Julian Assange is currently sitting in jail in the U.K. and he’s got quite the list of suitors pining for his time.
The Wikileaks founder was finally kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy about a month ago. Given his mental state and some of the stories of his time there, there wasn’t much of a path for him to stay there anyway. Shortly after his arrest, the United States unveiled a list of charges against Assange, including conspiracy revolving around the hacking efforts of Bradley Manning.
Ironically, while the Obama administration was seeking to put Assange away for life, they were granting clemency to Manning, allowing his release just seven years into his sentence. None of it made much sense and was probably wholly driven by the fact that Manning had become a pop-culture figure on the left due to his transgenderism.
The current charges against Assange are very flimsy and seem to rely on an extremely stretched idea of what conspiracy is.
He rejected the notion that Assange could claim to be a mere journalist with free-speech protections. “WikiLeaks is more than just a repository for classified information, they’re actually out actively seeking it. And the question is whether Assange was enabling individuals like Chelsea Manning to steal classified information. That would make him a co-conspirator.”
It is not illegal to actively seek out classified material as long as you aren’t the one illegally obtaining it. If it were, The New York Times, among many others, would no longer exist. Does that make Assange a “journalist?” Not in the traditional sense, but it doesn’t really matter because the protections under the law apply to everyone, not just self-appointed mainstream reporters. The only real question is whether Assange assisted in any hacking and the evidence of that appears non-existent.
It may not matter though because it doesn’t look like Assange is headed to the U.S. anytime soon. The Swedish Government has decided to re-open the rape case against him that they had originally dropped some years ago and that puts a wrench in the situation.
Sweden will re-open its investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Monday.
Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told reporters in Stockholm that the investigation into the alleged rape had been suspended in 2017 not for lack of evidence but as a result of Assange’s continued residence in Ecuador’s London embassy.
Sweden pretty much has first call on Assange. They’ve already got a court ruling from the U.K. authorizing his extradition while the U.S. would still have to fight those battles. Because of this, it’s likely any statutes of limitations will have run their course by the time the U.S. gets their shot at him.
There’s some hint that this could be gotten around by claiming an exemption in the law dealing with terrorism across international borders but that’d be ludicrous in my opinion. While Assange is clearly a bad actor and it’s perfectly acceptable to oppose his tactics, that doesn’t mean we should massage the meaning of the law to absurdity just to target him. He’s clearly not a terrorist nor has he participated in terrorist acts.
In the end, what I think this looks like is the U.S. overplaying their hand. As much as a lot of people would like to haul Assange in, I think the technicalities of the law will preclude that from happening. That leaves the real threat to Assange’s freedom residing in Sweden and I’m guessing they’ll make whatever they’ve got stick for obvious reasons.