The noose tightens around WikiLeaks' Assange

Dec 02, 2010 By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and MALIN RISING , Associated Press
In this Nov. 4, 2010 file photo, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a news conference at the Geneva press club, in Geneva, Switzerland. Assange's legal options narrowed on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 as he lost an appeal against a court order for his arrest and his British lawyer said authorities knew his precise location. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, File)

(AP) -- The law is closing in on Julian Assange. Swedish authorities won a court ruling Thursday in their bid to arrest the WikiLeaks founder for questioning in a rape case, British intelligence is said to know where he's hiding, and U.S. pundits and politicians are demanding he be hunted down or worse.

The former computer hacker who has embarrassed the U.S. government and foreign leaders with his online release of a huge trove of secret American diplomatic cables suffered a legal setback when Sweden's Supreme Court upheld an order to detain him - a move that could lead to his extradition.

Meanwhile, Assange continues to leak sensitive documents. Newly posted cables on WikiLeaks' website detailed a host of embarrassing disclosures, including allegations that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accepted kickbacks and a deeply unflattering assessment of Turkmenistan's president.

Assange is accused in Sweden of rape, sexual molestation and coercion in a case from August, and Swedish officials have alerted Interpol and issued a European arrest warrant to bring him in for questioning.

The 39-year-old Australian denies the charges, which his lawyer, Mark Stephens, said apparently stemmed from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex." Stephens said the case is turning into an exercise in persecution.

While Assange has not made a public appearance for nearly a month, his lawyer insisted authorities know where to find him.

"Both the British and the Swedish authorities know how to contact him, and the security services know exactly where he is," Stephens told The Associated Press.

It was unclear if or when police would act on Sweden's demands. Police there acknowledged Thursday they would have to refile their European arrest warrant after British authorities asked for more details on the maximum penalties for all three crimes Assange is suspected of.

Scotland Yard declined comment, as did the Serious and Organized Crime Agency, responsible for processing European arrest warrants for suspects in England - where The Guardian claims Assange is hiding out.

Stephens - who also represents the AP on media-related matters - said that if Assange were ever served with a warrant, he would fight it in British court. "The process in this case has been so utterly irregular that the chances of a valid arrest warrant being submitted to me are very small," he said.

The Swedish case has been subject to a great deal of back and forth, with Swedish prosecutors repeatedly overruling each other and disagreeing over whether to classify the most serious accusation as rape.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said late Wednesday that the organization was trying to keep Assange's location a secret for security reasons. He noted that commentators in the United States and Canada have called for Assange to be hunted down or killed.

Sarah Palin likened Assange to an al-Qaida propagandist and accused him, without offering any proof, of having "blood on his hands."

"Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaida and Taliban leaders?" she asked in a message posted to her Facebook page.

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York called for Assange to be charged under the Espionage Act and asked whether WikiLeaks can be designated a terrorist organization.

"I think Assange should be assassinated, actually," Tom Flanagan, a former adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told the CBC. "I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something." Flanagan, a U.S.-born professor of political science at the University of Calgary, later apologized.

U.S. government lawyers are investigating whether Assange could be prosecuted for espionage, a senior American defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier this week. WikiLeaks has not said how it obtained the documents, but the government's prime suspect is an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in the brig on charges of leaking other classified documents to WikiLeaks.

One batch of the latest leaked dispatches - these from the U.S. Embassy staff in Turkmenistan - portrays the president of the former Soviet state in Central Asia, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, as "vain, suspicious, guarded, strict, very conservative, a practiced liar," and "not a very bright guy."

According to another one of the cables, Georgia's ambassador in Rome claimed that Berlusconi was promised a cut of the profits in energy deals with Russia. Berlusconi denied the allegation.

The documents also included a frank assessment from the American envoy to Stockholm about Sweden's historic policy of nonalignment - a policy that the U.S. ambassador, Michael Woods, seemed to suggest was for public consumption only.

