If you break the law overseas, don’t expect government to bail you out. Julian Assange hasn’t been charged under any laws for Wikileaks and that’s what makes Julia Gillard’s abandonment of an Australian citizen so disappointing.

Picture: Britta Campion

The Wikileaks founder is a divisive figure, evoking reactions of admiration, loathing, love and horror for releasing a mountain of classified US cables. But whatever picture painted of Assange you subscribe to, he deserves to be treated fairly. No matter how much you hate the release of cables, it doesn’t make it illegal.

Like most major media outlets, Wikileaks operated an anonymous drop-box for information and US marine Bradley Manning is alleged to have filled it in spectacular fashion. Through a possible plea bargain, the US appear intent on establishing that far from voluntarily offering up the cables, Manning was coerced to do so by Assange. That case seems even more implausible following last year’s revelations that Manning googled Assange and Wikileaks over a hundred times on his work computer before he allegedly handed over the material to Wikileaks.

Sure, every nation must have its secrets, but secrecy shouldn’t be overused. One place not to put state secrets is in cables which can be accessed by around a quarter of a million public servants. It is simply too easy for a 19 year old to download them onto Lady Gaga CDs and carry them home.

Further along the information supply chain, it is difficult to assign any more blame to Assange than the Guardian or New York Times which disseminated the content with delight. It now appears Assange offered the opportunity to redact highly sensitive material out of the cables, but the US refused. If that offer to filter out sensitive material was passed up, it suggests there wasn’t much in the cables to sweat about.

US officials now concede that no assets were moved or redeployed in Afghanistan as a result of Wikileaks. Passing up the offer to redact and the reality that it has been business as usual since, makes it hard to maintain the argument that Wikileaks was a massive haemorrhage of state secrets which risked compromising the free western world.

That’s probably because diplomatic cables are little more than the everyday truthful and uncluttered observations of foreign service hopefuls. This mostly banal and anodyne content is occasionally spiked with acutely embarrassing content about powerful people. So it’s little wonder few of them will now stand up for Assange. It is also in vogue for politicians to be pro-national security.

That means judging first and not being bothered to ask questions on the way through. Julia Gillard is the exemplar. Having assumed Assange had broken ‘some’ Australian law, she even canvassed cancelling his Australian passport, effectively making Assange Australia’s first political refugee.

With such initial hostility, the Prime Minister can’t even do her job on behalf of this citizen without looking like a back-flipping hypocrite. Little wonder she has been mute ever since, a far cry from her approach to David Hicks.

Sweden’s legal system is curious in places and unfamiliar to most of us. They are entitled to seek Assange’s extradition and the minute he lands, either place him into incommunicado detention or temporarily surrender him to the US by ‘mutual agreement.’ That’s a mutual agreement which doesn’t involve Australia, and which Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister only managed to achieve an assurance that “due process” will be afforded Assange.

Sadly, Swedish prosecutors pursuit of Assange to date has raised questions as to what exactly due process in Sweden means.

Meanwhile, suspicions that a US grand jury had been meeting in secret to indict Assange in the notoriously pro-national security state of Virginia have been confirmed today – ironically in another Wikileaks release.

Even after over a year, there is no indication if charges can or will be laid. But given high-profile US politicians have called him a terrorist, an enemy combatant and sought his extrajudicial killing, one wonders if a fair trial is possible or any protections exist under the First Amendment.

The attacks on Wikileaks include subpoenas on Twitter accounts and a complete financial embargo, including shutting down all forms of financial services and payments. That has effectively starved Assange of the funds required to run his defence.

We are reaching a point where things are done to Assange for no other reason than they can be dreamt up by those who are mildly annoyed.

The evolving plan to bump Assange along legal systems to get him in front of a US grand jury is disappointing. If the US believes an Australian citizen has a case to answer, at least be upfront about it. If Assange has done anything more than offend the powerful few, it is time for that case to be fully elaborated and heard by a truly independent judiciary.

