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Published on October 11th, 2012 | by Nick Doyle
Image © I have a fascination with Assange and in my previous post I presented a “myth-buster” designed to dispel the reams of content that are produced about him but not anchored in reality.  This post however will focus on what the state of play is in regards to this situation as it has somewhat lost its political attention for the moment. The first thing of note is that £200, 000 pounds of securities has already been seized because Assange skipped bail.  This was widely unreported on as, frankly, who is surprised?  It is an absence of news and rather a natural progression.  What is important though is that those “high-roller” supporter – that have bizarrely formed their own clique group – have launched a legal bid in an effort to recover, or withhold £140,000 of the approximately £300,000 bail securities and sureties.  Their defence, as voiced by Vaughan Smith, is that: ''It is very difficult to see how we could have prevented Mr Assange from seeking political asylum.  'He says he did not tell us of his decision because to do so would have placed us in legal difficulty. We don't see how justice is served by punishing us for having done our best to serve the public interest in this complex and challenging case.' As a layman in legal proceeding this seems borderline laughable.  The question as to whether they knew he would claim asylum is surely a separate point; they promised a sum of money if he did – and now they must.  The Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said he accepted that the sureties had acted in good faith but ruled that each of them had to pay part of the sum originally pledged. My personal view of this is that it is part and parcel of an individual who seems reluctant to clear his name whist simultaneously preaching about transparency.  Perhaps this view is being shared by one of Assange’s more recognisable followers Jemima Kahn as she tweeted: “I personally would like to see Assange confront the rape allegations in Sweden and the two  women at the centre have a right  to a response.” As if this mini saga was not interesting enough last Sunday Australian TV aired a telemovie entitled Underground which essentially sought to portray Assange’s early life in Aus.   It has received wide acclaim from critics and disdain from those involved, namely Ken Day, former head of the Australian Federal Police computer crime team – who charged Assange in 1996.  You may well expect a sort of bitter resentment to come through from an individual who pursued Assange only to have to exact a fine on what, by law, was deemed criminal behaviour.  Instead the tone was more clear-headed: “This movie was promoted as being a true story — clearly it is not.” In particular the dispute centres around an interview Assange gave which claimed he has hacked into Milnet (a US security organisation) for two years; "The facts are that the AFP found no evidence of any such event.  We had intercepts on his telephone lines so we captured everything he did on his computer. We also captured all his verbal communications on the telephone. On top of this we gathered all of the evidence from his house." The debate will continue, the director, Robert Connely states instead that: "It is a work of fiction inspired by fact, but Assange was definitely inside Milnet and trying to make sense of what he could see in there, as in the film.” Although a title card at the beginning of the film indicates that some aspects of the story may have been "modified or created for dramatic purposes", Connolly said the Milnet incident is not among them. Ken Day simply responds by stating the personal trouble this may cause Assange as a result: "If the [unauthorised access to Milnet] did take place at a different time — for example, prior to the AFP commencing the investigation — Assange may still be liable to prosecution for that act — if it can be proved," As if this were not enough on Monday Assange’s lawyer called a “defamation case” against the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  This has widely been seen as a publicity stunt as the claims are many years old and defamation cases, more often than not, have to be filled relatively swiftly.  My personal opinion is that Assange knows this, as his lawyer does, but since publicity is low and the eye of the world (and certainly the British press) has gotten bored with this story, there is a need to beat the publicity drum and reawaken the public interest. Why else, I ask you, would he have dined with Lady Gaga?

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Assange – The story gets stranger and stranger

I have a fascination with Assange and in my previous post I presented a “myth-buster” designed to dispel the reams of content that are produced about him but not anchored in reality.  This post however will focus on what the state of play is in regards to this situation as it has somewhat lost its political attention for the moment.

The first thing of note is that £200, 000 pounds of securities has already been seized because Assange skipped bail.  This was widely unreported on as, frankly, who is surprised?  It is an absence of news and rather a natural progression.  What is important though is that those “high-roller” supporter – that have bizarrely formed their own clique group – have launched a legal bid in an effort to recover, or withhold £140,000 of the approximately £300,000 bail securities and sureties.  Their defence, as voiced by Vaughan Smith, is that: ”It is very difficult to see how we could have prevented Mr Assange from seeking political asylum.  ‘He says he did not tell us of his decision because to do so would have placed us in legal difficulty. We don’t see how justice is served by punishing us for having done our best to serve the public interest in this complex and challenging case.’

As a layman in legal proceeding this seems borderline laughable.  The question as to whether they knew he would claim asylum is surely a separate point; they promised a sum of money if he did – and now they must.  The Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said he accepted that the sureties had acted in good faith but ruled that each of them had to pay part of the sum originally pledged.

My personal view of this is that it is part and parcel of an individual who seems reluctant to clear his name whist simultaneously preaching about transparency.  Perhaps this view is being shared by one of Assange’s more recognisable followers Jemima Kahn as she tweeted:

“I personally would like to see Assange confront the rape allegations in Sweden and the two  women at the centre have a right  to a response.”

As if this mini saga was not interesting enough last Sunday Australian TV aired a telemovie entitled Underground which essentially sought to portray Assange’s early life in Aus.   It has received wide acclaim from critics and disdain from those involved, namely Ken Day, former head of the Australian Federal Police computer crime team – who charged Assange in 1996.  You may well expect a sort of bitter resentment to come through from an individual who pursued Assange only to have to exact a fine on what, by law, was deemed criminal behaviour.  Instead the tone was more clear-headed:

“This movie was promoted as being a true story — clearly it is not.”

In particular the dispute centres around an interview Assange gave which claimed he has hacked into Milnet (a US security organisation) for two years;

“The facts are that the AFP found no evidence of any such event.  We had intercepts on his telephone lines so we captured everything he did on his computer. We also captured all his verbal communications on the telephone. On top of this we gathered all of the evidence from his house.”

The debate will continue, the director, Robert Connely states instead that:

“It is a work of fiction inspired by fact, but Assange was definitely inside Milnet and trying to make sense of what he could see in there, as in the film.”

Although a title card at the beginning of the film indicates that some aspects of the story may have been “modified or created for dramatic purposes”, Connolly said the Milnet incident is not among them.

Ken Day simply responds by stating the personal trouble this may cause Assange as a result:
“If the [unauthorised access to Milnet] did take place at a different time — for example, prior to the AFP commencing the investigation — Assange may still be liable to prosecution for that act — if it can be proved,”

As if this were not enough on Monday Assange’s lawyer called a “defamation case” against the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  This has widely been seen as a publicity stunt as the claims are many years old and defamation cases, more often than not, have to be filled relatively swiftly.  My personal opinion is that Assange knows this, as his lawyer does, but since publicity is low and the eye of the world (and certainly the British press) has gotten bored with this story, there is a need to beat the publicity drum and reawaken the public interest.

Why else, I ask you, would he have dined with Lady Gaga?

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