When news filtered through that Julian Assange’s plea to the Swedish court of appeal to revoke an arrest warrant that has been out against him for a good part of four years had failed it was not long before the internet was abuzz with comment and critisizm from both sides of the ego rich Assange’s fence. Supporters of the Australian leaker feigned shock that these trumped up charges were to be upheld and that the extradition notice would stand, they maintained their stance that the charges based around some fateful sexual interludes that Assange undertook whilst in Sweden were nothing more than a weak excuse to get their man to return to the land of ice and snow where he would be swiftly transported to the hate filled shores of the United States and surely a cosy corner in Guantanamo. Assange afterall was to America what bin Laden had been previously, enemy number one, and they would do whatever it took to get their hands on the spindly Aussie.
But it all seems too convenient. It all feels like it inhabits a world of conspiracy theory and paranoia, a world that Assange, a man who likes nothing more than being the center of attention, thrives in. Is there really a possibility that he will be snatched up from Sweden by revenge filled Americans in an act of extraordinary rendition and carted off to some torture happy third world country to get him to spill the beans? It seems at best highly unlikely but there are those out there that believe this is actually possible. Is there any reason to doubt the Swedes when they say that all they want to do is talk to the man after complaints were made about him as they would do any other man in this same situation? Is there a reason to believe that these meatball lovers from the north have anything sinister planned, that they may be corrupting the course of justice in their country, despite the entire world watching them, in order to help the Americans get a man relevant half a decade ago? After all this is a country that is ranked third on Transparency Internationals corruption perception index for 2013 and which in general is considered one of the most open and honest country’s in the world, except apparently when it comes to Mr. Assange. In his case these seemingly harmless snow dwellers turn into the most sinister of global conspirators, the type his wikileaks website should surely be investigating for heinous hidden crimes against humanity.
But perhaps it isn’t all smoke and mirrors. Perhaps Sweden isn’t part of a global conspiracy to get this icon of free speech and open governance; perhaps Assange is, after all, a self serving, self righteous ego-maniac, who maybe has got a case to answer for and doesn’t want to face the music. Perhaps his 1960’s sit in style escape to sanctuary inside the Ecuadorian embassy is nothing more than a man trying to stay relevant even though he really isn’t any more. He is like the guy who after having his 15 minutes of fame will try anything to just get one more taste of what he had. The junkie who is constantly chasing the dragon, trying to rediscover that thing that made him feel whole. And it isn’t like he doesn’t have his own little band of merry men dancing to his every tune, and quick to reinforce his views on his own woe begotten story. They are more than happy to expound his narrative of a Robin Hood figure trying to make the world a more open and better place who must now suffer the injustice of a dictatorial American and its blond henchman Sweden. This is all despite the fact that the whistleblower, freedom espouser himself is happily holding hands with some of the world’s worst freedom snatchers, smiling happily while they rule their own people with an iron fist. We take whatever friends we can get though. What is hypocracy when we get a cosy embassy pad for free!
So why should Assange be treated as someone special. Why should he be able to hide away in someone’s embassy while every other poor sap who is accused of the same crimes has to go and have a friendly chat to the police to ascertain their guilt or innocence? How can a man be made a martyr for simply running away from a problem purely because of his own extended view on his self importance? Assange should be forced to face the same processes and procedures as everyone else in his situation, end of story. There is no outstanding extradition request from the Americans for Assange and there is no sign from Sweden that they expect any to be forthcoming. It also seems strange for a country that is so proud of its open and independent lifestyle to be the ones to engage in the sort of back door dealings that Assange himself believes are underway. Should the scenario so regularly painted by Assange actually come into fruition it would not doubt carry huge political ramifications across the Scandinavian country, as the people would simply not accept their government being involved in such matters. Even the United States seems to have consigned Assange to the past, there seems little if any political will to pursue a man who is in virtually every way irrelevant. He may have been the first to host a great leak but others have since followed and the world has moved on from Assange and his fifteen minutes. It is time for this man to either be removed from his embassy hideout or removed from our papers so that real news can once again be talked about.