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Damned If You Do . . .

Related article: The Guardian, FoxNews, CNN & BBC.

This political cartoon was drawn with a Fine Point Sharpie & lettered, colored and edited in PhotoShop Elements.

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14 thoughts on “Damned If You Do . . .

  1. Your cartoons are great but I totally disagree your opinion. – I don’t know where you have your knowledge of International law from, but you got it wrong.

    What England threatened to do would break International law. No Western country (or any other country) has legal right to invade another country’s embassy inside or outside of it borders. The diplomacy is protected in any country.

    If English did it anyway, it is highly unlikely anyone would try to stop them. However, it would send an unfortunate signal about countries’ obligations to comply with International law and open up for other countries to do as they please which could again make embassies much less safe and empowered in all countries. What Ecuador does is play by he rules and show that International law does indeed apply, also in a special case where it doesn’t suit a strong country like England (and the US).

    Whether Ecuador is a ‘third world snot-nose country’ or other name-calling is irrelevant, and whether the US is a strong ally to the UK (which it surely is) is irrelevant too. If it wasn’t irrelevant then there would be no such thing as International law and order. What happened in the world would be based on African dictator-like principles where all that matters is who is best friends with the big fat guy who can do whatever pleases him and zap out his enemies if they annoy him.

    What Assange is (at this stage) accused of, is that he did not use a condom while having consensual sex in Sweden while giving the sex partner the impression that he did. Sure that was morally wrong and I don’t think I like Assange’s (and the general Australian) attitude to women. According to Swedish law, it is also a sex crime. While it isn’t in most other countries, law is law, and Sweden is very much a ‘women’s right nation’ to an extend that few if any other Western countries are (here more likely using it as a technical tool, though). Assange is however not charged for anything, but wanted for questioning in Sweden for the accusation mentioned above.

    Theoretically he could just go to Sweden and answer the questions, and theoretically they would then either charge him or release him without charge (= case closed).

    However, he doesn’t want to, because he fears that Sweden has a deal with the US to extradite him to the US when they get hold of him. That wouldn’t directly be legal either, but apparently there is some part of Swedish legal/political framework that may provide a loophole of some sort. Once in the hands of the US, the US will (he and his lawyers think) pretty much do as is pleases regardless of any law (as usual). Some big guys in the US are very pissed off due to loss of face in regard to the major document leak, and may have a perceived need to save face by ‘getting the man’. So, Assange fears for his life / freedom. The document case is, quite obviously to anyone, what the case is most likely really about, but that matter is not legally implied in the case in any way… so far.

    The US does not hold a legal extradition request on Assange, they just want the man.

    • The articles I based my cartoon on are attached to the blog. I am not a lawyer and have ethical reasons for not pursuing a law career.

      Regarding his sex-crimes, that is up to Sweden (I did say his malfunctioning zipper was alleged).

      I think what Assange did with Wiki-Leaks is amazing, but that is not the issue in my comic.

      My point is the Catch-22 England finds itself in, that Sweden, the ally I am discussing, wants him to appear in court where he might be found not-guilty and that England and Sweden are being manipulated by Ecuador.

      Is it possible the US may try to extradite Assange from Sweden? Yes, I would say so, however I am not discussing that in this comic.

      Is Ecuador a third-world, snot-nosed country? Their behavior in the UK and disregard for British law proves Ecuador is at least snot-nosed. I have a further point I did not include in the comic: Ecuador could care less about Assange, Wiki-Leaks, government transparency and free-speech. Ecuador is more interested in the lime-light and opportunity to screw with the UK and through the UK, the United States.

      So now the big question: what is more important, the rights of a popular/loved figure or the rights of two women who say he raped them according to Swedish law? I think the rights of the women are paramount.

      Free-speech and government-transparency is being pursued by other people and eventually his original goals will succeed, just not with him if he is indeed found guilty and the United States does indeed extradite and convict him.

      • I skipped FoxNews… because they are generally full of crap. But I read the other 3 articles. The articles actually supports what I just said:

        Ecuador hasn’t broken UK law, they do what embassies are allowed and obliged to do: protect asylum seekers. The UK would have to de-recognise Ecuador first (invalidate their diplomacy) in order to go in there and take Assange. They claim they have the right to do so, but what’s being discussed is that they would need to go through a lengthy International legal proceedings to apply for that, otherwise they would be in breach of the same framework they are trying to use as a justification. That is the catch 22. And that: if they do manage to find a loophole (they try), it would set an unfortunate precedent:

        “If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow, where I was, and North Korea becomes close to impossible.