Andrew Laming is the Liberal MP for Bowman.

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68 comments

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    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      12:42pm | 29/02/12

      He should turn Muslim and claim asylum in Australia - he’d get all the help he wanted from the Australian Government.

    • Zopo says:

      12:53pm | 29/02/12

      Even easier if he came on a boat from Indonesia.

      Nice one!

    • Duchess says:

      03:44pm | 29/02/12

      Lame guys.  Really lame and tasteless.

    • the_pseudonym says:

      03:55pm | 29/02/12

      But fuuu-uuuuuuny!

    • ZSRenn says:

      04:20pm | 29/02/12

      Yes Duchess but so true The guy is a full blown tosser and he should be arrested for that!

    • Inseminoid says:

      05:05pm | 29/02/12

      Julian Julian, he’s our man
      Hide from the USA
      The best you can.

    • John says:

      02:09pm | 01/03/12

      Certainly helped David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib being muslim didnt it?

      And they hadnt even broken any Australian laws or American laws at the time….

      Loser.

    • iansand says:

      12:43pm | 29/02/12

      I think we need an SAS team to bust Assange out of house arrest, unless you have some other plan for the offering of assistance.  As far as I know, Assange has been given the consular assistance to which any citizen is entitled.  No more, no less.  And that is as it should be.

    • MarkS says:

      02:18pm | 29/02/12

      Consular assistance, baaahhaaaaaa. Used toilet paper is more useful. The way the Australian Government treats Australians who get into trouble is loathsome. As far as being able to rely on our government an Australian Passport is less then worthless. If you can get a passport from any nation but Australia do so.

      “If you break the law overseas, don’t expect government to bail you out”

      The truth is “If you get into any trouble whatsoever with any overseas authority of any kind whatsoever expect the government to do their best to aid & abet your prosecution”

      “she even canvassed cancelling his Australian passport, effectively making Assange Australia’s first political refugee”

      The truth is that the Australian government will cancel your passport on request of any overseas authority. It is their standard procedure, it happens regularly. If by some miracle you have a chance to come home, they will not give you your passport back because after them having taken your passport & you being in some 3rd world hellhole jail for years, you do not have enough points to prove your ID!

      The above applied when the Lib’s were in power. Mr Laming what have YOU, an Australian federal MP done to fix the disgraceful way Australia treats it’s passport holders?

      The thing that really sticks in my craw about Assange & the Western Governments is that when Wikileaks released genuine operational data that endangered lives, the pollies said tut tut. Later when Wikileaks embarrassed them by telling us the truth of what they say to each other, then they get all Gestapo on him.

    • iansand says:

      05:11pm | 29/02/12

      MarkS - The limitations on assistance is a different issue.  It is a general failing rather than one specific to Assange.

    • marley says:

      09:29pm | 29/02/12

      @MarkS - ICB on your comment.  Australians are notorious as being among the most demanding, and the most pandered to, of nationals getting into trouble abroad.  Australians who have a brush with foreign authority demand the intervention of Australian consular officials in bog-standard criminal cases (Corby et al).  They expect to be evacuated if their country of second nationality goes belly up.  And they want to be rescued if their airline does the same.

      Well, sorry, but you deal with the laws of the country you reside in, you get travel insurance, and you don’t expect Mother Australia to come to the rescue when you stub your toe.  You certainly don’t expect her to intervene in the affairs of a foreign nation just because you’re an Australian.

      That’s not to say that Australia shouldn’t do the proper thing under accepted consular practice:  ensure that you have a list of lawyers, notify your family that you’re in trouble and tell them where to send money, visit you in gaol, and, if there’s a serious question about the fairness of the court proceedings, make representations to the government.  But intervene to get you off the hook, no way. 

