaganda but as soon as someone who delivers volumes of free info on the NET its declared as theft a massive threat to all humankind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Anon :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 5:54:23pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The fact he isn't elected means he has no right to make decisions on the confidentiality of documents or information.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Logan :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 7:35:42pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Does the same go for the newspapers?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Brett :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 7:43:03pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So what? It also means he has no obligation to keep the secrets of a foreign government either. Power relies on attitudes like yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • ant :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 7:45:24pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Daniel Ellsberg wasn't elected either but he still decided that he couldn't allow Nixon and the Pentagon to go on lying about the Vietnam War. When the case went to court, a case for which he could have been sentenced to life in prison, the judge decided that the public had a right to know what Ellsberg wanted to tell them, he threw the case out and Ellsberg walked free. The public has a right to know what Assange wants to tell them too. And if the media won't tell them, as was the case with Ellsberg too, then someone who can tell them has to do it, even at great risk to themselves. If people like Ellsberg and Assange didn't exist at certain points in human history, someone would have to invent them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As Eugene Debs said when he was in court on a charge of contempt of court:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "It seems to me", said Debs, "that if it were not for the resistance to degrading conditions, the tendency of our whole civilization would be downward. After a while, we would reach the point where there would be no resistance and slavery would come".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (From 'A People's History of the United States', Howard Zinn).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is precisely the situation of democracy and freedom of speech at this time in history and only a very gullible person would believe that the Pentagon and the American elite want to protect either. Needless to say I see the rape charges as part of a political witchhunt to silence Assange and Wikileaks, and most people with a sense of justice see them the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sunny - the real one :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 6:41:00pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And to think _robert that Assange's actions may have worked to your benefit, too?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nigerian lottery scam? Now, that's really low of you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • VoR :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 4:30:08pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In an article where the opening sentence is that Assange and his team have changed the world, I would have expected some mention of what that change is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • allanna :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    05 Dec 2011 5:05:05pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She rightly assumes that most of us are aware of the changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Fiona :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 5:23:58pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think the only change will be that governments will be even more careful about keeping their secrets secret !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sunny - the real one :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 7:18:26pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd prefer that governments would be more careful and honest, not acting like rogue traders behind our backs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sarah :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          05 Dec 2011 5:25:49pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't see any change - Changing the world is a very difficult thing to do and very few people have done that. I would love for someone to explain to me how Julian Assange changed the world. Assuming isn't a very good thing to do...you know what they say about people who assume....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Annies Banora Points :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 6:55:52pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sarah - maybe the ultimate change will be that people all over the world have since Wikileaks realised that all is not futile everyone can extend their values their sense of right and wrong into the public sphere and be heard that the current recipe is 'power corrupts power' - that everyone can have a voice no matter how big or small the ramifications.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • dubious the third :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                05 Dec 2011 7:31:02pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sarah, have you heard of the Arab Sring, or maybe you've heard of the Occupy movement. These are based on citizens getting information previously secreted by their despots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sarah :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 10:53:06pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually the occupy movement started due to high unemployment rates and big banks being bailed out. At least these are the two most cited reasons - and both were not found out due to wikileaks. Another cited reason is corporatism, which was already a well known occurence before wikileaks. Therefore, instead of stating to me 'have you heard of the arab spring and occupy', you actually have to draw a connection between wikileaks and those two events, rather than just stating that there is one, considering that is very thing that i disagree with. Now i would love you to show me how the arab spring and occupy would not have occured if it was not for julian assange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Eddy :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    06 Dec 2011 8:01:51am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sarah: I am part of the occupy movement and the courage of Julian Assange inspired me and the information he revealed about corrupt corporations, banks and government informed my deision to be part of the occupy movement. Assange made information regarding the corruption accessible and available to many people. The trouble with people like you is you are just like the corporstions, you want to tell others what they think and believe your subjective opinion is an objective fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 5:20:58pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rest assured, VoR, if he hadn't changed the world, he wouldn't have been so vigorously pursued -and feared- by the most crass criminals of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • VoR :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  05 Dec 2011 8:07:19pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So let me in on the secret, atomou! What is/are the change(s)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I do think it is a bit of a stretch calling the Swedish government the most crass criminals in the world. Crass would be more a description of how Assange has talked about his accusers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • sea mendez :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 8:54:05pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apparently the alledged victims went to the police because they were in a 'tizzy' about STDs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You can read about it in the AM archive:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      STDs like AIDS which even when controlled by anti-viral causes dementia and organ failure in 50 year olds. Or HPV which is the cause of every case of cervical cancer. Or Chlymidia or ghonorea which in women can cause fatal PID and infertility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Promiscuity is a risk factor. The nmore partners you have or your partner has they greater the risk. Not using condoms is a risk factor.