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back to article Swedish judge explains big obstacles to US Assange extradition

A senior judge from Sweden’s supreme court, Justice Stefan Lindskog, has told an Australian audience that Julian Assange’s argument he cannot stand trial in Sweden without being extradited to the USA is not as black and white as the wikileaker would have us believe. Lindskog yesterday told an audience at the University of …

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FAIL

Yeh right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repatriation_of_Ahmed_Agiza_and_Muhammad_al-Zery

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Are you insane?

Or do you think the Swedish politicians are?

For a start, that was a deportation, which is completely different - all countries have a fast way to send people back to their home country, even to refuse entry immediately, and the only way to avoid that is a believable asylum claim.

Assange is not a US citizen.

What do you think would happen to a politician found to have either signed off on or presided over a fast-track extradition to the USA for anybody, let alone Assange?

How many days would they survive after it became public?

They'd get the PM's "complete support" within hours, and be out on their ear within two days!

No matter what evil deeds you might ascribe to elected politicians, their first and foremost priority is keeping their job, followed closely by getting re-elected.

They only do this kind if thing if they think nobody is watching - and frankly, the longer Assange stays in that embassy, the more likely it is that everyone will forget about him.

On top of that, it's much easier for the US to extradite from the UK than from Sweden, if that had been the goal then the Swedes would have been asked not to serve their warrant and the US would have gone for him direct. They didn't, presumably because the US justice people don't think they have a case, no matter what their nutjob senators say to the hoi polloi.

It's also pretty certain that had he gone to Sweden in the first place, he'd be out or cleared by now and able to do whatever he felt like.

Instead he's feeding his persecution complex, and much as the ambassador might be enjoying poking two fingers up at the UK, they aren't going to let him stay there forever. Sooner or later it will fit their goals to throw him out, and then he'll be on a plane to Sweden, where he will now be refused bail and have to spend any pre-trial time in jail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Sooner or later it will fit their goals to throw him out,"

Do you know if that will be the Nones, the Ides or the Kalends of Sooner or Later? I'm placing a wager with the book makers

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Meh

Re: Yeh right.

You'd not trust our legal system here in the UK... Why trust anyone else, and the Americans can be very creative when it comes to breaking the Law.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeh right.

and the Americans can be very creative when it comes to breaking the Law.

Although that is the bare faced truth (extra-ordinary rendition, supra-judicial pressure for information - usually in some form of blackmail, backdoors into larger data providers, "free" software that mainly serve intercept purposes such as WhatsApp and Viber) it is always for the benefit of the US. I don't think that US wants to turn this goon into a martyr just yet. Notice how nice and quiet it has become since he got holed up in that embassy?

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Re: Yeh right.

Whilst I agree to a point, I don't think we should underestimate the power of vanity. It wouldn't be the first time the US has got itself into a position through stupidity caused by vanity. Assange threatens the vanity of various people in America, not least the politicians and military. How far will they go and how stupid will they be to get him? Arguably, history tells us, a long way. They've managed to quite nicely alienate a fair proportion of the worlds Muslim population (especially Arabs) over many years due to their policies and more recently their 'war on terror'. Through a combination of act and rhetoric, they've shown they can be very stupid.

Not that the UK is much better. UK politicians are just as bad. Take Huhne as an example. Effectively, he lied and ended up killing his career etc.etc. through vanity. He didn't want to be banned. Yes, it would have been politically a bit embarrassing at the time, but he could have turned it around and used it to show he's the same as the common man. Makes mistakes etc.etc. Instead, it hurt his vanity, so he lied about it and got others to help him. Stupidity in the extreme. Mind you, he's probably got enough pals left in Whitehall to ensure a return to politics after a suitable period 'off'!!

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Thumb Up

Re: Are you insane?

Stop press: Whiny, lying, attention-seeker, chicken-shit has been whining and lying for years.

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Re: Are you insane?

"Stop press: Whiny, lying, attention-seeker, chicken-shit has been whining and lying for years."

