Contributed by Joe Montero
Julian Assange failed in his bid to have the British warrant for his arrest struck down, despite being tied to an earlier Swedish investigation that is no longer taking place. They dropped their investigation last year. The United Nations also ruled that the case should not be proceeded with. The international arrest warrant was dropped and this implied that the British one should be as well.
But judge Emma Arbuthnot used a technicality. She ruled the warrant must stand, because Assange had run from it, and sought refuge inside London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for five-and-a-half years. Therefore, dropping the warrant would amount to rewarding him with “effective immunity,” for having avoided proceedings.
Assange has argued consistently and credibly that the purpose of the extradition was to send him to Sweden, so he can be transferred to the United States and charged for publishing secret documents.
Contrary to many initial media reports, this case not finished yet. The warrant remains, but there is still a decision to be made, on the application to have the whole British case against Assange dropped. The ruling on this is due on 14 February.
An important background factor in all of this, is the pressure from the United States. Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of that country, told reporters that arresting Assange was “a priority.” This has been repeated recently by other administration officials.
“We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,” he insisted.
Assange has been the subject of a Grand Jury, but secrecy provisions mean that any decisions that have been made are not public.
The drive by the British establishment to continue going after Assange is testimony to the extent to which he has upset it, by uncovering something of the way business and politics are conducted. Secrets have been exposed and in the establishment’s eyes, this sort of thing must be stopped.
These exposures have n ot been just about Britain. They have been global in nature and have cast some light on the global nature of under the table arrangements, including those that exist between the United Kingdom and the United States.
One of the most persistent accusation made against Assange, and this has been associated with the present case, is that he has not been proved innocent of the former Swedish charge. But how can innocence be proved for a non-existent case? Any fool would know this. This shows up the accusation as a malicious attempt to smear his name.
The 46-year-old Australian founder of WikiLeaks has had to put up with years of black propaganda of this sort. It hit its peak after the release of the Hillary Clinton tapes, which exposed her culpability on several fronts. Just as important, were a series of exposures of other political leaders, of underhand methods used by big corporations and the global network of corruption.
Assange has been accused of being in collusion with the Russians and a friend of Donald Trump. His sanity has been questioned. These claims have been repeated many times, without provucing a shred of evidence, presumably, in the hope that some of the dirt might stick. It has been an underhand campaign, waged by powerful underhand people, with the collusion of a lot of big media.
The attacks on Assange and WikiLeaks are ultimately designed, to cover up the wrongdoing once again. If the credibility of the messenger can be destroyed, the message can be delegitimised, and business can carry on as usual.
It is the reason why this is still far from over.