Thursday, August 16, 2012

Little Surprise Julian Assange Knew To Pick: Ecuador

  The New York Times headlined, Ecuador Grants Asylum to Assange, Defying Britain, printing Ecuador announced it was granting political asylum to WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange who has been holed up for two months awaiting the decision in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Leaving Mr. Assange with protection from arrest only on Ecuadorean territory. To leave the embassy for Ecuador, he would need cooperation Britain has said it will not offer. RT reported, where Mr. Assange was, the announcement was met with celebrations outside the Ecuadorian embassy as his supporters began chanting “Hands off Ecuador” and “Assange freedom fighter.”
  The Times assessed thus that the: decision adds to sharp strains between Ecuador and Britain. Just before the announcement of asylum in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, President Rafael Correa said on his Twitter account: “No one is going to terrorize us!” The night before, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said that the British authorities had threatened to force their way into the embassy, to which he responded: “We are not a British colony.”
  Mr. Patiño announced the asylum decision, reading from a government communiqué, at a news conference. “The government of Ecuador, faithful to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or in its diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange.” Adding, “There are indications to presume that there could be political persecution,” and that Mr. Assange would not get a fair trial in the United States and could face the death penalty there. Mr. Patiño said he hoped Britain would permit Mr. Assange to leave the embassy in London for Ecuador. A request Britain has rejected, saying it has a binding, legal obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over accusations that he sexually assaulted two women. RT additionally printed, ”Ecuador has confirmed Assange does not have enough protection from Australia where he holds citizenship,” Patino said. “We think [Assange’s] extradition is viable to a country outside the EU. Judicial evidence clearly demonstrates that given an extradition to the US, Mr. Assange would not have a fair trial, he could be judged by special or military courts, and it is not unlikely to believe he would be treated in a cruel and degrading way, that he would receive a life sentence or death penalty, with which his human rights would not be respected.” Patino also reiterated Ecuador’s offer to allow Sweden to interview Assange in their embassy in London, which was turned down. Stockholm would neither guarantee that the WikiLeaks founder would not be extradited again once he is on Swedish soil. Still Mr. Patino’s hope was, “We trust that the UK will offer as soon as possible the guarantee for the safe passage of asylum for Mr Assange and they will respect those international agreements they have signed in the past.”
  But the British Foreign Office said it was disappointed by the Ecuadorean announcement, but remained committed to a negotiated outcome to the standoff. Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, rejected the suggestion that Sweden would be involved in any kind of persecution. “Our firm legal and constitutional system guarantees the rights of each and everyone,” he wrote on Twitter. “ We firmly reject any accusations to the contrary.”
  Yet, the fact Mr. Assange is subject to extradition over a desire for questioning and not an outright charge seems to substantiate the Assange defenders’ point. Semantics? Sure. But as extreme as Mr. Assange’s original flight to the Ecuadorian Embassy seemed, the benefit of the doubt tilts toward his caution, because however much it’s preferable to think the American Government is always right, blind faith is the worst assumption our government can make on our behalf. Sure, I’ll buy the government is right, but sell it to me first. Don’t just say it’s talked about when just mentioned.
  British news reports said Mr. Patiño’s news conference was broadcast live on British television and Mr. Assange watched the announcement as it happened, before telling embassy staff members, “It is a significant victory for myself and my people. Things will probably get more stressful now.”
  So did Mr. Assange just get his signals crossed over the difference between fame and infamy? Or really think the world won’t improve enough until deceiving the public is a business we can afford to lose? Because that’s why this issue really matters. Sure, it is terrible a security secrets thief might not spend the rest of his life in jail, though he’s enduring already months of house arrest. And sad the government can’t lighten up when as experts saw from the beginning it was the government’s fault the secrets were available for distribution ease. But secrets could destroy us as long as they are necessary to a world run by absentee landlords. Oops, sorry, no, fat cat government officials.
  Outside the embassy, a small redbrick apartment block behind Harrods department store in the upscale Knightsbridge neighborhood, a protester with a megaphone provided sporadic updates on the Quito news conference. When it became clear Mr. Assange won asylum, the response was muted joy, printed The Times. A youth worker, 21, who gave his name only as James, said, “It’s great news. As long as Britain honors his right to asylum.” He added, if the British government would allow Mr. Assange to leave the country without arresting him. If that did not happen, he said, gesturing to the protesters around him, “this will only get bigger.” Like many protesters, the youth worker said he believed that the accusations of sexual abuse and rape against Mr. Assage were part of a conspiracy to silence WikiLeaks. “Textbook character assassination,” he said.
  Apparently many news sources made much of how Mr. Assange might escape. Uh huh. Just the Stop and Frisk alone when caught brings to mind how horrible it is that civilization just hasn’t quite become civilized yet.
  The Times said Mr. Patiño said his government had made its decision after the authorities in Britain, Sweden and the United States refused to give guarantees that, if Mr. Assange were extradited to Sweden, he would not then be sent on to the United States to face other charges. Seriously, the United States government answered that question truthfully? I just can’t see the problem as being bad as everyone else can. There was(is) a time when any government felt any lie was justified on their own behalf. Why WikiLeaks was purportedly founded. That should be Julian’s next show broadcast by RT. Instances of when governments haven’t lied that surprise us. Anyway, this is a tough situation here. Imagine the billable hours lawyers are salivating over. A pretty penny that should more than compensate those large investments in their educations. Tourism folks, it can only grow and become cheaper through competition. Out of tragedy will come prosperity, yet it’s shameful how serious this is that governments choose scapegoats. Remember from grade school when the idea of honesty was shoveled down our throats by adults who knew we’d find out the hard way?
  Mr. Assange arrived at the embassy on June 19, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden. Jérémie Zimmerman, a friend who has spoken with him recently, said Mr. Assange had found the narrowing of his horizons hard. “It is quite difficult not to be able to get out in the street for all this time. He lived for so many years free, without even a home to limit him. And now he is isolated.” The WikiLeaks founder sleeps on an air mattress in a small office that has been converted to a bedroom, according to accounts of those who have visited him. He has access to a computer and continues to oversee WikiLeaks, his lieutenants have said. Reporters outside the building have seen food being delivered from nearby restaurants. but his presence is a challenge for employees of the embassy. One British government official, citing a conversation with a member of the embassy staff, said that the situation was surreal.
  A diplomat familiar with Mr. Assange’s situation said that he spent his time in a back room, which gets no direct sunlight. Several weeks ago he had a bad cold and appeared depressed, the source said. “He can’t get outside to see the sun,” his mother, Christine Assange, said in a recent interview conducted in Quito for BBC Mundo, a BBC Web site. “I’m worried about his health, as I would be for anybody who is having to stay indoors and not get exercise and have sunlight.” She said some of Mr. Assange’s friends have encouraged him to put on music and dance as a way of getting physical activity and that they had also brought sunlamps.
  On Thursday ahead of the Ecuadorean decision, WikiLeaks issued a new, unsigned statement describing Britain’s warning that it might suspend the embassy’s immunity as part of an action to arrest Mr. Assange as a “resort to intimidation” and a breach of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations between states. “We remind the public that these extraordinary actions are being taken to detain a man who has not been charged with any crime in any country,” the statement said. Adding: “We further urge the U.K. government to show restraint, and to consider the dire ramifications of any violation of the elementary norms of international law.”
  Diplomatic WikiLeaks? Is not dire ramifications a threat? Cornered, even governments make rash accusations that in the light-of-day are seen to not produce a better understanding. The very goal WikiLeaks was supposedly founded on. I’d rather an evil hand defeat WikiLeaks than authoritarianism be taken down by nefarious means.
  But nothing is cut and dry with this issue. The Times points out that: It struck many as odd that Mr. Assange, who shot to fame as a fighter for media freedom, chose Ecuador as a potential refuge as Ecuador’s President Correa has presided over a crackdown on journalists there. But when Mr. Assange arrived at the embassy, he issued a statement saying that Mr. Correa had invited him to seek asylum in Ecuador during an interview for Mr. Assange’s TV show on Russia Today, an English-language cable channel financed by the government of Vladimir V. Putin.
  Reuters meanwhile also printed Ecuador’s decision is likely to deepen a political dispute. Britain has said it could use a little-known piece of legislation from 1987, introduced in the wake of the shooting of a British police officer outside the Libyan embassy in London, to strip Ecuador’s embassy of its diplomatic status.
Patino of Ecuador replied, “This is a sovereign decision protected by international law. It makes no sense to surmise that this implies a breaking of relations (with Britain).”
  So, “We are disappointed,” a British Foreign Office spokesman said. “Under UK law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We shall carry out that obligation.” So what would supporters shout, other than, “The people united will never be defeated!” While waving Ecuadorian flags and holding posters showing Assange’s head, reading “no extradition.” And a Reuters reporter saw at least three protesters being dragged away by police before the decision was announced after tussles with police.
  The Ecuadorean government has bristled at the warning: its foreign minister said Britain was threatening Ecuador with a “hostile and intolerable act”, comparing the action to Iran’s storming of Britain’s Tehran embassy 2011.
  Outside the embassy, an historian, Farhan Rasheed, 42, wearing an “I love Occupy” badge, said, “I’ve lived, worked and travelled in places with proper dictatorships and nowhere have I seen violations of the Vienna convention to this extent. Here we have a government which claims to be a government of law and justice, stretching and possibly about to break a serious binding international agreement.”
