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Assange Makes Statement Calling For an End To the "Witch Hunt" 915

An anonymous reader writes "After a statement from a window at an upper floor from the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange '... called on US President Barack Obama to "do the right thing" and for his government to "renounce its witch hunt against Wikileaks."'" However, the U.S. issued the following statement regarding Assange's stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy, "The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,"
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Assange Makes Statement Calling For an End To the "Witch Hunt"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @10:38AM (#41045509)

    Also applies to himself regarding facing up to the charges against him in Sweeden.

    Read this article [] written by Naomi Wolf

  • Courage (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @10:50AM (#41045611)
    I personally admire the courage of Julian Assange standing up to the US Government. I don't know that I would have the same amount of courage. The US has a nasty habit of mostly getting what it wants through force, fear, and intimidation. It takes someone truly fearless and I hope that Assange prevails. It is episodes like this that really make me support Ron Paul!
  • by anilg ( 961244 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:01AM (#41045685)

    I've noticed this in many slashdot summaries lately.. either as a result of poor selection by moderators, or by deliberate selection of yellowish content. Lets tag such stories with 'inaccuratesummary', and hope the editors take notice.

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:11AM (#41045779)

    In principle, exposing the murder and cover-up of innocent people actually helps save the lives of innocent people in future, as it discourages such behavior.

  • Re:Not recognized? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:54AM (#41046141)

    BTW, I sure hope you aren't an American or living in America. If you are, get the hell out of here. If America is such a crappy country, you aren't wanted here either. We will fix our problems in our own way. I should note that the reason you know about the problems in America is in part because we talk about them and don't hide them under the table like some countries do, such as perhaps Iran, China, and North Korea. Living in America as an ordinary citizen isn't nearly as bad as you make it out to be either.

    Not the same AC as previous AC, but I thought I'd respond (I'm from Scotland btw).

    The US has something like 300 million people living in it. Do you really think with that many people that all are happy with the status quo? If not, should all the people who aren't just leave without trying to change things for the better? You should welcome the people who want things to change for the better. Encourage them to stay, and get politically active. Don't just stick your fingers in your ears, pretend that it's all perfect and tell them to leave.

    Your country has had some pretty crap people in charge for quite some time. Rights are being eroded before you, and the country has got some pretty poor rankings worldwide. The highest prison population in the world, and 1 in 9 black people in jail? The wage gap just keeps getting worse because people won't tax the rich because they're so afraid of being though of as socialist. Your politicians are totally out of touch with how real people live. Your healthcare is very inefficient, and good only for those who can pay for it (and a huge proportion of your country can't). Despite separation of church and state, women's health is being trampled over by the religious right, and creation myths are being taught in the classroom at the taxpayer's expense. That's nothing to be proud of.

    By the way, I don't claim that the UK is in any way perfect either, we've been trampling over rights too, we've got hypocrites in government, we mock Russia's censorship while engaging in it ourselves, the Conservatives are trying to destroy the poor and disabled, and tear down the NHS, and we've recently tried to invade an embassy. No, I don't like the way our country is run at all. But I wouldn't suggest that people who don't like it should just shut up and go elsewhere.

  • Re:"Witchunt" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:04PM (#41046219) Homepage

    Perhaps this video might represent a different view [] and that's not me, although I'd likely bear a resemblance.

    The US in it's typical ignorance and arrogance has pushed the whole all out of proportion and dragging everyone else into it Sweden, UK and Australia. What should have been a simple matter was blown all out of proportion, with that stupid Interpol warrant and from there it was all down hill. Pompous wankers is a pretty accurate description for the US government.

    Perhaps wikileaks needs to separate itself from Julian Assange and Julian Assange needs to [].

  • Re:Courage (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:31PM (#41046441)

    again to avoid being interviewed by the first country where the alleged rape-ish behavior took place.

    Sweden allows these kinds of interviews to be done via video conference and Assange has suggested the interview take place with him inside of the embassy. The fact that Sweden is so ardent about bringing him in person is highly suspect.

  • Re:Corruption (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:35PM (#41046479) Journal
    I'm really curious, why do you think Sweden would be more willing to give Assange to the US than the UK? The UK tends to be a US lapdog, after all.
  • by kokako ( 2499876 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:36PM (#41046487)
    This editorial from today's Sydney Morning Herald is of interest. Key quote: "The case is a dark hole of legal and human rights suspicions that needs the light of transparent judicial process." Read more: []
  • Re:Go to China (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:53PM (#41046639) Homepage Journal

    Ask somebody there in their 20s what happened there in 1989. Their resposne "nothing I know of."

