News & Commentary

Julian Assange is a publisher, not a wicked agent of the Kremlin

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In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to think about any news organisation whose content you gratefully consume. I’ll do this for the sake of an argument in support of WikiLeaks, a publisher whose end last week became a “priority” for the US Attorney General. I’ll ask you to consider what you value about the news outlet you favour for, say, two-three minutes. Do that, and receive the prize of my consent; you can fill the comments with all the calumny you will!

No, not yet. Before you race to the bottom to declare that any advocate for WikiLeaks must also be (a) an unwitting agent of the Kremlin and/or (b) the enthusiastic assistant of rapists, I’d really like you to think about why you, an Australian, should instead be writing to your local member in support of Julian Assange, another Australian against whom the US Department of Justice is currently preparing its case for arrest.

Remembering what it is that we like about news and journalism generally, we must ask if WikiLeaks was wrong to publish these documents.

Yes, I understand that this is difficult. The publisher Julian Assange is not easy to love, for several reasons. First, he is wanted for further questioning by Swedish authorities in relation to allegations initially dismissed in 2010—he is not “on rape charges” or any kind of charge, per the frequent declarations of local press. Second, he is clearly a bit of an oddball who spends his many spare hours in a small room in London’s Embassy of Ecuador mauling the history of Western thought—nobody likes an eerily pale wanker, as I know firsthand. Third, during the recent US election, he published a trove of documents known as the Podesta emails which revealed the collusion between and discrete dishonesty of Hillary Clinton’s campaign team and the Democratic National Committee.

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There are many, both here and in the US, who hold that the Podesta emails harmed Clinton’s presidential chances and assisted the election of a big bag of circus peanuts sometimes known as Donald. Here’s an viral bucket of wilful delusion in The Guardian which upturns the “analysis” that Assange, in word and deed, had favoured Trump. Obviously, writes Ben Jacobs, Assange is a meanie who just can’t stand strong and courageous persons like Hillary, whose sole crime—save for the fatal failure to propose an exit strategy after her invasion of Libya, her ongoing support for market-friendly policy that created a discontented class ravenous for any sort of political change, her revulsion for welfare etc.—was to be female. That’s why Julian released the emails, right? Misogyny! And THEN he said that Trump was “not a DC insider”, a statement of fact that, according to Jacobs, translates from the original Assange to, “I worship Donald Trump with the full force of my libido and all my naked soul.”

Jacobs’ piece, proficiently trashed over at The Intercept, typifies the moderate mainstream media view of Assange: WikiLeaks has a personal grudge against Clinton/all women; WikiLeaks loves Trump; WikiLeaks is acting, whether consciously or not, on the behalf of Vladimir Putin.

There has been, to date, no proof publicly proffered that the Podesta leak had a Russian source, or that Assange has a partiality for Russia.

The last claim is one even our local left-liberal writers are eager to advance. How do they know that Assange is basically Russian? Well, apparently, Assange once had a show on the Russian state-funded network, RT. Wrestler-turned-Governor Jesse Ventura, Larry King and the Presbyterian socialist Chris Hedges are among those currently employed by RT. The Australian Minskyan economist Steve Keen is a frequent guest on RT, as are those so courageously refusing to budge from Standing Rock. But, the only person or group from RT’s wide political spectrum regularly charged with Russian involvement is its former employee, Assange, whose brief appearance on the network makes him no more an ally of Putin than current broadcasters on our ABC’s international services are advocates for Malcolm Turnbull.

There has been, to date, no proof publicly proffered that the Podesta leak had a Russian source, or that Assange has a partiality for Russia. No. Whatever you say, there has not. This is all speculation, and some guff about the use of a Cyrillic keyboard to hack the emails of a man, John Podesta, who appears to reveal his password as “p@ssw0rd” here and once left his smartphone in a cab, is not proof.

Of course, it may turn out that an agent of the Russian state did hack Podesta’s account and turn the documents over to WikiLeaks. It may even turn out that Assange is not a nice bloke, perhaps even sexist. Let’s pretend that both things are true. Then, let’s consider how these facts change those published by WikiLeaks. The DNC remains just as corrupt and Hillary Clinton remains just as close to Wall St interests. The character of Assange and the identity of his sources do not change what the documents reveal.

