Hounding Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London rather than be extradited to Sweden to face sex-abuse accusations. But Assange’s ordeal reflects a larger and more troubling American hostility to truth-tellers who point the finger at Washington, says Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

In 2006, Julian Assange and associates founded the WikiLeaks website with a noble and necessary goal. WikiLeaks aimed at forcing the world’s governments to act with greater transparency and therefore possibly rule more justly.

It was Assange’s opinion that if governments were less able to lie and keep secrets, they would be less prone to break their own and international laws, or at least more likely to adhere to a general rule of decency allegedly shared by their citizenry.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a media conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)

This was a truly heroic undertaking. What did WikiLeaks do to accomplish this task? It created a web-based non-governmental window on government activity through which it made public those official lies and secrets. This information was supplied to it by whistle blowers the world over.

Soon WikiLeaks was telling the world about “extrajudicial killings in Kenya … toxic waste dumping on the coast of Cote d’Ivoire … material involving large banks … among other documents.” None of this got Assange into great trouble. The simple fact is that the ability of states such as Kenya and the Ivory Coast to reach out and crush an organization like WikiLeaks is limited.

However, in 2010 the website started publishing massive amounts of U.S. diplomatic and military documents, including damaging information on procedures at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and a video documenting lethal attacks on civilians in Iraq.

It was at this point that Assange, as the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, became a criminal in the eyes of the U.S. government. The hero, ferreting out facts about official wrongdoing, now became the hunted. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, an Islamophobe who unfortunately chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, labeled WikiLeaks a “terrorist organization” and said that Assange ought to be “prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917.”

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Assange had harmed the national interest and “put innocent lives at risk” and therefore should be prosecuted for espionage.

Actually, a good argument can be made that the stupid and corrupt policies of American politicians have done much greater harm to objectively defined national interest, particularly in the Middle East. In addition, there is no evidence that any of WikiLeaks’ actions have resulted in any loss of “innocent lives.” However, none of this can save Assange.

Who Is the Real Criminal?

One of the serious questions raised by the case of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is just who is a criminal? If an organized crime syndicate commits illegal acts and some outside party reveals its activity, the syndicate might mark the witness for punishment. However, which one is the real criminal?

Lots of governments act like organized crime syndicates. If you ask Rep. King or Sen. Feinstein what they think about the behavior of, say, Russia in Chechnya or China in Tibet, they are likely to describe that behavior as criminal. And, if Assange had just exposed the sins of Russia or China, he would be praised within the halls of Congress.

But what happens when the U.S. government behaves like an organized gang of criminals? After all, a very good case can be made that the leaders of the United States are systematically violating their own Constitution with policies like indefinite detention.

In recent decades, the government’s behavior has violated more moral precepts than one cares to count, from the Vietnam War through the invasion and occupation of Iraq, resulting in millions of deaths. Then there is the practice of torturing suspected, but not actually convicted, terrorists, and the current use of drone attacks which kill more civilians than targeted enemies.

Along comes WikiLeaks and Assange to bear witness against some of these acts. Washington marks him for punishment. But just who is the real criminal?

It is to the enduring shame of most of the U.S. media that they did not, and still can’t, manage a straight answer to that question. The establishment press has always kept its distance from Assange, asserting that he was not a “real” journalist. This no doubt reflects the attitudes of its basically conservative owners and editors.

For instance, the New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller, once called Assange a “smelly, dirty, bombastic … believer in unproven conspiracy theories.” He did this even while his own paper selectively dipped into the 391,832 Pentagon documents that WikiLeaks had divulged.

Even then the information was used in the most innocuous fashion. I think it is fair to say that investigative journalism at a local (city or state) level still goes on in the U.S., but at the national level it has become an increasingly rare phenomenon.

Popular Disbelief

Though a noble and necessary effort, Assange’s WikiLeaks experiment always faced very high odds, particularly in the U.S. This is because its revelations play themselves out within the context of an establishment culture that has long ago turned the great majority of people into subservient true believers.

True believers in what? In the essential goodness of their nation as it operates in the world beyond its borders. Therefore, transparency might be acceptable for one’s local political environment where the mayor turns out to be corrupt, but foreign policy is something else again.