    Much like King George III's supposed diary entry for July 4, 1776: "Nothing of importance happened today."

    Tell them that you are going to get on a plane and visit Thailand for the weekend and ask if they want to come along. Their response will be, I have to go down to the police station to apply for a visa.

    And if you ask a young American the same, the response will likely be "Thailand? Is that like a country?"
    Then tell them that it borders four other countries, and ask them to name just one of them.

    Just because the USA doesn't support your view of "anarchy" doesn't mean that it isn't the "land of the free."

    ITYM your view of anarchy. See, the rest of us don't consider basic human rights to be anarchy.

  • Re:Courage (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Gnulix ( 534608 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:17PM (#41046855) Homepage
    Sweden allows these kinds of interviews to be done via video conference and Assange has suggested the interview take place with him inside of the embassy.
    No, here in Sweden we don't allow these kinds of interview to be conducted via video conference. Nor would there be any chance what so ever of Sweden extraditing Assange to the US, even if he was convicted on the rape charges.
  • Re:Corruption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grumbleduke ( 789126 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:19PM (#41046877) Journal

    There are arguments for and against this. Firstly, UK->US extradition is politically sensitive at the moment, after a number of high-profile cases (see McKinnon, Tappin, O'Dwyer to name a few). Most of it is political nonsense and right-wing grandstanding, but it might make things a bit awkward.

    Secondly, if the US seeks extradition after the Swedes already have (although it should be noted that the two processes are significantly different), the case has to go back to court, go through a series of appeals, issues of whether or not the extradition to the US is acceptable, whether it should take preference, Sweden then get to have a say as well and it takes years for it all to get sorted out. Whereas if he goes to Sweden first (whether convicted or not) they only have to get a nod from the UK as well as going through one lot of extradition proceedings in Sweden. Plus, if he is found guilty in Sweden, they have the bonus of being able to call him a convicted rapist/sex offender, which may help with the politics.

    That said... Sweden is still bound by the ECHR and EU law, so it isn't exactly going to be that much easier to extradite him than it would be in the UK.

  • Re:Courage (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Gnulix ( 534608 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:52PM (#41047077) Homepage
    Have you actually read the case you are refering to? It doesn't say that video conferencing is appropriate and the subject in the refered case is not willing to cooperate, and so on. It most certainly isn't applicable to the Assange situation.
  • Re:Courage (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:15PM (#41047259)

    Have you actually read the case you are refering to? It doesn't say that video conferencing is appropriate and the subject in the refered case is not willing to cooperate, and so on. It most certainly isn't applicable to the Assange situation.

    Um, yeah, I read it. The man was in Dubai and they brought him up on multiple tax evasion charges. The prosecutor said he needed to show up in person for the interview and the judge said he didn't. Substitute the UK and Assange in that sentence and then explain how it is that different. If Sweden is up for remotely interviewing a suspect on high value tax fraud then interviewing Assange in his case shouldn't be a problem.

  • Re:Not recognized? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:31PM (#41047365)

    Do you know why the ICC and for Europe, the European Court of Human Rights were created?

    They were created because of the lessons of World War II, the realisation that citizens can't always count on their state to protect them. The recognition that sometimes citizens of a country need to be able to go to a third party to secure justice against the most appalling of crimes. It stemmed from the fact it was clear that groups such as the Jews in Germany in World War II couldn't count on their state to protect them - on the contrary, it was out to get them and they had no recourse for justice or protection.

    If your country isn't willing to give you the assurance of protection against the most awful crimes known to humanity - a guarantee that it will not turn around and persecute you or your family for some arbitrary reason such as you skin colour, sexuality, or religion - then there is something deeply unsettling and backwards about your country.

    The things the ICC can investigate are extremely limited in scope, so the suggestion that it is somehow a threat to sovereingty is laughable unless your government plans to carry out one of the most dispicable war crimes like rape, or a massacre of civilians. There is no danger of it's power spreading beyond this limited set of things it can deal with because the agreement you sign when you become an adherent to the ICC would then be void without you re-signing up to it.

