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Assange to fight extradition to Sweden

AFP/The Local · 7 Dec 2010, 07:56

Published: 07 Dec 2010 07:56 GMT+01:00

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Assange's London-based lawyer Jennifer Robinson said the Australian whistleblower would likely resist being returned to Sweden for fear he could be turned over to the US, where outrage is growing over his revelations.

"[The Swedish prosecutor] said publicly on television last night that all she wants is his side of the story. Now we've offered that on numerous occasions. There is no need for him to return to Sweden to do that," she said.

"I think he will get a fair hearing here in Britain but I think our, his, prospects if he were ever to be returned to the US, which is a real threat, of a fair trial, is, in my view, nigh on impossible," Robinson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Assange, whose WikiLeaks has published hundreds of confidential US diplomatic cables, sending panic waves through global capitals, is arranging to meet with British police after they received a European arrest warrant for him.

As furious governments around the world slammed WikiLeaks as irresponsible, Swedish authorities want to question him on suspicion of various crimes, including sexual assault.

However, Robinson refused to discuss further details of Assange's looming meeting with British police, saying only that it was "bizarre" that his legal team had not yet seen a copy of the arrest warrant and had seen no evidence.

Declining to confirm whether Assange was already in Britain as widely reported by media, the lawyer said her client was being "isolated and persecuted" and that death threats had been made on blogs against his son.

"This is obviously part of a broader risk of a threat to Mr. Assange himself," she said in the ABC interview from London.

"We take these threats of assassination incredibly seriously and they are obviously illegal and those individuals who are citing violence ought to be

considered for prosecution," Robinson said.

Robinson said both she and fellow British-based Assange lawyer Mark Stephens had been followed and had their phone calls interfered with since taking on the case, but declined to say who she thought was surveilling them.

Story continues below…

Robinson said any arrest of Assange would not prevent the publication of more of the 250,000 leaked documents that WikiLeaks is holding, as media groups have agreed an "orderly" publishing schedule for the coming months.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard slammed the publication of leaked confidential diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks as "grossly irresponsible," saying the information was gathered through an "illegal act."

Pressed on what Australian laws had been broken by WikiLeaks or Assange, Gillard said federal police were investigating and would advise her "about potential criminal conduct of the individual involved."

"The foundation stone of WikiLeaks was an illegal act. Let's not try top put any glosses on this, information would not be on WikiLeaks had there not been an illegal act undertaken," Gillard told reporters in Canberra.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:00 December 7, 2010 by Nomark
Can a wikileaks supporter please explain why it is important to publish a list of key global facilities the US says are vital to its national security ? I see harm but no good in this, unless of course it is important that potential enemies of the west freely get this info.

Also, as mentioned by mojofat in an earlier post, if wikileaks is to insist on complete openness why has it been impossible to find detailed information about its own donors ? As the forum warriors here have stated many times in connection with the JA rape allegations, justice must both be done and be seen to be done. Wikileaks has pursued an anti-American agenda. It is important to know that wikileaks itself has clean hands i.e. it is not being supported directly or indirectly by rivals of the US and that it would have no conflict of interest when it comes to revealing information which could be embarrassing for an organisation/country/individual. As for party political funding, this can be determined by complete disclosure.
09:36 December 7, 2010 by dw
Oh that's an easy one. Because most of the world could care less about US national security. The US made their own bed with 50 years of horrid foreign policy decisions, the flaunting of international law and numerous illegal invasions. Even today, there is a good chance an innocent civilian will die at the hands of US military personal or a CIA drone operator. Where's the complaint about that? So if these leaks bring a little payback, well as they say in the good ole' US of A, "it sucks to be you."
09:51 December 7, 2010 by Rishonim
To the wikileaks supporters; it should bring you great comfort to know the going prison time for rape in Sweden is less than two years. Hence if convicted, your hero will be out in no time and providing of course he does not meet the same fate as Alexander Litvinenko.
09:53 December 7, 2010 by Petzlx
Assange is simply a journalist. You are not meant to like what his source's reveal

His media won't be reported by the Worlds supposed "free press"

Sweden though has a odious reputation of sending ALL Christian refugees to their deaths.

