Julian Assange: Sinner Or Saint?
The beauty of the allegations against the Wikileaks progenitor is that no one, save his accusers and Assange himself, knows the truth.
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
The beauty – if it can be called that – of the allegations against Wikileaks progenitor, Julian Assange, is that no one, save his accusers and Assange himself, know the truth.
Julian Assange has now been granted bail of £200,000 by a London Court, but will be held in custody at least until the Swedish appeal against him being given bail, is heard. Once out, he has been offered lodgings at an old East Anglian manor house, owned by a retired British Army officer. Instead of Wandsworth prison fare, Assange will be able to sample rarer gastronomical delights offered up by his very British establishment host. He will also be able to cycle down to the nearest village police station each evening, and be back in time for Supper.
And here’s the rub; contributors to Assange’s bail have included notable left wing journalist, John Pilger and left wing playwright, Ken Loach. They have also included socialite, Jemima Khan and our galloping former Army captain. All are convinced that Assange is being framed at the behest of the CIA, or in old London parlance ‘fitted up’. How convenient, argue Assange’s growing numbers of supporters, including former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, that the messenger is figuratively being shot. Many of Assange’s supporters clearly do not believe the two sexual molestation allegations – and looking at the depositions made by the two Swedish women concerned, there are plenty of unanswered questions. Not least, that after having unwanted, unprotected sex, both of Assange’s companions seemed quite happy to keep on partying with him.
And of course from Mordecai Vanunu, to Scott Ritter to Greg Palast, a flurry of convenient sex allegations has been enough to either shut the aforementioned up, or have them – as in the case of Vanunu – thrown into jail. Using honey traps to lure unsuspecting enemies of the State is a practice as old as the hills.
But equally it would be a mistake to presume that both women in the Assange case are lying or have been put up to the job. We simply do not know, nor can we say with one hundred per cent surety that Assange is innocent. And that is the beauty, and the difficulty, of his situation.
Then again, there is the time honoured notion of being innocent before being proven guilty.
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