Rubber Stamping Over the Face of Assange Forever
The UK Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal against the extradition of Julian Assange to the US. His team may seek to appeal other aspects of an earlier judgement, but for now the matter is no longer before the courts and his fate rests with the Tory government of Boris Johnson.
That former journalist Prime Minister, despite knowing how press freedom stands or falls with extradition of Assange to the US, is naturally obliged to leave the foreign minster, Priti Patel, in peace to consult her stars if she pleases and make up her own mind about it.
Or if he isn’t, the UK press is at least obliged to leave him and the rest of cabinet to determine for themselves whether the extradition should be prevented. Or if they are not, other governments, NGOs, press freedom campaigners and the general public are obliged to leave the UK establishment in peace to save or waste democracy worldwide at their whim.
The ostensible custom, though by no means law, is that politicians ought to follow the lead of the courts. Hence they should rubber stamp what their courts have been rubber stamping for 10 years to abet US persecution of Assange for award winning, vital and accurate publishing.
UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow foreign minister Diane Abbott nonetheless called for the US extradition request to be blocked, just prior to the 2019 election. Such is partly why I described the custom as ostensible. Moreover, when extradition to Spain of war criminal Augusto Pinochet was approved by the highest UK court, then to be rubber stamped, foreign minister Jack Straw blocked it and let him go home to Chile instead.
However, in this case a second ostensible custom is in play, which relates to the fact that the Conservative party has always been anti-Assange. So even if everyone doesn’t actually have to leave Ms Patel in peace to rubber stamp the end of democracy just because it was forwarded to her as the culmination of drawn-out and surreal legal theatre, they still have to anyway, because she’s a Tory and Tory policy is anti-Assange.
It may not be expressly written in the Proper Tory’s Reference Manual of 2022 that the party’s general history of anti-Assangery entails annihilation of democracy if such be necessary to deliver an outcome unfavourable to Assange, but we are all nonetheless obligated by custom, habit, a sense of pragmatism, realism, apathy or just plain laziness to assume the Manual’s content will be close enough on this point and that Tories should at least in this case be given a sporting chance, if not a break, to just be Tories and let democracy go to hell.
After all, Uncle Biden is in a cranky phase of life and what can be expected of Tory №10 when nobody expects any better of it and thus kindly never holds it to account?
Now that so much is perfectly clear, everyone on both sides of this issue can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to the real business of the UK-US Assange Extradition Spectacle which is of course hearing the latest and wondering in a chatting way about what might happen next in British Court Theatre.
So at the top of the list of things for journalists, editors, pundits and politicians to ignore is, as usual, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and what it patently entails in regard to Ms Patel’s obligations, which we accordingly pretend is wholly irrelevant despite all associated treaties being ratified by Britain, whom she acts as an officer of, with respect to serving Mr Assange to his chief foreign persecutor.
For now the courts have spoken, so we dare not intervene but await what grinds out of the mill. Perhaps it will go before the courts again and if it does we dare not intervene but await what grinds out of the mill. Thus either way, we dare not intervene but await what grinds out of the mill.
In or out of the courts, the issue is always and merely resting on an ignored corner of the UK foreign minister’s desk, where for instance the Prime Minister of Australia much prefers to forget it, because politics can be a much less comfortable business than just periodically checking on legal theatre, whether you happen to be a head of state, office-holder, opposition figure, journalist, editor, lawyer, campaigner, pundit or person on the street.
So here’s to giving Johnson and Patel an appalling and wholly undeserved pass, at the expense of everything that matters most, all that is worth saving, namely, the world that only transparency is capable of preserving.
President Obama liked to quote Roosevelt saying “make me do it.” He wasn’t so keen to be made to do anything, however. Thus his fawning base was naturally shy to make him do it. All that forcing stuff is for primitive people. Our political zeitgeist is that if you like someone, you let them crash the car, whereas if you dislike them, you just wait till it happens and capitalise on blaming them.
Cancel this cruise-control to ruin.
Get Tory Assange policy in the cross-hairs of whatever weapon your have and resolve to pull the trigger.