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US rejects Assange's 'wild' witch hunt claims

AFP/The Local · 21 Aug 2012, 06:41

Published: 21 Aug 2012 06:41 GMT+02:00

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The Australian-born hacktivist rallied supporters Sunday from the balcony of the embassy, accusing the United States of pursuing him after his website angered Washington by publishing a trove of sensitive diplomatic cables.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the United States had nothing to do with efforts by Britain to extradite Assange, who is wanted for questioning by Sweden on allegations of rape and molestation.

"He is making all kinds of wild assertions about us when in fact his issue with the government of the United Kingdom has to do with whether he's going to face justice in Sweden for something that has nothing to do with WikiLeaks, it has to do with charges of sexual misconduct," Nuland told reporters.

"He is clearly trying to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is whether he's going to face justice in Sweden," she told reporters.

"That case has nothing to do with us. It's a matter between the UK, Sweden and now Ecuador has inserted itself," she said.

Nuland, in an exchange with reporters, later clarified that Assange was not charged in Sweden but was wanted for questioning. Two female WikiLeaks volunteers in Sweden have accused Assange of the sexual misconduct.

Assange says that the accusations are politically motivated and that he would eventually be extradited to the United States. He says the sex was consensual.

"I ask President (Barack) Obama to do the right thing -- the United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks," the 41-year-old Australian told some 200 supporters and hordes of journalists from the embassy balcony.

Assange has spent two months inside the embassy, which occupies a small part of a red-brick mansion block in an upscale section of London. British authorities could arrest him if he steps outside.

Nuland, in line with previous US statements, declined comment on the scope of US prosecution over WikiLeaks. A military court is trying Bradley Manning, a young soldier suspected of leaking the documents to the activist website.

Assange called for the United States to release Manning, saying he was being treated harshly in detention.

The UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Ernesto Mendez, in March said that Manning had been subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading" conditions including prolonged detention. A previous State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, resigned last year after criticizing Manning's treatment.

WikiLeaks angered the United States by releasing tens of thousands of classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as often unflattering reports of US diplomats' views on world leaders.

Ecuador's left-leaning president, Rafael Correa, has offered asylum to Assange, citing the possibility of US prosecution. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the South American nation hoped to resolve the case through dialogue.

"Heading to the International Court of Justice in The Hague would be the path to take after that," Patino told Ecuadoran TV network Gama.

Foreign ministers of the Union of South American Nations, meeting in Ecuador's biggest city Guayaquil, expressed "solidarity" Sunday with the decision to grant asylum.

The nations also declared support for Quito over the "threat of violation of its diplomatic mission," a reference to Britain highlighting an obscure 1987 law under which its police could enter the embassy and extract Assange.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said Britain was "obliged" to carry out the extradition to Sweden after Assange exhausted all appeal options.

Story continues below…

"It is our intention to carry out that obligation," the spokesman said.

"We will continue talking to the Ecuadoran government and others to try to find a diplomatic solution," he said.

The spokesman did not refer directly to the speech by Assange, who credited

public support with preventing a raid on the embassy and said he heard police

"swarming up into the building through its internal fire escape" on Saturday.

A handful of protesters have camped outside of Britain's consulate in New York, holding banners such as "Telling the truth is not reason."

"We plan on staying until Julian Assange gets out of the embassy," said 23-year-old activist Adam Peck.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:07 August 21, 2012 by prince T
UK. US should not have responded to d claims. He is famous now. I dont know when the law start allowing ecuador to prosecute accussing one based on what she is thinking
09:16 August 21, 2012 by skogsbo
The US should not have lowered themselves to Assange level and just not commented. Sadly I think he'll get out in a week or two, dressed as a female cleaner with wig on etc.. he has already shaved his head ready! Wouldn't be that hard to do. Or perhaps they are already tunnelling, or taking down a wall into another building? Through the attics, across the roofs. Hopefully the Police have thought of even the more extreme possibilities. People can go to extreme lengths to avoid loosing face and in Assanges mind he is 100% self centred image.
09:25 August 21, 2012 by smilingjack
another load of crap from another american spokesperson.

OK Victoria Nuland why has the USA done everything in its power to shut down wiki leaks?

