Julian Assange (JA) seems to be good at grabbing headlines. That is, after all, his job!
JA founded WikiLeaks, a digital publisher, and is its editor-in-chief.
The circumstances through which he has found himself holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, Central London for a few years, draw polarised opinions. One man’s whistle-blower is another man’s villain.
JA, Edward Snowden and Bradley/Chelsea Manning have become household names in recent times.
Personally, I believe that any whistle-blower who exposes government sponsored criminal activity should be hailed for their bravery in the face of absolute knowledge that their lives will be made a living hell.
The US perpetrators of the alleged war crimes exposed by WikiLeaks have never been called to account because the fish rots at the head.
WikiLeaks is a publisher, not an active agent of espionage.
Many people wrongly believe the following:
• The USA want to grab JA and question/charge him for espionage.
• The UK authorities are forcing JA to stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Central London, effectively enforcing a version of ‘house arrest’.
• The charges against him in Sweden are trumped up allegations without foundation.
• Ecuador is colluding as ‘evidenced’ by his internet server being cut off.
JA is free to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy at any time; he is wanted in Sweden on rape charges. The original charges were: unlawful coercion, two counts of molestation and one allegation of rape. In August of 2015, all counts expired due to the statute of limitations, except for the rape charge, which is enforceable until 2020.
To be clear, there were two women involved. Owing to the dropped charges, there is now just one. Their names do not need repetition here.
Here is one of the problems: do rape victims invite their rapists to stay in their home after the event? Do they have breakfast together the following day? These ladies did.
The UK authorities are compelled to ensure JA’s extradition to Sweden. He is their responsibility as soon as he sets foot upon UK Territory, i.e. out of the Ecuadorian Embassy which is considered Ecuadorian Territory.
The extradition treaty between Sweden and the US prohibits extradition for political or espionage offences and prevents extradition where there is any risk of the death penalty.
Kidnap must be the primary fear! I think we are into James Bond territory now!
JA is clearly not a straightforward character. He has seriously angered and alienated a great many of his colleagues and supporters in recent times, not limited to. but including: book publishers, television production companies, financial donors/supporters, members of the WikiLeaks organisation, his legal counsellors.
The Mission Statement of WikiLeaks states its purpose as: “… to produce a more just society based upon truth.”
If this media man is insisting upon transparency of action, why should he attempt to evade the same scrutiny upon himself?
It all begs the question: why not face up to the charge of rape? The charges do not seem to be very compelling. The problem and accusations seem to revolve around the use of condoms, as he was asked to … asked to! Rape?
I have much respect for JA’s exposure of governmental contravention of International Law.
I also have a very low opinion of the maltreatment of women, or anyone for that matter. I find it hard to believe that anyone might propose that these allegations should be swept under the carpet with a pardon. My hope is that he fronts up and faces whatever music comes his way.
Julian Assange, you are, in most eyes, including mine, innocent until proven guilty but to act as you do suggests there are further skeletons which need to be given their transparency; or does staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy suit you?
Image credits: Photo: Alan Funnel, Daily Tech, CNN, Diligent Media Corporation, Getty Images, Legal Parley, AFP, Phillip Toledano, PA, Hannah Peters/Getty Images