back to article Julian Assange: Google's just an arm of US government

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed that Google is tied up in a conspiracy stretching up to the very highest levels of American government. Addressing the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art via live video link on Thursday, the pale blond hacker claimed that Google was a US government "echo". For the first …

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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. ukgnome Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Die Julian...

      Whilst I am rather bored of this David Icke wannabe I cannot wish him death. That's a bit nasty......

      But I do want him extradited so that we can all move on.

      1. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        Re: Die Julian...

        "Whilst I am rather bored of this David Icke wannabe I cannot wish him death. That's a bit nasty......

        But I do want him extradited so that we can all move on."

        Yeah, and it's strange that he makes out/conflates the EAW/Swedish CJS with auto extradition to the US, which is not possible under the EAW legislation; does it pay him to make out that the US is waiting in the wings, desperate to try the hard/impossible way to extradite him, when the Swedes have already said to the US 'if you want him we'll let you have first go', it being that the UK will accommodate such a request?

        Given the truth of the matter, that it would be easier for the US to accept the Swedish offer and extradite him from the UK, which is far from Assange's febrile imagination, I can't help thinking that St. Jules is in fact a tad rapey, and fears the consequence of being tried in the Swedish jurisdiction; he's made out that the Swedes have a banana republic standard of justice; he's come out with the covert US extradition argument; his lawyer claimed that he'd not heard from the Swedish police, and then had to recant in a UK court [...] the list of bogus claims made by St. Jules is boring and long and meanwhile, back at the ranch, Julie's fiscal dealings include the advance on a book which he kept, after withdrawing cooperation and claiming the publisher had no right to go ahead, the pay wall plan, the £80,000 salary, and other proposed fiscal dealings that currently evade my memory search mechanism... ...this boy is milking everything in sight, and *still* everyone who disagrees with him is wrong. I have heard of this sort of thing in the past.

        Time to go Julie, you've been convicted on 17 counts and have an infraction of UK bail law against you, you are a criminal again and you have to face the music. No asylum is possible because you broke UK law to get to the embassy in which you reside, now GO and face the music instead of behaving like a frigging child in the playground. The adults want to hold you to account.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. ItsNotMe
        FAIL

        @Eadon

        Pearls of wisdom from El Reg's head Arse.

        And no kid...I am the LAST person on the planet to have ANYTHING to do with politics.

        1. El Presidente
          Facepalm

          Re: @Eadon

          @ItsNotMe

          "I am the LAST person on the planet to have ANYTHING to do with politics."

          Perhaps not but you are a bit of a knob for wishing death upon a fellow human being.

        2. ItsNotMe
          FAIL

          MY...my...my

          Hasn't El Reg's Moderator grown a rather thin skin. Die too harsh a word for you sweety? People can use all sorts of pejoratives here, use profanity, but your tender eyes can't take this? Take your skirt off darling.

          After all the tripe other commentards post here...and just so you know...I do it just to see how many chains I can pull...obviously a lot...the word die gets your collective knickers in a wad? What a joke. ROTFLMAO.

      2. amanfromearth

        "excentric rogues"

        As in rogues who used to be at the centre of things?

      3. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Re: Die Julian... - SAYS NSA

        Surely, Eadon, being a Google shill and an Assange apologist are now somewhat contradictory position? How will you sponsor react...?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      In Soviet Anglo-America

      People dies you.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Die Julian...

      How about you instead?

      1. ItsNotMe
        FAIL

        @ AC @ 1720

        I guess the JA Fan Club is out in force today. Sensitive lot you all are.

      2. Rukario

        Re: Die Julian...

        "The Julian"?

        (In German, to paraphrase Sideshow Bob)

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: In German

          That would be "Der Julian", unless he's taken rather extreme measures to confound the sex-crime claims.

          1. Rukario

            Re: In German

            We can let Matt Groening off with that one; perhaps it was deliberate.

            As for JA, who knows? Some other commentard in another Assange article suggested that he was munching on the Ferrero Rochers in the embassy. If that were the case, would he be plotting an escape by passing himself off as Kim Dotcom?

    5. nexsphil

      Re: Die Julian...

      The fact that this comment was published at all is yet another disgraceful indictment against the Register. The torrent of childish, crude US propaganda battering the pages of this once-great site is beginning to make me shit blood. Fuck this site.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry can anyone confirm to me exactly what kind of complexion and hair colour Julian Assange has? This article didn't quite make it clear enough...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Last time I checked

      He was actually grey...

      His blond hair went away the second he started facing pressure on all of this.

      1. The Serpent

        Re: Last time I checked

        What about 'downstairs'

        *vomiting face*

  3. John Deeb
    Boffin

    systematic failures

    St. Assange orated: "But as Google dealt with the big bad world, it leaned very heavily on the State Department and entered into its systems".

    Quite right. But one level of abstraction higher and the "problem" lies more in the BIG aspect and the larger scale systematic functioning of both. Assange explores these "man vs machine" dichotomies but it would be wise not to focus too much on just these two exponents "du jour". The problem, ultimately is way more systematic/

    1. Quxy
      Pint

      Too true

      Assange may indeed be a bit of a conspiracy theorist. But you don't have to be a nutter to appreciate the intimate connection between economic power and political power. This is especially true of the modern US government, which exists primarily to serve the interests of commercial interests with the most money. But it is also true of nearly all modern governments elsewhere in the world and, indeed, throughout history; and only a naive idealist would suggest otherwise. Since politicians and corporations alike want to expand this profitable relationship while keeping it as quiet as possible, unpleasant people like Assange are valuable: until the extent of the problem is exposed, it won't even get discussed, let alone reformed.

      1. dogged

        Re: Too true

        you don't have to be a nutter to appreciate the intimate connection between economic power and political power.

        You also don't have to be a nutter to see how close Obama is to Google. He pretty much has to beat through a crowd of oompah-loompahs with a baseball bat to get to his desk.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Too true

          Upvote for the image of a President beating up oompa loompas with a baseball bat in his office.

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Too true

            Hey, it's progress! Dick Cheney used to beat up oompa-loompas and THEN go to his desk!

      2. david wilson

        Re: Too true

        If 'only a naive idealist would suggest otherwise', what would be the bloody secret?

        1. Quxy
          Facepalm

          Re: Too true

          I think that most American citizens realise that their government is uncomfortably cozy with big money, but the secret (indeed, the devil) is in the details. My cynical assertion is simply that it is naive to imagine that Lincoln's words 150 years ago, "of the people, by the people, for the people", have any true meaning in 21st century American government.

  4. Schultz

    Cut him some slack...

    He didn't get famous for being blond (as opposed to others) and he greatly contributed to the international discussion about internet freedom versus government control. His personality may not suit the article author or the commentards, but he should be taken a bit more seriously.

    1. a cynic writes...

      Re: Cut him some slack...

      ...he should be taken a bit more seriously.

      No, he shouldn't, he takes himself far too seriously already.

    2. Scorchio!!

      Re: Cut him some slack...

      "His personality may not suit the article author or the commentards, but he should be taken a bit more seriously."

      Indeed. All convicts ought to be taken seriously, and he has been convicted on 17 counts for offences related to the Manning imbroglio. As to the Swedish case, I will not be surprised if he is found guilty. It is extremely unlikely for offenders to have profiles that focus exclusively on the index offence, and Assange's behaviour in respect of the women friends of journalists among many other indicators makes me think hard. The other behaviours? Look at his interactions with women and how he recruits them to his cause, even getting them to stand bail and then letting them down... ...that said, he's also let a lot of others down, though, whilst the rule following behaviours and trustworthiness are salient, the bail angle is not my main contention.

      I find myself wondering; how many times will Julian Assange have to be convicted, and on how many accounts, before the scales fall from his camp followers' eyes? The pay wall affair, the advance from a publisher whom he spurned, the massive salary and a more recent fiscal indicator in the form of a demand for one million for an interview... ...this man shows no sign of being trustworthy and, IMNSVHO, every sign of being untrustworthy/perfidious.

