‘No One is Above the Law’ (Except the U.S.A.)

Julian Assange’s Australian lawyer and a European human rights attorney argue that the conduct of the U.S. regarding the WikiLeaks publisher blatantly disregards numerous laws.

By Greg Barns and Lisanne Adam
Special to Consortium News

On 11 April 2019, UK Prime Minister Theresa May informed that nation’s Parliament about the arrest of Julian Assange and thanked the Ecuadorian government and Metropolitan Police for their actions and collaboration contributing to the WikiLeaks publisher’s arrest and subsequent detention. In her statement, May said: “This goes to show that, in the United Kingdom, no one is above the Law.” By making this statement, May was referring to Assange’s actions relating to breaching bail and his arrest that day by the UK authorities, after Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum claim.

However, May’s statement can be construed in a broader sense, in it that refers to the Law as a whole, including the fundamental rights that the UK must honor in accordance with international human rights standards. May’s statement is accurate and true, no government or person should be above these laws.

May: No one above law.

Keeping May’s statement in mind, think about the fact that in her own backyard, on May 20 we had the extraordinary spectacle of U.S. law enforcement agencies being invited by Ecuador to walk into its Embassy and steal Assange’s belongings. Four days later, the U.S. loaded up the indictment it had filed against Assange by adding seventeen additional U.S. charges including; espionage, criminal conspiracy and computer hacking.

It was to be expected that Assange’s prosecution, extradition requests and other legal matters would be extraordinary. However, the cavalier disregard by the U.S., aided and abetted by Ecuador and the UK in the past month, is setting a truly dangerous precedent.

Globally, there are fundamental rights, embedded in the 1945 United Nations Charter and the 1954 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and designed to protect individuals against mistreatment by governments and non-state actors. Fundamental rights are there to protect any individual irrespective of who they are, or where they are.

Careful consideration was given to the formulation of these fundamental rights in international treaties and, these days, these important rights have been enshrined in international and domestic legislation. The overarching and universal principle of fairness is what underpins respect for these rights. Hence, fundamental fairness has been enshrined in domestic-and international laws in the UK, the U.S. and other nations which purport to subscribe to the rule of Law.

Stripped of His Rights

But in Assange’s case, fairness is an endangered species if not, completely extinct.

The Ecuadorian government completely ignored Assange’s fundamental rights in facilitating the confiscation of Assange’s personal property. Personal property including confidential documents, his legal defense strategy, medical records and electronic equipment. Assange’s seized property was subsequently handed over to the U.S.

Belmarsh prison, where Assange is incarcerated.

The disregard for fairness shown by the U.S. towards Assange means materials, unlawfully seized by prosecutors and law enforcement, will be used to inform the case against him. If Assange is extradited to the U.S. and faces a trial there, there will be no respect to procedural equality of arms as Assange will have no reasonable opportunity of presenting his case under conditions that do not disadvantage him as against other parties to the proceedings.

The shredding of fairness in Assange’s case must be resisted and stopped. If the UK decides to proceed with his extradition to the U.S., Assange faces life imprisonment based upon proceedings that have been tainted with fundamental breaches of fairness and prosecutorial misconduct. A fair trial in the U.S. is simply not possible.

Moreover, the conduct relating to the proceedings against Assange are anything but legal; it is a political witch-hunt without merit. The gathering of evidence in such an unlawful way indicates the desperation of the U.S. prosecutor to build a case against Assange. A case that has nothing to do with the Law, Assange is supposed to serve as an example; a precedent and a warning that no whistle-blower, organization or person should disclose information about U.S. intelligence, no matter how gruesome this information may be.

Worse still, the high human cost of this biased and tunnel vision persecution is ignored by the UK, the U.S. and let’s face it the country of which he is a citizen, Australia. Assange is suffering prolonged exposure to psychological torture and his condition is worsening by the day. Professor Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, reported last week that Assange has no prospect of a fair trial in the U.S.

