The Guardian, meanwhile, editorializes that Assange should go to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct.
Amid the estimated 100 protesters, 50 police, a noisy helicopter and rained-on press corps gathered in Knightsbridge on Sunday afternoon, two women were missing. They are referred to as Miss A and Miss W – that is, when they are mentioned at all in the hullabaloo over Julian Assange. Yet Miss A and Miss W are at the heart of this story, however convenient it may be for Mr Assange’s supporters to elide them.
After all, it is their allegations that Mr Assange sexually assaulted them two years ago that are the reason why the WikiLeaks founder faces extradition to Sweden. It is to avoid questioning by Swedish prosecutors that Mr Assange battled extradition orders for almost 18 months with the best legal representation money can buy – before finally jumping bail two months ago. It is to avoid being confronted with accusations of rape and sexual assault that Mr Assange is now holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy – and was forced to say his piece from a diplomat’s first-floor balcony, for fear of otherwise being collared by the police. Yet to listen to the speechifying from his supporters, you would never have guessed at any of this; their remarks concerned western Europe’s “neocon juntas” or the political change sweeping Latin America. And when it was Mr Assange’s turn to speak, he allied his struggle with Russian punk protesters Pussy Riot, with the New York Times, and indeed “the revolutionary values” upon which America was founded. This is his traditional method of argument: to conflate a number of causes – big and small, international and individual – into one, so that Mr Assange is WikiLeaks, which is freedom of speech, which holds powerful states to account; and so on, ever upwards. Yet Mr Assange is not facing a show trial over the journalism of WikiLeaks; he is dodging allegations of rape. To confuse the two does no favours to the organisation he created, which has done so much excellent work.