  5. Chris Miller

    the pale blond hacker skiddy

    FTFY

    1. dogged
      Stop

      Stop right there.

      Assange was never a script kiddie. He predates downloading scripts to do your leet haxoring or whatever /b/ is calling it this week by at least ten years.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Gordon Fecyk
      Black Helicopters

      Use NSA Linux?

      Go ahead, lead the way. While you're at it use NSA Android on your phone.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Use NSA Linux?

          I can download the Android source code, inspect it for spyware, modify it to remove it if I wish, compile it and put it on my phone

          That you can is not the point. Have you actually done this? No? In that case, it's pretty much immaterial what you run, unless you really want to tell me that the *ability* of an unknown, untrusted 3rd party to look at the code is somehow evidence that said 3rd party will then fix it. That makes that code just as problematic as proprietary code, with the difference that that "open" code is provided by an entity that makes massive cash off invading privacy on a scale not seen before.

          Do you feel lucky? I don't.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          @Eadon

          "What I can do with Android, however, which I cannot do with iOS or Blackberry or Win Phone 8 - this: I can download the Android source code, inspect it for spyware, modify it to remove it if I wish, compile it and put it on my phone."

          Can you really now?

          According to the Android website (link to android.com) the current version is 4.2, codename "Jellybean".

          But according to the Android developer site (link to source.android.com) the most recent version of the source repository is 4.1.

          That strikes me as a bit odd, considering that 4.2 has been released almost one year ago.

          1. toadwarrior
            Trollface

            Re: @Eadon

            It takes time to remove the NSA packages.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Eadon

            >That strikes me as a bit odd, considering that 4.2 has been released almost one year ago.

            4.2 source was published last November...you'll find the current version in the 'android-4.2.2_r1' branch or by typing 4.2 source code into the small box with a magnifying glass on the web page you posted a link to.

        3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Use NSA Linux?

          "What I can do with Android, however, which I cannot do with iOS or Blackberry or Win Phone 8 - this: I can download the Android source code, inspect it for spyware, modify it to remove it if I wish, compile it and put it on my phone.

          So... You check every piece of code to make sure there are no backdoors? Of course, then you compile the code natively just in case the distributed binary doesn't match the source?

          Most of the Linux distrubutions are binary only - sure, you can get 'the source' from somewhere, but the distribution, and any third party ports are binary.

          Going by your own logic, that is a LINUX FAIL RIGHT THERE (caps for Eadonisity)

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Use NSA Linux?

              @Jamie Jones "Most of the Linux distrubutions are binary only - sure, you can get 'the source' from somewhere, but the distribution, and any third party ports are binary."

              "You're a clueless Windows user, obviously. Go and look up GPL."

              LOL, you've upvoted and replied to many of my pro-unix posts in the past, but this shows you are clearly memory deficient as well as brain deficient.

              I know enough about the GPL, thank-you - enough to personally avoid it. (The fact it attracts fanboi freaks is another reason)

              So tell me where I'm wrong, Mr Linux. As I said, the source is available, but all linux installations I've seen (and there are many) were built with apt-get (and their equivalent) and NOT apt-get source / apg-get build etc.

              Similarly, the base OS is generally installed from binaries, not from locally compiled source.

              So, quite simply, the 'default' method of package and OS install for most people does not compile or even download the source files.

              This is why your constant banging on about the source code being available is a fools false sense of security.

              This has sod all to do with the GPL, so maybe you should re-read your GPL bible.

              Incidentally, this isn't an attack on Linux, but on the people who bang on about "the source code is available" as some sort of holy-grail, and yet then proceed to blindly install binary packages made by a third party.

              I and others have said before, your over the top evangelism is doing Linux no favours. I'm just glad you aren't a fan of the main OS that I use and develop for.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Use NSA Linux?

          "...compile it..."

          ... and there lies the rub. Compile it with what? Obviously, the compiler. And where did you get this compiler from? A safe, reputable open source. Which means it couldn't possibly have been hacked. And anyway, you can always compile the compiler yourself, to make absolutely sure there are no hidden tricks. Hmmm, compile it... with... er, the compiler...

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Use NSA Linux?

            "... and there lies the rub. Compile it with what? "

            Exactly!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US megacorps in league with US Govt SHOCK @Eadon 14:22

      "I've been saying all along that closed source operating systems cannot be trusted (let alone cloud services such as search and so on). Was I being paranoid? Perhaps but I was right! (As ALWAYS)."

      Eadon, lots of people were saying such things a long time before you jumped in with your megaphone. Claiming credit for yourself is plagiarism. But I finally realised your problem, nicely illustrated by the little snippet I've quoted. Claims you've been warning people? Shouting all the time? Bit of a messiah complex there, it seems. Have you tried walking up and down Oxford Street with a sandwich board? You'd achieve more there, believe me.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: US megacorps in league with US Govt SHOCK

      Well, the Snowden thing was definitely a major, direct, nuclear hit into the cloud camp. If Ballmer pulled that one off, I'll tip my hat to him. It would prove he is at least a great schemer, now that he managed to remove windows from "Windows 8".

      Let's continue to wear the proverbial metal foil headware and think of how a multi-billionare could pull that off. Maybe stuffing two billions into and enterprise in a specialist med country under the condition that they make one guy to defect "for reasons of conscience".

      It would certainly be worth every single cent spent, as Google Docs threatens the nice Office franchise that rakes in several billions every single year. Don't count out MS, they are a cornered 5 Metagton Gorilla and they have the most to lose from the cloud.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrongdoing?

    "The Chocolate Factory spent $18.2m on Washington lobbyists last year, more than any other tech firm. Of course, that's not evidence of any wrongdoing."

    It may not be legal wrongdoing, but moral wrongdoing? Most definitely - "Don't be evil" my foot! If they can't see that buying political influence is wrong they really need to go back to school.

    But then the entire US political and judicial system is morally bankrupt, so not really surprising.

  8. M Gale

    It's not a conspiracy

    That would require secrecy, whereas anybody who's had a look knows that Google was started off by a seed fund given by "venture capitalists" owned by US.gov that were looking for ways in which the private sector could be co-opted to help with information gathering.

    And this is news because AssangeTM said it? Well, I guess people could do with a reminder.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Julian Assange: Google's just an arm of US government

    Google: Julian Assange is just an arm of an alternative reality

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. breakfast
        Facepalm

        Re: AC smear campagn

        No, Assange is a creepy little egotist. The more he tries to grandstand atop the flagpole of free speech, the more he discredits everyone else working in that area.

        Nobody is doing a better job to discredit Wikileaks than Assange, he is his own smear campaign.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: AC smear campagn

        Political opponents of NSA shall be mocked and crushed!

        No, only Assange. We're helping him, really, because without deflating that massive ego there is no way he'll ever be able to leave that embassy, even if they let him. The ego will probably have to be arrested separately.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: AC smear campagn

            And the smear campagn continues with ad hom attacks. Discredit the man, not the argument.

            But that's the point a lot of people are making, what Assange may have started out doing (may|may not) be right, but his ego appears to have taken over and is completely overshadowing the message he claims to stand for.

            If the aim is to get information out into the real-world so that people can see what happens behind closed doors, fine, do it, just don't grandstand all the f*cking time.

            It's very difficult to have a conversation about an Assange story without talking about his character traits, because his ridiculous conspiracy theories take you straight down that route.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: AC smear campaign

            And the smear campaign continues with ad hom attacks. Discredit the man, not the argument.

            Not when the man is a clear threat to the argument itself. That's your whole problem right there. WL may have had some sympathy from people, but when St Jukes arrives (actually, I like TEFKAA better), OK, when TEFKAA started to use the setup for this own personal media presence it started to come off the rails.

            Personally, what finished for me the last erg of sympathy for WL was their threat to release it all if harm came to TEFKAA - thus making TEFKAA more important than the original mission (and if the idea is to release documents anyway, I would have called that one straight away - better get it over with at once).

