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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Has Passport Confiscated 197

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-more-colbert-for-you dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "The Australian founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks had his passport confiscated by police when he arrived in Melbourne last week. While Assange has made himself particularly unpopular with the US military by publishing video of attacks on civilians in Iraq, he's been something of a thorn in the side for the Australian government too. Last year, Wikileaks published a list of websites which were to be banned under the government's proposed Internet filter. While the aim of the filter is to block extreme pornography and the like, the blacklist included a number of more prosaic sites such as those of a travel company and a dentist.
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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Has Passport Confiscated

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:05AM (#32235968) Journal

    While it was returned 15 minutes later

    Man, they are brutal down in Melbourne. And from the original article [theage.com.au] linked at TG Daily:

    The Age has been told that Assange's passport is classified "normal" on the immigration database, meaning the Wikileaks director can travel freely on it.

    They really know how to shake people up and intimidate you. Sounds almost as bad as my trip through United States customs coming back from vacation. They abducted me for three hours as I was forced to stand in line awaiting inspection and approval. They called it standard processing but I tell you what--it was more of a death march.

    Australia would have to be insane to do something like that to Assange. He would trot that out in front of the media for weeks if that was what happened. What a claim to legitimacy. And for that reason I'm guessing this is likely a natural passport process turned into a PR stunt.

    Assange mentioned it in an SBS Dateline interview [sbs.com.au].

    So basically Australia said, "We need to renew your overly used passport and the authorities are looking into how you got a hold of a blacklist from our government." <sarcasm>The poor man! When will the persecution stop?! The only way you can only mitigate his suffering by making a tiny donation to Wikileaks.org.</sarcasm>

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:11AM (#32236026) Homepage
      Well, Ghandi said it best: first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they point out that your passport has expired, then they ignore you again.
    • by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:38AM (#32236268)

      Mod parent up. This is a ~complete non-story~. Same thing happened to me a few years ago with my old and tatty passport. They routinely do this for damaged passports (for various reasons, the primary one being they don't go through the auto passport readers so well). They'll also do this for passports with 6 months validity on them when you enter (most countries do this). The only 'unusual' thing here is that it happened to someone in the public spotlight.

      The TFA also includes a massive non-sequitur, mentioning an unrelated case (that was dropped by the AFP) that has nothing whatsoever to do with the passport issue. I doubt the immigration officer concerned even knew who he was.

      Can't believe this actually made the Slashdot front page.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I accidentally put my last passport through the wash (in Canada you need to get a new passport every five years, they don't renew them). When I was crossing the boarder at the Peace Arch (on Canada's Highway 99, US I-5) south of Vancouver the U.S. border guard raised his eyebrow and asked me what happened to it. I told him. He scanned it and the electronic encoding stored in the passport still worked (older style embedded magnetic strip). He passed it back and told me to dryclean it next time.
        • by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:14AM (#32236622)

          You found a US immigration agent with a sense of humor?

          You truly have great talent.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Pig Hogger (10379)
            Well, the last one I met at the border insisted to talk to us in (near-perfect) french...
          • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:27AM (#32237780) Journal

            You found a US immigration agent with a sense of humor?

            Actually I've found the US immigration and border patrol people you meet in Canada are generally very good and, as long as you do you best to follow the rules, they have all been very helpful. I like to think that being based here means that a little of Canada is rubbing of on them. This is in stark contrast to the ones I used to meeting while living in the US with a green card who frankly seemed to be actively looking for any excuse not to let you enter.

            • by mjwx (966435) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:54PM (#32247970)

              Actually I've found the US immigration and border patrol people you meet in Canada are generally very good and, as long as you do you best to follow the rules, they have all been very helpful.

              The problem with the US Customs/TSA is that they have no mandate on what they cannot do. Yes you should follow the rules when going through any nations customs procedure but that procedure should be clearly spelled out for both sides. In Australia AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) has a clear mandate on what they are looking for, you also have a legal responsibility to declare everything that is classified as a Dutiable good, Excisable good or Prohibited (or restricted) good as well as various questions about you and your travels (health, last point of departure, if you've been in certain specified countries, all of this is on the arrival card you fill out). It is a crime under Australian law to refuse to answer any legal questions, but this is the same law that prevents AQIS from asking illegal questions. The US needs to make a law restricting the power of Customs so they can do their job (protecting America's borders) without abusing the rights of US citizens and visitors.

