By Michael Smith
Justice. An interesting concept, that is historically poorly executed. It is an idea that comes into question when you consider the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.
Assange currently faces extradition to Sweden over rape allegations, which he denies. Not only this but he faces extradition to the U.S. where he is facing charges of espionage. In order for Assange to protect himself from these charges he has found sanctuary and claimed Asylum in the London’s Ecuadorean embassy since 2012.
The reason this has re-entered the public spotlight is due to a UN panel’s ruling on February 4th that Assange be allowed to go free due to the fact he is being “arbitrarily detained” with this being a “deprivation of liberty”. The UK government’s response to this was merely the insistence the report is not legally binding and therefore “changes nothing”. The UK’s foreign secretary, Phillip Hammond, claimed the ruling to be “ridiculous” and that “Assange is a fugitive of justice”. The precedent set by the UK government to ignore this ruling is expected yet disturbing.
It shouldn’t be lightly claimed that the Swedish rape allegations are false, but the environment in which the charges came about leads one to question their validity, having even being dropped on 21st August 2010, only to be mysteriously picked up again on 1st September 2010. Contrary to the popular belief of a so called liberal Sweden, both Stockholm and Washington have a history of clandestine CIA renditions, which can clearly be seen from the capturing and torture of 2 Egyptian political refugees in 2001. This of course is recorded and condemned by both the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, with even victorious civil litigation associated with Sweden’s collusion and complicity with the U.S.
As such it is naïve to think the charges are not merely a thin veil in order to allow for US extradition of Assange. If it were true that Sweden really did want to conduct due process associated with these rape allegations, then why doesn’t Sweden sign an agreement to ensure there will be no U.S. extradition? The only logical conclusion then, is once again, Sweden will assist the U.S. with regards to this extradition.
Justice is treated with little respect for whistleblowers-those who reveal wrong doing of the government- in the U.S, so it would be foolish to believe the US would have any consideration for Assange’s human rights. You need look no further than Chelsea Manning who had an abhorrently long pre-trial detention where she was tortured at Guantanamo bay due to giving WikiLeaks information. Does that sound like justice to you?
Of course whistleblowers are treated so horrendously once caught in order to discourage those who would think to follow in their footsteps had they access to any pertinent information. In 2008 when Obama was running for the presidency he swore to protect whistleblowers, who are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution. Ironically then, Obama -previously a Professor of Constitutional Law- in his first term alone, systematically prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous U.S. presidents combined. It is of course with wilful ignorance that Obama chooses to act. If U.S. politicians were as concerned about the First Amendment as they are the Second Amendment, perhaps I’d be writing a different article today.
Embarrassment. Embarrassment on a world stage after WikiLeaks exposed atrocities the U.S. committed, including the killing of tens of thousands civilians is why the U.S. seeks so ruthlessly to charge Assange with contrived claims of espionage.
Justice? It is not justice that is sought. It is revenge.