The hunt for Julian Assange
Share This Article:
The battle over Julian Assange has been ongoing for a long time. Assange, editor of the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, is wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of rape; he is currently hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after another bid to reopen his extradition case was rejected. He and many others believe that this is simply a ploy to get him extradited to the United States. The US has harboured a grudge against him since his documents and video releases made him public enemy number one, with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin demanding that he be targeted in the same way Al Qaeda is. Anyone who takes this view will be unsurprised that the chair of the Senate Select Committee on intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying: "He has caused serious harm to US national security, and he should be prosecuted immediately". The basis of this is the Espionage Act of 1917, an archaic act brought in at the time of America’s entry into the First World War. The Espionage Act was also used to arrest Bradley Manning, a man declared guilty before any kind of trial by former lawyer President Obama. His incarceration led UN special rapporteur Juan Mendez to state: "I conclude that the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement... constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture." Assange can only expect the same treatment if he was extradited to the US (after massive pressure Manning’s conditions have improved although he has still been held for two years without trial). Patrick Cockburn wrote an excellent piece on the vendetta against Assange not only by governments but by the press as well. He wrote:
- Article continues below...
- More stories you may like...
- I'm voting Labour because it's the only compassionate thing to do
- Record number of women elected to parliament on anniversary of Emily Davison's death
- How to fix the Labour Party