Between the EU and the USA: Why does the British Interior Ministry want to give Assange to Washington?
The further fate of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks in Great Britain, remains a big question from the beginning of April, when the authorities of Ecuador, in whose embassy the Australian had been hiding for seven years, denied him asylum. Under the law, the United States had 60 days to send the request for the extradition of Assange to America. And the corresponding request was sent to London on June 11.
However, Sweden would also like to see Assange in prison. The case against Assange in Sweden was closed in 2017, but Stockholm resumed it in May, when the founder of Wikileaks was arrested by the British authorities.
The Uppsala City Court, meanwhile, did not support the demand of the Swedish prosecutor’s office to arrest Assange in absentia. Without this decision, the Swedish authorities have no right to request the extradition of the suspect.
Now, however, the case takes a different turn: the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the United Kingdom officially granted the US request for the extradition of Assange. In America, the whistleblower has already been charged for facing 175 years in prison.
Britain supported the US
British Foreign Secretary Sajid Javid on the morning of Thursday on the BBC radio station announced that he had signed a request for the extradition of Assange to the United States. This news instantly hit the front pages of the British media, which are already analyzing the fate of the founder of Wikileaks.
Thus, Javid outlined not only his personal position on Assange, but also the position of Great Britain, which, however, and without such loud statements in recent years, has never acted across the will of Washington. It is noted that Javid’s decision opens up Assange to the United States, where he is charged with 18 episodes, including espionage.
The British Interior Minister at the same time approved the extradition right on the eve of the next court session, which was to be held as early as May, but was postponed to June 14 due to the health status of Assange. 47-year-old Australian then transferred to the hospital prison Belmarsh.
Depending on the state of the suspect, a decision will be made on where the session on the extradition of Assange will take place. It is possible that it will not be held in the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, as originally planned, but right in prison.
The US Justice Department at the end of May announced in an official statement about 18 counts against Assange, including "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States." The two most important points of the accusation are collusion with former military analyst Bradley Manning to crack the Pentagon’s secret information, as well as the publication in open access of data on secret agents abroad, which threatened national security.
The Assange case unfolds against the backdrop of a deep political crisis in the UK.
Last month, the whole kingdom is discussing candidates for the post of head of the Conservative Party and the country's prime minister. It is important to note that Sajid Javid is one of the candidates for the highest post. June 13 in the British Parliament launched the election of the new head of the Tories, and hence the Prime Minister. The world will know the name of the new prime minister of Britain only at the end of July - these are the features of party voting in the UK.
Now for the ten candidates vote 313 members of the Conservative Party in parliament. To pass to the next round, a candidate needs at least 17 votes of party members, the candidate who did not receive them leaves. This will continue until there are two candidates left. Then all members of the party will take part in the voting - more than 160 thousand Britons across the country will express support to candidates by mail.
According to the results of the first round of voting on June 13, seven people passed to the second round. According to the Guardian textual broadcast, former foreign minister Boris Johnson leads the candidates race (114 votes), followed by current Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt (43 votes), and Minister of Environment and Agriculture Michael Gove (37 votes) closes the top three. Sajid Javid also advanced to the second round, finishing in fifth place with 23 votes of Tory loyal to him.
Recently, the United States was visited by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who did not hide his support for Boris Johnson. Trump called the ex-foreign minister a “good guy,” with whom he has a “wonderful relationship.” The presidential support for one of the candidates, and even such a frank one, immediately made Johnson, in the eyes of the conservatives, the very candidate Trump would probably like to deal with in concluding the very “great trade deal” that the White House promised Brexit.
Sajid Javid, however, undertook the “knight's move,” signing a request from the United States for the extradition of Assange. And this move in this situation is just a win-win. If the court approves the extradition of the founder of Wikileaks, Javid will loudly declare that this was largely due to his timely writing of the pen. If the court refuses, then the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will assure that he did everything possible to satisfy the will of Washington and Trump.
The second round of elections for the head of Tory and the country will be held on June 18, and now Javid’s loyalty to Washington should accumulate into the voices of the supporters of the Atlantic course, in which, after the noisy Brussels drama and Teresa May’s setbacks, the British see more clearly the only prospects for maintaining economic stability in a total and tough rupture with the European Union.
Therefore, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs not only signed the request for the extradition of Assange, but also started the information campaign very carefully, so that the British (and especially the conservatives) know that he considers the request “legitimate” and advocates exceptional fairness towards the founder of Wikileaks. Javid’s speech on the BBC happened on the day the elections began.
The political struggle in Britain is entering its most active phase, and now all means are good for candidates. And the more wild is the intention to use the figure of Assange for mercenary political purposes, without taking into account what the Australian will expect in the United States.