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Updated: January 8, 2012 15:14 IST

Chomsky, 70 others oppose Assange's extradition

  • Hasan Suroor
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a statement to media gathered outside the High Court in London in this file photo.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a statement to media gathered outside the High Court in London in this file photo.

Leading world figures, including the distinguished American academic Noam Chomsky, British filmmaker Ken Loach and journalist and free speech campaigner John Pilger, have attacked the move to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden as they fear it could be a prelude to him being handed over to the Americans, who want to prosecute him for publishing classified documents.

Sweden is seeking Mr. Assange's extradition over allegations of sexual assault brought by two Swedish women but he has challenged the proceedings and Britain's Supreme Court is to hear his appeal next month.

In a statement on Monday, signed by more than 70 others including the former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, they said: “We are concerned that should Mr. Assange be placed in Swedish custody, he will be subject to the process of ‘temporary surrender' enabling his removal to the United States without the appropriate legal processes that accompany normal extradition cases.”

Arguing that the chances of Mr. Assange receiving a fair trial in the U.S. appeared “remote”, they said: “A number of prominent [U.S.] political figures have called for him to be assassinated, and Joe Biden, the Vice-President, has called him a ‘high-tech terrorist'. Given this atmosphere of hostility, we hold serious concerns about his safety in American custody.”

The signatories pointed out that any prosecution of Mr. Assange in the U.S. would be “on the basis of his activities as a journalist and editor — Mr. Assange's status as such has been recently confirmed by the High Court in England”. “Such a prosecution would be a serious assault on freedom of speech and the need for an unfettered, independent media,” said the statement, published in The Daily Telegraph.

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...If Mr Assange is to release his next hoard, it will destroy Western financial credibility in a single stroke. And that will ruin millions if not billions worldwide financially. I do not agree that rogue banks should be allowed to continue as world leaders, but the de-throning should be gradual, so as to buffer the aftershocks, not in a single stroke. That is why, even though I have great respect for Mr Chomsky as an
academic, I cannot agree with this petition of his.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Dec 22, 2011 at 11:20 IST

Mr Sankar who has commented,does not know how the super powers or the west functions.He is enamored by the superior technology and the plundered wealth of the west.With very little perspective of history and falling for the media justification of the atrocities they commit,people like Mr Sankaran succumb.They collect information about everybody and everything in the world using their technological and military wherewithal but would use it selectively.It is used to bring down world leaders or Govts.Rajiv Gandhi and Natwar Singh are some examples.All talk of Human Rights,democracy and freedom is only till it does not interfere with their agenda.

from:  nasar
Posted on: Dec 21, 2011 at 05:37 IST

You Americans commenting here are believing in your (mostly) pathetic mass media, that follow the U.S government line. For starters, NOT ONE death has been attributed to the leaked cables. Secondly, that LEAK has done much good... It has made people (including millions of Americans) more aware of America's hypercritical nature in its many international conflicts.

from:  George Smmons
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 23:45 IST

Why are so called democratic countries wedded to transparency rattled by the exposure made by Assange? Confidentiality has been used as a convenient tool to mask the belligerence and hypocrisy of the states? If investigative journalists are techno-terrorists, what is the epithet for those who brand all dissidents so to carry on their acts against the interests of real democracy in the world? Assange has called a spade spade for which he has to be honoured but not persecuted by foisting cases and harassed in this manner.Hence, intellectuals like Chomsky have done the right thing.

from:  J.Ravindranath
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 18:33 IST

Today we have witnessed that elected governments are not behaving as democratic and committing war crimes and human rights abuses. Assange is no doubt that he exposed to the world the dark side of the politicians. The failure of politicians, double standard policies and mockery policies have paved the way for the world to suffer. While leaders talk about transparency, they want to hide their illegal, immoral and unethical deals from the public. Shame on these so called leaders!

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 17:58 IST

America is turning into a horror. The thought of Julian Assange finding his way into
the hands of our government is terrifying. Which is probably the message they want
to send to future would-be whistleblowers. Just look at Bradley Manning. Digital-
crimes investigator David Shaver testified there was little indication the cables were

from:  Robert MacEwan
Posted on: Dec 20, 2011 at 02:19 IST

U.S, Sweden and U.K are democratic countries with elected governments following established and universally respected constitutions. It is surprising and sad that certain "intellectuals" are calling for arbitrary and undemocratic override of established rules. This is the way autocracies come into being, how dictators suspend the rule of the land and establish their own "laws".
This demand has to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. Mr.Assange has to face the consequence of his actions. There is no country in the world, including our own India, where leaking of classified documents about our military, endangering the troops are allowed or encouraged.

from:  Sankar
Posted on: Dec 19, 2011 at 22:42 IST
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