        [Britain’s former ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton, in an interview with the BBC, quoted in the Guardian article]

        Vehicles belonging to the embassy enjoy a degree of immunity, so if it was a compound embassy, he could get into the car, which could in theory take him out of the building. But at some point it would have to stop, and he would have to get out of the car and into an airplane, whereupon he would be arrested.[…] Immunity would in theory apply to an Ecuadorian airplane, but that plane would have to have permission to land that the British government would not give. It’s really hard to see how that could work.

        […]

        In theory the foreign secretary could make use of a 1987 act of Parliament to end to the inviolability of the Ecuadorian embassy, but this would take authorities into a gray area.

        [Paul Whiteway, an ex-British diplomat of more than 30 years and now director of the Independent Diplomat advisory group in London, quoted in the tCNN article] (could be the same guy as before… anyway, that’s the legal stuff there is)

        Above confirms that Ecuador has the right to protect Assange within its territory/embassy/embassy cars/national airplanes and so on. Sure Ecuador may have its own dirty motives to do so, I’m not even looking into that, it is irrelevant.

        just not with him if he is indeed found guilty and the United States does indeed extradite and convict him.

        They haven’t even found something they can charge him with yet (they are still working on it). Also, he wasn’t in the US while all this happened and is an Australian citizen, he doesn’t have anything to do with the US except providing the facility on which the documents were leaked, and editing to removed details that could compromise the identity of people involved. There is nothing in Australian law that makes it possible to charge him with anything, and there is no such attempts or desires in Australia.

        Still, that isn’t what the case is about at this stage – it is still about a non-condom wearing incident in Sweden (that is the actual current content of the sexual assault accusation (not charge), usually just referred to as sexual assault).

        So now the big question: what is more important, the rights of a popular/loved figure or the rights of two women who say he raped them according to Swedish law? I think the rights of the women are paramount.

        As above. Please note that not wearing a condom during consensual sex is categorised as rape in Sweden. The woman has admitted that the sex was consensual, but under the condition that a condom was used, and he didn’t. As far as I know, the other woman’s claim was withdrawn or dismissed long ago as being not rape, not even after Swedish law.

        Before your talk about women’s right, think about how these women’s claims would have been met in either UK or the US (or Australia). They would have been dismissed right away as consensual sex and not made it to any sort of legal proceedings. Sure that’s the law in Sweden, and law is law… but worth a thought before screaming ‘rape in Sweden!’ or in other ways chanting in on all these emotional labels being thrown around: ‘rape’, ‘sex assault charges’, ‘wanted for sex crimes in Sweden’.

        Also, the Assange camp has repeatedly invited the Swedish authorities to question him in the UK. They refused or didn’t reply. What Assange is afraid of is extradition to the US, obviously, and not the Swedish case and what the Swedes want isn’t a closure of the Swedish case.

        Personally I highly doubt that Sweden ever pushed this matter for the sake of Women’s right, or that UK does now. There is plenty of *real* rape in all the implied countries that doesn’t get anywhere near this level of International attention and effort. Some big bullies in the US are pissed off and on a man-hunt mission, and nobody likes to stand in their way. However, due to the big publicity and an undesired mass audience looking over their shoulder, they UK can’t just jump out of the way in a hurry and give way for the big bullies. They have to have a proper legal justification and they try to imply they do, but it is taken apart by various legal experts. In the meanwhile, the big bullies are jumping up and down and saying ‘Do something! Don’t let him get away!’ That is the real catch 22.

      • Wow: 947 words is a mighty reply. I do want to thank you for the thought you put into this and obviously all the hard work.

        I got a call from a friend this morning about this cartoon and she thinks I’m an idiot for posting it because of the people who do love Julian Assange might get pretty mad and hack my computer. She has a point, but if I don’t poke the bear occasionally, then I would be giving in.

        PAX Americana is a problem and always has been. I do think Julian Assange is justified in being concerned about landing in the hands of certain people here in the US. I have FaceBook friends who are active Special Forces and who want Julian Assange to go to Ecuador because accidents are easier to arrange down there. Some people feel Mr. Assange’s actions have lead to the deaths of many American service people. Many people I know think he’s a murderer.

        I feel differently. I don’t think the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan were justified, but at the same time I will always be very pro-soldier. I am a veteran after all. I think the actions of policy-makers in Washington DC are responsible for those deaths and not Mr. Assange. I think a Wiki-Leaks type situation was inevitable.

