Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Assange arrested in London

On Saturday, Tom Paine wrote about the charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange:
The most interesting thing about the Wikileaks story is not the information published (was anyone really naieve enough to be surprised?) but the responses of state power everywhere. Totalitarians, kleptocrats, democrats; their angry reactions barely differ. The criminal charges brought against Julian Assange in Sweden, for example, are not so much stitched up as haute couture. All the casual observer will recall is that he was accused of rape. So much for the benevolence of states.
Today, the BBC reports that Assange was arrested and refused bail:
Mr Assange was arrested by appointment at a London police station at 0930 GMT.

Police contacted Mr Stephens on Monday night after receiving a European arrest warrant from the Swedish authorities.

Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, said the Assange case highlighted the dangers of the European arrest warrant.

He said: "I don't know of the quality of the evidence in Mr Assange's case but it does seem that he is involved in political turmoil and intrigue and there are a lot of people keen to shut him up and there is nothing a court in the UK can do to look at the evidence before they extradite him."

Mr Assange is an Australian citizen and his supporters have written an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, asking her to protect him.

Mr Pilger, who appeared in court to support Mr Assange, said Ms Gillard's threat to remove his passport smacked of "totalitarianism".

The charges against Assange are deeply suspicious, but whatever their veracity, it is concerning that British politicians can't be held to account for allowing the extradition. Not our choice, gov.

We've come a long way since the European Economic Community. When will the people rise up and demand a referendum?

I fear that unlike the students who have recently been calling for a revolution, horrified at the prospect of paying for a greater proportion of their own education, the ordinary decent hard-working taxpayer is too busy trying to make ends meet.

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