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Time for a government rethink on Julian Assange: Burnside

The granting of political asylum by the Ecuadorian government to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange puts pressure back on the…

QC Julian Burnside says Swedish prosecutors should question Julian Assange in London, where he remains at the Ecuadorian embassy. AAP

The granting of political asylum by the Ecuadorian government to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange puts pressure back on the Australian government to act, says leading QC and human rights advocate, Julian Burnside.

The move comes two months after Mr Assange took refuge in the country’s London-based embassy. He is wanted for questioning by Swedish prosecutors over two sexual assault complaints.

Julian Burnside said the fact that Ecuador had granted Julian Assange asylum lent real credence to Mr Assange’s concerns about being extradited to the US.

“Australia needs to stop being complacent, stop brushing it aside and have another look. Then they might do something constructive to help him,” Mr Burnside said.

He added that both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr have ducked questions over whether they have asked America what its plans for Mr Assange are.

“To anyone accustomed to cross-examination that would arouse suspicion,” Mr Burnside said.

He said the next step is for the British to invite Swedish prosecutors to London to question Mr Assange on the sexual assault complaints.

“It’s not like he’s a convicted escaped criminal, he’s someone the Swedes want to ask questions of,” Mr Burnside said.

“The British have a number of courses available to them. They could invite Swedish prosecutors to England to ask the questions. If that’s what really is at the heart of it then that’s what the British would be well advised to do.”

It’s difficult to think of any acceptable reason why they wouldn’t do that, Mr Burnside said.

Ecuadorian ministers have accused the British of threatening to storm the embassy in order to seize Mr Assange, in a move that could set a dangerous precedent.

“To remove the accreditation of the embassy in order to be able to arrest him to send him over so the Swedes can ask him questions is bizarre beyond imagination,” Mr Burnside said.

Suelette Dreyfus, research fellow at the University of Melbourne, and author of a book on hacking that was researched by Julian Assange, agreed such a move would be “astonishing”.

“The idea of throwing out a set of international treaties to storm the soil of another country to abduct someone, which I think is being put forward as an option by the British government is astonishing, breathtaking really, with very little precedent,” Dr Dreyfus said.

There is strong precedent, however, on whistleblowers being forced to face retribution in a case of what Dr Dreyfus said was “shooting the messenger”.

Dr Dreyfus is currently researching whistleblowing, conducting what she said is the first online general population survey testing public attitudes to whistleblowing to be run in ten languages.

“The question is, are you shooting the messenger with a gun or a nuclear weapon?” Dr Dreyfus said.

“Typically what happens with whistleblowing in organisations, is people attack the whistleblower, there will be retributions, but after the dust has settled the organisation is forced to address the issue.

“It makes more sense to just go straight to that point and just address the issue rather than shooting the messenger,” Dr Dreyfus said.

“I tend to think Assange is being more of a publisher who publishes information that may have been given to him anonymously by people who are whistleblowing.

“There he should be afforded all the rights of freedom to publish that other publishers are afforded.”

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77 Comments sorted by

  1. Anthony Nolan

    Ruminant

    There is very little comment on this article because no-one disagrees with the authors. Thanks.

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  2. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    This situation yet again demonstrates how, as a group, our ruling class is a fawning sycophant of the U.S. ruling class; after all, the ideology and war machine of Imperial America implicitly stands behind our ruling classes' wealth and power.

    During the Howard years, the government was passing one new anti-terror law every 6.7 weeks. By volume and impact, the new Australian anti-terror laws greatly exceeded those passed in the United Kingdom, Canada and even the United States. Rudd and Gillard…

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      Name all of the anti-terrorist laws.

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    2. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      I just think that it was 6.85 not 6.7 weeks.

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  3. Kate Rowan-Robinson
    Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

    The Australian government should be ashamed for their lack of action. The UK government should be ashamed of their course of action. The Swedish government should answer as to why they wish to reopen the case and why they cannot question Assange in the UK, as I am led to believe is standard procedure.

    Thank you to the Ecuadorian government for protecting a fellow Australian in need. It shouldn't have come it this.

