Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment - Stundin

David Barrett dbarrett at
Mon Jul 5 12:49:05 PDT 2021

I'm sorry, I think I'm missing your key point.  (You keep referencing back
to an email, which I think I've read, and I think I've responded to the
substance of, but if I haven't then please make your point.)  The point I'm
trying to make, is:

1) The US/UK/etc justice system starts when you are taken into custody.  Up
until that point, it's not responsible.  You choosing to run from the law
isn't the law's fault; Assange can't blame the cops for him choosing to
hide in an embassy for 7 years -- he picked that.  It is super fair game to
criticize the treatment of Chelsea Manning, who received 7 years in jail
for her actions, and feels a decent model for how Snowden and Assange would
have been tried if they had not run from the law all this time.  But them
fleeing and doubling down on their accused behavior won't earn them any
points at trial, so it's anybody's guess how it will eventually go when
they are inexorably caught and tried.

2) The US justice system works (ie, delivers fair justice) in hundreds of
millions of super boring situations that we are choosing not to talk about
now precisely because they are mundane.  This conversation is focusing on
extreme edge and failure conditions, which by definition are unusual and
bad.  This would be like indicting the medical profession to say "You
should never go into a surgery room, because millions of people die there,
and more people die in surgery rooms than out.  Furthermore, surgeons kill
more people than serial murders and should all be executed."  You can keep
highlighting small handfuls of problems -- and they are real problems, no
doubt.  And the further you go back in history, the more horrific those
problems get.  But in general, over time, things are getting better, and
that's an important point not to be dismissed.

3) I'm not sure what your actual proposal is.  You are saying what you
don't like about the outcomes, but you aren't stating what change you would
like in the process to get a different outcome.  You are strongly implying
(but not stating outright) a bunch of contradictory positions:

a. You don't think he's guilty of sexual assault and don't think he should
go to trial for it, but you also acknowledge you don't know the evidence
and aren't a judge.  So which is it?  Should his accusers get justice by
him going to trial, or should he go free merely because you think they are
liars (despite never meeting them or knowing anything about them)?  Why are
you so uncomfortable agreeing with an incredibly obvious statement: "Anyone
who is accused of sexual assault should be investigated and tried according
to the law, no matter who they are."

b. You don't think he's guilty of anything, and don't think he should have
even been charged, but also don't go so far as to say running from the law
should be a valid tactic for avoiding a trial.  So which is it?  Should we
as a rule reward people who attempt to flee with freedom?  Or should we as
a rule keep pursuing them until there is a trial?  Or is he so special that
he alone should be rewarded for running from a trial?  Why are you so
uncomfortable agreeing with the incredibly obvious statement: "Once there
is a warrant for your arrest, justice is best served by bringing that
person into trial; we should never give up attempting to bring them to
trial, and evading arrest should not be rewarded with a lessor sentence."

c. You are very concerned by *one witness* in a large, complex trial,
claiming he falsified information to a newspaper.  But you aren't saying
that newspapers are valid courtrooms.  So which is it?  Should we go to a
court to figure out what is true or false, or should we basically take as
truth _what a self proclaimed liar is claiming years later_?  You seem to
be happy to trust him as being totally honest now, despite admitting that
he was a liar in the past.  Why are you convinced he isn't just lying now
to exonerate Assange?  Why  are you so uncomfortable agreeing with the
incredibly obvious statement: "Newspapers and social media are not the best
venue for a trial; we should give everyone the assumption of innocence
until proven guilty, but we should also figure out guilt or innocence in a

You are trying to have your cake and eat it too: to widely criticize our
justice system, but without making any tangible suggestions on how it can
be improved (even while strongly implying you believe a bunch of
contradictory positions that make no sense).  It's wearying because you
aren't stating a sufficiently clear rebuttal to really react to.  You are
just complaining ambiguously that "the world isn't fair", without making
any active contribution to make it more fair.

This is our world.  It's your and my job to fix it.  But step one in that
process is deciding what specifically to do.

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