Ecuador Hints It May Hand Over Assange

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By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive  here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

Part of the “Collateral Murder” video that Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning gave to WikiLeaks. It’s worth watching to the very end. Two staff members from Reuters news were among those murdered on the street, along with others from a van shot up while trying to collect the wounded. Visible in the van were two children, who were also wounded. “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids to a battle,” says one of the Americans doing the shooting. The Americans were the only ones shooting.

Ecuador may hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the British, and thus, to the American government after all. He’s currently in political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but that may be about to change.

Ecuador hints it may hand over Julian Assange to Britain and the US

… Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities.

On March 28, under immense pressure from the governments in the US, Britain and other powers, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 45 days, he has not been heard from.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated in a Spanish-language interview on Wednesday that her government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.” Moves were underway, she said, to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.

When you think of Julian Assange, don’t think just of his role in last election, though that’s important to look at. Think also of WikiLeaks’ many CIA releases, as well as Chelsea Manning’s ​bombshell revelation(video above, Guardian reporting here), which earned her years of torture.

And then there’s this:

If Assange falls into the hands of the British state, he faces being turned over to the US. Last year, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that putting Assange on trial for espionage was a “priority.” CIA director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, asserted that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

In 2010, WikiLeaks courageously published information leaked by then Private Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning that exposed war crimes committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. WikiLeaks also published, in partnership with some of the world’s major newspapers, tens of thousands of secret diplomatic cables, exposing the daily anti-democratic intrigues of US imperialism and numerous other governments.

I think if the American state acquires Assange, it may torture and kill him. It certainly wishes to. Chelsea Manning was tortured for exposing a whole lot less, and Manning’s crime included revelations about torture and murder.

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  1. sd

    It will have a chilling effect on whistleblowers and the remaining journalists who publish their stories.

    Most have probably forgotten, but he really got his star on the map when WikiLeaks published the lists of unsecured loans that the Iceland banks had given to insiders, including elected officials. When the local news went to report on it, the cronies had a gag order issued. (the Minister of Justice was related to the Minister of Finance or something like that)

    The Icelandic news that night was brilliant, the newscaster couldn’t report the story, so they sat at the desk looking down at their papers while the URL for wikileaks was on the screen behind them.

    Some Icelanders later helped with getting out the Iraq War footage of the military helicopter killing the journalists and civilians.

    1. sgt_doom

      And Iceland, along with the Republic of Korean (South Korea) are about the only two countries out there who have sent crooked presidents to prison.

      Not too many real journalists left in the Western Hemisphere, and most of those in Malta, Russia and Honduras have been murdered.

  2. pretzelattack

    the guardian is in full howl on getting assange, with 4 critical stories grouped at the top of the news. got to coordinate the message.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        The Guardian has been like that for a decade. The group went bust in 2008, after years of declining sales and mismanagement / looting, and its creditors (City firms) took over.

        1. Esther

          Absolutely untrue and libellous allegation about the ownership of the Guardian. The newspaper has long been owned by a beneficial non-profit Trust that is stuffed with cash because of its sale of valuable non-core trade magazine publishing assets. The purposes of the Trust are to promote liberal values and the truth. Whether you or I think that it always lives up to its ideals is another question.

          1. pretzelattack

            it’s not owned by a trust anymore; either the publisher or editor said this. I don’t remember the details, but it doesn’t have to comply with those pesky trust restrictions.

          2. c_heale

            Newspapers exist for various reasons, and I’m not sure the truth is one of them. There appears to be a lot less diversity in the views and news produced in the UK mass media nowadays than say 30 years ago, and since the first Iraq War some news stories appear to be blatent propaganda. From my fallible memory, I recall the Guardian supporting the second Iraq War (I remember only two widely read national newspapers opposing it at the time, The Independent and the Daily/Sunday Mirror). The Guardian’s ambition to become the world’s leading liberal newspaper appears to have changed it’s journalistic viewpoint to a certain extent, too.

            1. albert

              “…Newspapers exist for various reasons, and I’m not sure the truth is one of them….”

              I will steal that, in this form “_____________ exist for various reasons, and the truth is not one of them.”

              Where _____________ could just about anything:)

              Thanks, and well said!

