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Lunch and dinner with Julian Assange, in prison

Everybody warned this would be no ordinary invitation, and they were right. Three hundred metres from Knightsbridge underground station, just a stone’s throw from fashion-conscious Harrods, I suddenly…

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he will run for the Australian Senate. John Keane

Everybody warned this would be no ordinary invitation, and they were right. Three hundred metres from Knightsbridge underground station, just a stone’s throw from fashion-conscious Harrods, I suddenly encounter a wall of police. I try to remember my instructions. Look straight ahead. Avoid eye contact. If asked my name, reply with a question. Ask who authorised them to ask. Climb the stone steps. Act purposefully. Appear to know exactly where you’re heading. I don’t.

Through a set of double doors, I’m confronted by more police officers, this time armed, with meaner faces. “Good afternoon”, I say politely, as I edge towards the receptionist. “I’ve an appointment at the Ecuador embassy. Am I at the correct address?” “Ring the brass bell”, grunts the bored-looking man squatting at his desk. A few minutes later, after some confusion about whether or not my name’s on the appointments list, I’m ushered inside. I’m greeted by the personal assistant of the most wanted man in the world. “Julian is taking a call,” says the well-spoken and debonair young man in black-rimmed glasses. “I’m terribly sorry. Please do have a seat. Would you like some tea, or coffee, or polonium, perhaps?” There’s a smile, but it’s pretty faint. I know I’ve reached my destination: a prison with wit and purpose.

The deadpan irony sets the tone of the lunch and dinner to come. The silver-haired “high-tech terrorist” (Joe Biden’s description) appears quietly, dressed in crumpled slacks, a V-necked pullover, socks. He’s relaxed, and welcoming. The quarters are cramped. We shuffle down a corridor into his office, where we occupy a desk covered in laptops and cables and scraps of paper. It’s black coffee for him and tea for me. I offer gifts that I’m told he’ll like. Popular delicacies from down under: a couple of honeycomb Violet Crumbles, chocolate biscuit Tim Tams, a bottle of Dead Arm shiraz from my native South Australia. I know he likes to read. Lying on his desk is a biography of Martin Luther, the man who harnessed the printing press to split the Church. To add to his collection, I hand my pale-skinned host a small book I’ve mockingly wrapped in black tissue paper with red ribbon, tied in a bow. The noir et rouge and dead arm pranks aren’t lost on him. Nor is the significance of the book: José Saramago’s The Tale of the Unknown Island. Inside its front cover, I’ve scribbled a few words: ‘For Julian Assange, who knows about journeys because there aren’t alternatives.’

I’d been told he might be heavy weather. Fame is a terrible burden, and understandably the famous must find ways of dealing with sycophants, detractors and intruders. People said he’d circle at first, avoid questions, proffer shyness, or perhaps even radiate bored arrogance. It isn’t at all like that. Calm, witty, clear-headed throughout, he’s in a talkative mood. But there’s no small talk.

I tackle the obvious by asking him about life inside his embassy prison. “The issue is not airlessness and lack of sunshine. If anything gets to me it’s the visual monotony of it all.” He explains how we human beings have need of motion, and that our sensory apparatus, when properly “calibrated”, imparts mental and bodily feelings of being in our own self-filmed movie. Physical confinement is sensory deprivation. Sameness drags prisoners down. I tell how the Czech champion of living the truth Václav Havel, when serving a 40-month prison spell, used to find respite from monotony by doing such things as smoking a cigarette in front of a mirror. “Bradley Manning did something similar,” says Assange. “The prison authorities claimed his repeated staring in the mirror was the mark of a disturbed and dangerous character. Despite his protestations that there was nothing else to do, he was put into solitary confinement, caged, naked and stripped of his glasses.”

US serviceman Bradley Manning faces decades in prison after allegedly leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. EPA/BradleyManning.Org

Life in the Ecuador embassy is nothing like this. It’s a civilised cell. After eight months, Assange tells me, the embassy staff remain unswervingly supportive, friendly and professionally helpful. They get what’s at stake. When delivering messages, they knock politely on his office door, as they did more than a few times during our time together. Yet despite feeling safe, Assange feels the pinch of confinement. He says the “de-calibration” (he uses a term borrowed from physics) that comes with “spatial confinement” is a curse. That’s why he listens to classical music, especially Rachmaninov. He has boxing lessons (gloves are on his study shelf) and works out several times a week (“just to get the room moving around”) with a wiry ex-SAS whistleblower. The need for variety is why he welcomes visitors and why, judging from the long and animated conversation to come, he’s desperately passionate about ideas.

Assange begins to enjoy the moment. Nibbling a chocolate biscuit and sipping coffee, he springs a surprise. “Truth is I love a good fight. Many people are counting on me to be strong. I want my freedom, of course, but confinement gives me time to think. I’m focussed and purposeful.” It sounds implausible. Entrapment wounds; it’s painful. Psychic defences are needed to ward off the unbearable. But striking is his utter defiance. “Never, ever become someone’s victim is a golden rule,” he says. In graphic detail, he then sketches his ten days in solitary confinement, in the basement of Wandsworth Prison, in south-west London, in late 2010. “I had expected to be completely out of my depth. But I felt no fear. I was tremendously enthusiastic about the challenge to come. I learned to adapt on my feet.” He means what he says.

I’m keen to talk about courage and its political significance. We do so for well over an hour. Lunch arrives: soup and a vegetable wrap from the local Marks and Spencer. His boxing mate appears. Assange says “it will be a while” and politely asks him to wait in the adjoining room. I remind Assange that he’s holed up in the right-wing Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, home to one of the safest Tory seats in Britain. So, just for fun, I play devil’s advocate by repeating the well-known remark of Winston Churchill that success is never final, failure is never fatal, and that what really counts in life is courage, the ability of people to carry on, despite everything. Assange lights up. “That’s undoubtedly true.” He’s never written or spoken at length about courage, but our time together convinces me he’s thought deeply and in sophisticated ways about the subject. He’s been forced to.

We discuss the detention without trial and torture of Bradley Manning. Assange mentions how the authorities are “picking off people all around me” (he’s referring to the ongoing FBI investigation and arrests of WikiLeaks activists). There’s no maudlin wobble. He understands the traps of “obsessive self-preoccupation” and speaks of the vital importance of cultivating a strong personal sense of “higher duty” to carry on. Courage is for him something that’s more important than fear because it involves putting fear in its place. I quote Aristotle at him: courage is the primary virtue because it makes all other virtues possible. “Yes, and that’s what’s worrying about present-day trends. We’re losing our civic courage.”

So where does courage come from, I ask? What are its taproots? Some people evidently draw breath from spiritual or religious sources, I say. He frowns. “My case is quite different. It’s hardship that makes or breaks us. True courage is when you manage to hold things together, even though most people expect you to fall to pieces.” The words ooze resilience. They could easily be his personal anthem, the proverb engraved on his Knightsbridge prison walls. He goes on to explain that although courage may or may not be a quality within human genes, a good measure of it is always learned. Courage is cultivated. It’s infectious. “Women on average have more of it than men,” he says. We discuss examples: on our list are Raging Grannies, Pussy Riot and the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. “These women show men what courage is. Treated as outsiders, women have learned the hard way how to deal with structural power. They’re consequently much more adaptable than men. The world of men is structured force.”

The phrase catches me by surprise, but it captures in the most concise way exactly what the prisoner sitting across the table has done, in style, with great courage: he’s confronted structured force head-on. Julian Assange could be described as the Tom Paine of the early 21st century. Drawing strength from distress, disgusted by the hypocrisy of governments, willing to take on the mighty, he’s reminded the world of a universal political truth: arbitrary power thrives on secrets. We run through how WikiLeaks perfected the art of publicly challenging secretive state power. This “intelligence agency of the people” (as Assange calls his organisation) did more than harness to the full the defining features of the unfinished communications revolution of our time: the easy-access multi-media integration and low-cost copying of information that is then instantly whizzed around the world through digital networks. WikiLeaks did something much gutsier. It took on the mightiest power on earth. It managed to master the clever arts of “cryptographic anonymity”, military-grade encryption designed to protect both its sources and itself as a global publisher. For the first time, on a global scale, WikiLeaks created a custom-made mailbox that enabled disgruntled muckrakers within any organisation to deposit and store classified data in a camouflaged cloud of servers. Assange and his supporters then pushed that bullet-proofed information (video footage of an American helicopter gunship crew cursing and firing on unarmed civilians and journalists, for instance) into public circulation, as an act of radical transparency and “truth”.

We’re at the several hours mark, but everybody around me remains gracious. Nobody looks at watches; in fact, there’s not a clock to be seen. The debonair assistant pops in and out of the office, sometimes squatting at our table, tapping out messages on his laptop, fielding phone calls, several times handing his mobile to Assange. “It’s the latest crisis,” he whispers during the first of them. “We handle on average at least four or five a day.” He looks undaunted. This one’s just to do with the FBI investigation.

Julian Assange says “visual monotony” is the most troubling part of his confinement in the Ecuador embassy in London. EPA/Karel Prinsloo

When Assange comes off the phone, I change topics. I ask him about his pre-Christmas speech from the embassy balcony, when he predicted that in the next Australian federal parliament an “elected senator” would replace an “unelected senator” (he was referring to Foreign Minister Bob Carr, appointed through the casual vacancy rule). Now that the federal election date (September 14th) has been announced, is he still seriously intending to stand as a candidate?

Our conversation grows intense. For several years, Assange has been serious about entering formal politics. A new WikiLeaks Party is soon to be launched. He’s sure it will easily attract the minimum of 500 paid-up members required by law. The composition of its 10-member national council is decided. There’s already a draft election manifesto. The party will field candidates for the Senate, probably in several states. And, yes, Assange is certain to be among them, probably as a candidate in Victoria, where (conveniently) three Labor senators face re-election.

Assange bounces through the probable scenarios. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa will be re-elected, for another four years. He’ll stand firm in his personal and political support for Assange. This will ramp up pressure on the Swedish authorities, whose case against him is “falling apart”, with the two women plaintiffs looking for a way to extricate themselves from the protracted messy drama. “The Swedish government should drop the case. But that requires them to make their own thorough investigation of how and why their system failed.” The man’s not for turning. He’s certainly no intention of apologising for things he hasn’t said, or done. If he wins a seat in the Senate, he says, the US Department of Justice won’t want to spark an international diplomatic row. The planet’s biggest military empire will back down. It will drop its grand jury espionage investigation. The Cameron government will follow suit, says Assange, otherwise “the political costs of the current standoff will be higher still”. So the obvious question: what are the chances of that happening? Can bytes and ballots trump bullets? Can dare claim victory in his personal battle for political freedom?

What he has in mind has never before been attempted in Australian federal politics. Eugene Debs ran for the US presidency from prison (in 1920). Sinn Fein MP Bobby Sands was elected to Westminster while on hunger strike (in 1981). Under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi won a general election (in 1990). In defiance of Israeli occupation and prison confinement, Wael Husseini was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (in 2006). There are plenty of similar examples, so why shouldn’t Julian Assange attempt to do the same, and in style?

By now the boxing mate, kept waiting several hours, has gone home. The young assistant has left for another appointment outside the embassy. Dinner is nowhere in sight. We reach for chocolate biscuits and spend the last hour drilling down into the barriers Assange might well face. We start with nagging questions about his eligibility to stand. He’s characteristically upbeat. The technical objections (raised by Graeme Orr and others) aren’t real, he says. He’s no traitor to his country, and most definitely not under the “acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power” (section 44 of the Australian constitution). Truth is he was let down by a gutless Gillard government and forced into political asylum, under threat of extradition. “I’m safe here inside the embassy walls,” he mocks, “protected by more than a dozen police, including one stationed night and day right outside my bathroom window.”

From the Ecuador embassy to the staid chambers of the Australian Senate - Julian Assange’s journey will be packed with surprises. Australian Senate/Wikimedia

The man of courage clearly relishes the thought of being the first Australian senator catapulted from prison into a debating chamber. I crack a bad joke, telling him that he’d better hurry up, reminding him that the Commonwealth Electoral Act stipulates that people who’ve been sentenced for more than 3 years in prison don’t have the right to vote in federal elections while they’re serving their sentence. His eyes twinkle, before laying into those who insist that the federal electoral laws are against him, that he’s ineligible because candidates must already be registered to vote. “That’s untrue,” he notes. “The Act specifies only that candidates must in principle be qualified to become a voter.” Assange is right, but since he’s not currently on the electoral roll much turns on whether his preferred strategy of registering as an overseas voter will work. Courtesy of legislation pushed through by John Howard, I know from bitter experience, having once lived abroad for more than three years, what it means to lose the right to vote. Assange says his case is different. He’s been overseas for less than three years (he was last in Australia in June 2010) and intends to return home within six years – that’s why he’s just applied to be on the electoral roll in Victoria.

That leaves two final snags. If victorious, some advisors speculate, Assange might need to take oath before the Governor-General. For this to happen he’d have to be set free, naturally, but it could also be done, “for the first time ever, by video link”. Whatever the situation, continued confinement, he says, would breach the rule that he must take up his Senate seat within two months. “In that case, the Senate could vote to evict me. But that would trigger a big political row. Australians probably wouldn’t swallow it. They’ve learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam.”

I’m curious about the kind of political party WikiLeaks will launch. “The party will combine a small, centralised leadership with maximum grass roots involvement and support. By relying on decentralised Wikipedia-style, user-generated structures, it will do without apparatchiks. The party will be incorruptible and ideologically united.” I flinch at his mention of ideological unity. He explains that the party will display iron self-discipline in its support for maximum “inclusiveness”. It will be bound together by unswerving commitment to the core principles of civic courage nourished by “understanding” and “truthfulness” and the “free flow of information”. It will practise in politics what WikiLeaks has done in the field of information. It will be digital, and stay digital. Those who don’t accept its transparency principles will be told to “rack off”. That’s the ideological unity bit.

Assange agrees the WikiLeaks Party must address and respond creatively to the creeping local disaffection with mainstream politicians, parties and parliaments. “I loathe the reactiveness of the Left,” and that’s why, he says, much can be learned from clever new initiatives in other countries. We discuss Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star movement (it could well win up to 15% of the popular vote in Italy’s forthcoming general election). On our list is the Pirate Party in Germany (it practises “liquid democracy” and has representatives in four state parliaments). So is Iceland’s Best Party. It won enough votes to co-run the Reykjavik City Council, partly on the promise that it would not honour any of its promises, that since all other political parties are secretly corrupt it would be openly corrupt. Assange lets out a laugh. “Parties should be fun. They should put the word party back into politics.” The WikiLeaks Party will try to do this, and to learn from initiatives in other democracies. Supported by networks of “friends of WikiLeaks”, it will be seen as “work in progress” designed “to outflank its opponents”.

He and his party supporters are bound to attract hordes of detractors. Tom Paine was cursed by foes; he even suffered the dishonour of being called a “filthy little atheist” by Theodore Roosevelt. Assange is similarly facing an army of spiteful enemies. In Britain and the United States, there are signs they’re now closing in on him with new arguments. He used to be denounced as a “cat torturer”, a “terrorist” and “enemy combatant” and accused of committing “an illegal act” (Julia Gillard). He was attacked as both an “anti-Semite” and a “Mossad agent”. There were murderous calls to “illegally shoot the son of a bitch” (Bob Beckel). These days the language is milder but no less vicious. He’s said to be ‘paranoid’, all ‘alone’ in his gilded prison, abandoned by his supporters, at the British taxpayers’ expense. He and WikiLeaks are guilty of the same “obfuscation and misinformation” (Jemima Khan) they claim to expose. Swedish media and politics are meanwhile crammed with crass epithets: “rapist”, “repugnant swine”, low-life “coward”, “Australian pig” and “pitiful wretch” hooked on sex-without-a-condom.

Auguste Millière’s portrait (1880) of the great English champion of liberty of the press Tom Paine. Auguste Millière/Wikimedia

I can’t tell from our time together whether any of this stuff hurts. It’s clear he’s aware that going into parliamentary politics will involve permanent fire-fighting, but unflappable he sounds. “I’ve had to deal with the FBI, the British press and more than a few rank functionaries. The Australian press are decent by comparison. No doubt the Australian Tax Office will show an interest in our campaign. Old enemies may make an appearance.”