For Americans in the post-9/11 age, foreign policy boils down to promoting democracy and development on the one hand, and protecting the citizenry from terrorists on the other. Within that frame of reference, it is nearly impossible for Americans to conceive of their national government as purposefully acting like a criminal organization. They just refuse to believe it.

Particularly in the context of the so-called “war on terror,” most Americans see nothing noble or necessary about exposing the government’s clandestine operations. Thus, when Julian Assange points out the criminal behavior of those supposedly defending the nation, most citizens are going to feel indignant and rally around the flag. The messenger is soon the one who is seen as criminal and dangerous because he is undermining national security.

There are no greater adherents to this point of view than the political and military leaders who claim to be defenders of the nation. For them the old Barry Goldwater saying, “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” excuses all excesses. WikiLeaks both challenged and embarrassed them by making their innumerable excesses public. Thus, be they Democrats or Republicans, the so-called champions of homeland security are determined to silence him.

U.S. authorities have latched onto an exaggerated sex scandal in Sweden in which Assange is sought for questioning (though as yet not charged with any crime). They have pressured the Swedes to extradite Assange from his present UK residence when it would be much easier and efficient (as Assange has offered) for Stockholm to send court representatives to England to perform the questioning.

So why do it the hard way? Because, once in Sweden, the head of WikiLeaks could be given over to the Americans (something the British will not do). Assange will not cooperate in this game. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, “as a foreign national accused of harming U.S. national security, he has every reason to want to avoid ending up in the travesty known as the American judicial system.”

When he recently lost his UK court battle against extradition, he sought asylum in the embassy of Ecuador, a country whose leaders are sympathetic to Assange’s plight. True to form, American media comment on Assange’s appeal for asylum has been disparaging.

Julian Assange is now a hero on the run. And, he is probably going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Even if he makes it to Ecuador, he will need bodyguards to protect him from kidnapping or worse. As one Pentagon spokesman put it, “If doing the right thing is not good enough for [Assange] then we will figure out what other alternatives we have to compel [him] to do the right thing.”

And what do America’s leaders regard as the “right thing” in this case? Obviously, keeping silent about Washington’s doing the wrong thing. That is the nature of our world.

Submerged in a culture defined by the educational and informational dictates of our leaders and their interests, many of us cannot recognize when we are being lied to or misled. And, if someone tries to tell us what is happening, they sound so odd, so out of place, that we are made anxious and annoyed. So much so that, in the end, we don’t raise a finger when the messenger is hounded into silence.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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42 comments on “Hounding Julian Assange

  1. mick on said:

    Interesting twist on the article. The fact is though that Assange likes to believe is he doing heroic things but when confronted with his own criminal acts he runs and hides. No heroic actions here!

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      You seem to be trying to create a moral equivalent between sex without a condom and killing civilians with Hellfire missiles. Propaganda is alive and well, and Americans are hopelessly deceived. Your comment is a resounding tribute to the author’s point of view: “it is nearly impossible for Americans to conceive of their national government as purposefully acting like a criminal organization. They just refuse to believe it.”

      • UncaChuckie on said:

        You presumption is wrong. A major element of the US public think we have been much too lenient with maurading a**holes who have our extinction as one of their primary religious goals. For example, if Iran wants nukes, we suggest the US comply with about 40 of them strategically placed.

        Their is no response but brute force which will be understood and obeyed by the thugs.

        • FoonTheElder on said:

          But Israel sitting with about 150 nukes, with some in submarines purchased from Germany, is not a threat.

          It must be that we can trust the extemists in Israel with 150 nuclear bombs, but not the extremists in Iran with two or three.

          • F. G. Sanford on said:

            I’d love to know who Chuckie means by “we”. And, where he got his statistics, based on the fact that 80% of the US public is fed up with military intervention. Or, if he realizes that most of those marauding a-holes started marauding about the same time the CIA started doing stuff like overthrowing the democratically elected leader if Iran in 1953. Chuckie’s point of view is likely to cause more, not less marauding. That being said, I suspect he works for AIPAC.

        • Colin Smith on said:

          Spoken like a true THUG! There are other responses, but most Americans are incapable of thinking them. All they know is punishment and violence.