PayPal's move comes amid mounting U.S. pressure against WikiLeaks over its cache of over 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables. Struggling with denial-of-service attacks on its servers earlier this week, WikiLeaks moved to Amazon's EC2 cloud-based data-storage service, only to be summarily booted off on Wednesday. Then on Thursday its domain-name service provider, EveryDNS, stopped resolving WikiLeaks.org, after the DNS provider was battered by the DoS attacks.

Wikileaks was attacked by the US government because it revealed warrantless wiretapping of Americans, secret CIA prison networks,and massive government waste hidden in black budgets. The reasoning PayPal offers for its newfound intolerance for WikiLeaks would seem to apply equally well to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

free speech - not in america thats for sure. witch hunt - ABSOLUTELY.

But by all means keep the declarations coming america because every time you do the world sees more clearly what a bunch of liars you are.
10:30 August 21, 2012 by SOIS.COM
+1 Smiling
10:57 August 21, 2012 by Steve911
OK, so the US administration objects to words like "witch-hunt" they prefer more subtle terms like collateral damage instead of murder. The US statement still doesn't deny that there is a FBI investigation of WikiLeaks and Assange, a secret indictment against him or that there is a US backed dirty tricks campaign ongoing to cut off funding to WikiLeaks, deny them hosting facilities, carrying out DoS attacks etc.

Whatever your views of Assange and Sweden's extradition request, most of the statements from UK/UK/Sweden are just meaningless hot air. The simple practical reality is that if he is arrested and deported to Sweden, he will be held there incommunicado in prison without access to the internet for perhaps a year or more awaiting trial. Most legal opinion in Sweden thinks that he would be found not guilty of the alleged sexual offences on the evidence available so far. At this point the USA would put in an extradition request, as he is a foreigner and a flight risk his detention would continue whilst the deportation process ground on for years with appeals etc.

My guess would be he will be in a Swedish jail for at least 3 years without internet access, during this time he wouldn't be able to run WikiLeaks. The US authorities would consider this "mission accomplished".

If extradition to the USA was requested from the UK he would have been able to be out on bail during the extraction process. The extradition request by the USA in the UK against Gary McKinnon has ground on for 10 years now.


11:10 August 21, 2012 by robban70226
Julian Assange case is a circus, I recall when everything started He contacted the Swedish prosecutor to arrange a meeting before he went to UK At that time his request was denied by the prosecutor. Also I recall that the 2 women where not interested in charging him until the then same prosecutor convinced them to report to the police ( gold diggers?) It was after the release of the documents from wiki leak that it became an urgent matter to talk to him but not only patently it is not important his statement. The action at stake are obviously to bring him into Sweden where he can be subject to the Swedish law, For interrogation it is not needed to be here in Sweden, That can be done remote and many attempts had being done by him to do so. Based on the only occlusion is that there is an arterial motive behind all this. Note that neither the USA or Sweden are making any statement about the extradition to a 3rd country, Selectively Victoria Nuland in the USA avoided the question about what to expect in the USA or from Sweden system. With the previous history of torture in the USA and elegal extradition from Sweden there is more than enough doubt to thrust neither the USA or Sweden on what are they cooking, otherwise just any o the of the countries come out clear in answering the basic question of their intention and get over it, If there is nothing to hide just be transparent and trustfully.
12:08 August 21, 2012 by Flutterbye
George Galloway has come out in support of Assange, that means hd is now doomed LOL!!!!! if Galloway supported me I would be rushing to hand myself in.
12:16 August 21, 2012 by Hisingen
Before you know it, George Galloway will be joining assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy.. Two loonies together.
12:35 August 21, 2012 by Flutterbye
@Hisingen.... maybe GG will dress himself up as a cat again like he did in BB and go and entertain Assange's supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy, at least it keeps all the nutters in one place.
12:57 August 21, 2012 by themoron
themoron says: US can reject anything, including its own state of existing.
14:58 August 21, 2012 by prince T
@steve. There is nothing wrong in USA taking measures to prevent classified information from leaking out. It is also within d rights of US to fight against. Any organisation that is helping her enemies. If we could remember Assange was a god refusing all entreaties to discuss with US officials over the matter. Classisified Information leaked out exposed certain secret agaents and put thier lives in danger. All appeals went to Assang's deaf ear. The Swedish case is neither about wikileak nor US. Not a single evidence that US intends to extradite assange, it is just a thot that will not hold water in court.
15:38 August 21, 2012 by SOIS.COM
@Prince, if the US stopped invading countries and murdering people en masse they would not be at any risk of compromising their agents. Would like to see how the world reacted if China invaded countries a half a world away such as Mexico or Australia? The US needs to be held to account for its terror state like behavior...wikileaks helps to do just that.
15:42 August 21, 2012 by riose
@prince T by agents you mean spies, right?

