My latest NewsRealBlog post:
This weekend at NewsRealBlog, we had quite the brawl over the sexual-assault charges against WikiLeaks’ anarchic head honcho, Julian Assange. Today, let’s look at the arrest at a different angle: regardless of whether or not he assaulted anyone, is it right to use these charges as an excuse to punish his cyber terrorism?
Child abuse and sex crime victims’ advocate Wendy Murphy isn’t so sure. At the Daily Beast, she says the charges, if true, would be worth pursuing, but the prosecutors’ motives don’t pass the smell test:
[I]f Assange were any other guy, he would not be sitting in a British jail and there would have been no international manhunt, no matter how may times his condom broke during sex.
Because the public understands this, they also understand that the timing of Assange’s arrest on sex charges is suspicious. The charges are either a substitute for a lack of evidence in conjuction with a WikiLeaks indictment, or they’re “holding charges” meant to keep the guy penned up while the world figures out where, if anywhere, Assange might actually be prosecutable for the release of government files.
Either way, when prosecutors use the public’s money to pursue a criminal case as a pretext for some other agenda, people become cynical and mistrustful of the rule of law. During impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton for his lie about Monica Lewinsky, the public was plenty offended by Clinton’s behavior, but the impeachment proceedings were so over the top, many came to believe the process was nothing but a contrived show trial, generated by people who couldn’t have cared less about presidential lying but who hoped to seize the moment for political gain.