Post by John Manning
Yesterday, WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange, a 41-year-old Australian
fleeing rape charges, stood on the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy
and told the President of the United States to get off his back.
"I ask President Obama to do the right thing: the United States must
renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks," Assange said.
It's a bold statement coming from a pathetic individual, says Heritage's Helle Dale.
"Assange wanted to take on the mightiest government in the world by
publicizing massive amounts of sensitive U.S. government documents on
his website WikiLeaks. In reality, he turned out to be nothing more than
a self-centered, rather sordid little man with a martyr complex that has
driven him to claim political asylum where none could possibly be
While Assange is dodging sex crime charges against him in Sweden by
hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy, U.S. Private Bradley Manning, who
trusted Assange and naively leaked thousands of U.S. military records on
"Ironies abound in this case. Assange claims that WikiLeaks is a
tool for freedom of expression. Yet the Ecuadoran government of Rafael
Correa is notorious for allowing no free media. Assange claims that
government transparency is his goal, yet the governments he is
fightingthe Swedish, the British and the Americanare solidly
democratic, hardly something that can be said of the communist regime in
Though Correa and Assange are opposites on their "media freedom" claims,
Heritage's Ray Walser warns that "they share a similar sense of
righteousness and visceral disdain for the U.S."
"The Assange asylum case constitutes just a small piece of the
anti-Western, pro-Iran strategy propagated by Correa, Venezuela's Hugo
Chavez, Raul Castro, and others. It is both selective and
It aims to show the West in an unfavorable light."
In fact, Julian Assange took care to thank the American people for
their support of freedom of information and the work journalists like
he himself has done to make the world less violent.
In fact, twenty-three American Nations (from Latin America) sided with
Ecuador concerning the latter's complaint about the UK's threat of
storming the Latin American country's embassy in London while only
Canada joined the US in dismissing Ecuador's concern, besides the tiny
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which only became independent from
the UK in 1962.
It is foolish to imply that the Correa government is just acting out
of Correa's personal interests in concert with a few other similar
characters in Latin America because Ecuador is a republic with a
parliament which in turn has a political opposition. Yet as the
Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino twitted the other day, the nation's
legislative body voted in support of Correa's asylum granting move for
Julian Assange. Correa has popular support or he would not remain
Ecuador's president. We have seen the western media claiming a split
in opinion about the asylum move inside Ecuador. But as we can see
from an article attached below, the only kind of complaint was that it
might jeopardize Ecuador's relation with the UK and hurt the economy
while most of those in support of the Assange asylum decision thought
that it was the right, moral move.
(By the way, the statement from the US State Department was that it
was "unhelpful and harmful" to hold the meeting, especially in the
OAS's own headquarters in Washington DC. But why should a discussion
on how to defend an American state's embassy against being stormed so
"unhelpful and harmful", one might want to ask?)
After the overwhelming support of other OAS members for Ecuador, seen
in their eyes as a former colonial power continuing to try to bully a
Latin American country with little military power, the people of the
tiny Latin American country should not be so worried. They should
realize that their brothers and sisters who chanted:
"Todos somos Julian"
are right. If we don't defend our little ones when they are attacked,
eventually the bullies will come to us.
And that is why Julian Assange closed his speech yesterday to the
world from a balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in London saying that
the forces of oppression are unified, therefore, we, the oppressed
ones, must be absolutely unified in order to prevail, or something to
that effect - a sentiment reflected in the closing of the epic novel
War and Peace by Tolstoy.
There is no basis for talking about Correa and Assange being opposite
in their views toward press freedom:
"Correa and Assange are opposites on their `media freedom' claims"
(Heritage's Ray Walser and other mainstream media's pet phrase)
Journalist Cenk Uygur has pointed out that such an attack on Correa
ignores a similar lack of media freedom in the US.
And there is no need to talk about other people who aim to "show the
West in an unfavorable light" because it is the enormous amount of
killing we have done and the condescending attitude our government has
repeatedly shown towards those pointing out the evils we have done to
One thing is clear: the UK foreign secretary William "bull-dog" Hague
made a blunder, as many pundits and former diplomats in the UK have
pointed out. He barked loudly before realizing that the world is very
much on the side of Ecuador. At that point, the UK realized that it
could not carry out its threat without being seen by the whole world.