      And while I don’t know what Australian practice is, I do know that other countries that find their nationals in deep trouble overseas and get them out of it will indeed seize their passports and give them a one-way emergency document to get them back home with no detours.  And they won’t get another passport until they’ve paid off the cost of their flight and any other debt they’ve incurred.

    • SLF says:

      12:47pm | 29/02/12

      Why shouldn’t Swedish prosecutors pursue Assange, or does their legal ‘foriegn’ legal system automatically mean dubious dealings are certain to take place?

      “Suspicions a grand jury has been meeting in secret’ So no evidence? Just suspicion.

      It seems as though if anything the pro-Assange viewpoing is built on as little substance as the anti-Assange movement.

    • wolf says:

      01:45pm | 29/02/12

      SLF the dubious dealing in this case is that the warrant is for ‘questioning’ - he has not been charged.

    • iansand says:

      02:21pm | 29/02/12

      SLF -I have a sneaking suspicion that Geoffrey Robertson and the boys might have been onto this if it was a distinction worth making.  I suspect, but don’t know, that the rules for extradition between EEC countries might be a little looser than those for countries outside the Community.  In the same way as it is a heck of a lot easier to extradite people interstate in Australia than it is internationally.

    • MarkS says:

      02:53pm | 29/02/12

      @SLF
      ““Suspicions a grand jury has been meeting in secret’ So no evidence? Just suspicion.”

      You do understand what the word “confirmed” means do you not?

      “Meanwhile, suspicions that a US grand jury had been meeting in secret to indict Assange in the notoriously pro-national security state of Virginia have been confirmed today – ironically in another Wikileaks release.”

      A grand jury is like our committal hearings. Secret hearings. Oh joy, justice at work in the good ole USofA.

    • Damian Parkhill says:

      04:21pm | 29/02/12

      “Suspicions a grand jury has been meeting in secret’ So no evidence? Just suspicion.

      Wikileaks just release part one of the Startfor files, included in these were emails confirming that the US had -indeed- been running a grand jury to get their hands on Assange.

      Justice my ass!

      Also to AdamC below - one of the reasons they can’t get him from the UK is because the UK won’t transfer anyone that could receive the death penalty (not to mention the due process clause) that’s why they are trying to have him first sent to Sweden (their foreign minister who required this case be reopened has been outed as a CIA agent - according to wikileaks, the files with the evidence of this should be released in a few days)

    • iansand says:

      05:02pm | 29/02/12

      AFAIK, all Grand Juries meet in secret.  The emphasis on a secret meeting is deliberate and misleading mischief making.

    • iansand says:

      08:52am | 01/03/12

      Article 1 of the EEC Extradition Treaty:

      Article 1 – Obligation to extradite

      The Contracting Parties undertake to surrender to each other, subject to the provisions and conditions laid down in this Convention, all persons against whom the competent authorities of the requesting Party are proceeding for an offence or who are wanted by the said authorities for the carrying out of a sentence or detention order.

      “Proceeding for an offence” seems, to me, to be quite broad and probably encompasses a desire to question in relation to an identified offence.  It certainly would not require a charge to be actually laid or “charged with an offence” would be the criterion.

      Article 15

      Article 15 – Re-extradition to a third state

      Except as provided for in Article 14, paragraph 1.b, the requesting Party shall not, without the consent of the requested Party, surrender to another Party or to a third State a person surrendered to the requesting Party and sought by the said other Party or third State in respect of offences committed before his surrender. The requested Party may request the production of the documents mentioned in Article 12, paragraph 2.

      It seems that Sweden could not export Assange to the US without the consent of the UK (although that would be cold comfort for Assange if Sweden did not follow the Treaty).

      http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/024.htm

    • TheRealDave says:

      12:52pm | 29/02/12

      Brad Manning is a US Army soldier - not a US Marine. If you can’t get basic details right why should I care about anything else after that??

    • pennyoz says:

      12:53pm | 29/02/12

      not all public displays are beneficial to maintaining free speech… and he doesn’t have such a good track record to boast of.

