Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Free Julian

The US Government is screwed over this whole WikiLeaks boondoggle. They can't win. No matter how disingenuous they try to appear, what with their unseemly and short-sighted focus on Julian Assange, this year's poster boy for nose-thumbing, they come off looking the bully with their boot on a nerd's throat. Assange gave himself up for arrest and is facing the music for personal misdeeds, which, in case you missed the headline, have nothing to do with leaking secrets. Maybe he did rape and molest the women accusing him. I'm not defending the guy, but I'm not saying he did it, either. The timing is quite convenient. It's no mystery where the pressure to prosecute comes from, one of many aspects that make out the USG to be ugly, vindictive and just plain stupid.

Officials griping over damage done to the USG seem to suggest that things were better before the documents were leaked. Hmmm. Should we go back to spying and bombing under the cover of diplomacy, serving up blatant falsehoods
through the complicit media? Naturally this isn't what officials intend to say, but their disingenuity is clear. Those that go a step further and call for the death penalty and hunting him down only increase the stature of an unlikely hero. These people should keep their ugly ideas to themselves until the whole thing blows over. They aren't the only ones.

Assange is on record stating his innocence. Whether or not Pentagon honey trap is the leading thought on his mind is up for debate, but a recent article includes suggestive statements like this one from his accusers:
In her interview, she dismissed the idea, seized on by many conspiracy theorists that ‘dirty tricks’ lay behind the rape allegations, because of WikiLeaks’ defiance of the US government. She said: “The charges against Assange are of course not orchestrated by the Pentagon.”
It's possible she was asked a leading question, but such an assertion is curious. I'm not saying a conspiracy is afoot; that would be WikiLeaks' department, wouldn't it? I do recall the first rule of journalism, never believe anything until it's officially denied, and this comes pretty damn close to fitting in that category.

The USG should declare a moratorium on official statements concerning Julian Assange. They are playing into WikiLeaks' strategy of obfuscation and serving merely to distract from issues of substance, namely the flimsy security that allowed such massive troves of secret documents to be exposed. It's too late to quell the uproar and there's no way to gag Assange, who has the world waiting on his every word, so why not focus instead on damage control and address real problems.

To read Assange in his own words, I recommend this eloquent statement released this week from The Australian.


Francis Hunt said...

Good post, James. I'm developing slight hopes that an extradition of Assange to the USA won't happen anyway.
1) It's not clear that US law enforcement authorities have any extraditable offence with which they can charge him.
2) There could be grave legal doubts raised in the UK and/or Sweden that Assange would obtain a fair trial in the USA, following the (literal) calls for his blood coursing in "the land of the free", thus ruling out extradition.

Of course, he might still be kidnapped by the CIA and locked up forever without trial in Gitmo!

James MacAdam said...

It would be difficult to convict the man here. Proof that he is responsible for disseminating the leaks might prove nigh impossible. If being a mouthpiece were a crime, they could nail him for that. As it is, these trumped-up allegations of sexual misconduct have got him in a prison block reserved for "vulnerable" prisoners and I expect he'll be staying there for awhile.