One can wonder, why do fundamental rights exist if we allow certain countries to ignore and breach them when it suits them? Theresa May was right: no one should be above the Law. Let’s be clear: ‘No one’ should include the U.S. ’ government.

Greg Barns is a barrister in Australia and Adviser to the Australian Assange campaign and Lisanne Adam is a consultant on EU human rights law based in Melbourne Australia.

33 comments for “‘No One is Above the Law’ (Except the U.S.A.)

  1. June 9, 2019 at 19:16

    Get rid of the peculiar assumption that “laws” exist. “Laws” do not exist. When you plan your strategies and life around an obviously false assumption, you CAN’T POSSIBLY WIN. You need to base your plans and strategies on FACTS. Which actions will save your life? Which actions are known to get things done in a world without “laws”?

  2. MrK
    June 7, 2019 at 07:16

    “No one is above the law.”

    Julian Assange, a dual Australian and Equadorian citizen, was arrested in Equadorian territory by British police.

    The President of Equador had no right to green light his arrest, without examining his application for asylum or revoking his citizenship.

    Which the Presiden has no right to do.

    So Julian Assange was illegally arrested, and I presume is being illegally detained. And wanted for extradiation on trumped up fake charges, which are a stalking horse/window dressing for charging him under the Espionage Act of 1917 to criminalize New York Times readers, and anyone who is in possession of a publication that may contain classified information.

    So who is ‘not above the law’, when the law says we’re all criminals?

  3. June 7, 2019 at 01:58

    No One is Above the Law?

    May wasn’t the first to use that line.

    on April 11 2019 – UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted the following:

    “(N)early seven years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK (sic).”

    “I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation (sic) and the metropolitan police for its professionalism (sic). No one is above the law (sic).”

    Source – UK Police Forcibly Arrest Julian Assange Global Research]

    If no one is above the law, why doesn’t that apply to the war criminals of our time ?

    Wikileaks exposed the crimes of 9/11 inspired the war on/of terror, yet no one has been held accountable for any warcrime, in fact the ICC has been threatened by Bolton to the extend that a judge at the ICC has since resigned.

    The Pentagon has already approved plans to forcibly extract US military personnel in case they’ve ended up at the ICC.

    Have they considered the untold number of war crimes that have been committed by the US UK Australia and the entire poodle club cabal?

    If no one is above the law, than the hypocrisy is clearly way beyond absurd.

    Might be interesting to note that England appears to have signed the Rome statute, unfortunately the ICC is a toothless tiger and it’s down to us to kick our political representatives in the butt, since they’ve already proven to be completely and utterly spineless when it comes to matters such as standing up and defending our nations sovereignty.

    O wait, then there’s the lucrative corporate careers after their stint a public servant is over, and it’s still down to us the global masses to take action against our sell out politicians.

    Doomed if we do and doomed if we don’t.

  4. June 7, 2019 at 00:43

    Briton owns the U.S and not the other way around, and the Rule of Law are their Rules to their Laws that don’t apply to governments. The Journalist’s of the World should ban together and expose all the dirty secrets that they know about, while they still can. The World populations will not tolerate what they now see as a declaration of enslavement against all that Human kind has fought for in Centuries of enslavement by the Tyrant Ruling Class. That’s the last thing they want is a population with a back bone.

    • Josep
      June 8, 2019 at 05:26

      Not saying you’re completely wrong*, but let’s not forget that the UK is a member of American-led NATO and has American military bases, and America isn’t a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, so I’m not sure how Britain owns the US. Feel free to explain.

      * One example that might fit: America and Britain continue to use feet/inches, pounds/ounces and Fahrenheit. Other countries, including Australia and New Zealand, use meters, kilograms and Celsius. In the 1970s, president Carter tried to move America to metric, but he was shouted down for not believing in American Exceptionalism, and this was part of it.

  5. Bartlwy
    June 6, 2019 at 23:45

    Other whistle blowers have been careful to stick with the topic at hand – this spewing of one nation’s secrets in public does not qualify as whistle blowing. Let’s call it what it really is: sabotage.

