Wikileaks hounding is politics not justice

December 7th, 2010

A sad afternoon for British justice. A British judge has joined in the harrassment of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, which has been led by the US government, which has been embarrassed by the massive leak of its diplomatic cables. Assange has been refused bail and clapped in jail because the judge says he might flee from justice.

Despite the fact that  Assange gave himself up voluntarily. Hopeful that British justice would not bow down to political pressure.

Which it has done. The US government is after Assange because of the leaks but that was not the issue before the court today. Assange, an Australian,  is being extradited to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault on two women, which he contests. The case against him was dropped by one Swedish prosecutor. But another prosecutor is eager to get him in court in Sweden, which now has a right-wing government.

British judges, along with most Brits, still see Sweden as a model Social Democratic government. The mainstream British media has not paid much attention to the massive recent changes in Sweden.

The essential truths of this change have been catalogued in triology of novels, written by a Swedish journalist, which has hit the best seller list and the cinema screens.

The girl with the dragon tattoo is a fictional invention. But the political climate in which she operates is authentic.

But judges don’t read many novels and when they do, they see them as entertainment.

They do not share my view, based on long experience, that really good novels, often get closer to the truth than a lot of journalism.

Sweden, 2010, is only too ready to jump to the tune of American consumer capitalism. And Cameron’s coalition government is another eager ally.

By contrast, true lovers of the American Dream, are only too aware that capitalism’s excesses need to be checked. The role of the press in so doing is enshrined in the American constitution. To which all Presidents adhere.

Most of the time.

Currently, the Obama administration has forgotten this.

Today, they welcomed the imprisonment of Assange. For weeks now, they have been trying to crush Wikileaks, bullying companies like Amazon to ban it.

Sadly, they may succeed.

But they have totally failed to suppress the leaks.

Thanks most importantly because the most important of the millions of words in the leaked documents have been printed in a few of the world’s best newspapers, such as the New York Times, El Pais in Spain and The Guardian in Britain.

They were chosen by Assange.

And if ever he is brought to court for putting lives at risk, which is the US allegation, his choice of partners is a good defence. He chose, not the Daily Mail or The Sun, who might have been happy to pay him handsomely for the sensational tit bits, but The Guardian.

Which, of course, is also in the entertainment business. But which still has scruples and a regard for responsible journalism.

Most of the time.

Leave a Reply