THE CASE of Julian Assange has shed some much-needed light on this country’s scandalously one-sided extradition arrangements with the United States.
They can get pretty much anyone from the United Kingdom simply by issuing a demand, while we cannot get anyone at all from the United States. Those arrangements simply need to be repealed. There would of course be resistance to that repeal from within the disconnected parliamentary caucuses that bore the names, but very little else, of the two main parties.
The pursuit of Assange is clearly politically motivated but most people just don’t care. They think they will never be affected by government laws which are increasingly written and interpreted to allow more intrusion into citizen’s lives and more control over what you’re allowed to say and do, and who you can listen to; when they realize what has happened, it will be too late.
What has happened to Assange could happen to anyone who upsets the self-appointed and increasingly lawless Behemoth who unilaterally decides what is and what is not acceptable.
Without free speech and freedom and duty of the press to publish verifiable facts we degenerate into a slimy oligarchy devoid of decency and integrity.
One can despise Julian Assange and think him a misogynistic narcissist, but I think that extraditing him to the USA would be supporting attacks and restrictions on the press and stop people investigating unpalatable and illegal activities.
The USA are embarrassed about the sordid secrets that were exposed and I believe that this prosecution is about revenge, not justice. After all they have their own black ops and hacking teams who seem to be able to do no wrong; so why should a non US citizen be subject to different rules?
To realise why this has all really happened you need to look at Ecuador.
Assange had accessed Ecuadorian government files and discovered some shady stuff that he could use as ‘insurance’.
He threatened Jaime Merchan, the Ecuadorian ambassador to the UK, that he would share information that would bring down the embassy if he were ever arrested or felt in danger.
Cue indignation and rage from Ecuador.
The arrest was arranged in such a way that Assange would not be able to get back into his room and ‘cause trouble’ – distribute info – once he realised his arrest was imminent.
Social constructionists will tell you that truth is defined socially. If this sample is in any way representative, then Hero seems to be the more likely answer.
Nevertheless, it is also worth remembering Sophocles’ fateful observation: “One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.”
For example, it now looks as though Obama did not enhance the credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Likewise, Winston Churchill – who depended totally on leaked information to warn of Nazi militarism – was vilified and dismissed for a decade until denial was no longer possible.
My gut feel is that Assange will prove iconic like Churchill, Luther King, Guevara, Mandela, Gandhi, JFK. Let’s hope he isn’t martyred to get there.