NOVEMBER 28th 2010
I have taken some time before committing any thoughts on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange to the keyboard, let alone to the Web. It is hard to admire the actions of the sources of leaks of private correspondence, whatever the circumstances, let alone classified material that comes into your hands by virtue of the privileged position of legitimate employment. We must assume that both the source and the publisher, Assange, are individuals who consider their own personal qualities, knowledge, judgement and opinions are not recognized by their fellow men and women, their countrymen or humanity as a whole. They have found a route to grandstand with their opinions by exposing the unguarded opinions and errors of those under extreme political amd military pressures.

From one point of view we might be thankful that the assumption by the authors of the material being leaked that its security was impregnable has been exposed as folly. On the other hand the damage and risk to lives in certain instances that the perpetrators of these leaks would justify in the greater good is surely unacceptable. Assange has a personal and idiosyncratic political agenda.

The policies of nations are decided as best we can, not in secrecy but in fair debate and discussion by elected persons and appointed professionals with what expertise we can muster. That their application entails confidential communications does not make the policies undemocratic, secret or unreasonable. If the leaking of these could in some way show the policies to be wrong, that would be somethuing significant, but the likelyhood is they will show no such thing. The likelyhood is they will cause embarrassment, confusion and put lives at risk.

Anyone who has heard the acounts from e.g. Lindy Cameron in Afghanistan or read the diaries Lt Col David Wakefield cannot doubt the value, purpose and determination of the current operations in Afghanistan, carried out by Afghans themselves together with ISAF and NATO to bring stability, the rule of law and a better life to Hellmand and the whole of Afghanistan. Nor could they doubt that we can and should succeed, though success is never guaranteed.

The destructive petulance of Assange will not bring about any future based on his philosophy or his practices. The best we can hope for is that his self aggrandising behaviour will expose some poor practises in the political and military establishments but it is unlikely they are are not only too well aware of these already, so the only outcome of WikiLeaks will be negative.

NOVEMBER 29th 2010
Judging from from the first lot of inanities from the Wkileaked files we can see why the US authorities are embarrassed. It shows up their diplomats as dumber than we sometimes guess them to be. From the cover of The Independent I have picked the following gems:with my comments.

Angela Merkel "is rarely creative".  Quite possibly, but creativity is not a required attribute for the German leader. Judgement of the creative offerings of her advisers is.

Dimitry Medvedev is "Pale and apprehensive". That's quite likely, working in a Moscow office is not a sun-filled life and if he was not apprehensive he would be wrong.

Vladimir Putin sees himself as an 'alpha dog'. President and now Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, yes, I think that is the equivalent, he would not deny that.

Hamid Karzai is "driven by paranoia". No, paranoia is when you think people are out to get you but they aren't really. In this case they really are.

Muammar Ghaddafi is "attended by a voluptuous blonde nurse".  And your point is?

Nicolas Sarkozy is "an emperor with no clothes". Well that is rather rude about a French President who has seen France play a full and productive part in international affairs and who has many competent ministers.. France is a nuclear power, a serious contributor to NATO operations, has well run and maintained agricultural, energy, transport, water and waste management systems, a world class aviation industry, education and literacy standards to be envied and national health way above average.
(cf: the US
No shortage of clothes then. Even if from time to time the US has paid for a trousseau or two (perhaps that's what irks them) France has looked after them well.

Silvio Berlusconi is "fond of wild parties". Good to see the unexpected inside intelligence cracked by America's top men and shared in the interests of national security.

Good grief Charlie Brown, no wonder they want Assange prosecuted! This would dent the pride of the world's most powerful leaders we were told. Er... no, it makes the US look rather silly. However it is probably not these leaks which are significant. As for Saudi Arabia wanting Iran's nuclear capability snuffed before it gets going, so would everyone, but reckless actions are to be avoided so they will be given all the rope there is.

DECEMBER 1st 2010
The extent of the connection of organised crime to business to politics is the big question in all countries, not just Russia. Cleaning this up is easier said than done!

DECEMBER 3rd 2010
Wikileaks forced to change domain and Assange risks extradition from UK
Recent leaks in which US Military criticises UK efforts in Helmand are probably more embarrassing the US than the UK. After taking over some areas of Helmand the US lost a record number of soldiers pretty quickly in spite of being very much better resourced than the British. As for Karzai's criticism of the British it refers to a period when he was in dispute with Britain over some reasonable attempts to negotiate with Taliban.

DEC 4th - for comments on the WikiLeaks concerning The Special Relationship click on that link.

DECEMBER 6th 2010
Now we are getting to the real reason why these WikiLeaks are dangerous and damaging. For a country that along with the UK was in the forefront of the development of data communications and the control of the same, the US seems to be extraordinarily vague about the consequences. Its as if there were two cultures, as CP Snow suggested in 20th century Britain, but this time the division in the US is between the ICT savvy and the rest.

