Well Mr. Hodges you certainly have begun a vile crusade with your vitriolic article; I don’t know which is worse: Your unrelenting desire to denigrate pre-eminent men (and George Galloway) who can be counted amongst the many selfless individuals who have stood up for human rights and freedom of speech – former Ambassador Craig Murray, who was sacked from his post for denouncing the abuses of the Karimov Administration against the UK’s wishes, to point out only one example – and cast yourself as the last pure and noble lefty; or your insular take on the situation surrounding Mr Assange, which is scandalously remiss of the most salient facts that are pivotal to extricating the truth from this convoluted mess. A Martian visiting Earth would think, after perusing your column, that this case were a simple circumstance of a cowardly sex pest who is trying to evade arrest and punishment for a hideous crime. In fact, after reading your work, not only would this visitor think that Earth was bereft of balanced, articulate and competent journalism, but also that you had tried and executed Mr Assange before the man has even had the chance to answer to formal charges.
With your cavalier – or naive, I’m not sure which – attitude you have managed to do what no-one else has so far. Make a complex international case with five protagonists – Assange, Sweden, UK, USA and Ecuador – appear so cut and dry. I find that I wouldn’t be far away from the truth when I deduce that you would see the situation thusly: Mr Assange is wanted on double rape charges in Sweden; he seeks asylum in Ecuador to escape extradition; therefore he is guilty. I can see how you may come to that conclusion when you are so conveniently selective in the evidence you divulge in your column; a tiny excerpt from a High Court Ruling that relates one of the alleged victims’ version of events. In essence this excerpt proves only that Mr Assange has questions he needs to answer, and, regardless of your insinuations, no serious Assange supporter has even voiced opinions contrary to that fact, that Mr Assange should be questioned over the allegations. Otherwise, the excerpt you provide serves no other purpose, other to remind us that this is a case of one word against another. If you were an ethical and moral man, I’m sure you would think it prudent not to broach an important and serious issue if you cannot fairly and adequately explore it within the narrow confines of your column. But with this predilection of yours towards outrageously one-sided and insular dissections of such an issue, you are trivialising a complicated and sensitive discord between people and nations.
Now let us look at the more vital evidence you decide to omit: You do not mention the fact that Mr Assange remained in Sweden a full month after the accusations for published in the media – you also neglect to mentions that the disclosure of information and identities regarding a sexual assault/rape case in Sweden is in contravention of the law, which stipulates that identities must remain confidential throughout judicial proceedings. You make no mention of the subsequent behaviour and actions of the alleged victims, following the instances in which they were said to have been raped or molested. The most striking example being that the first ‘victim’ allowed Mr Assange to continue to stay with her at her residence. But, of course, inclusion of these little snippets would obliterate your campaign decimate the character of good men (and George Galloway), from the off. Although they may not have articulated themselves to the best of their ability, their comments certainly do not suggest that they do not believe Mr Assange should face questioning by Swedish authorities; all of Assange’s supporters have put forward, or welcomed, either the idea of having Sweden question Mr Assange in London; or that the USA should guarantee that they will not request extradition if Mr Assange were to face the charges in Sweden. Both scenarios are either not possible or would be inconsequential, but these entreaties show that the supporters of Julian Assange have never once said that Mr Assange should not answer the allegations. However these disgusting and unfounded charges continue to be launched, in a hideous attempt to discredit and demonise Mr Assange’s backers and further villify Mr Assange himself.
The supporters of Mr Assange are fighting his corner, not to help him circumvent any arrest or possible prosecution but, to protect him from falling into hands of the United States. An administration that is so seething with vehement scorn and violent rage over Mr Assange’s Wikileaks activities – Republicans across the country openly stating that he should be assassinated – that they would have no reservations over resurrecting their long-standing relationship, of extraordinary rendition, with Sweden to have him sent to the United States. I find it astonishing that you do not even hint at this huge, rotten, appendage that is attached to the surface of this international dispute. Precedent alone should bring it to the forefront of your mind. We know how the USA deals with the kind of embarrassment and breach of national security, which Wikileaks and its editor-in-chief, Assange, meted out to them. It is being played out, like a grim and ominous prelude, in the case of Pte. Bradley Manning; the US soldier who handed over thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, and is languishing in a military prison where he has been for almost two and a half years – most of that time in solitary confinement – without the merest semblance of due process, or the whisper of a trial forthcoming. It does not take a political journalist for an esteemed newspaper to figure out that a much worse fate awaits Mr. Assange – the man who actually published the information in the public domain – should the American government be given even the slightest chance of getting their violent, blood-soaked terrorist hands on him.
You see Dan, THIS is what we, and the men mentioned in your article, are trying to protect Mr Assange from! We support him, because he disclosed the truth of what kind of activities our governments were engaged in. We want him to be protected from a vast, unremitting juggernaut that preaches human rights and reverence for the sanctity of the First Amendment but rarely practices it. In the minds of America’s politicians, the man took freedom of speech too far, and endangered the lives of thousands – another falsehood – and now they wish to make an example of the man who was brave enough to reveal the crimes committed by this ‘democracy’ to the masses. Our crusade, unlike yours, is a just one! We do not wish to trivialise the crime of rape or undermine the gravity of the crimes in which Mr Assange has been accused; we only want to keep the iron gates of free speech and freedom of the press open, so that we might continue to hear and read the TRUTH!