Posts Tagged ‘Ecuador’

Legal injustice: Goliath stomps David

February 24, 2020

How the Environmental Lawyer Who Won a Massive Judgment Against Chevron Lost Everything by Sharon Lerner for The Intercept.

He Sued Chevon and Won – Now He’s Under House Arrest by Christine MacDonald for In These Times.

Who’s afraid of Julian Assange?

May 16, 2018

The Guardian reported that Ecuador has spent more than $5 million on closed-circuit TV cameras, 24-hour monitoring and other surveillance of Julian Assange, who took refuge in their London embassy in 2012.

Every communication by Assange with the outside world was monitored and recorded.  Guardian reporters were given access to this information.  I imagine British and U.S. intelligence services also have access to it.

The thrust of the articles is what a nuisance Assange has become to the Ecuadorian government and how understandable it is that they want to get rid of their unwelcome guest.  I am sure this is true.  If I were president of a small, vulnerable country such as Ecuador, I would not wish to antagonize the United States and other great powers.

What the articles also show is Assange’s uncompromising loyalty to his self-appointed mission.  The government of Ecuador expected him to refrain from “interfering” with other countries’ politics.  Assange’s publication of confidential e-mails embarrassing to Hillary Clinton was regarded as a violation of that, as was his protest against the arrest of a Catalan independen

Then Assange went on to destroy any hope of a pardon from the Trump administration by publishing more confidential CIA information.  He published new information about Russian intelligence surveillance.  Like him or not, you can’t reasonably say Wikileaks is a tool of any government or political faction.

All of this shows that the campaign against Assange is political.  It is not about criminal justice.  No routine bail bond case would ever result in the huge and expensive effort mounted by the British and Ecuadorian governments to bring Assange under control.  Only the naive would think that his only risk is punishment for bail bond violations.

He is a lone individual, standing up to the world’s most powerful governments and calling them to account.  He is hated and feared for telling inconvenient truths.  How can anyone who cares about political freedom not defend him?  It is Assange’s enemies, not him, who have to justify themselves.

LINKS

How Julian Assange became an unwelcome guest in Ecuador’s embassy by Luke Harding, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Dan Collyns for The Guardian.

Ecuador spent millions on spy operation for Julian Assange by Dan Collyns, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Luke Harding for The Guardian.

Why does Ecuador want Assange out of its London embassy? by Dan Collyns for The Guardian.

The Guardian Rejoices in the Silencing of Assange by Craig Murray.  [Added 5/17/2018]

Ecuador Under Lenin Moreno: an Interview With Andrez Arauz by Joe Emersberger for Counterpunch.

Ecuador’s Ex-President Rafael Correa Denounces Treatment of Julian Assange as “Torture” by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.  [Added 5/17/2018]

JULIAN ASSANGE’S DEFENSE STATEMENT.  Statement to the Swedish prosecutor after questioning at the Ecuadorian embassy in November 14-15, 2017.

Understanding Julian Assange and US Media by Mike Swanson.  Good background on Wikileaks and older Wikileaks controversies up to early 2016.

The abandonment of Julian Assange

May 15, 2018

These may be the last days of Julian Assange.   He is under virtual solitary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, cut off from contact with the outside world, while the Ecuadorian government is reportedly discussing handing him over to the British government.

He faces arrest jumping bail in a case in which no criminal charges were ever brought, but his real offense has been to publish information embarrassing to U.S. military and intelligence services.

You would think that liberals, progressives and war protestors would rally to the support of Assange, but, for the most part, they don’t.

I know people who in their youth protested the Vietnam War and supported the release of the Pentagon Papers, but can’t forgive Assange for publishing inconvenient truths about Hillary Clinton—as if Clinton were an advocate of peace!

It is not as if the Trump administration considers Assange a friend.  Attorney-General Jeff Sessions said arresting Assange is “a priority.”   Mike Pompeo, former CIA director and now Secretary of State, called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service”, as if it were equivalent to a foreign government.

Assange is not a perfect person.  Who is?  He is a lone wolf who is not aligned with any of the established political parties or movements.  He sometimes expresses himself in offensive ways.  He hangs out with doubtful people.  A relentless propaganda campaign has uncovered everything he has even done that might seem to be wrong.