      Sometimes your own best enemy is one you consider as a friend.

    • Mahhrat says:

      12:55pm | 29/02/12

      He’s a threat to the “system” and the “system” want him gone.

      The only reason he’s not been mysteriously shot yet is because we’re not stupid enough to fall for it any more.

      From what I’ve seen, he’s an arrogant clown of a man with some fairly narcissistic traits.  None of that, however, is illegal.

    • wolf says:

      01:54pm | 29/02/12

      Mahhrat has he been ‘thumbing his nose’ at the US? This is actually a serious offence, from what I remember that’s why Iraq was invaded…

    • acotrel says:

      05:40am | 01/03/12

      Transparency is a threat to the system ? We’ll be back to Charles the firsts star chamber in a minute !

    • fredo says:

      01:00pm | 29/02/12

      trail? or trial?

    • Brian HC says:

      01:40pm | 29/02/12

      Whether you like Assange or not, Wikileaks has been a pioneer in making governments more transparent. Governments, the USA in particular, don’t like it and are out to get Assange. He deserves the support of all those who believe in free speech and transparent government.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      04:03pm | 29/02/12

      ‘Making governments more transparent’? A bit rich; all he’s done is encourage the Pentagon, CIA and other covert agencies to become even more secretive. Give me the New York Times over that megalomaniac weirdo Assange anytime.

    • onlooker says:

      01:50pm | 29/02/12

      I don’t like the man at all, I think he is very arrogant and creepy

    • Dan says:

      02:42pm | 29/02/12

      being arrogant or creepy is not a crime

    • M says:

      04:36pm | 29/02/12

      It doesn’t matter what you like and what you don’t like. He remains to be charged with anything.

      The fact that a gross miscarriage of justice is happening should concern you more than his personality traits.

      When did Australia become so shallow?

    • onlooker says:

      07:01am | 01/03/12

      Your right it doesn’t matter what I like to anyone but me, but I don’t have the power or the will to help a man who won’t face rape charges, call me old fashioned but I think rape is a horrible crime and I feel if he was innocent he would go and proclaim it. Many countries laws are different from ours, its up to us to ensure we obey the law whilst in them. If they charged me with that I would be running there to clear my name. As for the USA , well I can imagine they got a bit annoyed, he must have known he was taking on a super power, to late to cry wolf now.

    • John L says:

      09:32am | 01/03/12

      Assange is being charged with what they call “Sex by Surprise” i.e. Sex that had started out with promise of a condom but a condom wasn’t actually used which makes the act non-consensual, or something like that. The exact phraseology is a bit muddled, but they (the Swedes) cleared it all up by calling it “rape”, makes it neat.

      Unfortunately for the Swedes both women involved were boasting the fact that they slept with him. It might make the whole thing a bit difficult as how do you prove the promise existed in the first place, one persons word against another.

      I wonder if the Swedish Government will be liable for defamation after all this. After all YOU called him a rapist.

    • OchreBunyip says:

      11:40am | 01/03/12

      @onlooker. Men are assumed guilty in rape cases until proven innocent. Even if they are cleared, their false accuser will be “supported” and “counselled” instead of prosecuted. Assange has no reason to cooperate with what, according to media reports, is a false allegation.

    • Stan says:

      01:57pm | 29/02/12

      Under U.S. law, Assange can only be found guilty if he conspired to obtain classifed material.
      If he did not conspire , his release of the material was lawful. Just like a journo releasing material that is delivered to him without any involvement in obtaining the material.

    • MarkS says:

      02:23pm | 29/02/12

      Did not do your alledged crime in the US & are not a US citizen. No worries.

      After all the US Supreme Court has found that US law applies whenever a single US citizen is affected.

      I for one welcome our old US overlords, long may they rule over us.

    • AdamC says:

      02:19pm | 29/02/12

      There is a lot of speculation in this article.