Assange knows that in the age of surveillance and media saturation little remains of the private sphere. I put to him a prediction: the way he dodged questions about the Swedish allegations during a recent video-link appearance before the Oxford Union (“I have answered these questions extensively in the past”) isn’t sustainable, that avoiding the subject when running for the Senate will be blood to the hounds of the press pack. He asks what he should do. I put to him a positive alternative, which is to come clean on his alleged misogyny. “I’m not interested in softening my image by planting attractive women around me, as for instance George W. Bush did. I like women. They’re on balance braver than men, and I’ve worked with many in exposing projects that damage women’s lives. An example is the scandalous practice of UN peacekeepers trading food for sex that we exposed. Our WikiLeaks Party will attract the support of many women.” But what about the charge of misogyny, I ask? Isn’t Julia Gillard’s use of the word to attack the Leader of the Opposition worth widening? The reply is very Julian Assange: “Let’s just say I prefer miso to misogyny.”

There are moments when Assange seems much too serious, nerdish even, yet one thing’s very clear: prison hasn’t ruined his deadpan humour. He’s smart, and he’s shrewd; he’s a fox, not a hedgehog. That’s why he’s counting on lots of public support down under. “When people speak up and stand together it frightens corrupt and undemocratic power”, he says. “True democracy is the resistance of people armed with truth against lies.” I wonder whether he’s right. Australians can be a politically lazy bunch, but we’re also known for our cheeky cheerfulness, our taste for the matter-of-fact, plus our strong dislike of bullshit. We respect hard work and admire courageous achievement. We’re mawkish in the company of Ned Kelly underdogs. And so, if a political fight over his election to the Senate were to break out, strong public support for Assange might suddenly surface.

Time’s up. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I slip on my coat, prepare to say goodbye, to pass back through the wall of mean-faced police. Assange shakes my hand, twice in fact. Both of us are pretty tired and stuck for words, so I let myself loose by asking him to ponder a wild southern hemisphere fantasy, a hero’s welcome later this year, a rapscallion’s reunion with spring sunshine, fresh ocean air, flowers, banners, tweets, whistles, haunting sounds of didgeridoos. For a few seconds, he smiles, then draws back, looks down, and glances sideways. It’s the reaction of a man who knows in his guts there are no easy solutions in sight. The cards are stacked, piled high against success. He’s trapped. He knows his fate will be decided not by legal niceties, or diplomatic rulebooks, but by politics. That’s why he’s aware that in the great dramas to come, nothing should be ruled out.

The Irish bookmaker Paddy Power lists his odds of winning a Senate seat as seven-to-two. The cautious fortune telling may be significant. Down under, nationwide polls conducted by UMR Research, the company used by the Labor Party, show (during 2012) that a clear majority of Australians think he wouldn’t receive a fair trial if extradited to the United States, and that in any case he and WikiLeaks shouldn’t be prosecuted for releasing leaked diplomatic cables. Green voters (66%) and Labor supporters (45%) are sympathetic to Assange. Significant numbers of Coalition supporters (40%) think the same way. In the most recent UMR poll, Assange tells me, around 27% of voters say they’ll vote for him.

That should be enough to slingshot him from Knightsbridge to Canberra. Set aside the cheap diatribes and what you think of Julian Assange as a person, or whether he’s done this or not achieved that. The fact is that electoral victory for him later this year would be one of those rare political miracles that make life as a citizen worth living. In a country weighed down by sub-standard politicians, sub-standard journalists and sub-standard freedom of information laws, the political triumph would be great. It would breathe badly-needed life into Australian democracy. And, yes, if the miracle happened, from that very moment the fun party down under would begin.

Join the conversation

412 Comments sorted by

  1. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Don't let the facts get in the way of an article on The Conversation.

    Firstly, Assange is living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London through choice. He is not in prison.

    Secondly, the author, who so passionately extols human rights, has chosen to to ignore the human rights of the two young Swedish girls Assange allegedly sexually assaulted by dismissing them with the line - 'the two women plaintiffs looking for a way to extricate themselves from the protracted messy drama.'

    Finally, in order to be taken seriously, Assange should stand up, go to Sweden and face the young women in court. If he is acquitted, his dreams of a life in politics can commence. Choosing to hide in the embassy is not the sign of a ' courageous' man, rather it shows he is gutless - and Australian voters don't like that.

    Gerard Dean

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    1. Lu de Prís

      artist

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard Dean
      Don't let the facts get in the way of your agenda.
      There are no charges against Assange - merely allegations.

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    2. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      Sorry Ms Lud d Pris,

      Don't let the facts get the way of your agenda. Wikipedia trumps yours, and I quote, ''On 18 November 2010 the Stockholm District Court upheld an arrest warrant against Assange.'

      Assange has exhausted all legal avenues under British and European laws and must submit to Swedish law. He has chosen to hide in the Ecuadorian embassy.

      I am amazed there is so little sympathy given to these young, brave Swedish girls. They deserve to have their allegations tested in the Swedish courts.

      Gerard Dean

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    3. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      "young, brave Swedish girls" - 31 and 26 years old at the time of the alleged offences - hardly "girls"!

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    4. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      Lu de Pris: legally you are correct. He has not been charged with any offence - a warrant has been issued from Sweden to answer questions in that country. So much misinformation in the comments here today.

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    5. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      "There are no charges against Assange - merely allegations."

      And? Therefore you think he has no obligation to answer questions from the Swedish police? The case against anyone, for anything, is only allegation until charges are laid, and Sweden wants him in order to lay charges.

      As to there being only allegations, then why not answer the questions the Swedish police wish to put? After all, if he is concerned about an extradition to the US the danger of that is no higher in Sweden than it was in the UK.

      The extradition issue is

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      "The fact remains - he has not been formally charged with any offence."

      You say that as if it is of some relevance.

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    7. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      'Innocent until proven guilty' mean anything to you?

      These days? Far more than it does to Gillard supporting progressives apparently.

      Anyway, what does this have to do with Assange skipping bail, shafting his supporters who stood surety for it, and refusing to answer questions the Swedish police wish to put?

      Are you implying he won't get a fair trial? Are you implying everyone is entitled to skip town in order to avoid being questioned over (allegedly) criminal acts?

      Truly, I don't see what this issue has to do with the matter. The issue of guilt or innocence is what a trial is for, I don't see what relevance this has to do with justifying his skipping town beforehand.

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    8. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      Yes Lu. Everyone here believes Assange is innocent until proven guilty. Only some of us also add an assumption of a conspiracy against Assange.

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    9. Michael Hunt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Assange's version of what happened with those ladies in Sweden are explained quite clearly and in detail here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ0UgJRPhxw

      That version of events rings true to me. He slept with one lady, she threw him a party after that. He slept with her friend a few days later (clearly a douchebag move). Friends find out about each other, freak out, insist on STD test. Cops say 'you mean rape, right?'. Ladies say no, but cops don't need victims permission to pursue such charges in Sweden.

      Of course, Assange is in town for weeks after that. Submits to police questioning. Gets permission to leave the country. Sweden later tries to extradite him.

      Sweden also has laws protecting the identity of accused people, but all of the details of Assange's situation were leaked, including the police interviews.

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    10. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      I agree with another commentator that this is 'genuflecting drivel' - it's biased and in narrative format.

      But everyone wants to be an international lawyer and no one on here is. That includes me, yet I'll weigh in anyway because I'm just as prone to blathering on as anyone else.

      I have no idea if Assange did what his accusers have claimed, and neither do you.
      I have no idea how much of this issue is a mud-slinging political football and how much is truth, and neither do you.
      I have no…

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    11. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Chris Harper

      I cannot provide a link or any detail, just my recollection of having read that Sweden has been a willing partner of USA rendition practices. If correct then this would be a reason to avoid Sweden.

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    12. Delete this account as requested!

      logged in via email @iinet.net.au

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      Just google US Sweden Torture Rendition. Plenty of stories in 'reputable' news papers, actual court cases and damages paid.

      There's also a treaty that allows the US to request prisoners without any form of extradition hearing from the Swedish justice system.

      On direct questioning from multiple sources both the US and Swedish governments have refused to answer if they intend to do this.

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    13. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      'genuflecting drivel' alright. It reads like an eleven year old school girl who has just won tickets to meet Justin Bieber backstage.

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    14. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      You dont know what you are talking about, Assange said to the sweedish authorities after he was in england;

      You can ask me questions via phone or skype, you can come here in person, actually i am willing to go to sweeden as long as you promise not to extradite me to the US

      and what was the response from the Sweeds? they couldnt promise him that they wouldnt extradite him

      its real simple aye? if you got questions pertaining to rape allegations then thats fine, jst tell me I wont be extradited to the US....ahhhh ummmn ehhhh well we cant promise that

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    15. Meagan Tyler

      Lecturer in Sociology at Victoria University

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Very glad to see some critical comments like this up here. The coverage of Assange in the UK has changed markedly in recent months (esp. after this editorial from The Guardian: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4524724.html). Maybe we're a bit behind in Oz? Or just a bit to keen to see him as an "Aussie battler" as some of the comments below suggest.

      Innocent or not, there is no excuse for Assange avoiding due process. To hold up a man who is avoiding facing questioning over serious allegations of sexual assault as a potential savior of Australian democracy is a bit rich.

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    16. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      As an Australian citizen, I am amazed of the lack of support my government extends to those confronted with legal threats in another country. Innocent until proven guilty should apply to any citizen in this case - it could be you one day through none of your own fault.
      Anyway, I thought you'd be happy Julian isn't burning any aircraft kerosene to fly to Sweden just to answer a few questions which could easily be done from where he is now.

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    17. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      If there is proof he did all those things it further supports the argument that he is not a fugitive and is actually a political prisoner.

      I openly stated that I don't know, by the way, so I am not going to disagree with you on that point. I also commented further that the context is suspiciously like what you're implying.

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    18. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      Megan, why have you linked to this same article, written by the same author, merely reposted on an Australian MSM site - the ABC?!

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    19. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Thanks for the response, I am amazed that the propaghda has infiltrated Australian society so flagrantly. When you present the facts none of it adds up and he is obviously a political prisoner.

      You know, he has openly said he is ready to face the charges and answer any questions - he will even go back to sweeden - as long as he can be assured they wont extradict him....And Yet, we still have many many commenters here that ask the pertinant question

      "Why wont he face the charges in sweeden of raping little girls?...."- so fkn depressing

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    20. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      When you run from the law it usually indicates that you have something to hide. As to his actual guilt or innocence, Assange could have resolved this very quickly by facing the Swedish legal process.

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    21. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      What a load of crap, Michael. The guy exhausted the legal contest to his extradition and then ran away from due process. Must be that if you have been behind a useful information service and think yourself a pretty important person, legal process can be ignored. It IS real simple - go to Sweden, answer the questions and either leave or be charged.

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    22. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      What makes you think Assange is avoiding Due Process? this is clearly not the case, you are either lying or mis-informed

      Also, Obama redifined "Due Process" as meaning some form of process - not nessecarily Judicial Process so that he could execute US citizens without trial and without probable cause.

      So if you want to talk about people avoiding Due Process, I welcome that discussion but its an entirely different topic and to imply Assange is avoiding due process is just spreading mis-information…

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    23. Meagan Tyler

      Lecturer in Sociology at Victoria University

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      Sorry. Wrong link. The Guardian editorial is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/19/julian-assange-balcony-defence-editorial

      "It is their allegations that Mr Assange sexually assaulted them two years ago that are the reason why the WikiLeaks founder faces extradition to Sweden. It is to avoid questioning by Swedish prosecutors that Mr Assange battled extradition orders for almost 18 months with the best legal representation money can buy – before finally jumping bail two months ago. It is to avoid being confronted with accusations of rape and sexual assault that Mr Assange is now holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy...Yet to listen to the speechifying from his supporters, you would never have guessed at any of this."

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    24. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, Assange was represented by Geoffrey Robertson, using the UK Human Rights Act, European Convention on Human Rights, and a smorgasbord of every human rights law they could get their hands on. Every Court from the UK magistrates courts, to the High Court, and Supreme Court rejected every single one of Assange's claims. If every Court in the land rejects Geoffrey Robertson's arguments, based on every human rights instrument under the sun, then your own interpretation of the law over every proper judicial authority going, is a sign that you are not thinking straight.

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    25. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      Megan, he is clearly not avoiding questioning, he has stated that he is willing to face any and all questions surronding this case either through email, mail, skype, in person in england or in person in sweeden as long as they can promise that they wont extradite him to the US

      The sweeds have refused all of these offers and cannot promise that they wont extradite him...so given this information why do you keep insisting he is avoiding questioning?

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    26. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      If no charges have been laid, there are none to face?

      Still, like I said, I don't know either way.

      I just think the context is sus. On everyone's part. There is also the possibility he's timed his actions as a political stunt, or at least used their stunt to his advantage.

      No one is innocent in politics.

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    27. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      That is incorrect, its not real simple, he is not avoiding questioning and I cant believe how many times this needs to be repeated before you listen.

      He has openly said both informally and formally that he is more than happy to answer questions - so he is willing to answer questions, stop repeating that he is not, he openly and beyond doubt has told the sweedish authorities he is happy to answer questions

      He has also openly said he is in fear of being extradicted to the US if he returns to…

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    28. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      How is Assange who is enter politics for the first time using a run for senate as a political stunt to further his non existent political career?

      or do you mean the assualt allegations? either way you cut it your comment doesnt make sense - this drama has been going on since bradley manning got locked up, so I dont think its all one big stunt either way

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    29. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Assange might have entered the embassy by choice but the poms have spent $4.3 million making sure he stays there - how they can arrest him without charge or anything else though beats me.

      It seems that Cameron is happy to throw 800 years of British written common law in the bin to appease the US.

      Under the refugee convention which has been applied to Assange by Ecuador he is entitled by law to have the protection of Ecuador but the poms won't allow him to.

      He did not rape anyone, it has never been claimed he raped anyone except by lazy media here.

      Do grow up. The rule of law is supposed to apply to everyone.

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    30. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to David Murray

      He is not wanted on charges, he is wanted to answer questions.

      They are two different things.

      And he is certainly not wanted for any crime in England.

      Why do you right wingers think that claims are facts already proven and want to hang the innocent out to dry?

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    31. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Brave young girls, they are two adult women very happy to sleep willingly with the star of the day.

      Jesus wept, Gerard Dean you are one weird boy.

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    32. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Chris Harper

      He has answered them 4 million times including after all claims against him were initially dropped in Sweden and he was allowed to leave.

      There is a lunacy about Australian's that precludes the rationale that everyone is innocent UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

      ONe day I sincerely hope the David Murrays and Gerard Deans of the world are railroaded like this so they can bleat.

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    33. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Chris Harper

      He did not skip town. Where do you people come up with this crap?

      The claims were dropped 5 weeks before he left Sweden in 2010.

      He has now been illegally jailed by Britain for longer than any prison term he would have faced in Sweden on bogus charges.

      Why do the bogans come out to play and repeat the same debunked crap day in and day out?

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    34. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      He is not avoiding due process, there has been no due process.

      Do you children even understand that there is due process but interpol warrants for questioning is not in that process?

      There is no law in the world to demand that a person appear in any place to answer questions or even speak to police or anyone else if they don't want to.

      And he is NOT FACING CHARGES OR SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT.

      Australian's have become more facist since the days of Howard when claims were facts and truths didn't matter.

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    35. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      FYI sarcasm doesn't come across well, so I'll clarify

      <sarcasm> Someone nasty has to be behind it of course.</sarcasm>

      i.e. incompetence is more likely to be successful in any human endeavour

      "Murphy's law"

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    36. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Phillip

      He is not running from any law and repeating the lie over and over does not make it true.

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    37. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Only based on laws made in England to deal with terrorists, Assange is not a terrorist.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/17/guantanamo-trial-microphone-revelations

      Here is America's idea of due process ladies and gentlemen, that is what they are also doing to Bradley Manning by allowing no defence as a whistle blower.

      Do we want to be a nation where any spiv. like James Ashby can work with others to bring down an elected government by saying any silly little thing they like and get away with it.

      For the last time aASSANGE HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING.

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    38. JD Eveland

      semi-retired professor

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      He faces the very real possibility that the Swedes want him not so much to face trial on those particular charges as to promptly hand him over to the Americans, whereupon he would most surely vanish into the same gulag that has tortured Brad Manning for so many months now. If Sweden would unconditionally assure Assange that he would face a fair trial and would not be extradited to the US, it's clear that he would be willing to do that, by his own statements. But to assume that, without a solemn public…

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    39. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Well then, whilst I respect some of your comments, the statement that this could be a political stunt makes abcolutely no sense

      Also, your "I dont know, you dont know, no one really knows anything..." stuff is inherently dishonest, knowledge is not such a loose weave that it makes no difference whether you leave your house by the front door or the window on the second floor.