Sweden's military and intelligence cooperation with the U.S. "give the lie to the official policy" of non-participation in military alliances, Woods said. He added in a separate cable that Sweden's defense minister fondly remembers his time as a high school student in America and "loves the U.S."

Woods cautioned American officials not to trumpet Sweden-U.S. cooperation in the fight against terrorism too openly, because that would open up the Swedish government to domestic criticism.

In England, meanwhile, a front-page story in The Guardian alleged that one of the leaked cables showed British politicians trying to keep Parliament in the dark over the storage of American cluster bombs on British territory - despite an international ban on the weapons. Britain's Foreign Office denied the charge.

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User comments : 41

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Skepticus
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 02, 2010
Just send the Mossad, or or Chinese's a hit team or whose ever,a nd "sanctioned" him for God's sake. Stop wasting the hard disk space of all the news severs and poluting the airwaves with all the lawful procedures, human rights and free speech bullshit for the masses. I have seen it all before.
zslewis91
3 / 5 (8) Dec 02, 2010
@Skepticus.....did you make it out of middle school?
You clearly don't possess the necessary depth of mind to even begin comprehension of such a subject.

-your lord and god.
Mesafina
4.1 / 5 (8) Dec 03, 2010
Skepticus, your quickness to judge and haste to murder is exactly why we need people like Julian Assange... so that people with murderous intentions (like you claim to be) can't hide and plot against people in secrecy and safety.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (10) Dec 03, 2010
It is telling that NOT ONE of those who have attacked Assange has disputed the veracity of the documents. It's all smoke screens - trying to divert our attentions from the real corrupt and incompetent people (i.e. politicians ...and soon the bankers if the next batch of documents is anything like the last)

Also those who have claimed to be for 'freedom of speech' and 'democracy' and who have condemned a fatwa in the past (e.g. the one that called for the killing of Salman Rushdie) are now the ones who shout for Assange's execution. Doesn't this strike anyone as odd? And Assange didn't even invent any of this stuff nor did he slander anyone himeself.

Go check your moral compasses.
A2G
3 / 5 (9) Dec 03, 2010
Well put Antialias...Are the documents that Wikileaks published true or not is never even mentioned..WHY? Because all the corrupt politicans were caught red handed and the only out they have to to divert attention away from their own stupidity and make the issue the messenger. Then people like Skepticus fall for it. Reveals the true level of intelligence of some people very quickly.
nada
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 03, 2010
Long Live the Chinese Police State! Right here in the U.S.A.

What a cess-pool country where our government is so corrupt and decitful that the TRUTH IS THE MOST DANGEROUS THING.

How is this ANY different from the Communist Party of China?
Skepticus
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 03, 2010
Skepticus, your quickness to judge and haste to murder is exactly why we need people like Julian Assange... so that people with murderous intentions (like you claim to be) can't hide and plot against people in secrecy and safety.


Dso you know what sarcasm is?
frajo
3 / 5 (5) Dec 03, 2010
How is this ANY different from the Communist Party of China?
The CPCh doesn't have invasion armies waging wars outside of their country.
otto1932
1.5 / 5 (25) Dec 03, 2010
How is this ANY different from the Communist Party of China?
The CPCh doesn't have invasion armies waging wars outside of their country.
Not at the moment. But they certainly have in the past, and they retain the capacity to do so in the future.
otto1932
1.4 / 5 (26) Dec 03, 2010
Skepticus, your quickness to judge and haste to murder is exactly why we need people like Julian Assange... so that people with murderous intentions (like you claim to be) can't hide and plot against people in secrecy and safety.
What-you mean alleged sex offenders in possession of state secrets?
trying to divert our attentions from the real corrupt and incompetent people (i.e. politicians ...and soon the bankers if the next batch of documents is anything like the last)
So you're saying it's ok to release state secrets because some politicians are corrupt. We may not know which ones, and we don't know if releasing state secrets would compromise our individual safety or not, but just to be safe we should release them to avert some potential injustice.