True. But, it doesn't mean he isn't right. Only time will tell. Are you suggesting he should hand himself over and let himself become the proof? It would end it once and for all, but depending on whether he's right or not, might be dangerous to him.

Interestingly, the US prosecution of Bradley Manning is interesting in this regard. Whilst he undoubtedly broke their secrecy laws and his contract of employment, many countries have whistleblower legislation that 'should' protect someone who reveals illegal acts etc. Some, but by no means all, of what he did was exactly that. So, I either deduce that the US doesn't have that sort of law, that it doesn't apply to the 'state' or 'military' or that they simply don't care.

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Re: Are you insane?

Oh Mike, if he was right, the US would have just grabbed him off the street here in the UK, rather than gone to the superflous effort of extraditing him to a third country under a warrant that prevents onward extradition.

Either the US is terrible at this, or its not happening. I think its the latter.

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Re: Yeh right.

Sweden had a reputation as a pretty fair place (But feminist) for a long time. Not sure whether it was justified or not. (Think it is quite anti immigration and against minorities).

But the Piratebay case seems to have made people more aware about what it does. (Seems like they invented criminal laws after the crimes had been committed.)

The Swedes seem to value being the same massively (At least I thought that when I went there). One day I wore a heavy metal t-shirt (Only thing clean didn't even bring it on purpose or knew I had it). That day hassle from every police officer I passed. (Not serious but I think it is not right).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeh right.

All Assange did was have consensual sex with two women, who have both subsequently gone on the record to confirm that sex was consented to.

They got pissed off when they found out he had shagged both of them in the same week, and tried to make him get an Aids test - which he quite within his rights refused to do.

This is just a case of women scorned, etc....Sweden should drop this farce ASAP.

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Re: Yeh right.

"All Assange did .... ....Sweden should drop this farce ASAP."

Their country, their laws. If the Swedish electorate wanted their laws changed, I guess they would vote accordingly.

The irony with this whole thing is that if it ever ended up in a Swedish court, Assange's defence team would likely be able to pick enough holes in the case to have him acquitted. Assange made everything more complicated by doing a runner before the prosecutor had a chance to question him.

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FAIL

Re: No I can't fix your computer Re: Are you insane?

"....Assange cannot be extradited from the UK to the US because he is an Australian citizen and the (two active) extradition treaties prevent commonwealth citizens being extradited from the UK to the US...." Unless the Oz government waives their right to intervene, which they have already indicated they would be highly likely to do seeing as they have no love for the criminal A$$nut either.

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Re: Are you insane?

"For a start, that was a deportation,"'

No it wasn't a "deportation", it was a kidnapping. Sweden has procedures and a legal framework around deportations - allow me to let you into a little secret you must be oblivious to under your rock - allowing intelligence agencies from other countries that practice torture to swann around kidnapping people from Bromma airport isn't in them.

Now given Sweden's proven form in ignoring it's own laws w.r.t. removing people at the behest of the CIA, I would wager you are a few cards short of a deck yourself.

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Re: Yeh right.

@h3.

Bang on. The outside impression of Sweden is actually quite at odds with the place. They are very liberal as long as you're one of their accepted 'norms'. For instance, for many years (up until the 70s, or possibly even early 80's), they forcibly sterilized people in various classes, such as mental issues etc. It's well documented. Now, is that the actions of a liberal, accepting society that they like to portray? Not in my mind. The Swedish are actually very conservative people.

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Re: Yeh right.

"Think it is quite anti immigration and against minorities"

Nope. Look to our lower left for that.

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Pint

Re: Are you insane?

"True. But, it doesn't mean he isn't right."

Just because the Swedish justice system or the UK justice system doesn't see how he could possible be extradited, it doesn't mean he's right? No it doesn't. But it means that he's almost certainly NOT right. A minuscule possibility does not deserve the same weight of argument as the other 99% of probability.

"Only time will tell."

Not for as long as he declares himself above the laws that you and I have to bother obeying. That's what's so sodding irritating: He's declared himself above the laws, based on the fact that he's a celebrity, has rich friends and money, and is paranoid.

"Are you suggesting he should hand himself over and let himself become the proof?"

