With the release of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, on conditional bail, the saga continues.
It is as confusing a situation now, as it was three weeks ago, when the news first broke of Sweden’s desire to have him returned to that country, to answer questions about his alleged sexual misdemeanors from last August.
Of course, we do not know exactly what those misdemeanours are, as no evidence has been produced, and no charges have been brought. There has not even been an attempt by the Swedes to travel over here and question him in this country. That alone seems a very strange thing. The extradition proceedings do, however, keep him inconvenienced and contained for the next few months at least.
This should please the US administration who are said to be investigating ways to have him extradited to America (he is presumably too ‘visible’ for rendition) for breaking laws they have yet to discover in their vast back catalogue of ‘catch all’ offences.
In reality, it seems he has done nothing illegal and certainly nothing different to any media organisation that would have been offered the same material for publication. Why then, is the US government so desperate to demonise him? Is it purely about saving face?
Personally, I don’t know if Assange is guilty of breaking Swedish law; no-one does except Assange and the women who have made the claims against him. Even the UK court that has been deliberating on his bail application has been kept in the dark about the details of the allegations against him. His bail request was opposed not by the Swedish authorities, as was first reported, but by our own prosecution service.
That fact alone sounds a warning bell. Is this case nothing more than an exploitation of our world respected legal process based on fairness and openness, for purely political ends?
The conditions of his bail state Assange has to stay at the same address, wear an electronic tag and report to the police once a day, until at least February next year. He is effectively under house arrest, while never having been charged.
I ask myself: if this situation had occurred in China, would we have been so accepting of the process?
The word ‘hypocrisy’ springs to mind.
Afterthought:A comment on the Wikileaks story from a reader of the Los Angeles Times makes a good point:
Accusations of sexual misconduct have always been the favorite tool of a person or group seeking to discredit another. People are always willing to believe the very worst when it comes to sexual matters