Nov 30, 2015

The strange case of Julian Assange

It's become clear that the Swedish and UK governments will do virtually anything to ensure the investigation of Julian Assange never proceeds.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Julian Assange faces very serious allegations, politicians like to say. That was the description from UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s office three years ago, defending the UK’s determination to extradite him to Sweden. And that was the description early this year from then-UK deputy PM Nick Clegg, too — “he should go to Sweden to face very serious allegations and charges of rape,” said Clegg, not long before leading his party to annihilation in this year’s general election. Clegg, of course, was peddling the oft-repeated lie that there are charges against Assange.

But for very serious allegations – sexual molestation, unlawful coercion, sexual assault — the UK and Swedish governments have displayed zero interest in investigating them. In fact, the history of the case against Assange is a history of increasingly bizarre efforts by authorities to avoid questioning him.

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16 thoughts on “The strange case of Julian Assange

  1. Sue Miills

    Thankyou Bernard & Crikey for sanity & some facts

  2. James O'Neill

    All of which, thank you Bernard, leads to the obvious conclusion that this farce has nothing at all to do with allegations of sexual assault (long since discredited) but everything to do with railroading Assange off to the US via what would inevitably be a very brief stopover in Sweden.

    It is also in my view another black mark about our alleged Foreign Minister who seems oblivious to the fact (or told by the Americans to ignore) of Australia’s obligations to act on behalf of any of its citizens in distress.

  3. zut alors

    Remember never to ask the UK & Swedish governments to organise a piss-up in a pub.

    Critics of Assange have said he’s paranoid about being extradited to the US & it wouldn’t happen. The passing of time & the behaviour of the UK & Sweden suggest otherwise.

    Since Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy we have witnessed a string of Oz Foreign Ministers & Prime Ministers do eff-all to assist him. Bishop is gung ho in the cause of deceased Australians (Ukraine plane crash) but exhibits nil concern for an endangered & alive countryman.

  4. Coaltopia

    Great piece – thanks. Our man should return home to Australia a hero, but I’m sure he’d prefer to go to Berlin etc, and be left alone to pursue his work, watchful of any rendition attempts.

  5. Marion Wilson

    The much talked about Australian citizenship is obviously of very dubious value. Our Government was very quick to abandon David Hicks, Mumdoh Habib and Julian Assange. Australian citizenship doesn’t make any difference – our government will jettison any Australian citizen who the US takes a fancy to – no questions asked, no proof of wrongdoing required.

  6. Dogs breakfast

    Thanks Bernard. It’s interesting to see how desperate they are to interview him about allegations of some form of sexual assault.

    Pretty clear that they are interested in getting him to Sweden rather than follow up on their own laws.

    It’s axiomatic to then come to the conclusion that their purposes aren’t transparent, other than that pretty much everyone can see through them.

    If the US wants an Australian citizen, the safest place is an Ecuadorian embassy. Great!

  7. Jaybuoy

    Demonstrates how little clout we have with our Anzus ally..

  8. AR

    Assange knows that he is a dead man waiting – years hence, he will never be able to walk down a street anywhere apart (perhaps) from Russia, China or N Korea without the certainty of a black Chevy Suburban pulling alongside.
    After which, feggedit.

  9. James O'Neill

    AR. Doesn’t that rather make the point if what you say is true, that we have lost the plot in our pretend democracy. Arbitrary assassinations of inconvenient people used to be associated with dictatorships. I suspect that ever since 22 November 1963 we have been no better.

  10. MJM

    Thanks Bernard for a fascinating article. I have read the case very carefully as it has proceeded and can only agree that the UK and Swedish authorities are lying about their motives and intentions.

    However our own government has done nothing to help. Always a “left luvvie” myself I wrote to PM Gillard when she swept Assange’s fate aside. I had a response to my letter from then A-G Robert McClelland that would have been grist to Don Watson’s mill – never seen so many weasel words on one page.

    Too many leaders have been too quick to condemn Assange for something that seems to be as unclear as their many motives. I live outside Australia and since McClelland’s response I have chosen not to vote. I think it is disgraceful that an Australian citizen has been treated in this way.

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