Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).
It's exactly right.
I find the way the Swedish law regarding sexual integrity (or how it has been reported) to be odd. Byt I'm not a laywer or lawmaker. But If I go to Sweden, then I implicitly act under those laws. No ifs or buts. I'll be tried by those laws.
But this article must have been written by a muppet if he thinks this is the whole import of the Wikileaks business. It's like killing a person just to point to the ring finger to say 'a ha, she was married!'
I'll put it another way. Mastercard, Visa, and Paypal have been coerced to stop dealing with Wikileaks. Our own PM has jumped the gun and called Assange/Wikileaks illegal. And so on..
I don't want for a moment to diminish the alleged sexual assault that is to be tried, but to call Jack of Kent's article exactly right seems to rule out a hell of a lot of stuff I reckon is important to our societies.
With all the calls to support Julian Assange, the other hero of the WikiLeaks controversy seems to be largely forgotten.
Bradley Manning is the one who leaked the bulk of the US cables and documents. He is in a prison cell in Quantico Virginia, and could be facing many years in prison. His situation is much more dire than that of Assange, and he was more instrumental in the release of the documents.
With all the calls to free Assange, what about Manning?
I'm convinced, and a little embarrassed by how unequivocal I began with this issue.
As we've seen recently in America with the tea party movement, it's easy to get caught up in a reactionary, emotion-fueled mob.
Maybe it would behoove us liberals to remember that.
"Exactly right"? I wonder.
In that article, Jack of Kent seems very intend to blame those who are calling for Assange's release. What, it's wrong to say that someone who's not yet tried be let free on bail? Maybe he forgot that Assange went to the British police voluntarily. It's not as if he was fleeing justice.
And I'm disappointed to see JoK repeating the tired meme of the "elitist liberals defending common felons because they are famous and/or political friends of theirs". As I already say, he may never be found guilty so it's a bit early to condemn his supporters.
And he misses the point about the political pressure surrounding the trial. There's the fact that Assange wasn't released on bail (for his "protection" from ill-intentioned people? hum). There's the fact that the rape and/or sex assault charges were first brought, then dropped, then brought again to another prosecutor. And now, there are talks of a possible extradition to the USA afterwards on charges of spying...
But then, JoK's former article on Assange was bizarre in the extreme. Why harp on the fact that he was not elected? WikiLeaks can be considered a press organ, but nobody is trying to pretend that Assange is a representative of the people.
Maybe I missed something, which has happened before, but isn't his main concern with people who assume that he charges must be trumped up (maybe they are, maybe they aren't; I have no way of knowing, even though there's some reason for suspicion) and Assange must therefore be allowed to walk without a trial?
My main concern is simply that the law be applied to Assange in the same way as it would to anyone else in the same circumstances. If someone else with no fixed address and a record of moving around in the way that Assange does would not get bail, he should not get bail. If someone else who is prepared to be interviewed by the Swedish police in the UK would be allowed an arrangement to do that without going to Sweden, Assange should be allowed such an arrangement. If a certain standard of prima facie evidence would be required before the UK grants extradition, then that standard should be applied.
And so on.
I don't know the rights and wrongs of what Assange did, but I do know that this is a case that requires a lot of public scrutiny to hold the authorities to account. Justice has to be seen to be done.
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