"Assange is confined only by his own volition and caprice"by Oliver Kamm / February 5, 2016 / Leave a comment
Julian Assange is not a political dissident and it’s hard to recall a campaign more laden with vainglorious euphemism than his bid for freedom. He is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy not because he’s a whistleblower but because he skipped bail rather than answer allegations of rape and sexual assault. The advisory opinion offered by a UN working group that he’s subject to arbitrary detention is itself arbitrary. Assange is confined not by the mighty state apparatus of Sweden or the UK but by his own volition and caprice. Britain is obliged to arrest him the moment he steps outside the Ecuadorean embassy. There is, after all, an international warrant for his arrest.
At every stage in his campaign, Assange has sought to evade the rule of law and frustrate the exercise of due process. He has had the opportunity to challenge the arrest warrant in the legal systems of both Sweden and Britain. His case has been considered and rejected by the Supreme Court. The case of those women he’s alleged to have assaulted and raped has meanwhile never been heard.
That’s a violation of the principles of a free society and it gets worse. George Galloway, the former Respect MP, notoriously suggested that even if the allegations were true they wouldn’t amount to “rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it.” Assange was given refuge for a time at the journalists’ Frontline Club by its founder, Vaughan Smith. I resigned my membership of the club when Smith’s statement in defence of his decision tellingly made not a single reference to the women Assange is alleged to have attacked.
The moral evasions offered by Assange’s dwindling fan base have become increasingly bizarre and insanitary. Craig Murray, a former diplomat who’s imaginatively reinvented himself as a “human rights campaigner,” claims that: “due to a mistaken kind of political correctness, the British media refuses to publish all the details of the case.” It’s like being back in the 1950s or 1960s, when women who’d been raped were routinely not believed or alternatively were blamed for leading on their attackers.
The spirit of Assange’s campaign is misogyny and reaction. Its methods are conspiracy theories and contempt for due process. Its human costs include heaping calumnies on his alleged victims. What a man, what a cause—and what a disgrace.