It’s been a couple of years since I blogged about the damage Wikileaks has done, and the founder is back in the news. Julian Assange has holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom, after fleeing from authorities who wanted to extradite him to Sweden for alleged sex crimes. And yet, his entire existence still revolves, remarkably, around some fanciful plot that the United States is trying to get him, with Assange himself spending his last moment in the sun denouncing the US “Witch Hunt”. What “witch hunt” is he talking about? The United States has never once tried to arrest him in any manner whatsoever. In fact, he’s never even been indicted for anything in the United States (although in 2010 the Wikileaks spokesman said it was “imminent”). But he has for real in Sweden.
The chain goes something like this: Afghan “war diary” is released by Wikileaks. Assange is indicted in Sweden for sexual assault. Assange is arrested in Britain based on the Swedish indictment. The extradition is allowed by the British courts. Assange scurries like a rat to the Ecuadorian embassy, demanding political asylum because he’s afraid it’s just a giant plot and Sweden is going to send him to America, where he’ll swing from the gallows for his treachery.
Or maybe it’s really all of the above, with the addition of, “I’m guilty of rape, and I’m going to jail. Gotta stop that, and I’ve got just the mouthpiece that will help.”
The stated reason for asylum is so lame I can’t believe anyone would agree with it. Does anyone really think the United States could extradite him from Sweden more easily than the United Kingdom? If we had any inkling of doing that, wouldn’t it be more prudent to request it from Britain, a much stauncher ally than Sweden? One that’s been described as “the most friendly US extradition regime in Europe”? Why on earth would we sit on the sidelines and wait for this entire nebulous Swedish extradition process to go on, only to have to start it again with Sweden once they got their hands on Assange? Why not just jumpstart it by cutting in line and requesting extradition from the U.K. first? That’s not genius coming from me. In 2010 a London cyber-crimes expert said,“(U.S. officials) might be well advised, if they think they have a basis, to try to extradite him while he’s still here.” We didn’t then, and we aren’t going to now. It’s all smoke and mirrors to keep him out of jail for crimes of a far different kind.
Ecuador, in an incredible bit of fantasy, apparently agrees about the “witch hunt”, and has granted him asylum. Thus, he now exists in a nether-world, sleeping on someone’s floor and unable to leave the building because if he takes one step out, he’ll be arrested. Which I think is just perfect.
The hypocrisy of the organization itself is staggering. When Britain threatened to come inside the embassy and forcibly remove him, a Wikileaks spokesman warned against it, saying, “I hope that the UK authorities are sensible enough not to enter the embassy without permission, which would risk upsetting diplomatic relations all over the world.”
Seriously! Wikileaks actually had the courage to say the action would upset diplomatic relations around the world. With a straight face. If there has been one single event that has upset diplomatic relations around the world in the last thirty years, it’s Wikileaks itself, and NOW they’re worried about diplomatic relations? No. They’re worried about their supreme leader being forced to take showers with his back against the wall when he goes to jail for sexual assault. Period.
The spokesman continued by saying he hopes this can be solved in a “civilized manner”. Because in civilized countries, when an “civilized” person is accused of a crime, they don’t go to court and prove their innocence. They get bail and run like a coward, using whatever means necessary to keep from facing justice.
I hope he rots in the embassy for the next twenty years, hearing phantom police officers storming the stairs.