Assange is No Political Prisoner

In one of the biggest journalistic beat-ups / publicity stunts I have seen in a while, there is a growing perception online that in some way Julian Assange of Wikileaks has been made a “political prisoner” within Australia, after his passport was “confiscated” upon his recent ingress via Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.

Some blogs are attacking this as some kind of heavy handed human rights violation. Huh?

This is simply not true, because if you actually READ the first article, his passport was briefly taken from him because it was showing signs of excessive wear. This is normal practice, as passports that are apparently worn need to be properly inspected to ensure that the wear is not a result of tampering or forging, or that it will not be susceptible to such in the future. The article even states that his passport was returned to him “after about 15 minutes”. It also states quite clearly that “passports are routinely taken from travellers for short periods by immigration officials if they are damaged”.

Apparently he was told that “it was about to be cancelled”. Yes, absolutely – the current issue of his passport would be cancelled due to the passport being excessively worn. Again, standard procedure – all he has to do is have it re-issued. This makes him a political prisoner, does it?

Of course not – Assange is just taking the opportunity to blow the incident out of proportion for some cheap and easy publicity. Wikileaks is responsible for good work in many areas, but sometimes won’t let facts get in the way of a good story.

This seems to me like another such instance.