      • Mr Sanford, We here in the U.S just have a few questions for him, we have a nice room at Gitmo waiting and we promise he will be treated with kindness during his stay.

        • F. G. Sanford on said:

          Yes, Johnny, and Hitler had a place like that too. It was called Dachau. I’m not so sure what questions you could possibly muster up, given that you don’t seem to understand the issues in the first place. Cheers!

      • “You seem to be trying to create a moral equivalent between sex without a condom and killing civilians with Hellfire missiles.”

        You’d seem to be acting as an apologist for sexual molestation and rape, the crimes of which Assange has been accused. The UK Supreme Court held that the actions of Assange — actions which his own lawyers admitted to in court — constituted “rape” under English and Welsh law.

        Let him go face his accusers.

        • F. G. Sanford on said:

          Do you realize that the case was investigated, the charges were dropped, and then a decision was made to reopen the case? In the meantime, it was determined that both women had been former CIA employees? Whatever happened, it didn’t happen in England or Wales, and if they wanted to prosecute, they had their chance. The idea that a trumped up charge with a capital penalty can be levied in a kangaroo court based on hearsay is an abomination. This is essentially the same case made against Fritz Ehrlich, whom the Nazis murdered at Dachau: another journalist with the guts to stand up to the machine. If there is any apology owed, it is wanted from those who have subverted the Constitution to wage blatantly illegal wars. Failure to see that is abject naiveté. Those who would sacrifice freedom for ideology deserve the consequences. America seems to be a long way down that road.

          • bobzz on said:

            I did not realize his accusers were ex-CIA employees. Interesting.

          • “In the meantime, it was determined that both women had been former CIA employees?”

            That’s a complete lie. Neither of them ever worked for the CIA, and the rumor that they had was completely ginned-up by Assange’s supporters.

            There’s a long history of lies around this case being pushed by Assange and his lawyers. Remember the claim that he was “only” being charged with some “obscure” Swedish law about “sex by surprise”…? That was a lie, too.

    • brian on said:

      Thank you for such a well written article. It is harder and harder to be proud to be an American citizen these days. Elected officials are no longer representatives of the people, but rather representatives of their own selfish interests. This world needs more Julian Assange’s to step up and do the right thing.

    • Colin Smith on said:

      You are unable to think clearly or know what is going on. Assange knows that Sweden has secretly guaranteed that he will be shipped to the USA, where he will spend the rest of his life in prison for telling the truth to a public who willfully believes whatever the US government is telling them. IT is important for democracy that they know what is being done in their name. We all know, even you, that if Assange goes to Sweden, for now purpose than to be interviewed by prosecutors, interviews that could be just as easily done in the UK. Assange has not been charged or convicted, so there is really no extradition to be answered, but the US government has put pressure on the UK government to “move him along”.
      So mick, learn something about the law (not charged or convicted, so no need for extradition) and politics (the USA will do anything to stop him telling the American sheople what crimes they are committing), and then tell me this…knowing all this, would you allow yourself to be extradited to a guaranteed life imprisonment, if not execution. I bet you’d scream and cry and yell like a baby. But again you wouldn’t have the balls to do what Assange has done. I can visualize even now that the US government is putting immense pressure, including threats to the peace and stability of Ecuador itself, to deter them from giving him asylum. Very heroic actions there!!

    • FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  2. Reperio on said:

    Mick sounds like he is on a certain government’s payroll. This is called preparing public opinion to attain strategic policy initiatives.

    • Frances in California on said:

      I don’t even like sharing my oxygen with guys like Mick but do I get to slap him into solitary? Oooh, Nooooooo! You’re correct, Reperio; and he probably makes at least 4 times what we do. Our tax dollars at work!

  3. Artemus Ward on said:

    Way to fail to respond to any of the points of the article, Mick. Your insight is oh-so-profound.

  4. JCinPC on said:

    Julian Assange (US enemy of the state) should be released ! Once in Ecuador you will find that Ecuador can be bought for a dollar. At that point he can be assassinated like all terrorists putting US lives at risk.

