The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange has been granted bail but remains in the ‘Dickensian ‘ conditions of Wandsworth jail. As soon as the district judge came down in favour of Assange, the authorities, even given the weak case they have, went looking for an appeal. They could simply not abide the thought of losing.
The Swedish prosecutor meanwhile has a difficult choice to make. If the extradition continues, the Swedish authorities run a real risk of being vindictive and possibly of being in the pockets of the United States. If the action is dropped they run the risk of losing face, something they will avoid at all costs. TheOpinionSite.org believes that they will object to bail. It is the lesser of two evils.
Meantime, Assange is being held in the punishment block of Wandsworth prison, in solitary confinement without yet having been charged with anything. Time Magazine sent him a copy of their publication but it was ripped up by prison guards and he was instead presented with an empty envelope.
The warders at Wandsworth are famous for their disregard of the prison rules and of the law and successive governors have proved that they are too weak to control their staff. Consequently, neither Mr. Assange or his legal team should be surprised at his treatment and it is perhaps a good thing that he experiences the unlawful behaviour routinely dished out to people at the notorious prison that is clearly beyond the law and beyond the control of the Prison Service.
The bail conditions are tough and there is the small matter of £200,000 cash that needs to be presented to Westminster magistrates court. Despite many who wish to help, the most obvious means of raising the money are not available, that is Visa and Mastercard.
The fact that it would be unwise to challenge bail does not mean that such a challenge will not be mounted. TheOpinionSite.org is aware of the fact that neither the US or the UK like to lose and, in a sense, the credibility of the European Arrest Warrant is at stake. If there is a way to prolong the ordeal of Mr Assange, the combined Swedish and British authorities, no doubt encouraged by the US, will find a way to do so.
What we are seeing here is the United States and their poodle – the UK – desperately trying not to lose face to a man whose organisation has proved that governments are not all powerful, can be challenged and, most importantly, cannot always get away with telling lies.
The US continue their investigations into the Wikileaks affair in the hope of finding some means, legal or otherwise, by which they can transfer Assange to the US and subject him to the injustice that is unique to America and is emulated only by the United Kingdom.
For the rest of us, whether you agree with Assange and Wikileaks or not, we have a choice. We can either blindly believe the authorities are right in persecuting a man who simply wants to reveal the extent to which governments are dishonest or we can express our disrespect for the successive administrations that have treated us with contempt and undertaken illegal and distasteful actions in our name and then denied that they have done so.
The Wikileaks affair and the persecution of Assange is not the important thing. It is the fact that for the first time in living memory, both the American and British governments have been proved to have been lying and acting in a manner that should not be tolerated by citizens of a democratic state, whichever side of the Atlantic it is on. That and the fact that they cannot deal with being found out.