            Add to that the EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM he's had from arriving in Sweden was of his own making and 100% preventable, I cannot consider it credible that the US would ruin that tour of self incrimination by extraditing him, and indeed, there has as yet not been credible evidence that anyone is interested in making him a martyr. For once they have been smart there, and simply sat back, letting him get himself into deeper and deeper trouble all by himself. He's done t all by himself.

            So no, nobody wants to smear TEFKAA. He's doing fine all by himself. QED.

          3. Scorchio!!

            Re: AC smear campagn

            "And the smear campagn continues with ad hom attacks. Discredit the man, not the argument."

            Regrettably in some instances the personality comes into the argument merely by reason of force. Julian Assange's personality is it seems to me dominated by a callous disregard for others, to the exclusion of, e.g., the safety of Afghan informants whose locations are now in the hands of the Taliban; all because the informants wanted a mine free land. Julian Assange has more than a criminal record on 17 counts, and his interesting behaviours in 'snatching' a journo's female friend - walking away with her and then turning to put up his fists in mock fight - speaks volumes about this man. He walked away from a publisher with a substantial advance fee for a book about him and then, when the publisher decided to recoup its fees on the grounds that a contract had been broken by Assange, he declaimed (presumably for the benefit of his uncritical camp followers) that they had no right to do so. Assange, already drawing a salary of some £80,000, stipulated a million (dollar I think) fee for an interview about his responses to the film about him, and the pay wall imbroglio further exacerbated by his fierce outburst at the Grauniad (whom I despise, but never mind) saying they were 'his' files/secrets/data, well this says everything to me; if Assange can fall out with the hypocrites in the Grauniad then he surely has dropped to a nadir, though in spite of this the camp followers still seem to believe that he is 'the one'. How utterly naive and fantastically stupid.

            This man's personality drives his 'professional' behaviour and his interactions with others, particularly women, and the connection between his personality and inability to follow normal rule following behaviours and treat others sociably makes me wonder if he really does give a damn at all about those whose well being and safety he supposedly does; I feel that he cares more for some kind of status, that he wants the world ordered to suit his taste, and that he wants accolades and rewards above all matters of care; that would have as its point of origin his mother's attitude to education and society, it being that she refused to have him formally educated, and that she encouraged him to spurn social mores and rules for conduct. What he wants matters more than the wants and needs of others, hence the jeopardy of Afghan civilians who wanted mines cleared from their vicinity, but now find themselves threatened by the Taliban... ...and all because Assange, on record in front of two genuinely professional journalists, felt them to be expendable because they were informants.

            Wake up FGS, this man is deceiving you, and you are willingly eating the crumbs from his shabby table.

            Personality? Argumentum ad hominem? Why certainly; Assange's personality is definitely at the centre of the argument precisely because it is what drives him, and his behaviour is highly suspect. He is no Neo, merely something from the past come to haunt us all again, and the trouble is that the suckers believe him to be good. Go read the man's political rants online. He has a bizarre theory of politics, and is not alone in developing such a thing ready to be inflicted on innocent and somehow willing suckers. I'll let you draw comparisons with the past; they go back through the thousands of years of documented human history and, doubtless, back into prehistory.

            Just wake up FGS; this man is a charlatan, a fraud and a deceiver. It is all very convincing if you've been fed on a diet of Neo, fantasy stories, resentment against the gummint and other heated nonsense, all of which leads to misjudged support for charismatic political figures who, as time progresses, damage the very whose interests they supposedly have at heart.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet more proof that companies using Linux are just a tool for the US government.

    1. M Gale

      China: A tool of the US govt?

      I'm sure the US govt would like to think so.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Now that you landed a Snowden on the cloud, I think you could stop the Rottweilering for a moment, operative #74567238. Have a coke and a burger, soldier.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Assange is right and not just over Prism

    Any non-US citizen still using Google or any corp on that Prism list must seriously need their head examining!

    There are disturbing connections in UK government between Google pod-people and politicians, mandarins and useless quango bosses.

    Go ahead and knock Assange but don't come whinging and crying when you wake up in a thought controlled state.

    1. david wilson

      Re: Assange is right and not just over Prism

      >>"Any non-US citizen still using Google or any corp on that Prism list must seriously need their head examining!"

      I'm not sure which security agency would actually be interested in what I look at, who I phone, or what CDs I buy, or even in the hot steamy emails which I may or may not be writing.

      I'd prefer that there wasn't someone sitting in an office trying to follow my every move and poring over every private detail of my life, but unless intelligence agencies are incredibly overstaffed or incompetently-run, I find it hard to see why there would be.

      Since I'm not currently plotting to overthrow The System, nor (as far as I'm aware) interacting with anyone who is, am I not doing the freedom fighters of the world a favour by helping clog up the surveillance system with irrelevant information?

      If I was going to do anything which I thought 'they' might take a disapproving interest in, then I wouldn't communicate about it in a way which left evidence whether or not I thought that 'they' had current access to whatever channel I was using.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Re: Assange is right and not just over Prism

        You mean the "freedom fighters" which then fly into your own buildings and detonate pressure cookers amongst your own people ?

        Yeah, these people must be nurtured as they mean more revenue for the security apparatus.

        1. david wilson

          Re: Assange is right and not just over Prism

          I was using the phrase rather tongue-in-cheek.

          But it illustrates a point.

          If someone involved in legitimate security services trying to suppress terrorism is meaningfully looking at me, they're not doing their job properly.

          If someone involved in stamping on valid dissent is meaningfully looking at me, then they're not doing their job properly either.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: David Wilson Re: Assange is right and not just over Prism

            ".....If someone involved in legitimate security services trying to suppress terrorism is meaningfully looking at me, they're not doing their job properly....." The problem is that the sheeple just can't get their heads around the fact The Big Bad Man simply does not have the inexhaustible resources they want to believe He has for spying on everyone.

            As a simple way to expose their stupidity, simply ask them "Were you followed around today by a copper?" It's not like the cops don't have the tech to sit outside your house, wait for you to go out and then follow you around and note your every move. The Mk1 Eyeball has been around for quite a while, and even the old notebook and pencil are relatively inexpensive tech, so why don't the sheeple insist the coppers are watching them all day and night? Could it be because even the most deluded, frothing sheep understands that the coppers simply don't have enough people to follow, record and collate all the information involved? The coppers don't follow even a fraction of the people they are actually interested in, let alone the herds of sheeple, simply becaue THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES! It is not a question of being technically capable of following all the sheeple.

            Now, if you're lucky, the glazed expression may start to lift from their eyes - now ask them if they then understand the immense resources that would be required to sift all the information into useable intelligence if they were listening to all the phone calls and watching everyone's browsing. Don't be disappointed if the glazed expression remains as there are many sheeple that can't stand the idea of leaving the herd and thinking for themselves.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like all good Conspiracy stories...

    ........There's probably a grain of truth here. In that there is-- or there was some US State Dept & Google tie-up. Now I'm no fan of the self-styled blonde Mr Bond. But I do think the US needs to get its botty smacked! These leaks are the only way that any checks or balances will ever happen. What will privacy be like it 20 years if we keep going the way we are? Or specifically if the US keeps going the way it is?

  13. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    "Assange, who referred to himself in the third person throughout the keynote"

    Surely that's reason enough to ignore him ?

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: "Assange, who referred to himself in the third person throughout the keynote"

        Shit ! I'm fucked :(

  14. Steve Knox
    Trollface

    Missed Opportunity

    [Assange] described interactions with both Google and the State Department which he claimed was "evidence" of intimate relations between the organisations.

    Shurely the title should have been:

    "Assange has problem with intimate relations."

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, but seriously ...

    Be afraid.