    • anon4d2
      June 7, 2019 at 06:35

      Then you will have to call the acts of the US sabotage of its Constitution: every use of the military abroad without UN control, almost every decision of its judiciary in this century, its corrupt elections and mass media supporting wars of aggression and nullifying the constitutional rights of its citizens. Learn of these things rather than accept mass media groupthink, for these were your rights.

      Even if it were sabotage of a fully corrupted democracy, to defend our constitutional rights, to protect federal government from the corruption of economic power, and to rebuild democracy, it would be patriotism far above and beyond the ability of most US citizens.

  6. June 6, 2019 at 21:16

    I have full sympathy for the plight of Julian Assange. However, the editors at Consortium News should have returned this article to its authors for rewrite. The article goes on and on about violations of the law, qua Law, but never identifies a single provision of law allegedly violated, other than a vague notion of “fairness” claimed to arise from the penumbra of a variety of laws. Intending no disrespect to the lawyers who wrote the article, that is not an argument that will win in any court.

    Specificity, please.

    • Sam F
      June 7, 2019 at 06:52

      I have not studied the cases under the Espionage Act, which has rarely been applied in recent generations, but would presume that the actual cases under that law are poorly argued witch hunts. The opposition would have to be based upon civil rights law, of the fifth amendment and others, and international law, in opposition to an unreasonably inclusive discretionary-power Act deployed politically.

      The base problem with legal argument there is that the definition of national security etc. depend upon a political interpretation of the terms defense, security, necessity of secrecy thereto, et al. We have no definition in law, so this is highly politicized prosecution and legal argument, and the politics of the DOJ and judiciary is tribalistic, partisan, and paid for by oligarchy. “We” are always right, warmaking and promiscuous surveillance are “our” prerogative, “your” constitutional rights are whatever “we” left as a pretty facade after gutting them, etc.

      So the legal argument is very complex and consists of general civil rights law, and refutations of gradual extensions of unlawful discretionary powers, and illustrations that the laws establishing discretionary powers and secret courts are unconstitutional. It leads to argument for better laws. None of it can succeed with our corrupted judiciary, or be improved under our corrupted Congress. It is a career study rather than a simple legal brief.

  7. Fran Macadam
    June 6, 2019 at 19:44

    The United States government is the exception that proves it rules.

  8. certainquirk
    June 6, 2019 at 17:11

    No one is above the law. Except for those who believe they are doing God’s will, and those are the very people who now (always) run America. They are not afraid to destroy the planet. In fact, it fits their religious belief like a glove.

    Assange, before he was gagged in the Ecuadorian embassy, released a couple tweets about the Scoffield bible. This was to explain the connection between Israel and the Five-Eyed Christian nations.

    They truly believe their god’s laws are right and true. Humanity be damned.

  9. Robert Mayer
    June 6, 2019 at 13:04

    Thanks Greg & Lisanne (& CN 4 journ-cred 2 draw content from legal Heavyweights)
    Of course “rule of law” DOESNOT = justice world-wide… Mr. Assange’s example merely sticks unfortunate reality before our eyes.
    One might contend it’s not U$ per se (Q?: Which US gov branch owns the Federal Reserve?) Amer taxpayers & voters borrow from same int’l finan. cartel… But…
    US Elected Officials Choose Policy!!!
    That said of course the personal injustice Julian is facing is unconscionable… Consider the Cui Bonos… Isn’t sociopathy construed2 be inability2 distintuish right from wrong?

  10. Eddie
    June 6, 2019 at 12:05

    The kangaroo court that Assange will face if extradited to the US is much worse than the article implies. Not only will Assange not be judged by a jury of his peers, he will not even be allowed to see the evidence or cross-exam the secret witnesses’ testimony. The trial will be closed to public scrutiny. All these truncated constitutional rights are necessary according to the tyrannical US government that will argue that they must protect national security.

    National security is the catch-all to deny constitutional rights to defendants that expose the corruption and lawlessness that the centralized-US empire is perpetrating globally.

    • June 8, 2019 at 15:15

      Eddie:

      … As also is the utterly fascistic Grand Jury system – long used in the United States of World Horror to bypass normal rights that a defendant would have in a properly constituted “Lady Justice is Blind” Court of Law.

  11. Emma Portman
    June 6, 2019 at 10:47

    The Murdering of Julian Assange – Peter Koenig http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51721.htm

    Koenig reports that Assange has likely been injected with BZ, a hallucinogenic drug meant to destroy his brain.

  12. Jan forrester
    June 6, 2019 at 10:39

    Thanks for this. And all comments. This moment doesn’t bode well at all for democratic ‘reform’; how would that be possible against States not even bothering to defend or explain their actions within our legal structure, as happened in Australia this week. And timing their action after an election result which has Australia going further right? This does not exculpate either major party. She’ll be right mate, but she isn’t.

  13. Raymond Comeau
    June 6, 2019 at 10:08

    The Rome Statute (article 5) “elaborates the nature of these serious crimes, which include (a) The crime of genocide,(b) crimes against humanity,(c)War Crimes,(d) The Crime of Aggression.” (Excerpt from Middle East Monitor”)06-06- 2019

    The USA is guilty of most of these crimes and the International Court in the Hague should indict the USA and ensure that Julien Assange is freed immediately.

    Ecuador, Sweden. and the UK are accomplices in the USA crimes against Julien Assange.

  14. robert e williamson jr
    June 6, 2019 at 09:46

    Time to go get those pitch forks yet?

  15. DW Bartoo
    June 6, 2019 at 08:55

    Barns and Adam ask, “… why do fundamental rights exist if we allow certain countries to ignore and breach them when it suits them?”

    This question, on the bald face of it, begs a number of other questions.

    Do “fundamental rights” actually exist?

    Who, or what collection of entities, is meant by the term, “we”?

    “Certain countries”, as a descriptor, very correctly suggests that there might be more than one country that treats “rights” as ephemeral and conditional, if even actually existent and does that not compel “us” to consider that a malign “axis” of contempt FOR the rule of law exists among what might be termed a coalition of nations?

    Does Teresa May actually believe the words which have just passed her lips?

    Do any politicians actually believe that “fundamental rights” are universal and that they, as “representatives” or “leaders” have a “fundamental” responsibility to everyone and not merely their class or powerful cohort?

    Essentially, in tandem with the previous question, is Teresa May a sufficient paragon of virtue, considering that much of the “legal” abuse of Assange has occurred under her “watch”, that anything she might say should be regarded as either self-serving, intentionally misleading, or worthless rubbish, meant not to reflect considered principle but empty platitude?

    If “fundamental rights” are to exist, if a genuine rule of law, which is absolutely foundational to a viable and genuine civil society, then there must exist “agencies” or powers, be they courts or deliberative bodies that may exercise power above and beyond national ambition, and such agencies cannot legitimately operate if they succumb to threats, to co-option, or to internal elements empowered, by design and intent, to override either the purview of courts or the majoritarian decisions of deliberative bodies – especially if those bodies or that body meets and has its headquarters in a nation given to flagrant and frequent violations of that body’s decisions, directives, and official findings.

    Further, if the civilian population of, let us imagine, some superpower that primarily behaves as a hegemon, does not care about or cherish the understanding that fundamental rights exist and that when such rights are violated in the names OF that civilian population, that such a population bears responsibility for the consequences and, therefore, must insist that their own “leaders” be held to strict and open account.

    Frankly, the U$ has, as have many nations (let us honestly stipulate that these are nations commonly referred to as “the West) for hundreds of years, even before the U$ existed, going back to the “Age of Discovery” as it is proudly called, and the odious Doctrine of Discovery, behaved with total disdain of any concept of decency and respect for the lives, let alone the “rights” of dusky hued human beings.

    Even then, or even so, in the nineteenth century, U$ corporations were able to twist the Fourteenth Amenmendment to the U$ Constitution, designed to protect the rights of freed slaves as “equal protection” into the tortured declaration that corporations are “persons” under the law.

    Too often, the law is made into an empty “form” of law which may then be used as a bludgeon to enforce the dictates of wealth and vicious, unrestrained power.

    During such times, interesting as they may be, and “ours” is very clearly such a time, the presumption that “fundamental rights” or a functioning “rule of law” actually exis, is worthy of constant thought and continuous discussion until it is realized that such things exist only as long and to such extent as the many insist upon it being truly so.

    It ain’t.

    And most people are blissfully ignorant of that fact and will continue wallowing in that bliss until their own doors are kicked in or a tank is driven into their living rooms.

    Of course, I am talking about the people’s of the U$, Australia, the UK and the EU.

    Most everyone else has been or realize they may well be on the receiving end of precisely the kinds and sorts of behavior being netted out not merely to Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, among many other “political” targets, but the many on the receiving end of illegal wars instigated by the U$, the “coalition of the willing”, and a UN all too willing to be led around by a ring in the nose, even as the International Criminal Court, established to uphold the decisions of Nuremberg against any and all would would emulate certain crimes of the last century, is threatened and cowed into submissive silence and a retreat from the truth of what is happening in the world.

    Everything hangs in the balance, and Assange is being hounded for revealing war crimes and crimes against humanity that rival, including torture and the deaths of tens of millions, some of the very worst crimes of our species.

    I know, Dr. Pangloss says times have never been better, that this is the best of all possible worlds.

    But it just ain’t so.

    Don’t you know?

    Remember the Golden Rule:

    Don’t be a Dick!That is the succinct, “modern” version, I suspect you all know versions of the original which seems as universal among people as the yearning for actual fundamental rights and a genuine, functioning Rule of Law …

    • June 6, 2019 at 12:06

      To sum up what you are saying. Hope I have it right. There is no law. When some countries and individuals are immune to the law then that law does not exist.

    • rosemerry
      June 6, 2019 at 16:42

      Theresa May all last year put forward accusations (“highly likely”) against Russia concerning the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, embroidering them with “evidence”, allowing no rebuttal or even discussion from Russia. All the expulsion of diplomats, “investigation of novichok”, accusation of guilt of two Russians who dared to visit Salisbury the weekend of the “attack” came from the word of the UK PM and no genuine investigation or even input from Russia was allowed at any time; The “victims” have mysteriously disappeared as Brexit took over the media, but May has proved her lack of interest in truth or justice, as we now see clearly, with Julian’s removal from “refuge”.

    • Sam F
      June 6, 2019 at 20:53

      Yes, “fundamental rights” and the “rule of law” exist only “to such extent as the many insist” and they do not insist in the developed nations because they perceive no risk. Money controls mass media, elections, and the judiciary, the very tools that would be needed to restore democracy. That irreversible tyranny is accepted because it is far better concealed than monarchy or dictatorship, the result of the modern science of organizational control, of all public information, political excuses, and judicial rationales.

      The people do not perceive the tyranny, unless and until they have experienced it for many years in many forms, a very rare condition, and even then cannot organize against it. They voluntarily give up their constitutional rights, even on juries, content with absurd little groupthinks. presuming that all will be well because the TV says so. We had a democracy only “if you can keep it” and failed to do so.

    • Anonymous
      June 16, 2019 at 20:46

      This was true even before real mass media, Sam. It is compounded by modern developments, but America’s chance at democracy was well on its decline since before America even became an independent country.

      What we are losing now is a different chance: that of avoiding absolute authoritarianism. While we aren’t literally there, I’m not sure we aren’t past the point of no return on that one, either.

  16. Skip Scott
    June 6, 2019 at 07:39

    To think of the USA, UK, and the rest of the Five Eyes as separate entities is a mistake. They are separate only on the surface. In fact they are the foundation of a single evil Empire. They have no respect for law, it is all about power.

    When Obomber said “we need to look forward, not back” regarding the previous criminal administration, and then proceeded to become the next War Criminal in Chief with his terror Tuesdays, it should have become apparent to all with open eyes that the rule of law was dead. The previous Attorney General called the Geneva Conventions “quaint” and got to keep his job. In 2002 our illustrious Congress passed a law threatening the Hague with invasion if any American military member or government official is ever detained by the ICC. The Empire bows to no one. No more need be said.

    • Sam F
      June 6, 2019 at 21:02

      Yes, although it is worth describing the internal processes of failed democracy that resulted in endless war and bullying abroad, and tyranny at home, as sketched in my comment above.

    • Skip Scott
      June 7, 2019 at 06:59

      I agree completely Sam. I only meant “no more need be said” to prove my point that the empire has no respect for law.

  17. Nathan Mulcahy
    June 6, 2019 at 07:37

    “No one is above the law – except USA …. AND ISRAEL”

    • Raymond Comeau
      June 6, 2019 at 10:19

      Truer words were never spoken. Thank you, Nathan Mulcahy, for you5r honest and precise observation.
      Why in the hell doesn’t the rest of the world see this?

  18. Kenneth Fingeret
    June 5, 2019 at 23:00

    Hello Greg Barns and Lisanne Adam plus everyone else. As anyone with common sense should be aware of the US is the greatest outdoor and indoor insane asylum this planet will ever produce. The inmates are running/ruining the institution/planet and the end is very near. The US ia a going to destroy itself but it seems that is not enough. Taking the rest of the planet seems to be the ultimate goal. It does not matter if it is plant or animal life.

  19. CitizenOne
    June 5, 2019 at 22:06

    Can I reprint this? From April 19 2019 Consortium news. A background preceding current events shows how the US and the IMF cozied up with Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno to squeeze him with threats of exposure of his corruption or to completely drop the threat if he cooperated and handed over Assange. Moreno did cooperate and since then he has had the pressure released off his back as he decided to do the bidding of the US and the IMF. While these actions may not be above the law they do show just how far the US will take advantage for their own gains by applying pressure to corrupt foreign leaders in order to extort them to do their bidding, It also reveals how the US doesn’t really care if foreign officials are corrupt but rather depends that they are to get their way with blackmail as their tool.

    How Ecuador’s President Gave Up Assange
    April 17, 2019
    Lenin Moreno was desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, writes the Grayzone’s Denis Rogatyuk.
    By Denis Rogatyuk
    Grayzone

    The images of six Metropolitan police officers dragging Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London have enraged citizens around the world. Many have warned that if he is extradited to the U.S. for trial on conspiracy charges – and possibly much more if federal prosecutors have their way – it will lead to the criminalization of many standard journalistic practices. These scenes were only possible thanks to the transformation of Ecuador’s government under the watch of President Lenin Moreno.

    Since at least December 2018, Moreno has been working towards expelling the Wikileaks publisher from the embassy. The Ecuadorian president’s behavior represents a stunning reversal of the policies of his predecessor, Rafael Correa, the defiantly progressive leader who authorized Assange’s asylum back in 2012, and who now lives in exile.

    While Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Jose Valencia blamed his government’s expulsion of Assange on the Australian journalist’s “rudeness,” the sellout is clearly a byproduct of Moreno’s right-leaning agenda.

    Political instability has swept across Ecuador since revelations of widespread corruption in Moreno’s inner circle emerged. The scandal coincided with Moreno’s turn towards neoliberal economic reforms, from implementing a massive IMF loan package to the gradual and total embrace and support for U.S. foreign policy in the region. In his bid to satisfy Washington and deflect from his own problems, Moreno was all too eager to sacrifice Assange.

    INA Papers Scandal

    WikiLeaks’s decision to re-publish the details of Moreno’s use of off-shore bank accounts in Panama, titled “INA Papers” after the name of the shell corporation at the center of the scandal (INA Investment Corporation), appear to be the main cause for the president’s decision to expel Assange from the embassy.

    Ecuadorian Communications Minister Andrés Michelena went as far as claiming that the INA Papers were a conspiracy plot between Julian Assange, the former President Rafael Correa and the current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

    The INA Papers scandal has cast a long shadow on Moreno’s regime and shattered its pledge to fight against institutional corruption. The scandal reveals that a close associate of Moreno, Xavier Macias, lobbied for the contract of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant (valued at $2.8 billion) as well as the ZAMORA 3000 MW plant to be awarded Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned construction company.

    The financial trail from the Chinese corporation passed through bank accounts in Panama belonging to INA Investment Corporation — a shell company originally founded in Belize, a notable tax haven, by Edwin Moreno Garcés, the brother of the current president. The most crucial pieces of evidence indicate that the INA Investment funds were used to purchase a large apartment in Alicante, Spain, and a number of luxury items for Moreno and his family in Geneva, during his time as a special envoy on disability rights for the United Nations.

    As the pressure mounted on Moreno, the attorney general of Ecuador issued a statement on March 19th, indicating that it had commenced an investigation into the INA Papers scandal involving the president and his family. Next, on March 27th, the National Assembly of Ecuador approved a vote in favor of investigating Moreno’s alleged off-shore bank dealings in Panama. According to Ecuador Inmediato, 153 public service officials, along with all members of the National Assembly, were also included in the initial public hearing scheduled for April 1st.

    The corruption scandal came amid a number of other prominent crises disrupting both the Moreno administration and the Ecuadorian economy. The local and regional elections of March 24th, as well as the election to the Council of Citizens’ Participation and Social Control (CPCCS) on March 24th, have been riddled with a series of controversies and irregularities with regards to vote counts and allegations of fraud, including the attempts to invalidate null votes, disqualify and smear the candidates endorsed by ex-President Rafael Correa. The stunning lack of transparency and legitimacy was highlighted by a report of the mission of electoral observers of the Organisation of American States.

    In an unusual twist, the U.S. ambassador, Todd Chapman, was spotted visiting the headquarters of Ecuador’s National Electoral Council during the March 24th elections and allegedly participated as an official electoral observer in the elections. This display of interference was widely condemned on social media as illegal under the current electoral rules, which forbid foreign powers from playing any active role in the electoral process. But in Moreno’s Ecuador, it was a perfect symbol of the new status quo.

    IMF Deal

    During the recent meeting of the executive board of the IMF, the financial body approved a loan package of $4.2 billion to the government of Lenin Moreno for what it called a “more dynamic, sustainable, and inclusive economy for the benefit of all Ecuadorians.” The agreement coincided with layoffs of over 10,000 public sector workers, in addition to the ongoing policy of slashing in public and social spending, a decrease in the minimum wage and the removal of secure work protections that marked the sharp neoliberal turn of the Ecuadorian government under Moreno.

    The IMF deal coincided with the intensifying attempts by the Ecuadorian government to proceed with the expulsion of Julian Assange from its London embassy. His arrest therefore stands as a sign that Moreno is willing to give up any part of his country’s sovereignty – political, diplomatic, or economic – to comply with the demands of international finance.

    The same pattern has been seen in Moreno’s increasing level of collaboration with the Trump administration and its foreign policy in Latin America. From holding private meetings with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, to publicly hosting Vice President Mike Pence in the Ecuadorian presidential palace, to authorizing the opening of a new “Security Cooperation Office” in place of the old U.S. military base in Manta, Moreno’s embrace of Trump’s “Monroeist” policy towards Latin America has become all too apparent.

    At the same time, Moreno has gone to great lengths to undo the progress of Latin American unity and integration initiated by his predecessor and other progressive leaders in the region.