  5. HIT THEM WHERE IT HURTS.(James Harley Chase)

  6. ilse on said:

    Nothing you can say to Mick or his friends will make any difference. They are obtuse and unable to learn.They have been C- students at best and are now representing Inland Security!

    “At that point he can be assassinated like all terrorists putting US lives at risk.”
    The statements of some of the people posting here are unbelievably dumb.
    They are Self-righteous marroons. (Bugs Bunny)…

  7. Hillary on said:

    “The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to
    lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon,
    and to sell his race and his country for his daily bread.” –
    John Swinton, CEO, New York Times, New York Press Club, April 12, 1953.

  8. Hillary on said:

    P.S.

    Letter From Prominent Americans Urges Ecuador to Accept Assange Asylum Request

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/06/26-2

  9. incontinent reader on said:

    Assange’s work has been witness to countless official crimes that the government has gone to great lengths to cover up. It has done this not only to shut him up (and down) but to intimidate others from bearing witness and to frighten the public at large from demanding answers that no democratic government has a right to withhold.

    With the breakdown we are seeing everywhere in the rule of law, some of the worst pathology is being expressed by our leaders (including nutcase senators like McCain, and moralistic hypocrites like Feinstein, who are saying ” ‘kill the messenger’ so no one can see what we did too”). Assange is at great risk, and I pray he will be safe, but he has opened a genie that will spread and is inspiring others to do the same and more. If one values his efforts then contribute to his legal fund (and to others like Bradley Manning’s) and the National Security Whistleblower’s Coalition all of which are listed online.

  10. Jacstar on said:

    Because there is no one big enough to take on America, it has, like Rome of old, become a law unto itself. If there are no checks and balances required of your actions, there is every reason to believe in your own rationale – no matter how self serving and warped it may be. America has lost its moral compass and its ability to self critique. It believes absolutely in the moral high ground – and that makes it extremely dangerous to the rest of the world! Julian Assange is simply a more media visible example of this. Imagine how many there are that do not have the advantage of visibility!

  11. bobzz on said:

    I have not read a lot of the wikileaks cables, but for those that I have read, Assange offers no commentary. He simply lays out cables that speak for themselves. The cables suggest we are a threat to others—and ourselves by blowback. Jack Nicholson’s line seems apropos, “You can’t handle the truth!” Not even our own truth, apparently.

  12. woodrot miami on said:

    julian put one side half of the truth on online. so he could be in the spot light. well now the spotlight is on you! what he did was wrong .i only get part of a convo when i am in the room with some one talking on the phone. i only get part of the story .what he was try to make the hole world look bad and thair not! most ppl are good. but the few bads one get most of the spotlight..well julian what a big mess you have made. you are like fish and company after a few days they stink .

    • bobzz on said:

      You make my point. Many of these are sender’s comments. No conversation is going on. Jeanne Kirkpatrick once whined, “Blame America first.” There are reasons for that, but as others have said, we just can’t bring ourselves to admit it.

  13. “Because, once in Sweden, the head of WikiLeaks could be given over to the Americans (something the British will not do).”

    This is completely inaccurate. As Swedish authorities have repeatedly pointed out, Sweden doesn’t have the latitude to simply hand over Assange to the US under these circumstances: the UK would have to agree to the extradition as well.

    And given that the UK would have to agree to the extradition anyway — and given that Britain has historically had a much more accommodating position than Sweden with regard to extraditions to the US — why not simply extradite him from the UK…?

    • Sean on said:

      I agree that in an ideal world Assange should face his accusers, but everything about this case stinks, and with the US government constantly throwing its weight about, this world is anything but ideal (unless of course you are one of the tiny minority profiting handsomely from the unwinnable ‘forever’ wars on terror and drugs).

      Assange has offered on several occasions to comply with the Swedish investigation in the normal way, something the Swedes have declined to go along with. Why is that I wonder? Why is Sweden so desperate to go an alternative route?

      At the end of the day, were this about the two women who have accused him of these crimes it could have been resolved by now. The fact that it has not and that events have taken these extraordinary turns suggests that the motivation behind the prosecution lies elsewhere.