Of course I am.

Why should he be able to ignore laws, especially after having gone through every damn Court in the nation, with the most expensive lawyers and generous bail conditions money can buy. Every day he dodges our legal system is another day of insults to all of us who have to face trial and potential punishment for our own actions.

The man is basically giving a big F*** You to the entire British public and our legal system, and likewise to Sweden. He has declared himself above our laws, because he is afraid, paranoid and egotistic. Frankly: F** him. I no longer care about the US Government, or even if he's a rapey git. I care that he ignores MY laws and flaunts them.

"So, I either deduce that the US doesn't have that sort of law, that it doesn't apply to the 'state' or 'military' or that they simply don't care."

Manning is a serving member of the military, meaning that he signed to agree that he would be subject to the US Military Code of Justice: A legal system that supersedes the civil system. Before attacking 'subset' legal systems that are more important than national laws though, remember the importance of the Geneva Conventions and international laws.

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Mushroom

Re: Yeh right.

>"Think it is quite anti immigration and against minorities"

>Nope. Look to our lower left for that.

If you are talking about the US I might point out that (unlike in Europe) the right wing anti immigration party just got its ass handed to it in the last election and is running so fast to be immigrant friendly its base is starting to rumble. As for against minorities yes our history is not good on this but today this one of the few things we seem to be progressive on. Haven't seen anything but white people running England and the UK police are no better about treating people of color. And ask Harry Connick Jr. what he thought of race relations from our friends down under.

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Re: Are you insane?

And who would have thought that life long socialist, CND supporter and conscientious objector to school cadet force - Jack Straw - would have been behind US torture flights being supported from the UK. And then lying about it later.

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Re: Are you insane?

@Mad Mike: the US has whistle blower laws, but the purpose of those laws is not to protect those who reveal information of misconduct _by_ the government, but to protect those who reveal it _to_ the government.

Plus, Manning voluntarily signed up to a different judicial system (i.e. joined the Army), and voluntarily signed various agreements in return for a security clearance (which he was not obligated to sign as part of his time in the military).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "(Manning) signed various agreements in return for a security clearance"

I wonder how that defense (I signed various agreements in return for a security clearance) would have played at Nuremberg after WWII?

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Re: Are you insane?

@Malcolm Weir.

I agree with what you say, but is an agreement valid if it is used to suppress evidence of a crime? Clearly so if the crime is being committed by the state/powerful enough people. As you rightly point out, I'm sure most people would like to see whistleblower laws protect everyone who reveals misdeeds by others. In reality, it only protects those who don't reveal misconduct by the government. I guess this was one of the reasons why Wikileaks (amongst others) was setup. Because governments and senior people connected to them, consider themselves above the law and appear to be so.

Manning did voluntarily sign up to a different judicial system, but even these often have rules and regulations about misdeeds by others and making senior officers aware etc. In a sense, similar to whistleblower laws. And again, why should signing an agreement mean you have to keep evidence of misdeeds secret? This is precisely the sort of beliefs that got people like Nixon into trouble. He thought he was above the law, but found public opinion made him not. Seems like those in power these days are even more above the law than before.

Not a good state of affairs.

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Re: Are you insane?

@Yet Another Anonymous coward.

Yep. Just shows that politicians are much the same, whether left, right, centre or whatever. They all look after number one and Jack Straw obviously thought his best interest was served by bending over and taking it from Uncle Sam.

Any politician who claims to have any particular moral compass should be laughed at until they cry. Their moral compass is entirely determined by their best interests at the time.

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Can he be extradited from a European country to potentially face the death penalty? I thought that was blocked?

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not a chance

of him getting the death penalty, or even being charged with something that could potentially lead to that. That's all just hysteria from either assange's people or politicians in the states who have zero authority in the matter

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That is correct but, as the judge and many others have pointed out, repeatedly, and over a very long period of time, this does not stop the argument by volume offered by Julie's fwenz.

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Anonymous Coward

No Need: The Lisbon Treaty re-established the death penalty within the EU and the European Arrest Warrant can be used get people fast-track extradited by one country to be prosecuted for alleged illegal activities, even activities that are not illegal in their own country.