      To me, the bottom line is, if the United States can make some kind of criminal case against Assange, he should face trial. After all, America’s First Amendment offers the best protection of his sort of conduct anywhere in the world. I would have thought a messianically-inclined fellow like Assange would be quite interested in being the subject of such a sweeping freedom-of-expression test case.

      Also, I fail to see how deporting Assange to Sweden would make it easier for the Americans to get him over to the States.

    • MarkS says:

      03:00pm | 29/02/12

      Becouse Sweden has a deal with the US were they can deport people to the US with great ease. No need for instance unlike in Britain to prove that the so called crime would also be a crime in Sweden.

      Ever taken the Lords name in vain. How would you like to be deported to one the many nations in the world where that is a crime punishable by death?

    • AdamC says:

      03:20pm | 29/02/12

      MarkS, really? I had been led to believe it was easier to have someone extradited to the US from the UK than from Sweden.

      Clearly, I would expect the Yanks to have to make a case. I would agree that Assange shouldn’t simply be bundled off for blasphemy or something. (I take it our Nordic friends don’t have an equally permissive extradition treaty with the Saudis?)

    • Colin says:

      03:10pm | 29/02/12

      Funny, I thought he was involved in the legal process right now. Just because you do not agree with a courts decision does not mean justice has not been served.
      Add to this it has nothing to do with Australian government, other countries have the right to enforce their laws and govern themselves. If you do not want to be subjected to another countries law, do not go there.

    • Lance says:

      03:25pm | 29/02/12

      The Australian government has a long history of abandoning Australians who get in trouble overseas.  This is why even as an Australian citizen, I choose to travel on a New Zealand passport and proclaim to be from New Zealand when i travel overseas. I know for a fact that the NZ government would be there for me if I got into trouble.

    • lucretia says:

      08:17pm | 29/02/12

      Thanks for the heads-up Lance. I will travel in future on my Irish passport then instead of the Australian one I got 3 years ago because I thought it meant something. Now I know I was wrong. That makes me sad. As for Assange, my thoughts are that in future history, people will remember him as someone who tried to make a difference. That takes courage and maybe narrisicism, but most world changers have it. We will be proud of him someday. People who disagree with him, tend to be the same hypocrates who think that the LNP’s latest policy announcement (cough) about changing the racial vilification laws to allow us to more freedom of expression is good cause well..Hell Christmas is at stake here

    • marley says:

      07:24am | 01/03/12

      Australians get more help from their consular services than a lot of other nationals do.  I can guarantee that if the Bali kid had been American or Canadian or British, the President or PM would not have been making phone calls and the Ambassador wouldn’t have been flying to Bali to sort things out personally.

      But, go ahead, travel on your NZ passport, and when you get in trouble, hope to god there’s a Kiwi Embassy handy.  Get in trouble in Jamaica, and the NZ Embassy in Canada will handle matters for you.

    • Tracker says:

      03:44pm | 29/02/12

      Do we give Assange a fair trial before or after the execution ?

    • TheRealDave says:

      04:03pm | 29/02/12

      “Even after over a year, there is no indication if charges can or will be laid. But given high-profile US politicians have called him a terrorist, an enemy combatant and sought his extrajudicial killing, one wonders if a fair trial is possible or any protections exist under the First Amendment. “

      You know, that reminds me of something…..

      I don’t usually watch SBS, I despise the channel personally, but I was up early one morning and the TV was on down the other end of the house and I went down to switch it off and the SBS early morning news was on. The news bloke was on talking about the Assange trial/extradition - from memory this was early last year? Anywho - the bloke was interviewing live one of Assange’s lawyers, a young shiela who was spouting on all this guff about how the US wants to assasinate Assange, how the US wants to ‘send him to Gitmo’ and all kinds of torturing crap. The bemused news bloke, the bloke who’s of Middle Eastern decent ( i know this sounds bogan but I genuinely don’t watch the channel and do not know who he is but I am assuming he’s their only Middle Eastern news anchor so its the best description I can give)  who’s name I do not know did a bloody good job by repeatedly asking this ‘lawyer’ for any evidence, proof or names of people she was making all these wild accusations about who wanted to kill or torture Assnage or who wanted to ‘rendition’ him and what not - and she never answered a single question - nor would she answer any questions he kept putting to her about his trial and actual case being discussed. I don’t know who the bloke was but he was excellent.