        2. RBHoughton

          Colonel Smithers says about the Guardian – “The group went bust in 2008 ….. and its creditors (City firms) took over.”

          Ahhh, at last, an explanation for the changed tone, the employment of Luke Harding, Nick Cohen, Jonathan Freedland and the other anti-social opinion-makers by the exposers of Peterloo.

          That change of ownership should be widely published. How many other people like me have been confused by two centuries of socialist history.

  3. Adam Gordon

    Thanks to Assange helping throw the election to Trump, the current administration has allowed states to cut Medicaid to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, across the country, with these “waivers”. I shed zero tears for the fate of Julian Assange.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Assange did not “throw the election to Trump.” Go read Shattered. Hillary ran a dreadful campaign and she had huge disapproval ratings. She’s been a known crook since 1978, when she took a bribe in the form of $100,000 in handed to her commodity trading profits. Anyone in the finance business knows her results were impossible to have obtained honestly. And I know someone (a few years after the story first came public) who was asked by 3 Congressmen to review her trading records. She was allocated the best price of the day every day she traded. It wasn’t even subtle.

      And that’s before you get to her being a warmonger and her many other sins…

      I’m appalled by Trump, but I don’t buy this “Hillary the victim” tripe. And there was plenty of proof of the party apparatus cheating to thwart Bernie, like the way the Democrats cheated in the California primary (there’s a good documentary on this, tons of reports by pollworkers). So it is also false to attribute the alienation of the Berniecrats to Assange. The Clintons controlled the party, and it kicked Sanders in the teeth every chance it had. This did not go unnoticed.

      1. Chris J

        We need to remember that Assange leaked what he leaked (according to him) with the full expectation that Hillary would win the general election. We have good reason to believe him, as virtually every major poll showed a surefire Clinton victory in ’16.

        Almost no one thought that Trump would win, and that Assange still did what he did (via-à-vis a to-be president who previously had half-jokingly called for him to be assasinated by drone-strike) is in my opinion remarkably courageous.

      2. Adam Gordon

        I didn’t say that Hillary was a victim, and I voted for Stein…you put those words in my mouth. For those of us who are actually suffering, and having lost benefits, this crowd has made it clear to me that you’re not the least bit interested in ending the suffering in third-world America.

        People like myself only care about those in the primaries and general elections who are actually for something, rather than for litigating the past, much less worrying about some troll who might be soon getting a comeuppance.

        Go ahead and pile on, call me what you will, maybe even “deplorable”. Yes, Hillary was a bad candidate, campaigner, and person in general, but this crowd isn’t making any friends, and liable to put enough people off to derail primaries & keep enough people home to dampen the Blue Wave. But, that’s OK, it’s good to know who your friends are…and aren’t.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Oh, come on. Your comment was tantamount to that. You said Wikileaks threw the election to Trump. That means you are saying Hillary was a victim of Wikileaks. Your words are crystal clear.

          As to our priorities, it is you who are straw manning, big time. You voted for Stein, yet you defend a Democratic party that is screaming RussiaRussia so it doesn’t have to even make a gesture at talking about giving concrete material benefits to people. They are doing everything they can to kill progressive candidates. The Republicans are open about being the party of the rich and the Democrats engage in all kinds of optics to try to hide that. The Democrats need to be brought to heel and the Clintonite run out.

          1. Malcolm MacLeod

            Now I know for certain why I’m so fond of you. Naked Capitalism
            was and is a large force in changing me from a Democrat to a
            Progressive. Many thanks.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I would never call you “deplorable”. But I might well call you “clintonite” . . . based on your false and deceitful pro-Clinton propaganda about Assange costing Clinton the election.

          You clearly thought it was more important for you to cast a purity-display virtue-signalling vote for Stein than to bite the bullet and vote for Trump in order to make SURE that Clinton would not get the chance to start a nuclear war with the only other Peer Nuclear Power on earth. In your own words, it is good for us to see who our friends are . . . and aren’t.

          Let all those Clintonite snowflakes who can’t handle the truth stay home and cry cry cry.
          That way they won’t pollute and contaminate our efforts to purge and burn their leaders out of the Democratic Party.

