THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Julian Assange: which side are you on?

Julian Assange: Sweden issues fresh arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder | Media | The Guardian.

The most interesting thing about the Wikileaks story is not the information published (was anyone really naieve enough to be surprised?) but the responses of state power everywhere. Totalitarians, kleptocrats, democrats; their angry reactions barely differ. The criminal charges brought against Julian Assange in Sweden, for example, are not so much stitched up as haute couture. All the casual observer will recall is that he was accused of rape. So much for the benevolence of states.

If Assange has endangered lives in Afghanistan or elsewhere that is to be deplored, but most of the leaked material is merely embarrassing to politicians and their servants. It reveals them (to whose surprise?) to be petty, stupid and monumentally careless with our money. He has provided a useful litmus test. People you should like and trust admire his courage and worry about his future. People you should fear and despise call for his head.

Every state represents a dangerous concentration of power and resources, all too tempting for those in charge to deploy against those who irritate them. If Assange is able to name Litvinenko's killers, for example, who can doubt he is in danger of an expensive and painful death? Yet even social-democratic Sweden is prepared to trump up charges. He is a brave man taking great risks.

Hilary Clinton is coldly furious, but who ever doubted which side she is on when it comes to State vs. Citizen? Sarah Palin - supposed friend of the people - has unmasked herself too. A former advisor to the Canadian PM is calling for a hit, and Mr Harper does not disown him. At the other end of the political food chain, Iain Dale quivers with indignation. Look around you. All over the place, people are revealing their true colours. For this, Julian Assange has put himself in harm's way. It's an odd choice but, as Dr King said,

If you haven't found something worth dying for, you aren't fit to be living.

Good luck, Mr Assange. Watch your back.

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