The countries are "EU countries" but somehow includes places like Morocco ....

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I believe he could be charged with a crime that carries the death penalty, but in order to secure extradition from an EU state the courts would have to guarantee that the death penalty can't be applied in that case.

From what I've read, the charge the US prosecutors would like to go for would be espionage. Not publishing the stuff itself, but directing Manning in getting the info off the servers it lived on. The allegation being he was giving instructions over IRC. I don't know the law, but I'd have thought that they'd have to prove he was running Manning as an agent (which seems pretty unlikely), not just helping with the hacking - otherwise they'd only be able to charge him with conspiracy as part of the hacking itself.

Given that Manning hasn't been found guilty, and even if he is it'll be a military court that does (which has already admitted he was mistreated in prison) - it's going to be a real struggle to get any charges that'll stand up out of that process. Remember this is extradition, not a European Arrest Warrant, so they'd have to produce evidence that a Swedish court will accept as admissible and then hope the US court system would agree. I can't see any prosecution even getting off the ground, and it would probably end up in the European Court before extradition had even happened. Plus on the way there it would have to go through both the Swedish and British Supreme Courts. Great for the lawyers I suppose...

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No Need: The Lisbon Treaty re-established the death penalty within the EU and the European Arrest Warrant can be used get people fast-track extradited by one country to be prosecuted for alleged illegal activities, even activities that are not illegal in their own country.

The countries are "EU countries" but somehow includes places like Morocco ....

No it didn't. The EU treaties specifically ban the death penalty. Lisbon made no change to that.

And no, the EAW doesn't apply to Morocco, or any other country outside the EU. And the High Court in London ruled that all the offences on the Swedish charge sheet were all also offences in the UK.

I still think the EAW is a crap idea, and personally would like to see a bit less integration within the EU, and much fewer pretensions to statehood. But there's been no injustice here, and Assange would equally have been extradited to Sweden under the old system, as the High Court said in their judgement.

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Thumb Up

"Can he be extradited from a European country to potentially face the death penalty? I thought that was blocked?"

Correct.

Makes rather a lie of his entire defence, doesn't it. He seems to basically be relying on bullsh*t and public opinion.

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Trollface

international law is a suggestion only

>Correct

>Makes rather a lie of his entire defence, doesn't it.

What's to stop the US from going back on its word and executing him anyway (as an American I can tell you this is almost impossible in today's political climate and honestly my guess is Obama is already getting enough heat about not being transparent and vengeful towards whistleblowers wouldn't even bother to extradite him at this point). Still what is to stop the US from executing him? EU military force hahahahahahahahahahaha? an EU embargo (lets see whose economy collapses first, considering ours is not as dependent on exports, Europe's is still largely in recession with the viability of the EU in general at times in question and and the US government can still sell government bonds at all time record low interest rates unlike most of the EU, but still admittedly both would go to to shit rapidly)? The US especially and even the UK have shown they will change international law on the spot to suit them when they really need too already. Also can't resist what happened to all that talk about the euro replacing the dollar as the currency of choice?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: international law is a suggestion only

Yeah right because the Fed hasn't got it's xerox machines running at full tilt right now to keep you out of recession so you can spend the next 4 economical cycles failing to pay off your crippling debts. Remind me again which awesome economy is running a huge deficit and has done for years, oh and remind me who has to come fight your wars for you. We will remind you of your thoughts when you are getting your asses whupped by the norks, again.

What is to stop the US from executing him, a treaty and the fact that if they did the US at the very minimum would never extradite another suspect from Europe. Your Chinese landlords would also come knocking for the rent in pretty quick order should trade dry up. As a product of the American education system you obviously overlooked the fact that the EU is the USA's largest trading partner.

American exceptionalism is so last decade.