      3. Edward E

        Don Tyson had various ways to bribe them, they were tools of the Sam Walton family and especially Jack Stephens. Biggest bunch of criminals you ever saw, from Mena to Broomstick hill.

        Bubba did get Amy Ralston out of prison though.

        1. Edward E

          Amy Ralston Pofahl was my elementary school girlfriend. Came damn close to getting together towards the end of high school. Oh, well…
          thankfully most pretty birds in the Ozarks aren’t jail birds
          the gangsters took everything else out on me

      4. arihalli

        Your a gem, Yves.
        It might also be stated that, WHATEVER, Assange communicated to the world community – it was the truth.

        Adam, there has never been one accusation that Assange distorted the truth – he just dispensed the truth.

    2. Pat

      Funny, I thought the real problem was the Democratic Party nominating a corrupt out of touch hated insider who couldn’t be bothered to even feign interest in the concerns of people more likely to be cleaning up the mess after the $10,000/plate fundraiser than attending them, IOW the 70% of Americans who didn’t vote for her. Not to mention that Democrats have made an art of running such feckless useless twits, when they chose to run candidates at all, they managed to lose state houses and governors to a point not often matched in American history. Almost like a plan.

      Assange was not even the major media reason why Trump won, better to blame a captured American media who promoted Trump for ratings.Coupled with their ignoring the devastation caused by Clinton, Obama, Bush and their masters they allowed for hacks for sale to the highest bidders like Hillary Rodham Clinton or Biden or now Harris and Booker and grifters like Trump to even be in position to be nominated. Try to remember, the emails Wikileaks published were real.

    3. funemployed

      Sigh. Democracy would work so much better without all those pesky journalists and curious plebes who want to know the actual truth instead of the state-approved version.

      Oh wait. That’s not democracy. That’s the other thing.

      1. Sid_finster

        I think letting citizens know the truth is Adam’s definition of “throw the election”.

    4. fajensen

      Don’t forget to thank Hillary Clinton even More for her many extraordinary efforts to sabotage not only her own campaign but everyone else’s too – except Donald Trump’s.

      Hillary paid the Podesta Consulting Group big money to come up with their infamous “pied-piper strategy” which in fact and by agreement by Hillary Clinton, promoted Donald Trump in all available media channels.

      Corruption, Incompetence and the Inverse King Midas Touch all in one package and still people are making excuses for why Hillary managed to lose!?

    5. oh

      Hilly campaigned so well but it was anybody but her. It was::

      1. The Russians..
      2. Facebook..
      3. The Electoral COllege..
      4. And so many others to blame..

      Now it’s Assange.

      1. Seamus Padraig

        You forgot to mention ‘Bernie the Misogynist’. How dare that impudent cur challenge Hellary for the nomination!

        1. Elizabeth

          Don’t forget she blamed her loss on calling herself a capitalist! If only . . .

    6. JCC

      Clinton and the DNC threw the election to Trump. All Wikileaks did was report the evidence, (which in our “transparent” Govt and Fourth Estate, is a no-no).

      Not to mention Wikileak’s reporting on our propensity to torture our enemies, another faux pas on Assange’s part.

    7. Johnnygl

      Personally, i blame Billy Bush and the Access Hollywood staff for releasing the ‘hot mic’ recording and making Trump lose the popular vote.

      Or maybe we shouldn’t see Trump as a victim, either?!!!???!

    8. Brian

      The truth is news Adam. The truth is something we rarely get to see without Wikileaks. If you believe the truth is bad, and it did bad things to your favorite candidate, can you also deny you are a fascist? I know this is a little strong but the truth does hurt. That is what is good about the truth, it exposes real criminals and their actions. It brings sunshine to the game in a world of propaganda.

    9. Big River Bandido

      No doubt you posted that from your phone while riding in an Uber driven by a Russian agent.

    10. For_Christs_Sake

      Thank God for Assange and the Russians fading the heat here. I’d hate to see my not voting for HRC in the 24/7 news cycle being the reason Hillary lost.

      1. c_heale

        If you call half the population deplorables, you’re not gonna win. And you are pretty stupid to boot.

        1. Seamus Padraig

          If you call half the population deplorables, you’re not gonna win.

          In fairness, Hellary actually only called a quarter of the American population deplorable. But it is probably the case that she really meant about 90% of us.

