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Archive for December 18th, 2010

The United States appears to have a few ‘issues’ with judicial systems that do not fall within their control.

WikiLeaks cables lay bare US hostility to international criminal court

Guardian: US embassy dispatches reveal American preoccupation with discerning court’s views on Iraq

The international criminal court has proved one of the most controversial international institutions since its creation in 2002, drawing fire from some for its exclusive focus on Africa, and accused by others of pursuing the policy objectives of America and Europe. But America has also been hostile to the court, refusing to join it for fear its own citizens could be put on trial for war crimes.

US criticises court that may decide on Julian Assange extradition, WikiLeaks cables show

Guardian: Leaked dispatches reveal diplomats’ disdain for Council of Europe’s stance against extraditions to US and secret renditions

US officials regard European human rights standards as an “irritant”, secret cables show, and have strongly objected to the safeguards which could protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from extradition. In a confidential cable from the US embassy in Strasbourg, US consul general Vincent Carver criticised the Council of Europe, the most authoritative human-rights body for European countries, for its stance against extraditions to America, as well as secret renditions and prisons used to hold terrorist suspects.

And these posts may be of interest to you…

Joe Biden v. Joe Biden on WikiLeaks

Glenn Greenwald from Salon.com

It’s really not an overstatement to say that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the new Iraqi WMDs because the government and establishment media are jointly manufacturing and disseminating an endless stream of fear-mongering falsehoods designed to depict them as scary villains threatening the security of The American People and who must therefore be stopped at any cost……..

Assange begins mansion arrest, but his ‘source’ feels the heat

The Independent: Bradley Manning spent yesterday, his birthday, alone in a tiny, bare prison cell, without a pillow or sheets on his bed, in weak health and wracked with anxiety at the prospect of a prison sentence of 52 years.

The young American soldier has faded into the background as international ructions continue over the hundreds of thousands of pieces of classified material from the US government that he is supposed to have supplied to WikiLeaks.

Now the fate of the whistleblowing website’s founder, Julian Assange, who has very much held the centre-stage, lies in the hands of the 23-year-old former army intelligence analyst.

Yesterday US sources revealed that prosecutors are awaiting a decision from the American Attorney-General, Eric Holder, on what form of plea bargaining they should offer to Manning in return for him incriminating Mr Assange as a fellow conspirator in disseminating the classified information.

Officials at the US Justice Department, who are under acute pressure to prosecute, privately acknowledge that a conviction against Mr Assange would be extremely difficult if he was simply the passive recipient of the material disseminated by Private Manning. Any evidence that he had actively facilitated the leak, however, would make extradition and a successful case much more feasible.

A typical day for PFC Manning

The US lawyer representing (? – I saw a twitter reference to this) Bradley Manning writes on his blog today…

PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch. 

His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet……

Wikileaks and Freedom of Speech: Can self regulation work?

LSE Media Policy Project Blog: Mark Stephens is right when he says that the current controversy around Wikileaks marks a key moment in the evolution of media responsibility and freedom. Legal matters – starting with the extradition hearing of Julian Assange this week – will move rather quickly even though it is going to take some time to work through the broader implications. Stephens says that the case engages article 10 of the European Convention – the right to free speech – but it remains to be seen how and if such a freedom could be invoked in Assange’s defence. Ultimately, there will be a question of balancing Assange’s speech rights (along with our right to know) and the rights of others such as citizens and soldiers that may have been endangered.
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I write from The Staterooms in #ICEAGE Battersea Square….

A glacier is moving slowly down Vicarage Crescent towards The Square and I have not seen snow like this since the early 1960s when I was a kid. The snow is white, cold and it has a satisfying feel to it when rolled into a ball which can then be lobbed, in meaningless protest, at passing Ferraris and Bentleys reduced, humiliatingly, to doing a very cautious 5 mph.  I do love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.  I neither confirm nor deny that I lobbed aforementioned snowball nor, indeed, do I admit to even having such a projectile about my person at any time.

I took the view that as I was unable to travel anywhere – save to Mazar, my local caff of choice, and unable, therefore, to do ANY Christmas shopping, I would send a picture of a wrapped Christmas present nicked from Google images to potential recipients by email.   I spent a few moments on Twitter marvelling at the #UKuncut protest tweets in my twitter timeline.  Apparently these brave foot soldiers of the modern era were able to generate a great deal of public support for their CUTS cause by farking up the busiest shopping day before Christmas.

I understand that the main focus of these #UKuncut protesters was the fact that large companies have been able to structure their tax affairs within the laws of England & Wales in such a manner as to minimise their tax liability. As I took a draught of the drink of the gods,  I wondered if the #UKuncut protesters would try to break in to H M Revenue & Customs to declare their support for taxation by filing their tax returns early.  I have seen nothing on the News to suggest that such a protest occurred.

This tweet, being a smoker, did amuse….

Non smokers… how can you live with yourselves… avoiding all that tax and living to absurd ages and putting pressure on dwindling Government pension resources?

Tomorrow is another day… and there may be more SNOW… and the Battersea Square glacier may have moved across the bridge to Chelsea.  I am only sorry that The Thames has not frozen.  It would have been fun to amuse the Archbishop of Canterbury by tap dancing on the river opposite Lambeth Palace.. but there we are… perhaps after Christmas?

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