Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks joker, has been released on bail. He exchanges Wandsworth prison for the large eighteenth-century mansion of a friend in the country. The judge, a Mr. Justice Ousely, released him on the grounds that Assange is “not a person who is seeking to evade justice.” Well, nobody now expects a British judge to have any sense of the real world. Bail was set at £275,000.
The really interesting feature of the case is the roster of those who have rushed forward to rally behind Assange and even to stump up the money. Some, like Michael Moore and the Communist filmmaker Ken Loach and the veteran Australian journalist John Pilger, do so out of simple anti-Americanism. Others join in out of infantile Leftism, for instance the Guardian newspaper, and a one-time publisher Matthew Evans. Pure self-righteousness is motivating a good few, for instance a lawyer called Geoffrey Robertson who sees human rights in anything that moves; the archetypal poor little rich girl Jemima, daughter of billionaire James Goldsmith; and Felix Dennis, a man who supposedly has made hundreds of millions out of publishing and has boasted to journalists about his sexual feats, his cocaine habit, and even of murder (though he took back that confession).
Rushing into the limelight, this little squad has no more sense of the real world than Mr. Justice Ouseley, and the fact that Assange has been able to mobilize them is immensely revealing about the man, his whole case, and the extent that British society has succeeded in freeing itself from values. All are too ego-driven to have any perspective on themselves, and all of them believe that ideology or financial success affords them the privilege to dispense with morality and, what’s more, to be applauded for it.