Assange Saga Nears its End

For more than three years Julian Assange has been living in Ecuadorean soil in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He is prevented from leaving by a twenty four hour guard maintained outside the Embassy by the Metropolitan Police at a cost to Londoners of millions of pounds. He has been ordered by the English Courts to go to Sweden where he will be questioned about sexual assault allegations but Mr Assange does not trust Sweden; he fears that if he leaves the Embassy he will be taken to Sweden and thence to the United States where after a trial will be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a Federal prison for having been party to leaking information about what probably amounts to war crimes by the United States in the course of its conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. He thinks that the sexual assault allegations are simply a device to get him to the USA. Continue reading

The Magic Number of Mr Assange

Julian Assange has now spent 777 days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. For every one of those 77 days the British Police have maintained a guard over Mr Assange’ s tiny piece of sanctuary on theoretically Ecuadorian soil in London, just in case he skips out of the country and thus avoids his required appointment with the Swedish police who want to question him about allegations of sexual misconduct. I do not know whether the Swedish Police are frightened of flying, or whether they are simply too proud to fly to see Mr Assange, but they have refused to interview him in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and so the British Police have maintained a guard which has cost the taxpayers of these islands £8 million so far.

777 is a magic number. It is a long time to spend in virtual house arrest, but Mr Assange fears that should he go to Sweden and answer the questions, not that he would face trial in Sweden but that he would be rendered to the United States where the authorities would gladly put him in prison and throw away the key (after due process of course) for having embarrassed the great government of the United States with publications of secret and disgraceful documents and videos on Wiki-leaks.

Virtually everyone agrees that the British taxpayer should not have to pay to guard Mr Assange. The Swedes could pay, but won’t, just as they could travel to interview Mr Assange but they won’t.

Having maintained a guard to prevent Mr Assange’s escape for 777 days, the British authorities would lose a considerable amount of face if they stopped the guard today. Authority hates to lose face and will not do it, as long as there are taxes in the kitty which can prevent a loss of face.

The best solution that I can see is that Mr Assange should leave for Ecuador and the British Police should let him. They can stage some mishap or cock up which would prevent the drain on our taxes, which could no doubt be used for better things. Whether, should this drain be stopped, the taxes would be used for better things is an entirely different quest.

A muddled flawed and a very lonesome hero

I suppose that it was to be expected. Bradley Wiggins, having been convicted of various offences connected with leaking documents and embarrassing the United States of America has been sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. He will received credit for the time that he has already spent in prison and a further 116 days credit for being confined in conditions that no human should experience during confinement in a judicial system of a democratic country. Continue reading

Shooting the Messenger

The trial of Bradley Manning has opened. He has been imprisoned for three years awaiting trial. It is hard to understand why it has taken so long to bring on the court martial proceedings. Mr Manning has pleaded guilty to less than half the 22 charges laid; I do not understand, from a legal viewpoint, why there are so many charges – perhaps the prosecutors have done this to emphasise the guilt of the person they have accused; it is an old prosecutorial trick, to increase the apparent gravity of the charges by throwing in every conceivable charge as well as a few inconceivable ones of their own. You should always be suspicious when so many charges are laid; they are likely to be duplicitous and brought in volume to prejudice the defendant and for no other reason.

Many of the charges are extremely serious. According to the the prosecution Mr Manning’s disclosure of documents and videos about the cowardly way in which the home of the brave conducted the Iraq, threatened the safety of the soldiers of the land of the free and probably for all we know lost the Iraq propaganda war for the Allies. My feelings is that at worse Mr manning should be charged with causing embarrassment to the United States; releasing a video of soldiers gloating over a helicopter attack which killed people including a child, must have been terribly embarrassing.

It is odd but normal that a person who exposes evil is always dealt with more harshly than those who created the evil; Mr Bush and Mr Blair would be more appropriate targets for prosecution over the Iraq war than Mr Manning, but society has always shown a propensity for shooting the messenger.

 

Have you got FinFisher on Your Server or Smartphone?

I have never understood why spyware which installs upon your computer and spies on you is called “Trojans”. The inhabitants of Troy suffered when they brought a wooden horse built by the Greeks into their walled city, which had concealed within it enough Greeks to destroy the city of Troy. The Trojans were the victims and the wooden horse was the device of their destruction. Spyware should be named after the wooden horse, not after those who suffered the results of the device, but that is just one of the ignorances of humanity that subsist in the information technology sector. Continue reading

Hidden in Plain Sight

If you are stuck in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in a small room you must be short of things to do. Mr Assange has relieved his boredom but releasing into the public domain nearly one and a quarter million US intelligence and diplomatic reports which were made in the 1970s, apparently in a searchable form on Wikileaks. These documents are already in the public domain at the US National Archives, but releasing them in a way that they can all be searched and accessed, according to subject matter, may well mean that people will be able to find out things which were previously hidden in plain sight.