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back to article Assange ambushes Australian Prime Minister on live TV

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard denied supplying information about WikiLeaks staff to the US government after founder Julian Assange confronted her on live television and suggested she be tried for treason. The ambush happened during an interview with the Australian leader aired live on that country's public network ABC …

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Standard response

> I honestly don't know what he's talking about, so I'm afraid I can't help him with full and frank disclosures,

When confronted with a difficult question, politicians usually claim ignorance. This is quite a successful strategy as it's what most citizens think of them anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Or...

When confronted with someone accusing them of treason on national telly, most politicians say something along the lines of "What the hell are you talking about".

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I fear for Bradley Manning and hope someone can help.

The real hero in this has always been the guy who is under constant torture by the US. I'll admit to feeling like a failire and admitting the US war machine owns us all.

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And even if he did it...

Is it worth killing the guy just so some embarrassed politicians can try to feel better?

Wouldn't the better solution be to have politicians simply not say stupid things just because they think no one is going to find out (*cough* Gordon Brown *cough*)?

(Yes I am aware some "current" military "secrets" were leaked, but surely details of military locations are detectable by the "enemy" using their eyes anyway - does it really make that much difference if some poorly armed rebels find out where the US camps are? Is this worth purposely taking a man's life?)

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Hero?

You mean the fool who committed treason (as well as a horrendous breach of trust) by releasing a whole pile of confidential information without a specific purpose in mind? So much of it was twaddle that it can't have been anything specific that motivated him...

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Anonymous Coward

Is this a troll?

It's hard to see how you could have got more wrong statements in a single post.

How did Assange commit treason? Did he leak Australian state secrets?

Which brings us to the next point: what did Assange leak? Nothing. He published, along with a number of other organisations (none of which appear to be under house arrest), information provided by the traitor (yes he is, look it up), Manning.

Which bring us to the final point, motivation: his motivation, as has been repeatedly discussed, is purely the releasing of data that is kept secret from the people who paid for it.

It amazes me that anyone sides against the leaks. Such blind trust in your government and previous government (which, in the UK, we've just voted out...) is amazing.

I'm considered an adult legally and yet the government still seeks to hide things from me. Why? Because they know I won't like what they're hiding.

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Anonymous Coward

@Daren

Technically the USA revolutionaries who began the fight for independence committed treason (plus they engaged in guerrilla warfae). Are you so quick to damn them?

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RE: Hero?

Yes, hero. He worked for a corrupt and murderous organisation bent on world dominance and the wiping out of anyone who they take a dislike to -- then he gave away their secrets knowing full well he may never leave a prison cell if found out.

I would call him a hero for at least embarrassing the scum who control the USA.

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@AC - Is this a troll?

Rights and wrongs aside - it's hard to see how you could have got it more wrong.

He clearly states he's refering to Manning, not Assange. :-)

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Headmaster

Hero and Villan - point of view

If you blow the whistle on your government breaching international law, does that make you a hero or a villan?

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Anonymous Coward

Bradley Manning committed treason, not Assange

"How did Assange commit treason?"

The poster you replied to was referring to Bradley Manning, not Assange.

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Wow......

Says i'm possibley the first post. A tenner says Ian M Gumby is here spouting bile in minutes. If he hasnt beaten me.

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Re: Wow......

"Says i'm possibley the first post. A tenner says Ian M Gumby is here spouting bile in minutes. If he hasnt beaten me."

What interests me about your post is that it's pure argumentum ad hominem. No reference to the facts, or to the contents of his argumenta.

I expect that sort of reply in playground situations, but where adult conceptions of law are concerned - and he's done a pretty good job of citing the statutes and the court data - you do yourself no favours. In fact you do him a big favour; anyone wanting to know the truth of the matter need not look in your direction, because it seems highly probable that you will engage in personal attacks, not an examination of the facts.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

While I don't agree with his sentiments all of the time, sometimes I do, mind - At least there is someone who bothers to comment outside the Commentard groupthink. Many subjects here have obviously been given up by anyone who doesn't comment from the "accepted point of view" and end up being something along the lines of disagreeing about who agrees the most. Discussion is all but dead in many subjects, just look at the comments on the following subjects, next time they come up:

Religion

Copyright

Police related subjects

Wikileaks

Jullian Assange

Banking/Financial Services

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Re

"What interests me about your post is that it's pure argumentum ad hominem. No reference to the facts, or to the contents of his argumenta."