      For you to keep suggesting you dont know whether or not he is guilty of sexual assualt is naive to say the least - there are facts to be known here.

      Also, can you clarify your statement "There is also the possibility he's timed his actions as a political stunt, or at least used their stunt to his advantage."

      What exactly are you implying - I admit lots of things are possible, betrand russell could be pouring himself a cup of celestial tea right now and this could be causing global warming....its possible

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    40. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Dishonest? No.

      I was not present at the extradition hearings. Even if I were based in London or available to go, it was, with limited exception, closed hearings as I recall.

      I don't have access to the documents.

      I wasn't there when any of the events being described were happening. I am a mere nth person observer speculating on the tidbits I've been fed.

      It is dishonest of me to claim that I know anything on this matter. It is dishonest of anyone to claim they know anything on this…

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    41. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      Meagan, the op ed to you which you link us is nothing more than a tizzy fit, much like an eleven year old girl would have if her parents did not want to buy her a ticket to see Bieber!
      There's nothing more in it. Fact void and facts disdained.

      To simplify matters even more: There is a mightily valid fear that Assange will be sent off to Guantanamo if he steps out of the embassy; there is no such fear that those who wish to question him would suffer the same. Why not then, end all this nonsense and faux concern about the women concerned by getting the interrogators down to see him? I mean, if they are so offended by the use of telephone, or Skype, or email, Facebook, or pigeons, or smoke signals... I mean, SURELY, if they were so eager to do the right thing by these women who, My alleges Assange raped, SURELY... ah, never mind!
      Can't wait to see the ballot paper. This is going to be a doozy of an election!

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    42. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      "He did not skip town. Where do you people come up with this crap?"

      Um, jumping bail in London and seeking refuge in Bolivia (or its embassy) pretty much amounts to skipping town. That he did precisely this is where I came up with this crap.

      Illegally jailed? Really? Then I would think he has a pretty good chance of legal action against the UK.

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    43. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      You dont have to be there in person to know what happened, we know the following facts

      - Allegations were made that he did not use a condom

      - Sweedish Authorities wanted him to come to sweeden for questioning

      - Assange said he would as long as they promised not to extradite him

      - The sweeds said they couldnt make that promise

      - Assange suggests they fly over and met him in England

      - Sweeds refuse

      - Assange suggests they setup skype with laywers involved

      - Sweeds refuse…

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    44. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I replied to this comment earlier, answering your query about the nature of the political stunt but it was deleted. I don't know why.

      All I did was use reason to explain myself.

      I don't even recall swearing or attacking an individual, so I don't know how standards were breached.

      I am going to call this censorship on this occasion, and request, through this comment that the previous comment be reinstated, and hope that someone sees this comment before it's deleted (if that happens).

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    45. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Ecuadorial Embassy in London.

      Illegally jailed includes being detained without charge beyond a period of questioning that has not actually happened.

      Unless the law has changed that much. We should be worried if it has.

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    46. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      My definition of a political stunt no longer appears on this site and your understanding of my definition puts my definition out of context. Not your fault, the mods deleted my explanatory comment.

      As for your other points, I've already said I think the circumstances are very sus. Multiple times. What more do you want?

      Would you like me to visit the UK and offer my services at the Ecuadorial embassy?

      For me, this isn't about Assange. I don't support him as an individual. I support…

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    47. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      So, Michael, what is wrong with going to court to fight the extradition, losing that legal argument, accepting the decision and being extradited? THAT is due process - running and hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy is either being gutless and hiding from personal responsibility or a stunt (or both). Why should this bloke be treated any differently to anyone else?

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    48. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      “he will even go back to sweeden - as long as he can be assured they wont extradict him”

      This is a red herring. I am unfamiliar with the US/Swedish extradition treaty, but I know a little about the UK/US one. Frankly, the Merkans could have got him from HMG pretty much any time they wished, if they wished, all they had to do was ask. For JA to claim that he would have been at some enhanced risk of extradition from Sweden is pretty much complete twaddle.

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    49. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, it is exasperating listening to your argument (ditto for you too :)) Does the stated claim that JA 'fears' extradition to the US function as a get out of jail free card for anyone else? NO! As I have said ad nauseum, why should he be entitled to special treatment? Why should he be allowed to flaunt the laws of the countries in which he has visited or resided? Why should the Aus gov do anything to help him out of his own mess? Paranoid delusions are no excuse.

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    50. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Hed is avoiding due process Marilyn. That's what running aweay from officers of the law means. Whether you agree with the British courts or not is entirely irrelevant.

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    51. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      "What makes you think Assange is avoiding Due Process?"

      That he jumped bail and skipped town rather than face the Swedish authorities might have something to do with it.

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    52. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      You have shown yourself to be dishonest throughout this comment thread, to think that your response to me now is a sudden change of heart and your asking questions with the honest intent of hearing the answers would be foolish of me but I think you raise a good quesiton - why is Assange being treated different to anyone else? why is he the focus of such scrutiny?

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    53. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to JD Eveland

      Got any evidence to back that assertion up there, JD? More global conspiracy and evil yanks is it?

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    54. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Chris Harper

      "Frankly, the Merkans could have got him from HMG pretty much any time they wished, if they wished, all they had to do was ask" - which is why is in the embassy

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    55. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, I agree that it's a very long bow to draw, but hey, who knows? Egotistical meglomaniacs dont operate on the same rational levels as most folks.

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    56. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      "Does the stated claim that JA 'fears' extradition to the US function as a get out of jail free card for anyone else? " - Yes, this is actually the definition of an asylum seeker

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    57. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to David Murray

      David, the article says nothing about charges. In fact, it says a great deal about about lies and justice denied and corrupted.
      DO read it again, please, mate, with a little more care this time.

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    58. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      "Michael, I agree that it's a very long bow to draw, but hey, who knows? Egotistical meglomaniacs dont operate on the same rational levels as most folks."

      How exactly do you operate then?

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    59. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, how many times do you need this explained - he faced the sweedish authorities - you cant in good faith keep repeating this nonsense

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    60. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Yes, Gerard, let's not. WHich wiki article are you talking about? This one, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange
      No mention of upholding an arrest warrant there.

      There is no arrest warrant issued for rape.
      "Since December 2010, Assange has been subject to a European Arrest Warrant in response to a Swedish police request for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation."

      "Request for questioning" does not mean "criminal charges," David.

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    61. Pamela H.

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      My there certainly are some dyed-in-the-wool right wing conservatives here aren't there. 'Shoot first, ask questions later'. With blind belief in commercial media judges.

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    62. Pamela H.

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to John Phillip

      "When you run from the law it usually indicates that you have something to hide" This could only come from somenone who has complete blind faith in the so-called 'justice system', which of course has never failed anyone in history (sarcasm intended).

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    63. Pamela H.

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Michael Shand

      It's a just another witch hunt with commercial media whipping up the hysteria to make sensational headlines and increase ratings.

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    64. JD Eveland

      semi-retired professor

      In reply to John Phillip

      First, I AM an evil Yank, so they're likely to let me in on more of the conspiracy than you. Second, all I identified was a possibility - hardly the stuff of conspiracy, since it's been discussed quite openly in everything from the New York Times to the Alice Springs Weekly Sheepdipper (my apologies, residents of Alice Springs, who I greatly admire). For his likely fate in the hands of the American government, read the US Congressional Record or any press release from any congressman - again. hardly…

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    65. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael,

      So, are you saying he didn't jump bail and skip the country in order to avoid being extradited to Sweden? Now that would be confusing.

      To me, Assanges exercise in jumping and skipping is pretty much the definition of avoiding due process and refusing to face the authorities, regardless of what he might or might not have done on occasion in the past.

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    66. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris Harper: Wrong. Get your facts straight - Ecuadorean Embassy. Nothing to do with Bolivia!

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    67. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Pamela H.

      Pamela,

      Yes, we know. Rule of law and equality under the law, like other core principles of our civilisation, such as freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of association, are moving from being universal values to being despised and derided by progressives.

      Personally, I take pride in continuing to profess them.

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    68. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris Harper: Don't you wonder why they haven't asked the UK for Assange? The reason the USA will not request extradition from the UK is because it will put the UK in a much more embarrassing situation. Sweden, on the other hand, relies very heavily on the USA. Remember that they are a small country with only 9 million people and they run alongside Russia. They will do anything to keep the USA on side and that has been so for a long time.

      Does this concern you at all: "one of the major issues surrounding the Assange case is whether we can drag his ass over here" - David Adler, Federal Criminal Defence Attorney and former CIA officer.

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    69. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      That would be logical.

      Except, that, the Swedes put their extradition order in first, didn't they?

      So the UK system would have to process that first.

      Meanwhile. Assange has ducked over to the Ecuadorian Embassy and basically screwed up US foreign policy by doing so. It would not be wise of them to 'extract' him from there, and the UK don't have that right either. The UK did try though....I recall that happening some months back.

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    70. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Pamela H.

      Yeah, I'll say it again even though it will probably be deleted.

      Someone screwed up now everyone's covering their asses.

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    71. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to JD Eveland

      Hello evil Yank,

      If only your country was run by a fine person such as yourself instead of some of the crazies we're familiar with.

      Perhaps your Glen Beck can run off with our Andrew Bolt and have a crazy dumb ass redneck party (to be distinguished from the right honourable B&B that I am not dissing here) on a volcano somewhere and wait for Tom Cruise and whatserface - that singer we have - Kate Cebrano I think - to pick them up on a spaceship and strangle the thetans out of them.

      Or whatever.

      Yanks are cool, just like Aussies. Pity about our politicians.

      In Mateship,
      An Evil Godless Aussie

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    72. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Before you regurgitate such nonsense. Read the actual extradition decision (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html)

      "5. Julian Assange’s surrender is sought in order that he may be subject to criminal proceedings.

      6. A domestic warrant for the respondent’s arrest was upheld on 24th November 2010 by the Court
      of Appeal, Sweden. An arrest warrant was issued on the basis that Julian Assange is accused
      with probable cause of the offences outlined on the EAW.

      7. According to Swedish…

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    73. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      Ms Lud de Pris

      At no time in any of my comments did I say or infer that Assange was guilty. I do say, and it is a fact, that the Swedish courts believe he as a case to answer on the charge of sexually assaulting two Swedish women.

      It is somewhat astonishing that so many women commentating on this site have so little regard for the women who have made the allegations.

      Gerard Dean

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    74. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Michael Hunt

      If Assange is so sure of his version of events, then he should have no problems fronting the court in Sweden and proving his innocence.

      Gerard Dean

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    75. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Touche Ms Gneist

      I am pretty sure that the Swedish prosecutor has more than a 'few questions' for Mr Assange. Nations which hold by the rule of law rarely take the trouble to extradite a foreigner from a third country unless they believe there is a good chance of conviction based on the facts.

      Again, I am surprised that so many commentators have so little sympathy for the women involved. After all, they allege they were the victims of sexual assault, which I hope you agree, is a very serious matter.

      Gerard Dean

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    76. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Assange a 'Political Prisoner". Do spare me.

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    77. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Mr Shand,

      Mr Assange has been invited and now committed by the English courts to return to Sweden to face possible charges over sexually assaulting two Swedish women.

      He has chosen to hide in the Ecuadorian embassy. This is not mis-information, it is a fact.

      Gerard Dean

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    78. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Assange is be being pursued by the Swedish courts who wish to question him and possibly lay charges of sexual assault against two Swedish women.

      I am surprised that as a woman, you appear to be inferring that 'sexual assault' is nothing and only rape should be a criminal charge.

      I suggest that your attitude is offensive to women.

      Gerard Dean

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    79. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      You justify the alleged sexual assault against two women, I object and you call me 'Weird"

      Now that is truly weird.

      Gerard Dean

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    80. andrew mangold

      musician

      In reply to David Murray

      serious charges david? why were they dropped and then reopened? in any case ive read about the charges and its a joke. he slept around, he didn't rape anyone. but it was used to chase after him. you don't want to see what's going on I have a feeling, you've already picked your side, and it's with the war machine.

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    81. andrew mangold

      musician

      In reply to Tim Traynor

      haha a rocket surgeon? you people are pathetic. I'm a general staff commander doctor scientist of the third fleet of geniuses and I say assange is very definitely in a kind of prison, because people want to really put him in prison like bradley manning and others who speak out against the wars and imperialism going on.

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    82. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      all this shows is how hi up the political pressure is being felt!

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    83. Tim Traynor

      Rocket Surgeon

      In reply to andrew mangold

      I am gathering from your opinion and the expression of it that you are a drummer.

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    84. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Is there a certain number of questions which surpasses the ability to answer in situ and requires personal attendance? As far as I believe, no charges have been laid and why, if they just want to ask a few questions, can't the Swedes vouch not to extradite to the USA? It should be a simple matter since the questions are not in regard to a inter/national security matter.
      From personal experience, I am dubious of the legal impartiality in these matters. There are cases of accusations being leveled…

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    85. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      I'm lost. The only time I recall explicitly referring to him as a political prisoner was on the condition that specific events mentioned by another commentator had occurred.

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    86. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      I don't think proof matters in this case. And before people take that in a way I don't mean, please read on.

      Let's say the Swedes make an iron clad guarantee that the extradition is only to Sweden and only about that case and/or specifics attached to it. I.e. It has nothing to do with the Yanks.

      Now let's say Assange goes over there and answers their questions. And the prosecutors actually do have a reason to proceed with charges, trial etc.

      If Sweden has a system where a mistrial is possible when so much media judge jury and executioner has happened and there's no corrupt judge ignoring that fact to keep the bugger locked up for ulterior motives....

      That is what will happen. Regardless of if he is guilty or otherwise.

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    87. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to David Murray

      She's right.
      And you, however righteous your indignation might be from a all American perspective might be, is wrong :)

      The allegations was so fickle that the first (female, nota bene. As this as much has became a gender war, as a political issue as it seems?) Judge, well known and of impeccable standing in Sweden refused it. Then that judge was changed and the case was allowed.

      Why?
      Beats me, but if you have to get a new judge to make it a 'case'?
      This is solely about the facts surrounding the 'rape case' though. Not about politics.

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    88. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      Yeah, but that's politics too you :)

      He's no lamb, Assange, but neither are any other politicians I know of.

      And he is so extremely correct in that using the Internet and 'one man, one vote' would be something of a political revolution, threatening a lot of the established power structures, that works in the shadows mostly. Even lifting that kind of work up as 'constructive', do they not? :) Think I've seen that statement once or twice, not the least in our new European confederation.

      It might even be implying real democracy he's thinking about.
      How's that for a scary thought? On the other hand he might be just as blind as us other, wanting a new power base solely.

      But I like the idea of one man one vote, and using the Internet for direct responses.

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    89. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Assange stayed approximately a month after the allegations being made, wanting to be formally questioned by the police, and the case solved. No such questioning took place as I know with him repeatedly sent back from the police, as he came to ask for it. After that month he tired and asked the judge if he was allowed to leave to which the reply was that he was free to leave. The day after he left the judge issued a Interpol (court) order demanding him back.

      Fishy?
      I think so..

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    90. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Meagan Tyler

      :)

      Hmm, and the moon is made of cheese. This case stinks of politics Meagan, as you must know if you checked any papers. And what those papers tell you will be politically motivated. No surprise there is it?

      Assange may be arrogant, and he do seems to use girls as others change underwear, but he's no rapist. Both girls came willingly into bed with him, also knowing each other, as they were friends before it, and after as it seems :)

      I prefer when a legal case is made without muddling the water with politics. And if I was Assange, expecting to possibly become extradited if coming to Swedish soil I would hesitate too, no matter how feeble the allegations was towards me.

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    91. Michael Hunt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      "If Assange is so sure of his version of events, then he should have no problems fronting the court in Sweden and proving his innocence."

      Assange is afraid of the US, not Sweden. They will literally kill him. He would not be afraid of doing jail time in Sweden. It wouldn't be too far removed from what he is doing now.

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  2. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to John Phillip

      John Phillip: You may not be aware that after the two women originally went to the Swedish police, Assange stayed in Sweden for five weeks in order to resolve this matter and then was given clearance by the Swedish Courts to leave the country. Hardly the actions of a man running from responsibility. Whatever your views on Assange - there is no need to be blind to the facts which are easy to ascertain.

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Rosie Hayes

      Rosie, the fact is that he exhausted his appealprocess and was unsuccessful. Now, instead of accepting the legal decision, he has run away. Like ANYONE who does that, he will be (eventually) arrested and either charged or extradited.
      Who knows, maybe it is all a calculated stunt in order for him to launch a political career?

