Thursday, December 9, 2010

John Pilger, Jemima Khan and Vladimir Putin

What do they have in common? Obvious, really: they are all supporters of the sainted (if one listens to some people) Julian Assange. Presidetn Prime Minister Putin, a great expert in democracy and freedom of information, is, according to this story, leading the world-wide support for Mr Assange who was arrested in Britain at the request of the Swedish authorities as he has been accused of rape (a crime in this country, as well, though some people seem to have forgotten that). His treatment by the British authorities, says Mr Putin with only a slight chuckle, one assumes, is undemocratic. It is, of course, entirely possible that Mr Putin was not too happy about some of the surprisingly perceptive comments made by State Department officials and diplomats about the situation in Russia.

Needless to say, President No.1, Medvedev has also commented on Julian Assange. As Russia Today reports,
Non-governmental organizations should consider nominating Julian Assange for a Nobel Prize, a source in the Russian presidential administration has said.

Public and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) “should think of how to help” the founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, the source said on Tuesday, as reported by Interfax news agency.
How very delightful and how it takes one back to the days of the dear departed Soviet Union when organizations that had been set up and allowed by the state and party would parade their willingness to repeat the party line.

One wonders how Ms Khan is reacting to her unexpected allies in the fight for Mr Assange's freedom. Of course, if all these people's worst suspicions should come true and the United States asks for his extradition, Mr Assange can, one assumes, apply for asylum in Russia. Of course, he will not be able to publish any material that might damage or seriously criticize the Russian government if he wants to stay alive and healthy, but he can, as the old Soviet joke had it, criticize the United States to his heart's content.

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