A lot is being said about Julian Assange, a lot of it would seem to be complete guff. That said, I am nervously stepping in to put my thoughts down, mainly because 140 characters isn't enough to explain my view to those who have asked.
Primarily I'd want to say I can't see what all the fuss is about. The idea of this being a conspiracy, or being engineered in any way, seems to be a wild fantasy by those who would prefer to put their stance of anti-Americanism above all else.
The facts are that two women claim that they were sexually assaulted (and I will use that term for brevity even though clearly the issue if of rape also). The fact that they went to ask about getting a HIV test rather than to report a rape doesn't mean anything other than that at the very least these women were concerned about what had happened with them.
There was no delay (relatively), with only a couple of days between the alleged incident and going to the police. There was no governmental or high-end order to make this case happen as, despite prosecution initially saying that they didn't see a case, it was a legitimate legal process of appealing that decision by a social-democrat lawyer, with a long history of fighting against violence against women, on behalf of those women.
Did the prosecutors change their mind solely based on the claims of the lawyer, or was it also slightly political? The answer: Who cares, two women believe they were sexually assaulted and deserve to see their accused properly challenged on the fact.
Assange's lawyer has appeared to have as much as admitted to the fact that Assange did it, perhaps already going in to far too much detail about events than is proper before the case is heard by a court. And no, claims that they consented before (about a different sexual act) or after (which can come through any kind of emotional and psychological need to cope with such sexual assault) mean nothing, in my opinion, as to whether the act that the lawyer admitted to constitutes rape. However that is for the Swedish courts to deliberate over.
David Allen Green, most recently, has followed up on a post by @PME200 debunking some myths surrounding the Assange case by posting his own debunking of some of the more legal aspects of the Assange case from this point onwards.
It is entirely right that Assange gets deported to Sweden to be formally charged, and no...he's not only wanted for questioning (see the links above) and so dealing with him outside of Sweden is plainly not an option any of us who care about justice should settle for.
It is entirely idiotic of Assange to claim that he wants assurances he won't be extradited to the US. It is impossible for a government to make such a claim, because there is zero knowledge about what might happen in the future. Making this song and dance is thoroughly disrespectful to those who claim to be victims of his.
Just think for a second if you have a mother, daughter, sister, whatever... who was waiting to have their rapist brought to justice, but had to hang on while he made grand claims about this being some kind of US led vendetta against him? It's disgusting and reprehensible.
If after the case the US decides it has a case to bring, one that is non-political, equivalent to a Swedish offence, and respects his rights as a prisoner...then I also don't see why he shouldn't face extradition. Thankfully for him the world *is* watching, and the idea that Sweden (and the UK, if our say still counts at that point) would send out a message that it'll deport people simply because another country has a problem with their politics (in this case, what has Assange done other than obtain and publish secrets, exactly what newspapers around the world have been doing for years) seems nonsensical to me.
This whole affair shouldn't change what Assange has done for exposing lies about what is going on on behalf of the more clandestine aspects of governments around the world. Unfortunately it will change it, since he is running to a country with a terrible record on the rights of the press and freedom of speech to gain safety; it begs the question that, like many of his rape apologising supporters, is he really for freedom of information and speech, or simply against the governments of the west?