Thursday, December 16, 2010

Making a list of who's naughty and nice

Julian Assange goes back into court today (right about now, in fact) to ask for release on bail of £200,000. This would enable him to spend Christmas in a nice English country home, albeit with an electronic bracelet, though in fact he would doubtless be heading for France in a fishing smack, like a latter-day Scarlet Pimpernel. Lots of luck extraditing him from France, where both sexual misconduct and espionage are considered more in the nature of parlor tricks than high crimes.

Meanwhile the U.S. seems to be scrambling for evidence sufficient to indict Mr. Assange for espionage, since it would be easier to extradite him from Britain than from Sweden for a couple of reasons. MSNBC has enlisted a panel of "experts" to assess the Leaky Wiki's odds if the U.S. does manage to lay hands on him, and the assessment is rather gloomy for Mr. Assange and his supporters.

Of course this all depends on whether he can be extradited. One of the obstacles, if he goes to Sweden to answer the charges of rape and molestation, is a rather funny one: Britain would only be loaning him to Sweden! He apparently can't be sent from there to the U.S. without British approval. (The other reason is more mundane: Britain has a fast-track extradition agreement with the U.S.; Sweden does not.) Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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