    I've not heard any suggestion that Assange is publishing either lies or fraudulent information, but simply information that he believes to be true. Nor have I heard that he's signed some sort of official secrets act of which he is now in breach. In which case he's simply exercising what western democracy likes to refer to as "freedom of speech". The reason he's in so much trouble is that we really don't have "freedom of speech" (or anything like it) any more that we have a real democracy - at best we have a cheap copy, but to be realistic what we have is a 'fake'. What's even worse, we're trying to push that fake onto other countries starting civils wars and international conflict as a part of the process. Indeed wars in what were stable countries, albeit countries with a different 'management structure'. Whether the previous structures were inferior to our "democracy" is certainly debatable, you will find both Iraqis and afhans who seem to think life was better before they were invaded by the west (!)

    I would like to know why we're still trying (10 years on) to deport the European head al Al Queda yet our beloved British government has Assange trapped inside an Embassy and threatens to deport him the second he steps over the threshold. I'd say it's outrageous, but it's not, it goes way beyond outrageous, it's simply frightening.

    Who's next? Just how far out of line do you have to step before the powers that be decide you're toast?

    For many years I thought Google were great, but recently they're true colours have been showing though what has become a very thin veil. Do no evil my arse. I've seen Eric S on stage trying to justify Google's position on tax .. "Google have no choice but to avoid paying tax because that's the system the UK government have put in place" .. seriously Eric? Is that your defense?

    How about HMRC gets it's head out of it's arse and sends Google a tax bill for the amount of tax it "should" have paid for the last <n> years, plus interest, plus a fine, and see how Google respond. Eric says "the government sets the rules, we'll pay what we're told to", I'd place a wager that the response will be from Google's lawyers and be something along the lines of "you can't do that". (!)

    I feel like we're sleep walking into something far worse than "1984", are we too far gone to care ??

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, but seriously ...

        @Eadon, yeah, and that'd probably be funny if it wasn't true (!)

    2. Steve Knox
      WTF?

      Re: No, but seriously ...

      1. "Freedom of speech" does not include freedom from the consequences of your speech, or more appropriately in this case (see #2), freedom from the consequences of other actions just because you happen to be involved in some public speech.

      2. To date, there has been no government action against Assange because of what he's published. His extradition is related to a legal issue with some women in Sweden (see my earlier post.)

      3.The government does set the rules, and it is bound by them as much as Google is. If the HMRC did send Google a bill for taxes related to sales, Google's response would be what it has been all along: "we didn't make those sales here"-- at which point HMRC would have to prove that those sales were made here -- because those are the rules. If you don't like the rules, fine: get your government to fix them. Don't blame Google for following them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, but seriously ...

        @Steve Knox

        1. I would totally agree and that was my point exactly - "freedom of speech" isn't actually freedom of speech. Governments "say" we have it - but we don't have it. Say the wrong thing and we can get arrested and potentially sent to a foreign country and imprisoned 'forever'. You've nailed my point.

        2. Did you actually pay attention to the detail on this? He's not exactly what you'd call a muscle bound body builder, yet he want back to an apartment with two young ladies, spent the night and left, then a little while later (days!) they decided that he'd raped both of them at the same time. Seriously, him, two women at once, without consent? Get real. Yes it is possible, but if they had any evidence then they would be wanting to do more than just "talk" to him. In this particular instance they find they are unable to "talk" to him via telephone or video link and feel the need to go through an extradition process "just" to talk to him. And to top it off, they won't give any assurances that once they've finished talking to him they won't extradite him to the US. Do you not smell a rat? Are you that gullible? Would you like to purchase London bridge for your collection ???

        3. Well first off, according to some whistle blowers they've had on Telly, apparently they did done some business in the UK, so let's dispense with that one for a start, hopefully the select committee will be able to do something with that in due course. That aside, they are taking money from people in the UK, they have offices in the UK, they recruit people in the UK. Just because they push their invoicing through another country does not mean they do not do business in the UK, it just means that according to the letter of the rules, they can claim they do not do business in the UK. If you have an office and staff in the UK, have UK customers and are making money, you are clearly doing business in the UK. As such you SHOULD pay tax in the UK. Obviously the government should fix the "letter", but just because they've been exploiting what could be considered a "loophole" does not mean they should be exempt from paying hundreds of millions of pounds in tax and back tax.

        1. david wilson

          Re: No, but seriously ...

          >>"I would totally agree and that was my point exactly - "freedom of speech" isn't actually freedom of speech. Governments "say" we have it - but we don't have it. Say the wrong thing and we can get arrested and potentially sent to a foreign country and imprisoned 'forever'. You've nailed my point."

          Which just seems to show that you completely fail to see the distinction between the idea of absolute rights and what actually works in the real world.

          In reality, anyone who has done more than the briefest amount of thinking can see that there are exceptions to pretty much any simplistic 'right'.

          People have a 'right to life' except where they're killed in self-defence, or war, or by capital punishment, or allowed to die because keeping them alive is considered too expensive or not the state's responsibility...

          People have a right to liberty, except when it is legally taken away if they're convicted of a crime, or on remand before a trial, or arrested as part of an investigation, or detained for their own protection, or if they're a child grounded by their parents...

          People have the right to their own thoughts, except where they are considered mentally ill (ie thinking the 'wrong' thoughts) and treated against their will.

          People have a right to do what they want on their own property, except when it breaches any one of a long list of prohibited activities...

          The point of 'rights' is to identify areas where there's a good general default case to be made for something, and where arguments against should be good ones, not to exclude whole sections of activity from any sensible consideration.

          1. Steven Roper

            Re: No, but seriously ...

            "People have the right to their own thoughts, except where they are considered mentally ill (ie thinking the 'wrong' thoughts) and treated against their will."

            At no point should any thought, no matter how evil, perverted, delusional or twisted, be a reason for depriving a person of liberty. That way lies the concept of 'thoughtcrime' and we all know where that leads.

            If I want to think about ways of inventing grey goo to wipe out all life on Earth because I believe all human beings including myself are greedy scum who deserve to die, that's my prerogative to think that as a free man. Nobody has the right to imprison or "treat" me for simply thinking or imagining this scenario. My simply thinking evil thoughts poses no threat to anyone.

            If, however, I were to start applying this thought process to action by actually trying to develop said grey goo, funding its development, or recruiting people to assist me in its development, then it becomes a problem warranting opposing action. That's because my evil thoughts are now being translated to evil acts, which do pose a threat to others.

            By definition, any 'rights' you have are of necessity limited by the 'rights' of others. The most fundamental of all human rights is the right to be treated the same as any other human being in regard to the law, from which all other rights evolve. Freedom of speech does not include the right to take away another's freedom of speech (this is why I hate political correctness.) Freedom of assembly does not include the right to take away other people's right to assemble. Freedom from hunger does not give you the right to inflict it on others. And so on.

            But freedom of thought is an uncontestable absolute, indeed it is the only uncontestable absolute, because of all things in this world it exists only in your own head, belongs only to you, and affects nobody else, as long as it remains but a thought.

            1. david wilson

              Re: No, but seriously ...

              >> >>""People have the right to their own thoughts, except where they are considered mentally ill (ie thinking the 'wrong' thoughts) and treated against their will."

              >>"At no point should any thought, no matter how evil, perverted, delusional or twisted, be a reason for depriving a person of liberty. That way lies the concept of 'thoughtcrime' and we all know where that leads."

              I was giving an example showing the limits of 'principles' or 'rights' stated as absolute entities.

              If there were no 'wrong' thoughts, where would that leave the idea of sanity and insanity, the idea of someone not being in their right mind, etc?

              If someone who isn't thought to be a threat to others is judged to be thinking certain kinds of wrong thoughts, they can still end up being considered mentally ill and confined and/or treated against their will in order to change the things they are thinking.

              And somehow, that *doesn't* seem to automatically lead to ideas of thoughtcrime in most places where it can happen.

              That people can be judged to be mentally ill is something which some regimes can abuse to respond to 'undesirable' behaviour, whether it's suppressing dissidents or locking up unmarried mothers.

              Though imagining the the former cases, a repressive society lacking the idea of 'forcing treatment on the mentally ill' would seem likely to simply use some different means of suppression for the same dissidents if there were no convenient mental hospitals.