That is, hand them to our enemies whom we know are corrupt, and we know would seek to use them against us for sure. That's what you're saying, right?
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2010
we don't know if releasing state secrets would compromise our individual safety or not
Yes.
Moreover, we don't know if _not_ releasing state secrets would compromise our individual safety or not.

It's remarkable how your pet CT provides for all kinds of antagonisms while your everyday comments are boringly mainstream-polished.

And, well, your "we" and "our" is not consensual. Shoddy writing, may be even shoddy thinking.
otto1932
1.4 / 5 (24) Dec 04, 2010
It's remarkable how your pet CT provides for all kinds of antagonisms while your everyday comments are boringly mainstream-polished.
Ha! Only mine are not from the 60s like yours. Mine reflect real-world concerns while yours reflect Disney world concerns.
And, well, your "we" and "our" is not consensual. Shoddy writing, may be even shoddy thinking.
Sorry Frajo my diction is pretty succinct while this paragraph of yours is pretty much, not.

The side of caution is to trust your own govt and not the enemy's govt. That must make sense to you. There are enemies, they are killing us, and you would release info which could potentially allow them to kill more. You think that anarchy is somehow more secure and safe than order.
otto1932
1.3 / 5 (24) Dec 04, 2010
And your ct theory is only the one you've been forced to swallow for decades, that powerful people must all somehow be greedy and corrupt. What nonsense! Sometimes Leaders must make decisions that the majority will not favor, because it is the right thing to do. Like maintaining Order over chaos for instance.
frajo
4 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2010
The side of caution is to trust your own govt and not the enemy's govt.
Not if you're a German Jew in Nazi Germany. Not if you're a Gypsy in France. Not if you are US citizen without enough money to buy healthcare services.
There are enemies, they are killing us
Are you an Afghan civilian?
You think that anarchy is somehow more secure and safe than order.
You pretend to be able to read minds. How vain.
frajo
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2010
Sometimes Leaders
Remarkable how you treat tyrants, dictators, and democratic incumbents without difference.
must make decisions that the majority will not favor
Provided you are favoring them?
because it is the right thing to do.
Who decides what's the right thing? Your or my managing director?
Like maintaining Order over chaos for instance.
Remarkable how you favor _any_ order above chaos.
There are kinds of "order" which are much worse than chaos.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2010
Not at the moment. But they certainly have in the past, and they retain the capacity to do so in the future.


Weeeell - if you check your history books you will find that China (since being unified) has NEVER waged a war of aggerssion. So that sort of 'historical' argument is rather weak.

So no, they have not done so in the past (as opposed to the US which has done so almost too many times to count in the past century alone). So if you're afraid of a warmongering country then you should be afraid of the US - not China.

Also if you look at the layout of chinese forces you will note that they are not set up for an invasion at all. No aircraft carriers, no navy to speak of, 2 nuclear subs - that's it. No long range attack aircraft...

No: China doesn't have a military geared towards invasion at all. With that type of military they couldn't pull one off even if they wanted to.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (24) Dec 04, 2010
Weeeell - if you check your history books you will find that China (since being unified) has NEVER waged a war of aggerssion.
So when they invaded the Korean peninsula to fight the US, that wasn't aggression? And when the red Chinese slaughtered the nationalists by the millions, that wasn't aggression? And when they fought proxy wars in southeast Asia, that wasn't technically aggression either was it? You and the person who rewarded you should really think before you post.
otto1932
1.3 / 5 (23) Dec 04, 2010
"The PLA is the world's largest military force, with approximately 3 million members (see List of countries by number of total troops), and has the world's largest (active) standing army, with approximately 2.25 million members"

"In 1979, the PLA fought Vietnam over a border skirmish in the Sino-Vietnamese War where it was reported by Western media that China lost more than 20,000 soldiers. Both sides claimed victory."
otto1932
1.3 / 5 (25) Dec 04, 2010
"Beginning in the 1980s, the PLA tried to transform itself from a land-based power, centred on a vast ground force, to a smaller, mobile, high-tech one capable of mounting operations beyond its borders."