Now, I want you to think about your preferred source for news. I want you to scrutinise what moral demands you make of the publisher, the journalists, the integrity of the sources. Let’s say you have fond memories of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, so continue to favour the Washington Post. Did you admire the Watergate revelations before knowing the identity of source, Deep Throat? When you learned that this man was Mark Felt, responsible for undermining the Black Power movement of the early ‘70s, did the esteem in which you held the Woodstein investigation collapse? And, when Jeff Bezos, a business owner who built his fortune on exploitative labour practice, bought the publication, did you dismiss it altogether? Were you troubled when Bezos, once a professed libertarian, became enamoured of Clinton at around the time her State Department made a deal with his company Amazon to launch the product Kindle as a standard e-reader for many citizens of the Global South? Did this profitable act of proprietary imperialism cause you to ask one question about the integrity of the Post, or were you just happy to continue reading its cheerleading for Hillary Clinton, confident that this outlet was a part of the truly free press, while WikiLeaks continued to serve Russia?

Look. By all means enjoy the Post. Enjoy Fairfax publications or continue your curious habit of reading Andrew Bolt. But, still, you cannot rationally permit yourself to believe that these publications are somehow freer from influence than WikiLeaks or more meticulous about the virtue of their sources.

I cannot argue that the release of documents did not harm Clinton’s chances in the election—although I imagine that the neoliberal-led decline of the US middle-class had more influence.

As I have made quite plain, I happen to be very fond of WikiLeaks. It’s a publication I favour. I value the Podesta emails for what they, sans editorial, tell me about the nature of contemporary power. That a Citigroup executive, later to be employed in a trade role by the Obama administration, had his advice taken on cabinet appointments is shocking to me. That the religious position of Bernie Sanders was negatively discussed is not shocking, but appalling nonetheless. That Clinton was handed purportedly spontaneous TV debate questions in advance by a DNC staffer while Sanders had no such advantage just ain’t playing fair. That Wall Street received the personal, and highly paid, assurance from Clinton there was one economic story that she’d tell them and another tailored for voters is, for mine, an unambiguous declaration that the nominee upheld her faith in the now widely discredited doctrine of neoliberalism.

Although many moderate publications—those that many hold are far freer from influence than WikiLeaks—insist that this trove contains traces of nothing spicier than Podesta’s recipe for creamy risotto, I have found the opposite to be true. It is my view that these emails, while not as immediately incriminating as the material that gave us a true picture of the barbarism of the Bush administration during the Iraq War, offer an important picture of power.

I cannot argue, of course, that the release of documents did not harm Clinton’s chances in the election—although I imagine that the neoliberal-led decline of the US middle-class had more influence; in shock news, the liar promising jobs is likely to diminish support from the other liar not promising them. Strangely, moderate mainstream publications do argue that the emails were anodyne, while simultaneously arguing that they managed to decide the election.

But, remembering what it is that we like about news and journalism generally, we must ask if WikiLeaks was wrong to publish these documents. Or, at the very least, wrong enough for founder Julian Assange to be charged for acting like a publisher, thereby imperilling all publishers, even the ones you might like.

I do understand, and even feel, that the idea of HRC as Commander in Chief is more comforting than the reality of that orange vat of chaotic sick. But, I do not understand any argument against publishing.

Like it or not, WikiLeaks is a publisher. Journalists and keen media watchers might not approve of the emerging use of algorithms to publish, they might think that the volume of material is unreasonable. But, heck. Print journalists of the past weren’t terribly keen on the advent of radio. Radio broadcasters looked sideways at TV anchors, and until very recent years, TV didn’t think much of the internet. I even find myself tut-tutting at social media at times, on the precipice of saying, “I just can’t believe they let anyone write anything on Facebook!” or “A tweet isn’t news!” And then I remember that I am getting older, while the means of communications keeps renewing.

I also try to remember that my preferences in press and freedom in press do not always coincide. And then, I remember that freedom for all outranks pleasure for me.

If you can also see this distinction, perhaps you would like to see an Australian publisher returned home, and not turned over to the US Department of Justice.

Free Julian Assange.

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38 responses to “Julian Assange is a publisher, not a wicked agent of the Kremlin

  1. So glad there are still reporters willing to evaluate the facts rather than regurgitating what their mainstream counterparts mention on a whim. Assangehas become a martyr of the modern world, subject to more than half a decade of sub-human living conditions (announced by the UN no less) at the hands of uk/sweeden and the ever reaching arms of american government facists. He is the ‘leak’ in the boat they havent yet managed to plug. Now his name is dragged through the mud and falsey bound to words like rape in prison camp style example of what you get when you ignore the rules of power. I hope for his own sake that ‘power is an illusion’ as he put it continues to ring true.

