Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Assange receives Hicks treatment

  • 14 February 2011

The UK judge who is deciding the Swedish Government request to extradite Julian Assange from the UK to Sweden to answer police questions about rape allegations has retired to consider his verdict. It will be announced on 24 February.

The issue now has taken on an independent public and political dynamic of its own, regardless of whether the prime mover was a genuine, coincidentally arising 'Swedish rape' allegation, or an outcome of a US intelligence-fomented provocation.

(Continues below)

Swedish national pride is now firmly engaged. The Swedish prime minister resents Assange's defence team's vocal scepticism about Assange's chances of fair legal process in Sweden.

EU extradition values and conventional practice, which favour extradition irrespective of the merits of particular cases, out of respect for the integrity of fellow EU member countries' legal systems, are also engaged.

On the other side, the case has mobilised formidably skilled and well resourced UK human rights groups. It has also engaged British national sovereignty lobbies.

So whatever the judge's decision on 24 February, there are likely to be appeals — probably to more than one level. The case could now go on of its own volition for years, because it is bigger than Assange now.

If there are covert US forces out to discredit and silence Assange, they would be satisfied at the prospect of a long and morale-sapping legal process now facing Assange. They could sit back and watch the court process unfold, while hoping he will lose public standing and political momentum.

Hoping, too, that he may make errors of judgement under the stress of house arrest, exacerbated by an increasing flow of hostile books by disgruntled persons from within his own original Wikileaks group, and by an expanding and very nasty internet traffic about his alleged destructive personality, manipulativeness and disloyalty to friends, improper sexual conduct, business corruption and so on.

The man must be under huge pressure now from all the mud being slung at him.

Perhaps worst of all, we see now a cynical distancing from him by editors of major newspapers which have already profited from his best Wikileaks scoops (e.g. Guardian, New York Times) and now seem to be pleased to be damning him with condescension, faint praise, or worse.

All intelligence agencies are expert at designing and running complex dirt files on targeted individuals who have challenged the power of national security states. Agencies are skilled at exploiting known human weaknesses or traits of character, to