              >>"By definition, any 'rights' you have are of necessity limited by the 'rights' of others. The most fundamental of all human rights is the right to be treated the same as any other human being in regard to the law, from which all other rights evolve."

              That does rather depend what you mean by 'the same'

              The law should treat people with the same relevant circumstances the same, which rather moves things to a rather greyer area.

              If accused of a crime, I should have access to legal representation (though I could pay for better representation if I was wealthy).

              I should be treated the same as someone else who differers in irrelevant ways (skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc) but I may well be treated differently based on my age, apparent level of competence or intelligence, personal history as might be relevant to claims of mitigating or aggravating circumstances, etc.

              The 'absolute fundamental right' seems to come up against all manner of value judgements regarding which things about me as an individual are actually relevant, things which not everyone would necessarily agree about, and things which even one person might rate differently relevant in different situations.

              There may be cases where my skin colour or sexual orientation is relevant - such as if I'm being accused of a hate-based assault, or claiming provocation as a result of long-term discrimination as a partial defence to an assault charge where I claim someone said something minor which pushed me over the edge.

              How do we decide what the age of criminal responsibility should be, and whether it's a hard or flexible cutoff?

        2. david wilson

          Re: No, but seriously ...

          >>"2. Did you actually pay attention to the detail on this? He's not exactly what you'd call a muscle bound body builder, yet he want back to an apartment with two young ladies, spent the night and left, then a little while later (days!) they decided that he'd raped both of them at the same time. "

          Might I ask what colossally ill-informed fuckwit gave you that account of events?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No, but seriously ...

            TV news at the time, but there have been several different versions since then. Take a look at the coverage on the guardian website, are the women actually accusing him of rape, or not taking an STD test?

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: AC Sheeple Re: No, but seriously ...

              ".....are the women actually accusing him of rape, or not taking an STD test?" Oh FFS, can we just nail this down once and for all, then the sheeple can stop regurgitating this zombie fact like it was part of their gospel?

              Neither of the two women involved originally wanted A$$nut charged with rape, sexual molestation or whatever else, they went to the police on 20th August 2010 to see if they could legally force A$$nut to take an STD test. It was the female police sergeant on duty that took their enquiry that decided their description of events could mean A$$nut was guilty of sex crimes. She took their statements and then forwarded them to the prosecutors' office for consideration.

            2. david wilson

              Re: No, but seriously ...

              >>"TV news at the time, but there have been several different versions since then. Take a look at the coverage on the guardian website, are the women actually accusing him of rape, or not taking an STD test?"

              So that's your explanation for collossally screwing up, misrepresenting the facts around an alleged case and trying to tell everyone else what conclusions they should come to on the basis of those 'facts'?

              That you think that's what someone said on TV, and that you prefer to believe that even in the face of that not being what either Assange or the authorities say was what happened..

              You think he's likely to be innocent based on the implausibility of a threesome rape situation which doesn't seem to be something he was ever accused of, or anything he claims to have ever been accused of?

              Sheesh, no wonder you're anonymous.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Flame

          Re: No, but seriously ...

          Well, Eadon, the Empire will destroy itself if they continue down that path of corruption, unpunished financial crimes, drug abuse, nasty games/movies and sexual perversion.

          Just look at the final throes of the Roman Empire and you see what I mean. Great empires are fully able to convince themselves that being morally broken is essentially a Good Thing. Such a good life in Italy these days; they really enjoy all their wealth and smoothly working state, founded on the nice culture of Rome and Athens. Compare that to the present misery of the Germans, the Slavs, the Hungarians and the Norsemen ! Cheating, doublespeak, drug abuse, slavery, backstabbing, that's what makes life great and Italy is a shining example !

        2. david wilson

          @Eadon

          >>"Talk about being naive. The idea of the authorities is to destroy their enemies any way you can, if you they destroy them without appearing to attack them for their views, so much the better. You put him in prison and destroy his reputation at the same time. Classic Machiavelli."

          Could you point me to where in 'The Prince' Machiavelli recommends getting someone who it's vitally important to crush involved in a legal process and then letting them run away.

          Twice.

          Unless you're suggesting that the CIA, Illuminati or whoever *had* to let Assange run away because they couldn't actually manage to engineer fake accusations of sexual assault which would stick?

          Which might make one wonder why they didn't try something else.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, but seriously ...

      The reason he's in so much trouble is that we really don't have "freedom of speech"

      Did you miss the bit where two different women alleged he 'raped' them?

      That's what he is in trouble for.

      You as a supporter of his should know that, being as how you'll also be aware that Mr Assange put Wikileaks in Sweden precisely because Swedish Law protects his "right" to use freedom of speech to expose illegal acts by the US (or any other) government.

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: No, but seriously ...

      Anonymous,

      The reason he's in so much trouble is that we really don't have "freedom of speech"

      Nope. The reason he's in so much trouble, is that he's accused of rape. He fled the police interview, opposed being returned to a jurisdiction he was seeking citizenship of at 4 court cases, lost all of them, and then buggered off to the Ecuadorian embassy in a further effort to evade justice. That's why he's in trouble.

      To be fair to him, it may be that he's genuinely paranoid that the US are out to get him, and so his reason for avoiding Sweden may be genuine paranoia/mental illness/belief. Only he and his accusers know what actually happened. But I'm more inclined to suspect he's avoiding justice because he's been a naughty boy. Given that he has better legal protection after being extradited to Sweden than before, and he thought it was a safe enough country to become a citizen of only a few years back.

      As for having him trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy. Nope again. He's got himself trapped in there. He can leave at any time. He can head back to Sweden and face the music, or he can stay in that embassy until the Ecuadorian government get sick of him and boot him out. That was his choice. Being in Sweden was his choice. Coming here after fleeing Sweden was his choice.

      It may be there's a shadowy conspiracy to get him. That was the risk he took when he started playing at that level of international politics. However I've yet to see any real evidence of that. And if some of the stuff that Bradley Manning has said is true, then Assange may have broken the law in getting that information. You can claim to be a journalist if you receive info. If you ask for specific stuff, and help with the hacking to get it, then you're getting much closer to espionage. If there's any truth to that, and if they haven't totally buggered the case by the criminal way they've treated Manning, then maybe the US can make that stick. Though most countries would probably refuse extradition.

      I would like to know why we're still trying (10 years on) to deport the European head al Al Queda yet our beloved British government has Assange trapped inside an Embassy and threatens to deport him the second he steps over the threshold.

      So you've just disproved your own argument. If we don't have freedom of speech or democracy, how come these situations? Assange, Abu Qatada, Abu Hamza have all pissed off the UK government in various ways. And yet all of them got their days in court and in the case of 2 of them, our government keeps losing. We are obliged to protect their human rights by our laws, the government isn't being allowed to break those laws, and laws passed by parliament have been struck down or modified by the courts if they deemed them not to be compatible with human rights. That's the courts functioning as a check on the power of the executive.

      Assange will be deported. But was given bail by the courts, even though he was an obvious flight-risk. As he'd already buggered off from Sweden. His freedom of speech is not being curtailed. He's getting to say what he wants. So would you like to re-state your problem?

      What's even worse, we're trying to push that fake onto other countries starting civils wars and international conflict as a part of the process. Indeed wars in what were stable countries, albeit countries with a different 'management structure'. Whether the previous structures were inferior to our "democracy" is certainly debatable

      I suggest you need some further study. Reality studies perhaps...

      I like your phrase "different Management Structure". Would that refer to Saddam or Gadaffi? Or Assad. All have managed to kill quite a lot of their own people. 2 of those regimes have used poison gas on their own citizens. None of them were stable governments when we intervened. Afghanistan certainly wasn't, there'd been a civil war going on for arguably over 20 years. Or you could count it from after the Soviets pulled out. The Taleban mostly won, looked like they'd stabilised things for a year, then turned out to be so awful that they were losing large chunks of the country again, even before 2001.