      The truth of the matter is that the US government have written a rule book for the rest of the world and rewrites or disregard those rules when they threaten American interests and when anybody tries to apply them to America. This includes resorting to the very things that would provoke outrage were they visitied upon American citizens, plus the dirty tricks and political manipulation that is the common currency of US foreign policy.

      Assange, having seen the results of American ‘fairness’ and ‘justice’ through the wikileaks submissions probably has more cause to doubt the impartiality of America and its allies than most.

      • “Assange has offered on several occasions to comply with the Swedish investigation in the normal way, something the Swedes have declined to go along with. Why is that I wonder? Why is Sweden so desperate to go an alternative route?”

        Except the “normal way”, in Swedish jurisprudence, is that the accused must be questioned, face-to-face — Swedish privacy laws don’t allow for interviews via Skype, etc.

        “At the end of the day, were this about the two women who have accused him of these crimes it could have been resolved by now.”

        Really? How, precisely, other than telling the two of them, “Tough, you don’t get to have your day in court”…?

        “The truth of the matter is that the US government have written a rule book for the rest of the world and rewrites or disregard those rules when they threaten American interests and when anybody tries to apply them to America.”

        Where has this “rule book” been displayed in this instance? What we have here is someone who’s doing his damnedest to dodge accusations of sex crimes, as well as a lot of misguided “supporters” who are bending over backwards to try to issue his a “Get Out of Jail FREE!” card, without regard to the accusations that have been made against him.

        • Eddy on said:

          QUOTE,”Where has this “rule book” been displayed in this instance?” UNQUOTE.
          Yep, your dead right, as far as the U.S. is concerned, ‘there is No Rule book’, eveybody else must comply with what they are told to comply to, ‘or else’.
          Simple as.That’s why there are hindreds of U.S. bases all over the World, to oversea the govt’s of those nations to ensure they toe the line, Been that way as long as I can remember, except in the 70′s and 80, there was always a shallow cloak of pretence over all their foreign policies.
          Folks in the U.S. continualy bleat of Assange’s ‘sex crimes’ thereby perpetuating the FALSE belief that he’s been charged with something, where in FACT, he hasn’t been charged with anything, he’s wanted for QUESTIONING.
          And yet,folks like the author of this little post seem to disregard that democratic principle, which again, verifies what the earlier poster stated,’one rule for us, and another for them.

  14. Just how blood thirsty is the US?

  15. Colin Smith on said:

    Because the decision of the Ecuadorean government will ultimately dictate Assange’s fate, possibly culminating in the death penalty, this letter is worth publicizing for it’s valuable points and information. We should all send our own version to the Ecuadorean Government.

    June 25, 2012

    Dear President Correa,

    We are writing to urge you to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.

    As you know, British courts recently struck down Mr. Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is not wanted on criminal charges, but merely for questioning. Mr. Assange has repeatedly made clear he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but in the United Kingdom. But the Swedish government insists that he be brought to Sweden for questioning. This by itself, as Swedish legal expert and former Chief District Prosecutor for Stockholm Sven-Erik Alhem testified, is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.”

    We believe Mr. Assange has good reason to fear extradition to Sweden, as there is a strong likelihood that once in Sweden, he would be imprisoned, and then likely extradited to the United States.

    As U.S. legal expert and commentator Glenn Greenwald recently noted, were Assange to be charged in Sweden, he would be imprisoned under “very oppressive conditions, where he could be held incommunicado,” rather than released on bail. Pre-trial hearings for such a case in Sweden are held in secret, and so the media and wider public, Greenwald notes, would not know how the judicial decisions against Mr. Assange would be made and what information would be considered.

    The Washington Post has reported that the U.S. Justice Department and Pentagon conducted a criminal investigation into “whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act.” Many fear, based on documents released by Wikileaks, that the U.S. government has already prepared an indictment and is waiting for the opportunity to extradite Assange from Sweden.

    The U.S. Justice Department has compelled other members of Wikileaks to testify before a grand jury in order to determine what charges might be brought against Mr. Assange. The U.S. government has made clear its open hostility to Wikileaks, with high-level officials even referring to Mr. Assange as a “high-tech terrorist,” and seeking access to the Twitter account of Icelandic legislator Birgitta Jónsdóttir due to her past ties to Wikileaks.