What interests me about your post is the early use of phrases such as "argumentum ad hominem" and "argumenta". This means I can safely skip to the next post, safe in the knowledge you talk cock.

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Re: Re

""What interests me about your post is that it's pure argumentum ad hominem. No reference to the facts, or to the contents of his argumenta."

What interests me about your post is the early use of phrases such as "argumentum ad hominem" and "argumenta". This means I can safely skip to the next post, safe in the knowledge you talk cock."

Thank you for making my point for me; you show no sign of understanding basic concepts commonly used in assessing the value of someone's arguments (addressing/assessing the data rather than showering vitriol on the person articulating them) and you finish with suitably playground language.

Now just you skip on to the next playground post (or a comic even) and read the childish personal comments that evidently satisfy you; be sure to avoid the facts of the matter or anything intellectually demanding that might require you to respond at a higher level than naming slang words for genitalia, or perhaps male domesticated fowl. You might reveal a lack of wit and knowledge if you responded to anything remotely taxing. As you indeed just have.

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Talk cock?

Is that slightly higher than talking bollocks?

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Re: Hmm...

"At least there is someone who bothers to comment outside the Commentard groupthink."

Yeah. For me the first rule is subject matter rather than ad hominem attacks. Then original data/literature/material where possible, and so on.

Usenet went the same way. You can view it through google groups. Be ready for the sound of the patter of tiny feet when you first view it. At least in the early days some degree of competence in DUN/network bindings and such was required, and that automatically disbarred the children. Now it's a matter of network cabling, or perhaps understanding the need for WPA2 (PSK) and how to use a simple web interface via network cabling to set it up. So it is that the lowest common denominator seeps in with its short sighted views on free downloads in every domain.

Notice the absence of questioning why Obama now withholds US support for a no fly zone over Libya, while Russia in particular opposes it, remembering what it did in Chechnya and is doing in places like Dagestan, places I don't hear mentioned in here.

Whilst these fools pray to St Julian people in Libya are losing their war for freedom, genuine freedom from a savage dictator who kills and tortures (using electrodes and sharp or blunt implements) those who oppose him and want their fundamental human rights. The difference in their human rights debate and ours? Decadence vs survival. http://sijill.tripod.com/victims/

As to Julian and his like, this is just the beginning of the future of counter security measures on people like him: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12513315

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Boffin

@ It wasn't me

Wow.

Unlike you, when I post its either to comment on topic, or to flame a commetard.

Unlike you, I actually have a life out of here where I do real work for a living.

The irony here is that while you don't like my opinion, you lack the ability to actually debate what I say and provide real historical facts to back up your statement.

Now, I'll admit, I do make mistakes. Dan G. caught one mistake where I took one of the defense's arguments as fact because the claim had been reported on by many newspapers.

Do your homework. You might learn something in the process.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Hmm...

"just look at the comments on the following subjects, next time they come up:

...

Copyright

..."

Woah, we're allowed to comment on Copyright related stories now? When did that happen? Normally commenting isn't allowed for stories covering copyright and piracy issues.

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Re: @ Scorchio

"Scorchio please stop trying to pretend to be smart, it doesn't work because you're not.

Using terms such as "ad hominem" when you often don't actually even use it correctly, whilst failing to address any other logical fallacies paints you as one of those muppets that's seen ad hominem used and merely decides to parrot it every 5 minutes because you think you understand it but do not."

That is as far as you get. I need go no further. Ad hominem; attacking an opponent's character to avoid discussing the issues, which is exactly what I have been highlighting. My use has been meticulous and to the point, whereas in the current instance (that is to say, the argumentum ad hominem) you have shown yourself signally incapable of arguing your way out of a wet paper bag.

As to whether or not I am trying to pretend that I am smart (and I am not sure how one does such a thing), your post presupposes an ability to look into the black box of another individual's consciousness - and do note this has to be done via modem - and to determine not merely what is going on, but the relative state of intelligence that your opponent has. You failed because such a thing is not possible, any more than there are fairies at the bottom of the Pope's garden.

