How do you solve a Problem like Assange?

With purchase of same.

So Assange has had his ‘life of Brian’ moment at the window of the Ecuadorian embassy and really that’s done sod all to change anything for all the hype leading up to it. All he really did was to make a rather vague statement that few people could really object to.

So the situation continues.

Assange seems to present something of a problem for a lot of the other progressive and activist people that I know. Why? Well, on he one hand he’s something of a folk hero despite being (unquestionably) a self-aggrandising prick and, apparently, an inconsiderate lover. Wikileaks represented a Citizen Media fightback and a way to get embarrassing information out there despite government controls and blocks.

On the other hand he’s been accused of rape and, at the risk of drawing ire again, there is a tendency amongst quite a large number of progressive types to tend to the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ when it comes to sexual allegations. The Assange case then, tears these people in half.

Let’s just pause a moment and note that he is accused only, that he has not been found guilty of any offence. He should not be judged by us as the public before he has actually been found guilty in a court of law. Jumping to conclusions rarely goes well. There are many reasons why an innocent man might run.

Assange may or may not be guilty but, given the treatment of people like Bradley Manning there are good reasons to be wary. There’s also the fact that one of his accusers published a blog with detailed instructions on how to get revenge on a man using some methods that now seem rather familiar.

There is reason to suspect the charges are somewhat spurious and in what leaked detail we do have they seem like a guy being a dick and two women, scorned, seeking to prove the adage about hell and fury.

Again though, we don’t have a lot to go on. The timing is suspicious, the nature of the accusations is suspicious and the past of at least one of the accusers is suspicious. It’s, perhaps, more likely that both Assange and his detractors have leapt upon the opportunity to wield his political hot-potato status as a weapon.

I don’t think he could get a fair trial anywhere, but he may – perhaps – have a better chance in Sweden and they’re less likely to extradite than the UK is. They’re also, I think, more likely to find him guilty of sexual misconduct that might be viewed more frivolously elsewhere.

Whether you think that’s good or bad is up to you.

Still, let’s just remember he’s accused, not guilty, yeah? Also that doing good things doesn’t preclude one from also doing bad things, and vice versa.

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2 responses to “How do you solve a Problem like Assange?

  1. I’m rapidly losing sympathy with him, there are a number of good solid sources of information that explain in good detail and plain English why he wouldn’t be extradited to the US on espionage charges (Charles Stross presents them quite nicely on his blog) so if he genuinely is innocent why not go to court and prove it?

    For someone who claims to be about freedom of information and openess he is setting a poor example. He’s fled a country where he was wanted for questioning (not assumed to be guilty but just wanted for questioning), then he came here, was nabbed and bailed, he has then skipped bail (an offence in the UK) and run again when things didn’t go his way.

    Sweden is (as you pointed out) one of the least corrupt and most open and liberal countries in the world (ranking number 4 on the list for lack of corruption, where we come at around 16 I think as the UK).

    Now I’m not assuming that he is guilty but there have been serious allegations made and for someone who claims to stand for the kind of things he claims to stand for (true or not) surely the only option is address it head on? After all running just makes you look guilty.

  2. He hasn’t had his day in court yet, so we should assume he is innocent until proven guilty, correct?

    However, the only reason he hasn’t gone to court yet is he has done everything in his power to avoid going to trial.

    So, he may be innocent, but his actions certainly don’t help his case that his is, in fact, innocent.

    The longer he waits, avoids and runs, the more guilty he appears.

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