    So really, the only reason not to be party to the ICC, is if you actually intend to commit warcrimes. As the US has had some of it's troops do exactly this over the last 10 years then it would seem this is the more plausible reason for the US not being interested in it, rather than because of some fear of loss of sovereingty. The fact the US doesn't properly deal with war crimes committed by it's troops properly in it's own courts is further testament that it's about allowing US citizens to get away with war crimes, rather than a loss of sovereingty- if it was a sovereignty issue it could at least claim they don't need the ICC because they deal with it properly themselves, but they don't.

    Just one final point, I see this attitude from some Americans quite often:

    "We will fix our problems in our own way."

    That's fine, but please bear in mind, that if your own way involves causing problems for non-US citizens and other countries, then please be aware that you lose all right to complain when something like 9/11 comes back to bite you, because things like 9/11 are an inevitable result of you "doing things your own way", such as fucking up Afghanistan to screw the soviets over and then subsequently abandoning it.

  • Pentagon Papers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:38PM (#41047409)

    Pentagon Papers

    Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. —Justice Black

    NEW YORK TIMES CO. v. UNITED STATES, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) []

  • Re:Not recognized? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @03:31PM (#41047767)

    Assange participated in espionage.

    If what Assange did was "espionage", then there are some US newspapers that are just as guilty. Remember the "Pentagon papers"?

    The US government wanted to come down on the NYT and the reporters involved, but the courts said that simply publishing what someone else obtained by whatever means is not a criminal act.

    The US is no longer a nation of laws. It doesn't even follow it's own laws if it's not convenient. It's gotten to where it doesn't even pretend otherwise anymore. The Bill of Rights gets lip-service, at best, these days.

    You want to know why there are all these beatings in fast-food restaurants, on school buses, shootings like Giffords and Aurora, etc, popping up over the past couple of decades? People behave as their environment dictates, and the US government has turned the nation into a giant prison, so naturally, people behave like prison inmates...gangs, random violence, drugs, etc. It's also a large reason behind police brutality and the like. Police are no longer peace officers, they are prison guards. Screws. Enforcers. Government thugs.

    The only way it will get better is if we the people rise up and force the government to obey the restrictions on their powers set forth in the Constitution. Yeah I know, "good luck with that", but still, that's the only way it gets better. It may take a few generations, however.


  • Re:"Witchunt" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @07:24PM (#41049309) Homepage

    you're avoiding the issue. No other such cases have shut down embassies before.

    Do try to keep up with the discussion.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @09:53PM (#41050125)

    So it starts with Assanage going to the UK. Sweden then says "We want you back here for questioning regarding these charges." He says "No you can question me remotely, but I won't come back." They say "That's not ok, you have to come here in person." He refuses. This is all consistent with not only Swedish law, but pretty much anywhere. Cops like to interview people in person for many reasons and you'll find that if you say "No, just call me and interview me that way," they will make the in person thing more compulsory.

    It starts with Sweden clearing him for travel. And he does so. Then, he is called back. He's a suspicious sort, and offers to come back if he gets a guarantee he won't be extradited to the US. Sweden said no. He offers to meet in person, in the UK. But Sweden said no. He offered a video or tele conference, Sweden said no. Sweden has not charged him with any crime. He's offered to waive his right to be there. Sweden said no. Sweden has insisted that he come back to Swedish soil, nevermind the US agents at the airport.

    Why has Sweden said "no" to ever offer? What would Sweden be willing to do to talk to Julian? Anything? They don't even seem overly interested in actually talking to him. They seem to want one and only one thing, to get him on Swedish soil at all costs. That seems very very unusual.

    Ecuador then granted Assanage asylum, which is a slap in Britain's face. Part of being a diplomat in a foreign country is you are a guest and you are supposed to obey their laws. You don't shelter criminals or the like.

    I'm not sure on the timeline, but I didn't think that Julian was a criminal at the time Ecuador initially extended the offer for asylum.

    So this really isn't that unusual except in the lengths that Assanage has gone to in trying to avoid going to Sweden.

    I didn't think it that unusual, other than the lengths that Sweden has gone to to get Julian back after they told him they would not charge him and he was released and told he could go.

  • Re:"Witchunt" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:16AM (#41053623) Homepage Journal

    Mostly espionage laws as a foreign agent. If he were a US Citizen it'd be treason, and the punishment is death.

    Most people try to apply their own strange perception to legal matters, especially involving espionage. "Oh this should have never been secret" "how is this a matter of national security" etc. The fact is the government says so and that's the end of that; until you put the government on trial for abuse of power and make them liable for classifying things in bad faith, that stuff is taken on faith to be important state secrets. That means disseminating it is an act of war.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine