Ecuador Continues Playing Hardball With Assange

A day after she was elected president of the UN General Assembly, the Ecuadorian foreign minister said Julian Assange would remain incommunicado in Ecuador’s London embassy, as James Cogan explains.

By James Cogan

On Monday Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa was elected to a one-year term as president of the United Nations General Assembly. On Tuesday she declared that her government would continue blocking WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from all communications and deny him any personal visitors. On Wednesday it became 10 weeks since Ecuador’s government deprived Assange of his rights, which it is obliged to honor after granting him political asylum in its London embassy in 2012.

The General Assembly vote in support of Espinosa was a substantial: 128 votes for 62 votes for the other nominee, Honduras’s UN ambassador, Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake. There were two abstentions. Washington was believed to favor Honduras because its right-wing government supported the provocative relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. After the vote, Espinosa again hinted that Ecuador is working to force Assange out of the embassy into the clutches of waiting police and the prospect of extradition to the United States on charges of espionage. She stated she was in discussion with both British authorities and Assange’s lawyers. “I think all parties are interested in finding an outlet, a solution, to this complex situation,” she declared.

Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno last year slandered Assange as a “hacker” and described the granting of political asylum to him by the previous president as an “inherited problem.”

Washington is demanding Assange’s head. Then CIA director Mike Pompeo, now U.S. secretary of state, asserted last year that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence agency,” due to its publication of documents exposing the operations of U.S. intelligence.

It appears Assange is being used as a bargaining chip in sordid negotiations between the U.S. and Ecuador. On June 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met Moreno. Amid the stepped-up persecution of Assange, Pence issued a statement lauding their discussion on “opportunities to reinvigorate the bilateral relationship” between the two countries. In words dripping with what sounded like imperialist deceit, Pence said the two countries would work together “to protect and promote freedom” and “build prosperity, security and democracy.”

Such “freedom” apparently does not include freedom of speech or freedom of the press, at least as far as WikiLeaks is concerned. “Democracy” apparently does not include the right to expose war crimes and other misdeeds of the U.S. and other Western governments. The “freedom” espoused by Pence means submitting to the world’s wealthiest interests.

Moreno’s evidently friendly discussion with Pence, and Espinosa’s victory in the UN, follow Moreno’s own attacks on Assange last week.

Pence: Bargaining for Assange.

On May 30, Moreno again hinted that Ecuador will renege on the political asylum that the previous government granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012. Moreno declared that Assange could remain in the London embassy only on the condition that he accept a permanent ban on “speaking out about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries.”

Espinosa stated on Monday that such flagrantly anti-democratic terms were “not a matter of censorship.” In reality, Assange has been delivered an unacceptable ultimatum. Unless he renounces the mission of WikiLeaks, which is to publish and comment on whistleblower leaks that expose government and corporate criminality and abuses around the world, he will be forced out of the embassy to be arrested and imprisoned by waiting British police on a bail-related charge.

Assange defied the terms of his bail in June 2012 and sought asylum from Ecuador because his life was in danger. The sole motive behind efforts to extradite him to Sweden, to purportedly answer “questions” in an investigation into allegations of sexual offenses, was to silence him while Washington sought his extradition to stand trial on espionage charges that potentially carry the death penalty.

UN Body Called for His Release

After years of delay, in late 2016 the Swedish police and prosecutors agreed to Assange’s repeated offer to be “questioned” in London. It belatedly took this action after a December 2015 ruling by the UN Working Party on Arbitrary Detentions.

That ruling stated: “The Working Group considered that Mr. Assange has been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty… detention was arbitrary because he was held in isolation during the first stage of detention and because of the lack of diligence by the Swedish Prosecutor in its investigations, which resulted in the lengthy detention of Mr. Assange.”

The ruling concluded: “The Working Group also considered that the detention should be brought to an end and that Mr. Assange should be afforded the right to compensation.”

In May 2017, Sweden finally abandoned its investigation. Assange was still unable to leave the embassy, however, because the British government of Prime Minister Theresa May insisted it will seek his imprisonment for jumping bail. Moreover, it refused to rule out continuing to hold him in custody while his legal defenders fought protracted court action against a U.S. extradition warrant.