And Julian Assange brilliantly observed that little opening and set
about immediately to tell the world what the case against him and the
cases against other whistleblowers really are. Assange might still
become a martyr for world peace; but Assange has shown what kind of a
leader he is: thoughtful and courageous.
What he has done cannot be taken away by any little men/women from the
Heritage Foundation or other apologists for the evils the neocons have
been committed against the world.
"There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and
determination in the response" (Julian Assange, 19/08/2012)
Eloquent stuff and courageously delivered!
So, may fortune be allied with the brave.
And certainly, Assange is not self-centered if he made a point to call
attention to the lesser ones (small fish whistleblowers) who are being
silenced by the big governments around the world, such as our own
patriot Bradley Manning, who had the courage to show the world the
evils of the Iraq war.
1) UK over-reacted:
In UK threat to Ecuador, experts see mistake
By By RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) - It was a warning meant to remind Ecuador that Britain's
patience has limits. But as the stalemate over Julian Assange settled
in Friday, it appeared London's veiled threat that it could storm
Ecuador's embassy and drag Assange out has backfired - drawing
supporters to the mission where the WikiLeaks founder is holed up and
prompting angry denunciations from Ecuador and elsewhere.
Experts and ex-diplomats say Britain's Foreign Office, which warned
Ecuador of a little known law that would allow it to side-step usual
diplomatic protocols, messed up by issuing a threat it couldn't back
"It was a big mistake," said former British ambassador Oliver
Miles. "It puts the British government in the position of asking for
Britain's warning was carried in a set of notes delivered to
Ecuadorean diplomats Wednesday as they tried to negotiate an agreement
over Assange, who has spent nearly two months holed up at the Latin
American nation's London mission in a bid to avoid extradition to
Sweden, where he's wanted over allegations of sexual assault.
The notes, published by Britain on Thursday, said ominously that
keeping Assange at the embassy was incompatible with international
law. They added: "You should be aware that there is a legal basis in
the U.K. - the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act - which would
allow us to take action to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises
of the embassy."
Britain passed the law in 1987, after a deadly shooting in 1984 in
which a Libyan diplomat opened fire on demonstrators from within his
country's London embassy, killing a British police officer.
The Ecuadoreans were outraged by the notes, accusing Britain of
threatening to assault their embassy and calling a crisis meeting of
the Union of South American Nations. The ripples from the controversy
continued to spread Friday, with Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
saying in a brief message posted to Twitter that the issue raised
questions about diplomatic protections.
Britain's Foreign Office insists its missive was "not a threat,"
something that Miles dismissed with a laugh.
"If I tell you, 'I'm not threatening you but I DO have a very large
stick here,' it's a question of semantics," he said.
Assange, who has been holed up inside Ecuador's small embassy since
June 19, claims the Swedish case is merely the opening gambit in a
Washington-orchestrated plot to make him stand trial in the United
States - something disputed by both Swedish authorities and the women
In a radio interview Friday, Ecuador's president Rafael Correa said he
feared that Assange could face a possible death penalty if he was
prosecuted and convicted in the United States.
"I am not in agreement with everything that Julian Assange has done
but does that mean he deserves the death penalty, life in prison, to
be extradited to a third country. Please! Where is the proportionality
between the crime and the punishment? Where is due process?" Correa
Correa insisted that his nation was not seeking to undermine Sweden's
attempts to question Assange over allegations made by two women who
accuse him of sexual misconduct during a visit to the country in
"The main reason why Julian Assange was given diplomatic asylum was
because his extradition to a third country was not guaranteed, in no
way was it done to interrupt the investigations of Swedish justice
over an alleged crime. In no way," Correa said.
Former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who is representing Assange pro
bono, would not disclose his legal team's next steps now that Britain
has refused safe passage.
"It's something we have to study and evaluate, that in the coming days
or weeks we will have to decide," he told The Associated Press by
phone in Colombia.
He said it would be up to Ecuador, as a sovereign state, to decide
whether to appeal to the International Court of Justice in the Hague
in order to compel Britain to grant Assange safe passage out of the
With negotiations continuing between Britain, Sweden and Ecuador,
diplomats and legal experts said that the U.K. should never have
raised its legal threat to barge into Ecuador's embassy to detain
Some lawyers have pointed out that the act itself notes that an
embassy's diplomatic status can only be revoked if the move is
"permissible under international law" - a high hurdle to jump given
the age-old deference given to foreign embassy buildings.