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Re: international law is a suggestion only

@AC

I agree totally. It's interesting how the biggest economy in the world seems to think it's good business to continually increase the amount they owe!! At some point, this will come back to haunt them. National debt can only continue to increase if GDP and the means to pay interest etc. continues to go up. It can't forever. At some point, GDP will stop or go into reverse and then the national debt is unsupportable. At this point, the USA is in deep trouble. This is particularly fully as China is the country owed a large chunk of that debt.

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Re: international law is a suggestion only

This actually has a lot to do with why we are not in recession and you are as well. There is some truth to the money printing part but self destructive austerity pushed by the right has been more successful in the UK than the US so far.

List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita

6 United States 48,328 2011

22 United Kingdom 36,522 2011

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Re: international law is a suggestion only

> so you can spend the next 4 economical cycles failing to pay off your crippling debts

Oh you mean like a good portion of Europe is doing right now? Except many will never pay off their debts.

>and remind me who has to come fight your wars for you

You mean like The Great War and WW2? I guess perhaps we are even at this point.

>when you are getting your asses whupped by the norks, again.

Not going to happen. They can't even feed their people. A stalemate only developed because we weren't willing to nuke 3 million Chinese. In the end Mao would only end up killing the majority of them anyway with the Great Leap to Starvation.

> Your Chinese landlords

Still a large majority of the US debt is owned by US citizens.

>EU is the USA's largest trading partner.

You mean the EU depends on the US to buy their stuff. Yep that is what I said but I did admit it would quickly hurt the US as well.

>American exceptionalism is so last decade.

English exceptionalism is so a century plus ago. Must suck seeing a former colony make you completely irrelevant.

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Anonymous Coward

Assange should keep his head down.

As far as the US is concerned, if they can't get him by fair means, there's always the alternative.

AKA Extrordinary rendition.

Never trust a military scorned.

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Stop

THE HONEY TRAP

convinced Assange he was a wanted man, produced his paranoid exclamations, and put him inside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Sweden, by sending Lindskog to the University of Adelaide to tell us what Swedish extradition law is, must be tired of being a tri-party participant.

The last obstacle in this travesty will be getting a safe passage out of the UK. And a binding determination of exactly what Assange owes the UK in terms of court appearances , prison time and fines. Assange probably feels he doesn't feel owe anything. Assange may want a guarantee from Sweden that they will not extradite him for any indictments handed down after he returns there.

Parliament can pass a law to that effect.

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Holmes

Guarantee from Sweden

To many times I hear the word "'guarantee" and wince.

Any "guarantee" is next to useless to him when he's bent over in a US prison cell being pounded in the ass by Mr Big.

Sure his lawyers will be arguing with the US's lawyers that he's being detained illegally, but while the US has him in their possession, he'll continue to be mounted by the inmates.

What pisses me off is the disproportionate approach taken by the UK. Assange hasn't been charged with any crime in the UK or Sweden, yet Bill Haig is happy to use force to try and retrieve him.

It is obviously entirely politically driven and I can safely conclude that Bill Haig is Obama's bitch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guarantee from Sweden

He has committed a crime in the UK now, he breached his bail conditions.

That's a crime in and of itself, and as he appears to have intended to do that from the beginning if the extradition hearings didn't go his way, he's may be up for a perverting the course of justice charge as well.

Once he's been to Sweden the UK may well be bringing him back to face that - they get first dibs.

Worst, Judges do not like being made a fool of, so he won't get bail again - in the UK or anywhere else.

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Facepalm

Re: Guarantee from Sweden

"Judges do not like being made a fool of"

Why do they do it to themselves so often then? Hearing a lot of the sentences and statements made by judges, I rather thought a lot of them did like looking the fool. A certain one in the north around burglars and paedophiles springs to mind....................

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FAIL

Re: Guarantee from Sweden

What pisses me off is the disproportionate approach taken by the UK. Assange hasn't been charged with any crime in the UK or Sweden, yet Bill Haig is happy to use force to try and retrieve him.

Breach of bail conditions is a crime and as another poster said there might be other charges if it could be shown to be pre-meditated.

William Hague has not yet authorised the use of force to go and get him and shows no signs of doing so.

What else can you tell us about life in your world? We eat bacon here.

