Julian Assange has apparently been located in England. According to one report, police are closing in on him, but refusing to arrest him because authorities in Sweden filled out the arrest warrant wrong.
Earlier this week Sarah Palin asserted Assange should be hunted down like Osama bin Laden. Around our office, we all joked that this would mean failing to actually find him for the next decade. But it appears it’s much easier to find Julian Assange than bin Laden.
Just days after Sweden issued and arrest warrant for Julian Assange and Interpol put him on their Red List for internationally wanted criminals, Assange has been located in south-east England, where apparently he’s lying low in an undisclosed house.
Former President George W. Bush once described our approach to hunting down bin Laden and his associates, vowing to “smoke ‘em out of their holes.” I don’t know how many times he repeated this phrase in the days after the 9/11, also inexplicably referring to the terrorists as “folks,” but it was a lot. While bin Laden is still at large, Assange is apparently on the verge of being smoked out of his hole after about 24 hours on the Interpol Red List.
However according to a report today by Sydney Morning Herald, Sweden is refusing to hear an appeal by Assange and his lawyers challenging the arrest warrant, a move British lawyers are condemning. ”’Neither Mr Assange nor his lawyers have been provided any further information beyond that reported in the press. This appears to be a persecution and a prosecution,’ said his London lawyer, Mark Stephens.”
Stateside, Joe Leiberman is calling on Amazon.com to shut down WikiLeaks’ servers, and Mike Huckabee is calling for US soldier Bradley Manning, who collaborated with WikiLeaks, to be executed, literally, for treason.
When governments are truly motivated to smoke a wanted man out of his hole, it happens pretty swiftly, and mercilessly. Assange has been hunted down not only like bin Laden, but way more effectively than bin Laden. Which begs the question—why?
Is Assange really more dangerous to national security than bin Laden? Sure, al Qaeda is terrifying. But knowing the governments of the civilized world prioritize maintaining state secrets and shutting down WikiLeaks over hunting down bin Laden? Not that is truly terrifying.