      Whatever you might say about the reasons for, or the effects of, intervention in various countries, you certainly can't say that Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan had good systems in place. Or were stable. Iraq was only pretending to be stable after the fighting stopped in 91, because the UN put in a no-fly zone to stop the massacre of the Kurds and Marsh Arabs. Without that it would have been an ongoing civil war. Well the Marsh Arabs would probably all be dead, but the Kurds had better terrain, organisation and weapons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, but seriously ...

        @Spartacus

        >To be fair to him, it may be that he's genuinely paranoid that the US are out to get him,

        Indeed, let's bear in mind he was already in trouble when this item hit the news.

        >So you've just disproved your own argument.

        Hardly. I'm pointing out that the rules are bent to suit the powers be, regardless of what Joe public thinks is right or wrong. And if what Joe public thinks is right or wrong is irrelevant - how safe is Joe public ?! Don't take what I'm saying so literally - think about it!!

        >Would that refer to Saddam or Gadaffi?

        Who (indirectly) killed more people, Saddam or Bush? (and by how much?)

        Maybe an easier question, who killed more Americans, Saddam or Bush?

        I'm not a fan of Saddam, I think the world is probably a better place without him, but ask yourself this;

        Is Iraq now more or less stable?

        In 5 years time, will it be more or less stable?

        Remove the emotion just for a second and take the pragmatic approach, what will the total death toll be in 5 years time, and what would it have been if we'd left Saddam there? And being a little self-centered, is the risk to the west higher with or without Saddam?

        Is it possible that in 5 years they still have a Civil war, people are still dying every day from bombs, and their death toll and living conditions are actually far worse than they ever would have been under Saddam?

        I'm not saying the countries you mention had good systems in place, what I am saying is that at the moment they don't have "better" systems in place now, and indeed the systems currently in place may well develop into systems that are worse than the systems they started with. What I am saying is that we don't know that going into Iraq was a good thing, it's really not that clear and probably very subjective depending on who you are. Hell, go find some footage of people hiding in shelters while the US were cruise missile ing the shit our of Baghdad before they sent the ground troops in, take a look at what's left of the bodies of all the kids who were killed - how many people are proud of that? Perspective!

        As for Syria, don't even think about opening that can of worms with any authority. Yes, Assad has apparently done some very bad things, but given the proportion of the fighters now in country that originate from Al Queda et al, if the rebels with the war, what are the chances you're going to get a Syrian government that you're actually going to like? Indeed if the Islamists get power, how long do you think they're going to last right next door to Israel?

        To sum up, your comments bear the mark of our current establishment. You have the answers and are the authority on all things and anyone who disagrees with you, must be in need of "Reality studies". Look around you and engage your brain while you still can, it will help!

        Kiliing people is bad, hiding the truth from people is bad, locking people up for saying things you don't want them to say is bad. "Freedom of speech" SHOULD BE "Freedom of speech", even if what's said isn't liked by governments or powerful corporations! "Oppenheimer" told people how to destroy cities - yet I see no record of him serving any goal time for the consequences, i.e. the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki .. yet Bradley Manning gets 25 years for telling people about all the bad things the US government is doing.

        (for the literal reader (Spartacus) I'm not proposing Oppenheimer should have been locked up, merely how insane by comparison it is to lock up people for blowing the whistle on governments when they do bad things)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No, but seriously ...

          The whole point of taking out Mr Saddam was to take out a nuisance for one of this neighbours. They currently work on that other nuisance which still insists Arabs have the right of free trade and free travel.

    5. david wilson

      Re: No, but seriously ...

      >>" In which case he's simply exercising what western democracy likes to refer to as "freedom of speech"."

      Free speech isn't some absolute thing, except in the minds of people who think reality should be describable by 'principles' without understanding what 'principles' actually are.

      There's no obvious moral case to justify things like me being able to lie about things in public, or to publish all the details of your private life irrespective of how I obtained them, or to publish stolen designs for the next nuclear submarine and claiming 'freedom of speech' as an unarguable defence - it's clear that it's not an absolute right but a thing considered generally good which has to be balanced against other things on a case-by-case basis, even if such balancing often isn't hard to do.

      Which, of course, means that it would be daft to use 'free speech' in the way that some people try and use 'principles' - as a defence against any further thought or argument.

      >>"I would like to know why we're still trying (10 years on) to deport the European head al Al Queda yet our beloved British government has Assange trapped inside an Embassy and threatens to deport him the second he steps over the threshold. I'd say it's outrageous, but it's not, it goes way beyond outrageous, it's simply frightening."

      Both seem to be cases of the government operating within the law, rather than behaving in the way that conspiracy theorists would seem to think they would wish to.

      If you remember, Assange went through a whole legal process designed to protect the rights of accused people before he ran away from the result when he eventually exhausted all his legal options.

      If there was usable evidence that Abu Qatada was actually more than a sympathiser and spiritual encourager of extremists, and that he had actively helped organise terror attacks in Europe, he would be unlikely to have been on house arrest awaiting extradition changes.

      Possibly he *is* guilty of serious criminal activities in the UK, but if he can't be proved guilty, he can't get sentenced for it.

      >>"Who's next? Just how far out of line do you have to step before the powers that be decide you're toast?"

      The seemingly somewhat power-limited powers that be, who cruelly and oppressively let Assange out on bail even when he had no more case left to argue, rather than immediately sending him back to certain death in Sweden?

      >>"For many years I thought Google were great, but..."

      Personally, I try not to get emotionally invested in companies based on their own publicity or on what I'd like to believe - it does seem to be inviting disappointment.

      >>"How about HMRC gets it's head out of it's arse and sends Google a tax bill for the amount of tax it "should" have paid for the last <n> years, plus interest, plus a fine, and see how Google respond."

      There's a difference between avoidance and evasion.

      If/when there is sufficient evidence of illegal activity rather than just morally dubious activity, then maybe HMRC will do something.

      But whether they do it or not is not likely to be much influenced by what I demand, especially since politicians are already well aware of the likely public feeling on the issue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, but seriously ...

        And again you confirm the point that we do not have "Freedom of speech". We're allowed to say what the government allows us to say, and that is called "Freedom of speech". This however is *not* freedom of of speech, which was the point I was trying to make.

        Your argument "we have it, but you don't understand what it is" holds no water. Ignore the phrase for the moment, "we are not free to express our thoughts without potential persecution from our government". You would obviously agree with this as it's the argument you've posed. How can you possibly follow this statement with "but we have freedom of speech" ???

        As it stands we have people (you for example) who would preside over what they think constitutes free speech based on their own morales, principles and guidelines.

        How can you possibly associate the term "Freedom of speech" with this situation without confusing people?

        People simply do not have freedom of speech in the same way that there is no such thing unalienable human rights. The only rights you have are the rights other people allow you, and the only freedom you have with regards to speech are the rights others allow you.

        >Both seem to be cases of the government operating within the law

        So what you're saying is that that "law" would allow someone you think "possibly is guilty of serious criminal activities" to evade extradition for 10 YEARS, cost the taxpayer £1.7M in legal fees and a few grand a month in benefits .. but that same "law" will extradite someone for questioning as soon as they can get their hands on him when it knows full well there's a far bigger picture and there is a strong possibility that he's done nothing wrong"? And I'd be right in thinking in that it's the government that makes these laws? Yes? That's your argument? I know that technically your argument is quite accurate, but this is all a part of the same problem. Government, rules and the public perception of right and wrong, they're all at odds.

        HMRC have the power to go to lunch with the CFO of a large organisation and agree verbally how much tax they are going to pay for the year. We know this, it's talked about in TV news programs all the time.

        Are you telling me now that it is beyond HMRC to approach Google and for them to say "we've assessed your income and the amount of business we think you've done in the UK, and this is the amount of tax we would like you to pay" ???

        1. david wilson

          Re: No, but seriously ...

