assange

Ecuadorian president arrives in Britain as Julian Assange’s fate hangs in the balance
James Cogan, WSWS, Jul 21 2018

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno arrives in London today, with his administration seeking to force WikiLeaks editor and Australian citizen Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy there, where he sought and was granted political asylum in 2012. If Assange leaves the embassy he will be imprisoned by Britain for breaching bail and almost certainly face an application to extradite him to Pindostan to stand trial on manufactured charges of espionage. On the Moreno government’s orders, the Ecuadorian embassy in London has deprived Assange of all external communication, and all visitors apart from his lawyers, since Mar 28. After six years of confinement due to the British threat of immediate arrest if he sets foot outside the small building, Assange’s health has been seriously compromised. The deprivation of communication is a vindictive attempt to add immense psychological pressure on him to leave the embassy, as well as to silence him while lurid accusations permeate the pindo and international media that WikiLeaks was part of a nefarious Russian conspiracy to “interfere” in Pindostan’s presidential election. Ahead of Moreno’s visit to London, his office asserted on Jul 19 that “there is no specific meeting planned on Assange.” The same day, acting Ecuadorian foreign minister, Andres Teran, claimed that Moreno’s government is “not in talks with Pindostan” over him. These statements have no credibility. All evidence points to the opposite conclusion: A conspiracy is well advanced, involving the Pindo, British, Ecuadorian and Australian governments, to have Assange hauled before a show trial in Pindostan, whose intelligence agencies are determined to prosecute Assange as a “spy.”

The campaign to arrest him was escalated to a “priority” in Apr 2017, after WikiLeaks began publishing the “Vault 7” leaks that revealed how the CIA had developed malware to hack phones, PCs, servers, smart televisions and vehicle computer systems in every part of the world. Moreno’s government has betrayed Assange as part of its venal attempts, on behalf of the Ecuadorian business elite, to restore economic and political relations with Washington. The London embassy cut off Assange’s communications just one day after top-level meetings in Ecuador with representatives of SOUTHCOM on re-establishing military cooperation. Underscoring Moreno’s complicity in the persecution of Assange, his aides announced he has no intention of visiting the embassy whilst in London to even check on the well-being of a persecuted journalist his government is nominally providing political asylum. Yesterday, Margarita Simonyan, the editor of Russia Today, tweeted:

My sources say that Assange will be handed over to British authorities in the coming weeks or even days…

Whether Simonyan’s sources are credible is unknown. But the fact that Moreno will speak with leading figures in the May government over the coming days is not. The talks will take place amid total hysteria in the pindo political and media establishment over purported Russian “meddling” and “interference,” following Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki this week. At the centre of the allegations is the Jul 2016 publication by WikiLeaks of a trove of emails sent by the DNC, revealing that ostensibly impartial party officials conspired to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton in the Demoagog Party primaries. The information outraged millions of Sanders’ supporters, especially young people who had voted for the Vermont senator due to his claims to be a “democratic socialist” and to oppose the “billionaires.” Top DNC officials were forced to resign in disgrace for their attempt to manipulate and rig the primaries for Clinton’s benefit. History, however, has since been rewritten by the Demagog Party, the pindo media and the intel agencies. The DNC leaks were instead transformed into purported “evidence” of a Russian-orchestrated attempt to manipulate the 2016 presidential election in favour of Trump. WikiLeaks and Assange were accused of being accomplices of the Putin regime. On Jan 6 2017, the pindo ODNI alleged:

We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Demagog boxtops to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity.

Claims of Russian “fake news” and “meddling” also have been used to justify the sweeping and ongoing campaign to censor oppositional publications on the Internet, including WikiLeaks and the WSWS. At the same time, the assertions of Russian “interference” have been used to stoke a frenzy of demands in the pindo establishment for a stepped-up economic and military confrontation with Russia, threatening to trigger war between nuclear-armed states. The allegation that Assange is a “Russian agent” is crucial to both the assault on freedom of speech and democratic rights, and to the preparations for war. A media organisation cannot be prosecuted for publishing leaks, so in Nov 2010, Vice Pres Biden labelled Assange a “high-tech terrorist.” In Apr 2017, then-DCI Pompeo branded WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence agency.” If Assange were charged as a Russian spy, it would establish a far-reaching precedent. International media organisations and journalists that publish leaked information could be pursued and prosecuted without recourse to any constitutional and legal protections of freedom of speech. The slander of Assange as a Russian tool serves definite ideological purposes. It has been seized upon internationally by the ex-liberal and pseudo-left milieu in the media and political establishment to align with pindo imperialism, the Demagog Party and the intelagencies and justify their refusal to defend WikiLeaks and democratic rights. The truth is that, regardless of the source, WikiLeaks published information that was both newsworthy and further clarified people as to the corrupt, militarist and big business character of the Demagog Party and its candidate Clinton. Any genuine media organisation that received such leaks would have published them. The immense danger Assange faces was underscored yesterday by comments made during a media conference held by British Foreign Secretary Hunt and Australian Foreign Minister Bishop, who is in Britain at the same time as Moreno. Hunt gloated:

Serious charges have been laid against him and we want him to face justice for those charges, but we are a country of due process. At any time he wants to, he is free to walk out on to the streets of Knightsbridge and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.

Bishop exuded the utter contempt of successive Australian governments for the rights of an Australian citizen and journalist being persecuted by Pindostan. She indifferently responded to Hunt’s threats, effectively washing her government’s hands of Assange’s fate. She told the media:

We understand there are still matters where Mr Assange is subject to British legal proceedings so therefore that would be a matter of British law enforcement authorities and agencies.