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  4. Peter Sommerville

    Scientist & Technologist

    I am really puzzled by the sympathy Assange evokes. I really cannot understand why if the US wants him why they have to get at him from Sweden? Why not directly from the UK? This is one extremely slimy individual - his willingness to walk away from the friends who funded his bail is evidence of that. If he is innocent then all he has to do is front the Swedish judicial system and establish that. But instead he plays the game of the asylum seeker. Sorry but he does not have my sympathy. And Julian Burnside's support is pathetic.

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    1. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Just imagine for a moment you're in possession of evidence of the highly questionable behaviour of Governments all over the world - what would YOU do with it Peter?

      Are you prepared to keep it quiet or shout it out as loudly as possible so that citizens of the world understand what goes on in "their" name?

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    2. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Two points I would make here. Firstly anyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence. Secondly, Julian Assange is entitled to representation. Making defamatory comments about Julian Burnside is childish.

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    3. James Walker

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heasley

      yes, everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence - the Courts insist on this. Ditto representation. Are you arguing that the Swedish Courts will not grant Assange this?

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    4. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      Questionable according to whom? Are you suggesting every individual, regardless of their nationality, affiliations or position in an armed conflict, should have the right to examine every action of every participant from one side only? Then to judge them, according to their own standard of morality? Where is the presumption of innocence for combatants engaged in fighting for their lives? Oh? They don't count, that's right... What of innocent local people, working to make their Country a better, more…

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    5. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Assange has offered to answer the Swedish charges. It is the Swedes who refuse to allow him to answer the charges in England but insist on exposing him to the risk of being extradited further.

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    6. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to John Harland

      Do you think that Robert hughes should have the same privilege?

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    7. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to David Heasley

      David, Could you advise whether Julian has managed to read the Terms of Service of Twitter yet?

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    8. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      In respect to comment reply to Peter Sommerville, "In possession of evidence of highly questionable behaviour of governments (institutions) etc etc",. That would depend on how one is reared.
      Most (not all) of us who are Catholics would know better for fear of retribution and delegated to hell, the accused being a law unto themselves.
      Hence the years of cover-ups that only now an Inquiry, (not Royal Commission as recommended), is called for to deal with the aftermath.
      No Australian Human Rights advocates with gumption to speak up, Catholic or other.
      So there, it's across the board.

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    9. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      It does seem a bit one sided to focus on US activities. However, the cables were of embassies in multiple countries so it's sort of brings other countries into it as well. Moreover it seems to be a supply and demand issue. We all demand open information from all these parties, but we're unlikely to get it, because the supply may be short.

      Whistleblowers don't fare well in the US or Australia, and we supposedly have rights here. What about countries where it is even more difficult? Perhaps there is just enough room to move here to blow whistles (and suffer the consequences) whereas in other countries there is no room to move at all.

      This is of course assuming a lack of supply from whistleblowers, and not a lack of publishing from Wikileaks.

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    10. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      I was wondering how current Catholics who are open enough to see the drama as more than "anti-Catholic persecution" see this issue!

      I was raised Catholic but became atheist a long time ago and recall the doctrine of obedience to clergy and in particular the implied or actual infallibity of the papacy. Breaking promises to church and pope...disobedience...is a hell-earning offense, or at least it was back then. Both things that helped question my faith, incidentally.

      The now former pope was…

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  5. ken kerrison

    farmer

    This matter could be resolved in a flash - all that is necessary is for the Australian Foreign Minister, publicly, to ask the US Foreign Minister, whether the US would seek extradition of Assange from Sweden in the event that Sweden gains possession of his body. If the US says 'Yes' or, more likely, does not respond (which is the same thing) then it immediately becomes clear that the UK is not condemning Assange to being questioned about details of certain sexual activities but, rather, offering up his body to the notorious Guantanimo Bay prison. I doubt that even the British Tories would be comfortable with this.
    If, on the other hand, Hilary Clinton gives an assurance that the US will not seek his extradition from Sweden then Assange, assuming his claims of innocence of the sexual charges are sincere, would give himself up to the UK authorities.
    But don't hold your breath.