With each passing day, the danger facing Assange increases. For six years, he has been confined inside a small building with no access to direct sunlight. He has been denied medical and dental treatment for serious conditions. Now he has been inflicted with the additional pressure of being prevented from continuing his work as a journalist, and denied outside communication or contact, even with his family.

The vindictive operation underway is intended to either force Assange to “voluntarily” leave the embassy, or create conditions in which Ecuador evicts him via claims he has “violated” its terms.

Demonstrations Called

Pilger: Assange is not alone.

Crucial demonstrations and vigils have been called to defend Assange. They must be understood not as one-off protests, but the renewal of a determined campaign to win his freedom, especially if he is forced into a British prison and faces a protracted legal struggle against extradition to the U.S.

Journalist John Pilger has endorsed the June 17 demonstration in Sydney, Australia. Pilger said:

The demonstration called for Sunday, 17th June, in support of Julian Assange, is one of the most important and urgent for many years. Two days later, it will be six years since Julian was forced to take refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

If he steps outside the embassy, it’s more than likely he will face extradition to the United States on concocted charges of espionage. What this means is that he and WikiLeaks have performed an extraordinary public service by revealing the lies and crimes of great power. This is true journalism.

Julian is a courageous editor persecuted for exercising a right enshrined in the United States Constitution. Today, he has never been more isolated, with communication and his right to visitors cut off. Here, in his homeland, we must let him know he is not alone, and we call on the Turnbull government to fulfill its responsibility under international law and to bring Julian home.”

Around the world, millions of working-class and other oppressed people are entering into immense struggles for their social right to decent living standards, education and health care, and against the persecution of refugees and immigrants, police-state policies and the threat of war. These struggles are inseparable from the fight for democratic rights, including an end to Internet censorship and the defense of a free, critical and independent media, such as WikiLeaks.

A version of this article originally appeared on WSW.

James Cogan is the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party Australia.


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62 comments for “Ecuador Continues Playing Hardball With Assange

  1. RenoDino
    June 12, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Please lay off tiny Equador. It was the only country that gave J.A. protection when he needed it the most. It did what it could as long as it could. It could only hold so long against the Empire. The hope was that given time, the world would come to its senses. Instead, it’s become a more monstrous place.

  2. Thomas Baker
    June 9, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    We must stand with Julian and be appalled at the conduct of the United States, and all others persisting in blindness. SIX YEARS of justice denied makes the victim a martyr and the state a hypocrit.

  3. June 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Hey, i just got neo.org, New Eastern Outlook! They were off for 2 days.

  4. June 8, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    You’re right, Joe, they “can’t handle the truth”, just like Jack Nicholson’s line from “A Few Good Men”.

    And, Skip, I’ve come to believe that Trump was a setup, lying from the start. Just as Obama lied from the start.

  5. June 8, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    It is too bad Assange didn’t go to Russia, like Snowden. I don’t know enough details, maybe he couldn’t. This is a tragic vendetta against Assange.

    For Dennis Merrell trying to rebut Kiwi’s outrage, nope, most Americans really don’t care. They’re too busy 1) consuming and 2) propagandized in front of the boob tube to understand. My “liberal” Hillary Clinton-supporting California sister was aghast the day Snowden’s details of his “dastardly deeds” broke, he was to her guilty of “treason”. I never asked her about Assange, but suspect the same. She told me Democrats are concerned about defeating Trump, they’re not thinking about people killed by US militarism. Not on their radar. As long as they’re not affected, forget it.

    But we actually got Bush twice by fraud, not legitimately, Richard. The Supreme Court (really, “supreme”?) handed it to Dubya, and 2004 according to Greg Palast and others was fraudulent also, Ohio swinging it for Bush against Kerry.

    I noted also that New Eastern Outlook has been attacked as being attacked and you can’t get it online, mike k. The Bilderbergs are meeting now in Turin and Eric Schmidt of Google always attends, from what i have read. Assange is probably on their radar.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 8, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      Jessika thanks for the confirmation on NEO…. this is it, we are now under attack from the National Security Deep State. Joe

    • Lisa
      June 9, 2018 at 3:23 am

      “It is too bad Assange didn’t go to Russia, like Snowden.”
      Snowden did not go to Russia. The facts are forgotten so easily. He was flying from Hong Kong to some place in South America, with a plane change in Moscow, when USA cancelled his passport when he was in the air. He was stuck at the Moscow airport for weeks, could not fly further, could not enter Russia. Finally Russia gave him a temporary permit to stay and has been renewing it since.

      Some facts that are constantly forgotten about Assange – he finally was thoroughly questioned about the rape accusations by Swedish / Ecuadorian lawyers in December 2016, after the process for doing this had been prepared for years. The Ecuadorian side gave their report to Sweden in the first days of January 2017. The Swedes were “translating” it from Spanish for months (probably also waiting for the results of the Ecuador presidential election in April) and in May Sweden dropped the case, but never informed what the conclusions in the Ecuadorian report had been.

  6. Berna
    June 8, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    There’s got to be a way to sneak him out of there. Must a old sewer, one of those big ones from the old days that crisscross London which Assange could use for an escape.

  7. PastImperfect
    June 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    In the UK I would suggest that everyone should write and make their MPs aware of their disgust with the treatment of Assange for exercising his right to free speech and the concomitant attack on free speech in general. Make the point that Assange should be freed and protected immediately.

    Such action would need a large response and perhaps OffGuardian might be a starting point.

    • john wilson
      June 9, 2018 at 4:06 am

      Passtiperfect: the day writing to your MP ever started doing any good they would do away with it.

  8. June 8, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    To be accurate, it is not Ecuador playing hardball with Julian Assange. it is the US. Secondarily Britain. Ecuador is simply genuflecting, something it didn’t do under President Correa.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Ecuador agreed. The previous government did not. It is Ecuador’s decision whether to play hardball or not.

  9. June 8, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Julian Assange is being crucified and silenced while humanity watches – a speaker of covert, hidden, vital historical truth, betrayed by corrupt officials of the Ecuador and Columbia governments – by those bribed with extremely large sums of money.

    The injustice is obvious, sadistic, cruel and massive for those willing to see. The injustice must end.

  10. June 8, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    KiwiAntz, its patently ridiculous to judge the “average” American based on what a family member that vacationed with friends in the US reports to you. I am a Kiwi who has lived and worked in America for 45-years. I can assure you my friend that the majority of Americans cannot be characterized with the smear in your comments. Like you, they are disgusted, and fell, and are powerless. Most people voted for Trump because he ran on an antiwar platform, and reduction of empire. Unlike his opponent. That he lied to us is the tragedy.

    • Richard
      June 8, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Dennis Merwood, yes, we’ve heard it all before: Americans are wonderful people, the best people in the world. Let’s see: ask them how many people have died in Iraq as a direct and indirect result of the U.S. invasion. Then ask them how many Americans died on 9/11. If they care so much about NOT bombing people, why did they elect Bush a second time?

      • robjira
        June 8, 2018 at 7:18 pm

        Bush’s second term is another one you can thank the elitist electoral college for (and maybe some Republian vote rigging as well).

        • June 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm

          So Richard you skipped the sentence in my comment that said a majority of Americans “..are disgusted, and fe(e)l, (that they) and are powerless.” Admittedly I made a hash of my grammar and spelling, but I don’t think I said that “Americans are wonderful people, the best people in the world.” And of course robjira’s comment goes a long way to explaining the real reason why Bush was elected the second time.

    • Skip Scott
      June 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      If Trump is a man of his word how come we haven’t pulled out of NATO? How come he went from “I love Wikileaks” to Assange needs to be prosecuted for espionage? Where’s our infrastructure Project? Where’s detente with Russia? Why are we still in Afghanistan? I usually agree with your comments, but you’re way off base saying that Trump is a man of his word while Assange is imprisoned in the Ecuadorian embassy. Yes, Obama and Hillary are liars, but so is Trump. Sometimes there’s no one to root for.

      • June 8, 2018 at 11:17 pm

        Skip, not living in the States our friend has to rely on stuff he reads online, and the opinion of one friend of a friend who vacationed in the States for 3-months to form his opinion. LOL His comments on Trump show that his information sources are nor serving him well.The point I was trying to make to him is that there is probably a majority of Americans with the same views as Realist, Joe, Mike K, Backwardevolution, and many others who post here. And indeed probably agree with his political views. In fact, I agree with his political views
        But to insult all Americans as being brainwashed idiots as he always does is not helpful. Surely he realizes that we the people are powerless to redirect the course of this huge ship. All we can do is vote. As we know Trump ran on an antiwar platform. Having teenage grand kids that was good enough reason for me. I don’t want my grand kids killed for Exxon or Israel.
        If this poster has any practical suggestions as to how we individual Americans can change our foreign policy. I’d like to hear them. Otherwise he’s just ranting from the peanut gallery in a far away land.

    • Skip Scott
      June 9, 2018 at 7:16 am

      Kiwi-

      FYI, you really need to figure out what is causing all your posts to substitute periods with question marks. I makes understanding your posts very difficult.

  11. hyperbola
    June 8, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Australian government officials spotted in mysterious Assange visit
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/australian-officials-spotted-in-mysterious-assange-visit-20180608-p4zk7w.html

    Australian government officials have paid a mysterious visit to Julian Assange in his Ecuadorian embassy refuge in London, in a sign there may be a breakthrough in the stalemate that has lasted almost six years.

    Two officials from Australia’s High Commission were spotted leaving the embassy in Knightsbridge in west London on Thursday. It is the first time Australian consular officials have visited Assange at the embassy.

    They were accompanied by Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson……

    • robjira
      June 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks for sharing the link, hyperbola. Let’s hope something positive comes from this.

    • KiwiAntz
      June 8, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Why are these Australian Diplomats doing this visit in a mysterious fashion? This is not the typical,brash Aussie way to get things done??Send in Crocodile Dundee’s Paul Hogan to sort this situation out, he’d sort the Poms quick smart in a a few hours? Or better still, a couple of Aussie hotheads such as Bernard Tomic or Nick Kyrgios??Julian would be outtta there in a day?

  12. Theo
    June 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    What about Ecuadorian citizenship?Wasn’t he given citizenship? I’m afraid Assange will end up in the USA.No public pressure will be strong enough.And -in the better part of the public Asange is controversial person.And most people just don’t give a f**k.

  13. June 8, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Can we bribe Kim Jong Un to drain the swamp for us?

  14. jools
    June 8, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the CIA/Mi5 threatened Ecuador w/a “coup” or impose trade sanctions against them. After all, isn’t that what the CIA’s NOTORIOUSLY known for. Bullies do not have any boundaries. None.

    • Sam F
      June 10, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      The US is threatening Ecuador via Columbia which is militarizing to attack Venezuela.
      Ecuador and Colombia are next door, as are their London embassies, unfortunately.

  15. mike k
    June 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

    New Eastern Outlook (NEO) is apparently under attack again. Someone up there doesn’t like the truths it is telling. Big Brother is hard at work, keeping us safe from the truth.

  16. June 8, 2018 at 9:29 am

    A stooge of the Deep State (CIA)

    • June 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

      I am speaking of María Fernanda Espinosa

  17. mike k
    June 8, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Julian Assange has become a symbol, and a silent witness to the death of freedom.

  18. disdain
    June 8, 2018 at 5:38 am

    If Assange had worked at buzzfeed and slept with a federal bureaucrat this would be water under the bridge.

  19. Solace
    June 8, 2018 at 4:54 am

    The greatest scorn and cruelity is reserved for those that dare speak the truth. The towering wave of self interest and sycophancy intimidates and regulates compliance. A light shone on monsters is smothered and exstingished. The machine, it lies to me!

  20. john wilson
    June 8, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I don’t think we can be too critical of the Ecuadorian embassy. After all, they have looked after him for years now and had the inconvenience of a gang of police outside the property for all that time. One’s ire should be directed at the UK government who are the real criminals in this affair.

  21. John
    June 8, 2018 at 4:28 am

    London’s population needs to gather at the embassy, and en masse escort Assange to a dock where a ship is waiting for him.

    • Sam F
      June 10, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      Or to the embassy of Australia, NZ et al, and diplomatic transport there or wherever he prefers.

    • JRGJRG
      June 10, 2018 at 11:05 pm

      That’s the best suggestion I have heard so far.

  22. Dennis Paul
    June 8, 2018 at 3:04 am

    Denied medical care and dental care, Denied a voice. Blindfolded from any vision of his future. His confinement is approaching solitary confinement. And M. Pence: “to protect and promote freedom” and “build prosperity, security and democracy.” Sounds like something from Karl Marx

  23. Sweetie
    June 8, 2018 at 1:01 am

    I agree that the the US interests have become clearly divided over internet freedom with the sale of 55 million Americans’ data in an alien (dual citizeners) commie (Ltd., LLP, LLC) ghoul (unilaterally on the take) bid to take over American assets while appearing to be American.

  24. George Lane
    June 7, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    It is depressing to witness the effectiveness of the propaganda against Assange, targeted at both right and left, the former as an anti-American Enemy of the State and the latter as a rapist (allegations, NOT charges, which were BS to begin with, as the women never accused Assange of rape, merely seeking police support in him getting an HIV test and subsequently pressured by the police themselves into filing rape allegations – the philosopher Slavoj Zizek has a perspicacious observation regarding this case, namely that it is probably the only time where the police actually pressured the woman to say that it was an act of rape, whereas the norm is for a police officer to disbelieve and try to gaslight a woman into believing she was not raped…), fascist-collaborating, anti-Hillary, Russian stooge.

    Simply put, Assange is a political prisoner. A truth-teller who, if one actually takes the time to read his writings, clearly would like to see the diminishing if not the outright collapse of the US empire, and is therefore a friend of the people. Thanks to Consortium News to being a voice of sanity and reason on this and many other issues, such as Syria and “Russiagate”.

    A recommendation: everyone who reads this comment, get a copy of The WikiLeaks Files, published by Verso, which is a compendium and commentary on Cablegate, with chapters organized by region and authored by academics and journalists specializing in said region. Also, read When Google Met WikiLeaks, authored by Assange, to understand where we stand today in terms of Silicon Valley and its intimate relationship with US imperialism and global capitalism.

  25. Guest
    June 7, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    If people would really care, hey would flock to the embassy and shield Assange from the police, to get him to another place. You don’t need to have guns to fight a criminal regime. Masses are a good way too.

    • Anonymous
      June 8, 2018 at 3:33 am

      It would be naive to think that the UK and US would simply allow Assange to go free because he was surrounded by civilians. Numerous “less lethal” means exist to disperse such a crowd, including tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, pepper balls, beanbag rounds, etc. even if one assumes they wouldn’t use live fire (an erroneous assumption, in my opinion).

      And just where would the crowd take him? The airport? A boat? A car? The state could easily shut down any escape routes.

      Only a revolutionary mass movement of the international working class against the political elite whose crimes and hypocrisy he has exposed can secure freedom for Julian Assange.

    • john wilson
      June 8, 2018 at 4:37 am

      You are right, Guest, and i’m really surprised this hasn’t happened. If it were to be announced they Assange was about to be ejected from the embassy then I think many thousands would go there.

      • robjira
        June 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm

        This option has been broached by the OffGuardian community. There is also a large demonstration on Assange’s behalf scheduled within the next week or two in Sydney.

    • Broompilot
      June 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      This could work.

  26. Alister
    June 7, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    What is obvious is that no one really cares about Assange nor his well being. People will say they do, will write articles and appear for an interview and say they do……but in reality they then just go back home, or to work, and get on with their important affairs….like ball games, Facebook, twitter, and a nice cold beer at the pub. If people cared they would assemble and mass by the thousands in front of the Embassy in 24 hr protest and vigils…they would do the same in front of 10 Downing Steet……but they do not….because they do not care…because what Assange stands for in not important to the masses who are only interested in bread and circuses…protesting over a long period or time takes persistencem, effort, and sacrifice…no one is will to sacrifice sometime away from Facebook and tweets to stand up for an honorable man who has tried to awaken the masses from their ignorance…but the masses are too ignorant to actually understand their own ignorance…so Mr Assange witl either die in his embassy prison or rot in an American one…

    • Legal Witch
      June 8, 2018 at 1:09 am

      You are correct of course but there is a sense of hopelessness since we found out we haven’t been allowed to own property (our bodies, our medicine since 1923 when Congress sold out to big booze.

    • KiwiAntz
      June 8, 2018 at 2:34 am

      Where the hell is the gutless Australia Govt or the Aussie people in all of this?? John Pilger is the only decent Aussie & journo speaking up for Julian?Why aren’t Australian’s marching in the streets or doing anything to come too the aid of one of their most courageous Citizens & remove him from this ridiculous situation? Australia makes a big deal out of this myth of “The Digger” the Anzac legend of the Aussie soldier fighting in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign & to afford those Soldiers honour & respect for their wartime sacrifice? Why isn’t Assange afforded the same respect & honour as he is a Soldier exposing the illegal war crimes committed by the American Govt & military & at great personal cost to himself? Australia’s disgusting, shameful & disgraceful conduct to throw one of their own under the bus & especially the conduct of England, America’s little bulldog vassal State is disgraceful? The dystopian British Govt from “V for Vendatta” is a reality in that Country with them waiting like vultures, in the trees, to ferry Assange off to one of the America’s, Gestapo CIA blacksites & torture bases, once he steps out of that Ecuadorian Embassy? So to conclude with a Aussie Tourism Jingle? “Where the Bloody Hell are you” (Australia & Australian’s?

      • Kerfuffla
        June 8, 2018 at 2:36 pm

        You win the internet of commenting on Julian Assange. Well said!

      • Broompilot
        June 8, 2018 at 5:58 pm

        You forget that Australia is still part of the U.K and the Queen is their sovereign. They are also a U.S ally. They won’t leave the fold.

      • zhenry
        June 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm

        Your penchant for the ‘black and white’ is appropriate, for a change: words fail and my stomach turns, ‘the Palestinians,’ the murder must stop immediately, and ‘Julian Assange,’ we have got to get him out of there somehow.
        You will get nowhere with the ‘Goldman Sachs Banker’ (Aust PM), being a hybrid NZ/AU I would like to see the new NZ Govt make an ‘anything goes’ attempt to offer Assange sanctury. The US govt is not going to help the present NZ Labour Coalition Govt; their is no comparison between Assange and Pence, Pence is a retard, Assange is intergral to anything like democracy in the world.
        And the Palestinians: What happens when a group, for centuries, is austricised from the ‘main’; they end up reversing roles and pushing the Palestinians into the ovens of Gaza. That a people can rate land and their own existence to the point where those they have supplanted are not even human (as they were treated in the past) is a social mass psychosis. Jewry acting out their past rage of abuse on the innocent must be stopped – a cease fire immediately ordered by the United Nations: This is also the time for U.N. to change to a democracy of nations and eject the veto.
        Chomsky made the comment (his parents were Zionists) that the rate of present migration from Israel threatens its Statehood.

  27. Realist
    June 7, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    This heroic man is essentially being held in isolation (by his traitorous “saviors” no less), a punishment not allowed under law even for heinous convicted felons, unless they are violent and threatening. Even the Unabomber is allowed contact with the outside world, having many “pen pals.” And, what is Julian’s only alternative? To be put under conditions of extreme rendition for which Washington is famous? To be held incommunicado and tortured like Bradly/Chelsea Manning was, and like the never-charged “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo have been for 17 years and counting?

    The man has no reasonable expectation of release on bail pending any “fair trial,” or even decent treatment monitored by open society once he is in the clutches of American totalitarian authorities which have already proclaimed him guilty and deserving the death penalty! As the article notes, this is hardly just recompense for exposing what amounted to American war crimes via Wikileaks and “respected” newspapers, like the Guardian and New York Times, which are conveniently not being charged as co-defendants.

    Let this serve as a tragic warning to any future would-be whistle-blowers or leakers of murderous criminal activities by the American government, release your information only within the safe harbor of a secure sovereign state that can defend itself and your rights, and never venture back into any Western venue where you may be immediately betrayed to Washington. Julian should never have remained in Britain, or any Western country once it became clear that Washington was irate and out to get him. Even then, you may not be safe from their professional hit squads.

