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In Response to Open Letter, France Rejects Asylum For Julian Assange 146

Several outlets report that Julian Assange has requested, but been denied, political asylum in France, by means of an open letter published by Le Monde. From The Globe and Mail's coverage, linked above: Less than an hour after his letter was published by Le Monde's website, Hollande's office issued a statement saying the asylum request was rejected.

"France has received the letter from Mr. Assange. An in-depth review shows that in view of the legal and material elements of Mr Assange's situation, France cannot grant his request," the statement said.

"The situation of Mr. Assange does not present any immediate danger. He is also the target of a European arrest warrant," it noted.

Assange wrote in the letter that his youngest child is French, and so is the child’s mother. "I haven't been able to see them in five years, since the political persecution against me started," he said.
Worth noting: Assange's legal team says that Assange's letter has been mischaracterized, and that it is in fact not a request for asylum per se; instead, they assert, the letter merely expresses Assange's "willingness 'to be hosted in France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities.'"
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In Response to Open Letter, France Rejects Asylum For Julian Assange

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  • some Freedom Fries with that?

  • Rather odd timing... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @11:43PM (#50042327)

    That makes for rather "odd" timing, don't you think? Just days after Wikileaks leaks pilfered documents revealing NSA spying in France Assange makes an open appeal to be "invited" to France, and throws in everything but the kitchen sink in the appeal?

    ... In his letter to Hollande, Assange said that the mother of his youngest child is French. He said he is restricted to a space of 5.5 square meters (60 square feet), lacking access to “fresh air, sun as well as any possibility to go to a hospital,” and noted that police say round-the-clock surveillance of him has cost $17.6 million."

    "only France now has the ability to offer me the necessary protection against, and exclusively against, the political persecution that I am currently the object of". Such an offer of protection would be a "humanitarian and symbolic gesture" and send a message of encouragement "to journalists and whistleblowers around the world".

    It seems that the attempted quid pro quo failed. SInce there are no doubt many French people in solidarity with Wikileaks that have access to secrets I suppose France should brace itself for retaliation by Wikileaks. That could be a much more dangerous game for Assange than what he has played with the Americans. The French state is known to play rough when it feels it is needed in ways that the Americans are very unlikely to match.

    • I doubt they'd kill him. They don't play that rough.

      But if he pisses them off then it will be very difficult for any EU state to accept him. And their public statements on him are always bound to be much more pro-Assange then their actual actions.

      The French state is more secretive, and more info-hungry, then the US; because it's a good deal more Machiavellian then any comparable advanced Democracy, including the US. It supports guys like him because they piss off the US, which allows France to keep playing

    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      It seems that the attempted quid pro quo failed. SInce there are no doubt many French people in solidarity with Wikileaks that have access to secrets I suppose France should brace itself for retaliation by Wikileaks.

      On attend/espère que cela...

    • That could be a much more dangerous game for Assange than what he has played with the Americans. The French state is known to play rough when it feels it is needed in ways that the Americans are very unlikely to match.

      You think that France is going to assassinate someone that Russia has in their pocket? That would be a very, very bad decision indeed. Russia can afford to throw away more operatives than France even has. They certainly would not ever do this.

      What I find ridiculous is that France mentioned his warrant. France has sheltered people wanted by other countries before, they never cared before, why now?

  • Every time it's been a few months since Assange has made the headlines, he pulls some useless stunt like this to keep himself in the news. He's become nothing more than a media whore/glory hound.

    He hasn't done anything relevant or useful in years.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The wider French public now understands more about the quality of French cryptography in use within France and that outside nations seem to have plain text access.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... the letter merely expresses Assange's "willingness 'to be hosted in France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities.'"

    Competent authorities? No danger of that happening in France.

  • Assange's legal team says that Assange's letter has been mischaracterized, and that it is in fact not a request for asylum per se; instead, they assert, the letter merely expresses Assange's "willingness 'to be hosted in France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities.'"

    "Hosted?"

    How gracious of Assange to say he would willing to trade his Ecuadorian broom closet for a rent-free garden flat in Paris, if France would be kind enough to send him an engraved invitation.

    There are two particularly flavorful Yiddish words that come to mind here, "chutzpah" being one of them.

    • by colinwb ( 827584 )
      That says what I wanted to say, but is expressed much much better. It's also worth pointing out that his legal team's clarification makes it worse than the original "misinterpretation"
  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Saturday July 04, 2015 @01:15AM (#50042541) Journal
    The French political elite are stuck. French cryptography was linked to US and UK methods and hardware from the early 1970's on.
    If France wants to keep its top staff at the NSA/GCHQ standard to enjoy total network collection France will have to take into account how the US and UK will respond.
    France should have fully understood what it was doing politically when it had its early 1970's French (~JIC) meeting with the GCHQ.
    What was the French SDECE worked very well with the UK over the what would have been the UK Zircon sigint satellite projects and options for sharing resulting material with the French. The UK French deal and later sharing was more about making France dependent on US and UK access than helping France share with the UK.
    Generations of French crypto officials have now worked with and under UK and US advisors and now like the US/UK systems France is using globally.
    France was very happy to help with UK with all aspects and details of its weapons sales during the Falklands war.
    The US did not help New Zealand re the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour.
    France cannot easily undo its linked hardware, access and software that the US and UK now offer.
    It seems the French political elite understand what the French security services have been doing for decades and what France can do or will not have access to. France also seems more aware of just how deep the US is to French crypto and networks.
    France should have understood the lessons from the 1950's when the US and UK had near total access to all French communications at all levels.
    How or why the French left their secure networks so open to the US after the 1950-60's is a mystery. Decades later the upgraded French networks are still open to the US and UK??
    French political policy has to always reflect on obligations back to the UK and UK for that collect it all sharing access.
    The only long term option for France politically is to secure its own codes "again" and spend big on better quality French sigint for France globally.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Too many people in the geek/nerd/slashdot/etc communities treat Julian Assange like the women of the Manson family treated Charlie; they worshipped the dirtbag and refused to see his flaws - even today, decades later they worship the guy who carved a swastika into his own forehead and blames THEM for the murders.