    11. WheresOurTeddy

      The Empress not having any clothes or a clue about anyone making under 6 figures, but yeah, Assange

    12. False Solace

      Because in all fairness, it was Assange’s fault Hillary decided not to campaign in Wisconsin, therefore he’s to blame.

      The man released the truth to the American voters. The truth. That’s not in dispute. He’s a journalist. To blame a person who told the truth for other people losing their Medicaid is bankrupt thinking.

    13. sgt_doom

      I vote strictly Green Party or socialist, so please don’t respond with typical Ameritard response of “you must be a conservative if you don’t like the Clintons” triteness – – especially since any sane person realizes that members of the Clinton Crime Family, and Bush Crime Family (and Trump Crime Family) are all on the same wavelength, but anyone who prefers either Clinton or Trump is in need of serious reading comprehension courses.

      Obama cut Social Security in a devious manner, and Clinton would have continued doing so, just as she promised in her speeches before Goldman Sachs to sell out the American worker, when she wasn’t attending fund raisers at Martha’s Vineyard thrown by her bud, Lady de Rothschild.

    14. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Democrat threw the election to Trump by coronating Clinton as their candidate.

  4. David May

    America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
    – Oscar Wilde

    I disagree with Wilde: America went from barbarism to even more barbarism, plus decadence. If one archetype is truly emblematic of America it is the serial killer. Someone like Dennis Rader aka BTK (Bind, Turture, Kill) personifies the US. If guys like Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader and Ed Kemper killed foreigners instead of Americans, their faces would be on the various denominations of dollar bills.

    1. fajensen

      Or maybe one of them would be the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA)?

    2. c_heale

      Much like the British Empire, which was Wilde’s home at the time. Wilde was a talented guy but to continue to judge a country on one of his sayings maybe isn’t wise

      1. pretzelattack

        we aren’t judging america on the basis of one of his sayings, we are simply recognizing its relevance.

  5. Lambert Strether

    > I think if the American state acquires Assange, it may torture and kill him. It certainly wishes to. Chelsea Manning was tortured for exposing a whole lot less, and Manning’s crime included revelations about torture and murder.

    Makes you wonder if the liberal Democrat support for torture, as shown by their support for Haspel, isn’t simply theoretical, but has a practical end in view.

    1. Pat

      When it comes to protecting their interests, all ethics, morals etc get thrown away like a used tissue. Not just torture, I always remember HRC wanting to assassinate Assange. I never thought it was because he was really harming the interests of the American people, but more that he was a danger to her backers and her. The treatment of Manning versus what happened to those behind the crimes she exposed, and the “look forward not back” policy of Obama as applied to the torturers like Haspel is just further proof.

      1. The Prescription Was Clear

        I disagree, unfortunately.

        I’ve stated this before:

        “It seems to me that one of the defining traits of neo-liberalism is elite decadence, the demant to enjoy and be left to their own devices and games. This translates to low ability to deal with unpleasant stimuly (let’s say critique) and poor discipline (needed for sustained action, completion and success), and finaly, strong drive towards fantasy-thinking.”

        One other thing it also leads to, is a nasty and histerical response when the offending stimuli can’t be shut-up or removed easily.

        Hence the persecution of those who vocally (or, if you will, noticeably) disagree.

  6. Marco

    Why is this all hitting the fan now? “Something” happened or the possibility of “something” happening. I see no clue in the WSWS post or Guardian pieces. Open to wild speculation from the NC crew. Could it be simply his declining health and Ecuador doesn’t want to deal with that?

    1. Alex V

      New, morally weaker leadership in Ecuador, combined with an even more emboldened security state (if that’s even possible) in the US

    2. RUKidding

      I’ve read that it’s very expensive to house Assange, plus there’s been allegations (not sure if there’s absolute proof) that he hacked in the Embassies network to access the Internet against their wishes.

      I am wondering if Ecuadorean citizens are getting tired of paying for him?

    3. PlutoniumKun

      There is a relatively new government in Ecuador and there are internal conflicts between the new and old presidents (supposedly left wing allies). I think its been pretty clear that there are power struggles going on within the government over its future direction (generally speaking, pragmatists vs idealists), and the Assange issue is just one side of this – from the Ecuadorian point of view, a pretty minor one.