"In 1985, under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the CMC, the PLA changed from being constantly prepared to "hit early, strike hard and to fight a nuclear war""

-There's more but I think I've made my point. One of their objectives is to invade tiawan if necessary.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (24) Dec 04, 2010
I can't resist:
" In contrast to the past, more attention is given to reconnaissance, mobility, and deep reach. This new vision has shifted resources towards the navy and air force. PLA is also actively preparing for space warfare and cyber-warfare."

"completed several new destroyers and frigates including 2 AAW Type 052C class guided missile destroyers. In addition, the PLAAF has built an indigenous J-10 fighter aircraft. The PLA launched the new Jin class nuclear submarines on 3 December 2004 capable of launching nuclear warheads that could strike targets across the Pacific Ocean."

-And I forgot- they of course invaded Tibet in the 50s.
james11
not rated yet Dec 04, 2010
Ok we can say that we are civil but the truth is that nature is wild. We are not seperate from nature. Deceit is a tool and in fact a necessary one. War is extremely complex and we will use any "tool" to our advantage.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (23) Dec 04, 2010
You and the person who rewarded you should really think before you post
Oh well look I see that that was Frajo the knee-jerk rater. Know any history at all Frajo or is that immaterial to your judgement of posting veracity?
frajo
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2010
Know any history at all Frajo or is that immaterial to your judgement of posting veracity?
Everybody who knows history can see that your anti-Chinese ranting is deeply biased, injust, and hateful. You are using double standards and that's why you get ones.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (23) Dec 04, 2010
Know any history at all Frajo or is that immaterial to your judgement of posting veracity?
Everybody who knows history can see that your anti-Chinese ranting is deeply biased, injust, and hateful. You are using double standards and that's why you get ones.
You're going to have to be specific as to what you disagree with, or you're just ranting. These are ALL quotes from wiki. Do have any to support your opinion that they are in any way DEEPLY BIASED, UNJUST, or HATEFUL? what's with all the bile Frajo? What's your problem??

Your champion was clearly wrong. You don't think he should have been called on it? The Chinese sent well over 1 million regular troops into Korea with the intent of taking the whole peninsula. The majority were killed. I haven't even read the details on Tibet but I bet they'll be pretty nasty, eh? What about the Maoist mess in India? Thousands murdered by proxy. What did you expect?
zslewis91
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2010
@"otto-retard"
Jesus Christ i wish we could get rid of you...we are up too our knee's in the bullshit that falls from your finger tips. self righteous d-bag certain of your understanding...the surest sign of incompetence.
otto1932
1.3 / 5 (22) Dec 04, 2010
Let me try to help. You see, facts aren't what you want them to be, they're what they ARE. You have to look at them and if they lead you to conclusions you don't like, TOO BAD.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (23) Dec 04, 2010
@"otto-retard"
Jesus Christ i wish we could get rid of you...we are up too our knee's in the bullshit that falls from your finger tips. self righteous d-bag certain of your understanding...the surest sign of incompetence.
Easy. You just kiss my hairy ass and I'll leave. Deal? Until then, please address my post where I proved you put absolutely no thought or research into your statements about china AT ALL. China has been, and is prepared to be, an aggressive nation. True or false?
Oh sorry it was the other ankle biter antialias. Maybe you can answer for him?
KwasniczJ
3.6 / 5 (5) Dec 04, 2010
Fear of information is common for all "leaders".

http://i.imgur.com/QZNXK.jpg

Information can never threat the people. It's just the people, who made some informations secret, who are threatening the others.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (23) Dec 04, 2010
@"otto-retard"
Jesus Christ i wish we could get rid of you...we are up too our knee's in the bullshit that falls from your finger tips. self righteous d-bag certain of your understanding...the surest sign of incompetence.
Easy. You just kiss my hairy ass and I'll leave. Deal? Until then, please address my post where I proved you put absolutely no thought or research into your statements about china AT ALL. China has been, and is prepared to be, an aggressive nation. True or false?

