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16th December 2010
Poetic ‘Justice’ for Assange
The judge hearing Julian Assange’s call for bail declined to accept credit card payments totalling £200,000 because, as he (might well have) put it –
‘This court apologises profusely for this, Mr Assange, but some idiots have been messing around with Visa and Mastercard payment facilities. So, unfortunately, we can’t trust those companies to deliver on your promised sureties. Talking about deliverance, I’m delivering you back to the surety of your cell.’
Now let me get this straight
It seems that despite the mouthiness of John Pilger and Bianca Jagger, the Wikileakers’ lawyers could only raise half of the money needed by this morning. That’s half of £240,000 or £200,000 dependent on which report is accurate. Either way, this morning Julian Assange’s lawyer said he only had half of what was required.
Now, how come?
Sarah Saunders, a friend of Mr Assange had, reportedly, offered £150,000. Now that’s over half whichever calculator you use! And with Jemima Khan’s £20,000 and Ken Loach’s £20,000 we’re up to £190,000.
I’m not sure if Assange’s fellow-Australian is promising a few quid – it doesn’t say either way at the Telegraph’s report. I believe it says elsewhere that he has put up some money, perhaps even £20,000. Of course he’ll put his money where his mouth is! After all he is an honourable man. Isn’t he?
And what of Bianca Jagger? And Tariq Ali? With their sureties Mr Assange can walk free tomorrow, just as long as the Swedish prosecutors don’t win their appeal.
WikiLeaks: celebrities offer to pay Julian Assange’s bail (Telegraph)
The 39-year-old Australian will be in custody for at least two more days after Sweden appealed against the decision to grant him bail.
He was not short of pledges from famous faces to meet the sum demanded by the court, though he will have to collect each pound in cash after refusing to use MasterCard, Visa or PayPal – who he feels have acted against him in recent weeks – to process transactions.
Here are some of those who declared themselves willing to pay thousands of pounds to secure Assange’s release.
Sarah Saunders, a personal friend of Mr Assange’s, made the biggest pledge of money towards his bail.
The catering manager, from Kent, offered a contribution of £150,000 towards the £200,000 security demanded by the court.
She told the court: “Julian’s a very intelligent, sensitive man … we’ve had many long discussions about art and literature.”
Socialite and charity worker Ms Khan has been one of the most outspoken celebrity supporters of Assange and offered a £20,000 surety.
She said: “I am not here to make any kind of judgement on the Julian Assange as an individual as I do not know him and I have never met him.
“I am here because I believe in the principle of the human right to freedom of information and our right to be told the truth.”
The Looking for Eric and The Wind that Shakes the Barley director, who offered a £20,000 surety, also claimed he did not know Assange.
He told The Guardian: “I think the work he has done has been a public service. I think we are entitled to know the dealings of those that govern us.”
He added: “Clearly, if the Swedish government opposes bail it will show there is some vindictiveness beyond this case. It will show there is some political element that goes beyond the case.”
Mr Pilger, an award-winning investigative journalist, admitted he feared Assange would eventually be extradited to America, where he could be imprisoned for life.
He criticised Barack Obama’s government of having a “vindictive” attitude towards whistle-blowers.
He added: “The Swedes have managed to contravene almost every human right in this case – congratulations, Sweden. It is chaotic.”
The novelist, historian and political commentator said he had offered a surety for the WikiLeaks founder in order to show his “solidarity”.
He said: “It is grotesque, what is going on … the charges are wishy-washy, even in Sweden.
“He should be given bail. There is no chance of him absconding. The surveillance systems of Britain are such that they can keep an eye on him wherever he is.”
Ah yes, Mr Ali. The surveillance systems. Thanks to Tony Blair. As are the control orders, by any other name still there. TO CONTROL. Thanks to Mr Blair.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“All countries need a leader who isn’t afraid to fight terrorism. I believe Mr. Blair did a necessary job in helping his allies. Are we all just supposed to lie down and wait for them to come for us, I don’t think so.”
And – “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is an honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: Bianca Jagger, control orders, credit cards, iraq war, John Pilger, Julian Assange, Ken Loach, Mastercard, Middle East, Paypal, prime minister, Tariq Ali, Tony Blair, Visa, WikiLeaks, Winston Churchill