Thursday 16 August 2012

Assange and the Farce of British Justice

Today, according to Ecuadorian officials, the UK government has threatened to remove Julian Assange from their embassy by force. Julian Assange stands accused -but not charged - of rape and sexual assault in Sweden. He is also charged - but in secret and without evidence or trial - of crimes against the state in the USA.

The USA want Julian Assange and their client kings in Sweden and the UK are willing to lose face to hand him over. Just as they were willing to lose credibility over the wars with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, the sort of atrocities committed by UK and US troops in Iraq, revealed by Assange's Wikileaks may still be going on around the world. Indeed Barack Obama continues to fund armed drones to assassinate civilians in other countries without trial or evidence. 

In medieval Britain, if someone was accused of a crime they could seek sanctuary in particular churches and often were given the opportunity to forfeit any rights and citizenship in order to be exiled from the country.

The Church was an appropriate place for this right of exit from the excesses of the realm: it was seen as a place of citizenship elsewhere - citizenship in heaven - so it was beyond the jurisdiction of any ruler.

Since the "Wars of Religions" the honour given to ideas of God have been transferred to the state. Naturally this means that the role of offering sanctuary and asylum now falls with Embassies rather than Churches.

Julian Assange, after being under house-arrest for nearly two years, which followed voluntarily remaining in Sweden to help police with their investigations, is now in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

British government officials have offered assurances that, were Assange to be extradited to Sweden, he would not be then passed on the USA, without due process. Ahem! But how can we trust a government or even a judiciary who have pursued one man with such enthusiasm despite the fact that he has never even been charged with anything, let alone found guilty.

Now, the UK government have threatened to force their way into the Ecuadorian embassy in order to arrest a man who has not been charged with any crime. And yet they still claim there is no political motivation for hounding him? Who are they kidding?

Our government took us to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq based on the lies and promises of the US government. Now they are chasing the leader of the only news agency worthy of the name because freedom of speech and information threatens the licentious violence of governments and corporations.

Today the UK government has shown its full hand. There is little pretence of either justice or goodness in the actions of a government who would rather risk the integrity of every embassy in Britain to secure the arrest of a man of peace than allow justice to be seen to be done.