Oh sorry I see it was another ankle biter antialias. Well maybe you can answer for him? Ever use wiki?

But then- maybe Lewis would enjoy kissing my hairy ass, in which case we'll have to think of something else. :)
otto1932
1.4 / 5 (24) Dec 04, 2010
Chinese Invasion of Tibet
"The People's Liberation Army crossed the river on October 7, 1950. Two PLA units quickly surrounded the outnumbered Tibetan forces and by 19 October 1950, 5,000 Tibetan soldiers died in battle"

-Well, that's pretty nasty eh? That was just to take one town too.

"Tsering Shakya suggests that by halting the invasion, China wanted to avoid intervention by other powers such as the United States"

-Damned Yanquis, always spoiling a good offensive... like the Korean one.
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (23) Dec 04, 2010
"According to Tenzin Gyatso, the current as well as the Dalai Lama of the time, the PLA did not attack civilians: "The Chinese were very disciplined. They were like the British soldiers (in 1904). Even better than the British, because they distributed some money (to villagers and local leaders). So they carefully planned."

-Huh. More westerners setting good examples.

"The German Parliament held hearings on Tibet on June 19, 1995, and passed a resolution on June 20, 1996 stating they were "deeply concerned that this independent identity has been threatened by destruction since the Chinese action by brutal force of arms in 1950" and that China had deprived the Tibetans of self-determination."

-Maybe Frajo and Lewis think krauts should mind their own business?
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (22) Dec 04, 2010
"U.S. support of the anti-Chinese faction made the movement grow beyond the control of the Dalai Lama, and violence spread to Lhasa in 1959, and the Dalai Lama and some of his government officials fled to India, where he renounced the Seventeen Point Agreement. Months of fighting around rebel strongholds in southern Tibet had decimated the fighters and, according to the CIA, "the backbone of the rebellion had been smashed." Isolated anti-Chinese attacks continued in Tibet until 1972 when President Nixon pursued a new policy towards China and withdrew military and financial support.

-I mean it SOUNDS like the US was trying to help tibet gain independence, but maybe that was a bad thing -?
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (22) Dec 04, 2010
Maoists in India:
"others argue that operational links do exist, with training coming from Sri-Lankan Maoists and small-arms from China. China denies and is embarrassed by any suggestion that it supports foreign Maoist rebels, citing improvements in relations between India and China, including movement towards resolving their border disputes. Maoists in Nepal, India and the Phillipines are less reticent about their shared goals."

Maybe you'd like to read more about this vicious group of thugs who steal children to use as soldiers, extort, rape, and murder, and sell opium, among other things:
http://en.wikiped...(Maoist)
frajo
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2010
Let me try to help.
Yes, all your comments are just that: trying to help yourself.
You see, facts aren't what you want them to be, they're what they ARE. You have to look at them and if they lead you to conclusions you don't like, TOO BAD.
Your comments are facts. Some are beautiful, many are ugly. I'm not interested in drawing any conclusions from your comments. I'm not interested in changing your mind. I'm not interested in finding any consense with you.
And I'm not addressing you when I add that facts are not equivalent to truth. Facts can convey falsehood to a naive or malicious public depending on selection and suppressed context. Even the sequencing of their presentation matters.