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    1. Diane Cummings

      Personal Assistant

      In reply to ken kerrison

      Perfectly said Ken and that is what I have been asking why is this not happening????

      We have this sorted its SO EASY isnt it to prove one way or the other so to those saying that the US has no interest in Assange can you please just get this done so you can prove us all wrong and I am happy to eat humble pie and pronounce myself as a dumb blonde worried about nothing and I can get some sleep.

      Thanks Ken but at the moment I still cant sleep.

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  6. STEPHEN LEWIS

    FATHER

    Australians have a binding obligation to dob in illegal Brits living in Australia so that they can be exchanged for Assange. We also ought to direct the USA forces to leave our shores, and return home to sort out their gun laws. When are we going to respect human rights and stop kowtowing to the Brits and the USA?

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  7. Mark Goyne

    Lawyer

    Assange must be arrested, and sent to Sweden for questioning by Swedish authorities. Asylum does not protect such questioning. Even Assange was just Joe citizen the elites would not be bothered.

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    1. Mark Goyne

      Lawyer

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      Also how may Afghans have been killed because of the release of the cables? There has not been one word about that from the clamouring elites.

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    2. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      About 1 million dead in Iraq so far?
      As for Military in Afghanistan & Pakistan..who knows so far?? And Libya so far? Syria so far?

      ...In my view the cables are perhaps about preventing unnecessary and continuing deaths...INCLUDING our own forces....and also, preventing hugely more future deaths IF the public ever gets some truth & facts to enable them to contribute to debate and VOTE on it.....

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    3. James Walker

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      Mark's point is important - has he got people killed? If so, he's scum in need of hanging, if not, just a larrikin we should be protecting.

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    4. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to James Walker

      Does your same notion apply to all who have lied us into illegal wars for nefarious reasons?

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    5. R. Ambrose Raven

      none

      In reply to James Walker

      In the waging of a war of aggression against Iraq, war criminals and mass murderers George Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard did not merely commit crimes against peace. They also bankrupted the US economy, triggered Peak Oil, lengthened the occupation of Afghanistan, and triggered the global financial crisis.

      That same John Howard, who also dismissed the now 1.4 million Iraqi civilian dead as 'collateral damage', nevertheless received a servile apology from the ABC’s show host for having a shoe…

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    6. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to William Bruce

      So Mr Bruce, how many would have died under the benevolent rule of Saddam Hussein, even if the US had not invaded?

      How does that answer the question posed by Mr Goyne? What about the people deliberately and callously endangered by Assange?

      His actions were described as irresponsible by that noted right-wing, neocon think-tank, Reporters Without Borders in this open letter (http://en.rsf.org/united-states-open-letter-to-wikileaks-founder-12-08-2010,38130.html)

      Assange has principles, chief…

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    7. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      Imagine those same people advocating the civil rights of anyone else accused of rape, or suggesting with no proof or any credible reason to believe, that the victim of rape should be presumed to be lying?

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    8. Kate Rowan-Robinson
      Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      @ Mark Goyne

      It has been confirmed that no one has ever been killed or injured as a result of the release of information from Wikileaks.

      May I also remind you that Wikileaks gave Washington the opportunity to vet the cables before they were dumped to remove any personal information that may compromise an individual. Washington declined this offer from Wikileaks.

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    9. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Kate Rowan-Robinson

      Good on you Kate, I hadn't heard of that and it certainly cast's another perspective on the whole business.
      I wonder why Mr Burnside hasn't mentioned it. t
      That's trouble with not getting the full history.

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    10. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      A fair question with much secret material is: if a country's allies and enemies already know something, why is it still secret from the country's own citizens?

      Much of secrecy in government is an exercise of power and ego, not necessity.

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    11. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      R. Ambrose Raven,
      Can I take it that the other people you communicate with and who share your views are as flighty as yourself?

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    12. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Kate Rowan-Robinson

      So you trust whatever the White House says?