          >> ">Both seem to be cases of the government operating within the law"

          >>"So what you're saying is that that "law" would allow someone you think "possibly is guilty of serious criminal activities" to evade extradition for 10 YEARS, cost the taxpayer £1.7M in legal fees and a few grand a month in benefits .. but that same "law" will extradite someone for questioning as soon as they can get their hands on him when it knows full well there's a far bigger picture and there is a strong possibility that he's done nothing wrong"?"

          If you were actually concerned about human rights as absolute things, rather than things which are more important when it comes to people you like, then:

          a) Why should you bemoan the principles in the first case, where despite the government being keen to get rid of someone, extradition was refused because the courts ruled that a fair trial could not be relied on.

          You could, as many people would, question whether a resolution should have been obtainable earlier, but that's not an issue of principle.

          Obviously to deny someone benefits which they were legally entitled to simply because they were unpopular would be a rather tricky situation for someone concerned with 'rights'.

          b) You're grossly (deliberately or ignorantly) misrepresenting the Assange situation - he had a long and very public legal process here, during which his legal arguments were repeatedly found not to justify refusal of the arrest warrant, and during which his Swedish lawyer was effectively accused by judges of lying, and one of his UK lawyers got close to (if not beyond) unprofessional behaviour.

          To what extent *should* a court take into account an alleged 'bigger picture' of conspiracy, including things like dubious claims regarding extradition to the USA being somehow rather easier from Sweden than from the UK?

          That is, compared to any random citizen, how much more serious or more undeniable should allegations have to be when they relate to someone who has made enemies in order for that person to qualify for extradition for investigation or trial?

          >>"Are you telling me now that it is beyond HMRC to approach Google and for them to say "we've assessed your income and the amount of business we think you've done in the UK, and this is the amount of tax we would like you to pay" ???"

          No.

          But I am saying that there's a huge difference between doing that and declaring them guilty of breaking the law and *fining* them before all the relevant evidence is collected, which seemed to be what you were asking for.

          I'd certainly agree that something should have been done sooner, but in a situation where it hadn't been, I'd not leap from that to demanding some particular thing was done right now if it might make sense to do something less precipitate in the future.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, but seriously ...

      >I would like to know why we're still trying (10 years on) to deport the European head al Al Queda yet our beloved British government has Assange trapped inside an Embassy and threatens to deport him the second he steps over the threshold.

      I'm going to pretend that this isn't a facetious question.

      Because Sweden is part of the European Arrest Warrant and Jordan isn't. The EAW basically replaces extradition with a system of surrender: i.e. you're a decent country so if you want them, you can have them. It's as if you got arrested in Lancashire for a crime alleged in London: in that scenario the Lancashire cops wouldn't ask the Met loads of questions about why the guy was going and would he get a fair trial.

      Furthermore, Sweden has a much better human rights record than Jordan (probably better than that of the UK). If the Americans wanted me, I'd rather go to Sweden than stick around in the UK- which begs the question of quite how afraid of the yanks he actually is.

      Also Qatada hasn't been proven to be the head of Al Q in Europe (and I'm not sure anyone has ever accused him of that). That's why he needs to go on trial. The fact that the UK Gov spent millions trying to deport him without even putting in the basic safeguards for his fair trial that the Court asked them to rather than trying him over here says more about their own bull-headedness than it does about grand conspiracies. If they were so sure he was so dangerous, why couldn't they prove it in the English Court (when it comes down to it there's really very little evidence you can exclude)?

  16. NomNomNom

    "What had happened was that the Google guys - who are really kind of State Department guys - came and paid an unofficial State Department visit to Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks crew, while I was under house arrest, then went back and reported that information at the highest level"

    Clever. If he keeps talking about himself in the third person the authorities might think he is someone else. Then he can just swagger out of the Ecuadorian embassy unaccosted.

    A while back for a laugh I devised a few mission-impossible style "foolproof" plans to bust Assange out. Although I understand they have more than a couple of policemen/women outside the door. I can't imagine they really care about capturing him, but someone probably thinks it would be EMBARRASSING if he escaped. Embarrassing enough to put surveillance all around the area. Then again the Ecuadorian embassy would be quite embarrassed I imagine if he snuck out and everyone thought they were involved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Yeah, offending the Empire and the Imperator must be punished ! To hell with the cost, we need Exemplary Punishment !

  17. breakfast
    Trollface

    Please be quiet Malfoy

    Assange is mostly worried that if he leaves the Equadorian embassy the Dementors will seize him and drag him back to Azkaban.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please be quiet Malfoy

      Yours is the seventh impossible thing that I have read today.

  18. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Right idea, wrong way round

    It's not that Google or any other multi-national superpower is in thrall with the american government. Rather that the USA-ian government is there primarily to enable the mega-corps and provide them with a nice, safe, profitable, legally friendly environment.

    Although companies don't get to vote for which individual gets to sit in the big chair, that's the smallest part of "democracy" so far as they are concerned. Their influence is much more under-the-table and since money speaks all languages, their influence is omnipresent and non-partisan.

    Just because you only see the puppet, that doesn't mean there isn't someone with their hand up it's bum.

  19. Anomalous Cowshed

    If the government is executive + legislative + judiciary, then Google isn't a part of the US government at all.

    If however government is the apparent vector which results from resolving all the powers and interests in a given country, then Google is a big part of the US and other governments. However, by this measure, Mr. Assange, on account of his fame and influence alone, is also a part of the "government".

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Julian

    That thing behind you that's rapidly fading off into the distance.

    That's your relevance.

  21. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Bored of him now

    I shall shortly be posting a Chrome extension that changes the term "Julian Assange" into "Lady bothering Ecuadorian couch surfer" on any web page you visit.

    You're welcome.

  22. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    "Who won the person of the year?"

    Aw, don't cry, Julie, you're a shoe-in for Biggest Egotistical Dickhead Of The Year!

  23. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  24. Dr U Mour

    It's a shill wind...

    As pointed out by several other commentards, there seems to be a lot of blustering from pro establishment posters, seems something has put the wind up them!

    1. david wilson

      Re: It's a shill wind...

      I suspect if there are any shills, they may be the ones acting like extremist fanbois, posting stuff that's factually complete bollocks to try and make genuine supporters of Assange look bad by association.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the philosophy, stupid.

    Does anyone believe that George W. Bush could have come up with the software necessary to do the job that the NSA requires? No? How about Barack Obama? Any takers? If so, I have a very nice bridge in New Orleans for sale. It is the spitting image of the Brooklyn Bridge--rust and all. I am not a fan of Julian Assange, nor am I a fan of our beknighted government. Our governments are made up of perfect blackguards like Eric Schmidt et al. It is not the people in the public eye that we need to worry about. It is the people on the periphery like Hillary Clinton's intimate advisor, Huma Abedin, that we should be wary of. The world is going to hell in a hand basket carried by our elected sociopaths such as Dick Cheyney, not the hapless boobs who are only nominally in charge.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So much hate, anyone would think he's a hipster. He forfeit his personal security and freedom (even before the Embassy saga) for his entire life to expose wrongdoing and gets vilified here for it. It takes a lot of balls to do what he has done, I have no doubt that his detractors here would have been too cowardly and selfish to have done it themselves.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Book code???

    If you thought google just wanted to cash in on thre google books project think what every book in the world digitised would do to one of the few secure ways of communicating.

    1. david wilson

      Re: Book code???

      >>"If you thought google just wanted to cash in on thre google books project think what every book in the world digitised would do to one of the few secure ways of communicating."

      Very little, I would have thought, given that it would seem trivial for people who'd arranged (via some secure channel) to arrange to use one or more books to also have securely arranged any one of a vast number of possible ways of encrypting the numbers they used to communicate.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So smears work

    The fact that so many commentators are saying that they disregard whatever Assange because he's a rapist and evader from justice proves that allegations like this work. Now he may be guilty, but he still may be right as well, these are not mutually exclusive statements. Even nutters can be right some of the time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So smears work

      The fact that so many commentators are saying that they disregard whatever Assange because he's a rapist and evader from justice proves that allegations like this work

      The problem is that they're no longer "allegations". He skipped bail: fact. He is wanted for questioning and a now thoroughly validated arrest warrant is outstanding for him; fact. Assange on his own has caused more damage to WikiLeaks than any concerted US smear campaign would have ever managed. You could call him the insider threat, but that could scare Ecuadorian embassy staff (and is an awful pun on the Swedish events :) ).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "they're no longer allegations"

        You are incorrect. The fact that the relevant law enforcement has failed to detain the individual does not de facto make him guilty.