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    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Phillip

      What facts though. The British courts were wrong to claim that a warrant for mere questioning could force an extradition when the courts in Britain would not even allow claimed terrorists to be extradited to the US or Jordan.

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    4. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      I get what you're doing there, John.

      You're doing the whole Fawlty Towers bit.

      Only you're in a court somewhere telling Jeeves to make you some tea and 'slacking off' a bit in front of this fairy-infested contraption the young people call a computer.

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  3. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Truly outstanding piece of gear John.

    Ideas? ... in politics?... who would have guessed?

    One contribution can completely outweigh a week of personality squares and gossip from Ms Grattan.

    I wonder how many of the intellectual founding fathers of the US like Paine and Jefferson would be sitting today in embassies and consulates surrounded by bobbies ... menaces to society and the structured force of the status quo?

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    1. John Regan

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I would imagine many of the intellectual founding fathers would have had to escape the US given the current political environment. You are right given the actions of tecent US and Australian governments. There is a distinct lack of courage present in the current batch of politicians and intellectuals here in Australia. Assange is where he can still with courage bring about some truth in society at large thankfully.

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    2. lavinia kay moore

      child and family counsellor

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      This piece has some very good moments of journalistic fodder.
      two things need to be added. Surely by now all "ordinary" and especially all "extraordinary" australians would be well aware that they can never trust their own government to protect /assist them should some powerful and/or recalcitrant foreign state wish to persecute, imprison or torture us overseas.
      Mamdou, David, the young lawyer recently revealed dead in israel, and of course Julian are clear and evident truths about this. All are recent cases in this 21st Century. All are Australian citizens who deserved better.
      The second point is that with tweedledum and tweedledummer politics having taken over in Canberra, if australians do actually care about doing something to protect our rights and liberties , who not vote for julian? If you are able to.
      And isn't it shameful that so many australians don't seem to get "what is at stake"?

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      Evidentally, pursuing someone for questioning in the context of an international furore doesn't count as their rights to an investigation of the crime being fulfilled.

      It's a hell of a lot more than most alleged rape victims get.

      Also, most of these women's rights have been breached by the media. Publishing their names. Their other activities. Some even calling them names.

      Who leaked their identities to the media? Why?

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    4. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Phillip

      Oh for god's sake, they were star f.........ers who got together to compare notes, nothing more and nothing less.

      Anyone can claim anything, does not mean the claim is a fact because some oik in Australia says so years later.

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    5. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      The Swedish media did.

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Like I said in a disappearing comment from earlier, the Swedish media are hypocrites.

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Marilyn, to say that these women were' starf....ers', is one of the methods defence lawyers use to discredit victims of rape. It is beyond disappointing that you would use the same excuse, justification rational (or whatever it is) in this case to attempt to discredit them in order to protect JA.

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Ah yes - a torn condom wasn't it?

      John the machinations around the on/off/on allegations, the on/off/on investigation and the role of the Swedish prosecutor acting under political direction are farcical.

      The Swedish cops have had an open invite to question and interview Assange as part of any investigation either by phone and videolink or in person in Britain while on remand or in the Embassy.

      But that does not interest them - so important are the rights of the victims hgere. They want Assange in the flesh ... and my bet is he'll never touch foot on Swedish soil were he to be handed over to them... straight to Gitmo or suicide.

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    9. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ah Peter, You are SUCH a cynic!

      I'm sure that they will give him Tea with scones and strawberry jam ---
      AND that he will choke to death on a strawberry seed!

      The Yanks do not like to be shown up!

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  4. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    I agree with those who say JA needs to go to Sweden and face the music.

    The more he stays in London the more his sympathy quotient is eroding.

    The whole Wikkileaks issue has been eroded to where the only story is JA.

    I'm a lot over him at this point in time.

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    1. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "over him" ?? Any support for Wikileaks you may or may not have felt should have nothing to do with the Assange case. Two different things. Let me also remind you that when the allegations were first made to the Swedish police, Assange stayed in Sweden for 5 weeks to try and resolve the matter after which time he was given permission to leave Sweden by the Swedish courts.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Blame the media for that.

      It's all a farce of celebrities at this point. Footballers, movie stars, pollies,

      Style and no substance

      Do your own research...you will find more going on than your local mud slinging rag has to offer.

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    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Face the music for what? What did he do? Honestly the right wing bloggers in this country are deranged - seems Howards facist tendencies have rubbed well and truly off in the land of the fair gol.

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  5. Rosie Hayes

    Retired

    Gerard Dean: I disagree with your comment and also point out that you have made different assumptions in your comment. Firstly, you refer to "two young Swedish girls", then you talk of "young women". Let me remind you that these women were 26 and 31 years old at the time of the alleged rapes - hardly "girls".

    You also obviously have no knowledge of the fact that when these two women went to the police Assange stayed in Sweden for 5 weeks in order to have the matter resolved and after that…

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    1. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Rosie Hayes

      Yes, Rosie there is good reason to be concerned that Assange having exhausted all legal avenues to avoid extradition, has done the bolt and is holed up in the embassy of that bastion of human rights and gender equality, Equador.

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    2. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      This type of comment is the equivilant of the denialist comment about JETA1 fuel, in which the person attemptes to hold any activist to unrealistic expectations and standards and then states that because they dont meet these unattainable standards they are hypocrites

      ie. you own a car? how dare you talk to me about the environment - this argument is self defeating and asinine, the most juvinial and shallow view of how the world works

      Julians held up in Ecudor embassy - what a hypocrite - well what the heck do expect him to do in this situation, doesnt really have a lot of options.

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      Has he? I thought due process meant that this needs to be proven before it can be said that claim is true.

      He is alleged to have chosen to do otherwise.

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    4. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      I expect protesters, political activists, environmental activists, in fact any member of any social movement I expect them to break the law, often.

      The reason is, and this may be hard to understand if you are a white male in a wealthy western country, but the reason is that the law is not always fair nor is it always just and sometimes we have to break laws.

      The idea that you are fine with the US indefinitely detaining its citizens without trial but aggresively opposed to someone trying to escape US persecution says a lot

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    5. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Phillip

      What legal avenues though? Bogus claims made by Sweden?

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Breaking the unjust laws are required and often.

      Refusing to work when not being paid was once illegal....now it is only illegal in particular situations.
      Engaging in sexual relations with someone of a different colour or religion, or the same gender, used to be illegal. Now it's just frowned upon in some quarters, unfortunately, still illegal in others.

      Rape - wasn't always illegal and now that it is, it is a law that shouldn't be broken. If JA did that, he should go to prison. Stuff him. BUT like you and I keep discussing, that might not be the case and in any event, the context is quite fishy.

      As for allowing whistleblowers to have a voice - that shouldn't be illegal, and when it is, that law should be broken as often as possible.

      /rant

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    7. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      "Julians held up in Ecudor embassy - what a hypocrite - well what the heck do expect him to do in this situation, doesnt really have a lot of options."

      Well, he could have adopted the strategy pretty much everyone else would have had to adopt, that is: not shaft his supporters who were standing his bail, accepted that he was subject to the law and not above it, and defended himself in open court.

      Or then again, maybe not - as we saw.

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma, I was referring to his failure to follow the law in Britain re the extradition decision. This is a separate matter to the Swedish sexual assault thing. Sorry- wasnt clear on that.

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    9. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      Fair enough. Although if it's true he wasn't going to be charged on the matter in question and was actually going to be extradited to the US....breaking the law re the extradition to Sweden decision kind of makes sense.

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  6. Tim Traynor

    Rocket Surgeon

    What kind of idiot would cast a vote for this tool?

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Tim Traynor

      From this truly pretentious article it sounds as if JA seriously thinks he could win a seat. Far from being a sympathetic analysis of his position this writer has succeeded only in reinforcing an impression of deep narcissism on Assange's part.

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    2. Tim Traynor

      Rocket Surgeon

      In reply to Chris Harper

      And reinforced the notion that the "intellectual elite" (LOL) will forgive him anything so long as he's agin 'Murrika.

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    3. Steve Birdsall

      Retired

      In reply to Tim Traynor

      If you're kitting out a toolbox, don't forget power tools like AIPAC stooges Di Feinstein and Joe Lieberman, for starters.

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    4. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Assange would be in good company should narcissism be the basis of his actions.

      Preening politicians - business as usual!

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    5. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Steve Birdsall

      "AIPAC stooges." Ah yes, I was wondering when the "Zionist" bogeymen would descend.

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  7. Christopher Hocking

    Retired

    "Assange should stand up, go to Sweden and face the young women in court."
    Fact: JA has not been charged with any offence by Swedish authorities.
    Fact: He has repeatedly offered to be interviewed by Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecutor, but she repeatedly fails to avail herself of the opportunity, as provided in European Union Law.
    Fact: Swedish police continue to withhold evidence from Assange's lawyer.
    Fact: The concept of innocent until proven guilty according to due process of law does not exist in Swedish law.

    Please do try to keep up with the Facts.

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    1. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Christopher Hocking

      Lie 1: Assange is wanted for Arrest. Upon the arrest he will be charged with serious sexual offenses.

      Lie 2: Assange is wanted for arrest. Swedish authorities are enforcing their rights under EU law to have him extradited to Sweden. Given he is a flight risk as evidenced by first his trip to the UK and now his self-imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy are you seriously suggesting it as an option.

      Lie 3: Swedish police are not withholding evidence. However Assange and his supporters continue to slur the swedish authorities and the victims.

      Lie 4: News flash - most Eurpoean legal systems have different concepts from UK common law. However all human rights organisations agree that Sweden has the fairest most robust court systems in Europe with extensive publicly funded legal aid.

      Keep to the facts Christopher not the lies and slurs of the Assange cult.

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    2. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Christopher Hocking

      Christopher Hocking: Good to see someone reiterating the facts. I am amazed that so many comments here sound as though they are coming from the Murdoch press. Do so few people not bother with the facts?

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    3. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to David Murray

      Bold statements David Murray, without citation. Without citation they are merely your opinions.

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    4. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to David Murray

      David Murray:You have not substantiated any of your facts whereas Christopher Hocking has.

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    5. Baron Pike

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Christopher Hocking

      "Fact: The concept of innocent until proven guilty according to due process of law does not exist in Swedish law."
      Further fact, that's why the non-innocent don't want to go to trial where their lawyers also aren't allowed to present their clients' lies as evidence, etc.

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    6. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Christopher Hocking

      Yes, the facts, Christopher - he failed to have his extradition halted and ran away from the law.That, at this point in time, is the only relevant fact.

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    7. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Phillip

      John you can be as grumpy as you like but you will still be wrong.

      Assange is a political prisoner because he took on the might of the corrupt USA.

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Oh come on Marylin, you dont really believe that do you? The guy lost an extradition case/appeal and took the bolt. I dont know whether he has a case to answer in Sweden and neither do you. What he has to do, is go there to a) comply with the British ruling and b) answer the case BEHIND the extradition case.

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  8. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    And what about Bradley Manning? Naively brave? I have no objection to Assange standing for the Senate - but would object to some unknown hanger-on taking the seat while Assange stayed in the UK.

    I remain to be convinced that Assange's ideological unity equals inclusion of a great variety of different viewpoints.

    Australians may well respect hard work and admire courage but there's a ceratin female battler of Welsh birth occupying the PM's position who doesn't get enough credit for these attributes.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to wilma western

      That woman is jailing babies for life without charge, she claimed out loud that Assange was a criminal, and what battle?

      She went to the richest state school in Adelaide and still cannot speak properly.

      She has never battled for anything in her life.

      As for Bradley Manning, he is a super hero.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      I'd love to see more on Bradley Manning. How is that guy doing? I hope he is well, and fear that he is not.

      Assange may be a prisoner himself, but it is a gilded prison. He's getting three square meals a day and visits from Sydney professors.

      Manning....I hope he knows how many people are with him in spirit, even if he didn't leak those cables.

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    3. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      A bit rough Marilyn S. Don't forget the long pointy nose and large bum. Seriously, why is her 'strine' accent an issue? The Queen's English is only spoken by the Queen.

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    4. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      Why is her 'strine' accent an issue? Because apearance and presentation do count. You would never give her a job answering your phone, being a receptionist, or representing your business.

      Not because she is a she, not because of her shape, but because she cannot, does not speak well.

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    5. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      That's ridiculous.

      We live in Australia. Strine is a recognised dialect of the English language that has its roots in Australia.

      Strine is one of the many languages that are spoken here and like the Indigenous languages, was created here.

      Where's your pride in your own country?

      Oh wait. We can't have ANY accents in Australia, except Toffee nosed English or Rolling R Merkan Engrish from the tele. Big Europe but only the Anglo variety!!

      No one is allowed to speak Dharug or Hindi or Arabic or Mandarin so I guess Strine is out of the question too.

      Meh,

      Mate, blow it out your arse.

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    6. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      You are great at making assumptions about people. When or where are immigrants prevented from speaking their own language? Not anywhere I know of!

      But people who have not bothered to learn to speak properly? no pride in themselves, no different from people who go around filthy, or in service jobs do not keep their nails clean. That is, unemployable.

      However your posts are righteous, so opinionated, so irrelevant that I will no longer read them.

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    7. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      LOL ROFL

      Is not speaking "properly" were were in "meatspace". Because it is unintelligible and is not as expedient there as it is here. Not because it is not a "proper" language in current use.

      I should clarify that although there are no laws preventing immigrants from speaking their native tongues, the kind of attitude you are espousing would suggest that their fluency in a mutually intelligible language is irrelevant so long as they have an accent that suits whatever culturally derived…

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    8. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Sigh,

      This is all a bit silly.

      Julia Gillard has a ‘hard’ Australian accent, mine is much softer. The first time I went to the US the people I was working with wanted me to record their outgoing telephone messages, because they were swooning over my ‘English’ accent.

      The reality is some accents have greater social cachet than others. To deplore this is reasonable, to deny it is silly.

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    9. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Of course there are variations on the Strine accent and dialect, as there are in all languages.

      I recognise that some have greater social cachet (as you call it) and I am pointing out that it is deporable.

      Accent and language is part of identity and culture. Denying someone employment on their ethnic background, which one would effectively be doing if based on this, would be considered discrimination unless the person lacked a requisite skill to perform the job.

      Simply sounding funny doesn't cut it.

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  9. Ian Gostelow

    Phd Candidate, LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne

    Australians love an underdog. Assange's fight is, and will continue to be, David v Goliath. Goliath in this case is a global hegemony. David has the 21st century equivalent of a slingshot. In another analogy he has turned over the tables in the temple, and may yet unseat those who sell doves.

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    1. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ian Gostelow

      No Ian. Julian Assange is the 21st Century equivalent of the case of Michael X. One of the biggest cases of misplaced sympathy since the 1960s. Julian's case has nothing to do with his politics (except maybe his gender ones) and everything to do with his actions towards two Swedish women who are being denied justice every day that coward is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

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    2. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Lu de Prís

      Ok 'Alleged actions' serious enough for Swedish Authorities to issue and arrest warrant. And serious enough for the UK Courts to assent to the extradition of Julian Assange back to Sweden to be arrested and charged.

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    3. Ian Gostelow

      Phd Candidate, LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne

      In reply to David Murray

      David, yes this is a story of Justice. But not that of which you speak. The public are increasingly mistrustful of our politics. What does our vote count for? Does it really make any difference if Gillard or Abbott wins this election? This article above is about politics, presumably from your comment you see politics and justice as intertwined.

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    4. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ian Gostelow

      It's an entirely separate matter in my opinion. Whatever he has done with Wikileaks is irrelevant to what he is actually wanted for arrest for. While Assange supporters muddy the waters with nonsense about him being sent to the USA - they merely cover for the fact that they not only don't think he should face the courts in Sweden - they also think he shouldn't even be investigated.

      Sexual assault is a serious matter. Equality before the law is also a serious matter. If we make exceptions for famous people in serious matters such as sexual assault we undermine the basic concepts of justice.

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    5. Steve Birdsall

      Retired

      In reply to David Murray

      If you truly believe all that you must be an extremely gullible person. Which is what certain people are counting on.

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Steve Birdsall

      David,

      Are these two women entitled to their day in court or not? Is Assanges (non existent) right not to be questioned if he doesn't want to superior to theirs. What is it about JA that allows his lack of interest in being questioned to trump their rights?

      Why should JA be above the law in this manner? Is their any rhyme or reason for his being above the law? Is it just because he is a celebrity? Are any other celebrities above the law? If so, who and on what basis?

      Why are the rights of these women counted as nothing in this way?

