Last night, Julian Assange gave his first interview since seeking political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London on Tuesday (the interview was with ABC Radio in Australia and it follows at the end of this post). Assange said a number of interesting things, not least criticising Australian PM Julia Gillard for her ‘slimy rhetoric’. What wasn’t touched upon in the 18 minute interview was the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the manner in which the Americans are trying to get hold of Assange.
When Assange lost his appeal last week in the UK Supreme Court he was given 2 weeks to make a final appeal to the ECHR. There are two strands to the ECHR angle: firstly, the ECHR will not block the European Arrest Warrent issued by Sweden (see here); secondly, once back in Sweden even if Assange then appeals to the ECHR against extradition to the USA it can take as long as a year before the ECHR even looks at a case, by which time Assange will be wearing an orange jumpsuit in somewhere like Guantanamo Bay. That aside, it seems unlikely that the ECHR would block extradition in Assange’s case anyway, as was shown earlier this year when the ECHR dismissed extradition challenges by Abu Hamza and four other alleged terrorists, who will shortly be making a one-way trip to the USA. It’s for these reasons that Assange is now in the Ecuadorean embassy seeking political asylum. After losing his final appeal in the UK against the Arrest Warrent, there were no other options left open to him if he wanted to stay out of the clutches of the Americans.
Many folks have been asking: why couldn’t the Americans have simply extradited Assange from their poodle, the United Kingdom, and why all the stuff with Sweden? The point here is that Assange has not commited any crime in the UK and if it weren’t for the Swedish stuff he would be a free man. As such, while extradition proceedings were going through in the UK, Assange could have just done a runner. The Americans have been very clever, because to successfully extradite Assange they need him to be under arrest, so that he can’t do a runner (hence the European Arrest Warrent against a man who’s not charged with anything).
The sexual assault allegations against Assange were originally dismissed by a Prosecutor, and Assange left Sweden in 2010 as a free man with no charges laid against him. Shortly after, the case was reopened by another Prosecutor and a European Arrest Warrent was issued against Assange, who was then back in London. Then we had 18 months of appeals against the Arrest Warrent in the UK courts, which Assange finally lost last week. If he hadn’t nipped into that embassy in Knightsbridge earlier this week, Assange would have shortly been on his way to Sweden; and here’s the rub: because of the bizaare legal system in Sweden, even though Assange is not formally charged with anything, and is only wanted for questioning, he would have been held on remand in prison. The CIA would have rubbed their hands while getting the orange jumpsuit ready.
Of course, I’m saying that this is all a plot hatched by those jolly chaps in the CIA. I think that the evidence that the Americans want to get hold of Assange has been overwhelming, right from the start:
And here’s the radio interview…