  7. witters

    “Could it be simply his [Assange’s] declining health and Ecuador doesn’t want to deal with that?”

    Yeah, so expensive. Business is tough.

  8. Tyronius

    Mr Assange is a warrior for truth. A far more honest and honorable man than McCain, so of course he’ll be abused well beyond fullest extent of the law.

    Let no good deed go unpunished.

    1. TimH

      It doesn’t matter whether or not Assange is a lovely lad or a has the personality of a diseased hyena. It matters what unique reporting is enabled by him. Yes, it’s kinda interesting to see the backstory of what WL publishes or not in terms of political agenda. However what matters is that some of the big picture stories showing corruption and hidden agendas see the light of day. Those threads can be tugged to find more threads by those who care.

      The more stories showing that the D and R parties are 99% the same in what they actually do (while what they say is merely marketing to two distinct audiences) the better.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      they’ve successfully weaponized most left-leaning women by calling him a rapist for the better part of a decade, too.

      Defend pedophiles and laugh about them walking free? You can be the Dem nominee.
      Be accused of something and have it be in legal limbo for the better part of a decade? Death penalty.

  9. zagonostra

    Do the British people have a voice at all? Where is Corbyn on giving Assange safe passage.Those craven media outlets and personalities who don’t stand up for Assange will be remembered.

    We’ve arrived at a point where the government in Britain (and in the U.S) has no fear at all of it’s own people, they will go about pursuing their evil objectives knowing that they have “it” all under control.

    1. Clive

      U.K. governments have always, as far as I can tell (certainly since about 1950), been varying degrees of US sock puppetry. Some unkind wags might say muppetry, but let’s stick to puppetry for the sake of simplicity.

      Don’t worry about feeling naive; I’ve lived here forever — it certainly seems like that anyway — and it took me, oh, about 30 years to realise it.

  10. The Rev Kev

    As an Aussie I feel outraged that our government is quite happy to throw Assange to the wolves and it does not matter which of the two main parties that you are talking about. I guess that is one of the prices you pay for being one of the five eyes. He has managed to make himself a very large spanner in the works and what is really surprising is to see how different countries are trying to deal with him which reveals their true nature. The bogus charges put up by Sweden and other actions show that that country is now been pushed to the right to the point of breaking their own laws to accommodate other county’s interests. Their government seems to have drunk the neocon kool-aid the past coupla years.
    The UK government went absolutely feral and have spent millions mounting a guard on the embassy. More to the point, it came out that there was serious consideration on doing a raid on the Ecuadorian Embassy in a snatch raid and I cannot conceive how anybody even considered this as a serious plan while ignoring the diplomatic fallout of it all. It’s a good thing that we never had to find out. We know that in the US Hillary and others simply wanted him to be killed and you can imagine how they would be fully prepared to torture him and forget the law. I have to admit that the future does not look good for him and I cannot see popular support trying to shield him. Snowden must be saying that there but for the grace of god go I.

    1. John Wright

      Remember when some European governments (France, Spain, Italy) conspired to prevent the Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane from landing for refueling until it was forced to land in Austria and could be searched for Edward Snowden?

      Assange had a hand in this.


      “In April 2015, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange admitted to having deliberately leaked the false information about Snowden being on the plane to the U.S., as part of “special measures” to distract secret services. In response, the Bolivian ambassador to Russia demanded that Assange apologize for putting their president’s life at risk. Interviewed in August 2015 by the Bolivian newspaper El Deber, Assange stated that Wikileaks and the government of Venezuela discussed smuggling Snowden out of Russia aboard the presidential plane of either Venezuela or Bolivia.”

      Note that the Bolivian ambassador asked Assange to apologize, but not the officials of France, Spain and Italy who denied access to their airspace, the USA Obama administration that led the operation, or Austria, the nation who apparently was ordered to conduct the search..

      One can speculate what would ensue if Air Force One were forced to land by another foreign country.

      As has been suggested, the USA actions wrt to Manning, Assange and Snowden are all about signaling to other potential whistleblowers what will happen to them.

      It may be like a Mafia movie in which some dis-loyal family member is readied to be killed, as an example, while being told “It’s nothing personal”.