In fact, the only charges that Assange faces in Britain arise from breaching bail when he sought asylum, a necessary step to avoid a sinister warrant to extradite him to Sweden to answer questions relating to dubious allegations of sexual assault. He rightly feared being extradited from Sweden to Pindostan. No charges were ever laid by Swedish prosecutors, who finally agreed to question him in London in Dec 2016. Sweden abandoned the bogus investigation in Apr 2017, yet the British authorities and courts refused to drop the now-redundant alleged bail offences. The only “serious charges” against Assange are likely to be espionage-related charges in Pindostan, which could result in life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The ongoing motive behind the persecution of Assange is to terrorise and intimidate whistleblowers and independent media organisations into remaining silent on imperialist war crimes and intrigues, corporate abuses and corruption, and pindo-led war preparations. All defenders of media freedom and democratic rights must step up the fight to demand the unconditional right of Julian Assange to leave the London embassy and Britain unhindered and return to Australia, if he chooses to do so, with a guarantee against extradition to Pindostan.

Possible Hand-Over Of Julian Assange To Britain May Be Imminent
Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media, Jul 21 2018

What happens in a world without Julian Assange? It seems we may be in the unthinkable position of facing such a reality, after WikiLeaks Tweeted regarding the recent statement of Margarita Simonyan, RT’s Editor-in-chief. An exceptionally brief article published by Russian Insider documented Simonyan’s foreboding Tweet, indicating that her statement seemed especially serious in light of the quality of her sources.

These reports also follow a chilling article penned by award-winning journalist Chris Hedges, who wrote:

The failure on the part of establishment media to defend Julian Assange, who has been trapped in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been denied communication with the outside world since March and appears to be facing imminent expulsion and arrest, is astonishing. The extradition of the publisher, the maniacal goal of the pindo government, would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites.

As described by Hedges, the Western legacy press has become analogous to the attack dogs of the establishment, especially since the 2016 pindo presidential election, becoming almost rabid following the loss of Clinton to Trump. Their predatory focus on Assange, as opposed to their defense of his right to publish as a journalist, has astounded many and forced the public to reconcile with the true face of the media as state-sanctioned propaganda. As noted by many independent media outlets in the months since Assange’s solitary confinement was enforced by the Ecuadorian government, his sanctuary in the embassy has mutated, apparently irrevocably, from a refuge to a prison cell.

Disobedient Media reported that Assange is being tortured according to UN rules on solitary confinement. Every day that his state-sanctioned isolation continues is a 24-hour period of cruel and unusual treatment that also breaches the Ecuadorian constitution. As noted by one of Assange’s legal representatives, international law is also on his side. However, it remains to be seen as to whether Ecuador, Britain or Pindostan will respect international law.

Under the Presidency of Lenin Moreno, Ecuador has embraced a growing relationship with the US, including economic and military agreements. Less than a month ago, US Vice Pres Pence visited Ecuador as part of a tour of Latin American nations, with intense speculation surrounding the event in terms of its implications for Julian Assange’s asylum. Telesur wrote of the meeting between Pence and Moreno:

The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CDES) in Ecuador has warned that Pindo Vice Pres Pence’s visit to Ecuador ‘Seeks to align the country to Pindo influence: that is turn Ecuador into a territory of war, sign an aggressive free trade agreement, eliminate ‘irritating’ subjects like the Texaco (Chevron) case, and dismantle sovereign regional integration.’

These developments, in light of Assange’s isolation, have caused escalating concern, while provoking a backlash across the planet against unelected pindo military powers. These demonstrations of solidarity have ranged from vigils on the ground in front of the Ecuadorian embassy in London to petitionsonline vigilsworks of art and pieces of incredible music. All of these works have illustrated silencing Assange is against the deep state’s interest.

Every act of brutality against him has and will increase solidarity with him on the ground at the embassy, online, and in the streets. Web-based vigils under the banner #Unity4J have brought together journalists, activists, and thinkers from around the globe ranging from progressives and socialists to conservatives, independents, and everything in between. On the sixth anniversary of Assange’s entry into the Ecuadorian embassy in London, demonstrations of solidaritywere also held in locations including Sydney, Bern, Faschingstein, Sri Lanka, India and Dublin among others. If Assange is surrendered by the Ecuadorian government to Britain, it will no doubt provoke outrage and public demonstrations in his support. It will also suggest that his arrest may have been the impetus for the recent escalation in feigned neoMcCarthyist fervor. Some have suggested that the only recourse left to support Assange at this time may be civil disobedience.

Disobedient Media previously noted that Julian Assange has always stood up for those who are attacked by overt and covert actions of government, the military-industrial-apparatus and the lies of the corporate press. We are hardly the first to point out that if his asylum were to be revoked in any way, dangerously inept intelligence agencies, especially the CIA, would continue to operate outside the purview of public vision. We would have lost an important public voice warning us of the dangers of artificial intelligence, and any pretense to an authentic free press. As outlets like the Graun, NYT and WaPo have seemed only too eager to cannibalize the work of a journalist they also persecute, the public must understand that the implications of Assange’s asylum, if lost, would reach far beyond petty political outcomes. Whistle-blowers may be less likely to turn to outlets unable to secure their anonymity and advocate on their behalf, as we have seen in WikiLeaks’ actions towards alleged sources such as Chelsea Manning. The ultimate outcome of the loss of Julian Assange is too great to fully summarize. However, CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou spoke during the first Unity4J vigil, saying:

I feel like we’re heading into an international crisis if we turn our backs on Julian Assange.

All legitimate press across the globe must advocate for a politically imprisoned journalist to be protected by the rule of international law which has found his confinement to be illegal, deserving of immediate cessation and recompense. Disobedient Media will continue to report on this critical story as events unfold.

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