Rebecca Niblock, an extradition lawyer, said it was tough to see how
Britain could follow through on the threat to nab Assange from inside
the embassy, while staying true to what she called "a fundamental
premise of international law."
Extradition expert Julian Knowles was a dissenting voice, saying that
he believed the Brits could, and would, be able to revoke Ecuadorean
embassy's diplomatic status if Assange persisted in what Knowles
described as "abuse of the rule of law."
Knowles, who has been critical of Assange, said British officials
could arrest the Australian once the diplomatic and media ferment
"I think they'll take the view that within a few days or weeks it will
all blow over," he said.
But most observers backed the sentiment expressed by Britain's former
ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton, who told BBC radio that the
Foreign Office had "slightly overreached themselves here."
"I fear the government roared rather like a mouse in this case, and
would be best not to have made that threat," lawyer Alex Carlile told
Britain's government seems to have toned down its rhetoric. Speaking
to reporters Thursday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague
insisted that Britain would act within the law.
"We are committed to working with them amicably to resolve the
matter," he said. "There is no threat here to storm an embassy."
Associated Press writer Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador contributed
to this report.
On the Net:
Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://raphae.li/twitter"
2) How the mainstream media silenced the dissenting voice in the
United States (from medialens)
In fact, as the famed American writer Gore Vidal who died recently
made clear, his political analysis had long been banished from our
"The press won't report me, television is shut to me, I've been
erased. Noam Chomsky never had a chance, he never had a great public;
but I had one through my books and movies and plays and of course
essay writing. Now I am no longer a guest on anything where I might
cause trouble, where I might say something that they would find
embarrassing, which would be practically anything I would say about
how the country is run. So I am the perfect example of censorship in
the United States." ('I am the perfect example of censorship in the
United States'. Gore Vidal talks to Michael March about history, the
cold war and who really runs America, the Guardian, March 29, 2001)
by David Edwards
3) Assange's speech on 19/08/2012 and some readers' comments on
youtube, as well as
`Assange case part of long history of whistleblower-smearing'
by political activist Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador
whose publications implicated the CIA and MI6 in using evidence
obtained through torture, noted that the allegations that Assange
was involved in a sexual assault are part of a long list of dubious
charges brought against other whistleblowers.
US war on whistleblowers must end - Assange (VIDEO)
Published: 19 August, 2012, 17:21
Edited: 20 August, 2012, 05:31
Julian Assange made his first public appearance in two months, ever
since he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Addressing the hundreds of people gathered outside the embassy,
Assange thanked them for their support, claiming it was their resolve
and presence that stopped British police storming the building.
"On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and
police desceneded on this building, you came out in the middle of the
night to watch over it, and you brought the worlds eyes with
you. Inside this embassy after dark I could hear teams of police
swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape,"
"But I knew thered be witnesses. And that was because of you."
The WikiLieaks founder thanked President Correa "for the courage he
has shown" in granting him asylum, and to all the nations and
individuals who have shown him support.
Assange also addressed the US government and President Obama, calling
for the "witch hunt against WikiLeaks" to end.
"The United States must pledge before the world will not pursue
journalists for shining light on the secret crimes of the
powerful. The US administration's war against whistleblowers must
He also spoke of Bradley Manning, the Army Private who has been
charged with 22 criminal counts over his alleged role in providing
Julian Assange's WikiLeaks site with sensitive documents that were
then distributed. Manning has been imprisoned for more than 800 days
and has yet to stand trial before a military tribunal.
"On Wednesday Bradley spent his 815th day of detention w/o trial. The
legal maximum is 120 days," Assange told the crowds gathered outside
"If Bradley Manning did as he is accused, he is a hero and invaluable
to all of us. Bradley Manning must be released".
Assange went on to mention Nabeel Rajab, a Bahraini human rights
activist, who was "sentenced to 3 years in jail for a tweet".
Rajab tweeted critical comments about the Bahraini Prime Minister,
calling for him to step down. Before his arrest, Rajab appeared as a
guest on episode four of `The Assange Show' on RT, hosted by the
WikiLeaks founder. 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.
Assange also spoke of Pussy Riot, a Russian female punk band, three
members of which have just been sentenced to 2 years in prison for a
"punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral.