  2. Naive. No argument that any sort of charges arising from merely publishing material should be protested loudly. To date there are no such charges. Every media organisation in the world has said they will defend any attempt to charge Wikileaks & Assange for publishing information. Problem comes about where Julian uses that goodwill to help him evade a domestic sex crime. Assange fled Sweden in the middle of a sexual assault investigation, told authorities he would return and didn’t. Details were examined carefully in UK courts to investigate the veracity of a Swedish arrest warrant. It was upheld. Julian has now lost all ELEVEN court hearings. The lies he has concocted around this, attacking both Sweden & the two women complainants, is appalling. He knows perfectly well that under Swedish law he can only be charged if he is on Swedish soil. The demonstrably false information he gave the UN panel to feign unlawful detention in the UK, makes a mockery of UN due process. Completely separately, the US is investigating Assange’s involvement in direct hacking of private & classified material & facilitating that hacking. Not whistleblowing. It also appears Wikileaks was used by Russia to influence the US election. Assange told a Melbourne audience that ‘I won Trump the election’. No ambiguity there. Julian’s longstanding relationship with controversial Pravda journalist Israel Shamir & personal friendship with his son journalist Johannes Wahlström is shrouded in secrecy. Increasingly, other journalists have noticed the way social media has been manipulated by Assange via twitter by his false and misleading claims. The raw data is correct but Julian often makes deliberately erroneous conclusions with the expectation no one will bother to wade into the thousands of real documents to confirm. This is political interference. Sweden hasn’t extradited any political or military dissident to the US in over 50 years. They are a haven of protection. Swedish parliament gave Ed Snowden a standing ovation & welcomed his father as an honoured guest. Sweden just opened the first Palestinian Embassy in Europe. Clearly NOT a US puppet. Before two women he chose to sleep with made complaints about his behaviour, Assange praised Sweden as offering the best Press freedoms in the world. He applied for residency. Overnight that changed as a petulant man demonised Sweden as the ‘Saudi Arabia of Feminism’ for daring to challenge his treatment of two women.

    You need to separate the man from the work. The motivations at play are anything but impartial and transparent. @SandraEckersley

    1. *I* need to separate the man from the work?
      You’ve taken a single reference to the Swedish allegations and made it the entire focus of your comment., thereby overlooking the matter of the work completely.
      It is disingenuous (not naive) of you to say that Assange has the full support of his colleagues in media. This is simply untrue.

      1. I could refer you to endless quotes from high profile former supporters of Wikileaks, colleagues, MSM etc who have said repeatedly that they don’t like the man, criticise his apparent allegiances & methodologies but will stand with him to challenge any attempt by USA to arrest him over his publishing work. Freedom of speech is not about personalities or sexual assault allegations.

      2. Make no mistake
        People who appear anti- Assange more often than not are really anti-WikiLeaks
        you already know why

    2. “Naive. No argument that any sort of charges arising from merely publishing material should be protested loudly.”

      Trump has made the position of his Government abundantly clear, they will be using the full resources of the FBIs largest investigations in history both in scope and scale

      “To date there are no such charges. ”
      One could point out that Sweden has as yet no charges either, yet laughably this doesnt trouble Eckersley. Sweden actively refuses to process this case, initially because it was said it was impossible, even illegal to question Assange. Yet when eventually the questioning was to begin, as it transpired Sweden again attempted to flaunt the rules of the agreed process to further drag things out. The ‘questioning’ Sweden demanded with the European Arrest Warrant has been done 6 months ago, Swedens translation of 200 pages of the questioning transcript took most of that past 6 months, something any legally certified agency can do in one day.

      Ms Ny of Swedens prosecution told the UK Supreme Court in 2012 that her case was nearly complete, so ok, where is this ‘case’, why the wait? If Sweden want this farce to be more convincing they should charge Assange, because everyone, all parties, should have the right to an expedient proceeding.

      @ZULU401

      1. As you well know Matt, aka @Zulu401 from Wikileaks, Sweden can only charge someone when they are on Swedish soil. Obfuscation around this point has been debated endlessly & the same response comes up every time from Sweden. Charging someone who cannot be arrested is against normal Swedish procedure. Catch 22.

        Questioning Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy was the circus predicted by Swedish Prosecutor Ny. It took 18 months for Ecuador to agree to the interview. Before any questions, Julian Assange insisted on reading a tedious, politically loaded ‘statement’ that took all day to hear, as it had to be translated into Swedish & Spanish. Sweden was not permitted to ask Julian any questions directly – all questions were asked by Ecuador with no indication given as to whether Assange answered any directly. Completely unsatisfactory from a legal perspective. After the ‘questioning’ ended, it took Ecuador two months to forward a copy of the interview to Sweden and this was presented to Sweden as hundreds of pages of comment in Spanish.

