You would think that regardless how much liberal journalists and pundits despise Assange, they could at least be honest about that simple fact. Some pundits, notably the relentless Assange basher David Allen Green, have argued that this fact is a greatly overblown technicality – that Assange’s refusal to return to Sweden is the only thing preventing him from being charged. Whatever you think of that argument (and I say a bit more about it below) the fact remains that Assange has not been charged. There is no wiggle room on that fact.
I emailed the UK Independent last week to complain about two articles. One misrepresented the public statements of Jemima Khan on Assange’s case. The other, as is sadly typical, referred to “charges” facing Assange in Sweden.
Sean O’Grady, an Independent editor, replied to my complaints and a rather odd exchange ensued. He asked if he could speak to me by telephone about my complaint which – after several years of writing to the corporate media quite regularly – is an extremely rare request. A phone call never came. As the email exchange progressed I was stunned to discover that he actually seemed to dispute the fact that Assange has not been charged. He was polite but also evasive on this point. I therefore asked him for a straight answer:
"So the Independent's position is that Assange has been charged?
Do I understand you correctly?"
"As I say I do not wish to have a prolonged correspondence about Assange. I have nothing to add."
I then took an even simpler approach. I asked "Has he been charged? That's a yes or no question – no need for a prolonged answer."
“I'm afraid it isn't a yes or no answer. Sorry.”
This is gross incompetence at best. England's High Court ruling, which went against Assange, stated
Paragraph 150: ”"In our judgment, the fact that under the criminal procedure of Sweden he may be required to answer further questions before a decision is made to charge him or the fact that the full file has not yet been provided is not definitive…"?
The High Court ruled that the fact Assange has not been charged – a fact nobody who is minimally informed and honest can dispute – was insufficient grounds to invalidate the Swedish prosecutor's extradition request. However, it remains a fact that Assange has not been charged. That was never disputed.
Moreover this is not a minor technicality unless Swedish judges and prosecutors are completely uninterested in the evidence which they have yet to examine. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that the fix is in for Assange to be charged, tried and convicted in Sweden no matter how weak the evidence. The gross corruption within the Swedish legal system that was exposed by the case of Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery has shown that this is quite a serious possibility.
It becomes an even greater possibility when the corporate press refuses to accept easily verifiable facts.