"There is unity in the oppression," Assange said. "There must be
absolute unity and determination in the response"
The WikiLeaks founder was granted political asylum on Thursday - a
decision that ignited a wave of international responses, with the UK
and Sweden opposing the verdict and Latin American countries strongly
supporting Ecuador's move.
`Assange case part of long history of whistleblower-smearing'
Political activist Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador whose
publications implicated the CIA and MI6 in using evidence obtained
through torture, noted that the allegations that Assange was involved
in a sexual assault are part of a long list of dubious charges brought
against other whistleblowers.
"Unfortunately, there's a long history of whistleblowers being smeared
and charged with crimes unrelated to their whistleblowing, because,
obviously, it's quite difficult for states to convict people for
telling the truth about state misdemeanors," he told RT. "So what you
do is you frame them with other charges, very often sexual charges
because that destroys the person's reputation."
Murray pointed to the fact that he was charged with extorting sexual
favors in exchange for visas during his tenure as ambassador to
Uzbekistan shortly after he blew the whistle on torture. "And I am by
no means the only one. Janis Karpinsky, who blew the whistle on Donald
Rumsfeld's sanctioning of torture at Abu Ghraib, was charged with
shoplifting, for example. There are many such examples," he said.
Murray also said British Foreign Secretary William Hague had made a
fool of himself by giving consent to send the letter threatening to
revoke the Ecuadorian Embassy's diplomatic immunity simply so that
British authorities could arrest Assange.
"He once gave an interview in which he said that as a student, he used
to drink 14 pints of beer a day," Murray remarked. "I think he must
have drunk 28 pints before coming up with the threat to storm the
Julian Assange's historic speech at Ecuador Embassy 19/08/2012
"if wars can be started by lies they can be ended by truth" is the
best protest sign i think i will ever see in my lifetime.
MrAussiebogan 3 hours ago
One thing that is quite disturbing is how the people in the US are
brainwashed into believing manufactured (fake) facts about this
wikileaks case. No wonder they make troll like comments on here. There
is no way any country (UK) would go to such extreme lengths to
extradite someone on circumstantial (theorized) rape charges. Assange
would never make it to Sweeden, he'd be assassinated or hauled off to
the USA. Who do you think is pressuring sweeden? Kind of obvious don't
aleutiansrealm 4 hours ago
He Exposed the Hipocresy of US government ,and how they dominate other
countries by pretext of humanitarian reason like USAID, wasnt created
to help poor, but for dominate their resourses for their Coorporations
friends, they support politics partys, who benefit them ,with money
....and he exposed War crimes from US
MegaCascajal in reply to MrSabi92 (Show the comment) 4 hours ago
Can someone please elaborate what is going on? He is thanking the
people for their support and the guy who was in the Army, and asks
the US to basically back off. But what information did he put out
that has his head on a platter?
MrSabi92 6 hours ago
Post by John Manning
Dating back to 2007, WikiLeaks leaked sensitive documents such as
Guantanamo Bay interrogation manuals, U.S. diplomatic cable traffic, and
military documents relating to Iran and Afghanistan. These leaks placed
American lives in jeopardy.
Since 2010, when Assange got into trouble in his adopted country of
Sweden (where he had settled because whistle-blower protections are
particularly strong), WikiLeaks has not posted anything of significance
and is at the point of going broke. Apparently the fans Assange claims
to have do not value WikiLeaks enough to pay money for it to continue.
Assange said he created Wikileaks to hold shadowy regimes accountable,
but he has focused on demonizing democracy and flouting the rule of law.
Now if he is to enjoy asylum in Ecuador, Assange must make a run for it.
London law enforcement are standing by to arrest him if he tries to
leave the embassy, to extradite him to Sweden. Ecuador's foreign
minister, Ricardo Patino, is claiming that England is bullying Ecuador
and violating international lawwhen, as Heritage's Dale notes, "the
idea that the charge of rape constitutes a political offense worthy of
asylum is palpably ridiculous and a clear abuse of the entire concept of
Patino has become hysterical, Heritage's Walser says, and threatened to
take Ecuador's case to the U.N. Security Council. Walser says, "As
threats to world peace go, this must be one of the smallest."
Assange should face justice in Sweden. Ecuador has made a mistake by
shielding this international criminal.