    • Skip Scott
      June 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      In truly Orwellian fashion:

      “Pence said the two countries would work together “to protect and promote freedom” and “build prosperity, security and democracy.””

      Do you think Pence really believes his BS? And what happened to Trump’s “I really love Wikileaks”? How could he hire a guy like Pompeo? It’s stuff like that that really bothers me about the remaining Trump supporters. Wake up! He’s not playing 3D chess! Even if Trump had his “trip to the woodshed” after his surprise win, there’s no way you can convince me he had to go as extreme as he did in so many of his appointments. He’s become part of the problem, just like all the war-criminal presidents before him.

      More and more, I am beginning to think that a revolution is our only recourse. It’ll be nice to finally meet you, FG, Sam F, Joe, Nancy, Jessika, mike k, Drew, CitizenOne, B.E., and others at the re-education camp.

      • Sam F
        June 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm

        See you there, Skip. “There’ll be pie in the sky when we die.”

  28. lysias
    June 7, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    How does the U.S. have any jurisdiction to criminally prosecute Australian citizen Assange for releasing documents that are only classified under U.S.law while outside U.S. territory? Was Iran within its rights in sentencing Rushdie to death for committing blasphemy while in the UK?

    • Anonymous
      June 8, 2018 at 3:11 am

      The US has criminally prosecuted or extrajudicially executed foreign nationals for committing acts overseas on numerous occasions (hackers and “terrorists,” for example). US courts will often claim jurisdiction under the flimsiest of pretexts even when directly contrary to international law, such as denying Argentina the right of sovereign immunity in favor of US vulture funds.

      The ruling classes of the UK and Australia are militarily and economically reliant upon US imperialism, and in any case they are likewise threatened by the prospect of someone like Assange exposing their own lies and criminality. They thus have no desire to mount a defense of Assange or democratic rights more broadly.

      The truth is that the United States only professes respect for democratic rights, international law, etc. when it serves the interests of US imperialism. In other words, these are merely rhetorical weapons to be wielded against adversarial powers (Russia, China, Iran, and so on). Julian Assange’s crime was to expose US government hypocrisy and outright criminality before the entire world, and an example must be made of him to prevent any future such heresies.

    • June 8, 2018 at 11:18 am

      The US is above the law or it makes up laws as it goes along to suit its agenda; favouring criminals and jailing justice warriors armed only with the truth.

  29. mike k
    June 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    The US/UK fascist police state shows it’s ugly face. The wealthy and powerful hate free speech, because it exposes their crimes. Freedom is being taken away from the US population, without their realizing it. The authorities are spending huge amounts on hiding their criminal acts, controlling the media as propaganda instruments, and spying on all of us. This is how a totalitarian government operates, while telling it’s citizens that the live in the land of the free. They tell us that all of this is for our “safety”.

    • lysias
      June 7, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Milton Mayer’s postwar book about how Germans lived under the Third Reich was entitled “They Thought They Were Free”.

      • mike k
        June 8, 2018 at 8:04 am

        Good point. Thank you.

    • KiwiAntz
      June 8, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Mike, the average US citizen is aware & realise that their freedoms are being taken away? They just don’t care & just couldn’t be bothered wasting energy on thinking about the implications of this loss of freedom?? One of my family members has just returned from living in the US on a 3 mth vacation with her American friends & they never discussed World events & their Countries role in things? All her US friends cared about are threats to their middle class lifestyles, healthcare & their immediate economic welfare? It’s the economy stupid, is what they stated & why they voted for Trump! Blinded by Patriotism that has completely brainwashed most American’s to think that they are the “exceptional nation & that they are, a people above all others” they just go with the flow, & do whatever their Govt tells them to do? It’s a head in the sand mentality which conditions them not to question or object to their Govts dubious activities? IGNORANCE IS BLISS should be the official, American citizens motto??

      • Richard Richie
        June 8, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        KiwiAntz, you speak a lot of truth. But there’s a glimmer of hope – search YouTube for “Jimmy Dore”.

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