      Which is what this article reminds me of about Assange and his case. Like his lawyer in that interview the author here wants to not talk about the crime the Swedes want him for but instead make it out to be about the Big Bad United States and her Military Industrial cabal wanting to kidnap, torture and kill the poor little albino boy. As far as I am aware the US has not laid any charges at all on Assange. He is not he subject of any extradition preceedings to the US. He is however wanted on some sex crimes charges in Sweeden which is the only thing we should be talking in regards to legal cases. Throwing in the US based guff as a defence for sex crimes in Sweeden is a load of absolute dogs balls.

      I am still just a tad bemused that a country that had the conviction to stay neutral in the greatest war the world has ever seen suddenly is now alledgely a US lapdog…...

    • Esteban says:

      06:14pm | 29/02/12

      There was a show that came out about the same time in which there was general agreement that it would be a very straight forward matter to extradite Assange from the UK.

      It was agreed that the USA only need ask and he would be made available to the USA.

      One can only assume he will not be facing US charges or they have not come up with a suitable charge yet.

      So this whole thing about the Sewish charges are a way to get him to the USA appear to be erroneous.

      I started watching the SBS news about 6 years ago when I started getting into Le tour de france. Theit news is excellent and the news readers don’t smile while delivering bad news. It is possible they actually proof read it in advance.

      I think the “middle East” appearance man is either Anton (Greek) or Ricardo Gonsalves. based on their names I don’t think they are middle eastern

      I must confess that one of the feamale readers is so attractive that I find it impossible to concentrate on the news and switch off.

    • stevem says:

      04:18pm | 29/02/12

      From day one I’ve wondered why Sweden was spending such an effort on extraditing Assange. He has not been charged, they are just trying to get him back to Sweden to interview him. Rather than fly investigators to the UK or have a ‘phone interview they’ve sent a team of lawyers to England, no doubt put them up in 5* accommodation for months on end.

      It just seems too much effort for an interview.

    • Chris says:

      04:25pm | 29/02/12

      Assange’s real crime is that he is “differemt” and he has upset some people who are powerful (or believe they are). Gillard is not going to upset them. I have no doubt that Rudd knows a thing or two as well but he still has ambitions so he will not upset people either.
      I do not know Assange. I suspect I may not like him much if I met him but the attempts to get him extradited to the US via Sweden are unjust. If they want to pursue the sex claims they can interview him on English soil before deciding to lay charges - it is the fact that they are demanding his extradition first that says everything…there are convicted terrorists walking the streets of London and this man has not even been charged.

    • AllanJ says:

      06:34pm | 29/02/12

      Who said he wasn’t going to get a fair trial.

    • TheRealDave says:

      08:24pm | 29/02/12

      The same people who said the US wants to assassinate him, subject him to extraordinary rendition, send him to Gitmo, torture him etc - I am still unsure of the order these things are supposed to be happening in though…I wonder if they could print up a schedule for us so we can all keep up….

    • Lucretia says:

      08:26pm | 29/02/12

      As for Assange, my thoughts are that in future history, people will remember him as someone who tried to make a difference. That takes courage and maybe narrisicism, but most world changers have it. People who disagree with him, tend to be the same ones who think that the LNP’s latest policy announcement (cough) about changing the racial vilification laws to allow us to insult minorities more because…Hell Christmas is at stake here

    • Lucretia says:

      08:28pm | 29/02/12

      As for Assange, my thoughts are that in future history, people will remember him as someone who tried to make a difference. That takes courage and maybe narrisicism, but most world changers have it. People who disagree with him, tend to be the same ones who think that the LNP’s latest policy announcement (cough) about changing the racial vilification laws to allow us to insult minorities more because…Hell Christmas is at stake here

    • Bertrand says:

      08:52pm | 29/02/12

      @Lucretia - you realise this article, arguing in favour of Assange, was written by a Liberal MP?