      It is all about the USA government controlling the message.

      1. For_Christs_Sake

        In April 2015, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange admitted to having deliberately leaked the false information about Snowden being on the plane to the U.S., as part of “special measures” to distract secret services.

        Clever ruse, that the intelligence community fell for it is startling.

  11. Wukchumni

    Let me throw a spanner into the works…

    Ecuador uses the U.S. Dollar as their currency. If the currency issuer was to apply financial pressure in a fashion, why you might accede to their demand, no?

  12. Dean

    I have to wonder about the leverage being applied to Ecuador behind the scenes by the US and the U.K. It must be significant.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Correctamundo, says John Pilger:

      Meanwhile, the US military was moving into Ecuador with plans to increase the pressure to hand Julian over to the US. We know this because it has been revealed by former ambassador Craig Murray that the US spent some $87 million to bring down the presidency of Rafael Correa, who gave Julian political asylum from US threats against his life and liberty.

      Now there is pressure on the new president [Lenín Moreno]. By April of 2017, the US was firmly in the position of wanting to go after Julian. They were all on board. [Mike] Pompeo, who has now been promoted to Secretary of State, wants to arrest Julian once and for all. John Bolton has just been appointed National Security Advisor and has suggested that the US government should wage a cyber war against WikiLeaks for revealing Clinton emails and the CIA hacking scandal. In 2010, Trump commented that those responsible for the WikiLeaks exposés should get the death penalty.

      Noting, the timing of this latest barrage of news stories seems odd, since all Foreign Minister Espinosa did was reiterate the Ecuadoran Government previous position.

  13. Johnnygl

    I think it’s worth thinking about how Ecuador’s dollarized economy factors in. That means US Treasury Dept can turn the screws a bit tighter than if the country had its own currency.

    I think Venezuela might be seen as an example for Ecuador, if they don’t play ball or get too cozy with China.

    1. Johnnygl

      Also, there’s few allies in S. America that Ecuador can lean on right now. That’s also a factor. Venezuela’s getting a kind of fiscal waterboarding with sanctions. The same could easily be done to Ecuador.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I agree. The reactionary backlash in LatAm has made it extremely easy for the US to isolate countries, and Venezuela is an abject lesson to anyone with thoughts of rebelling against the imperial yoke. That said, Lenín Moreno would clearly buckle (as he has already) before it got to the point of the US cutting off Ecuador’s supply of USD.

  14. Matthew G. Saroff

    Do I think that Julian Assange has a personal antipathy to Hillary Clinton: YES.

    Do I think that this personal antipathy is justified: YES.

    When someone advocates, albeit obliquely, for your torture and murder, one is entitled to take is seriously, and that is what Hillary Clinton has done.

  15. perpetualWAR

    If the US obtains Assange and tortures/kills him, this act alone may cause the revolt we’ve all been waiting for. They would permanently make him a martyr.

    1. Anarcissie

      I doubt if any significant number of Western folk care enough about Assange to engage in any serious revolt right out of the gate. However, grabbing Assange does seem to be a case of rolling the dice or opening the proverbial can of worms. It’s much more like the style of the rulers of the US to simply murder him anonymously — that may even be seen as a necessity — which in turn could set off various centrifugal processes, since it would highlight the reckless and profoundly amoral nature of the US ruling class. There is, for example, the crisis of the relationship of the EU with the US which is occasionally noised about in the boss media, as one must think seriously about lawless and perhaps deranged neighbors even if they are relatives, and take protective measures accordingly.

  16. Alejandro

    PR is no substitute for diligence. On the one hand you have a former President (Correa) with deeply rooted convictions, who understands the importance of journalism to inform, and a seemingly spineless successor with a history of meandering. On the other hand, there’s the seemingly relentless imperial project of criminalizing journalism and dissent. I’ve recently been asking if “term-limits” wasn’t an imperial project as well.

