Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Opposing Assange's Extradition Is Wrong!

"Capable generous men do not create victims, they nurture victims….. I’m a combative person so I’m not actually so big on the nurture. But there is another way of nurturing victims which is to police perpetrators of crime.” So said Julian Assange. He posted these words, it is alleged, on a private dating site, but, applying his standards, it is completely fair to publicize them and use them against him.

Now, the Wikileaks founder remains in custody in the UK as Sweden attempts to extradite him to face questioning, and then perhaps trial, for sex offenses allegedly committed against two women. In spite of attacks on their characters and specious allegations of links to security services around the globe, all the credible evidence suggests that these are reliable witnesses and victims with sound prima facie cases.

Much has been made of the fact that the allegations against Assange are “baseless” as they do not involve “non-consensual” sex, but rather they involve “unprotected sex”. However, rational people see the difference. A woman who consented to protected sex has not consented to unprotected sex, with all the horrific risks that entails, and as such the act itself would be non-consensual and, therefore, a crime. It was Assange who allegedly said: “Although I am pretty intellectually and physically pugnacious I am very protective of women and children.” Not protective enough to wear a condom if you just take his, and his supporters, side of the story.

However, in reality, this “unprotected” vs. “non-consensual” argument is a smoke screen, although not a very good one. The actual charges made, his supporters fail to mention, involve molestation, coercion and in one case an allegation of unprotected sex with a woman who was asleep. I am astounded that anyone could suggest Assange should not be extradited.

Assange must face justice and, if the process requires, stand trial for these alleged sex crimes in a trial watched by the world. If he is found not guilty he should be freed, if found guilty he should face whatever sentence is appropriate for a sexual predator.

What amazes me is that, as with many issues in the modern era, many people get so caught up in defending a person on one front that they lose their ability to reason when the person they are defending is alleged to have done something else wrong. We see this a great deal with people who blindly swear allegiance to one politician or political viewpoint or even sports team and, as a result, will defend “their” person or “their” team in even the most irrational circumstances. This has happened with Assange and he is, cynically in my view, playing on this tide of support to try and avoid answering charges. Indeed he has fanned the flames by saying the charges made against him by his accusers are a “set-up” orchestrated by enemies of Wikileaks.

The fear of Team Assange in this case has been articulated as being that if he is extradited to Sweden then the Swedes will immediately deport him to the USA. A huge chink in the armor of this argument is that, currently, there is no warrant for Assange’s arrest in the USA and, if there were, the UK with their “special relationship” has an equally strong, if not stronger, extradition treaty.

Assange, therefore, and contrary to popular myth, has not been arrested for his conduct relative to Wikileaks. This is a very important point and one that his supporters should focus on. He has been arrested on serious allegations of sex offenses. And, before anyone brings up the fact that he was put on the Interpol Red List as a sign that he was singled out, one must remember that this man openly refused to return to Sweden voluntarily. Instead, he roamed the globe allowing others to say he was in hiding. He drew attention to the fact that he was “on the run” and had no intention of facing justice unless justice came looking for him. Sweden had no choice, for had they let him continue to roam they would have been telling any person in Sweden accused of a crime, including sex offenders, “if you run, we will not come looking”. By raising his profile, Assange was, I suggest, challenging the Swedes.

In my unvarnished view, this extradition should not, and I do not believe will, be used as a cover for “handing him over to the USA”. That, if it comes, should be a separate proceeding.

Assange should surrender himself to the Swedish authorities, allow them to “police the perpetrators of crime” and face the allegations pending against him. Otherwise, where does it stop? What crime could be committed that would cause his supporters to say that he should stand trial? Can this man now wander the globe abusing women with impunity? No! The line must be drawn and people must start looking at this rationally and without the hype and spin!

Those who call the allegations politically motivated should stop, look at what is actually alleged, and what is admitted, and then, if they still allege malfeasance on the part of the government of Sweden or others, put up or shut up!


  1. I am glad you distinguish in your words that this is a warrant for questioning and not a formal charge, yet. However, you are the one who is wrong. Everything is politically motivated.

  2. If Assange committed rape then he should go to prison, I think everyone agrees on that. But this is politically motivated and driven, all he is guilty of is running a website that some powerful people are unhappy with!

  3. You are right on with this column. Many of the people protesting would, in other circumstances support women who say they have been raped. Assange should face justice and let the chips fall where they may.

  4. I agree that the charges against Assange are politically motivated, and believe they are designed to discredit him. If you want to discredit someone these are just the type of charges to throw at them.

  5. I agree that the charges against Assange are politically motivated. They are designed to smear and discredit him. You have to admit, they are great charges to discredit someone with - few people would support someone convicted of a sex charge.

    In my gut, I feel that the timing of these charges, right after Wiki Leaks has upset numerous world powers (mostly America), is highly suspicious. They are easy charges to fabricate. We'll see.

  6. Peter - Do you have an opinion about what should happen to the perpetrators of sexual assaults taking place in US airports every day?