In addition I have pointed out other logical fallacies, including the argumentum ad populum, the ad ignorantiam, and most especially the argumentum ad verecundiam. At first blush your response is of exactly the nature with which you try tar me. It seems to be childish, glib, and it contains no references to the actual data themselves

Clue stick; an instance where an ad hominem argument is valid; Assange, his personality, his profile of offending and so on.

As far as IMG is concerned, whilst you may not like it he refers efficiently and accurately to court proceedings, to statutes and to other source material. You may indeed believe that he is "an annoying cock", but that is merely an opinion and, as American folk are wont to point out, opinions are like arseholes; everyone has one. What counts are the data, and IMG does a good job of serving them up.

Now you may have difficulty with that, and you are evidently trying very hard to argue your way out of it, but you have failed miserably.

One last observation on this little passage:

"Still, keep telling yourself you're right if you want, we'll keep laughing at your idiocy I guess."

The Royal we perhaps? Is this a form of the argumentum ad verecundiam, or perhaps the argumentum ad populum, or is this the invisible 'we' so adeptly parodied here:

http://barb.velvet.com/humor/lurkers.html

Your attempt is transparent and I give you 1/100 for trying.

HAND.

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Anonymous Coward

What a fool

Does Assange really think he's going to gain favor from any government officials after risking the lives of operatives? Assange lives in his only distorted world but I expect he'll have some cellmates soon.

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Big Brother

Risking the lives of operatives.

So, Assange has risked the lives of operatives has he?

Which ones? Names please, after all if Wikileaks has already outed them then you shouldn't have any trouble pointing us to where they did so, right?

God some people are just too credulous for words, willing to accept any and all of the propaganda that is constantly being pushed out by the powers that be.

No wonder the Nazis had it so easy, with useful idiots like Mr AC above to help them along.

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Anonymous Coward

@Goat Jam

Please try to understand: If someone holds a different opinion from you, that doesn't make them a Nazi collaborator.

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Happy

@Goat Jam - Godwin in the first dozen or so posts!

Quite an achievement on such an active subject, invoking Godwin so early!

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Re: Risking the lives of operatives.

"So, Assange has risked the lives of operatives has he?

Which ones? Names please, after all if Wikileaks has already outed them then you shouldn't have any trouble pointing us to where they did so, right?"

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=9

"He said that some leaks risked harming innocent people—“collateral damage, if you will”—but that he could not weigh the importance of every detail in every document. [...] A year and a half ago, WikiLeaks published the results of an Army test, conducted in 2004, of electromagnetic devices designed to prevent IEDs from being triggered. The document revealed key aspects of how the devices functioned and also showed that they interfered with communication systems used by soldiers—information that an insurgent could exploit. By the time WikiLeaks published the study, the Army had begun to deploy newer technology, but some soldiers were still using the devices. I asked Assange if he would refrain from releasing information that he knew might get someone killed. He said that he had instituted a “harm-minimization policy,” whereby people named in certain documents were contacted before publication, to warn them, but that there were also instances where the members of WikiLeaks might get “blood on our hands."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351927/WikiLeaks-Julian-Assange-new-book-Afghan-informants-deserve-killed.html

Assange's apparent gung-ho attitude in an early meeting to naming U.S. informants stunned his media collaborators, the new book claimed.

The title said he told international reporters: 'Well, they're informants so, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it.' The book continues: 'There was, for a moment, silence around the table.'

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Big Brother

Re: Risking the lives of operatives.

Although the president brain took the fall, the US government blew the cover on one of it's own CIA handlers, just because her husband pointed out the falicies in the evidence being collected to go to war in Iraq.

When I hear US politicians and government officials whining about operational security, I tend to think about pot and kettles, along with piss ups and breweries.(*)

(*) if this information was so sensitive, why had they not implemented proper security controls?

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Re: @ Scorchio

"So what you're saying then in other words Scorchio is that you can't actually point out any cold hard examples but instead will post a load of anti-Assange blurb in the hope that'll somehow validate your viewpoint?"

If you read the passages very carefully you will see Assange's words themselves, callous words, on the matter of collateral damage.