Grant for the sake of argument that everything said against him is true (which I don’t believe).  Weigh that against the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives taken in the wars of the Bush and Obama administrations, and in the wars we can expect to be waged in the Trump administration.

In Wikileaks, he has created a technology by which whistle-blowers can expose crimes and abuses without being hunted down and jailed.  This technology will live on when Assange the individual has vanished from the scene.

Assange’s possible fate is to be turned over to U.S. authorities, followed by execution or life imprisonment.  But that hasn’t happened yet.  If you care about peace, or if you care about freedom of the press, demand freedom for Julian Assange.

LINKS

Being Julian Assange by Suzie Dawson.  This is a review and rebuttal of most or all the accusations that have been made against Assange.

On the Silencing of Julian Assange, interviews with John Pilger and Christine Assange (Julian’s mother) for Consortium News.

Ecuador hints it may hand over Julian Assange to Britain and the US by James Cogan for the World Socialist Web Site.

People Lie to Themselves About Julian Assange to Justify His Persecution by Caitlin Johnstone on her web page.

Corporate power and impunity

March 18, 2015

architecture-of-impunitySource: Transnational Institute

US doesn’t believe in ‘diplomatic asylum’

August 17, 2012

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.

In 1956, following the Soviet Union’s crushing of the Hungarian freedom fighters, Cardinal Josef Mindszenty sought diplomatic asylum in the U.S. embassy in Budapest, and he remained in the embassy for 15 years.  Just last April, the blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng sought asylum in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, and later was granted passage to the United States.

Is the U.S. government now repudiating its historic policy?  Is it saying that the United States had no right to grant protection to Cardinal Mindszenty or Chen Guangcheng?

And, if it is not involved in the Sweden’s extradition of Julian Assange or the dispute between the British and Ecuadorian governments, why issue a statement at all?

Ecuador grants political asylum to Assange

August 16, 2012

Julian Assange

Ecuador has 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.

The Julian Assange file

June 20, 2012

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.

(more…)

Ecuador’s president versus the U.S. embassy

May 23, 2012

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has closed the U.S. base in Ecuador and expelled the U.S. ambassador, while inviting Chinese investment.  According to U.S. embassy cables published by WikiLeaks, he is the most popular president in Ecuador’s history.

He survived a 2010 coup attempt.  Interviewed on Julian Assange’s The World Tomorrow program, he told Assange that the United States is the only country in the world not in danger of a military coup because it doesn’t have a U.S. embassy.  He said the U.S. embassy directly paid units of the Ecuadorian national police force, who reported to the U.S. ambassador and not to him.

He said he would welcome a U.S. base in Ecuador provided that Ecuador could establish a military base on Miami.  And he said Ecuador is actively looking for investment by China, Russia and Brazil.  If the United States depends on Chinese financing of its budget and trade deficit, he said, it can’t be wrong for Ecuador to look for Chinese financing.

The most controversial thing he has done is his crackdown on the Ecuadorian press.  When President Correa was elected in 2007, the government only operated on TV station.  His administration seized two TV stations in 2008, and has sued various journalists for defamation of character.  Journalist Emilio Palacio, along with three owners of his newspaper, El Universo, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $40 million fine early in 2011.  Palacio fled the country and was last reported living in Miami.

This kind of thing is not unique to Ecuador.  Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez also has cracked down on the right-wing adversarial press in his country.

Correa defended his action to Julian Assange by saying that five of the seven newspapers in Ecuador are controlled by the big banks, and are working to undermine his administration.  They don’t tell the truth, he said; by arrangement, none of them published any of the U.S. embassy cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, that related to Ecuador.

Assange said the media companies in the United States, Britain and other countries are equally corrupt.  The solution, he said, is to break up the big media companies and make it easier for independent voices to publish, not to use the power of government to suppress freedom of the press.  I think he’s right.  I also think he could have been tougher in his interview on this issue.

I watch Assange’s The World Tomorrow because he interviews Interesting people who would never appear on American network television.  Assange is not an adversarial interviewer – more like Charlie Rose than the late Mike Wallace – and I sometimes have to do some follow-up to get the complete picture, as I did with this interview.

Click on Digital Journal for links to previous episodes and a summary of the latest episode.

Click on President versus the media in Ecuador for a critical Al Jazeera report on President Correa’s struggle with the Ecuadorian press.

(more…)