    • AllanJ says:

      09:54am | 01/03/12

      @TheRealDave.  Are you seriously trying to tell us that you believe those nut-cases or that they would have any influence on the way an Assange case is being or would be handled within the legal systems of their countries?

      @Lucretia.  It seems to me that to function effectively and in the best interests of its citizens, modern democratic governments need to adhere to two often opposing principles, namely transparency and secrecy.  Transparency, because all elected and appointed government officials must be held to account.  Secrecy, because these governments cannot operate effectively if criminal elements, the country’s enemies, or even its legitimate competitors, have knowledge of their strategies or foreknowledge of their plans.

      The first question to be asked is just where the dividing line is to be drawn.  The second question is who is it that we trust sufficiently to determine the answer to the first question?

      There appear to be some who do not fully trust our government officials to make such decisions.  It was Sir Humphrey Appleby who once said “the official secrets act is not there to protect secrets, it is there to protect officials” (circa 1985).

      I suspect, however, that many of us trust anarchists like Julian Assange even less.  He is accountable to no-one and the ultimate objective of such as he (a self-confessed ‘revolutionary’) is to disable the functioning of governments and ultimately to bring them down.  If this is your aim then his is a good cause to support.  However, I do not consider that such outcomes are in the interests of most citizens of modern Western democracies, as imperfect as these institutions may be.

    • AllanJ says:

      03:39pm | 01/03/12

      @TheRealDave.  Of course you are not.  However, it is quite extraordinary to see how some people are trying to do that very thing.

    • Damien says:

      08:04pm | 29/02/12

      Well put Andrew. Now if only we could get this kind of considered, reasonable response on the NBN, I may start voting for you again…

    • Richard says:

      11:02am | 01/03/12

      Damien, the NBN is a massive, coercive, government run monopoly in telecommunications. Government run monopoly’s are *NEVER* efficient, they *NEVER* deliver good value. Why are you so certain in thinking its a good idea?

    • Richard says:

      08:10pm | 29/02/12

      Well, I think Assange IS a hero, and he’s done nothing wrong, so he shouldn’t even be put trail at all.

    • John says:

      11:46pm | 29/02/12

      Assange is fake! He believes in the official 9/11 story! Plus he gets front page news! This reinforces his fakeness! The truth is buried, it’s not out in the opened for all the see fools. The mainstream media is about population control it’s not about reality. Why is the mainstream media backed the Iraq, Afghanistan, Libyan, Syrian and Iran war? It’s because the west is totally controlled!

      The Media, Politicians all spew the same bullshit. Why is the media biased and supporting the Syrian Al-Qaeda Rebels and the Libyan A-Qaeda rebels? Why is that western foreign policy is purely identical in every western country? Why is that the west is in debt while no one else is?

    • braunman says:

      11:23am | 01/03/12

      Is John a real person? This can’t be real, he’s like a parody of paranoid conspiracy theorists. Then again maybe there’s something to be said for Poe’s law…

    • Stephan says:

      06:53am | 01/03/12

      Behind the face of democracy lies the strictest totalitarianistic management this civilisation has ever seen. Star Chamber politics and the manipulation of the global economy being just the tip of the iceberg,

      Is Assange trying to get in or are they trying to keep him out?

    • rod sexton says:

      06:56am | 01/03/12

      Assange is probably lucky to be alive - who gives a rats whether he is jailed in Sweden or the US.