        Not helpful. Sweden is yet to present their latest findings.

        1. No Fear
          This sad attempt at doxxing me isnt going to get you there Sandra
          thing 1/, despite what your colleagues in the FBI propose on the internet, my name isn’t Matt, isn’t Watt, isn’t Matt Watt, isn’t any combination in initial in name, age or personality. Plainly although my chosen anonymity precludes me having to say whom I may be, I can say I am not Matt Watt. Thank you for that continued disrespect and further attempt at outing, for it says more about you than about me.

          thing 2/, Assange was originally charged in Sweden, but prosecutor Eva Finne threw those charges out exclaiming ‘no rape had been committed here.’ When Assange was first charged he was charged in absentia, he actually read about those charges in Swedish media. Sweden can charge him any time they like just like they charged, tried and convicted this dead man.
          https://www.thelocal.se/20100526/26862

          thing 3/, The process to which Sweden agreed to question Assange, the process that yourself and the prosecutor called ‘illegal’ despite there being 47 identical presentations by Sweden in the UK in the time of Assange’s confinement, the process that Ny continually attempted to thwart, to stall and delay. Is the same as if it were to be conducted in Ecuador where Swedish Police have no jurisdiction, Ecuador asks the questions, the transcript is in Spanish (to satisfy Ecuador) and English (to satisfy the defendent). Assange rightly provided a full and complete statement, there is no issue in how the agreed questioning was effected or progressed. Notwithstanding representatives of Sweden where there when that statement was made and was transcribed by Swedes in their own language, Sweden took fully 6 months to acknowledge that they finally had the answers to the questions they sought.

          thing 4/, Assange’s legal team didnt lose in court, the hearings to which you refer are argument over clarification of points of law, they are not case law, they are in no way reflected of a persons guilt or innocence, withholding to the universal view that a person is innocent before being guilty. Despite that inference that ‘all was lost’, among other things more importantly Ms Ny had to be directed by Swedens Court of Appeal to question Assange in situ in London as Ecuador had insisted over 40 times.

          thing 5/, Ms Ny guaranteed the UK Supreme Court ‘Hearing’ that she had “probable cause” and “strong evidence”, and yet here we are 6 months after the ‘interview’ she demanded and still no charges. No presentation by the Swedes for arrest, no comment to media, fully and completely this is a legal farce. Make no mistake Swedens case is a vacuous threat, a nothing, and will disappear as soon as the USG case is ready and the US post their wish to extradite Assange.

          thing 6/, People who appear anti- Assange more often than not are really anti-WikiLeaks
          you already know why

          Thank you Ms Razor for the opportunity of responding

    3. Hi Sandra,

      I’m going to point you to this part of the article:

      ‘It may even turn out that Assange is not a nice bloke, perhaps even sexist. Let’s pretend that both things are true. Then, let’s consider how these facts change those published by WikiLeaks. ‘

      To me, you’ve kind of missed the whole point to the article. Its clear you don’t like Mr Assange. Thats understandable and your prerogative. But to conflate the person with the message is falling into the heuristic that Ms Razer is alerting people to in this piece. Assange suffers from a reverse Halo effect. And thats the problem. You can’t pick and choose the veracity of evidence that is published based on the attributes of the publisher or the journalist. Whilst you appear very well read about the various legal actions involving Mr Assange, the meaning and value of the documents published by Wikileaks *should* be considered on their merits – not by the success or otherwise of a party in a legal matter about extraneous matters.

      The same rules that applied when Wikileaks published Bush war error documents apply to the Podesta trove. One’s feelings about Bush, Hilary or Assange serve only to cloud or bias an otherwise plain reading of more important information that we should actually be talking about.

      1. Julian’s ability to rub everyone up the wrong way is kinda irrelevant. What matters are the facts and the facts show that he is not telling the truth about Sweden and the reasons he claims he needs to sleep in
        the ripped out women’s toilet inside the tiny Ecuadorian Embassy.

        He insists he is being persecuted while ignoring the true facts of his own situation.

        Hard to respect a self styled ‘transparency’ advocate when he himself is neither transparent or truthful.

        Social media manipulation does not offer up a better world.

        1. At no point have you appeared to address any point I raised and it would appear you yourself are quite blinded to the issues here by your own biases and perceptions. You are very worked up about Mr Assange and the rape allegations. This piece and my comments are not about those. Indeed, the point is that those factors are *irrelevant* to judging the veracity of the leaked documents.