        The existence of the ‘big-bullies,’ these guilt-ridden policy-makers is the most interesting thing and something I might cartoon about. The interesting thing is that these ‘big-bullies’ that want Mr. Assange is they are members of a ‘liberal’ administration. That Mr. Assange is not in the US also indicates how powerless they are. If these ‘big-bullies’ had been part of the Bush administration and had wanted Mr. Assange in the US (say someone like Dick Cheney), I believe Mr. Assange would be here now regardless of the black-eye his trial would give the US or the nations they would have to climb over to get him here.

        We’ll have to wait and see. I think Mr. Assange needs to hope for a Romney victory come November. If Romney wins, I doubt he would spend the diplomatic gold to get Mr. Assange over here. Romney’s miserliness would work in Assange’s favor.

        Again: thank you for your reply. I do appreciate it.

  2. Wow: 947 words is a mighty reply.

    Thanks. I haven’t counted, but I suspect you may be counting the quotes in as well? Which I obviously just copy-pasted in from the articles and from your comment.

    I got a call from a friend this morning about this cartoon and she thinks I’m an idiot for posting it because of the people who do love Julian Assange might get pretty mad and hack my computer. She has a point, but if I don’t poke the bear occasionally, then I would be giving in.

    Assange supporters hacking your computer because you write a blog and a cartoon they don’t like? That sounds paranoid to me, and I don’t think your friend has a point.

    Many people I know think he’s a murderer.

    It doesn’t matter how many people you know (or I know) who is of one opinion or another. The opinions of people who are connected through acquaintanceship or in other ways are not randomly distributed and since there exist many people of any given opinion, the fact of knowing many of a particular opinion is irrelevant.

    If these ‘big-bullies’ had been part of the Bush administration and had wanted Mr. Assange in the US (say someone like Dick Cheney), I believe Mr. Assange would be here now regardless of the black-eye his trial would give the US or the nations they would have to climb over to get him here.

    I think Bush would have even less chance of getting away with it than the current administration. Bush has already stretched the elastic way more than it can hold and damaged the respect for the US tremendously (may not be obvious inside the borders of the US).

    I think Mr. Assange needs to hope for a Romney victory come November.

    I think Mr. Assange doesn’t give a damn who wins the American election. He just doesn’t want to go there.

  3. Wow this is an impressively long comments conversation! I am going to have to give this a proper read. I actually wanted to ask a question regarding the shady (surprise, surprise, not the politics). I was wondering why England and Wales are shaded in and Northern Ireland but Eire and Scotland are left white? I wasn’t sure if you were encompassing the whole of the UK under the ‘England’ name. We’re four, arguably five separate countries but Scotland is also part of the UK.

    I liked the drawing. I haven’t been listening to the news – but I did by a big paper at the weekend (but I didn’t read much of it). I think I need to find a source of news that suits me, to read alongside your cartoons. 🙂 I really like the art work on this, Aaron – nice job. I don’t think that being ballsy is a bad thing!

    • I appreciate your comments on the map. When I look up pictures of just England, it shows England and Wales as a unified nation with Scotland and Ireland separate. Now I do know that Great Britain is four nations (England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland), but I’ve got loads of relatives who are for Scottish independence and I’d rather not deal with them.

      I do like posting comics that cause controversy. On this comic and on a few others, I do not include the negative comments. There were a few more on this one that were quite hateful.

      • That’s terrible, it really is! Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, which is why it’s a good thing to do things that are controversial. However, when people are posting their views, I really think that they should be far more tactful – there’s no need for nastiness!

  4. This is great! I really love the debate that follows. Awesome stuff.
    My only problem is at the end. Just to clarify we live (on this side of the Atlantic) in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (one country!).
    Great Britain= Scotland, Wales and England.
    Eire/Republic of Ireland is a totally different country (then even use Euros MEGALOLZ).
    Despite being born and living in England, I dislike ‘English’ being used for ‘British’.

    • I appreciate the clarification. I have been doing a little bit of research about the UK and while I follow the news and politics on the BBC (I’ve only been reading the Guardian for a couple of weeks now), I still know only a little. This reflects the general ignorance people in Europe have about the interior part of the US, however Europeans and the Brits definitely know much more about the US then Americans know about Europe and the UK.

      I have been working on a map I’d like to draw (a far more accurate one), but good maps about contemporary England/Scotland/Wales are just not available, so I am going to draw one about what I have learned from Movies like Hot Fuzz and Monty Python The Holy Grail and video games like Railroad Tycoon. It would be more fun that way.

      • It totally would!!!!
        Anyway man, like you said, generally we are ignorant of what’s between the coasts….
        AND… you’d be surprised at how many British people have no idea about their own country, seriously! My countrymen regularly annoy me enough to draw cartoons taking the piss out of them for various reasons.

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