    • Your name:gerry says:

      07:20am | 01/03/12

      At least me know how dishonest our governments are now, do not forget that.

    • therese says:

      08:03am | 01/03/12

      ummmmm so how is this Julia’s fault again?

    • Celia says:

      09:20am | 01/03/12

      Rant to follow.

      What Assange, and Wikileaks as a whole, appear to stand for is the principle of the truth. For those of us who understand the mechanisms of power there is not a lot of surprise in what has and continues to be leaked tell us about those involved. Nonetheless the majority of people seemed surprised at the revelations which in turn surprises me.

      The truth of staying at the top of the game for many (not all, I believe that among the rabble are ethical people too) is that many of these people do appalling things to stay in power. If you consider this in the context then of global powers and the concept of staying at the top of that game - well, I am sure this entails things that those powers preferred we - the common people - knew as little about as possible.

      Our current problem is that because state intervention in matters of law and society increases on a rapid basis in our modern world, we are now confronted by a massive faceless machine that determines what our rights are in the context of its own perceived interests. That is to say that as a youngster I believed in welfarism, that the state could act in the interests of all with the needs and rights of all in its sights. However now I am becoming less certain that this is how that machine works at all.

      When I consider the actions of Assange, I firstly acknowledge that these actions are likely to be viewed unfavourably in the legal sense. However, there is also a point where following law is understood not always to correspond to justice and hence the underlying issue is should Assange be entitled to justice?

      At the end of the day it will be up to the law to determine whether a crime has been committed and without the facts none of us is in a position to determine this element. But he is entitled to justice. From a non-legal perspective, Assange has shown great courage in confronting this huge faceless regime of corporate greed and political power and for one man to attempt such a feat is utterly amazing. Few of us would know where to begin.

      I may not admire the methods, but I certainly admire the intent. As I can offer no alternative mode of action, perhaps we should cautiously support at the very least his aims.

    • Tim says:

      09:20am | 01/03/12

      It’s concerning that there are so many people commenting here and in our government that do not appreciate the system of justice that we as a society have built up over hundreds of years.  As the author says, you don’t have to agree with what Julian Assange has done to defend his right to due process.

    • marley says:

      09:56am | 01/03/12

      Of c ourse he has a right to due process, and it seems to me he’s getting it.  He’s still availing himself of the due process of the British legal system, and in the event he’s extradited to Sweden, will no doubt avail himself of their due process as well.  I’m not sure what the justification is for arguing that the Swedes are simply going to hand him over to the Americans, no questions asked.  I’d have thought Sweden had a pretty robust legal system, myself.

    • Gerry W says:

      09:45am | 01/03/12

      Killing innocents who were journalists and children and pretenting it was like a Playstation game and laughing and swearing about how much fun it was, should be told to the world as it was like 1000’s of other injustices that happen every day.
      He has opened millions of peoples eyes which is a good thing. However USA even if the 5th ammendment etc allows it the USA do not care if an innocent/s dies just so they do not lose face.

    • colroe says:

      11:42am | 01/03/12

      Some dumb kid in Bali buying a bit of dope gets all the assistance, but Assange gets short shift from Gillard, when he has not been charged for the Wikileaks affair.  The USA is using Sweden as a stooge.  I hope Sweden resists, the Yanks get a bit too big for their boots on occasions, they are not the Worlds Policemen, whether they think so or not.

    • Kassandra says:

      12:37pm | 01/03/12

      Assange is wanted by the Swedes for an alleged sex offense there. He has been parading himself in the UK courts and in the world’s media, assisted by a platoon of lawyers none of us could afford, arguing he should not have to face the Swedish authorities because they will just extradite him to the USA where he will disappear to suffer an unspeakable fate. So far he has managed to evade facing the justice system in Sweden by playing the British justice system to the hilt. All seems like bulldust to me. He’s just running scared trying to avoid the trouble he’s gotten himself into. Nothing heroic in that.

 

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