I have edited out some of the bits with long words for you, so that you can see words attributed to Assange himself:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351927/WikiLeaks-Julian-Assange-new-book-Afghan-informants-deserve-killed.html

"Assange's apparent gung-ho attitude in an early meeting to naming U.S. informants stunned his media collaborators, the new book claimed.

The title said he told international reporters: 'Well, they're informants so, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it.' The book continues: 'There was, for a moment, silence around the table.'"

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=9

"He said that some leaks risked harming innocent people—“collateral damage, if you will”—but that he could not weigh the importance of every detail in every document. [...] He said that he had instituted a “harm-minimization policy,” whereby people named in certain documents were contacted before publication, to warn them, but that there were also instances where the members of WikiLeaks might get “blood on our hands."

There now. Is that better for you? I don't think that I can edit it down any further, but these are indeed words attributed to Assange himself, where he appears to be saying that harm will result from his actions.

What more do you want, Jesus on a bicycle? Sorry, can't do that; I don't believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Oh, and your simulated typographical errata and simulated excessive use of exclamation marks are more than in poor taste; they do not resemble my posts and indeed highlight my repeated points about, e.g., the use of the argumentum ad hominem. Here you have fallen victim to your own use of it, and are thus in the position of having to pluck your very own arrow from your eye.

HTH. HAND.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: @ Scorchio

This is going to end here, OK folks?

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WTF?

@AC re @ Scorchio

So if I were to ask you to prove or disprove that God exists... could you do it?

The point being is that the initial 'taunt/question' was raised was impossible to answer.

No one who posts here has any direct knowledge nor is it something that can be proved.

So you declare Scorchio's post an epic fail?

Hardly.

Was his post a misdirection?

Hardly.

And that's the point. You and other commentards raise questions and when confronted with factual evidence , you deny that the evidence exits.

Sort of like the Iranian President questioning if the Holocaust really did exist.

The question was asked and Scorchio answered with quotes from reliable news sources that was present and reported on Assange's comments.

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Anonymous Coward

Afghan informants names and locations

"So, Assange has risked the lives of operatives has he?

Which ones? Names please, after all if Wikileaks has already outed them then you shouldn't have any trouble pointing us to where they did so, right?"

Have a quick scan through Afghan mission reports on Wikileaks (or other sites that have collated Wikileaks information) and you will find names and locations of various Afghan informants.

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Re: @AC re @ Scorchio

"So if I were to ask you to prove or disprove that God exists... could you do it?

The point being is that the initial 'taunt/question' was raised was impossible to answer."

I'll take my science hat off and replace it with the philosophy one for a moment; it is impossible to prove a negative, simply because one would have to run through all possible permutations of all possible things. Thus it is that I always try to target the source material, in this case Assange's words themselves.

If you look at all of the text it is quite chilling. You see Assange places a caveat on his ability to contact all of the informants his disclosures expose to danger. There is no witness protection scheme, merely something that appears to be an incomplete and half hearted attempt to warn people.

So, returning for a moment to those Afghan informants whose GPS positions were disclosed, and given that we know the Taliban to be a most brutal and relentless group, it is quite clear that these people are left with not even cold comfort. They are exposed to risk.

Assange does not appear to GAD about this. He appears to be preoccupied with ownership of the data he has in his possession (ironically objecting to others having it while being in possession of something stolen from organisations in another country, from whose defence computers he was found guilty of stealing passwords) and this sense of propriety extends to planning a pay wall. Alongside this place the autobiography and the salary and a picture is beginning to emerge. I see a similar picture in respect of his relationships with other human beings, but will wait for the right moment before I deal with that.

"The question was asked and Scorchio answered with quotes from reliable news sources that was present and reported on Assange's comments."

I didn't even add a commentary, I merely quoted the words and gave a URL. The response that I elicited surprised even me, and I see the original quotes were voted down. IOW people cannot handle the truth, they must vote for it. The argumentum ad populum at its nadir, a living example of a reductio ad absurdam. As I've remarked before the argumentum ad populum is the most bizarre, eccentric and misconceived form of epistemology that I have yet seen. It once led to the deaths of 55 million people. It is more than sad and more than disturbing that people evidently did not learn from it, and I am disappointed though unsurprised to see this seeping into these fora. Some people are still living in Plato's cave. There's one for Mendax; the (ig)noble myth wins again.

