There’s a simplistic piece over at Labour List today where those who dare to defend – even if only partially – the non-extraditing of Julian Assange to Sweden are defined in this easy and casual paragraph:
When it comes to the United States there are some on the left who adopt the very same “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” attitude that the US government itself held as a central tenet of its foreign policy during the Cold War; a policy that caused untold misery and bloodshed in Latin America. There’s another irony in there somewhere.
There may be some on the left who adopt this attitude – my disagreement with such an extradition lies, however, elsewhere.
If Assange needs to be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sexual misconduct – accusations I feel natural justice demands he face – why doesn’t the US government come out in public and say it will then not proceed with any moves to extradite him onwards to the US at a later date in relation to the WikiLeaks case?
Whilst all of us who care about freedom of expression find it difficult within ourselves to be entirely in favour of such a move to Sweden, and in the meantime get accused of double standards – or even worse – by simplistic deniers of Realpolitik everywhere, the circles in question could easily be squared if the US laid its cards clearly out on the table.
I’ve got no problem with Assange facing justice in Sweden for alleged rape.
I do have however, if the US is deliberately being quiet about its intentions in relation to the diplomatic cable publishing saga which in some way brought us all here in the first place – a saga which surely deserves a profounder, as well as parallel, analysis than Assange’s rape case is currently allowing for.
If Assange’s alleged victims deserve justice, it is surely not that of seeing their alleged rapist whisked away from Swedish process to the deep, dark and unpredictable entrails of US maximum security injustice. And that – I would suggest – is what those of us on the left most fear about this case; it is certainly what personally I would be unhappy to witness.