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    7. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      What was the legal basis for not questioning Assange when he was detained in the UK prison - I think Wandsworth?

      Extradition to Sweden before questioning, but questioning as the basis of having a reason to extradite?

      Sure just get the questioning over and done with in Wandsworth - or is that too efficient for lawyers - or is that not due process?

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    8. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to David Murray

      David Murray: No-one is making exceptions for famous people. Assange did not seek fame at all. You are still forgetting that originally there was no charge of sexual assault! Assange stayed in Sweden from August 14th till September 27th, 2010 to resolve the matter and then was given permission by the Swedish Courts to leave the country. In fact, the alleged incidents took place between 14 - 17 August, 2010. On August 18 Assange applied for a resident's visa in Sweden. Would he have done this…

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    9. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      How on earth did you get that out of Ian's comment? No really, I am not understanding your logic, please clarify.

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    10. David Murray

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Rosie Hayes

      I'm familiar with that slur on the Assange victims. But the judgement of the UK courts in affirming Sweden's extradition of Assange clearly indicate a case of sexual assault. Count 4 in the extradition offenses heard in the UK decision ( see http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html) clearly indicates a rape in count 4.
      "4. On 17th August 2010, in the home of the injured party [name given] in Enkoping, Assange
      deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting…

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    11. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma, my whole point is (apart from some self indulgent baiting) is that he is hiding after the British court ruling on the extradition - hence, I believe he is NOT a hero in any way shape or form but rather a manipulative egomaniac who believes the law only applies to him when it suits. I dont buy into the whole underdog vs goliath argument. If you want to go that way it would be easy to paint the two complainants as the underdogs being denied justice by JA the media (in relative terms) goliath.

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    12. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      Underdog? Noooo.

      Do you think Mamdou Habib had hordes camping outside GITMO saying "Free Mamdou!"? That's an underdog.

      The complainants underdogs? Noooo.

      The way rape allegations are treated, even by the usual Swedish standards, are different to what they went through. These were well placed women with support from others. Raped or not, that's not how the underdog usually lives.

      David v Goliath? Nooo
      Again, this guy has got mass support (and mass derision). The governments…

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    13. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to David Murray

      David Murray: "slur" - that is strong language. I had already read the papers you indicate and I believe that there is nothing that strongly indicates rape. I would suggest that you do not lecture me on how rape affects women. Way out of line. So she woke to find him instigating intercourse - she didn't roll away - she didn't say "no" - she merely asked him if he was using a condom. When he replied in the negative she allowed him to continue. Happens all the time - it is NOT rape.

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  10. Anthony Nolan

    Ruminant

    Thanks John Keane for this account of a genuine Aussie non-conformist. I hope that he manages to stand for the Senate, whatever the obstacles; he'd be far and away a better Senator than that character who rejoiced in the nickname of 'iron bar' reportedly from the days when, as a publican, he kept said object under the bar especially to deal with unruly Aboriginal clients.

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Ah, Anthony, still Stuck on Stalin. Always looking for the new messiah to lead the vanguard and the proles to the promised land.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Stalin wasn't even mentioned. He was referring to some racist I am not familiar with, who apparently was known as Iron Bar.

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  11. Ruth H Gawler

    Medical Practitioner

    So, whatever you think the facts are about whether the Swedish women were raped or whether Wikileaks endangered Australia's security, what is really obvious is that he is a brave man willing to face anything for his genuine beliefs. No doubt even if these opinions were judged in a court or a Royal Commission it would be very difficult to give him a fair go. There is no doubt that Julian Assange is symbolic as well as a real man. He may well be like the Ned Kelly, or Robin Hood. And there are many sound arguments about the ethics of both those men, which will continue indefinitely... At the very least he exposes to ourselves our own cowardice and shows us more of what we could be capable of. And in a part of ourselves, if we allow our feelings in....we know a hero when we see one.

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    1. Baron Pike

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ruth H Gawler

      He's a moderately successful psychopath who wouldn't know real courage when he saw it, because he's betrayed the courageous people of several Governments with no hesitation. Having little or no fear as he claims is a common psychopathic trait, especially when you talk about how courageous you must be to lack it.
      Courage is the ability to overcome fear and do honor to whatever you owe your fellow men as your duty. This silly sly and deceptive creep owes no duty except to his narcissistic self.

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    2. John Regan

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Baron Pike

      You seem to be confirming his courage and standing through the vitriole you seem to be flinging at him. One wonders why so personal???

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Baron Pike

      There are plenty of narcissistic, deceptive creeps who have changed the world and even been targeted for things they didn't do because they couldn't be targeted directly for the things that they did.

      Let's see, I know this is a fictitious character, but....an important one.

      There was once a young man from Nazareth that resisted the Roman occupation and the complacency of his people to it by preaching a radical philosophy. Many claims where made about him. Such as that he was fulfilling some…

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    4. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Oh and before you start thinking that I think JA is a messiah - get real. Messianic beliefs are for chumps. There's no such thing.

      Save your own damned world.

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    5. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      "There was once a young man from Nazareth that resisted the Roman occupation.."
      Hardly!
      "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
      Matthew 22:21

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      1. Jesus never existed. So yes, he never resisted the Roman occupation.
      2. Matthew, who may have existed, did so well after the era that Jesus is alleged to have exist. Matty boy's lifetime was after Constantine converted to Christianity. Kind of makes sense for the Romans to want Caesar to be rendered unto, regardless of what the early Christians actually thought. Those may have resisted the Roman occupation, and in ye olde times were actually called Jews (not Christians).

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    7. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma,

      Are you serious? The first written reference to the Book of Matthew was in about 130, and the book itself is thought to have been written around about 90. The book was well established before Constantine. The author, whoever it was, was well dead one hundred and seventy years before Constantine was even a twinkle.

      As to Jesus himself, one of the reasons many Jews rejected the claims the he was the Messiah was because he didn't resist, or preach resistance to, the Roman occupation. Armed resistance to occupation was, after all, one of the primary duties of the Messiah in traditional Jewish theology.

      As to Jesus’s existence, well, his legacy is pretty vivid for a fake. Even if that was more down to Paul than anyone else.

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    8. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      It's still plenty of time for the beliefs to be considerably modified. Perhaps in response to resistance by the majority of the populace. Water it down a bit to make it more digestible.

      Kind of like the relationship between social democrats and socialists, or capitalists and fascists. /quip

      Also, vividness is not veracity. I had a really vivid dream the other day. I woke up thinking the real world was fake. I could have sworn it.

      Yet here I am....not there.

      It's vivid that his mother was a 12 year old virgin impregnated by ghost when a flying man told her it was going to happen. It's vivid that he could turn water to wine, heal the blind lepers, and bread a loaf of bread into multiple pieces. It's vivid that he had the crap belted out of him and was nailed to a cross. And that apparently, he dropped dead that day (instead of dying from exposure over several days) and rose three days later.

      Very vivid.

      Also, very not true.

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    9. Baron Pike

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Regan

      Psychopaths commit crimes without fear of consequences, one reason being they don't expect to get caught. And when they do, it their vitims fault, not theirs. If you think that's the equivalent of acing courageously, try being one of their victims.
      To top it off he dreams of being a political success. How many selflessly courageous politicians do you know?
      I'm a citizen of the world, so yes I take the actions of these megalomaniacal creeps as personal.

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    10. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      I’m quite happy to put aside all the supernatural stuff that is attributed to him, but at the time Paul came on the scene there were simply too many people who had known Jesus personally. Problem is, pretty all we have is Pauline doctrine and history following on from his conversion of the gentiles. The Jewish Christian church was pretty much wiped out with the eradication of Jerusalem and the fall of the Jewish nation, so we know pretty much nothing about that branch of Christianity and its writings. The bar Kochba revolt did for what little was left.

      Still, there would have been too many people in on it for it to have been a fraud, and to what end? It took about a hundred years for them to enter the historical record (I discount Flavius Josephus), and who could have planned for their takeover under Theodosius? It took three hundred and fifty years, and I don’t know the Illuminati were even around back then.

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    11. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Everyone wants to know, or claim to know someone who is famous.

      Even if that person never existed outside of public imaginations.

      There is zero evidence other than testimony to show the bloke was even alive.

      There is however, plenty of evidence, that back in those days, imagination and reality blurred in ways that would be considered insanity by today's standards.

      People talking about an allegorical character was similar to people talking about a real person.

      For example, even the existence of Socrates can be disputed by this little factoid. It is possible that he was imagined by Plato.

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    12. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Nope, not about Socrates, Emma!
      Apart from a whole lot of other evidence, Aristophanes was there and Aristophanes didn't write any bullshit. He had him on stage, up there, among the clouds, measuring the distance of a flee's jump and the place whence the mozzies hum. Gave a brilliant, scientific explanation, to my reckoning!

      http://bacchicstage.wordpress.com/aristophanes/clouds/

      So, yes, Jesus did not exist (just another immaculate birth, like -inter alia multa- Dionysius) but Socrates did. So did Diogenes... if your doubts perambulate like those of Socrates.

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    13. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to george theodoridis

      So Socrates was a character in a play written by Aristophanes as well as appearing in the work of Plato?

      Does that mean he was real?

      Diogenes. Believable character even if he were made up. There continue to be odd fellows that wander the market place. Were it not for police and others, they would wander naked, masturbate and defecate there, too.

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  12. Comment removed by moderator.

  13. John Regan

    logged in via Facebook

    Excellent article which gives us some insight into the political asylum escapee of the 21st century. The protagonists appear to be the corporate dominated governments of the world verses the truth seekers of the world. Thankfully there are some governments who can still accomodate the truth. They however will be brutally criticised. Assange is performing an extraordinary service to truth when it is so difficult discern from many politicians in todays governments. Australia so desperately needs politicians with courage who are seeking to expose the truth which is so well hidden in our governments and society today.

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  14. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    I think JAs best work is behind him......he deserves huge kudos for the Wikkileaks issue, but has now moved into celebrity territory.

    Given the intense polarisation swirling around the man, similar to our cause celebre politician, perhaps JA & KR could form a dream team ticket in a new break away party.

    Now THATS a story..... what to call it - Wikkipol - RuddAss.

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      What I now find really weird is just how banal and irrelevant the Wikileaks dump has turned out to be. Before the mass release of documents, I thought the impact would be revolutionary. I had always believed that the CIA, and similar bodies, were sitting on mountains of dark, appalling secrets, whose exposure would rock politics worldwide. In reality, it turned out to be little more than a fart in the bath. Rather than Rosa Parks, Trotsky, or even Woodward and Bernstein JA turns out to be just a narcissistic kook with a side order of sociopathy and dubious sexual ethics.

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    2. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Just because you are unaware of the effect the cables had does not mean that the cables had no effect - this is what we call living in a bubble.

      Also, you need to be able to recognise that not acheiving EVERYthing is not the same as not achieving SOMEthing.

      This is often the inane thought that many people have when it comes to social progress, that unless you achieve all of your goals immediately as a direct result of your actions then you have wasted your time and it was all pointless - this is an oversimplified way to see the world and does not in any sense reflect reality

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Well. Consider some of the facts about the cables

      1. Thousands of classified documents.
      2. Low classification level
      3. Low shock level (oh corporations e.g. Visa/Mastercard et al are messing with foreign policy)

      Yet these were touted as a shambles of state secrets, the risks of the releases overestimated, the possibility of extradition (maybe with death penality applicable) and the reaction calling for violence.

      Why were such BORING things classified in the first place?
      Why such a reaction, if so unimportant?

      What kind of society feels the need to kill someone who effectively committed gossip, by such a standard?

      And

      What is in the highest classification documents?

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    4. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma, I've studied US foreign policy during the Cold War quite a bit, and for a while was quite obsessed with the translated documents from the Soviets, after the Cold War ended. There was nothing in the Wikileaks dump that any half informed person didn't already know. For me, the biggest revelation from the Wikileaks dump was how routinely incompetent and muddled the CIA and other government agencies are. The biggest takeaway for me, was that once a State reaches a certain size and level of complexity, its effectiveness and consistency with democratic principles starts to fall significantly. Clearly, the US passed that stage quite some time ago.

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    5. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      "What is in the highest classification documents?"
      Aliens, Zionists, and Communists.

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      We don't know that. These documents are still classified.

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    7. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Agreed. I was illustrating the consequences or context of the dump.

      If it doesn't show anything surprising in the actual cables, what does it show through their release?

      The US govt is paranoid to the point of willing to kill someone for gossiping.

      Some bastion of democracy!

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  15. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    I do think that Assange has become a bit out of touch with mainstream feeling about his predicament. Everyone wants him to sort out the swedish issue. His comment that "Australians ..[have] learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam" doesn't sound to me like it bares any resemblance to Australian attitudes today, given the current apathy and disconnect of the electorate, as engineered by the press carnival & populist political soapboxing etc.

    However i am all for new political parties that incorporate principles of liquid democracy and openness. In Australia this includes the Senator Online group and the Pirate Party. Assange should support these budding movements whilst sorting out his own dirty washing, and once that is cleaned up then the public might be ready to put him in office.

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to alexander j watt

      He may be doing a favour for these parties by running, or attempting to run alongside them.

      Pirate Party is less controversial when compared to Julian Assange. Also, it's not strictly speaking, associated with the ideals of Aaron Schwarz, who nobody in the general populace has a reason to be upset at.

      Think of it as, if both wind up on the ticket, people will look at Assange fame and see similarities with the others. But the others don't have Sweden breathing down their neck, and in fact, the Pirate Party has Swedish origins.

      Pirate Party will win votes that way. And are less likely to be blocked from running than someone like Assange.

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    2. alexander j watt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      I don't know that the Assange brush is so bad that Pirates would run from its tainting - they seek profile raising in Australia and that probably includes all sorts of activities both savoury and otherwise.

      The unfortunate Schwarz story is one in this area at least that most people find themselves in sympathy with, regardless of their real position on open access matters.

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to alexander j watt

      True. Open access matters include freedom of information and the underlying principle - an open (non secretive) society is part and parcel of it.

      I'm sure Pirates all over would see benefit to what Wikileaks has done and the basis of the Wiki system in general (!) although Wikileaks technically has gone beyond that structure into something else. Assange et al would also see benefits to what Pirate Party advocates and what Schwarz essentially died for.

      But; this is in parallel. Wikileaks…

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    4. alexander j watt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Yes I agree, and it's an exciting time.. the birth of lots of small parties all chasing a new ideal of openness. This feels like a revolution beginning. Politics will be a different place in just 10 years or so, i feel.

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to alexander j watt

      Hi Alexander

      love your enthusiasm.........makes me feel like a bit of a curmudgeon.

      Must confess I wouldn't mind being a part of the Occupy movement. It seems to espouse some values that are missing in today's mover & shakers.

      People Power & a Western Spring........bring on the revolution baby.

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I hope your enthusiasm is well placed, Alexander. I share it.

      But, as I get older, I guess I fall into a common trend. I'm not assuming that Stephen or yourself are young and impatient, as I was not long ago, but I do understand from being around a little longer that revolutions seem to come at the cost of as yet not percieved alternatives.

      Rushing into things tends to do that. I think Occupy is a bit like the hippies of the 60s. It did bring change but other things took hold anyway, and…

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    7. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Hi Emma

      hear what you say......................but doing something (constructive - and thats subjective I know) is better than doing nothing. Sometimes if we don't stand up for what we believe is the right way forward, we get trampled upon, and living in a society that has no value for us.

      Even tho the hippie movement did move on, doesn't mean that it did not leave it's mark in a good way. Better that than getting stuck on a past that simply had /has novelty value....

      And if our current concerns are urgent and serious, all the more reason for a group of concerned citizens to stand up. When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

      I believe its getting very near the time when people will say ......."I dont want to take it any more"

      We can't live in a comfortable middle class existence and just complain and whinge about how bad things are. I'm a bit past organising the troops, but I feel I'm ready to stand with the (peaceful) troops and be counted.

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    8. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to alexander j watt

      "His comment that "Australians ..[have] learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam"
      That comment shows JA is deluded, not merely ignorant of recent history. What the Whitlam dismissal showed us was that some Prime Ministers are not very good at keeping their MPs disciplined; that Malcolm Fraser is a fink, never to be trusted; and that nothing saved the governor-general. That is all.

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    9. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      I am much more sympathetic and excited by movements like the Pirate Party and Senator Online, than I am about the Occupy Movement. Apart from actually getting off their asses and 'having a go', the only real politics I could see in the Occupy Movement was that middle-class western youth are pissed off that they have huge student loan debts, which they accrued at third rate universities and colleges. Occupy was about bitterness that middle-class entitlement expectations had not been met.