DECEMBER 7th 2010
Assange, now the subject of an EU extradition order from Sweden where he is required to respond to accusations of assault on two women, has been refused bail by a London magistrate. This charge has nothing whatever to do with WikiLeaks, which may well continue despite Assange's arrest or even his conviction; however the decision by the Swedish prosecutor to proceed with the case was probably decided by the publicity surrounding Assange which made it difficult for the authorities to ignore it. Naturally conspiracy theorists will claim there are dark forces at work. The reality is simply that the Swedish prosecutor is covering his arse in a case which before was not considered a priority, perhaps because of lack of evidence apart from the word of the two women involved. If Assande is not guilty of assault there is not the slightest reason to suppose he will be convicted.

As for any legal case in American law against Assange, it might be obvious if he was a US citizen. As it is I just do not know. It is certainly stupid and criminal behaviour by any normal standard, regardless of the law. Criminality is in the eye of the beholder, to be nationalised and internationalised as time passes by the evolving, appropriate institutions. Legal opinions are only valid within the resulting matrix and are always temporary.

DECEMBER 14th 2010
All in all, it is just as well we had this leaking episode now. Some good has come from it and so far not too much harm. Much to be learned. Technological lessons and diplomatic lessons. However, much depends on what is in the huge amount of material we have not yet seen and who has access to it and what their agenda is. We needs to bear in mind both the story of the frogs who wanted a king and the history of the French Revolution, not forgetting the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Assange has been granted bail on £200,000 surety and conditions of tagging, fixed address and curfew but remains in Wandsworth while Sweden appeals the bailing. They may lose that unless they come up with some better evidence than we have heard so far. However I can't help laughing over John Pilger's priceless comment that when Assange has been released from jail 'in Dickensian conditions, a great injustice will have been overturned'. What a pompous prick Pilger is. A spate in Wandsworth is instructive for anyone, guilty or innocent. No doubt Assange will get out in due course. He could be living under a regime where he would be imprisoned immediately and tried a long time later, if at all. There are thousand of people unjustly locked up including I am sure some on the this country carrying the can for others, but we are free to work for their release and usually they are freed, like that chump who got binned for supposedly shooting Jill Dando.

DECEMBER 16th 2010
Assange should be out tomorrow when his bail is posted and all the sureties signed up.
I doubt if all the fuss made by his supporters has speeded this process in any way. Oh how the poor dear must be suffering... it's so unfair.

PS: Assange has been released today. He damaged his credibility for honesty almost immediately by claiming that because 1/10 of all the mentions of rape on the web mention him that there was obviously a conspiracy. Mr Assande knows as much about the Web and the Internet as most people so he is well aware why and how the combination of circumstances and search mechanisms would produce this effect, but he managed to talk without a break to prevent the interviewer from pointing this out. Still, I am glad he is out, there was never any likeyhood of him being detained for long but boy, he does take himself and his views seriously. A real conspiracy theorist. If only he knew!!

DECEMBER 21st 2010
It is now clear that the complaint against Assange by his female accusers was not originally that he had sexual intercourse with them but that after they discovered he had sex with many other women he refused to be tested for HIV. Had he done so they would not have brought charges. This is the man who has spent a lifetime telling us everyone must be accountable. Talking with John Humphrys he says he will not return to Sweden because he does things only by proper process. Oh yeah, of course. He will not say whether or not he had sex with the women concerned because 'private life is private'. He feels betrayed in this case.
The full transcript:
He says he wants to change the world but is oblivious or ignorant of the fact that the politicians, diplomats and soldiers who he ridicules or criticises have spent their lives in the same cause using the conventional methods and working their way to positions of responsibility. Assange seem to think he knows better than them and could do a better job, like so many armchair critics who have little idea what they would be up against to do any better. In spite of some awful regional situations, International relations between the world's major powers are probably on a better footing today than at any period in my lifetime due to the efforts of leaders and diplomats and disciplined militaries all over the world. Assand has done nothing to help achieve this and I doubt he ever will. He is an immature naive egotist.

FEBRUARY 24th 2011

Wikileaks' Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden

 Mr Assange will appeal against the extradition ruling, his lawyer told the court
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, a judge has ruled.

The logic of the judgement seems sound to me. The Swedish justice system has not been found wanting so far and there is nothing in this case to think it could be corrupted. The judgement with reasons will be published and the arguments made in court, the proceedings, will be published too.

Assange, announcing his appeal, said "there was no consideration given to the merits of the case against him". Quite so, that was to be considered in Sweden, but he deliberately ignored several requests from authorities there to discuss the merits and then ran away. Considering them here without the evidence and witnesses would be prejudicial to the case, and Assange is already complaining about prejudice.