          • by linzeal (197905) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:41PM (#32240558) Homepage Journal

            As someone who has a few friends who work on the border patrol I can tell you the last thing they want to do is arrest someone, it is a lot of paperwork, going to court and they don't let you work overtime those weeks you are in court like they used to. What, you did not know that is why cops arrest so many people? The sweet sweet overtime, which can double their salaries has made police unions actually protest when they makes plans to hire more cops and reduce overtime.

            It is a growing concern that the more time a cop spends testifying per week the more likely he will get overtime, which is a major problem [google.com], and not just for budget reasons.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        Did everyone suddenly skip over the line where it says it will be cancelled?

        While it was returned 15 minutes later, Assange said he was told it would be cancelled.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by quenda (644621)

          Did everyone suddenly skip over the line where it says it will be cancelled?

          Since they had said it was damaged, I took that to mean he needed to go to the post office and get it replaced with a new one. Still not nice, as they cost $200!
              Cancelling a passport is like cancelling a lost credit card, not like seizing the account.

      • by hey (83763)

        I wonder if he damaged it on purpose so it would not work in the readers. Just enough wear and tear... nothing obvious. I have been tempted to do that.

      • Can't believe this actually made the Slashdot front page.

        I can easily believe this made the front page - Wikileaks is right up there with Wikipedia, Apple, and Google as the Slashdot editor's favorite stroke material. Make it look like Wikileaks is being threatened by Da Man and you have a 'perfect storm'.

    • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:40AM (#32236282) Journal

      I remember a time when Americans would be bothered by being detained by any government official for more than 0 minutes. Looks like consent's been well manufactured in you.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:38AM (#32236974) Journal

        Troll? Really? Hardly. He's just expressing his opinion. You don't have to like it, but that's no reason to censor him via subtracting points until his post disappears.

        I agree with his sentiment. I was detained in Texas by an "internal security checkpoint" or whatever the hell it's called. I was within 50 miles of the international border, and had never crossed it, but they still wanted to search the trunk of my car. I refused to comply. They made me stand-around while they shined* lights through the window of my car, and then held their ear against the trunk, before finally letting me go an hour later.

        Now anyone with common sense could have looked at my Maryland license plus how I was dressed (shorts/Tshirt), and realized I was a tourist not a smuggler. I don't know what they thought they'd find. There's not much room to hide anyone in a two-seater.

        Anyway: Rights don't have meaning unless you use them. INSIST upon compliance; refuse to consent to warrantless searches and remain silent.

        *
        * Irregular verbs are illogical. They should be added to the list of obsolete words. IMHO.

        • by twidarkling (1537077) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:01AM (#32237344)

          Now anyone with common sense could have looked at my Maryland license plus how I was dressed (shorts/Tshirt), and realized I was a tourist not a smuggler.

          While I congratulate you on your refusal to comply for no reason, I have to point out this is one of the absolute butt-fuckingly stupidest things I've ever read. In your world, do burglars go around in striped shirts and small black masks over their eyes, carrying sacks with dollar signs on them? Do pirates all have wooden peg legs and eye patches?

          "I didn't look like a smuggler so obviously I wasn't one." Christ.

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          Now anyone with common sense could have looked at my Maryland license plus how I was dressed (shorts/Tshirt), and realized I was a tourist not a smuggler. I don't know what they thought they'd find. There's not much room to hide anyone in a two-seater.

          Anyway: Rights don't have meaning unless you use them. INSIST upon compliance; refuse to consent to warrantless searches and remain silent.

          Kudos for standing up for your rights. Having said that - you'd be surprised at what smugglers do. I've seen some amazing photographs of various things smugglers have done to modify vehicles to smuggle people and contraband through these checkpoints. Your common sense may not be a good indication of what's going on at those border checkpoints.

          The counter-point to this is that these environments seem to be really fueled by inaccurate risk assessments these days. I'm not involved in this environment so I

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by HiThere (15173)

            It's also true that many of those may be "official simulations". When the government is the source of news about what the government's doing, it's quite reasonable to be skeptical. When they don't let anyone else check it just increases the grounds for doubting their honesty.

        • by psm321 (450181) on Monday May 17, 2010 @04:30PM (#32244938) Journal

          It's unfortunate that you expected better treatment because of your license plate/looks, and not because _nobody_ should by treated like that without strong probable cause or preferably a warrant.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        I remember a time when Americans would be bothered by being detained by any government official for more than 0 minutes. Looks like consent's been well manufactured in you.

        Sure - I get annoyed at authority figures inconveniencing me as well. But I don't try to turn them in to conspiracies and over-state the situation if / when it happens.

