Monday, July 1, 2024

#183 / Let's Make A Deal

Assange, who said he was working as a journalist, remains a polarizing figure. To some he’s a hero for exposing wrongdoing and advocating for free speech and media freedom. Others argue he endangered national security at a time of war. The U.S., in bringing the legal proceedings, disputed that Assange was a journalist.

The picture above, which ran as part of the hard copy version of an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 28, 2024, shows Julian Assange as he returns home to Australia. As readers of this blog posting probably know, and as the above excerpt from the article in The Wall Street Journal indicates, Assange was charged by the United States government with espionage. Some thought he was a criminal. Others thought him a hero. 

I tended to be on the "hero" side of the ledger, but I never got deeply into the details of all the charges and countercharges. I was happy at the news that the United States government and Assange had agreed to "make a deal" to allow Assange to exit prison in England, and to return to his home in Australia as a free person. Assange pleaded "guilty" to one charge against him, and he was released home, free from any further confinement, on the basis of that guilty plea and "time served." Assange had been in prison, or what amounted to prison, for many years. His health was not good.

I think it is likely that there will continue to be controversy about Assange - even though both Assange and the United States government have now agreed how best to terminate the controversy. I think it is likely that nonparties on both sides will continue to "litigate" the issues, at least in the forum of public discussion, with each "side" expressing its dissatisfaction with the "deal" made between Assange and the U.S. government. My suggestion is that both sides accept what has happened and not try to relitigate the rights and the wrongs that now are in the past. 

Has "justice" been served? Self-righteous partisans on both sides of this "deal," or similar ones, might want to demonstrate that they are "right," and that those on the other side are "wrong."  To my mind, there is a lot of wisdom in letting those involved in controversies "make a deal." 

I salute both Assange and the U.S. government in making that happen in this case. Kudos to the Prime Minster of Australia, too, Anthony Albanese, who appears to have midwifed the arrangement!

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