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Thursday 11 April 2019

Julian Assange - A Nation Mourns

After almost seven years, the Government of Ecuador became so fed up of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that they withdrew his asylum protection. So it was that this morning - with Ruptly, that’s Russian state media, folks, getting the exclusive - the Metropolitan Police arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy to be invited in and inform The Great Man that he was nicked. And so the fun begins.
Although the BBC has reported thatThe Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court”, they have also told “Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped”. So what happens after he gets done for failing to appear at court in 2012?
A clue can be found in this snippet from the Beeb report: “Mr Assange, 47, had refused to leave the embassy, claiming if he did he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks”. WikiLeaks has been regarded as one of those contributing to the 2016 election success of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. But if Assange thinks he’ll get any favours from the White House, he’ll be disappointed.
Trump won’t lift a finger unless there is some contractual obligation he can’t worm his way out of, or Assange has some serious dirt on him. He doesn’t do kindness of his heart favours. Also, as Carl Gardner has pointed out, “We could get into complex legal territory again here if Assange is tried for a bail offence, and if his lawyers ask for a substantial adjournment to prepare complex legal arguments - especially if Sweden also issues a fresh European Arrest Warrant”. Then there is potential extradition to the USA.
It only needs the Democratic Party to demonstrate to the authorities that WikiLeaks committed a potential felony-level act in its information gathering activities for an extradition warrant to be issued. The prospects of Assange being tied up with trials and their consequences for many years to come is all too real.
But what of all that public support, especially considering the useful work WikiLeaks performed before Assange made his dash for the Ecuadorian embassy? Ah well. Jules is not an exactly sympathetic character. The Guardian’s Martin Rowson put it this way: “imagine what Wikileaks could've achieved in dismantling the Secret State if it hadn't been in the hands of a burning boats & bridges Messianic knob”. Quite.
And Shaun Lawson has put straight those who would still support Assange: “This is one of those occasions when many will, I'm sure, profoundly disagree. But Julian Assange is a creep, a hypocrite, a longtime fugitive from justice, and no friend whatsoever to freedom of speech. He helped get Trump into power and has abused his Ecuadorian hospitality”.
Also, no-one should expect the likes of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to stand bail for him. Or any of those who posted sureties last time, only to see their trust abused. Yes, Assange was clearly in a dreadful state when he was hauled off by the Met. But it was his choice to take refuge there. His influential pals will be keeping schtum while the law takes its course.

Julian Assange is last year’s cause célèbre. The media circus has moved on.
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Anonymous said...

Tim, I'm surprised you're joining the MSM's misrepresentation and vilification of Assange, in contrast to Ewen MacAskill, Glenn Greenwald, Peter, Geoffrey Robertson and Peter Tatchell, for example.

Craig Murray points out that Assange faces extradition to the United States "on charges arising from the Chelsea Manning releases which revealed a huge amount about US war crimes and other illegal acts."

He adds "It will be very important to try to focus a hostile media on why it is Julian is actually wanted for extradition. Not for the non-existent collusion with Russia to assist Trump, which is an entirely fake narrative. Not for meetings with Manafort which never happened. Not for the allegations in Sweden which fell apart immediately they were subject to rational scrutiny. And not for any nonsense about whether he hacked the communications in the Embassy or cleaned up the cat litter.

This is not going to be an easy task because pretty well all of the Western media is going to want to focus on these false anti-Assange narratives, and they will be determined to give as little attention as possible to the fact he is a publisher facing trial for publishing leaked state documents which revealed state wrongdoing."

Tim Fenton said...

Dissenting views are always welcome in response to posts.

Personal abuse and name-calling are not.

So the above comment has been passed, despite not agreeing with what was posted. Other comments were not.

Nigel Stapley said...

Sorry, but this simply won't do.

I have asked before what your personal animus against Assange is, but without receiving an answer.

If you think that he is - as they would put it in New York - a joik, then that is of course your privilege, although I don't suppose you've met him personally any more than I have.

This does not, I would submit, entitle you or anyone else to hug themselves smugly at the sight of seeing someone who exposed the gross illegality of the US government and its agents being dragged from a place of safety (after an act of cowardice by the current President of Ecuador - an act which has been roundly condemned by his predecessor) and then placed in prison to face what is likely to be a rubber-stamped extradition process ('rubber-stamped', because the UK government is desperate for allies right now, and the odious Sajid Javid has already been posturing about it), and shipped off to a minimum five-year sentence in the US (and that's even if the US prosecutors can be believed).

If this is allowed to stand and to proceed, no journalist (at least, no journalist who takes their job seriously by trying to tell the truth to the public and tell truth to power) anywhere will be safe from the over-reach of the most powerful states on the planet.

Your sneering is unbecoming, and your repeating of the snide remarks of an employee of the Guardian is particularly regrettable, seeing as that paper gained huge kudos by publishing the material Wikileaks made available, only to stab them and him in the back when it later suited them.

It is unfortunate that, in the name of some personal distaste, you should retail such nonsense (along with the claptrap about Wikileaks colluding with Russia and the Trump campaign, to which the previous commenter refers).

On this matter at least, you seem not merely to have jumped the shark, but stuffed and mounted it as well.

Anonymous said...

Those defending Assange as a journalist need to read the indictment. It's alleged he actually hacked the website of a government department which is a serious crime. He may well be a whistle blower and journalist but hacking is a crime.
Even if only urged Chelsea Manning to hack the website (and it's alleged Manning aided in the hacking)it's still a crime if guilty even if he is a journalist.
I haven't a clue whether Assange is guilty or not and feel he has done his penance if he has committed a crime even if it was self imposed.
But he clearly is a man who has self deluded himself that he is above all sanction. Perhaps Ecuador is fibbing about Assange's actions in the Embassy but he has a long history of activism while in sanctity which would seem to breach the notion of that sanctity but Assange's personality seems to reek of arrogance that he is above all niceties.
He shouldn't be punished for that but he & Wikileak's endless actions have given whistle- blowing a bad name.
Why Assange went all partisan and aided trump by releasing Clinton's emails which were guaranteed to damage her and give the world the creature now in the white house reeks of the sort of actions the vile Steve Bannon tactics of destroying everything and to wait and see what arises no matter how many people are damaged in the meantime.
Assange's bizarre arrogance is what got him where he is today.

Justin Hunneyball said...

I don't usually comment on anything, and I respect and enjoy your normal posts, however on this point I must respectfully state I believe you have called this one wrong.

Whatever your personal opinion of Assange may be, and however accurate your descriptions of his character may be, they are irrelevant. Assange is being arrested and extradited for revealing evidence of illegal activity by the US government.

Accusations of sexual assault seem regularly to be made against whistle-blowers.

If the press are not able to expose government wrong-doing, then governments will increasingly act with impunity. And it appears governments do not often act in the best interests of the people they claim to represent, but rather in the interests of the rich and powerful.

This is a sad day.

Please take the time to research more about the Assange case, and take the writings in the Guardian and other MSM with a large pinch of salt.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

Damn, Tim, I thought you were one of the good ones, the way you covered the press and the Murdoch hacking.

I don't care about agreement, or any purity test, but I do need critical faculties, and ideally, evidence.

I really beg you to please re-consider, if you're supported by history and evidence, that's fine.