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Stop

Re: Guarantee from Sweden

what pisses me off is the disproportionate approach taken by the UK. Assange hasn't been charged with any crime in the UK or Sweden ...... and the only reason Assange hasn't been charged with rape in Sweden is that he has so far evaded arrest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: THE HONEY TRAP

The only safe passage Assange will have is his own rear end, as long as he stays inside that embassy.

Whatever else he has done, he has now broken enough laws that him NOT landing in jail would be a total travesty of justice. By now, Assange really *deserves* a prolonged stay with a cell mate named Bubba.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: THE HONEY TRAP

There is ZERO need for anything special. The laws are very simple and clear, which is probably why Assange is hauling in all this bullcrap about death sentences. The man somewhat overestimates his importance.

To wit: he had unprotected sex without permission, after a clearly expressed desire of the, umm, "recipient" to wear condoms. He used the fact that she was still asleep to start, which can be classed as either coercion or rape, but that's for a court to decide. You know a court? A normal, established process which looks at all factors and then decide if you have broken the law? The second story was about Assange trying to enter without the condom, action refused by the girl. Assange subsequently re-entered, but apparently with the condom damaged.

So, what we see from the statements is Assange trying his level best to avoid condoms, the girls insisting, and Assange trying to get his own way regardless. Now, if Assange had been a man and had himself actually tested when asked (just to give the girls peace of mind that he had not given them anything to remember him by), it is likely that the matter would have still gone away. But he didn't. And thus is escalated, and the Swedish were left with no option that to follow THE LAW. There is no BS here about gaming the system to catch Assange, because that would have been engineered so that he would get caught the moment he walked out of the building, leaving less margin for error. No, this is about Assange not being able to keep his end in his trousers and getting his own way against the specific and clearly stated wishes of the girls. "They had a fight about it" is to me a reasonably good indication that Assange knew bloody well what that he was doing was not wanted, and in some countries this is quite simply classed as rape. You know, "no means no"?

After that, he hauled ass to the UK and went into hiding. By then breaking bail conditions he broke UK law as well, and as this guy is surrounded by lawyers I cannot believe he didn't know that (not that that would be an excuse, but just to cut off that route). But maybe his ego made him think he stands above the law. Which is exactly why this cannot end well for Assange. He's in deep shit in the UK for a crime, and he's wanted in Sweden to answer charges that may lead to him being charged with a crime.

And that's assuming he hasn't got HIV, because if any of those two girls now develops HIV the story will get a hell of a lot uglier, because the Swedish affair could then turn into charges of physical harm (depends on how Swedish law handles deliberate HIV infection - I think it's classed as premeditated murder in some countries but I never had cause to look it up).

That's why Assange needs no special treatment, no special laws and no special entrapment exercises.

He managed to do all of that on his own.

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Gav
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Re: THE HONEY TRAP

I don't follow "Bubba"'s involvement in this. He's not mentioned in any legislation or penal system I know of, so I'm unclear how prosecuting him could ever ensure he shares a cell with Assange.

You're not saying he *deserves* institutionalised rape, I hope? That would be illegal, and you claim to be very concerned about laws and justice.

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Re: THE HONEY TRAP

you seem o so well informed about how to slant the case against assange. probably part of some US social ops team.

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Re: THE HONEY TRAP

@AC.

Some of what you say is accepted by both parties and therefore can be treated as fact. Some of the rest is not and therefore cannot be stated as fact. In both cases, it's basically Assange v the woman (I assume they would prefer to be known as women rather than girls). So, the 'facts' are not as easy to state as you make out. In some important regards, Assange claims different to the woman. You can't simply take the womans account as fact and ignores Assanges claims.

This entire case is largely based on vanity. Yes, we all know Assange is very vain. However, most of the politicians and other parties involved are also pretty vain as well. The case is so old now, that if the only purpose was to establish if some nasty had been transfered (HIV etc.), it would have been found by now. So, this case is largely about other things now; maybe not at the beginning, but certainly now. Effectively, it's become a vanity project by all concerned and that's not a very good position to start justice from, regardless of where your views lie.

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