David Whitfield from the Guardian readers’ editor’s office has been very selective with the truth. A reader and supporter of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange wrote to complain about an inaccuracy this is what happened next.
The reader’s complaint was that in one of The Guardian articles published on the 1st of October said:
“Assange was removed by police in April 2019 from the embassy, where he had taken refuge seven years previously to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that was subsequently dropped.”
The reader explained the reason for the complaint by saying that “This is a distortion of the facts as he has taken refuge to avoid extradition to the USA as is clearly stated in the request for asylum.” and they appended the relevant accurate reference of Julian Assange’s full asylum application. They went further in saying that: “Nobody would get asylum to be protected from an investigation into a sexual assault case” asking him to “inform your readers correctly”.
This was his reply:
Thank you for getting in touch.
As Mr Assange states in the very first paragraph of the asylum application you have attached, “It is my belief that the country of which I am a national, Australia, will not protect me and the country to which I am due to be extradited imminently from the UK, Sweden, will not prevent my onward extradition to the US”.
It may well be the case that his ultimate aim was to avoid extradition from Sweden to the US. But the first – and as he says, “imminent” – extradition was to Sweden over the alleged sexual assault case. Therefore I don’t think the article is wrong to say this.
It seems acceptable to Mr Whitfield for an author to hide from his readers at The Guardian that a sovereign country, Ecuador, had granted political asylum to a publisher in the UK because he was persecuted by the US of America. By hiding this fact, condoning and justifying its omission is accepting misinformation and participating in the long standing character assassination of Julian Assange. Shameful!
Why not place an inaccuracy complaint by sending Elisabeth Ribbans – Guardian global readers’ editor at the email@example.com email address. It’s a wonderful way of supporting the WikiLeaks’s publisher!