Don’t minimize for a minute the gravity of Julian Assange’s crime associated with the WikiLeaks disclosures. Whereas an ordinary criminal — a tax evader, a bank fraudster, a child molester, even a Mafia chieftain or the head of a Colombian drug cartel! – might seek and eventually find refuge from the long arm of the law in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, no such luck awaits poor Mr. Assange.
We’ve long learned since 9/11 there is no greater crime against humanity than a crime against the state, no matter how benevolent or rogue the state. It’s as if all modern states, totalitarian or democratic, consider it the greatest affront whenever even one of them is singled out as the chief perpetrator of duplicitous, behind-the-scenes stately dealings — a collective guilt syndrome, I suppose.
That’s why we must view Mr. Assange’s recent request for political asylum in Ecuador as an act of desperation. And if we overlook the irony for the moment, hell, even Iran or North Korea would be certain to deny the request. And they’re ideological enemies!
Let’s face it, in the eyes of today’s world powers, great or small, Mr. Assange had committed an unpardonable sin. For in attacking a state — even the most hated and most resented of all states — he had attacked them all.
Julian Assange, my friends, is a doomed man!
It’s not exactly as though an equitable solution couldn’t be found. For one thing, the Swedish authorities could well consent to interrogate Mr. Assange on British soil without necessarily compromising the integrity or the outcome of the investigation. Understandably, there would be a proviso that once the results are less than satisfactory, he’d face immediate deportation on yet-to-be specified charges. Or barring that, he’d be granted safe passage to Sweden, safe from the threat of extradition, that is.
I find it significant that neither the UK nor Sweden has opted for the obvious resolution of the conflict. And this suggests that the eventual demise of Julian Assange has, for the most part, a symbolic value, serving as it were an object lesson to all would-be perpetrators and purveyors of anti-state ideology.
Sweden is a small potato in the larger scheme of things, so one shouldn’t expect it to be standing up to the long arm of Rome. But the UK?
John le Carré had it right in Absolute Friends when he spoke of Tony Blair as a toy poodle to George W. Bush — which goes to show that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Now it’s Mr. Cameron who is kowtowing to Mr. Obama.
If there’s a nation-state that could grant Mr. Assange full immunity from prosecution, it’s France. France has a long-standing tradition of bucking the trends, be they in publishing, sexual or social mores, political or religious persecution, what have you. It’s one of the first nation-states to have taken colonialism seriously, to have experienced a sense of collective guilt along with having felt necessary to make the necessary amends. Besides, it’s a nation-state that still counts.
I’d consider it a welcome development if Mr. Hollande were to grant Mr. Assange complete immunity, but I know I’m dreaming. The Euro talks on the future of Spain and Greece don’t inspire much confidence. If anything, they reveal a pathological dependence on the global banking system, so there’s still a long way to go before the European states free themselves from the international financial stronghold and interests.
Meanwhile, let’s keep our fingers crossed.
- Lots had happened since June 2012, the date of this publication. Assange was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August, under the then-president, Rafael Correa — a staunch opponent of American imperialism. Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales completed the triumvirate. Correa was deposed in 2017 as a result of corruption charges. His replacement, Lenín Moreno, was a conservative, bent, besides, on repairing shaky relations with the US –- even in the age of Trump. Moreover, the Bolivarian Revolution was a thing of the past. In any event, Assange had overstayed his welcome. According to credible reports, he was getting belligerent by the minute, given to fits of temper – in short, impossible to tolerate. To make the long story short, Moreno had had enough. He revoked the asylum and had Assange dragged out, ball and chain, out of the embassy by the Metropolitan police. That was in April 2019. There had since been a trial in London courts to decide on extradition and other matters. Once the bail was denied, Assanges’ future remains uncertain, especially in light of Biden’s call for extradition and trial. The Australian government offers the best hope: the PM had promised Assange “safe passage” — you’re “free to return to Australia” when legal challenges end! – but that’s small consolation considering that the UK (and Australia by derivation) are US puppets.