Saturday, December 11, 2010

America Lacks Jurisdiction Over Julian Assange

If the US government succeeds in its attempts to prosecute Julian Assange over the Wikileaks disclosures, it's game over for American freedom. Even the Soviets at their most vile never claimed jurisdiction over every person on the planet.

What can a concerned American citizen do about her government's misbehavior? I'm reduced to hoping the governments of Sweden and Britian grow some balls, or at least bone up on modern history enough to figure out "The Cold War's been over a generation and more, Communist domination is no longer a threat, and our national security no longer requires us to grovel cravenly at America's feet."

Not that I'm holding my breath. It's possible Assange violated some Swedish sex law on Swedish soil, though the details sound a tad fishy; if it's true, he's liable to face whatever penalties Swedish authorities usually mete out, possibly involving time in a Swedish prison.

America has no legitimate involvement in any of this, and no legitimate right to prosecute Assange for his Wikileaks disclosures -- Assange is not a US citizen, never swore any oaths to keep US government secrets, and is not subject to American jurisdiction when he's in Europe or Australia or wherever.

If my government really hates the thought of sex crimes committed against innocents, it should spend less time worrying about Assange and more time focusing on things Assange helped uncover, like the American contractors who procured prepubescent little boys to serve as sex toys at Pashtun warlord parties. Instead, my government is ignoring that to focus on the people who uncovered it.


Anonymous NoStar said...

By that standard, the game was over when the US invaded Panama to arrest Noriega. Noriega's crime was in helping the the CIA fund off-the-books covert operations through drug trafficking.

The real reason he was removed from office and imprisoned is that he answered a reporter's question and admitted he had allowed the CIA planes to refuel in Panama on their way to Nicaragua. He was proud to help his American friends, who quickly turned on him..

10:13 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Maybe the game WAS over then, NoStar, and people like us --white middle-class Americans in the US -- just didn't realize it yet.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Russ 2000 said...

We snatched Muslims out of the fields of Afghanistan and still have lots of 'em locked up in Gitmo - and we don't really know if they even DID anything. If we can grab foreigners for no reason, we can certainly grab them for actual reason.

I mean, I agree we have no jurisdiction over Assange, but we haven't cared about that for 9 years so I see no reason why that would suddenly change in Assange's case. Perhaps I've just written off the USA as just another hopeless kleptocracy a few years earlier than you.

I'm more surprised I haven't heard any official complaints about it from other nations.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As soon as he used the international internet to commit a crime he came under U.S. jurisdiction. Just as someone in Africa perpertrating a fraud over the internet could be tried in the U.S. if captured and extradited so could Assange. However Assange and anyone else who emulates him could simply be shot or tried as a spy or enemy combatant. It is naive to believe he cannot be prosecuted.

3:29 PM  
Blogger WJW said...

More than the scramble to prosecute Assange, I am disturbed by the chilling action against communication that is being advanced. Targeting Assange is in ways natural and predictable, but now we have government employees and soldiers being forbidden to read any of the cables. I'm in a Masters program, and the director of my school sent an email warning any students who ever want to work for the government to avoid reading Wikileaks, as it would automatically disqualify any applicant.

To apply social and economic consequences to people who have had mere exposure to information is something new in my lifetime. I'm not even sure what to call it.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I would call it "insanity." There are, of course, legitimate national security reasons why military or State Department employees with security clearances will/need to know certain things ordinary people do not. But now the government is trying to do the opposite -- forbid its security-clearance employees from access to the same knowledge available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection -- bored red-haired work-at-home copy editors like me, or politically aware 16-year-olds with after-school jobs at McDonald's, now know things which State Department employees are forbidden to know.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Liberty said...

The restriction of communication inside the government is one of Julian's stated goals. This will ultimately weaken government. When the chilling environment spreads to people thinking of joining government, then Julian succeeds beyond measure. Pretty impressive.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got a link to the Pashtun warlord story please Jennifer?

1:01 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Anonymous, I have edited this post to link to a previous post which links to the story about DynCorp's pimping activities.

7:22 AM  

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