  Britain’s threat to withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorean embassy also drew criticism from one of its own former diplomats who said it could lead to similar moves against British embassies. “I think the Foreign Office have slightly overreached themselves here,” Britain’s former ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton, told the BBC. “If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow where I was and North Korea becomes close to impossible.”
  Per E. Samuelsson, one of the lawyers representing Assange, who talked to Assange after the decision, said, “The reaction he has is that he wants to underline that this (asylum) is a measure that is aimed at the U.S. and not against Sweden. He has sought political asylum in order to eliminate the risk that he will spend the rest of his life in prison in the United States.”
  Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer representing the two Swedish women, told Reuters, “It’s an abuse of the asylum instrument, the purpose of which is to protect people from persecution and torture if sent back to one’s country of origin. It’s not about that here. He doesn’t risk being handed over to the United States for torture or the death penalty. He should be brought to justice in Sweden. This is completely absurd.” Meanwhile, Sweden has summoned Ecuador’s ambassador slamming Assange asylum decision. “We want to tell them that it’s inacceptable that Ecuador is trying to stop the Swedish judicial process,” Stockholm Foreign Ministry spokesman Anders Jorle said.
  And Ecuador claimed they received a “direct” written threat on Wednesday that authorities in London are prepared to storm the Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Assange if he is not delivered into their custody. The note was delivered to Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry and ambassador in London, Patino said.
  “You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the Embassy,” the letter said. “We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr. Assange’s presence in your premises, this is an open option for us.”
  The decision to strip the Ecuadorian Embassy of its diplomatic protection has not yet been taken, the spokesperson said: “Under British law we can give them a week’s notice before entering the premises and the embassy will no longer have diplomatic protection. We are not going to do this overnight.”
  So WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnnsson told AFP, “The threat to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy was “extremely serious” and illegal.
  Assange supporters took to Twitter and other social media to urge people to gather in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, to stop British authorities from raiding it. A 20-strong group of demonstrators gathered outside the embassy on Wednesday, and organized a livestream from the scene. According to their reports, the livestreams from the embassy suffered from DDoS attacks. London police later moved in on the embassy after a press conference led by Patino. The foreign minister confirmed on Twitter feed that the police presence around the embassy was growing.
  Now here’s the other side of this, where the Assange example leaves wiggle room for countries to control freedom of speech in ways such as this: Bahrain jails prominent activist Rajab for 3 years RT reports Bahraini Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been sentenced to three years in jail for “participation in an illegal assembly” and “calling for a march without prior notification.”
  Rajab has been in police custody since June 6 over comments he made on Twitter critical of the Bahraini Prime Minister, which called for him to step down. Rajab was sentenced on July 9 to three months for the remarks, raising concerns worldwide among free-speech activists. Rajab, a prominent human rights activist, led several anti-regime demonstrations in recent months. The activist is also affiliated with international rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.
  Before his arrest, Rajab appeared as a guest on episode four of ‘The World Tomorrow’ on RT, hosted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In the interview, he criticized the US-led invasion of Iraq, as well as US refusals to take action during the Bahraini protests and the wider Arab Spring. “The Americans, from the beginning, didn’t want to change those regimes, they didn’t want to change the regime in Egypt, they didn’t want to change the regime. You see now for example, Bahrain is a good model. Iraq is maybe the closest to us democratic state but Americans are against democracy in Bahrain now.” Rajab was arrested May 5th, days after his appearance on the show, leading many to believe it was a government reprisal against his protest actions.
  So. Basically the debatable premise in the Assange case is whether or not the United States of America wants to imprisonWikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange for the rest of his life. On the surface Mr. Assange seems to being taking an almost hysterical out-of-proportion stance, while the U.S.A. says virtually nothing while waiting to deal with whatever comes, with the back of its’ hand, in perfect diplomatic composure. When there’s even the least little doubt, there’s no choice but to be – suspicious.
  Granted, Mr. Assange could or should have been much more suspicious of his own intentions when the purloined private government communications came into his possession by way of the sad conscience-torn, Private First Class, Bradley Manning, Unit – 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal.
8/16/2012
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February ? - ? ?, 2019
Little Surprise Julian Assange Knew To Pick: Ecuador
8/16/2012 concluded: Granted, Mr. Assange could or should have been much more suspicious of his own intentions when the purloined private government communications came into his possession by way of the sad conscience-torn, Private First Class, Bradley Manning, Unit – 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal.
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Quite The Spies, Aren't We?
Everywhere's kingpins as if the planet's one huge bowling alley avoiding getting knocked off if at all possible. Success reaping its own set of disadvantageous values. The right and need to know never quite reaching the right mix with the incentives all fouled up in the first place. 
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