      • I remember a time when Americans would be bothered by being detained by any government official for more than 0 minutes. Looks like consent's been well manufactured in you.

        You must be a couple hundred years older than your UID indicates!

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:52AM (#32236394) Homepage Journal

      They abducted me for three hours as I was forced to stand in line awaiting inspection and approval.

      Pshaw. Here in the US, things are so bad that if you commit a felony, and are convicted, you are not allowed to own and carry an automatic weapon. I don't see nothing in the Second Amendment that says I shouldn't be able to protect myself and my family with the firearm of my choice just because of a little armed robbery.

      I mean, "First they came for the felons, then they came for the domestic terrorists trying to kill policemen at a funeral, then they came for me".

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        I don't see nothing in the Second Amendment that says I shouldn't be able to protect myself and my family with the firearm of my choice just because of a little armed robbery.

        It's not in the 2nd amendment. It's in the 5th amendment: No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

        • Nice, but this is the US Constitution you're speaking of, and TFA regards Australia, which is still a part of the British Commonweal.

          • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:43AM (#32237032) Journal

            >>>British Commonweal.

            Is this the Middle English speeling? Well let me call in me wyf. She war an Anglish taughter.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Smauler (915644)

            Just FYI - The Commonwealth of Nations is pretty open, and is not a British controlled organisation. I guess the point I'm making is that just because Australia is a member of the Commonwealth, doesn't mean anything at all about their political and legal system necessarily, at least within certain limits - the commonwealth is pretty forgiving. Basically the commonwealth just needs you to be a democracy (the rules are a little lax), and more importantly have a decent legal system and not be racist. The Ha [wikipedia.org]

      • you are not allowed to own and carry an automatic weapon.

        Actually in the US, even if you are not a felon you cannot own and/or carry an automatic weapon. Semi-automatic is ok, but to own and use a fully automatic you either need to be military or law enforcement. You can rent and shoot automatic weapons in firing ranges, but they cannot be taken off the ranges.

        • by swillden (191260)

          you are not allowed to own and carry an automatic weapon.

          Actually in the US, even if you are not a felon you cannot own and/or carry an automatic weapon. Semi-automatic is ok, but to own and use a fully automatic you either need to be military or law enforcement. You can rent and shoot automatic weapons in firing ranges, but they cannot be taken off the ranges.

          Incorrect. Ordinary citizens in the US can own fully-automatic firearms. There are some hoops to jump through, but the biggest obstacle is that the things are really expensive. Thanks to a law passed in 1987, it is only legal for full auto firearms that were already in civilian hands in 1987 to be transferred to civilians. So, the supply is fixed, and demand continues to increase, which means that prices are high and climbing. It's difficult to find any functional fully-automatic weapon for under $10K,

          • Yes of course I wasn't talking about collector's pieces and such. I am talking about going into a gun store and buying an automatic weapon. It just isn't happening. And the reason most people that own them have them locked up is becasue even though there are loopholes allowing citizens to own them, discharging them is a whole other ballgame. I don't know of any real cities that allow the discharge of firearms in the city limits except in designated areas like gun ranges. I guess that is why the crazy gun-lo
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Buelldozer (713671)

        Your post is funny, kind of, but there's a few things I'd like to address.

        First, becoming a felon removes ALL of your gun rights. Not just the ones regarding automatic firearms. You can't own so much as an air pistol in some places if you're a convicted felon.

        Second, becoming a convicted felon is far easier than most people would believe possible. I have an acquaintance who is a convicted felon because of too many speeding tickets. He has a passion for fast motorcycles and on his 3rd 100+ MPH ticket they co

    • This is a developing story.

      The person who submitted this is anticipating the story that will come shortly.

      The American and Australian governments would really like Julian Assange and the website he runs to go away.

      Some rule in the secrets act will be found or conjured up that Julian has broken.

      To the Australian judges, who hopefully read slashdot and will soon preside over this trial BE FAIR !!!

      Why did you become Judge in the first place?

      Democracy - for the people by the people. Geof

    • So basically Australia said, "We need to renew your overly used passport and the authorities are looking into how you got a hold of a blacklist from our government."

      Well, what the article doesn't mention is how the government conspired to wear his passport out ahead of time. Where was it mentioned that an Australian Secret Intelligence Service agent was hypothesized to have sabotaged the air conditioning system at Changi Airport so the tropical heat would make his sweat run into the pages? Where was it men

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:05AM (#32235974) Homepage Journal
    Maybe the dentist ran a swinger dental office like Tim Watley.
  • by kentrel (526003) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:06AM (#32235986) Journal
    He has a criminal record. His passport was old. They cancelled it. He got it back.
  • Did anyone else see "Wikileaks founder Assassinated" before taking a second look?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:17AM (#32236104) Homepage

    The first paragraph of the article said it was returned within 15 minutes and informed that it would be canceled... I presume it would be his passport that would be canceled when he returns, but it doesn't say so. Then the article goes on to say the things cited in the summary.