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    10. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      You obviously have no idea what you are talking about then - see the interview Assange did with Occupy Wall St organisers or any of the other hundreds of published articles about what it was and what they achieved

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    11. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I agree with you.

      Constructive is definitely subjective and something is better than nothing.

      Some of the people organising the troops have absolutes they're throwing around. It's futile. It's a mistake I've made, and a mistake I'm learning from with time.

      That something we each do might be very small but, heck, butterfly effect. For example:

      Stick a solar panel on the roof. Recycle. Stop eating junk food. Grow veges if you can. Focus on health rather than wealth. And if you don't…

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    12. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Oh really Michael. I not need to defer to a narcissistic kook, who was holed up in a mansion in the English country side during the Occupy Wall Street days, do I? I'm sorry, but I am more than capable of critically analysing political phenomena and information without deferring to deluded propaganda from Surrey, England, every morning.

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    13. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      That may be so, but waking up the middle classes takes a bit of work and that is a signal of something changing.

      While the working and underclasses have suffered the whole time, feeling the scorn of the middle classes as they (or should I say we, I am not a middle class person, even though I have the benefit of a middle class education) struggle for autonomy, the right to live unharrassed by landlords, government departments and the police, pathologised for poverty, made sick by the corporations…

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    14. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      You not need to defer? what are you talking about?

      "holed up in a mansion in the English country side during the Occupy Wall Street days" - if your reffering to assange and think because he was not personally involved in Occupy this makes him a hypocrite then your insane

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    15. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Hi Emma

      from my point of view I would be pleased to see action to foster -

      western and wealthy countries and organisations taking a fairer approach to the third world. Not seeing them as a cash cows. Giant mining companies have shown little regard for these countries, except to reap profits, wreak environmental havoc, prop up corrupt political regimes, pay a pittance in wages, etc.

      The West has sought to invade this country and that for spurious reasons, under the guise of democracy, and…

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    16. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I agree with you - the question is what to do.

      Before solutions that positively impact those countries are implemented, there are real people banging on our front door screaming for help. Do we ignore those people? In practice, yes - but ethically, we shouldn't. Especially considering our actions are implicated in some chain of causality that lead to their problems. With migration, the goal ought to be BOTH protecting those in need and preventing the need from arising. One is short term…

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    17. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      "That may be so, but waking up the middle classes takes a bit of work and that is a signal of something changing."
      Emma, I absolutely agree with this. I have great respect for the middle classes. They are the engine room of modern wealthy, [relatively] liberal societies. My point here is to emphasise the disingenuous claims of the Occupy Movement, that they ARE "the 99%". They are not. A lot of the energy in that movement came from folks in the top 2-5%, who are bitter that they are not in the top…

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    18. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Something like that. Low hanging fruit indeed!

      Except that the engine room of all wealthy countries is the working class, especially, but not limited to those not in wealthy countries. There is much short term profit in underpaying the majority of labor that is produced.

      Of course, you might also wonder how such students put themselves through uni. Working class jobs.

      Waitressing, prostitution, telemarketing, cleaning. All the stuff middle and upper classers wouldn't get caught dead…

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    19. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      While we might need more doctors and nurses, the last thing we need is more teachers. The Dawkins Universities are stuffed to the gills with "Education" students, most of whom have no hope of getting a teaching job. If anything, we need to radically cut the intake of Teaching students.

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    20. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      There is nothing wrong with studying "feminist themes in comparative neoclassical poetry". Just make sure you don't go into deep debt do so, or if you do, make sure you graduate with a 1st Class Honours degree, with minors in Economics, Accounting, Statistics, or Computer Science. ;)

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    21. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      I don't know about that. We may need more of a gender balance in primary education if some things I've read around here are any indication. More blokes, that is.

      Also, we need Ethics teachers in NSW. There's a shortage ATM

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    22. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Well yeah. If you can cough up the dough you can have anything you like.

      For the rest of us, it's water polluted with acid rain, or water polluted with garbage /cynicism

      No seriously, there is more to going to uni than the job you get at the end of it, if you get one at all.

      That "moreness" is missing when it all gets boiled down to dollars and no sense.

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    23. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Yes, there is. The trouble is, too many Australian students graduate with a far too narrow intellectual skill set. I can tell you from an employer's side, we would love to snap up graduates with majors in "feminist themes in comparative neoclassical poetry". Articulate young people, with a large vocabulary, and great communication skills are gold. The problem is when you get to interview them, to sound out there broader analytical skills, they fade. Too many of them dropped Maths and science in high school, didn't take any analytical subjects at uni, not even Logic, and find that the clever word games they were so used to playing in university tutorials, are very easily defeated outside the tutorial room.
      The advice I give to any kid I come across is to do a combined Arts/Science or Arts/Commerce degree.

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    24. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      "I don't know about that. We may need more of a gender balance in primary education if some things I've read around here are any indication. More blokes, that is."
      There are good arguments that to send your son to a government school in 2013 is cruel, bordering on gender oppression.

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    25. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      School is cruel in general.

      Gender oppression. I don't know.

      Are boys treated worse than girls these days?

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    26. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Renaissance thinking for a multi-disciplinary age.

      Damn straight, Kim.

      We've got too many scientists who think the whole world is their one variable, and too many verbose artists who couldn't think their way out of a paper bag.

      Not to mention the world is run by sophists and pseudo-intellectual statisticians. Note, statistics can be quite useful when soundly derived and applied, but rarely is that so.

      Meanwhile, roads need to be dug and bed pans emptied.

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    27. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Re Stephen John Ralph
      notes:- from my point of view I would be pleased to see action to foster -

      western and wealthy countries and organisations taking a fairer approach to the third world.
      ---------------------
      Seems so & I note what happened to the World Bank & IMF $trillions over past 60 yrs if it wasn't rorted by their HIGEST officials in "round robin deals"? And perhaps rorted to fund 3rd world war crimes & arms sales & so on....??

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  16. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. John Regan

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Neil Gibson

      You so obviously are like many not interested in the facts but prefer to stick with the status quo writing a "load of tripe".

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  17. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Wikileaks was such a great idea, such a shame it turned into a personality cult.

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    1. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Plenty of other wikileakers have been persecuted, but theres no points with management for covering them or their revelations.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Liam J

      Yes, just like Nelson Mandela single handed brought down apartheid and never advocated violence.

      Not true. He had a lot of support and his supporters where heavily prosecuted. He was also a source of support.

      It's never single handed. But it's easier to focus on the uhm, pretty face at the front of the shop, than the millions of dirty faces in the factory.

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  18. Jane McNab

    mature age PhD student

    I think it is refreshing and exciting to have something new on the political scene, and any goals of justice and equity should not be sneezed at. Would keeping our focus on the game and not the man be the most beneficial for the country? (experience suggests that no-one anywhere is in a glass house anyway) Why not challenge the status quo? Doesn't everything need review? Why not make changes for the benefit of all? What is the role of government morally meant to be? What is the purpose of economics? As Paul Keating asked, where are the Big Ideas? He said we should look to what we want the country to look like, and then set policies based on that. So, what do we want? Wouldn't it be more useful to us all to ponder questions like that, and raise the awareness and level of thinking of us all, rather than to keep the conversation in the negative and pointless, and suck the energy out of life?

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Jane McNab

      "Why not challenge the status quo? Doesn't everything need review? Why not make changes for the benefit of all? What is the role of government morally meant to be? What is the purpose of economics? As Paul Keating asked, where are the Big Ideas? He said we should look to what we want the country to look like, and then set policies based on that. So, what do we want?"
      Jane, Keating was the father of Neoliberalism. That is the change he brought to Australia. Be careful what you wish for.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Yeah and Fraser was the fink that brought down Whitlam but he still quit the Liberal party when it went too far.

      Also Churchill was a snobbish Tory prick that sent the Anzacs up the wrong side of the penninsula but he had some pretty awesome quotes and even fought off Hitler.

      Keating made a good point, even if his direction sucked.

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      *or was he the fink. I don't recall. He was the fink in charge when I was born anyway. Guess my age, oh seers of ASIO

      /humour

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  19. Robert Miech

    Retired

    The swedish legal system is interesting. I don't think asking someone questions really needs a extradition warrant.

    The truth is nice. It would be good to get a little more in Australian politics.

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Robert Miech

      In this case, 'asking questions' is a euphemism for 'we intend to arrest him'. The Victorian police used the same terminology with Craig Thompson.

      This is a case of 'the law applies to thee, but not to me'.

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  20. Anneliese Ford

    Senior Consultant

    How interesting that every woman who has commented here does not automatically believe the rape accusations, whereas the men espousing right wing perspectives automatically do. A reversal of the usual gender perspectives. This leads me to suspect that Assange is indeed being made a political scapegoat, and should be given the benefit of the doubt unless proven otherwise.

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    1. Gordon Smith

      Private citizen

      In reply to Anneliese Ford

      It could also be that their is a hierachy of causes and anti-Americanism is higher up the scae than womens issues. This issue confirms that we are much more tribal than reasoned in our ideology.
      Had the very sme circumstance involved a priest for example the same people who dismiss the Sweedish women would be demanding his extradition.
      Annelisse, would you give the priest the benefit of doubt. You might do - you might be one who can see things without the fog of your own biases but that would be rare and I applaud you if you are as I often am not.

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    2. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Anneliese Ford

      You're serious, aren't you? From what I have read I don't think Assange's actions amounted to rape, at least, not as I understand it, but I have no reason to believe that the Swedish legal system is any more questionable or corrupt than any other in the Western world, so I regard it as reasonable that the law take its course.

      Assange is a suspect in a crime and a fugitive fleeing justice, and I see him as that.

      What I am seeing here is a dichotomy not between those who regard him as guilty or innocent, but rather largely between those who regard him as subject to the law and those who regard him as above it - I put the conspiracy theorists in a separate group.

      If you think equality under the law is a 'right wing perspective' then we have a problem somewhat greater than Julian Assange.

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Gordon Smith

      I don't speak for Annalise but I do speak for one of the women she appears to be referring to (myself).

      The priest would deserve the same benefit of the doubt as any other accused.

      However, I infer that you imply the broader Catholic church issue and subsequent fallout in your comment about priests.

      That issue is less about an individual priest and more about the hierarchy of the church covering up multiple cases in multiple countries. As far as extradition is concerned, it would be for…

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    4. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Anneliese Ford

      Anneliese Ford: I think some women are suspicious of the rape allegations because originally when the two women went to the police their concern was whether Assange could be legally compelled to take an STD test if he so refused. This, of course, was only because of the unprotected sex they had had with him. The night after one of the alleged incidents the woman he was staying with threw a party for him and he then stayed with her for a further week. Does not sound like rape concerns were in their heads. And that automatically explains suspicion.

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    5. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Equality under the law is not a wing issue and I agree that if it is possible to infer that from Annalise's comment it is inaccurate and inflamatory.

      But, I don't think it has been adequately demonstrated that Assange or the accusers have been treated equally under any law. Or at least equally in comparable cases.

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    6. Anthony Nolan

      Ruminant

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Well, you're faith in the Swedish legal system is touching but here's a question for you to research: did Sweden co-operate with the US "rendering", that is, illegal detention and torture, of people who they suspected of anti-US views and actions?

      Discuss in relation to the propriety of the Swedish legal system.

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    7. Rosie Hayes

      Retired

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris Harper: Two things: Assange is not fleeing justice. It was he who presented himself to the Swedish police, they didn't come and get him, he went to them. After those charges were dismissed by the Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, he was given permission by the Swedish Courts to leave the country. In England, when it became known that a warrant to question him had been filed, he again immediately presented himself to the English police. And so it goes on. Marianne Ny, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Sweden, has admitted that it is possible and legal to interview Assange by video link (as his legal team has requested) but she refuses to do so. Assange's concern is not the rape allegations - his concern is setting foot on Swedish soil again knowing that now it would lead to extradition to USA.

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    8. Ian Gostelow

      Phd Candidate, LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Rosie Hayes

      Am I right in thinking that if a condom had been used in the consensual sex with either or both of the women on whose behalf the Swedish indictment is made that there would not be a case to be answered?

      In other words the allegation is that Julian Assange is guilty of not wearing a condom.

      Is it a legal requirement in Australia to wear a condom during consensual sex?

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    9. Jess Warren

      Editor

      In reply to Anneliese Ford

      Very astute, Annelise.

      Allegations of sexual assault are gravely serious and Assange should definitely submit to further questioning, but there is absolutely no legal or practical reason why this cannot take place by video link or in London—only the prosecutor's insistence. Assange has offered to comply with being interviewed by Swedish authorities in the UK many times. The reluctance of the Swedish prosecutor to arrange it does not inspire confidence in their intent to conduct the case in good…

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    10. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Ian Gostelow

      Not that I know of, but I believe it is against the law to have unprotected sex with another person if one has HIV and does not advise the other person.

      For obvious reasons - to do so would effectively be a form of negligent homicide (manslaughter) or in some situations outright murder.

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    11. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Its like people are deliberately mis-understanding the situation and then attacking their own misunderstandings

      "but rather largely between those who regard him as subject to the law and those who regard him as above it"

      What dont you understand that makes you write comments like these?

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    12. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Ian Gostelow

      Ian, while I think everybody should be mindful of local laws and customs when travelling, the Swedes do have some particularly kooky attitudes towards gender issues. For example, it is against the law to leave the toilet seat up.

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    13. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Seriously? Name the act and clause if you can.
      That's friggin ludicrous

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    14. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael,

      "What dont you understand that makes you write comments like these?"

      I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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    15. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael,

      "What dont you understand that makes you write comments like these?"

      I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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    16. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Jess Warren

      Jess, actually the "allegations" made by the Swedish women are no more "serious" than somebody else's allegations that they were punched in the face in the street.

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    17. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Rosie Hayes

      In the Americans wanted him they could have asked the Brits years ago, and they would have got him. There is nothing about going to Sweden which increases the danger to Assange of being extradited to the US. That claim is a red herring.

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    18. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Except the part where the US says they want to do it and the part where Sweden hasn't ruled it out

      Unless I've been misinformed about that, too

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    19. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Ian Gostelow

      From memory, and I took an interest at the time, Assange stayed in woman 1's abode for a time with sex being part of the affair, subsequently he moved on to the abode of woman 2, a friend of woman 1, sex again being part of the arrangement.

      The two women got their heads together, and being concerned about Assange’s STD status, went to the cops and asked if they asked him to undertake an STD test, and he refused, was there anything that could compel him to take the test.

      They left the station…

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    20. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Well, you're faith in the Swedish legal system is touching but here's a question for you to research: did Sweden co-operate with the US "rendering".............Says it all ...And how ironic is it that it is Assange being "demonised" by people allegedly pursuing "Justice" here!!

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    21. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jess Warren

      Brilliantly said Jess Warren...but the fact is it is incumbent on the USA & Australian Govt. to declare their intentions re Assange....THIS is the real issue being avoided....despite US Ambassadors Bleiches OBVIOUS !@#$%

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    1. Anthony Nolan

      Ruminant

      In reply to Michael Toole, AM

      Hmm. Amnesty Int. is a great organisation, but imperfect. For example, until the early to mid-1980's it did not list Australia in its annual report on nations in which human rights were abused or at risk. So, listing Ecuador as a nation in which *press freedom*, as distinct from freedom of speech, is less than perfect may not be as serious a matter as you imply. For example, Correa has said:

      "The Ecuadorean and Latin American press is not like the European or North American press, which has some professional ethics. They are used to being above the law, to blackmail, to extort. I am sorry about good people on an international level who defend this kind of press."

      The privately owned media of Ecuador have waged a war against Correa. He has fought back. This is not unusual in South America. It might be useful to contrast Correa's attach on press freedom with Murdoch's attack on decency and democracy before leaping to conclusions about Assange seeking asylum in Ecuador.

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    2. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, if we were to trawl through your posts on human rights issues, would we find you poo-pooing any argument based on Amnesty reports? Perhaps you have long inveighed against Amnesty's opposition to the NT Aboriginal Intervention, yes? I'll bet not.

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    3. Anthony Nolan

      Ruminant

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Please don't hesitate to read all of my comments on everything. You might learn something.

      Like I said, Amnesty is a pretty good organisation but imperfect. It's the best independent human rights organisation we have but it doesn't always get it right.

      As to the NT 'intervention' - it doesn't go far enough. The entire Territory government ought to be sacked and replaced with administrators because it was the systematic and historical failures of Territorial governance that created the conditions necessary for such an intervention in the first instance.

