Today, 7 Feb 2011, Wikileaks founder and spokesman Julian Assange attended Belmarsh magistrates court, London, for the first day of his extradition hearing. Prosecutors in Sweden want to put him on trial for “molestation” – an odd law, perhaps found only in Sweden, which can classify consensual sex as some sort of crime.
Assange’s lawyer believes that all the negative publicity attracted to case makes a fair trial in Sweden impossible. But of course, what Assange really believes that Sweden will in turn extradite him to the USA, where various commentators and politicians have declared him guilty of treason(?) and espionage and are calling for the death penalty. A bizarre situation, as it wasn’t Assange that illegally obtained the American cables at the centre of this palaver – he merely published them, as did the New York Times, the Guardian and the Spiegel.
I’m very concerned that this mad chain of events will result with Assange in a US jail cell. Maybe on Death Row, if some idiots get their way. And for what: publishing a bunch of diplomatic cables, some of which are embarrassing to various people and organizations, but none of the revelations has put anyone in danger. It’s all a re-run of the Gary McKinnon affair, where another American administration was embarrassed and tried to strike back. Let’s hope that the USA will see sense and withdraw their ridiculous allegations. And that Britain will grow enough balls to tell the USA to STFU.
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