    What I am pointing out is that whoever created the summary didn't just "miss" that 15 minutes later detail, they omitted it intentionally.

    So I ask you directly, submitter, what exactly are you trying to make happen by attempting to twist the news this way? Have you no conscience at all about spreading incomplete and therefore misleading information? By intentionally omitting that important detail, it misleads people to believe he is being detained in Australia for all intents and purposes.

    • Flood the news with trivial stories which cause people to stop taking him seriously?

      In other news, BROWN LEAVES HOTEL.

    • by demachina (71715)

      Submitter's name is Taco Cowboy. No doubt he is the love child of Cmdr Taco and Cowboy Neal so you should set your expectactions for any submissions from this source low... very, very low.

    • by residieu (577863)
      They gave it back to him, but they said it will be canceled. So, he has a passport that will soon be worthless. How is that different from not having the passport at all?
      • For one thing, until it actually is canceled, it's still good for travel. So he can go somewhere else and work on getting a new passport.

        For another, all the article claims is that he was told his passport would be canceled. Every passport will be canceled, including yours and mine. There's nothing special about that in itself. If there wasn't some irregularity about this proposed cancellation then it's a non-issue.

        • by canajin56 (660655)
          Yeah, it sounds like it was tattered enough that the barcode scanner wasn't working. So, SOP is to take it away and inspect it, because the best way to forge one would be to "tatter" the barcode so it can't be scanned. As such, non-scanning passports warrant special attention. Now, are they canceling it because they are jerks? Or because it's tattered and no longer scans, so they're issuing him a new one? TFA doesn't say, and so far, only Assange claims it's been canceled. When questioned, the governm
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Wikileaks is (probably) busy setting up to do some fund raising.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It rivals ED in its WE WILL HAVE TO SHUT DOWN IF YOU DON'T DONATE ability to remind you just how valuable their service is and WHY HAVEN'T YOU GIVEN ANY MONEY YET? just what an insanely high amount of money they claim they need to host a few third party files. Yet their site still manages to be down most of the PEOPLE ARE BEING TORTURED GIVE US MONEY time.

  • Must Have It Rough (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Revotron (1115029) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:25AM (#32236174)
    Some people are just natural-born troublemakers, going to great lengths to make a big deal out of every possible scenario. I'd like to see how he acted as a child.

    But in all seriousness, 15 minutes? And he's crying and blowing his whistle? I've been detained longer for having a penny stuck in my shoe.

    I wonder if he sleeps with a katana. [xkcd.com]
    • You were detained for greater than 15 minutes for having a penny stuck in your shoe? What country was this? Was the penny protruding from the sole somehow or were these penny loafers?

  • by autophile (640621) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:35AM (#32236244)
    Next on Slashdot... BatBoy sighted on ChatRoulette, and Cmdr Taco has love child by alien visitor.
  • I'm becoming... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fauxhemian (1281852) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:42AM (#32236300)
    ...more and more dubious about Assange and his intentions. http://cryptome.org/0001/wikileaks-funds.htm [cryptome.org]
    • Why be dubious? Shutting down Wikileaks in its entirety until the site is 'fully funded' practically screams his intentions from the rooftops. (Though I see now that he has relented and published a handful of 'time sensitive' material.)

    • by tg123 (1409503)

      ...more and more dubious about Assange and his intentions. http://cryptome.org/0001/wikileaks-funds.htm [cryptome.org]

      You wouldn't be employed by an american government employee would you? ......... CIA , FBI, NSA etc ?

    • Re:I'm becoming... (Score:5, Informative)

      by shish (588640) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:54PM (#32240824) Homepage
      Relatedly, does anyone know /how/ it costs $600,000 to run the site? Since it's been offline and collecting donations for as long as I've known it, I'm not sure what it does, but the name implies "a wiki where people can upload leaked stuff", for which I would imagine $2000 in hardware and $2000/year in bandwidth would be generous...
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:46AM (#32237094) Homepage

    Why is this tagged "Wikipedia"? Wikileaks is a completely separate site and organization. Do you think that "protons" are "protozoa" are the same thing just because they start with he same four letters?

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