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    4. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      The territory government may well be incompetent, even belligerant, but because it's a territory it doesn't have the authority. Federal government can turn over whatever it wants, and essentially, do whatever it likes.

      Another territory - the ACT - has at least examples were laws that John Howard didn't personally like were overturned when his party had majority control.

      It wouldn't surprise me none if there were examples (perhaps not the majority though) of people supposed to be running the NT who were on occassion trying to do the right thing but various issues (perhaps mining income?) that were of benefit to the feds got in the way.

      This sort of thing also seems to be part of the reasoning why parts of the NT is currently campaigning for statehood.

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    5. Anthony Nolan

      Ruminant

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Yairs, you may be right Emma. The Intervention, however, was a red herring thrown in by Kim Darcy, and I foolishly followed it!

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Don't worry. Maybe a red herring but we could use it to illustrate how arbitrary power relations are in this country and the extent of the cost of those power relations.

      Human rights abuses don't just occur overseas, you know.

      Also.....just because help is needed it doesn't mean what the feds are doing in the NT are doing right by the people who live there.

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Good grief Anthony, you're relentless Murdoch bashing does sound a bit paranoid. If you equate Murdoch' level of media control to that experienced in Equador your perspective must be a bit twisted.

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Yes, of course it must the government's fault. How could an individual be expected to act responsibly if the gov doesnt make them?

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    9. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      Murdoch's empire extends to multiple countries.

      At least the bullshit of Ecuador is contained to Ecuador.

      Or so it was...before the internets. But I don't speak the languages of Latin America, do you?

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    10. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Toole, AM

      How do you know Amnesty & Human rights watch & ICG are not biased?...Pretty sus in my view....It would be interesting to know for sure where all their financial backing comes from.

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  21. Tim Holm

    Fact finder

    Mister J.A. belongs to a small group of freedom fighters for democracy who have over centuries helped to improve the world for socio cultural progress. He is a living symbol of liberty of expression and stands on the side of simple, transparent and uncorrupted truth. The allegations against are being used for political gain by his opposition, whether or not they were instigated by them. Why shouldn't he go more deeply into the political arena, though, with a fair and equal say, as a senator? That may be the best way for him to defend himself and his ideals justly, and to continue his work, which it has become clear is necessary and important to a well balanced future for people everywhere. Thanks for this insightful story, John Keane. Your solid reporting has revealed new reason to believe there will be a positive, personal outcome for J.A. and also given us hope for constructive, political results to come from his deep, personal sacrifice and generous giving. TH

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Tim Holm

      Tim, except for the little fact that JA hates democracy. He is an anarchist.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      The two are not mutually exclusive.

      Anarchism comes in many forms and the only thing each form has in common is the (varyingly described) preference for horizontal power.

      Democracy, in it's most direct form, is a horizontal power structure.

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    3. Tim Holm

      Fact finder

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      I recall J.A. having said something like there was anarchy in his act, Kim, But is his global effort really to eliminate the State, which is how I define anarchy? For one thing, based on his careful choice of not revealing detailed information which, it is said, could have contributed to the anarchical process and been otherwise threatening to the lives of individuals perhaps just following orders, thus purely and thoughtlessly destructive, it appears that is not. Rather, he is simply exercising…

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    4. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Wrong on both counts - try reseach next time.

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  22. Max Bourke AM
    Max Bourke AM is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Thinker

    You would have to have a pretty strange set of values to be seeking the "protection" of Rafael de Correa wouldn't you...check his record, on among other things human rights.

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    1. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Max Bourke AM

      Correa's record is so good the rightwingers just attempted a military coup, if he was a thug they just would've hired him!

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    2. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Liam J

      Correction, 2010 is not 'just'. But it was still an almost certainly US supported coup, hurrah for courageous Ecuadorans who successfully resisted and saved it going the way of Honduras, victim of a successful military coup, where the death squads are doing overtime.

      Long live Wikileaks, and Assange, and Correa.

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    3. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Max Bourke AM

      Well who else in or out of the USA Pantheon has stood up for a bit of common sense justice?

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  23. Michael Toole, AM

    Professor of International Health at Burnet Institute

    Interesting how many participants in this thread have faceless profiles. A project for WikiLeaks?

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Toole, AM

      It wasn't there when I read your comment and replied.

      This could be a technical glitch, or it could be that you've decided to add an image we'd assume is of yourself in the interim.

      Either way, your original comment is flawed. Perhaps some of us don't want others to see our ugly mugs out of embarrassment and it has nothing to do with Wikileaks.

      In my case it's that I can't be friggin' bothered.

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  24. Michel Syna Rahme

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    John Keane always delivers, I really really like him, but I think it might be time for all of us readers to calm down on the personal comments towards the authors and concentrate on the discussion.

    I'm also very impressed with the arguments and facts put forward by Anthony, Christopher, Lu de Pris, and especially Rosie and Emma.

    Assange, stay strong, you have much support deep down under. If it was proven beyond doubt you raped a woman you deserve to rot in jail, but it seems very highly unlikely the allegations are true.

    We are global citizens born in Australia. Australia our Motherland. Many people look forward to the day you are welcomed home.

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michel Syna Rahme

      I have a common name. If you're referring to my arguments, thank you for the compliment. I hope your reason is due to the merit of my arguments and not simply that you agree :)

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Phillip

      I never said I supported him, if that's what you're implying (by extension) John. Michael seems to though.

      Cheers Micheal that's comforting.

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  25. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Assange might be brave enough to publish cables etc but doesn't appear brave enough to undergo the procedures of the Swedish legal system or to rely on his huge following and their political influence to prevent the US grabbing him . And are there any legal impediments to his standing for election in OZ ? Like refusal to appear in the Swedish court and breaking bail conditions in UK? Is the stuff about standing for election a bit of a hoax?

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  26. Con Zymaris

    Untethered Polymath

    It's always worth reviewing timelines of activity in complex situations such as this:

    http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/sequence.htm

    ASSANGE & SWEDEN - SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

    "Important events and developments relating to the Swedish prosecutor’s case against Julian Assange"

    -- Con

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Toole, AM

      Make another comment and untick the box "notify me when there are updates"

      I am not sure, but I get the impression from my experience on other threads, that you get emailed replies to comments you were'nt involved in because the tick box is related to the page as a whole.

      I'm assuming that unticking it likewise reverses the subscription to the page as a whole.

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  27. Fredrick Toben

    retired teacher

    It's interesting for me to note how some respondents are becoming personal in their commentary, which indicates to me that they have run out of arguments and then rely on huff-and-puff-and-bluff smear tactics to extricate themselves from things they don't like.
    Of course John Keane's item is politically charged, and so it should be, but that does not detract from the human factor there is an individual in London under house arrest for having participated in a slanted global free expression exercise…

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      “but that does not detract from the human factor there is an individual in London under house arrest for having participated in a slanted global free expression exercise.”

      If there is I know nothing about them. The bloke we're talking about, Julian Assange, on the other hand, is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in order to avoid being shipped off to Sweden to face sexual assault charges – totally different thing altogether.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      The respect for your comment aside....I could not help but WTF

      Have I been living under a rock? I was following the cables and missed the bit where Rudolf Hess died in 1987.

      If you mean THAT Rudolf Hess, he was born in 1882 and was thus 105 when he died. Also, if you mean THAT Rudolf Hess, I'm pretty sure he was a Nazi asshole who was involved in killing lots of people and although I'm against capital punishment and assassinations I think genocidal bastards might just be the exception I don't care about.

      Of course, I am not sure what the result of his case in the Nuremberg Trials. Although I'm pretty sure the whole lot of them were found guilty, and until you mentioned this, I'd thought Hess was one of the buggers that offed himself around the same time.

      WTF

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    3. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma,

      Rufolf Hess was born in 1894, and died in Spandau Prison in 1987, the last of the NAZI high command to kick the bucket.

      The entire prison was reserved for National Socialist prisoners, and was kept open and maintained just for his benefit after all the others died off. The Brits, French, Yanks and Russians would each take charge for a month at a time. The prison was in East Berlin, but the Ossies and the Russians nonetheless allowed the other members of the four power agreement to come in for three months out of four, right up until his death.

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    4. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Thanks for informing me. I was clearly living under a rock and missed that one entirely.

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    5. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Spandau is in what used to be West Berlin. It was (still is) part of the British sector.

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    6. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Hess

      According to this, Hess was in England by 1941 and although faking some symptoms was probably mentally ill.

      This means he spent most of the war as a prisoner of war (of his own choice) and might not have been personally involved in the murders. And even the bits he did...well, it might be the case he was...not quite with it. In the psychiatric sense. Not the "Nazis are crazy assholes" sense.

      Which does raise a question of culpability. Not a huge one. He could have gone mad and left Germany out of the guilt of doing horrible things when he was actually capable of choosing otherwise.

      So why did they kill him in 87? What was the point of that? It was before the wall fell so I'm not seeing that being a factor.

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    7. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Dunno about killing him. I have a vague memory of his health being headline news for about a week before his toes finally turned up. I' have to check tho.

      I understand that when Hitler learnt that Hess, the National Socialist 2IC, had turned up in England he went completely bats**t spare.

      Understandable I guess.

      As to culpability, the Wanasee conference wasn't held for another eight months after Hess flew the coop, so he had no involvement in the Final Solution, but all the euthanasia of disabled and other undesirables had been going on for a while, so he was still a mass murderer - by association if not directly.

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    8. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Right. I did remember something about 1942 being the year they really ramped all that up.

      Still...yes mass murderer. Hitler was preaching that stuff, so I doubt Hess never heard of it. He was implicated either way.

      The reason I mention the assassination is because Fred did. News to me.

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  28. Meagan Kae

    Principal, Founder at White Rabbit Studios

    I am quite surprised that of the 213 comments posted as I write mine how few discuss what impact Assange may have in the Senate if elected.
    To start with as far as the unresolved situation with Sweden/rape allegations isn't having some sort of legal issue now a prerequisite for becoming an Australian politician? After all, Slipper is in court, Thomson has been charged, Gillard is under investigation re the AWU and not being present when the POA was signed. Abbott backed a priest who sexually abused…

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    1. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Meagan Kae

      Such a great comment, you should check our the CSIRO website regarding climate change, or the NASA website, or the MIT website, or Oxford University, or any respected Universities website, or any of the national academy of physics or chemistry, etc either from Australia, NZ, America, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Germany, any OECD Country and any Research Institute that you think is acceptable.

      One guy at work who used the "No warming 16yrs..." line, also told me that NASA are unscientific…

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      If your point is that scientists keep plugging away and making recommendations that keep being ignored or repackaged into useless bulldust then I'm giving you the Captain Obvious Award for "Yes many of us know this already but you've done a service by pointing it out anyway"

      +10

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    3. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      My point was there is an utterly terrifying truth about climate change that previous generations have all failed to act upon and to keep denying or avoiding this is immoral

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    4. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Shand

      It's a bit of a segue but your point stands.

      Had people been willing to think outside the proverbial box on this issue, and in particular listen to the evidence, we may not be in this dilemma.

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  29. Duncan Lannan

    Garbage truck driver

    Whether you love him or loathe him one thing still remains: Julian Assange is utterly fascinating!

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    1. Pamela H.

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Duncan Lannan

      He is UTTERLY fascinating, well spoken, highly intelligent and well educated, which is why the conservatives hate him and want to make him disappear into a dark cell somewhere. They're afraid of him.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      I find astrophysics fascinating.

      Does that mean the universe is narcissistic?

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  30. Pamela H.

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Mr Assange is imprisoned. He is NOT there by choice, because as soon as he steps foot outside the embassy the pommy police will arrest him on trumped up charges by the Swedish police, which the two Swedish women do NOT want to be any part of.

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  31. Con Barrington

    logged in via Facebook

    Could he change his mind about Victoria as a choice of standing for the Senate.

    He would be better of standing in Queensland.

    Katter's wackos think they're in for a Senate spot in Queensland. He would be better off standing in the State that has a history of unusual political identities, quite a few of which actually get themselves elected- and it's not just Katter's 3 last State election but the 11 that got in under the Pauline Hanson banner some years ago.

    Labor are in for an annihilation…

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Con Barrington

      I think Victoria was were he used to live and where he'd probably be if allowed to come back home.

      But he was born in QLD so if he had to argue dual citizenship on the grounds that you can't revoke where you were born....he may well run for senate there!

      Assuming he can get back and put on the various documents. Big If.

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    2. Michel Syna Rahme

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma, I haven't read every single one of your posts but I will disagree with you on one thing. It is highly likely that Jesus the man did exist. But that's the point, he was just a man and a very very good man at that. The fabrications and mythical elements that proceeded of his story, in the true style of storytelling from that period of time,  is what has been proven to be false and inaccurate. Jesus was probably right, we need a world united - a society built upon the foundations and verified…

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    3. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michel Syna Rahme

      We simply don't know, but I consider it unlikely he existed, given the lack of evidence for his existance and the evidence that supports it being a fabrication.

      However, if the only truth he preached (and forget all that stuff about ursury and gays and hating your parents that's in the new testament) was that people should act out of love, not fear, and work together to make the world a place where all humans are respected and able to look after themselves, then you're right, he was a good…

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    4. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma,

      My stance is that there is no evidence that Jesus, as a person, didn’t exist and no reason not to accept the claims that he did. To deny his existence is an act of faith, and to accept he did is to accept the evidence.

      As to the your claim of “the nearly 2000year anti-science attitude of the people that founded the institutions”:
      In fact, the claim that the Church is/was anti science is a ahistorical and baseless. It is made by people either in ignorance or as anti church propaganda…

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    5. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Better than either of us stating the opposite ends of opinion. I'll move further into the middle, too.

      There were of course many examples of what passed for science (that wasn't a slur, but it was with a merry twinkle of mischief) being conducted by clergy and in church run institutions. It was actually rather impossible not to do that in Christendom back in the day, because guess who was running the show. The King? Well, his Divine Right had limits if you know what I mean ;)

      Like any monopoly, the blokes in charge were interested in whatever was going to keep them in charge. Science is okay if it tells us more about god's creation or gives us an edge against some heathen armies. And so forth.

      There were limits, and if these were crossed, there was trouble.

      For example, Descartes, was probably assassinated for crossing a particular line. In this case the Swedish border between his Jesuit benefactors in France and the Lutheran Princess.

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  32. Michael Hunt

    logged in via Twitter

    The Assault

    They sat on the bed and talked and he took off her clothes again. They had sex again and she discovered he'd put the condom only over the head of his penis but she let it be. They fell asleep and she woke by feeling him penetrate her. She immediately asked 'are you wearing anything' and he answered 'you'. She told him 'you better not have HIV' and he replied 'of course not'. She felt it was too late. He was already inside her and she let him continue. She couldn't be bothered telling him again. She'd been nagging about condoms all night long. She's never had unprotected sex. He said he wanted to come inside her, he didn't say when he'd done it but he did it. There was a lot running out of her afterwards.

    Source: Sofia Wilen's Police Transcript - http://rixstep.com/1/20110131,00.shtml

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Michael Hunt

      If that's true, that's got merit as a form of rape.

      But, has he been charged?
      Has the charge been tested in court?
      Has he been found guilty?

      Even if he did - and Swedish trial allowed - I'd bet a Mistrial would happen.

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  33. Michael Ekin Smyth

    Investor

    Assange's behaviour has been marked by cowardice, not by courage. Not only has he betrayed the Swedish women he exploited, he has dodged legal responsibility and repeatedly clouded the issue with paranoid fantasies and physical evasion. The idea that, despite his legal problems, he may be able to stand for the Senate is offensive and demeaning to all Australians.
    John Keane's near idolatrous profile of this devious little fantasist is an embarrassment. If The Conversation aims to survive it better develop some standards.

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  34. Russell Hamilton

    Librarian

    Thanks to John Keane for another excellent contribution - his beautifully written pieces are always worth reading.

    Because I don't really look at the MSM anymore I can't be sure, but I wouldn't think you could find a piece like this there. The result of a long interview by the very intelligent and well-informed Prof Keane, this article has caused me to rethink my opinion of Assange. I had thought him a clever person but a bit of a smart alec, but now I rather hope he does get elected to the Senate - he would be much better value than the dross we usually have to put up with.

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  35. Mark A. Lane

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Hope he gets a viable PSA test and DRE whist waiting in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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    1. Mark A. Lane

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      PSA Test : Blood test for Prostate Specific Antigen.
      DRE : Digital Rectal Examination Prostate Cancer.

      Given he is bound to be in the Embassy for quite awhile, how are they going to manage his health checkups ?

