The Julian Assange file

This is a collection of links, videos and comments about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks posted from June through December of 2012I rearranged the links and replaced dead videos on August 2, 2014.  I have to say I was wrong in my comment that the U.S. and U.K. governments had neutralized Assange and WikiLeaks.

Click on In Conversation with Julian Assange Part One and Part Two for an extended interview with Assange on his life and ideas.

Click on Conspiracy as Governance for Assange’s 2006 statement of his political philosophy.

Click on Interesting Question for Julian Assange’s old blog from 2007, which provides insight into his thinking..

Click on WikiLeaks for the WikiLeaks home page.

Click on This Day in Wikileaks for daily news updates concerning Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks.

Click on Justice for Assange for news from the Julian Assange Defence Fund’s Committee to Defend Julian Assange.

Click on Sex, Lies and Julian Assange for an investigative report by the Four Corners public affairs program of Australian’s ABC broadcasting network.

It shows that there are many questionable things about the sex charges against Julian Assange, and leaves the impression that there are good reasons why he fears being extradited to Sweden. But it doesn’t answer the question of exactly what Assange did or didn’t do to the two women he is accused of abusing.  We may never know the answer to that.  If you view the video, you probably should also view the sidebar showing an interview with Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer for Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen, the two alleged victims.

Click on Wikileaks: the Forgotten Man for a Four Corners report on Bradley Manning.

Click on The Wikileaks Interviews for Four Corners interviews with key figures in the Bradley Manning Case.

Julian Assange is a hero.  He has defied the world’s most powerful government, and, like brave dissidents in China, Russia and Iran, will pay a price.  For a time, as when the TED video above was made in 2010, it appeared as though he might succeed.  But now he has been brought down.

For the past year he has been unsuccessfully fighting extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual misconduct.  He has a realistic fear that once he is under Swedish jurisdiction, he will be handed over to the United States, where he will be subject to the Soviet-style treatment meted out to Bradley Manning or the Chinese-American scientist Wen Ho Lee.

Yesterday he asked for political asylum in Ecuador, which, even if granted, would not mean an end to his troubles.  Ecuador is a small nation, vulnerable to U.S. pressure and without a tradition of the rule of law—although, as an American citizen, I live in a glass house where human rights are concerned and shouldn’t throw stones.

Julian Assange’s crime was not to reveal classified information.  The Obama administration does it all the time, as the George W. Bush administration and other administrations did before it, to advance its own interests.  Factions within the government leak information to advance their interests.  The crime of Julian Assange was to reveal classified information that damaged the reputation of the United States—that showed that U.S. forces committed war crimes and that the U.S. government ignored them.  I admire Assange, both for what he has done and for the happy-warrior persona he manifests on TV.  Even with a sword hanging over his head, he seemed to be having a good time.

Back in the days of the Nixon administration, the courts ruled in the Daniel Ellsberg case that it is not a crime to reveal secret information to the public if the only reason for secrecy is to protect the government from embarrassment.  In a constitutional republic, the citizens have a right to know what their government is doing.  The Julian Assange and Bradley Manning cases test whether the United States Constitution has any meaning.

Whatever happens, it appears that WikiLeaks has been neutralized.  (I would like to be proved wrong about this.)  There haven’t been any new releases of information since Assange was put under house arrest.  I once thought WikiLeaks would spawn copycat organizations, but this hasn’t happened.  The fates of Julian Assange and of Bradley Manning, accused of being a source of information to WikiLeaks, are a deterrent, as they were intended to be.

If publishing leaks really was a crime

Click on It’s Ecuador or Guantanamo for Pepe Escobar’s analysis in Asia Times.

Click on Julian Assange Q&A: Why Ecuador? for background from The Telegraph newspaper in Britain.

Click on The Julian Assange Show: Rafael Correa for Julian Assange’s interview with the President of Ecuador on his The World Tomorrow show.

Click on World Report 2012: Ecuador for Human Rights Watch’s report on Ecuador.

Click on ObamaLeaks for Conor Friedersdorf’s comment for The Atlantic on President Obama’s double standard about leaking classified information to the press.

Click on Julian Assange’s Right to Asylum for Glenn Greenwald’s analysis in The Guardian newspaper in Britain.

Click on WikiRebels: the documentary for a Swedish TV documentary on the origins of WikiLeaks.

Click on Assange on The World Tomorrow premiere for an interview with Julian Assange on his The World Tomorrow  program on the RT network.

Click on The World Tomorrow: Digital Journal for the latest episode and links to previous episodes of Julian Assange’s The World Tomorrow program on the RT network.