          Anchoring perception and confirmation biases are important to acknowledge when you purport to be an academic with expertise in any area. If you are completing your PhD on this topic, I’d respectfully recommend you familiarize yourself with the work of Kahneman and Taversky on biases and heuristics. It will greatly enhance your arguments and chances of candidature confirmation. At the moment your points seem very emotional, personalised and sadly quite erratic and this detracts from some valid points you may be trying to make.

  3. The entire premise of Assange’s ‘detention’ is built around the false allegation that Sweden has acted in a corrupt manner. This has been proven in ELEVEN courts of law across two countries to be entirely without basis. The Swedish sexual assault allegations are CENTRAL to the Wikileaks story because Julian Assange has made them so by FAKING a US – Swedish – UK – Australian conspiracy around him. There is no evidence to support this.

    Endless complicated legalese put out by him and his supporters does not make it so. His so called facts around Sweden don’t add up. This has been proven in multiple courts.

    Julian has built a business model around being untouchable in a compliant foreign embassy. Ecuador originally benefited politically from his presence. Not so much now but Correa’s Party can’t throw him out without losing face. Awkward.

    Trump turning against him must come as a shock as I suspect, after all his efforts to get Trump elected, Julian was hoping to be welcomed to America as a hero.

    With friends like Nigel Farage, Sean Hannity and Roger Stone, Julian Assange would have expected more loyalty.

    1. I suggest you read this from ABC News. (online). To be fair you have to hear both sides.

      Julian Assange says texts show he is ‘entirely innocent’ of rape; WikiLeaks founder criticises Swedish prosecutor
      By Europe correspondent Steve Cannane
      Updated 8 Dec 2016, 5:23am

      1. I have spoken to the Swedish witness that dug up the texts that Assange claims exonerate him. They do no such thing.

        Julian Assange is not the first man claiming he is ‘entirely innocent’ of rape. Fact is a woman took herself to hospital for a rape kit after spending the night with him. She was considerably younger than him, a Wikileaks fan, and claims that after a night of consensual safe sex, he took advantage of her sleepy state to have unprotected sex with her against her wishes.

        She had never had unprotected sex before in her life. At the very least, Assange was reckless. The criminality can only be properly determined in a court of law.

        Assange has spent years criticizing Swedish Prosecutor Ny calling her everything from a manhater to corrupt. She is just doing her job.

        Sexual assault cases are investigated by the police not random people on social media. The fact Assange has attempted to exonerate himself in this way is absurd. In eleven courts he has lost every time. Both sides means the woman’s side must be heard and to date only the police and Prosecutors have the full details. Women have rights.

    2. Hi Sandra, I’m sorry to say but it seems like you have conducted little or no research into your critique. Statements like “The Swedish sexual assault allegations are CENTRAL to the Wikileaks story because Julian Assange has made them so by FAKING a US – Swedish – UK – Australian conspiracy around him. There is no evidence to support this.” let shine your ignorance for all to see.
      There is in-matter-of-fact, reams of evidence supporting the idea that the UK, Sweden and the U.S.A have been clandestinely colluding to ILLEGALLY extradite {read: extra-judiciously render} Julian Assange to the U.S.A.
      The simplest piece of evidence you can witness, which you would have found had you conducted any research whatsoever, is that the U.n and the Hauge have ruled that the U.K’s indefinite detention of Assange and their blatant disregard for due process under International Law, is in fact, ENTIRELY ILLEGAL. I won;t bore you with the other MOUNTAINS of evidence that show that there is in fact a concerted effort underway to extradite Assange to the U.S.A, I’ll just finish by saying that your opinions and lack of credentialed research IS EXACTLY what this articles author is writing against. Peace, love and mung-beans!

      1. Rubbish. The UNWGAD panel ‘opinion, and that was all it was, was a split decision facilitated by a panelist friend of Assange that accepted the demonstrably false information that Assange put up, as fact. It wasn’t. For example Assange claims repeatedly he was ‘under house arrest’ when in fact he was out on bail while in the UK. He chose to live in the Manor House of a friend before he wore out his welcome and moved to London. From London, after learning he had lost his final appeal in the High Court, he walked to the Ecuadorian Embassy to request asylum from his friend President Correa. He had established a direct friendship with Correa after interviewing him for his show with Russian TV.

        Facts.

        The UNWGAD opinion has no standing in law and has been widely ridiculed by legal experts and both the U.K. and Sweden.

        There is no support for Assange from The Hague. Invented. Despite many ‘threats’ to take his case to the International Court, he never has. Why? Because he knows he has no case. Sweden is acting well with the law.