Btw, Taiwan is Chinese territory. Chances are that the Taiwanese one day take the East German exit.
And Tibet is Chinese territory as much as Hawaii is US territory.
otto1932
1 / 5 (21) Dec 05, 2010
And Tibet is Chinese territory as much as Hawaii is US territory.
Except the US did not invade Hawaii and kill 8000 soldiers. And people in Hawaii are not fighting for freedom.
Even if tibetans were chinese, are you saying that aggression against ones own people is not aggression? Just what are you trying to say?
Your comments are facts. Some are beautiful, many are ugly. I'm not interested in drawing any conclusions from your comments.
And if I'm right and I prove someone wrong, is this not a good thing?
And I'm not addressing you when I add that facts are not equivalent to truth.
So you are interested in preaching and not teaching or learning? And you would want to suppress facts which conflict with your sermon?
otto1932
1 / 5 (21) Dec 05, 2010
Let us revisit your earlier post:
Everybody who knows history can see that your anti-Chinese ranting is deeply biased, injust, and hateful.
-I proved antialias' statements false using facts, nothing more. And instead of countering with a valid argument you attack my character.

I submit Frajo that you are a bigot. You try to defame anyone who would post arguments which challenge your preconceived notions of how the world ought to be, and you encourage others to do the same. You go so far as to attack with your little sockpuppet army, which anyone can see is pretty deranged.
Facts can convey falsehood to a naive or malicious public depending on selection and suppressed context. Even the sequencing of their presentation matters.
Wow! Frajo thinks she is preaching to an imaginary public. You imagine yourself propagandizing. I don't know, words and elegance escape me. You have exposed some pretty warped intentions and delusions here. Can you see it?
MWarrior
1 / 5 (6) Dec 06, 2010
Funny how this topic made its way to a science website. Assange should be charged with extortion and espionage. It was incompetence and great embarrassment by the Obama administration in which enabled this computer hack nobody to continue breaking the law and making threats!
designmemetic
5 / 5 (4) Dec 06, 2010
Title seems a little biased and so does the article. "A noose tightening around his neck"??? like he's being hung as a criminal. They could have said the "sharks are circling him" or "they hyena's are nipping at his heals" instead.

Also the first sentence of the caption. . ."The law is closing in" should perhaps read "The political vigilante's are closing in." I would consider this an action of law only if every single person accused this way with this level of evidence received equal attention and treatment from the law. Or perhaps the law is not supposed to apply justice uniformly and that's why the author didn't use the word "justice".
Ethelred
not rated yet Dec 11, 2010
Weeeell - if you check your history books you will find that China (since being unified) has NEVER waged a war of aggerssion
The Tibetans and I disagree with that statement.
No aircraft carriers, no navy to speak of, 2 nuclear subs - that's it. No long range attack aircraft...
True but those things are expensive. Invading Tibet was cheap.
No: China doesn't have a military geared towards invasion at all
Only true for OVERSEAS invasions. They sent millions of troops into Korea for instance. I have nothing to say about the morality of that one either way just that they DO have the capability to invade.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Dec 11, 2010
Btw, Taiwan is Chinese territory.
Not in the opinion of the people of Taiwan.
Chances are that the Taiwanese one day take the East German exit.
Not bloody likely. They don't think of themselves as Chinese. What you saying is similar to calling Japan part of China since the Chinese once claimed it and the Japanese clearly came from China. The only real difference is that while the Chinese invaded and held Taiwan for a short time the invasion of Japan failed spectacularly.

50 years of forced separation is not exactly the same thing as at least a thousand years of voluntary separation.

Oops I just noticed that the silly discussion had died before my first reply. Still I will post this second one and if anyone wants to continue my accidental resurrection I may or may not reply depending on whether the post is brilliant or just more of the same Otto vs. Frajo.

Ethelred
Mesafina
not rated yet Dec 11, 2010
otto, would you like me to decide what information you should or should not have?

If your answer to that question is no, then you should also not want the government to decide that for you either, as you know your government officials about as well as you know me.

Sooner or later we will have a single world government, and then nobody will be able to argue that we need state secrets for national security. In fact it will be NECESSARY we have total transparency to prevent a global tyranny.

And if you DON'T think we'll have a world government ever, well, it's a valid possibility. However, I think for the very reasons you fear our enemies, I would say a world without a world government is a ticking time bomb. The world will never be safe from war as long as their are nations.