Also Sweden sends what America calls non-combatants to Guantanamo bay
09:55 December 7, 2010 by Nomark

Thanks for the response. The west certainly cares about US security, and I do. I imagine that China doesn't care less and nor does Russia. Herein lies the problem. Russia (in its current and previous Soviet guise) has also been responsible for a lot of invasions. China is also no shrinking violet when it comes to asserting its power (Tibet, support of Pol Pot, war with Vietnam etc. etc.). In fact, its a bit of a geopolitical reality that big powers flex their muscles. To focus on the US is very weak. For all its faults, the US is a democracy and one which has protected western Europe from all manner of threats during my lifetime. If you want a weakened US then you really have to follow this through and explain how that makes the world a better place. Nature abhors a vacuum. Another big power, one less encumbered by laws, would simply take its place. Do you think that an equivalent to wikileaks could grow up, eg, in a China-dominated world ? China has its great firewall and routinely imprisons dissidents.

BTW, I note you that you didn't address my point (and also made earlier by mojofat) about wikileaks funding. Who funds it ? Wikileaks wants complete disclosure from others, even if it is potentially damaging to individuals and countries, because it believes in an open world. I would like to make sure that wikileaks is not being funded, directly or indirectly, by a rival power to the US and that it is in no way compromised when it comes to organisations which could be damaged by leaks Thanks to wikileaks I can find private conservations and thoughts of diplomats, a list of security-sensitive sites, war logs etc. Wikileaks is setting the news agenda, it clearly has a power. Where can I find the wikileaks donor list so I can assure myself of its impartiality when it comes to openness ?
10:13 December 7, 2010 by dw
Yawn, the typical US response of how the world couldn't survive without you. I've heard that song and dance before. I'm just surprised that you forgot to bring up the two world wars as well.

To be fair, you've made some good points about US contributions to the cold war, but believe it or not, you didn't fight it alone. But since then US has been unable to adjust to a post Soviet world and carries on with it's big stick trying to swat all the flies it doesn't like. THAT is what most of the world is tired of. Move on.

As for who funds WikiLeaks? I do for one. So now you've met your first donor.
10:15 December 7, 2010 by eppie
@Nomark; don't be stupid. Do you think people would fund wikileaks if other people (or governments) would be able to find out they did...with all consequences for those people.?

And wikileaks is not an anti american organisation. That the US can't keep their confidential data to themselves is not the fault of wikileaks.

The fact that wikileaks brings this in the open is only a good thing. Or would you sleep better if this information was secretly sold to russia and or china? Something which highly likely has been done 100s of times already.

I think you are showing ostrich behaviour.
10:15 December 7, 2010 by dw
I love conspiracy theories.
10:25 December 7, 2010 by Boyfriend
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of media is only directed towards Muslims.

We do not have such a freedom against USA/Israelis, they will terminate your Paypal account, Bank accounts and you can not return to your home land. And Sahra palin said we should murder him. what a terrorists leaders.
10:33 December 7, 2010 by Nomark

Writing "yawn" doesn't address my argument. In fact, nothing in your post addresses my argument. Please explain how a weakened US is better for the world ? How do you think China and Russia would behave in comparison to how the US is acting now ?

As for the wikileaks funding, I think you inadvertently support my argument. An anonymous internet user says that he/she supports it. I have no way of knowing if is true or not. Also, having information on one supporter does notthing to assuage the demand for openness.


Thanks for the remark. However, I'm far from stupid; the question was a rhetorical one. Of course I know why wikileaks wants things to be anonymous. Its ultimately for the same reason that I would like the list of security sensitive sites to be kept secret - some things are best left unpublicised and someone needs to make an appropriate judgement. However, wikileaks is setting itself up as the judge of what should be secret and what should not. This is dangerous and not a little hypocritical.

If wikileaks is not an anti-American organisation then show me the equivalent leaks from China and the Russia. I must have missed them. Also, its very easy to demonstrate that wikileaks isn't unduly influenced by rival powers by publishing the donor list. Oh, I forgot, you don't want to do that. I just have to take your word for that. I thought the whole point of openness is that we can check for ourselves.