        There is no evidence indicating any sort of conspiracy. Sweden is the safest place for Assange to avoid any potential US charges due to its legislation protecting political dissidents. UK has no such protections & routinely extradites dissidents to the US. If Assange IS extradited from UK to Sweden both UK AND Sweden would have to
        agree to any further extradition.

        I am an expert on this case having researched it for over five years. PhD material. It’s you who is merely parroting the convoluted nonsense put out by Assange himself. I suggest you read more than one side.

        1. Wow. Firstly,you’re wrong about the U.N ruling as having no legal standing, there are countless examples of this same panel being used as precedent in domestic political cases. Of course “legal experts” in the U.K and Sweden have spoken against this ruling, they are establishment drones who voice their OPINIONS to further fuel public opinion and debate. Further extradition is a forgone conclusion, Sweden HAD an iron-clad domestic policy regarding political dissidents, it has been used historically to protect former dictators and despots of former African colonies, mostly at the request of the U.S.A, France and the U.K. In subsequent years the protection of political dissidents policy has been eroded and it would simply take a joint warrant from INTERPOL and the FBI to condemn Assange to extradition to the U.S.A where he would face Military Court, not Civilian Court, where he’s hardly likely to face a fair and impartial trial process. It’s NOT A CONSPIRACY, the plan to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden and then on to the U.S.A has been openly and publicly explained and explored at length by both the Swedish Office of Public Prosecution and The U.S Dept. of Justice as well as the D.O.D.
          If you take a peek at the accusers of Assange in Sweden, one of the ladies is a former CIA operative in Sweden. Pretty crazy coincidence huh? There is also NO CRIMINAL CHARGES TO ANSWER!!! He has now spoken with the Swedish special prosecutor, so why is he still afraid to enter the U.K publicly? this is a question that is yet to answered by either the U.K Government or INTERPOL. So, have fun being an expert. The rest of us will continue to conduct correct and critical analysis of the FACTS without looking at OPINION or the news to back our claims. I hold two masters level degrees in Philosophy and Communications and have worked as a Communications Liaison internationally for the Parliaments of two nations as well as having been employed by 3 major, global political parties. I am published in the SMH, The Guardian and several other press publications of note. Ya know, since we’re flexing credentials and all. Peace, love and mung-beans!

          1. Hey ‘Thomas’

            Explain why Julian #Assange has lost every single court hearing in both UK & Sweden? All confirmed the varacity of the Swedish extradition. You seriously believe all ELEVEN were mired in elaborate corruption? C’mon.

            Even the UNWGAD doesn’t pretend its opinion is legally binding – why do you?

            In the UK courts Assange presented NO EVIDENCE of any US charges or threat against him. UK would normally by sympathetic to any such circumstance but Assange lawyers failed to present such a case. They focused entirely on demonizing the Swedish Prosecution as some type of feminist witchhunt.

            The claim Swedish alleged victim AA is CIA is bullshit. Fake news.

            There is absolutely no evidence of a plan to extradite Assange to US from Sweden nor is there any coherent legal explanation of how that could be achieved given Sweden’s 1961 legislation protecting people charged with a political or military related crime. The legislation still applies 55 years on.

            Assange has sent out documents from US requesting countries to detain Snowden & applied it to himself. Small aspects of truth are arranged by him in such a way to deliberately exacerbate fears. When calmly viewed in context & date order you can see many of his ‘justice4assange’ website claims are false. As with the Wikileaks twitter feed, many claims made by him don’t match the documentation. It requires careful analysis, something most don’t bother with.

            Sweden charges at the END not the beginning of a police investigation. On charging, defendants are immediately arrested & bought before a judge within 48 hours. As explained previously, you must be on Swedish soil to be charged.

            Chelsea Manning is a soldier who broke her code of conduct so she was tried in a military court. She pled guilty to several charges, not guilty to others. She was the whistleblower not Assange. In trial she revealed she had tried to give the information to MSM before Wikileaks. Washington Post didn’t return her call. Interesting that there is now no love lost between Manning and Assange.

            The idea that an Australian publisher can be dragged off to a US military court & prison is ridiculous. That is just a beat up by Assange who often pretends, despite no charges ever being bought by the US against him, he is evading both the death penalty and Guantanamo prison. Amateur dramatics.

            Assange’s celebrated US lawyer Michael Ratner (now deceased) admitted that as an Australian, Assange could not be charged with espionage.

