Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks who has been on Interpol’s Most Wanted list after Sweden officially authorized this, went to a central London police station this Tuesday by prior agreement with the authorities. After he stated that he would resist extradition to Sweden where he faces questioning in connection with alleged sex offenses, he was refused bail by a court in London. He’ll have to remain in custody until a hearing next week, although several people, including journalist John Pilger, film director Ken Loach and Jemima Khan, the sister of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, stood up in court offering to put up sureties.
One would think he eats babies for breakfast, or at least is suspected of murder. While the media often refer to rape in connection with the accusations against Assange, the official charges do not include rape but state sexual misconduct. Offenses that conventionally result in an international man-hunt? Hardly so.
One would expect behind-the-scenes CIA involvement and government coercion, and dismiss the allegations as complete fabrications that were invented in order to silence an individual who many government officials and politicians (not only from the U.S.) would like to brand as a to-be-assassinated terrorist. However, behind the allegations that led to Julian’s arrest lies a peculiar composite of events and personalities colored by hurt feelings rather than sinister conspiracies. In addition, some pro-feminist Swedish laws give strong consideration to issues of consent when it comes to sexual activity — including even the issue of whether a condom was used. According to an AOL News report from December 2, his lawyer claimed that “Assange is wanted not for allegations of rape, as previously reported, but for something called “sex by surprise,” which he said involves a fine of 5,000 kronor or about $715.”
Two women filed criminal charges against Julian Assange. When he gave some talks in Stockholm on August 13 and 14, he accepted the invitation of the first one, a Christian socialist named Anna Ardin, to stay at her apartment. They had sex, and, according to an intrepid cyber sleuth, Anna posted some comments on her Twitter account that don’t have the slightest indication of any bad feelings towards him, on the contrary. About a week later she goes to the police with claims of sexual molestation etc., and the Twitter comments disappear. What happened? Well, Assange had been approached by another female eager to make his acquaintance, Sofia Wilén, and they had sex. When both women find out about each other they take revenge. Back in January, Anna had published a step-by-step guide about “How to Get Legal Revenge”, and it looks like she put her theories to the test. The legal dispute has to do with unprotected sex — which CAN involve criminal charges in Sweden, even when it was consensual (the “sex-by-surprise” mentioned above).
If this would have involved an ordinary, unknown person, I doubt that he would have ended up on Interpol’s “Most Wanted” list. The founder of WikiLeaks on the other hand remains in custody without bail, for an offense which (if found guilty) carries a fine of $715. I call this a despicable double-standard.
Why WikiLeaks deserves protection, not threats and attacks, is best explained by Assange himself, in an article he wrote for The Australian: Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths. Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and other proponents of the truth concur. In fact, Chomsky signed an open letter asking Australian prime minister Julia Gillard to support Mr Assange following his arrest. The letter has been signed by scores of high-profile Australians, including Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown.
In the meantime, all sorts of sinister forces try to shut down or compromise WikiLeaks, so far without success. As of today, it is mirrored on more than 1000 sites.