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    13. Kate Rowan-Robinson
      Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

      In reply to John Phillip

      I originally saw it on the ABC, but I shall try to come up with some links.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/18/wikileaks-damage-idUSN1816319120110118

      This article states that while US officials believe Wikileaks has been reckless the effect of the cable dump has been embarrassing, rather than damaging.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5FnIhYBJmiM

      Robert Gates stating any damage done by Wikileaks is "modest" and better desribed as embarrassing.

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/9/coalition-informant-plays-both-sides-of-afghan-war/?page=1

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  8. William Bruce

    Artist

    Good darts all around, VERY well said, thankyou!

    I hadn't thought of UK asking Swedes to interview him in UK.....
    ...probably because I was so suspicious, and possibly foolishly so, presuming UK were being subservient to USA and collaborating with them.....
    ....to my mind, this, is still likely true as UK have not demonstrated ANY goodwill or trust in this matter....I am so pissed I have even contemplated the stupidity of embracing Republicanism.

    The nub is, it is UP TO GILLARD GOVT (& opposition) !!

    And they have DENYED Assange one and all.......Bastards!!....such slimy rhetoric, have you ever heard?....US Puppets & fools, and treasonous I truly suspect.

    Such weakness will not inspire ANY US respect or affection, or trust.

    Alternatively, perhaps the UK & Swede Barristers are running it out for all they can???

    Wonder what Mr Burnside (a true big hero of mine) might think about all that?

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  9. William Bruce

    Artist

    Since ABC News STOPPED comments on their stories The Conversation is about the only place true FREE SPEECH and ideas for progress in Oz and on and beyond Earth can be be comunicated.

    It is so, so important.....the reason we have so many problems in our history is "criticism and free speech" has been so brutally repressed.
    Hitherto this has protected the wrongdoers & caused the death of millions & destruction of much wealth.

    Bravo all at Conversation .....Hip Hooray...This is truly a revolution....
    THANKYOU ALL

    Long may the birth of genuine and unmoderated (read censored) responsible free speech continue.

    Socrates has been vindicated and is smiling on you all.....stay true to your revolutionary cause of "Let the Conversation cause the synergy" and contribute to evolving solutions!!

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to William Bruce

      Bruce, You could start your own blog and say whatever you like.
      It would make you feel good and it would stop you cluttering up semi-intelligent blogs such as this one.

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  10. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    Will Senator Carr be authorising - or has Senator Carr authorised - the use of PART IAB--CONTROLLED OPERATIONS of the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 against Julian Assange?

    PART IAB allows the AFP to give themselves and others (Commonwealth, State or foreign) indemnity for illegal acts other than the infliction of sexual acts, death, or serious injury, as long as the aim is to obtain evidence of offences against the Commonwealth, or State offences that have a Federal aspect. As with the extradition…

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  11. Geoff Taylor

    Consultant

    So is there a US prohibition on blowing the whistle on what appear to be, in the absence of anything said so far to the contrary, the helicopter serial murders, just as there was a Vatican prohibition on blowing the whistle on child abuse?

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    1. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Geoff Taylor

      No. There are several pretty serious laws regarding espionage however. I always wondered whether this clever individual would actually be willing to stand by his oft-cited principles when it came time to pay for deliberately encouraging others to breach them, as well as breaching them himself. A principle you aren't willing to defend (to the death if need be), is no principle at all. Funny how he was willing to sacrifice others, I bet PFC Manning is wishing he was able to seek asylum right about now.

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    2. Kate Rowan-Robinson
      Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Assange has not broken any laws in relation to espionage. Even if he was on US soil when the big cable dump was published he could not have been charged with any espionage law as he had not intimidated or coerced any individual into handing him that information; he merely published the information he was anonymously given, which is perfectly legal in the US.

      If Bradley Manning is indeed responsible for sending that information to Wikileaks, it is sad to say that he has broken US espionage laws. If he is responsible he is no less a hero and his treatment by US government (regardless) is despicable.

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    3. Kate Rowan-Robinson
      Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

      In reply to Geoff Taylor

      @ Geoff Taylor

      The ironic position of the US government is that Obama has actively stood up for better protection of whistleblowers. From memory (and I apologise but cannot quote the source) I am led to believe that the Obama government has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other US government. Hypocrisy, much?

