Missing out on meeting Julian Assange

Every now and again I think it would be useful to have membership at a London club, but I don’t think I spend enough time in the City to justify it – though I will be spending the next couple of days there.

One that appeals to me is the Frontline Club – a haven for media folk, particularly journalists, and it would be right up my street as their speakers and events sound stimulating, and I would most likely meet lots of interesting people there.  I am still on their email list following my tentative inquiry. This afternoon I received an email from the club telling me how the hunted man-of-the-moment Julian Assange has spent much of the last few months at the club – surrounded by dozens of hacks who I suspect were clueless about his activities. Interesting, isn’t it! And he has been offered continued refuge there.

This is what I was told in an email by journalist Vaughan Smith who founded the club:

“I attended court today to offer my support for Julian Assange of Wikileaks on a point of principle.

“In the face of a concerted attempt to shut him down and after a decade since 9/11 that has been characterised by manipulation of the media by the authorities, the information released by Wikileaks is a refreshing glimpse into an increasingly opaque world.”

The Frontline Club was founded seven years ago to stand for independence and  transparency.

Recent informal canvassing of many of our more than 1,500 members at the Frontline Club suggests almost all are supportive of our position.

I am suspicious of the personal charges that have been made against Mr Assange and hope that this will be properly resolved by the courts. Certainly no credible charges have been brought regarding the leaking of the information itself.

I can confirm that Mr Assange has spent much of  the last several months working from our facilities at the Frontline Club. Earlier today I offered him an address for bail.”

However, bail was refused and Julian Assange was remanded in custody until 14 December pending proceedings to extradite him to Sweden where he faces four charges relating to sexual offences, including rape. He is not short of influential supporters, including Jemima Khan, John Pilger, Ken Loach who were in court today offering to stand bail.

Just imagine if I had joined the club, our paths might have crossed. Is Assange a hero or villain? Certainly if there is a chance that lives could be at risk, some facts are best kept secret…..