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lets hear for the great man! He can do no wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • fizz :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 9:36:40pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Are you suggesting that only J Assange was promiscuous? There are any number of interpretations that could be made on the statements available in the press - any press - yes, a valid fear of STD's is one, as is a petulant reaction to discovering you weren't the 'only' one. Until ALL sides of the story are fully tested and made public, in their entirety, such myriad versions of events will continue to proliferate. Even after all information is diseminated, there will still be objections raised to whatever the outcome is.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How about reserving ill-informed judgments until such time as they can no longer be ill-informed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sea Mendez :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          06 Dec 2011 8:47:46am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Are you suggesting that only J Assange was promiscuous?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not suggesting anyone was promiscuous. I am suggesting the women (given what they knew) could reasonably suspect he was promiscuous. What was it? Two partners in 24 hours (I might be wrong)?This probably contributed to their 'tizzy'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you are really concerned about testing the allegations you should attend to commentors here that have declared Assange innocent (or those that have declared the Apache pilots guilty of murder). I have no opinion as to Assange's guilt or innocence. I can't have because I haven't seen the evidence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • atomou :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            06 Dec 2011 6:58:26am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, no charges, VoR! This is the crass criminals' MO. No official charges until they've got you inside their slimy fingers. Then, no one hears about either you or their charges. People will see a lot of sickening lies about you in the media: you are a terrorist, a rapist, a baby molester, a mass murderer... and your govn't -Oz, UK, (well maybe not the UK as badly) and the US will go to sleep on you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These crass criminals have a long history of exactly such an MO. One could begin looking at some of the chapters of this history in, say, Geoff. Robertson's "The Justice Game."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Vor :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              06 Dec 2011 9:29:49am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just don't know, atomou. I understand that's standard procedure in Sweden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If it is a terrible flaw in their system then it should be fixed, but it's way out of my expertise to even form an opinion on whether it IS a flaw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But one of the findings of the British Court which recently upheld the extradition is that the actions of which he is accused are offences under British law as well as Swedish law. I'd like to see him brought to account for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The argument that the Swedish legal system is so heavily flawed that no-one accused of a crime there should be brought to account doesn't work for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then we're left with the argument that Assange is so special because of his involvement with Wikileaks that he should be above the law, and that doesn't work for me either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • David Ferstat :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 6:29:26pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But he hasn't actually been charged, which is one of the questions about the arrest warrant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Swedes say that he's only wanted for questioning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • charles e. harley :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      05 Dec 2011 4:17:42pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      one shoots the messenger to deter others from delivering his word. others will, nonetheless, strive to deliver the message. at the cost of their love and lives. I believe the contest is ultimately pointless, interim sheer, bloody hell. the bells of hell go ding-aling-aling. 'Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • a_boy :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        05 Dec 2011 4:12:44pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you Kellie Tranter for this essay. Assange has been attacked brutally for daring to expose to public gaze the machinations of the powerful elite in world politics. That was long overdue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm very sad that Sweden, a country I love and have visited many times, has retreated to the neo-fascist stance it took in WWII when it was scarcely neutral. My Swedish friends say as much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Julia Gillard should do her best as PM to protect an Australian citizen from the efforts of US extremists, who wish to do him harm, to have him rendered into their clutches. He embarrassed the, by daring to expose their inadequacies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • EL :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            05 Dec 2011 7:06:43pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Julian Assange is indeed being persecuted for standing up and revealing government's dirty secrets. For nothing else. Yes all governments have secrets and I don't agree all should be open slather. But I applaud revealing lies and humanitarian outrages such as Wikileaks and its brave people have done. Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sunny - the real one :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              05 Dec 2011 7:37:06pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have many friends in Sweden, a place I also visited many times. Whilst I am not a rapist suspect, I wouldn't set foot there again exposed to draconian, over-the-top laws. Sweden was said to be a neutral country, something that has been compromised due to US heavy handed pressure now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry to Matt, Barbaro, Sakari, Nono, Janne and the rest - you'll have to visit me here from now on - if Gillard and Obama permits...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              'I do not want to be associated with anyone or anything, anymore'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -TURE SJOLANDER
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Me - My own Network