You imply that the information is either out on wikileaks or sold to Russia or China.. Errm nope. Why is there no third alternative - i.e. it isn't disseminated/sold to anyone. You see, if someone gives me a list of security-sensitive sites, I don't feel the need to publish them. I could contact a newspaper and say I have it and the newspaper could write a story on the potential security leak without revealing the details (this type of thing has happened).
10:42 December 7, 2010 by dw
A weakened US is less likely to invade other countries illegally, flaunt international law, crash world economies through their greed, kidnap innocent civilians and transport them off to secret prisons to be tortured (rendition), sell sdvanced military equimpent to rogue countries like Israel, send tourist groups of blue-haired senior citizens clothed in print t-shirts, bermuda shorts, white socks and running shoes overseas to annoy foreigen restaurant and hotel staffs and flood internation cable channels with reruns of Friends and Cheers. Is that straight forward enough?

Though if you would send a few more good Tex-Mex restaurants to Sweden it would be appreciated.
10:48 December 7, 2010 by Nomark

A weakened US is far less likely to continue to defend Europe, which it has successfully done for quite some time. You forgot that bit from your rhetorical outburst.

Do you think that China would behave in a better way than the US ?

Can you write something which shows that your posts are not informed simply be anti-Americanism but that you have a half-decent overview of geopolitical realities ?
11:08 December 7, 2010 by Nemesis
I am far from being a fan of the USA, but I do not agree with the release of the latest files on facilities necessary for US national security. I did agree with the Iraq and Afghanistan releases although think he should have erased a lot of the names.

@ Nomark

That list he presented is dangerous.

I know two people working in two different facilities that are mentioned in his list. It was the first they heard of it that they were anything to do with US security or US national anything. One of them regularly complains about everything political in US and its foreign policy and was really shocked to find out he was classed as necessary for US security. The other thought 'what' and got very worried as she lives in an area in which suspected Al Queda members have been arrrested and just lives around the corner from an anti war protester who protests at factories.

That list has put a lot of innocent people in the sights of idiots, anti-US protestors, anti-war protestors and islamic nutjobs.

I did not notice one thing about that list. A lot has been selectively left off it.

A good question to ask is this. Why is the files mostly those that affect US interests only? Why are there no French, Norwegian, Swedish, Irish, Russian, Korean, etc files?
11:09 December 7, 2010 by TheOriginalBlackMan
U.S.A. har varit den stora paria omkring världen. Jag uppskattar Mr. Assange's kurage / mod.
11:16 December 7, 2010 by eppie
@nomark ''''Why is there no third alternative - i.e. it isn't disseminated/sold to anyone. '''''

Yeah, well that would be great.....but what do you want to do? Trust people on their nice face?

Well you don't have to because, both when this information is sold to others* and if it isn't sold, you won't find out now do you?

*(which again it highly likely .....well maybe not this information.....only the real interesting and dangerous stuff of course)
11:19 December 7, 2010 by dw
Geopolitical realities from whose perspective? An Americans? Dendending Europe, from who? Who is about to invade Europe? Russia? I don't think so. Geopolitically they rely on Europe too much as a customer for their natural resources to do that. China? China is about business. If you look historically at China, they have carried a big stick at times in regards to their immediate neighbors, but Europe is not an immediate neighbor to China. Your not defending Europe against China.

The geopolitical reality is, Europes biggest security threat now is Islamic terrorists. And thanks to the US, Europs has become much less safe these past ten years thanks to American adventurism in Asia. Yes, we had a few Muslim extremists before Bush II. Now we have many more thanks to the US's misadventures.

Another geopolitical reality realted to Islamic extremism is that it has primarily been funded in the past (pre-invasions) by Saudi Arabia through their world-wide mosque building programs and the exportation of their Wahabi extremist version of Islam. The US has been a staunch supporter of Saudi Arabia for decades now, and still doesn't understand the monster they are supporting. How has this policy defended Europe?

Your geopolitical reality needs to see beyond the cold war and dueling super powers. That world doesn't exist anymore. Your geopolitical reality is really more an ideology shaped during the cold war. It is an ideology which the US cannot afford politically or financially. But hey, everyone has their own opinions. I invite you and your country to continue down your current path. I see where it leads geopolitically, do you?
11:23 December 7, 2010 by Nomark

I somewhat agree. One could have achieved a similar level of impact with the war logs even if proper redaction had taken place.

