David Allen Green
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David Allen Green is a British lawyer and (2012) legal correspondent for the New Statesman.
Glenn Greenwald comments:
- Earlier this week, British lawyer and legal correspondent for the New Statesman David Allen Green generated a fair amount of attention by announcing that he would use his objective legal expertise to bust what he called "legal myths about the Assange extradition." These myths, he said, are being irresponsibly spread by Assange defenders and "are like 'zombie facts' which stagger on even when shot down." In addition to his other credentials, Green – like virtually the entire British press – is a long-time and deeply devoted Assange-basher, and his purported myth-busting was predictably regurgitated by those who reflexively grasp onto anything that reflects poorly on western establishmentarians' public enemy No1. It's really worth examining what Green argued to understand the behavior in which Assange detractors engage to advance this collective vendetta, and also to see how frequently blatant ideological agendas masquerade as high-minded, objective legal expertise.
With that context established, let us return to David Allen Green. The attacks on those who have defended Assange's extradition and asylum arguments has depended on the disgusting slander that such advocates are indifferent to the allegations of sexual assault made against him or, worse, are "rape apologists."
The reality is exactly the opposite. I have spoken to countless Assange defenders over the last couple of years and not a single one – literally not one – is dismissive of the need for those allegations in Sweden to be taken seriously and to be legally and fairly resolved. Typifying this view is Milne's column last night, which in the midst of scorning the attacks on Assange, embraced "the seriousness of the rape allegations made against Assange, for which he should clearly answer and, if charges are brought, stand trial."
That is the view of every Assange defender with a platform that I know of, including me (one can certainly find anonymous internet commenters, or the occasional named one, making actual, horrific rape apologist claims, but one can find stray advocates saying anything; imputing those views to Assange defenders generally would be like claiming that all Assange critics want to see him illegally shot in the head or encaged for life because some prominent American and other commentators have called for this).
But back in early 2011, Assange critics were telling a much different story. Back then, they were arguing that Assange was wildly overstating the danger he faced from extradition to Sweden because the investigation there was at such a preliminary stage and he was merely wanted for questioning. Indeed, here's what the very same David Allen Green wrote on 28 February 2011 when explaining the status of the investigation to his readers [my emphasis]:
- "This extradition order does not necessarily mean, of course, that he will be extradited, still less that he will be charged, tried, or convicted. Assange may win an appeal of the extradition order, or Sweden may decide either not to continue or to interview him while he remains in England. However, unless some such external event intervenes, Assange will be shortly extradited to Sweden to be questioned about an allegation of rape, two allegations of sexual molestation, and an allegation of unlawful coercion."
- Back when it suited Green, he emphasized that Assange has not been charged with any crime, that there is far from any certainty that he would be, and that extradition to Sweden is merely for him "to be questioned" on these allegations: exactly the "myths" and "zombie facts" which he now purports to bust. Moreover, Swedish law professor Marten Schultz, who strongly supports Assange's extradition to Sweden, has said the same [my emphasis]:
- "The UK supreme court's decision means only that Assange will be transferred to Sweden for interrogation. It does not mean that he will be tried, or even charged. It is entirely possible that he will be transferred to Sweden, questioned, and released if the Swedish authorities find that there are insufficient grounds for prosecution. It is impossible – as it should be – to predict how the case will unfold."
- Clearly, as Green himself used to acknowledge, Assange at this point is wanted for questioning in this case, and has not been charged. Once he's questioned, he might be charged, or the case might be dropped. That is what has made the Swedes' steadfast refusal to question him in England so mystifying, of such concern to Assange, and is the real reason that the investigation has thus far been obstructed. Indeed, Swedish legal expert Ove Bring has made clear, in the context of discussing Assange, that "under Swedish law it is possible to interrogate people abroad," but that Sweden is refusing to do so simply for reasons of "prestige" (he added: "If he goes to Sweden, is interrogated, then I expect the case would be dropped, as the evidence is not enough to charge him with a crime").
Greenwald writes more about Green in a follow-up article.
- Glenn Greenwald, The bizarre, unhealthy, blinding media contempt for Julian Assange, The Guardian: Blog, 22 August 2012. This is only a section of Greenwald's blog entry, it contains further criticism of Green.
- Glenn Greenwald, The New Statesman must correct its error over Assange and extradition, Guardian, 24 August 2012.