High Seas wrote:
Wandel - since you're the only legal eagle posting on this page so far I'd like to ask your opinion on this part of the editorial:
How else can you explain
the so-called "poison pill" of documents that
Assange said would be released if he is harmed? Is
it really to protect him? If WikiLeaks is really
supposed to be about public service, why not
release those documents now?
That's an idiotic question on the face of it - WikiLeaks is under no obligation to observe anybody else's timetable. As I understand international law he cannot be extradited from England because he's a Commonwealth citizen; for the same reason he is provided with no consular services.
But if he's sent to Sweden, he can be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges, which can result in a death sentence. Most European countries will not extradite anybody unless they get an assurance from the US that the death penalty will not apply to the accused. Sweden will ask the same.
Even if he were only faced with life imprisonment, not execution, it makes perfect sense to be keeping a little information reserve somewhere. I find this persecution (per-, not only pro-) completely baseless and idiotic as I don't see what law the man has broken in the US. We're acting like hysterical buffoons and it is we, not wikileaks, who are generating all that "anti-Americanism" worldwide.
I don't believe anyone has argued that Assange is obligated to follow anyone else's timetable.
The argument that Diest (F ART) and I have made is that the manner in which WikiLeaks has controlled and manipulated the information in its possession is, at least, incongruous with the notion that it's mission is to serve tranparency by inhibiting the control and manipulation of information.
In fact, I don't believe that was ever Assange's mission and that he has been clear on this point.
It is his belief that manipulating information (with secrecy being only one means of doing so) is an important way for governments to do bad things and retain power.
His intent is to disrupt the ability of governments to use information to its advantage in a way that will bring themselves down.
Anything he can do to ensure that his mission will be successful (including the use of so-called poison pills) makes perfect sense.
If the release of state secrets for the sake of providing the world with The Truth
was actually his mission, then an argument could be made that he is compromising that mission by keeping the "best" or "worst" (depending on your point of view) stuff as a personal insurance policy. But, again, that's not his mission.
I don't know if those who seek to stop him have thought twice because of his warning about the posion pill, but it would be foolish to allow the threat to deter them. If the poison pill does contain the most explosive of cables, then it will be opened, and the bombs will be detonated sooner or later. Assange is not asking that he be simply left alone, he is demanding to be left alone to continue his mission.
If someone is arguing that WikiLeaks is generating anti-American sentiment across the globe I would have to agree with you that their point is not well taken.
I haven't spent any time idependently searching through what WikiLeaks has made available but have relied on the usual news outlets to highlight the "important" ones. So far I've not been impressed with the revelatory strength of WikiLeaks. These cables only reinforce or confirm what most of us have believed for some time, and have already been taken into consideration in terms of our view of America. The extent of anti-Americanism in the world is not being significantly impacted by Assange and WikiLeaks.
I suppose some pro-Americans or neutral observers think less of America because of what they believe the government has done or is doing in terms of responding to WikiLeaks, but much of what is being asserted in this regard is essentially paranoid speculation that comports with pre-existing anti-American sentiment. In any case, we certainly have quite a few partners in this new excursion into perfidy...Sweden is right there with us...Sweden! Can you believe it?!