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    4. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Kate Rowan-Robinson

      Kate, I am so impressed by your obious knowledge about US military law. When did you gain this knowledge?

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    5. Kate Rowan-Robinson
      Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      And I am so impressed with your unconstructive comments and questions. How does one manage to lower the tone of an article within such a short space of time?

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    6. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Kate Rowan-Robinson

      Kate,
      I am so sorry that I had the temerity to ask questions. If I offended you by asking questions I apologise.

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to William Bruce

      I listened to this speech and I thought to myself. So an Australian citizen wanted by both the Swedish and UK justice systems makes a speech on a balcony from a South American embassy telling the USA which of its policies it should change.
      Great, I thought.
      I wonder which of the USA presidential candidates will be agreeing with him shortly, and praising him in in one of the upcoming Presidential debates.
      Perhaps some of those commenting here might like to advise as I am not sure which is more likely to announce their support for Julian Assange first.

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    2. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Phillip Dowling says "I wonder which of the USA presidential candidates will be agreeing with him shortly..."

      Well the US State dept. FINALLY DID SAY SOMETHING today...even if it did not seem true to me....and they did NOT answer the crucial questions.

      They did NOT rule out taking extradition and other actions against Assange....

      So if you think they don't care you are wrong....the whole world is watching......

      They attacked Assanges credibility (which is the name of the game) .....the old inversion trick!

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    3. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to William Bruce

      My question was phrased in relation to the forthcoming USA presidential election.
      I can understand that you haven't caught up with this, William.
      Going off on other tangents should really be started as separate threads.

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  12. Aaron Troy Small

    Student

    How is Australia under any obligation to help a person who is seeking political asylum due to the laws of this nation? Ecuador does not allow dual nationality, so presumably he is relinquishing his Australian citizenship (one would have to imagine that most asylum seekers would relinquish their citizenship automatically).

    But how far should Australia go? Easy, make representations to Sweden not to extradite him to face a Capital charge in the USA. That should be fairly easy, they are manifestly…

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    1. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Has the Australian government ever allowed the extradition of Australian citizens to face drug charges in countries where a death penalty is a possibility?

      The Australian government is wanting to hang Assange out to dry for his temerity in publishing the list of Internet sites the Australian government wanted to ban our looking at. Like so many governments, they are not only obsessed with banning our reading or seeing certain materials, they are determined to hide from us any accurate idea of what they are hiding.

      To make it worse, the Wikileaks release reportedly showed that the government was lying about what it was planning to ban, and that the list showed signs of the input from pressure groups who would seem to have had access to the process while ordinary citizens did not.

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    2. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to John Harland

      The Australian government has already allowed extradition of Australian citizens (at least one to the US) on alleged crimes where no violence occurred and the criminal would experience what may be described as a disproportional sentencing.

      It's been happening for years. These people just don't get the same publicity.

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  13. Mark Goyne

    Lawyer

    The onus was on Wikileaks to make the deletions. They were the ones releasing the cables, and they didn't care about the Afghans. Clearly Afghans have been effected. If Wikileaks had really cared they would have made the deletions, but obviously they had no such considerations. They wanted to publish them and make a statement.

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    1. Kate Rowan-Robinson
      Kate Rowan-Robinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      In what way has it clearly effected Afghans?

      The onus was not on Wikileaks to make any deletions at all. As a publishing agency they did their job - to publish credible information. Wikileaks verify all documents to ensure their source prior to publication. I reiterate that no individual has been harmed, ever, as a result of information published on Wikileaks. A few embarrassed governments, perhaps, but that is all.

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    2. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Kate Rowan-Robinson

      So, Kate, what particular expertise do you have that allows you to make such claims?
      Wikileaks verify all documents to ensure their source prior to publication. I reiterate that no individual has been harmed, ever, as a result of information published on Wikileaks.
      I put it to you that your claim is not verifiable given the number of people involved and the number of people who have read them and the level of intelligence and the psychological health of some of them.
      I take it that you have read them all.