When you see my words in this forum I am normally and principally concerned with the truth. My experiences as a citizen, a student, a soldier and as a scientist (especially in the years 1997-2010) convinced me more than ever that people have to stick their necks out and tell the truth. Not what they believe, but the best match they can get. At least I try, and I think that my standard is leagues above many of the people in these fora, people who seem to believe that they can vote away the truth, that mere nay saying makes them correct, that no evidence is needed.

Like you I usually make the effort to produce source material, unlike many others who make fancy claims but proffer nothing in the way of kickable truths. That's the philosophy degree for you. It made me rigorous. Later I remembered things I'd learned as a soldier, and the two came together.

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Um ...

"I'll take my science hat off and replace it with the philosophy one for a moment; it is impossible to prove a negative, simply because one would have to run through all possible permutations of all possible things."

Not true. "Prove it isn't raining" - I look out the window. I've proven a negative.

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Oh dear

"Like you I usually make the effort to produce source material, unlike many others who make fancy claims but proffer nothing in the way of kickable truths. That's the philosophy degree for you. It made me rigorous. Later I remembered things I'd learned as a soldier, and the two came together."

You are such a cock. Bore me with how ad hominem that statement is again, I know it is. It also happens to be accurate. Sadly you don't realise you're a cock, which is depressing.

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Flame

No man is an island...or an entire nation.

So, Gillard is a traitor to Australia for not protecting their own local Michael Moore wannabe and his flock from an angry world? When did Assange suddenly gain the rights and privileges to speak on behalf of the entire nation of Australia for his own personal purposes?? Seems to me Julian is rapidly becoming the Kim Jong Ill of the blogosphere. He's essentially a blogger with a fanclub and a God complex, not much else.

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Anonymous Coward

Yup - and many sheep will follow

What Assange has done is cleverly playing into the increasing suspicion that people have of their governments, and especially the "they will execute me" hysteria is a good example of that - there is really just about zero chance of that. It is just a desperate attempt to drum up some AU political support for his self inflicted problems, and by calling Gillard a potential traitor he has ensured that it won't happen.

Any smidgeon of potential *diplomatic* support he may have been able to get (i.e. slightly outside the rule book) is now off limits - after all, Assange supporters could *cough* "expose" that too. So well done. Gillard rather dryly referred to Assange's behaviour - methinks she has his measure well and true..

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Your conclusions about the person may not be wrong, but your focus is on the wrong target

I do not disagree that Mr Assange is his own worst enemy, but have you ever seen a time when government back-room dealings and underhanded hypocracy have been so thoroughly exposed?

Mr Assange my not have done himself any favours, but he has certainly done the rest of us a lot of good by allowing us to see the slime that 'lead' us for what they really are.

Focussing your rage on Mr Assange serves only to distract you from the real villians of the piece - those who have committed all the offences againt the world that Mr Assange has dug up and thrown in their faces.

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Black Helicopters

Not exactly...

"Any smidgeon of potential *diplomatic* support he may have been able to get (i.e. slightly outside the rule book) is now off limits - after all, Assange supporters could *cough* "expose" that too. So well done. Gillard rather dryly referred to Assange's behaviour - methinks she has his measure well and true.."

First Assange wasn't politically connected to have any 'slightly outside the rule book' help available. Nor was he rich or famous. Just infamous.

Second. Despite his personal attack on Gillard, he will still be afforded the rights he has as an Australian citizen. That is when he loses his appeal, he can make a call to the Australian Consulate in Sweden and seek assistance.

There's actually some irony in this... he has the freedom to be an ass, and the governments that he protests against will actually defend his rights to be an ass.

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Not much else?

Well, he did have that video of the helicopter in Iraq.

And those not so top secret messages.

And a God complex.

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And the little matter of...

And all those scientists doctoring the climate change evidence.

And a God complex

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Badgers

Let's not

give him more credit than he's due.

WikiLeaks hosted mirrors of the climate emails but weren't the originators of the leak.

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Re: Let's not

"give him more credit than he's due.

WikiLeaks hosted mirrors of the climate emails but weren't the originators of the leak."

