Utter bastards! We knew US officials were out to get Julian Assange of Wikileaks, a hero of our sad times, but this scrapes the bottom of the barrel and breaks through to a whole new bottom we never knew existed.
One worry was that the US would kidnap Assange through the blandly named "rendition" process for his public service in exposing the murders of civilians in the Afghanistan conflict. But now the Swedes have issued a warrant for the arrest of the Australian for rape! So if they can't shut him up by fair means or foul, the authorities will smear his reputation in a plot riffing on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
John Pilger documents Assange's brave work in a recent article:
In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and Basra, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged in our name. WikiLeaks has acquired records of six years of civilian killing in both Afghanistan and Iraq, of which those published in the Guardian are a fraction.
What Pilger makes clear is that Assange held back on papers that would endanger anyone, in the absence of any help from the US authorities who refused to even acknowledge his request to say which files jeopardised people's lives. Because of this, many files are still not in the public domain and yet the very forces who have killed innocent people accuse Assange of endangering lives. How perverse is that?
Read The New Yorker's profile of Julian Assange.
UPDATE: Johan from Sweden has just left a comment here where he says something very interesting:
The two women actually went to police in order to try to make sure Assange was NOT accused of rape!
Because the prosecutors had decided to go for a rape case without asking the supposed victims! This is not the first time prosecutors in Sweden have taken orders from Americans, a similar thing happened with the famous Pirate Bay case some year ago which is a small issue for the US compared to this. What they did that time was to say that the Pirate Bay was full of child porn, even though they couldn't actually find any. Also the standards for sentencing someone for rape have often been criticized in Sweden for not really being appropriate. In many cases the accused has to prove his innocence rather than the other way around. So it's a pretty obvious choice of crime if you want to throw dirt on someone in Sweden.
UPDATE: News is breaking on CNN, Sky and others (16:30 Saturday) that the arrest warrant has been revoked and the prosecutor says there is no reason to believe Assange committed rape.