The US was behind the attempt to murder Correa, Wikileaks proved it.

Now explain to me how the US is the good guy and Wikileaks the bad one.
15:48 August 21, 2012 by smilingjack
lets refresh our memories

whitehouse version

jessica lynch fighting bravely killing attackers after an ambush


she got lost, crashed her car, m16 jammed (never got a shot off) and was being treated by iraqi doctors who were gunned down by special forces

whitehouse version

colin powell in the UN with that little vial telling the world we were all at risk from wmds


it was all a load of b* made up by the USA

how about geroge w declaring hostilities were over - er um that was a decade ago.

the lies that have come out of cheney and rumsfeld could fill a book.

as to the women supposedly raped by JA

have a good look at them

search google for woman behind julian assange - its on youtube

usa is an uber corrupt war machine

china in 54

then korea then vietnam

then afghanistan

then iraq

then back to afghanistan and trying for countless regime changes non stop.

try reading people and stop watching crap yank tv.
15:57 August 21, 2012 by nmian
WILD WITCH HUNTt, who are we kidding, even Ray Chales can see that, Sweden used to be an honoable country now under thumb of US.
16:21 August 21, 2012 by cheeba
Why did this "european arrest warrant" mean so little to the British when the matter concerned extraditing Augusto Pinochet, who was responsible for the murder, torture, and yes rape of tens of thousands???

They saw to it that Pinochet, who was installed as Chilean dictator with the help of Nixon and the CIA lived out his days in his lavish mansion in Santiago, and died peacefully in his sleep, convicted of absolutely NOTHING!

Thank you U.K.

But of course these charges are SO MUCH more significant, the U.K. must OF COURSE due it's duty and extradite Assange to Sweden, the country with the history of cooperating with CIA renditions, for instance those two men to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured.

Thank you again U.K.
22:15 August 21, 2012 by Carbarrister
The UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Ernesto Mendez, in March said that Manning had been subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading" conditions including prolonged detention.

Memo to Juan: if Manning is not executed he will be spending the rest of his life in a military prison - - which also meets the definition of "prolonged."

I hope Assange and Manning can be prison pen pals in the future.
00:25 August 22, 2012 by sgt_doom
Victoria Nuland, a member of America's economic elite, is married to neocon historian, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the neocon Project For a New American Century (PNAC), which has been replaced with the neocon, Foundation in Defense of Democracies.

Need we say more????

And isn't it illegal to issue a European Arrest Warrant ONLY for questioning?
00:42 August 22, 2012 by foxpur

"And isn't it illegal to issue a European Arrest Warrant ONLY for questioning? "

Nope, unusual, but not illegal.
11:39 August 22, 2012 by themoron
themoron says: Assange will be invited to Sweden by the two women whom he is supposed to have raped. They will throw a party and will declare to the Swedish media how delightful was the experience of having met once more the handsome Australian. The condoms they might use again, will be made out of steel, so they do not break in the middle of a session. This way, the never ending story will have an end, unless they decide to go again to the police for consultations.
13:36 August 22, 2012 by cogito
prince t and skogsbo (#1 and 2)

Right. It is stupid of this State Dept. spokeswoman. Responding serves only to legitimize the wild ravings of creepo JA and his nutjob disciples.

@#18. I do not see the relevance of the her economic situation.
22:16 August 22, 2012 by themoron
themoron says: Some blind mice. Some blind mice. See how they think; see how they write. They have run after Assange's live, who should cut their brains with a carving knive; oh poor blind mice.
08:11 August 23, 2012 by bcterry
themoron says: Some blind mice. Some blind mice. See how they think; see how they write. They have run after Assange's live, who should cut their brains with a carving knive; oh poor blind mice. "

themoron has lost it.

09:10 August 23, 2012 by themoron
themoron says: Yes! that is the reason I am themoron.
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