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark A. Lane

      He's only 41. Unless he has a relative who has actually died from Prostate Cancer, there's quite a few years before he needs to worry about those tests.

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  36. William Bruce

    logged in via Facebook

    Nothing to do with Sex. Seems Assange has already completely answered all questions re the sex matter in Sweden AND he was cleared...MUCH later the matter was later reopened due to "Political intervention" by a Swedish "US renditions collaborator" politician/lawyer.
    The Swedes have had every opportunity to interview Assange and deal with the matter and REFUSED...Also, seems clear it is 100% about "discrediting & smearing" Assange for exposing War crimes....AND seems there are plenty of Govt. shills posting these "bad guy" Assange personal attacks....
    The real issue is why haven't the USA & Aust. Govt. not yet clarified if Assange will be prosecuted regarding Wikileaks YET so he CAN go too Sweden AGAIN to deal with this renewed Sex investigation?
    Anyone who doe not see the "demonising/discrediting/smearing Assange" political agenda here is a fool!

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    1. Michel Syna Rahme

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to William Bruce

      To William and everyone else wanting to stand up for a fair go.

      I will write a letter to FM Hon Bob Carr tomorrow seeking answers as to why the Australian government has not sought to guarantee that if Assange returns to Sweden he will not be extradited. Taking Julie Gillard's absurd comments about Assange committing "illegal acts" in relation to wikileaks into account, I assume they will not be forthright in responding. However, to anyone that is serious here, I suggest we all send the same question…

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    2. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michel Syna Rahme

      BRAVO MICHEL.....This kow-towing to US reflects VERY badly on Gillard and sadly, far too many others including Libs....
      The US are "family" and as in in any family there are times when BAD things MUST be stood up to. They will gloat and snigger at us and abuse us all the MORE if we DON'T! Assange matter MUST be sorted NOW!
      They preach democracy but it's the last thing "warmongers" & war profiteers & colonial rapists & their shills & collaborators want ANYWHERE..they want bought Politicians/Military…

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  37. Mohamoud Ali Mohamed

    logged in via Twitter

    Commendable step, eliminating all chastened countries pretending civilized one, and, when registered, want be first member join that party overseas. I appeal all my friends and enlightened people around sphere to join Wiki Leaks party!

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    1. Michel Syna Rahme

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mohamoud Ali Mohamed

      Good man Mohamoud Ali Mohamed.

      I assume you are not in Australia but you can help make that a reality if you and all your contacts cut and paste the small message below and send it to the link demanding a response be sent to The Conversation to be published, and settle this once and for all. Who knows, we may be able to help you and other supporters set up a Wiiki leaks Party in your country and make it Global, which is the next obvious progression…

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  38. Brodie Houlette

    logged in via Twitter

    Just to correct something being thrown around. I have an education in European Union law and the European Arrest Warrent (EAW) that Mr. Assange was being extradited by is more or less incontestable. In that, national courts can only review the process in which the warrant was issued and not content. So its a bit factitious to be stating that any court as reviewed more than the processes in Sweden for the warrant. To be specific, national courts cannot rule on the content of a EAW and this is why there is pressure in the EU to reform the EAW to allow national courts to review content and the charge that the EAW is for. Whatever EU state the accused is in, the authorities there have an obligation to detain and deport.

    Good example is an EAW being issued by the authorities for British national who stole a chocolate bar in Poland. (Which did happen) The UK is obliged to act on the warrant and the accused can only challenge the process and not the charge.

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    1. Fredrick Toben

      retired teacher

      In reply to Brodie Houlette

      Exactly and well put.
      On 1 October 2008 the Germans attempted to extradite me on an EAW from London where I had just arrived on a flight from Chicago.
      The German public prosecutors had issued an EAW because I am wanted in Germany for so-called 'defaming the memory of the dead', i.e. I am a Holocaust-SHoah questioner and that is a crime in various European countries as vested interest have succeeded in labelling such thinking a 'racial-antisemitic act'
      The implementation of the EAW is a mere…

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      Fredrick

      I find holocaust denialism to be deeply offensive. The holocaust happened.

      Nonetheless, if all you did was deny the holocaust, or be known to have an offensive and inaccurate opinion and did not incite anything, or attempt or cause any harm to another person, then I think it is unjust that you were detained and an attempt to extradite you occurred.

      Like I said, you are wrong about your opinion.

      But, facts aside, you do have the human right to freedom of expression. Or so…

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    3. Fredrick Toben

      retired teacher

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Emma, you have every right to be offended by what you hear because that indicates you are maintaining your moral dimension.
      But when it gets to censoring the expression of ideas/opinions on important issues, then I claim: If you take away my freedom to think and to speak, then you take away my humanity and you commit a crime against humanity - truth is my defence.
      I know of a lecturer at Adelaide Uni who threatens his students into submission by stating: 'I find your question borders on the offensive…

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    4. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      ‘I find holocaust denialism to be deeply offensive. The holocaust happened.’

      This is what I like, an open mind!

      Fredrick Toben wrote that he was an ‘Holocaust-SHoah questioner’, not a word about ‘denial’.

      ‘Like I said, you are wrong about your opinion.’

      Did you perhaps mean that in your opinion, and that would have to be ‘uninformed opinion’, if you believe that there are no questions to answered regarding the holocaust story, as told.

      Six or eight other countries also have laws against holocaust denial, France being one. So why is what is merely an historical event off limits to investigation?

      Anytime there is an effort by government/s to restrict access to information the reason is that the information, if revealed, will disprove the official version to a greater or lessor extent.

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    5. William Bruce

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      Why do people focus on crimes we can NOT now prevent (e.g. Holocaust) ..and NOT on crimes which we CAN prevent now?...

      ...one example perhaps being Israel Govts. murdering & racism & THEFT of property from non-Jews at gunpoint...
      Seems to me we are using sanctions on the wrong Countries...

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Brodie Houlette

      In this country you cannot be extradited unless the offence cited is a crime in Australia as well as the country requesting extradition. This is pretty much standard, under all extradition treaties.

      The European Arrest Warrant, on the other hand, has no such protection. The treaty contains a list of offences to which it applies, and it matters not whether it is an offense in both countries or not.

      Holocaust denial is not an offence in the UK, and nor should it BTW, but Germany was able to demand Frederick Toben be slapped up and subject to legal action regardless. Mr Tobens views may be repugnant, but his treatment by the UK, Germany and the EU was no less so. That this country is moving in the same direction, both further and faster, is a matter that should worry everyone who does not wish to be gagged and knocked around by the state.

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    7. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      To the people that have replied to me,

      My opinion is closer to Chris' on this matter than your replies acknowledged. Perhaps Chris has summarised the issue better than I have, however, I was also attempting to be sympathetic or at least understanding of the needs behind why Germany is extra-sensitive about anything remotely connected to Nazism.

      I would also add to Frederick that if you deny my right to be offended for moral reasons, you deny my humanity, too. Not that you have done so, however…

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    8. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to William Bruce

      Sanctions? Agreed.

      Why examine the holocaust? Because it is as justification for the behaviour of Israelis, and by others as justification for not standing up to the Israelis.

      Then there is the matter of the money gouging premised upon the 'unique suffering'.

      For the Jews/Israelis an awful lot hangs on the 'Holocaust' story being accepted without question.

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    9. Fredrick Toben

      retired teacher

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      'ranting reply'?
      Emma, it's a matter of values, a matter of a coherent and fearlessly-held world view. if you plod along from one particular to the next without ever developing an overarching narrative of connectivity, then the personal concentration span for many is a problem.
      Playing the devil's advocate is to me, indeed, playing games. For me life is a little more serious than playing games but I qualify that by saying we must not take life too seriously because we know it's not forever.
      I…

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    10. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      Devil's advocate is a term that I am using to denote the fact that I'm willing to consider an opinion or perspective that I do not personally hold myself in the interest of expanding the thinking space of a particular topic.

      That is not a game to me, it is a strategy employed in becoming a less narrow minded and self absorbed individual. Perhaps the term means something else to you and I was not aware of that.

      Yes academia has its' cowards and so do politicians and the public at large. That…

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    11. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      It's actually more complicated than that.

      To an extent, the reasons why the Allies took part of Palestine and turned it into Israel was because of the holocaust.

      But the reasons why Israel expanded, invaded and continue to treat Palestinians like shit is more complicated.

      Yet it seems to old fashioned empire building and resource acquisition with religion used as an excuse by some. The pretense is not the holocaust, but that the Torah and other documents 'prove' somehow that all that land…

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    12. Fredrick Toben

      retired teacher

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      Someone just sent the following to me - it raises interesting issues that you, Emma, may reflect upon, as I just did:
      --------------
      Chutzpah on steroids
      By: The Irish Savant (sent by Invictus) on: 18.02.2013 [13:43 ] (64 reads)
      In a visit to Turkey some time ago Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres announced that "We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. What the Armenians went through is a tragedy…

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    13. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      Simon Peres, based on that statement, is an extremist buffoon who has denied a holocaust event against the Armenians.

      I don't know how this relates to Palestine because Armenia and Palestine are different countries in different parts of the world.

      What I do get the impression is that you seem to be implying, or the Irish Savant seems to be implying, that there was no proof of the WW2 Holocaust and therefore that Peres, in addition to being an extremist buffoon, is also a hypocrite.

      The problem with that is that there was a holocaust in WW2 and it is a known known, there was evidence in support of it.

      There is also evidence to show that the Armenians experienced a genocidal event as well.

      Denying either is deeply offensive, because it is inaccurate.

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    14. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      Frederick,

      If you truly believe that the Shoah has not been studied extensively, exhaustively and excruciating academic detail you are living in a fantasy land. I find your views no more pleasant and honest than the repulsive and dishonest Israel hatred that some here are starting to spew.

      Might I suggest you start your reading with "The Scourge of the Swastika", by Lord Russel of Liverpool, and move on from there.

      You had my sympathy at the time you were banged up, for being banged up, but if the above comment about research is the best you can do don't imagine that I want to hear any more of your drivel.

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    15. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      The only person here doing damage to your reputation is yourself.

      Also, why would you assume I would be able or willing to go to HREOC (or whatever the acronym is these days)?

      I am neither Jewish, Armenian, German or Palestinian. You have not made a racial slur against me. I don't have the legal right to sue you.

      I will however, call you a troll and leave it at that. Feed yourself from now on.

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    16. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Fredrick Toben

      Mr Toben,

      That I could take you to court under the Racial Discrimination Act is true. If we were in Victoria I could also mount a complaint under the badly misnamed Human Rights Act. That this is the case I find not just disgraceful in this, my home country, but an unutterably foul state of affairs.

      However, as I wrote elsewhere: The issue of free speech is about the state dictating what is or is not acceptable, it is not about free people freely expressing contempt for contemptible behaviour.

      So, when I tell you that I find you contemptible please take me at face value.

      Emma,
      Under the repugnant laws which seek to control opinion in this country, both actual and proposed, you don't have to be the target of unpleasant opinion. You merely need to claim that you, personally, are offended at hearing it expressed.

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    17. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Emma Anderson

      "Yeah, well, in that case, the law goes too far."

      no, that it exists at all, at any strength, is unacceptable to a democrat, a liberal or a libertarian.

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    18. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Chris Harper

      How is it that here on ‘The Conversation’, that proudly declares: ‘The Conversation provides independent analysis and commentary from academics and researchers.’ a conversation has degenerated into a slanging match with, if not actual threats of legal action, rumblings of the fact that it is possible?

      Where is the robust discussion, the culture of inquiry, the benefit of all this scholarship where all issues ought to be able to be discussed with sources cited to support a carefully considered point of view?

      Instead we have ‘belief’ and blind acceptance of an official version of a particular event in history.

      Some commentators on this thread would not be out of place in the Daily Telegraph!

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    19. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Peter Hindrup,

      No threats of legal action have been made or alluded to. Instead there have been expressions of disgust that such a thing is even possible.

      I referred to "The Scourge of the Swastika" as a source of information, a book prepared using evidence presented at the Nuremberg trials as its references.

      I have no interest in official versions of history, or any other intellectual endeavour. I do however, defend established fact against fantasists.

      Sir, I reject your last posting in its entirety. And please don't make any claims that because I mention only one reference, that one reference must be all I know.

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    20. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Chris Harper

      I don't think being offended is a legitimate reason to sue. However, there are other pages on this site relating to the laws you're referring too and if comments are still open, last I recall there was a robust discussion about this matter, including references to the idea that being offended may be to general or vague a term, when being vilified is more specific. Such as, it is deeply offensive, as well as vilification to call someone a nigger, given the way that term is often used and its contexts.

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    21. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Peter

      Again I find myself agreeing with Chris in his reply to you.

      Please don't mistake a casual manner of speaking, and frankness, as blind acceptance of anything.

      It is of course understandable that a person would come in after the context has flowed and have their own (post hoc) interpretation.

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  39. Michel Syna Rahme

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    http://aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Contact_Senator_or_Member?MPID=wx4

    Dear Minister Carr

    Can you please respond to our question by sending your reply to The Conversation www.theconversation.edu.au  to be published as to why the Australian government has not sought to guarantee that Sweden will not extradite Assange to America if he returns for questioning? Does the Australian Government have an absolute obligation to assist Julian Assange and any other Australian citizen in such a predicament, and insist on a fair investigation into what many Australians, based on the facts, believe to be fabricated? Your response is necessary and would be mostly appreciated. 

    This issue will not go away and I see dodging the question, in no way, to be in the best interest for the Australian Labour Government!

    Yours sincerely

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  40. William Bruce

    logged in via Facebook

    I wonder why, if one or both of these WOMEN were not at the time "intelligence staff" or "politically motivated", they went straight to cops and not Julian to ask for about a STD test...& this is at the root of the whole matter?

    I also note these were women not girls and VOLUNTARILY invited Julian into their beds and slept with him.
    Anyone who does not see the political foul play here is STILL living under a rock....
    I don't like saying this, but, did we or did we not invade the wrong country…

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  41. Norman Scarth

    Fugitive from INjustice at Article 6 Group

    Being a fugitive from IN-justice myself, few can empathise with Julian Assange as I can. Proud to be British until the age of 70, I believed (as we were constantly told) that 'BRITISH JUDGES ARE THE FINEST IN THE WORLD'. I am ashamed I was so gullible for so long! From the age of 70 came a succession of shocks, all my lifelong beliefs shattered, as I learned the British courts are run by a Legal/Judicial Mafia. In memory of my brave young shipmates who had died around me in WW2 (& what we BELIEVED…

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  42. Chris O'Neill

    Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

    It's certainly a lot easier for one EU country to extradite someone from another EU country than it is for a non-EU country to extradite someone from an EU country.

    For example, when Australia wanted to extradite Christopher Skase from Spain on actual criminal charges, the Spanish courts refused because the crime was not a crime in Spain. On the other hand, if a country within the EU had wanted Skase even without a criminal charge, then the Spanish courts could not refuse, just as British courts cannot refuse Sweden.

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      By the way, if Assange is actually in Ecuador, then Sweden has no legal right to extradite him unless it has an extradition agreement with Ecuador under which Assange can be extradited.

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    2. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      At the time of Christopher Skase the European Arrest Warrant didn't exist, it is a relatively recent innovation. In the circumstances you outline normal international extradition procedures and conditions would have applied.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris Harper

      On the other hand, if a country within the EU now wants someone like Skase even without a criminal charge, then the Spanish courts cannot refuse, just as British courts cannot refuse Sweden.

      Happy now?

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  43. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    Interesting article though "Swedish media and politics are meanwhile crammed with crass epithets: “rapist”, “repugnant swine”, low-life “coward”, “Australian pig” and “pitiful wretch” hooked on sex-without-a-condom." is not what I've seen.

    The truth is that most people only knows what the papers tell them, and there Assange still is presumed 'guilty', and so they believe he must be. Probably most people already forgot about it, fickle are the minds of men if I may paraphrase :)

    But that the…

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  44. eileen lane

    journalist

    I am unfamiliar wit the author of this article, but find this article to be superficial and void of any insight. I would expect more from a university professor. Even a supporter of Assange surely has something objective to say about the man. Are there no other observations the author can give us other than such fawning and repeated comments about Assange's courage. Are you sure that is what motivates him? Other than a few comments about the surroundings and appearance of his living quarters, this article could have been written beforehand.

    Apparently Julian Assange is not the only one in love with his moment in the spotlight. Is the Australian left so void of heroes or life that they have to canonize this puzzling, maybe even troubled man? Che Guevarra, Winston Churchill, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he isn't. Very unimpressive.

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