    Were he charged, and found guilty under the Espionage Act, Assange could face the death penalty.

    Prior to that, the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of providing U.S. government documents to Wikileaks, provides an illustration of the treatment that Assange might expect while in custody. Manning has been subjected to repeated and prolonged solitary confinement, harassment by guards, and humiliating treatment such as being forced to strip naked and stand at attention outside his cell. These are additional reasons that your government should grant Mr. Assange political asylum.

    We also call on you to grant Mr. Assange political asylum because the “crime” that he has committed is that of practicing journalism. He has revealed important crimes against humanity committed by the U.S. government, most notably in releasing video footage from an Apache helicopter of a 2007 incident in which the U.S. military appears to have deliberately killed civilians, including two Reuters employees. Wikileaks’ release of thousands of U.S. State Department cables revealed important cases of U.S. officials acting to undermine democracy and human rights around the world.

    Because this is a clear case of an attack on press freedom and on the public’s right to know important truths about U.S. foreign policy, and because the threat to his health and well-being is serious, we urge you to grant Mr. Assange political asylum.

    Thank you for your consideration of our request.

    Michael Moore, Film Director
    Danny Glover, Film Director
    Oliver Stone, Film Director
    Bill Maher, Comedian, Television Host, Political Commentator, Author
    Naomi Wolf, Author
    Daniel Ellsberg, Vietnam War Whistleblower
    Glenn Greenwald, Constitutional lawyer and columnist, Salon.com
    Noam Chomsky
    Patch Adams, MD
    Chris Hedges, Journalist
    Jemima Khan, British Writer and Campaigner
    Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent & former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, one of three “whistleblowers” named Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002
    Ann Wright, US Army Colonel (Retired) and former US diplomat
    Ray McGovern, Former U.S. Army officer and longtime senior CIA analyst (ret.)
    Thomas Drake, NSA Whistleblower, Bill of Rights Activist
    Sibel Edmonds, Founder & Director- National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (www.nswbc.org )
    Linda Lewis, Board Member, Whistleblower Support Fund
    Kent Spriggs, Guantanamo habeas counsel
    Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights Director, Government Accountability Project
    Jacob Appelbaum, Developer, The Tor Project
    Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
    Medea Benjamin, Cofounder, Global Exchange
    Kathy Kelly, Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
    Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
    Mark Johnson, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
    Annie Bird, co director, Rights Action
    Denis J. Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary-General 1994-98. National of Ireland
    Leslie Cagan, co-founder, United for Peace and Justice
    Bill Fletcher, Jr., Co-author, “Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice”
    Kevin Gosztola, writer for Firedoglake, co-author, Truth & Consequences: The US vs. Bradley Manning
    Russ Wellen, Foreign Policy in Focus
    James Early, Board Member, Institute for Policy Studies
    Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
    Sam Husseini, Director, Washington Office of the Institute for Public Accuracy
    Robert Naiman, Policy Director, Just Foreign Policy

    Jane Hirschmann, Jews Say No! New York, organizer, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Richard Levy, lawyer, passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Kit Kittredge, Passenger, US Boat to Gaza
    Erin Deramus, passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Nic Abramson, passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Helaine Meisler, Orton-Gillingham Learning Specialist, Helaine Meisler Learning Center, Woodstock, New York
    Laurie Arbeiter, Artist/Activist, WE WILL NOT BE SILENT
    Johnny Barber, Photographer/Activist
    Gail Miller, Social Worker/Activist, Women of a Certain Age
    Carol Murry, Doctor of Public Health, Hawaii
    Libor Von Schönau, OccupyWallStreet Legal, New York
    Charlotte Wiktorsson, Doctor, Sweden
    David K. Schermerhorn, Deer Harbor, WA, passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Hedy Epstein, St. Louis, passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Paki Wieland, MA, passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza
    Felice Gelman, Wespac, New York
    Linda Durham, Founder, The Wonder Institute
    Winston Weeks, Policy Analyst, Citizens Education Project, Salt Lake City, UT
    Ellen Barfield, Veterans For Peace
    Gar W. Lipow, journalist, member of Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, author of Solving the Climate Crisis through Social Change
    Stephen Sander, Lawyer, Sydney, Australia