            No such ambiguity exists around Ed Snowden who IS charged by the US with espionage. He was very quickly charged. Not Assange. Assange is not a whistleblower, he is a publisher. Big difference. Publishers have protections. Obama couldn’t charge him. That was in the US Press in 2013.

            Too many good people, smart people, have been fooled by the legal obfuscation that has characterized this case. The timeline tells the story. By following this for so long I can see the derailment of common sense.

            Face saving and Assange’s mental health are now real issues here.

            I have documentation to back up everything I say. I need to after all the threats, character assassination attempts and personal abuse I have recieved for speaking the truth.

            Sweden is not the enemy. Women’s rights are IMPORTANT. No exceptions. @SandraEckersley

  4. The Americans are spitting at Wikileaks’ exposure of their crimes and busting a gut to get him to a kangaroo court on US soil. The Swedish allegations were intended to get him to where he could be sent on to a US repetition of the Bradley Manning stitch-up. The further exposure of the corruption of the Democratic Party primaries has fed into the American narrative of Russian interference with America’s elections. This from the US regime that has been at war pursuing regime change in country after country.
    It is high time the Australian Government ended its grovelling to the USA and supported its own citizen’s transfer to Australian soil and protection from US procedures which fall way short of the principles governing Australian law. It is not a crime to penetrate the secret doings of a foreign country.

  5. Great article, Helen. I usually struggle with whether to agree or not with some of Julian Assanges various actions.
    Linking Assange and Wikileaks with the US election result looks desperate to me.
    As you state, there are no media outlets which are free from bias. Apparently however it is ok for the left media to be widly anti-Trump. Wikileaks may be the most apolitical of all for now.

    1. How is linking Julian Assange to the US election ‘desperate’ when he himself told a Melbourne audience, via Skype, on March 25th at Melbourne Town Hall that ‘I won Trump the election’. No ambiguity there.

      Julian Assange is a proud manipulator of political process. People are easily led.

  6. Ms Eckersley says that she could refer us to endless quotes. No need to go that far but including any citations would help me to make up my own mind. If thats what is wanted here. Happy to be corrected if both commentators do not have that as part of their purpose.

  7. Any publisher has the obligation to check the veracity of what they publish & to determine if there are any hidden/ unintended consequences to publication.
    Give that Julian appears to have knowingly gotten the Podesta emails off a Russian server he appears to have failed in his obligations Ada publisher, no doubt as a result of his seal inflicted vitamin D deficiency

  8. Is this charade all part of the so-called Aussie values so beloved of our cretinous LNP?

    Every time America enters one of her disastrous wars our prime ministers fall over themselves to rush to sacrifice our troops. She spends hours of time and mega bucks to harass one of our citizens-although Julian Assange is not the first Australian to be treated as a criminal by the U. S of A. The same country largely dictates our foreign policy and to really rub our noses in it she deploys her troops on Australian territory. Her American owned companies make non-taxable (in Australian dollars) profits in our economy. And Australian values appear to include grovelling and cowardliness.

  9. Thanks Helen, I can’t think of any news media in Australia that I trust, and only one SBS news, that I believe comes close enough to get a start on what may be worth looking into more. (of course, Crikey and Daily review fall into the realm of places where I might learn more to make judgements about the news I am ingesting, so don’t feel bad about being left off)

    But deary me, wish I hadn’t read Sandra Eckersley’s diatribes.

  10. Assange a narcissistic millenarian who thinks it’s down to him to pick choose what governments stand or fall. He said a long time ago his aim was to disrupt the US system. Colluding with putin to get a lunatic elected president was a fine way to do that.

    Trump liked Assange for the services he provided. Spoke up for him. Now there’s a character reference. Now of course the FBI is gunning for him over Russiagate.

  11. Dear Helen

    All things considered, I’d rather have and read WikiLeaks than not.

    When considering the duplicity of HRC, and that yellow Barf-bag who currently infests the WH; plus the establishment of any number of countries who play at Governance while lying their tits off and deciding what we, the hoi-polloi may know of their grubby international relations, or not, and their concomitant, secret manipulations…well, Assange comes out looking certainly no worse than they.

    I suspect he’s an elitist little shit with a persecution complex, but hey, Rupert Murdoch falls in the same category and he’s considered to be a publisher by some. Compare WikiLeaks and News Corp. Which is the real instrument of news dissemination?

    You go, girl. Keep making this 76-year-old question his pre-conceptions and giving him sleepless nights.

  12. Great piece Helen as usual. Anyone bringing truth to power should have our support. It’s no surprise that Australia is blindly following the US in condemning Assange.

