The Assange contradiction

Today’s ODT editorial No ‘get out of jail free’ card yet  points out the contradiction between what Julian Assange campaigns for through Wikileaks – transparency – and how he holed himself up in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years to avoid facing responsibilities.

Seven years have done little to diminish the defiance (arrogance?) of Australian Julian Assange.

Many revere whistle-blowers such as Mr Assange. They support WikiLeaks’ goals of freedom of speech to improve transparency and reduce corruption – the same goals espoused by media organisations worldwide. Opinions differ, however, on WikiLeaks’ methods: a reliance on secret sources and leaked material, which governments have argued might put their countries and servicemen and women at risk.

The reverence of Assange diminished somewhat when he avoid facing rape accusations, and when Wikileaks campaigned against Hillary Clinton in last year’s US election.

This newspaper finds the most difficult thing to marry is Mr Assange’s professional crusade for transparency with his refusal to be held to account personally. The allegations are of a serious criminal nature. He maintains his sexual connection with the women was consensual. If he is innocent (and everyone should be assumed innocent until proven guilty) he had nothing to fear from simple questioning. If he was charged as a result, a trial in Sweden would surely have been fair and transparent and in the media spotlight.

When it comes to the “human rights” quoted by Mr Assange, there are still two women whose rights have been denied. This self-professed defender of truth and justice has sent a disturbing message to rape victims and perpetrators of sexual violence: run away and you won’t be held to account.

While he argues he has been unfairly detained, and his children deprived of a father, he could, in fact, leave the embassy at any time and start facing reality. The two former WikiLeaks volunteers had to, as did the supplier of his organisation’s best cache of information.

Assange quotes some UN agency that claimed he was illegally detained, but Assange chose to hide from Swedish justice in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and he chose to stay there to avoid that and other legal challenges.

Assange claims he was innocent of rape charges, but chose not to defend himself in the normal judicial process.

Wikileaks don’t seem to care about accusations they promote against others that avoid normal due process and justice.

Assange’s (and Wikileaks’) methods and political motives, and his supposed holding to account of authorities and politicians while going to extremes to avoid being held to account himself, is a contradiction that seriously diminishes the credibility of Wikileaks.


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  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th May 2017

    How can anyone defend themselves against a rape charge when the only witness is the accuser? The editorial writer is full of b.s. on that aspect and ignores the threat of extradition to the US. I’d give the article a very poor failing grade.

    • Pete Kane

       /  24th May 2017

      100% Alan. These (potential) charges are dodgy in the extreme.

      • Pete Kane

         /  24th May 2017

        One sided take acknowledged.
        “Malzberg | Stone: Assange Not a Criminal, Rape Charges Were British Setup”

    • High Flying Duck

       /  24th May 2017

      I’m no fan of Assange, but agree entirely with what you say.

  2. Niall Halliday

     /  24th May 2017

    Not sure if this has been mentioned previously. Craig Murray’s take on the Assange case is worth a read.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  24th May 2017

      Yes, pretty damning. Seems obvious the UK remains a US pawn in this affair.

  3. Im guessing Mr A is sneaking out the back-door as I write this ?

    “Viva la revolucion !”

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  24th May 2017

      Hardly. Not unless he has a submarine waiting to collect him.

  4. Way back when Wikileaks was formed, I became a member and actually contributed to its start up funding. I was interested in watching its development and was an observer rather than a participant. I have watched its development with a critical and sceptical attitude. One thing I am certain about is that the contributors of the information genuinely believed the truth of what they provided. I did not detect any special line to be taken, and was able to assess the truth of what was claimed to be copies of official information. How? By testing the completeness of the documents and the metadata and the language used. I am convinced of the honesty of the publications produced, and will remain so until I see real evidence to the contrary. Yes, I accept I am putting my beliefs on the line, but so be it.
    Why did I commit myself to supporting Wikileaks? Because the pursuit of truth is to me the final mission in life.
    No I do not like Assange as a person because he sacrificed his family life to pursue his dream. I think that family is too important for that sort of sacrifice, but he made his choice.
    Ultimately he must be able to return home to Australia – but that is a political decision by Australia and to me a test of the integrity of their political system but we shall see.