    Mayo C. Toruño, Professor and Chair, Economics Department, California State University, San Bernardino
    Julio Huato, Associate Professor of Economics, St. Francis College
    Michael Brun, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Illinois State University
    James G. Devine, Professor of Economics, Loyola Marymount University

    Michael A Lebowitz, Professor Emeritus, Economics (Canada)
    Marta Harnecker, writer (Chile)
    Dana Frank, Professor, Department of History, University of California, Santa Cruz
    Adrienne Pine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American University
    Miguel Tinker Salas, Professor, Latin American History, Pomona College
    Steve Ellner, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University/Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela
    Marc Becker, Professor of Latin American History, Truman State University
    Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head of Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies, Middlesex University, London, UK
    Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University London
    Doug Hertzler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Mennonite University
    Arturo Escobar, Dept. of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Carolyn Eisenberg, Professor of US Foreign Policy, Hofstra University
    Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies, Trinity College, USA
    T.M. Scruggs, Professor Emeritus, University of Iowa
    Ellen Schrecker, Professor of History, Yeshiva University
    Antonia Darder, Leavey Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
    Demetra Evangelou, Professor, Purdue University
    Gilbert G. Gonzalez, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Irvine
    Renate Bridenthal, Professor (retired), City University of New York
    A. Belden Fields, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of Illinois
    C. G. Estabrook, Visiting Professor (retired), University of Illinois

    • incontinent reader on said:

      Thanks for printing this letter. There are petitions on line but this one is excellent and anyone can take the initiative to write to the Embassy of Ecuador.

  16. Those who take up for the US government and call Assange a terrorist are to be pitied because their ignorance and/or arrogance will come back to haunt them. Since 9/11, the US has increasingly gone rogue, respecting few international laws, many of which it helped frame itself in times when American leaders and citizens were made of stronger moral fibre. Its government defends secrecy fiercely because the crimes committed by it in the name of its people are too terrible to be revealed to them. Its ‘allies’ are quite content to let the US trample nations and peoples around the world as they: (a) share the spoils of war initiated or inspired by the US and (b) consider themselves safe from a similar fate. The majority of Americans seems equally happy to go along with their government for similar reasons. But the US economy is in shambles, its citizens are losing more and more of their democratic rights, and its working class is being smothered by a corporate-rigged political and economic system. Americans should be more concerned with these issues that affect them directly instead of cloaking themselves in a patriotic flag and calling anyone who exposes their government a terrorist. In fact, the US needs hundreds of Assanges, if only to open the eyes of its masses.

  17. Tinsley Grey Sammons on said:

    I smell a conspiracy against the rights of Assagne. A conspiracy against rights is a felony. If indeed that is the case, it is the conspirators who should be indicted and tried.

    WE hold these Truths…

    Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)

  18. Long live Julian Assange, there are a number of paedopliles and murders in high office in government, Assange only crime is speaking the truth and shame Murderous, grand thief and psychopathic govermnents in the western world.

  19. Terrorist are those who illegally occupy other people countries, bomb, commit grand thief, commit genocide, destruction under disguise as humanitarian help and fighting against terrorism.

  20. HAHA see your president giving a taste of your own medicine, the democracy they were busy forcing overseas on countries for centuries, so does it fell to to have democracy/ignorancy force upon one countries.

  21. rharwell on said:

    I have read most of the comments and most are not sane or logical. It is also clear many gave not followed this Assange Odyssey from its beginnings. One of the female accusers was a CIA asset and the other was her girlfriend. Charges were dropped and the US forced Sweden to recharge Assange and demand he be extradicted to the US to face espionage charges. Obama publicly accused him of being a traitor. He has been threatened with assassination by our elected officials. All of this while none of them are denying the truth of what he has outed publicly. At some point the US will get its way by kidnapping, rendition, or death by drone. Of course there is no shortage of covert ops eager to assassinate him and take the glory for he seems to be a far more greater threat to freedom and democracy than bin Laden ever was. Silence all truth tellers! All hail the conquerors and death dealers! A million dead in Iraq over lies and propaganda but let’s kill Assange. We have met the enemy and he is us has really come home.