If you have never heard of the name Julian Assange or the group Wikileaks then I have to assume that you have been living in a darkened room away from all forms of media for the last few years. Mr Assange is the founder and face of Wikileaks, a group famed with leaking news of Government and corporate corruption around the world through the use of anonymous whistleblowers.
One of the most widely known cases has to be that relating to the US Army soldier Chelsea Elizabeth (formerly Bradley) Manning. Manning was brave enough to blow the whistle on the US military and intelligence services for covering up the murder of innocent civilians in an airstrike in Baghdad by leaking video footage to Wikileaks along with half a million “war logs” from Iraq and Afghanistan. This leak caused mass panic and annoyance to the US Government, along with others, and although Wikileaks prided itself on protecting it’s sources they were unable to protect Manning from himself as Manning bragged about his whistleblowing on an online chat room and brought the entire world around him crumbling down. Manning was promptly arrested forcing Assange and the rest of the Wikileaks group to go on the run. Manning was eventually convicted of espionage and sentenced to 35yrs in prison. Assange, with the help of reporters at The Guardian media group managed to flee and escape to the UK. The US Government were keen to get their hands on Assange and many high profile politicians claimed he was a terrorist on national TV. They claimed that he had blood on his hands and that the information he leaked put valuable intelligence sources lives at risk. The corruption which Assange had leaked to the public had caused massive international embarrassment for the US and partners and they wanted revenge.
In 2010 allegations were made by two women in Sweden that Assange had raped one and sexually assaulted the other. Assange was questioned and released on bail having denied the offence. It is widely alleged by his supporters that these women were actually honey-traps paid by the US Government to smear Assange’s name and reputation as they tried a common form of character assassination in revenge for his leaks. You can read the full allegations made against Assange here…. http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange-sweden
Fearing that the alleged sex offences against him were fabricated and the result of honey traps in an effort to take him into custody and possibly extradite him to the USA Julian Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to escape extradition and possible assassination. Assange has admitted that he did have sexual encounters with the two women but has insisted that the allegations made against him are false. Requests have been made by his lawyers for the Swedish officials to come across to London and interview him here but these have been rejected. The Swedes seem intent on getting him on their turf and Assange and supporters believe that as soon as he is then he will be transported to America or succumb to some “no good end”.
We have recently heard ex CIA operative turned political activist Ray McGovern talk about the likes of Assange and the most recent high profile whistleblower Edward Snowden being placed on a CIA/NSA “kill list” alongside Al Qaida terrorists. It is no secret or surprise (although many will say it’s conspiracy and the ravings of mad men and women) that the US and UK authorities are linked to the assassination of many people who “threaten national security” it just seems that embarrassment and telling the truth has now been categorised as a threat to national security. Call me insane but I buy into the theory that Assange would fall foul of some random accident or be found dead after committing suicide… perhaps inside a duffle bag in a bathtub or similar or by natural causes with no autopsy being conducted like in the case of Dr David Kelly?
Anyway, I digress.
Julian Assange has now been hiding away in the embassy for 18 months. He has been given leave to remain there as long as he wishes by the ambassador. He could stay there till 2022 if he so wishes as this is when the statute of limitations on his extradition request expires. He has not been able to leave that building in 18 months for fear of being arrested and extradited by British Police.
What amazes me, as an former Police Officer with plenty of experience of conducting observations and surveillance of dangerous offenders, is that for 18months the Metropolitan Police have had Police Officers positioned outside the embassy waiting for Assange to leave so that he can be arrested!
I have seen operations axed, officers pulled off of obs points and surveillance scrapped because of budgetary issues despite us knowing the subject is present inside a specific building. These are jobs targeting serious and dangerous, often armed, offenders.
However, here we have a man, who just so happens to be the man responsible for embarrassing the most powerful and power mad nation in the world seeking refuge in another nation well known for being its lapdog and because he is wanted for questioning over questionable allegations in Sweden and definitely NOT because they want to crucify him or ruin him, it appears money is no object and we can waste our vital Police resources waiting outside a building for him.
I asked on twitter today just how much it has cost to date to wait for this arrest. No answers were forthcoming. However, as if by magic, the group ANONYMOUS tweeted a report from the Huffington Post detailing the cost to date of this operation.
6 MILLION POUNDS!!!
This I am sure you agree is a ludicrous amount to spend on a suspect who has not even been found guilty of an offence and where the allegations have so many questions hanging above them that they are not even ready to charge. It reads like a classic espionage thriller. The only time such money should be spent on a suspect is if they are terrorist targets. Last I understood, “sexual misconduct” in Sweden is NOT a terrorist act. It is about time the UK and US Governments admitted this is personal. That they want to destroy the life of Assange and THAT is why this operation and waste of time is still ongoing.
Even MPs in Sweden are directing prosecutors to travel to London and put an end to this case by interviewing him as he has proposed. We are yet to see if they will.
I have asked the Met if Sweden are footing the bill for the operation alleged to be costing the British tax payer £10,000 a day. I have so far received no answer.
In no other case of alleged sexual assault or other criminal offence have I known round the clock surveillance lasting 18month and costing 6 million pounds be acceptable yet when the suspect is the founder of a group causing you a pain in your rear it appears there are no limitations.
It is time the stupidity and wilful waste of much needed money and Police resources is brought to an end. Let Assange walk out of the embassy. Let the Swedes come to London where he has said he would be questioned and let the evidence be put before an independent jury allowing justice to prevail.
If Assange is guilty then he should be punished for that offence. If not then let him be. Love him or hate him for leaking the truth, the fact is, Julian Assange is entitled to a fair trial and to be free to walk the streets until a time when he is found guilty of a crime should he wish.
The US, UK and anybody else humiliated by the truths he revealed need to accept that Wikileaks and their whistleblowers won. Harming him now in any way will only add to the beliefs and rumours of corruption held by so many. Although revenge may seem desirable, it is better to forgive and learn from your mistakes.