    On March 13th, Moreno announced that Ecuador would leave the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), founded in 2008 by leaders of South America’s so-called pink tide: Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Lula Da Silva of Brazil. The project was inspired by the long-standing vision of Simon Bolivar who envisaged South America as a federation of republics. UNASUR was meant to consolidate the growing economic and political integration among the increasingly progressive governments across the region, ultimately emulating the current structure of the European Union.

    Moreno complained in his press release that UNASUR has been compromised by the lack of participation of the right-leaning governments in the region, as well as what he called, “irresponsible actions of certain leaders that replicated the worst vices of socialism of the 21st Century.”

    In a manner similar to Francisco Santander and the project of Gran Colombia during the 1820s, Moreno has opted for a pro-U.S. foreign policy and commercial relations based on free trade and economic liberalization. He has also followed the path of other right-wing leaders in the region such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Argentina’s Mauricio Macri in officially recognizing Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela. Moreno was even among the attendees of the founding summit of Prosur, a newly convened regional bloc of U.S.-aligned neoliberal governments.

    Moreno’s decision to silence Julian Assange and expel him enabled the president to gain the trust of the Trump administration while distracting the Ecuadorian public and international media from his mounting crises at home. From corrupt dealing in off-shore bank accounts, the fraudulent elections of March 24th and his mishandling of the Ecuadorian economy, Moreno is in a world of trouble.

    This has not escaped the notice of Correa, Ecuador’s former president. After having his page blocked on Facebook, Correa stated that “In his hatred, because Wikileaks published corruption of INA papers, Moreno wanted to destroy Assange’s life. He probably did it, but he has also done a huge damage to the country. Who will trust in ECUADOR again?”

    Overall, Ecuador has come to resemble the neoliberal regimes of the 1990s across the continent, with IMF-sanctioned austerity, increasingly unstable state institutions and an almost complete obedience to the U.S. foreign policy in the region becoming the new policy standard. Handing Assange over for possible extradition to the U.S. was the inevitable result of Moreno’s turn to the right, but it is hardly the end of his sell out.

    Denis Rogatyuk is a Russian-Australian freelance writer, journalist and researcher. His articles, interviews and analysis have been published in a variety of media sources around the world including Jacobin, Le Vent Se Léve, Sputnik, Green Left Weekly, Links International Journal, Alborada and others.

  20. Jill
    June 5, 2019 at 21:18

    I just want to share this information I received after asking the NYTimes to explain their attacks of Assange. Please distribute it to whomever you want. Afterall,, I’m sure everyone wants to be part of the NYTimes. It’s not like they ever helped the US break the rule of law or anything like that!

    “Thank you for contacting The New York Times. I apologize for the delayed response.

    I will be glad to submit your feedback about Julian Assange to the appropriate department. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this information with me.

    If you have any questions or require any other assistance, please feel free to reply to this email. You can also call us at 800-698-4637, text us at 855-419-6348 or chat with us.

    Thank you for being the best part of The New York Times.”

  21. Jeff Harrison
    June 5, 2019 at 20:41

    Sorry, but this was exactly the same failure as the failure of the League of Nations. The fascist nations of the time, Germany, Italy, Japan simply chose to ignore the precepts of the League. We descended into the most horrible world war of all time. The fascist nations of today, the US and our toadies in the EU are heading down the same path today. This time we could wipe humanity out. How does that saying go? Pride goeth before a fall.

  22. Em Sos
    June 5, 2019 at 19:54

    Julian Assange has shown, through his courageous journalism, that he is the radical catalyst necessary to bring about the changes required systemically.
    The ruthless conduct of that system we are currently witnessing. They will stop at NOTHING to prevent these changes from bearing fruit. They are capable of anything!
    Whatever they do, it is their self-righteous idea of ‘retributive justice’. In fact, it is the very opposite – unjust retribution, unilaterally carried out against any persons’ who have dared to expose them.
    For those only now beginning to pay attention, these human rights abusing, mass murdering war criminals, are unabashedly beginning to exhibit the lengths to which they will go in order to maintain hegemonic power (law and order).

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