Thursday, June 21, 2012

ecuador or guantanamo?



atimes | In a cliffhanger move John Le Carre would be proud of, WikiLeaks superstar Julian Assange stepped into the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, central London, on Tuesday, requested political asylum invoking the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and unleashed yet another international storm.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino confirmed that the Rafael Correa government in Quito is considering the application; meanwhile Assange will remain "under the protection of the Ecuadorean government".

Assange has until Thursday next week to lodge an appeal against the UK court's decision at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The British justices themselves said that if that didn't work, Assange would be deported to Sweden by midnight on July 7. Before the move to Ecuadorian territory, his legal team must have weighted his bleak prospects.

Assange has been in custody and on bail (over US$370,000, pledged by supporters) in England since autumn 2010. Essentially he's been under house arrest in a country house in Suffolk, owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club in London; must report to police every day; and must wear an electronic tag.

Assange, in a statement, stressed he was applying for political asylum because his native country, Australia - via Prime Minister Julia Gillard - had declined, on the record, to protect him; Sweden was "a place where the highest officials have attacked me openly"; and the US was a place where he is "being investigated for political crimes" punishable by the death penalty.

What happens next is the stuff of John Le Carre. Is Assange now immune from extradition? Since he has in fact skipped bail, will London try to arrest him? How will the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) in England - which deals with European Arrest Warrant requests - deal with this mess? How will Assange leave the embassy and get on a plane to Quito when he's still on bail and liable to comply with an extradition warrant?

Right on cue, a concerted smear campaign against Ecuador by US corporate media is already on. The country is being derided for having "less than one in three people with access to the Web". Correa is crudely being depicted as a new bogeyman worse than Hugo Chavez, able to "polish his reputation as a defiant provocateur in the relationship between developing Latin American nations and the United States."

According to Foreign Minister Patino, Assange has personally written to Correa asking for political asylum. The extent of the intellectual complicity between Assange and Correa can be gauged by Assange's recent, no-holds-barred interview with the president on Russia's RT network. [1]

It was during this interview that Assange actually received an offer of political asylum (but not directly from the president).

14 comments:

Ed Dunn said...

I hope Assange gets it - whether people agree with him or not, he is the true blueprint and template of a 21st century leader.

CNu said...

BINGO!!!

Only one example I can think of smoother and more successful http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2011/11/occupy-origins-this-young-brotha-co.html

John Kurman said...

If, by 21st century leader, you mean a sanctimonious psychopath with no capacity for empathy or remorse, then I think you are right. But then, it's the fitness metric of our times, idn't it?

Tom said...

Funny things to try and single out Assange for ...

John Kurman said...

Not funny at all, unfortunately. But my experience is pretty much every seeker of the spotlight is fundamentally a self-serving asshole, and that the Dudley Do-rights are usually the biggest assholes of all. And Assange's behaviors to-date do nothing to negate that opinion.

Tom said...

Shrug. In stark contrast to his antagonists, he hasn't killed anybody. Even if you're right about his personality, why do I care?

John Kurman said...

"he hasn't killed..." Ah, now see, Tom. THAT's funny!

Tom said...

Assange is what JK Galbraith would have called a countervailing asshole. Spitzer was another. We could go around and nuke all the assholes who make life difficult for the Head Assholes, but I don't see how that would be in our interest.

CNu said...

rotflmbao..., I had no earthly idea folks struggling so hard with the basic notion of "people-centric" leadership - but precisely why I gave Micah White extra dap for getting the job done without putting his own nuts on the chopping block in the process. 21st century leadership 101 - keep the lights relentlessly on the psychopathocracy without ever letting them shine on yourself.

Ed Dunn said...

John, I didn't think about that before but now that you mention it - I agree a 21st century need to be a sanctimonious psychopath with no capacity for empathy or remorse.

They don't need to be popular, they don't need to be likable but they need to be good at getting the truth, getting information and disseminating it out for the critical mass to think on the information by themselves without convincing.

I don't believe for one second Assange was interested in Tunisia - those local people in Tunisia once they got that data the USA wrote about their leaders, motivated and empowered themselves to begin the Arab Spring. Assange never got on a bullhorn and told the Tunisians to stand up against tyranny - it was already in the people and the information worked itself.

That's a real 21st leader. Sounds to me John that you still admire the Rev. Al Sharpton style of leadership...

Dale Asberry said...

That's not psychopathy, that's a self-directed human-centric leader. Uninfluenced by the whims of others and directed by a higher purpose.

John Kurman said...

When I was an infant, my Uncle Ed observed, "John doesn't like much". It's not whom I admire, but rather whom I despise. Countervailing assholes who justify their poorly-thought out rash actions through the rationalization of a higher purpose - that's so 20th century - nay, Neolithic, and all it does ultimately is get a lot people killed, with no ultimate good purpose. None. I see no difference between the Bushes and Clintons and Stalins and Hitlers and Assanges and the Taliban. Incompetent fuckups every one. They should all them quit fucking twiddling the knobs. That's what I despise. Needless suffering.

arnach said...

Here's another: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/23/world/gene-sharp-revolutionary/index.html

CNu said...

http://youtu.be/dy2uYm7E1T8