        They are still allegations and he is still wanted for questioning, nothing more.

        He has not been tried in his absence and found guilty nor acquitted. An arrest warrant is wholly appropriate for a suspect wanted for questioning and does not imply that the process has advanced or changed in any way.

        You see, in the legal systems of civilised states we're supposed to have this concept of 'innocent until proven guilty'.

        1. Scorchio!!
          FAIL

          Re: "they're no longer allegations"

          "You are incorrect. The fact that the relevant law enforcement has failed to detain the individual does not de facto make him guilty."

          You did not respond to the original passage, which ran thus:

          "The problem is that they're no longer "allegations". He skipped bail: fact."

          He did indeed skip bail, he did so, not merely in front of some 60 million (give or take a toddler and case of dementia or two) people, but in front of the world; Julie is guilty of jumping bail, and this is not an allegation.

          What we now have is a convict - convicted on 17 counts of 'hacking' in Australia, which includes 'hacking' the Australian police force responsible for investigating his infractions - who is a bail jumper; before jumping bail he fled Sweden after the police there had spoken to his legal counsel advising him they wished to interview Assange prior to charging him (unless he could provide material to satisfy them the allegations were false; do not this is standard Swedish CJS procedure) and, very shortly after this telephone call (about which said legal counsel's bar expressed a wish to speak to said counsel) Assange fled Sweden and reappeared in the UK; not long after the Swedish CJS obtained an EAW Assange flitted to the Ecuadoran embassy.

          My, my, what an interesting chain of fleeing.

          It would seem that only Assange is right, and everyone else is wrong; even the publishers who gave him a substantial advance on a book to be published were wrong when they went ahead, tho' St Julie has yet to return the money; even the Grauniad were wrong, and the data 'belonged' to Julie, and of course Julie's salary and the request for one million (dollars I think) for an interview about his book smell only of roses.

          No, no, Julie is innocent; society is to be blamed here. Julie did not break UK law and skip bail, he travelled to Ecuador and sought asylum.

          I feel a sense of deja vu coming over me again; once someone 'snapped' at me in these fora that Julie is not a convict, whereat I acquainted her with his 17 counts; now I hear people say this is a matter of mere allegation, that Julie has not in the current round again broken a law, but this is not so; Julie has broken UK bail law and he is again a criminal.

          Pah. When will people wake up to the fact that Julie is in the nude, I ask rhetorically. How disingenuous, how typical of Julie supporters.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "they're no longer allegations"

            The fact that he is guilty of skipping bail does not change the status of the other allegations.

            Which are still allegations until a trial finds either way.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Anonymous Cowbrain Re: "they're no longer allegations"

              "The fact that he is guilty of skipping bail does not change the status of the other allegations....." Correct, but it is quite obvious from Julie's desperate attempts to avoid going to face charges in Sweden that he does not rate his chances of being cleared, ergo it is quite reasonable to suggest he is more than likely a guilty, lying, sex offender, as well as being a previously convicted criminal in Australia and a bail-jumping felon in the UK. I would like to pretend I'm sorry if those simple truths causes you pain.

              ".....Which are still allegations until a trial finds either way." Seeing as A$$nut is doing his damnedest to avoid facing the courts, it would seem he is happy to remain an accused sex criminal. Hopefully this means he will end up on some register for suspected sex offenders, further limiting his ability to travel should he ever escape the Ecuadoran Embassy. Enjoy!

            2. Scorchio!!
              FAIL

              Re: "they're no longer allegations"

              "The fact that he is guilty of skipping bail does not change the status of the other allegations.

              Which are still allegations until a trial finds either way."

              Perhaps so but, had you not noticed, his bail skipping and before that fleeing the prior jurisdiction all have to do with the status of the other allegations!

              Add to that the fact that this man has been convicted on 17 counts, fathered a child by a 16 year old girl, and his behaviour on public record in respect of women (the journalist's woman friend whom he 'snatched', subsequently raising his fists in mock pugilism to the journalist, in public), his attitude to informants in Afghanistan whose only offence was to give away the locations of mines which they very understandably wanted removed [...], add to that the way he took the massive advance from a publisher and then walked away from the process of publication, even saying that they had no right to publish (they are trying to recoup the loss of course), his attitude over the Guardian's publication of files which he regarded as 'his', doubtless because the data contained in them would have formed the basis of his proposed paywall (about which I have heard no more), the massive £80,000 salary, the crude attempt to extract a million (dollars I believe) from an American publication for an interview about the forthcoming film, the break by Domscheid-Berg on grounds of Assange's behaviour and the way that Wikileaks was being run...

              ...as you can see, there is considerable evidence to show that this disreputable man is not to be trusted and, given that he fled from a jurisdiction where he was to be charged for rape (shortly after contact with his legal counsel who knew of this intention to charge him, a legal counsel who denied contact with the Swedish police until forced to cough up in a UK court)...

              ...yes, all in all the fluffy cushion of smoke and mirrors is beginning to deflate; a Swedish counsel would appear to have upset his bar counsel, a lot of people who stood him bail are quite a few spons the lighter.

              Come on, do you really think the slender thread that you are holding is anything but that? Do you think the rest of us are mugs too? Git outta here.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "they're no longer allegations"

                All of the things you say are well and good, and you are entitled to your opinion.

                I'm not Assange's biggest fan and I'll admit the circumstances don't look particularly favourable. But all of that reasoning you put forward is, when put in black and white, circumstantial.

                The bottom line is that the man is innocent until proven guilty, regardless of your opinion. I would fight to the death to defend this principle, because when we forget it we will be truly lost.

    2. david wilson

      Re: So smears work

      >>"The fact that so many commentators are saying that they disregard whatever Assange because he's a rapist and evader from justice proves that allegations like this work."

      If Assange was actually someone putting forward a meaningful argument, that might have more traction.

      But he doesn't seem to have been much more than a publisher.

      I haven't seen anyone arguing anything like

      'Assange is a suspected sex offender, which means the videos/documents on Wikileaks are fake'.

      or

      'I used to believe in freedom of information, but now I've changed my mind.'

      I think a fair few people simply didn't think he was particularly special before, and now they think he's a not particularly special person hiding from a sexual assault investigation.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Julian Assange != Hacker

    He's just another 'new media' big idea personality.

  31. nuked
    Holmes

    Global companies with lots of capital and overwhelming power, get a bit too close to global capitalist governments.

    In other news, Pope found to be Catholic.

    And I don't necessarily have a problem with it. Without such synergies at the very highest levels, you would be in the insane position where governments don't really matter at all, as people outside of government have accumulated all the wealth and control over the worlds economies and infrastructure.

    Oh. wait....

    1. david wilson

      Permanent guest?

      And now he's claiming that he'll stay in the Ecuadorian embassy even if Sweden drops all charges, since he doesn't trust the UK government to prevent his potential extradition to the USA.

      In which case, why the hell did the dick come here in the first place?

      He took a gamble on the UK actually wanting to give him the special treatment he thinks someone like him deserves, and he lost.

      Now he wants the UK government to ignore that he's a fugitive from justice, and give precedence to his later acquisition of asylum.

      It's one thing to apply for asylum at the first opportunity, saying you're fleeing from persecution, which seems, for example, to be what normal people who come to the UK from places where their lives really are threatened are required to do.

      It's another to apply for it when you've exhausted your legitimate legal remedies and wasted large amounts of the country's money (and your misguided friends' money) on a process which, like a spoiled brat, you were only ever going to accept as legitimate if it came up with the result you wanted.

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