December 12, 2010

Stop it already: David Hicks is no Julian Assange

We humans have the gift of language, yet too often we demonstrate embarrassingly stunted conceptual skills, such as when everything else must quickly be compared to something else with which we have a passing familiarty.

It's exactly like when film reviews insist on helping us make a decision, as if we are imbeciles or five years old:  "if you like Film A you will like Film B" - even if the films have nothing more in common than being made in Hollywood. 

Even some of the best minds publicly jumping to the defence of Julian Assange have dragged out the "like David Hicks" analogy.
The two cases are not fungible. Not in action or intent, moral or political context, nor legal circumstance.

Goodness knows the two individuals are sitting at extremes from each other no matter the linear scale you'd like to nominate.

You need to scratch around to invent any scrap of comparability.  Assange and Wikileaks would be best served if people move on from the analogy.  Quickly!


  1. Anonymous12:47 PM

    According to the Fairfax Press charges are on the way and that it looks like the Yanks will be charging JA under the Espionage Act 1917 - a nasty attack on free speech initially designed (by doofus Woodrow Wilson)to silence massive oposition to WW1 by the American people at large.

    It is also of historical note that such legislation was also accompanied by the world's first nationally co-ordinated propaganda campaign - designed by Sigmunn Freud's nephew Edward Bernays to convince the punters that the crouts were baby-eating fanatics etc.etc.etc. - it worked and Woodrow got his war.

    "Bernays and journalistic giant Walter Lippman came to Woodrow Wilson’s aid in 1917 to reverse negative public sentiment about war. These two behind-the-curtain wizards were indispensable in helping the president whip gun-shy America into an anti-German frenzy to go “over there” for WWI.

    Now, if JA is charged under the US Act does that mean we skips are All American now?

    And if so does my Skippy passport carry any currency whatsoever?


  2. Potential charges under the Espionage Act have been mooted for the last week Justin (see earlier post …). Will all of the collaborative newspapers be charged too, the publishers?

    Wikileaks has specifically published only the material redacted by the MSM journalists. It was a clever strategic shift by JA.

    As for your Skippy passport: apparently not. When we have pollies seriously touting the possibility of cancelling an Australian citizen’s passport, thus leaving that individual stateless, then no your passport is not work a hop or a jump.

  3. Solomon7:42 PM

    Wasn't it Assange who said he feared he'd end up like David Hicks? How many days has our petal been in custody?

  4. Oh, so you're trying to suggest that Assange's total paranoia about his own security has been unfounded during the last decade or so? All that silliness about moving about and living out of a backpack was just a boy's own adventure?

    That's quite sweet.

    You're probably right.

    The way things are panning out, Assange was simply suffering from delusions of grandeur.

    He's got nothing to worry about.

  5. Solomon8:03 PM

    He'll be fine: He's a white collar criminal.

  6. GR shouldn't have interrupted his family hols then.

    Nothing to see here ...

  7. Solomon8:37 PM

    Our poor neuromancer. What is the worst that could happen? He's extinguished, non sine gloria.

  8. Your indifference is noted Sol.

    (Although JA is the on-seller, not the neuromancer, I would have thought.)

  9. JA spent five years fighting not to go to jail for his hacking.

    Clearly learned a thing or two from that: keep his hands clean.

    Having had that many years to contemplate jail, he was clearly a man not very taken with the idea.

  10. Solomon8:44 PM

    I think at this point a trial is the best thing for him. Face his accusers. He will win, too.

  11. The greater paranoia is that he will be extradited, and then handed to the US government, before or after a trial on the tenuous sex assault charges.

    I'm not sure why so many people believe the Swedes will be so accommodating of the American government, but much greater minds than mind believe it.

  12. Solomon8:53 PM

    My only notions of Sweden resemble this:

  13. Solomon8:58 PM

    Though I'm pretty sure British law won't allow a person to be extradited on a mere pretext. If the US wants him they'll have to go through the front door.

  14. Well, their court will base it on the sexual assault charges, not anything else Sol.

    We'll all have to wait to see how the story unfolds.

  15. Solomon6:40 PM

    Also: you can't extradite someone unless there is a corresponding law in each country. If Sweden has loco condom laws not replicated in the UK the likely outcome would be a refusal to extradite.

  16. Clearly not the manner in which the British judge is signaling to date Sol.

    As I've said - and I have far more sense than to try to second guess a court - we'll all be waiting to see how this plays out.

    Fighting the extradition could take up to a year, if not longer. I would be an idiot to suggest potential legal scenarios, strategies and outcomes.

    As you would know, the law as it is written is one thing, how it is practiced is another, and how it's applied is often a mystery even to lawyers and judges.

  17. Solomon9:28 PM

    Case closed then.

    I love you when you dance, when you're free-styling chants..