    Assange also noted that he would have released information on Trump if any was given to Wikileaks and over the years Wikileaks has published numerous documents that have made the Russians look bad.

    As a side note, RT is an excellent news channel and far better than most of the tripe we have in Australia.

  13. “Free Assange” — but from what, how, and under what principles?

    Freedom from What?

    Assange presently faces no public extradition order to the US, and no public charges have been laid against him there. Meanwhile, there is a Swedish extradition order to face rape allegations, and he has jumped bail in the UK in order to seek asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. I have yet to see anyone credible argue that the Swedish order itself was improperly mounted, that such orders should not be honoured in general, or that bail-jumpers should not face prosecution. So under what principle should the UK grant Assange his freedom?

    Freedom How?

    How should the Australian government persuade the UK government not to serve an extradition order held under a separate bilateral treaty with Sweden? And if it were to do so, to what end? Should Assange be repatriated to Australia, Australia too has a bilateral extradition treaty with Sweden, and could reasonably be asked to extradite Assange to Sweden to face the same accusation. So under what principle should Australia now refuse reasonable orders to extradite its citizens, and which citizens should it so privilege, and when?

    What are the Principles Involved?

    Regardless of how one might make Assange’s life easier, let’s agree that a key principle involved here is that of defending the light of ethical journalism from the abuse of power, and let’s grant that despite prior advice from the US Department of Justice, following cynical and malignant sabre-rattling from senior US officials, there may now be legitimate reason to be concerned.

    Yet to what Code of Conduct does Wikileaks itself adhere? To what published principles is that organisation accountable, or was it accountable under Assange? To what independent professional bodies does it subject its practices for review?

    Since as early as 2010, Journalism ethicists have called for Wikileaks and similar whistleblower sites to establish a transparent, accountable code of conduct in line with those of other journalism. [http://www.imediaethics.org/journalism-ethicist-calls-for-wikileaks-code-of-ethics/] If established, such a code would immediately have defended Assange from modern allegations of running a malignant anti-American intelligence organisation, since its processes could be evaluated in terms of its principles. Wikileaks, its defenders and Assange himself need merely have pointed out that they uphold ethical principles long recognised as underpinning democracy and Enlightenment thought, and then his position, in the eyes of the democractic world, would be unambiguous.

    But unfortunately in this case, ethical journalism is not a principle we can use here, because Assange himself cannot say what ethical principles Wikileaks was upholding, how they were balanced, or to whom they were accountable. So of course he’s exposed to allegations of corruption, subversion and malignance — no matter how cynically those allegations might be made.

    So is the principle we’re trying to apply here the weaker form: freedom of *any* communication, no matter how reckless, harmful and malignant it might be?

    I don’t believe Helen herself upholds that principle — nor do I. Even Assange himself claims to have used prudence in vetting what was released.

    So in this article we seem to have a plea to free Assange from a threat that cannot be specified, using methods that cannot be stipulated, under principles that in any case, cannot be said to apply because Assange himself ignored them.

    Speaking personally, I don’t wish Assange any harm, and don’t like the idea of anyone feeling so intimidated that they have to hide in a developing-world embassy in the middle of a developed-world democracy for years on end (if nothing else, the irony of doing so is farcically embarrassing.)

    Yet I believe that even now, Assange could do more to free himself than I can, just by being more of a journalist and less of a petunia.

  14. It angers me so much that the likes of the Clintons and her cronies in positions of power and privilege can actually break the law as she did re her email server for a start yet remain above the law and continue her luxurious privileged lifestyle all the time lying to the public and even Congress. People need to wake up politicians LIE and BREAK THE LAW and they get away with it because current politicians may wish to do the same and do not want to set a precedent whereby they themselves can be prosecuted. Trump said in his campaign if he was in power Clinton would be in jail so he knew she broke the law so why is she not in jail. Now he wants to put Assange there instead. Assange has millions of fans worldwide and Trump has stirred the hornets nest enough he cant afford any more enemies and prosecution of Assange will create many more Assange’s and confirm that Trump is a fraud which will finish him. Anyone who took the time to really find out the truth about Clinton knew that she would have been an even worse choice for POTUS. Someone has to deliver the truth to the people and I dont care how we get it but if a Government is corrupt and criminal I want to know about it and applaud Assange.

    1. The only cronies we got is Trump and his family. We got type of Yanukovich Ukrabian government in USA. And Assange help to manipulate you

  15. ha-ha! Assange is a manipulator. He is an enemy of truth. He sells you “nothing” as facts that supposed to reveal something bad about his personal enemies. And there are many ignorant idiots that are falling in his trap.

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