  17. Scott1

    Assange is the man in the SunKing room alone at the end of Kubrick’s movie.
    They gathered to see him on a big screen,
    Putin & Flynn & Stein, were stand out sit downs in the pictures.
    I do not know what Assange had to say.
    Celebration of RT, & truth as the best propaganda
    next to silence, or but necessary for positive & negative space in
    the photos, like life.
    “If your writing doesn’t get you in trouble, you’re probably not very good.”
    It is not the Government of the Clinton Unit that loves journalism & the truth
    you can’t steal because like the park, everyone owns it.
    It is the American people who love journalism & the truth.
    Or is it just John Cusak?
    Out to where for Assange? He needs armed protection if anywhere in the
    empire world excepting where Snowden is is what it
    looks like.
    For my purposes they are desirable to have on my side.

  18. Platonov

    I am Ecuadorean. In today’s local newspapers, right on the first page, with big headlines, there was an article on a contract for spying on Assange and more troubling, on the UK police and agents surrounding our embassy in London. I don’t have any doubt it was leaked by our own government. But it is important to remember that it cut off all contact between Assange and the outside world after he published a Tweet comparing Spain’s persecution of Catalan leader Puidgemont to the Nazi persecution of Republican Catalan leader Lluis Companys. Considering that previously, Spain’s Rajoy sponsored Ecuador’s application to join the EU visa-waiver program, to me it seems that this was not only a question of US pressure. Assange had been quite open in his support for Catalan independence since the referendum there last year, and obviously the majority of Ecuadoreans will value the right to travel to the EU (where there are large migrant communities) without a visa more than any defense of human rights or freedom of speech. But like many here I agree that if the Guardian is gloating about Assange being handed over to the UK, then one can be sure that El Donaldo’s government is now behind it.

    As to Correa vs Lenin as a struggle between Idealism and Pragmatism/Neolib sellout, well, one should remember that in his last term, Correa started pushing for Public-Private Partnerships, to the point that he risked massive opposition from the people on Santa Elena province by proposing that the main highway connecting it to the port city of Guayaquil and the rest of the country be handed over to a PPP that would charge more than 5 times the current toll fee. And commenter Alejandro is wrong in associating Correa with freedom of speech: the guy was notoriously thin skinned – remember the temper tamtrum he had when comedian John Olivier poked fun at his Saturday TV broadcasts. Correa was also notorious for getting out of his car and threatning violence on anybody (including children) who pulled the finger on him.

    But yes, compared to Correa, Lenin is a total sell out. If he wasn’t for the fear of popular discontent (which brought down no less than three presidentes in less than a decade), he would have probably taken Macri’s path. Another more serious problem with Lenin is that due to an accident he’s paraplegic, and needs to be constantly medicated to carry out the semblance of a normal life, and it shows. Recently he made a fool of himself by saying cancer is merely the product of unhappiness, as usual bringing up his by now trademark, silly references to quantum physics. Increasingly, more and more Ecuadoreans want Correa back; since it was Correa that made Lenin a presidential candidate, that begs the question if that was the plan all along, a demagogue’s “aprés moi, le deluge” trick.

    1. sd

      Thank you so much for sharing your voice from Ecuador.

      I know it sounds melodramatic, but it feels like once they get away with grabbing Assange – and I assume it will be during the wedding when all eyes are elsewhere – it feels like they will have been Carte Blanche just to grab anyone they don’t like.

    2. Alejandro

      >” obviously the majority of Ecuadoreans will value the right to travel to the EU”

      Not sure which “majority” you’re referring to, but if in absolute terms, I’m not sure this majority can afford to ” travel to the EU”.

      You make several mentions of “freedom of speech”, I would be very much interested in your opinion on what this means. You certainly seem to feel entitled to make claims, but don’t seem compelled to substantiate. Certainly you must realize that there’s a distinction between opinion and facts? And facts can be relevant or irrelevant, depending on the context. Would you agree that a role of journalism would be to sort these out?

  19. Ptolemy Philopater

    A million people need to surround the Ecuadorian Embassy to protect Julian Assange, the preeminent hero of our times.

    1. sd

      Chances, are they are going to grab him during the wedding. All eyes will be on Harry and Meghan. That’s my guess on the sudden flurry and sense of urgency about it all.

  20. drumlin woodchuckles

    Soon we will see if Wikileaks was allowed to grow into a genuine organization with personnel depth and functional staying power . . . or if it only ever became a projection of Assange’s personal will and will not outlive Assange’s effective ability to excercise power.

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