Indeed and, whilst we are about the matter, let's also remember that there are several sources (either 3 or 4, I forget which) of climate data, such that the East Anglia dataset can be abandoned without affecting the strength of argument from the remaining datasets; the world's climate is changing, there is a human factor, and we can reverse at least some of it.

The false arguments about the 'hockey stick' graph depend for their strength on examining those data in isolation from the full set, going back to when records began; when the latter analysis is performed the 'hockey stick' section of the graph sticks out prominently.

Assange et al. could also have devoted some time to debunking the 'global warming fraud' nonsense, including the exception taken by some participants in the Channel 4 documentary to false extrapolations taken from their remarks, and a number of other egregious misuses of the data and arguments in the area as a whole. That includes the hockey stick abuse, which is the most egregious and flawed use of data that it's ever been my privilege to see, outside of Harriet Harman's manipulation of female vs male pay rates and female vs male unemployment in the recent recession, even when contacted by the head of the ONS and a senior female rep there from.

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Black Helicopters

In other words...

"I don't recall."

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Grenade

A politician tell the truth? - Heavan Help Us!

Q: How do you know if a politician is lying?

A: They open their mouth and speak.

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No man is an island...or an entire nation ..... until they are able and SMART Enabled

"When did Assange suddenly gain the rights and privileges to speak on behalf of the entire nation of Australia for his own personal purposes?? " ..... Morpho Devilpepper Posted Tuesday 15th March 2011 23:25 GMT

Whether Gillard is a foreign agent and traitor is something which intelligence gathered and/or transmitted and received will no doubt in due course, answer, but surely here was Julian Assange just asking a pertinent and impertinent question of someone, Frau Gillard, who admits to exercising the rights and privileges to speak on behalf of the entire nation of Australia for their own personal purposes, for if not her own personal purposes, will they be foreign and alien to her if she considers them to be a national entity cloaked in a political identity.

Obviously we would all wish to see what the available intelligence tells us of the matter ...... but knowing politicians as well as people know politicians, what do you imagine are the chances of them having told the truth on the matter in their answer to the question? Slim chance or no chance? Is there a third option to be realistically offered?

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Happy

@Morpho Devilpepper

"When did Assange suddenly gain the rights and privileges to speak on behalf of the entire nation of Australia for his own personal purposes??"

Well nations *do* claim the right to speak for their citizens and *supposedly * one of the benefits of *being* a citizen is that you will be protected from foreign governments basically *demanding* to have you handed over *without* evidence of an *actual* crime.

FYI one chunk of the US headless-chicken response was the realization that

1) He's *not* a US citizen.

2) Wikileaks is *not* based in the US

3)They *publish* stuff (which comes under the 1st amendment in the US, but see 2) they don't pay people to steal stuff for them.

The response of some US politician was less "sabre rattling" and more dummy throwing from their prams.

Basically the case would probably be nearer to the "Pentagon papers" case of files leaked to Jack Anderson, rather than Watergate.

IIRC The Pentagon blew the same smoke (Lives put at risk, opinions should remain secret forever etc) and wanted his arrest too.

I'd hoped the US under Obama would be *slightly* less mad than under the W but I guess there are still too many nut jobs in office (and too many more looking to get elected).

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@John Smith 19

You need to understand that:

(1) Assange making the accusation of treason means that it's his expectation that the entire democratic process at work in the free world must defer to his rather biased decree.

(2) International law does not require that every wingnut fringe hacktivist agree with it in order to be subject to it. And there's no such thing as a right to break the law.

(3) Assange may not pay people to procure illicit data, but he does demand payment from news agencies in exchange for early access to the data his cronies release, and he openly denounces those who refuse to play his payola game. Corrupt much?

All politicians everywhere sabre-rattle. It's called vote-pandering. They're expecting their voter base to pat them on the back for their rather impotent venom directed at the "bin Laden du jour." That doesn't mean that the appropriate punishment involves jeopardizing diplomacy worldwide for the sake of sh!ts and giggles (or some rather subjective Guy Fawkes-esque idea of vigilante justice).

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Bored now.

Geez - Will the CIA just quietly black bag the guy already? Assange is like some kind uber-troll who seems to take the youtube comments approach to the real world and I'm sick of hearing from him and about him.

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