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  14. Comment removed by moderator.

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

    Grumpy Old Man

    Burnside is a complete ideologue and dill as evidenced by his 'pedos in speedos' jibe at Abbott a little while ago. He'll align with anything he can that fits his twisted notion of freedom of speech and human rights. Just like JA, ONLY happens when it suits his political agenda.

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to John Phillip

      This incident also illustrates that he does not pay attention to the details of documents that he accepts.
      I would expect a competent lawyer to read a document paragraph by paragraph and phrase by phrase before he agreed with it, and then abide by the terms of service.
      However Slater and Gordon's partners have not always done this, so why should he I can hear an eminent barrister saying.

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  16. William Bruce

    Artist

    The stupidity of some of these posts?? CONSIDER THAT PERHAPS....

    In recent years has the USA been just locking people up FOR YEARS & YEARS and giving them no access to proper public Judicial process AND ....they have been torturing them ...AND have been holding secret trials with secret evidence AND no defence allowed or no proper defences....need I go on....
    ...and so many people here are posting totally immaterial or "personally attacking" crap...Wake up!

    Even if you CHOOSE AMNESIA and…

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  17. Diane Cummings

    Personal Assistant

    Can someone please explain to me exactly what threats the USA makes to the Australian Government to force us to comply with their wishes re Julian Assange and Wikileaks (their destruction it appears for telling the truth). What, are they threatening to nuke us or something if we dont play along with them, or is it simply that the Australian Government does actually agree with the USA Government re Assange??.

    Last time I checked you could not destroy anyone for telling lies let alone truth…

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    1. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Diane Cummings

      Threats to trade and investment are the usual first threat, as I understand it, Diane.

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

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Diane Cummings

      Dianne, are you certain that the US has actually made threats to the Australian Government? What are the wishes of the US in regard to Assange? Are you sure you're not losing sleep over some misplaced fears?

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    3. Diane Cummings

      Personal Assistant

      In reply to John Phillip

      Thanks John, so you think I have nothing to fear, is that what you are saying?

      Do you know the answer to your 2nd question "What are the wishes of the US in regard to Assange?" it sure would be good if you could expand if you know more because there seem to be a lot of intelligent, highly regarded people out there claiming there is much to fear. An official statement from the White House would be good do you know of any?? I am a supporter of Assange at the moment but I am actually terrified that if Assange loses we all lose - really doesnt that also trouble you? For me its bigger than Assange its all about killing whistleblowers - that could be anyone.

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    4. Diane Cummings

      Personal Assistant

      In reply to John Harland

      Thanks John I figured that would be happening but personally I would be happy to live a lot poorer and retain my right to know the truth, its more than Assange to me its about destroying whistleblowers - just cant live with that.

      So I guess its back to morals over money and how many people choose which one - Wow I still cant sleep.

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    5. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Diane Cummings

      It is not what you or I want that counts for much in this, Diane. Politicians are much more scared of industry lobbyists than of individual voters.

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  18. Mark Goyne

    Lawyer

    I think someone has already mentioned this. If this was just average citizen and not Assange involved, the feminists would be screaming blue bloody murder why is he not already in Sweden, and how dare he claim aslyum to avoid questioning on sexual assault charges. The groups making up the Assange support bloc need to explain why they are compromising their usual party lines.

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    1. Emma Anderson

      Artist and Science Junkie

      In reply to Mark Goyne

      Because feminists are split on this issue depending on whether or not the person in question believes this is a scapegoat issue.

      Feminism isn't about using rape allegations to smear social justice causes.
      It's about gender equality and in particular the issues where women are on the crappy end of the deal.

      Rape is one example, and I'll think you find that feminists who believe that the scapegoating issue (or a cover for US extradition) is a bunch of hooey are also in support of his extradition to Sweden for questioning.

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  19. Mark Goyne

    Lawyer

    If Assange was just John Doe he would have been extradited to Sweden 12 months ago. And the chattering classes would have said nothing. Also Assange deserves no extra consular service beyond what an average Australian citizen gets and he has got that.

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