British authorities said Assange, by seeking political asylum, has violated the conditions of his release on bail.  Click on UK police say Wikileaks founder faces arrest for details

Click on Ecuador to Decide on Assange Asylum Bid for an Al Jazeera update.

Click on Assange’s appeal to Ecuador is no surprise for background on why Assange and WikiLeaks are popular in Ecuador.

Click on On Standing With the Victim, Unless the Alleged Perpetrator Is Julian Assange for background on the charges against Julian Assange, and the case for extradition to Sweden.  Click on 10 days in Sweden: the full allegations against Julian Assange for more details from The Guardian.

My own opinion is

  • People who’ve done good things sometimes do awful things as well.
  • The fact that you’ve done good things in your life doesn’t entitle you to commit crimes.
  • Julian Assange is entitled to the presumption of innocence, just like anyone else.
  • If he is guilty as charged, he should go to prison, just like anyone else.
  • If it weren’t for the danger of being handed over to American authorities, he should go to Sweden to face charges.
  • As it is, he has a perfect justification for seeking political asylum in Ecuador or any other country.

Click on Assange, Ecuador, Rape and Sweden Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 for the view of Swedish writer Oscar Swartz, author of  A Brief History of Swedish Sex.

Click on digitaljournal for the 10th episode of Julian Assange’s The World Tomorrow and links to the nine previous episodes.

Click on US celebrities back Assange asylum.

Click on Assange wants guarantees he will not be sent to the US for an article about Assange’s conditional offer to go to Sweden to answer charges.

Click on Sweden ‘can’t offer Assange guarantees’ for Sweden’s reply.

Click on The World Tomorrow: Digital Journal for links to all episodes of Julian Assange’s The World Tomorrow.

Click on Assange and truth: A plea from Christine Assange for an open letter from Julian Assange’s mother.

Ecuador decided to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.  But he is not home free.  The British government served notice beforehand that it will not allow Assange free passage out of Britain, and that it has a legal right to storm the Ecuadorian embassy if Assange is not handed over.

This is from the Government of Ecuador’s announcement.

…the Government of Ecuador, true to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or on the premises of diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to citizen’s Assange, based on the application submitted to the President of the Republic, by written communication, dated London, June 19, 2012, and supplemented by letter dated at London on June 25, 2012, for which the Government of Ecuador, after a fair and objective assessment of the situation described by Mr. Assange, according to their own words and arguments, endorsed the fears of the appellant, and assumes that there are indications that it may be presumed that there may be political persecution, or could occur such persecution if measures are not taken timely and necessary to avoid it…

via Firedoglake.

This is from a translation of a letter by the British government to the Ecuadorian government prior to the granting of asylum.

As we have previously set out, we must meet our legal obligations under the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision and the Extradition Act 2003, to arrest Mr. Assange and extradite him to Sweden.  We remain committed to working with you amicably to resolve this matter.  But we must be absolutely clear this means that should we receive a request for safe passage for Mr. Assange, after granting asylum, this would be refused, in line with our legal obligations. … …

We have to reiterate that we consider continued use of diplomatic premises in this way, to be incompatible with the VCDR (Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations) and not sustainable, and that we have already made clear to you the serious implications for our diplomatic relations.

You should be aware that there is a legal basis in the U.K. – the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act – which would allow us to take action to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the Embassy.

We very much hope not to get this point … …

via MiamiHerald.com.

Click on Ecuador Endorses Assange’s Fears, Grants Asylum for a report on Firedoglake of Ecuador’s statement of its factual and legal basis for granting Assange asylum.

Click on Britain Says Assange Ecuador Asylum Won’t Change a Thing for Reuters’ report on the British government’s response to Ecuador’s decision.

Click on Ecuador is right to stand up to the US for comment by Mark Weisbrot in The Guardian newspaper.

Click on Ecuador Grants Asylum to Julian Assange for a live blog from Firedoglake.

Click on Declaration by the Government of Ecuador on Julian Assange’s asylum application for a full English translation of the Ecuadorian government’s statement.

Click on Foreign Secretary statement on Ecuadorian Government decision to offer political asylum to Julian Assange for the text of British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statement.

Click on Ayatollah Cameron Threatens to Invade for Middle East historian Juan Cole’s comparison of the British threat to invade the Ecuadorian embassy with British complaints about Iranian failure to protect the British embassy and respect diplomatic immunity.

Click on Asylum for Assange: What are his options? for analysis by Asad Hasim of Al Jazeera English.

WASHINGTON — The United States said Friday that it did not believe in “diplomatic asylum” after Ecuador offered to let WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stay indefinitely in its embassy in London.

Ecuador has turned to the Organization of American States, which met Thursday and Friday in Washington, after deciding to offer asylum to the Internet activist who is wanted in Sweden on sexual assault allegations.

