Disturbed at the lack of international media attention over his supposed plight, Julian Assange took the opportunity of President Obama’s speech in support of free expression at the United Nations to extol the virtues of dodging sex assault prosecution and embracing chaos over the rule of law to his gaggle of neckbearded internet fanboys.
In a video webcast from his foxhole in the Ecuadoran Embassy, Assange once again conflated the Swedish prosecution of allegations of sexual assault and rape against him with a program of persecution against the Wikileaks organization. And, unsurprisingly, his lapdogs in the web-o-sphere, and the Ecuadorean pols for whom Assange has become a superstar useful idiot love him for it. Never mind that it’s all complete nonsense, as The New Statesman’s Legal Correspondent David Allen Green has detailed:
Whenever the Julian Assange extradition comes up in the news, many of his supporters make various confident assertions about legal aspects of the case.
Some Assange supporters will maintain these contentions regardless of the law and the evidence – they are like “zombie facts” which stagger on even when shot down…
Among the most popular Zombie Facts Green lists and debunks as flatly untrue are:
1. The allegation of rape would not be rape under English law. Says green:
Flatly untrue. The Assange legal team argued this twice before English courts, and twice the English courts ruled clearly that the allegation would also constitute rape under English law.
2. Assange is more likely to be extradited to USA from Sweden than the United Kingdom. The truth? It’s BS:
Any extradition from Sweden to the United States would actually be more difficult. This is because it would require the consent of both Sweden and the United Kingdom.
. . .
One can add that there is no evidence whatsoever that the United Kingdom would not swiftly comply with any extradition request from the United States; quite the reverse. Ask Gary McKinnon, or Richard O’Dwyer, or the NatWest Three.
In reality, the best opportunity for the United States for Assange to be extradited is whilst he is in the United Kingdom.
This one is important because it gives the lie to the notion that there’s some secret plot to extradite Assange to the US to face as yet unfiled charges in order to silence Wikileaks. If that were the case, there’s simply no reason to extradite Assange to Sweden first, no matter what Assange booster Glenn Greenwald says.
3. Sweden should guarantee that there be no extradition to USA. This is the claim that got Glenn Greewald in a tizzy and had him misquoting people left and right in defense of the conspiracy theory. Again, Swedish Lawyer Pal Wrange:
However – and this is a very important caveat – even if the Government has leeway under national law, it is bound by international law. Both the Swedish and the UK Governments have extradition agreements with the US, and these agreements provide that extradition shall take place, if the legal requirements are met. Hence, the Government could not provide a guarantee, without potentially violating an international obligatoin.
4. The Swedes should interview Assange in London. This one is so mindnumbingly easy to refute it’s bizarre that it’s still stumbling around, but here goes one more time, as Green explains it:
Assange is not wanted merely for questioning.
He is wanted for arrest.
This arrest is for an alleged crime in Sweden as the procedural stage before charging (or “indictment”). Indeed, to those who complain that Assange has not yet been charged, the answer is simple: he cannot actually be charged until he is arrested.
5. By giving Assange asylum, Ecuador is protecting freedom of the press.
This, as I pointed out previously on Disinfo, is nonsense. Ecuador doesn’t care in the slightest about the cause of press freedom and it is this particular fact that makes Assange the useful idiot he has become for the Ecuadoran regime, who whatever else they have done that is laudable, and that is a lot, have an abysmal record of oppressing dissident voices critical of the government. Ironically, in a world that Wikileaks has helped make so suspicious of state secrecy and shown the need for an open and free press, Assange’s lap dogs in defense of their hero have embraced the propaganda of Ecuadors government and in supporting Assange have now become boosters of censorship.
After the sadly predictable furor erupted among Assange’s clique of internet fanboys over this rather innocuous bit of legal analysis (soon to be repeated in the comments below this post) took down their favorite sacred chao, Green, being no slouch, doubled down on his thesis and in the process really put the screws to the lawyers who are piping up in defense of Assange’s paranoid delusions and who really ought to know better and should be ashamed of themselves for getting so publicly hoodwinked by bullshit.
Green also advised readers to c.f. posts by Barrister Anya Palmer, and another post at The Blog That Peter Wrote that takes on additional elements of Assange’s departure from reality in trying to avoid prosecution in Sweden. That last makes a particularly cogent critique that all members of the Cult of Assange, particularly those who are about to bombard this post with angry misinformed screeds accusing me of all manner of crimes against humanity, should (but probably won’t) consider carefully:
It is perfectly possible to support WikiLeaks and the principles it stands for whilst seeing Julian Assange as an individual to be judged on his own merits. Why is that so controversial or difficult to grasp?
Mr Assange is innocent until proven guilty of all the offences which he faces. He has not yet been charged. However, it seems fair to say that he has skipped bail in this country and that he is a fugitive from justice, who is wanted for questioning regarding very serious criminal sexual offences.
This issue is not like choosing sides in a soccer match. You can be pro-Wikileaks and keen to see the rule of law operate. This does not make you anti-Assange, an Assange Hater or anything else. I, like you, have no idea whether he is guilty of the alleged crimes back in August 2010. I do feel that the alleged victims deserve to be taken seriously, having taken the step of reporting the alleged offences to the Police, and that they should have some form of closure.
It is frankly irrelevant who the man is who is wanted for questioning, and what other great things he may (or may not) have done. If you believe in judicial process and the rule of law, it is hard to argue he should not return to Sweden for questioning (after, of course, dealing with the consequences of his behaviour here in jumping bail).
As an Anti-Assange Assange Hater of the first order who wishes that the bottle-blond megalomaniac would get out of the way so that Wikileaks can do more good work without getting bogged down in his incoherent brand of Assange-centered chaos worship, I couldn’t agree more.