    WAKE UP!

    Assange is a nasty piece of work. He pretends to be hiding out from the big bad American government as his excuse for actually hiding out in an embassy to avoid facing a trial for rape in Eu

  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Saturday July 04, 2015 @09:13AM (#50043339)

    I'm sure Julian Assange knew the request would not be granted and it's probably a simple maneuver to remember us which side France is on.
    Since 2009 France is officially a full NATO member and a couple years later, it showed full allegiance and with the US it attacked Libya, a sovereign country. If we hold this to the same standards as the invasion of Iraq then that was a particularly abject and monstrous crime, which also makes France directly responsible for the rise of Islamic State.

    In France, foreign policy affairs are typically directed by the president, who is totally unaccountable once elected (a republican monarch). There's never any debate about foreign policy, esp. in the media. The president styles himself as left-wing, though that is contested. But I haven't heard anything on the left about NATO and the wars, though it seems to me there's that obvious elephant in the room, that France is fully allied to the US, UK, Saudi etc. which implies embracing the neocons goals and methods.
    More directly to the point I will say that Hollande and Fabius are comparable to Bush, Cheney, Tony Blair etc. and that the neocons cabbal is the gravest threat from the West since the nazis. Denouncing the US threat is fine (it's one of the few most dangerous countries on Earth) but it does not make intellectual sense to stop at the US or UK border and fail to consider that France is in. We need some great (democratic) purge that throws pro-war officials out of office. France need not embrace a dangerous ideology that worships death and destruction of States, presenting them with a convert-or-die deal (join the Empire or we'll destroy you) or pushing Arabs to kill one another to increase weapons sales.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Saturday July 04, 2015 @10:22AM (#50043549) Homepage
    There's always been this weird dynamic on Slashdot where if someone has done something good or useful, or is perceived as "one of us," you get this absolute defense of every single action of that person, no matter how objectionable. A lot of it seems to be based on perceiving oneself in that person, and I suspect wanting to defend them from criticisms they themselves have received in real life.

    Examples: Steve Jobs was a cruel narcissist, but he "had to be" to turn Apple into what it is. Linus Torvalds has on occasion treated people nastily, but that's something to be absolutely admired and never criticized. Hans Reiser was being persecuted because he was a geek. Terry Childs was the epitome of integrity for locking out his supervisors. Julian Assange isn't a self-obsessed narcissist, he's the noble target of an international conspiracy to besmirch his good name.

    Here's my view:
    Julian Assange did a lot of good through wikileaks, and should be praised for that.
    He's also on a personal level an objectionable human being and that should not be excused or explained away.
    If he is accused of committing a crime in Sweden, he should fight those charges in Sweden.
    Whether he's innocent or not of those charges, he's probably not innocent of violating bail, and should be charged with that as well.
    The first point I made above is completely consistent with all the ones that follow. people who were I think a lot of it is a sort of
    • Steve Jobs was a cruel narcissist, but he "had to be" to turn Apple into what it is.

      I am generally anti-Apple and think Steve Jobs was a massive cock, but I still think that's true. Look at how ineffectual Apple is without him.

      Linus Torvalds has on occasion treated people nastily, but that's something to be absolutely admired and never criticized.

      It's often criticized, and over the last few conversations on the subject I'd say that the tone on slashdot has been more muted, with less support for his level of abuse. On the other hand, when has Linus gone off on someone who hadn't definitely earned a less-than-polite brush-off?

      Hans Reiser was being persecuted because he was a geek.

      Where are those people now? We haven't heard from them basically since... well, you kn

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

        Steve Jobs was a cruel narcissist, but he "had to be" to turn Apple into what it is.

        I am generally anti-Apple and think Steve Jobs was a massive cock, but I still think that's true. Look at how ineffectual Apple is without him.

        Jobs had a vision which the current execs at Apple seem to lack. You don't need to be a cruel narcissist to have a vision and act upon it though.

      • by nomadic ( 141991 )

        I am generally anti-Apple and think Steve Jobs was a massive cock, but I still think that's true. Look at how ineffectual Apple is without him.

        Perhaps, but I just don't agree that "but he made a lot of money" excuses cruelty or nastiness. We didn't and still don't need Apple.

        It's often criticized, and over the last few conversations on the subject I'd say that the tone on slashdot has been more muted, with less support for his level of abuse. On the other hand, when has Linus gone off on someone who hadn'

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's always been this weird dynamic on Slashdot where if someone has done something good or useful, or is perceived as "one of us," you get this absolute defense of every single action of that person, no matter how objectionable.

      absolute defense?

      The whole thing about Sweden, UK and Assange simply stinks. I think most of your so-called "defenders" simply just care enough, that they don't want Assange to get deported to 'murica and I agree with that. I actually don't want anyone get deported to 'murica. And that's what probably would happen.

  • Yeah I'm sure we'd all like a little place on the French Rivera. Good luck with that while you're stuck in the same room you've been in for the past few years. It's kind of like prison, oh wait it is prison.

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