I tend to defend the USA because I worry that other countries would be far worse and that America's influence on the world is not wholly negative. In some cases it has been an immense force for good.

This is a complicated situation and black-and-white interpretations represent background noise which prevent informed debate..
11:39 December 7, 2010 by marianne667
In the 70's my friend worked at the Swedisg Embassy in Tokyo and when they wanted to spread misinformation to the Sovjets they told an American in confidence. America seemed even then to have a problem w/ security.

I too would love to find what or who is behind Wikileaks. I have an idea but it would'nt be right to put a name down in this forum

Booth nomark and dw have good points.

Eagerly waiting for the next installment of this saga. When is the movie coming? Will Brad Pitt play Assange?
11:51 December 7, 2010 by Nomark

Geopolitical realities need to be considered from everyone's perspective, that's why its complicated.

China's policy has so far been to keep its head down while it grows. However, it is already flexing its muscles afar. For example, it is becoming increasingly involved in Africa in order to secure minerals for its growing economy. Similarly, it is also building an aircraft carrier - the ultimate long-distance power projection. I'm surprised you didn't know this. America btw is also all about business. The cold war was all about promoting capitalism and American interests. The British empire before the rise of the USA was also all about business, it was arguably one of the first modern mercantile empires. In the end lots of countries were colonised not least to protect markets. This didn't prevent us fighting with other powers (far from it). This is the example of history. To pretend that China, were to it have the capability, wouldn't act robustly to defend its interests and access to resources, whereever they are, is wishful thinking. Since we also would like access to resources, a clash is certainly a danger.

Since you mention the cold war as being yesterday's news, can you tell me what happened to the nuclear missiles held by Russia ? You mentioned that Russia wasn't about to invade Europe. This certainly isn't any imminent threat, and nor did I imply it. However, can you explain why Eastern Europe was desperate to join NATO ? Russia's arsenal has the power to destroy Europe whereas Islamic terrorism has the capability to cause, in relative terms, inconvenience. Also, the rise of Islamism is extremely complicated and simply citing the Saudi involvement is, once again, to pick one factor (once again with the US, tiringly, as the villain), is very simplistic.

You seem to know a lot about my geopolitical reality. Well, in reality, you pretend to do so. This isn't the same thing. One geopolitical reality that you should know is that (a) its complicated, none of us should try to pretend that we really know what is going on and (b) things can change very quickly in unexpected ways; the best we can do is identify possible threats. That's why I'm grateful that the western democracies maintain a strong and successful alliance. Its also why I object to having security information leaked due to an "openness" principle by an organisation which refuses to reveal who its own backers are..
11:56 December 7, 2010 by Nomark
@eppie Your post made little sense. Can you please explain why, because there is a data-security vulnerability that the data in question must either be (a) leaked and disseminated on a website or (b ) sold to the Russians or Chinese.

I know I'm stupid (your description), so could you elucidate ?
12:18 December 7, 2010 by dw
I actually can answer all of your questions except for those dealing with your geopolitical reality, I obviously can't answer those because I don't know you. But I'm frankly taking a pass on it. You are right, it is complicated, very complicated. And yes, I have been giving you simplistic answers to complicated questions, primarily because this is a blog on a website, not a forum for academic discussion. I have neither the time nor inclination for writing a 10 page rebuttal essay and posting it here on the Local. Not that everything would be a rebuttal because I see from your last post that there are some points of agreement between us. But again, I don't have a day to compose a proper response. Sorry if that disappoints, and I hope you have a good day or evening, depending on where you are located.
13:39 December 7, 2010 by weddells
I think the outcome of this is clear. Never, ever, have consensual sex with Swedish women.
17:55 December 7, 2010 by Icarusty
People keep asking the question, if this was a China dominated world would it be as bad? Well look back at history. Back in the day India and China were world superpowers - economically, culturally, militarily. Who did they invade? Border skirmishes, land grabs in their backyard? Maybe. Though I think you'll find it was more to do with keeping what they had (from the Japanese, Mongols - hence the Great Wall), rather than invading others. Certainly not going halfway round the world to invade other countries.

Now they are second best, they have the exact mindset - no border skirmishes, but squabbling with keeping what they have/had - Tibet, the Muslim region of China and Taiwan. Certainly not escalating into full scale military deployment, like the US in the Middle East. Indeed, American CIA outposts in every continent in the world, and US military bases all over Europe and Far East Asia have more punch than what China have aimed at Taiwan/Tibet.

Compare and contrast that to America - since its birth, it has been invading others. Indeed, modern America wouldn't exist if it hadn't taken it away from the NATIVE Americans. When it was a fledgling country it relied on mass exploitation of other, less developed countries so it could grow - the most obvious example is SLAVERY of other people. America would never have leapfrogged any of the major countries if slavery was not used back then. And now, once they have become the world's superpower, once they have enforced all the legislation and trade deals that make America gain from everything, they criticise others and talk human rights. It's quite a turnaround.

And now, after it has become the best in the world - it is still invading to safeguard its interests. So faced with the question, if China was the dominant superpower would it be any better? Logic says, undoubtedly, yes.
20:00 December 7, 2010 by Nomark

If you really think that *logic* undoubtedly implies that the world would be a better place with China as the dominant power then you are deceiving yourself. *Nobody* can state how the geopolitical system would look in a counterfactual world. Furthermore, there are quite a few deficiencies in your reasoning.

Regarding comparisons of the two nations, both the USA and the current state of China were formed through war and conquest, as indeed were most/all nations. You mention the native Americans and slavery. These were indeed terrible things. However, they were stopped a rather long time ago. Conversely, Mao enslaved an entire people. Responsible estimates of deaths caused by Mao are between 40-70 million. The Communist Party which organised this is still in power and Mao's picture is still prominently shown in China. At least slavery and the native American slaughters are openly discussed and taught in the USA. How is China's modern history taught to its school kids ?

Both countries actually followed very similar strategies during their rise i.e. consolidate power in their respective regions. Prior to WW2 and the cold war, the USA was known for its isolationism. Once it had reached preeminance it assumed a global role in order to protect its perceived interests (as big powers do). It wanted a stable western Europe with which to trade and uninterrupted oil supplies.

China has also followed a similar path in recent years, lots of consolidation of regional power etc.. However, it has yet to assume a global role. The fact that it didn't assume a global role in the past is irrelevant in determining how it would act in the future. Historically, China was not as dependent on natural resources scattered around the world. as it is today - ancient China didn't need oil. The world is a very different place to the way it was when China was a great power. Why do you think that issues such as essential resource exploitation would not play a role in any Chinese actions were it to be a sole fully industrialised superpower in the same way that it does for the USA ? Might it be necessary to garrison a few countries and have some puppet governments to ensure that the oil flows so it can keep growing ? This is, of course, what America does.

You have every right to believe that the world would be a better place with China as the dominant superpower. However, you shouldn't state that "logic" undoubtedly backs up your position - your arguments aren't exactly water tight.
20:27 December 7, 2010 by onoaptelunga
we have all become America's b*tch!
13:27 December 8, 2010 by actuary
Why does Sweden have such bizarre laws with regard to sex? Is it a reaction to the legacy of the Vikings? Or, perhaps a reaction to the more recent cinematic portrayal of nymphomaniac Swedish women in the flesh movies. Anyway, Bildt [in the photo] looks sufficiently emasculated to please even the most strident feminists - can't see him in a horned helmet: can you? Clinton probably told him to be a good boy and wait by the phone, as she may call.
19:12 December 8, 2010 by zoroastrina
I lulled myself to sleep last nicht with a sentence fromone of my books that runs lsomething like this: Mannen [Assange] som polisen grep/arresterade i går har ännu inte erkänt sig skyldig.

Free Julian Assange! Hands off WikiLeaks! . According to the Orwellian logic of the current vendetta, an "agitator" who exposes the crimes of a government engaged in armed aggression and torture is a criminal. And the right to free speech can be suspended by the mere invocation of "national security. (...)

[T]he launching of an international campaign in defense of WikiLeaks [is] a life-and-death question for working people in every country. Mass protests and movements of solidarity must be organized to demand the immediate release of Julian Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning and an end to the campaign of intimidation and repression against WikiLeaks." Bill van Auken WSWS
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