Under a 1954 agreement, the Organization of American States agreed to allow asylum in diplomatic missions for “persons being sought for political reasons,” although not individuals indicted for “common offenses.”

“The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,” the State Department said in a statement.

via AFP.

This is the speech Julian Assange gave from a window of the Ecuadorian embassy on August 19, 2012.

Click on What’s Happening With Bradley Manning’s WikiLeaks Trial? for a report in Mother Jones.

Julian Assange gave an an interview  to Democracy Now! about Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and his new book Cypherpunks. Here’s part of what he said.

There’s not a barrier anymore between corporate surveillance, on the one hand, and government surveillance, on the other. You know, Facebook is based—has its servers based in the United States. Gmail, as General Petraeus found out, has its servers based in the United States. And the interplay between U.S. intelligence agencies and other Western intelligence agencies and any intelligence agencies that can hack this is fluid.

So, we’re in a—if we look back to what’s a earlier example of the worst penetration by an intelligence apparatus of a society, which is perhaps East Germany, where up to 10 percent of people over their lifetime had been an informer at one stage or another, in Iceland we have 88 percent penetration of Iceland by Facebook. Eighty-eight percent of people are there on Facebook informing on their friends andtheir movements and the nature of their relationships—and for free. They’re not even being paid money. They’re not even being directly coerced to do it. They’re doing it for social credits to avoid the feeling of exclusion.

But people should understand what is really going on. I don’t believe people are doing this or would do it if they truly understood what was going on, that they are doing hundreds of billions of hours of free work for the Central Intelligence Agency, for the FBI, and for all allied agencies and all countries that can ask for favors to get hold of that information.

William Binney, the former chief of research, the National Security Agency’s signals intelligence division, describes this situation that we are in now as “turnkey totalitarianism,” that the whole system of totalitarianism has been built—the car, the engine has been built—and it’s just a matter of turning the key. And actually, when we look to see some of the crackdowns on WikiLeaks and the grand jury process and targeted assassinations and so on, actually it’s arguable that key has already been partly turned. The assassinations that occur extra-judicially, the renditions that occur, they don’t occur in isolation. They occur as a result of the information that has been sucked in through this giant signals interception machinery.

That’s a strong statement, but I don’t think it is an exaggeration. Watch the interview and decide for yourself. The key parts are between the 10th and 20th minute and after the 32nd minute. Or click on Julian Assange on Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and the Emerging Surveillance State and read the transcript.

I reported the allegations in Sweden against Julian Assange in an effort to be fair, but the massive effort of the United States and United Kingdom governments shows that their concern is not the routine processing of an extradition case.  Click on The Death of Truth: Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange for a report on Assange versus the U.S. and U.K. governments.

Julian Assange reviewed The New Digital Age by Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in the New York Times.

The advance of information technology epitomized by Google heralds the death of privacy for most people and shifts the world toward authoritarianism. … …  But while Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Cohen tell us that the death of privacy will aid governments in “repressive autocracies” in “targeting their citizens,” they also say governments in “open” democracies will see it as “a gift” enabling them to “better respond to citizen and customer concerns.”  In reality, the erosion of individual privacy in the West and the attendant centralization of power make abuses inevitable, moving the “good” societies closer to the “bad” ones.

The section on “repressive autocracies” describes, disapprovingly, various repressive surveillance measures: legislation to insert back doors into software to enable spying on citizens, monitoring of social networks and the collection of intelligence on entire populations.  All of these are already in widespread use in the United States.  In fact, some of those measures — like the push to require every social-network profile to be linked to a real name — were spearheaded by Google itself.

The writing is on the wall, but the authors cannot see it.  They borrow from William Dobson the idea that the media, in an autocracy, “allows for an opposition press as long as regime opponents understand where the unspoken limits are.”  But these trends are beginning to emerge in the United States.  No one doubts the chilling effects of the investigations into The Associated Press and Fox’s James Rosen.

Click on The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ to read Assange’s full review.

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One Response to “The Julian Assange file”

  1. Atticus Finch Says:

    When I read about wikileaks it almost makes me angry.

    When you defy the Government you are taken out. When you are smart enough not to be killed, or to be too public to kill, you are jailed.

    Where is the coverage of this on the major networks? None. Why? More evidence that the Government, media, and corporations are in bed together if you ask me. If you are ashamed of the truth then you are doing things that you should be ashamed of – that is the situation the Government has found itself in.

    This is one of the main reasons I’m all for smaller Government. When a governing body has the power to stop the people from knowing the truth, punish those who bring forth the truth, and continue their lies without consequence – that Government is to big and too corrupt.

    Like

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