Assange and Wikileaks: the basics
read the actual accusations. They have been translated into English. They are also, straight up, he said, she said, and rest entirely on credibility. There are no witnesses to the actual acts other than Assange and the two women (who spoke to each other before going to the police) and no physical evidence. This is not to say that if Assange did what he is accused of he did not do something wrong. If. You don’t know if he did, and neither do I. Only 3 people do.
Assange has not been charged, he is wanted for questioning. Sweden is refusing to question him in England. I note that they have questioned a man accused of murder in another country.
The way the case has been treated is vastly disproportionate to how people wanted for questioning about such a crime are usually treated.
Ecuador said they would hand over Assange under one condition: Sweden promised not to extradite him to the US. Sweden refused.
Sweden engaged in illegal extraditions on behalf of the US in the past, and handed people over to be tortured. No one has gone to jail for those crimes. Since no one was punished, I can’t see why Sweden wouldn’t do it again. Certainly Assange would be a fool to take the chance, because if he winds up in the US he will be thrown into an isolation cell and treated in a way which amounts to torture. This isn’t in question, the US has done it in other high profile cases.
Anyone who thinks this is just about sexual misconduct…
As for Assange, his long game is simple. He will run, in absentia, in the next Australian elections. He is more than popular enough to be elected. Once he is an MP, he can’t be touched.
What Assange did, with Wikileaks, was engage in actual journalism. He was the last attempt to play under the rules of the current, corrupt system. What Wikileaks did was straight up journalism, no different than the Pentagon papers. Immediately afterwards, VISA, Mastercard and PayPal shut down all donations to Wikileaks, despite the fact that Wikileaks had been convicted of no crime. If an individual or organization can be shut out of the modern payments without any legal procedings, then there is no rule of law that matters. It is impossible to live in the modern world beyond a subsistence level if one is shut out of the electronic payments system.
Now Britain has threatened to storm an embassy. Be assured that if they are stupid enough to do it, British diplomats WILL die as a result. Even now, with Britain, the US and Canada saying there is no right to asylum, there will be huge consequences. The entire asylum system is now threatened, because any nation unhappy with someone being offered Asylum in any of those countries will just say “but you said you don’t believe in asylum. We’re not letting this person out of the country.”
Britain itself has given asylum to people accused of far, far worse crimes than Assange, and yet they are willing to trash the Asylum system over this? This isn’t about sexual misconduct. Anyone who is stupid enough to think that anyone not named Assange would have caused Britain to threaten to violate an embassy is too stupid to be allowed out in public.
Correction: I stand corrected. The charges would amount to rape in the UK. Or, at least, so the courts have ruled. You can read the ruling here. You can read the argument otherwise here, claimed offense #4 is the key issue. I tend towards the latter argument, but the courts have determined that it was rape. Make your own decision. I have removed text indicating that the allegations would not amount to rape as of 3:25 EDT, Aug 19, 2012.