The Political Persecution of Julian Assange
Submitted by issylvia on Tue, 08/28/2012 – 22:49
One week ago, on August 19, Julian Assange gave a speech, and he did so from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London as the British government refuses to recognize a fundamental Human Right: the right to asylum. A large number of reports and opinion pieces about his first public appearance in two months has since been published, a significant amount of which don’t represent at all the truth and the complexity of his present situation. Very few journalists expose the political persecution WikiLeaks is target of or the accumulating evidence relating to Julian Assange’s potential extradition to the U.S., yet it is not hard to come by vitriolic satires of his alleged personal habits or, even worse, his confinement and status as a political refugee. But in his address to supporters and the press last week, Julian Assange made a simple and very important plea, calling for an end to the oppression of activists and whistleblowers, and the U.S. secret Grand Jury investigation of WikiLeaks.
Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, has been confronted with questions concerning whether the U.S. has any future intention to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for WikiLeaks publishing, following Ecuador granting him political asylum due to fears of such prosecution having been considered valid.
Here is one answer she gave:
“I am not going to get into all of the legal ins and outs about what may or may not have been in his future before he chose to take refuge in the Ecuadorean mission.”
Her observations on this matter are of a lighthearted and very ambiguous dismissiveness, yet this particular comment strongly denotes involvement or, at the very least, great familiarity on part of the United States with possible legal challenges Julian Assange would face had he not been offered protection by Ecuador. Victoria Nuland chooses not to comment on the complexity of the legal process he could have been subjected to, indicating at the same time her ability to do so.
The comment above is only a very small portion of the evidence accumulating as of late. Australian authorities confirmed to have been preparing for Mr. Assange’s potential extradition to the United States, strengthening the credibility of references made by U.S. intelligence firm STRATFOR to a U.S. “sealed indictment” against Julian Assange, as well as plans to keep him involved for decades in legal procedures which would undermine his reputation and credibility as the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
Through the formal statement of a former UK Ambassador, it was also made public that the U.S. government exerted pressure on the United Kingdom to arrest Julian Assange, even illegally, with disregard for his status as a political refugee. Former Ambassador Craig Murray wrote the following, referring to UK’s threat to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy in order to arrest Julian Assange:
“… there was tremendous discomfort at this development within the British diplomatic service because of the potential exposure of British embassies and diplomats abroad to similar action. (…) I asked how on earth such an illegal decision could have been reached. My ex-colleague said that political pressure exerted by the administration of the United States of America on Mr William Hague and Mr David Cameron had outweighed the views of British diplomats.”
Plans to arrest Julian Assange at all costs were corroborated, to great embarrassment of the Met police zealously keeping the embassy under siege, when images captured by a photographer of “restricted” orders to capture Julian Assange “under all circumstances” surfaced. Julian Assange is to be arrested if he leaves the embassy regardless of him being conferred diplomatic immunity. In part concealed by the arm of a police officer, it is still possible to read a reference to counter-terrorism and infiltration units in the document in question.
Since the allegations facing Mr. Assange are of sexual nature and he has not been charged with an offense, the amount of police forces deployed to impede his traveling to Ecuador where he was granted asylum may seem puzzling and absurd, but only if not taking the above-mentioned proof of political pressure in his case into consideration. In light of such evidence, the attempts to keep Julian Assange confined to the embassy, the rejection of his continuous offers to be questioned by Swedish authorities and the denial of his requests to be offered assurance against extradition to the U.S., appear to bear serious ulterior motives.
Even after being granted political asylum on August 16, Julian Assange through his legal team, as well as Ecuadorian government officials, promptly reiterated the request for an interview in London, inside the embassy. In compliance with standard Mutual Legal Assistance, a simple phone call (a means Sweden made use of in other cases and the Assange case itself when interviewing a complainant) could resolve this pending issue. Julian Assange was instead, once again, denied by his prosecutor the opportunity to provide a formal response to the allegations he faces. Further, the spokesperson for the Swedish Prosecution Authority conceded thereafter a brief interview to the BBC, which ended in blatant refusal to offer any justification at all as to why Mr. Assange has not been questioned during the almost two years his extradition case has been dragging.
These are the latest essential developments commentators are to write about and scrutinize concerning this case, and the evidence relating to political persecution many choose to ignore, or deny. The Julian Assange case has most definitely suffered political influence, but to which extent? To the oldest campaigning anti-rape organization in Britain, Women Against Rape, the pursuit of Mr. Assange is political and he should not be extradited. This week they wrote to condemn utilizing fury over the prevalence of rape and violence to divert attention from the genuine danger he faces if extradited. A tendency establishment media seem happy to embrace.