Countries spy on each other, as they should. It’s important to understand the politics of allies and adversaries, and the intentions of leading political figures. So while I don’t like the fact that, according to reports of the assessment of the US intelligence community, the Russian government is behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, I understand it. I hope we take similar steps to get an inside view of Russian political leaders. Jack Goldsmith made just that point today:
Continue reading Editorial: Russia and Wikileaks
A few years ago, I commented on Julian Assange’s bid to win “diplomatic asylum” from Ecuador. As my post indicated, I’m not really sympathetic to Mr. Assange’s legal plight, and my view on that hasn’t changed since 2012. The case was recently in the news again as the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention released an opinion concluding that Mr. Assange was being arbitrarily detained. Leaving aside sympathy or lack of sympathy for Mr. Assange, I really cannot see how the Working Group could have reached its decision or what kind of sense the decision makes.
Continue reading The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Julian Assange Case
The commentary on Julian Assange’s legal situation now that he has sought asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy in London has begun to roll in from the public international law blogs. I am basically unsympathetic to Mr. Assange, but in light of Letters Blogatory’s coverage of the Ecuadoran legal system in the context of the Lago Agrio litigation, I thought the latest twist in his case deserved a comment. I’m struck by the irony of a self-proclaimed avatar of the value of a free press and transparency striking up a friendship with and seeking the protection of President Correa, given the president’s libel suit against journalists with El Universo, which resulted in a prison sentence and a multi-million dollar fine, later remitted by a presidential pardon after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures and asked Ecuador to suspend the judgment given the freedom of expression concerns it obviously raised. For Mr. Assange to look to Ecuador of all places for asylum in light of the El Universo case seems almost as ironic as Mr. Assange’s outrage at the unauthorized publication of a manuscript of his autobiography.