RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Greenwald writes: "Given the travesty that is American justice, WikiLeaks' founder is entitled to seek asylum and well-advised to fear extradition."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (photo: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (photo: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)



Julian Assange's Right to Asylum

By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK

20 June 12

 

f one asks current or former WikiLeaks associates what their greatest fear is, almost none cites prosecution by their own country. Most trust their own nation's justice system to recognize that they have committed no crime. The primary fear is being turned over to the US. That is the crucial context for understanding Julian Assange's 16-month fight to avoid extradition to Sweden, a fight that led him to seek asylum, Tuesday, in the London Embassy of Ecuador.

The evidence that the US seeks to prosecute and extradite Assange is substantial. There is no question that the Obama justice department has convened an active grand jury to investigate whether WikiLeaks violated the draconian Espionage Act of 1917. Key senators from President Obama's party, including Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, have publicly called for his prosecution under that statute. A leaked email from the security firm Stratfor – hardly a dispositive source, but still probative – indicated that a sealed indictment has already been obtained against him. Prominent American figures in both parties have demanded Assange's lifelong imprisonment, called him a terrorist, and even advocated his assassination.

For several reasons, Assange has long feared that the US would be able to coerce Sweden into handing him over far more easily than if he were in Britain. For one, smaller countries such as Sweden are generally more susceptible to American pressure and bullying.

For another, that country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Swedish law permits extreme levels of secrecy in judicial proceedings and oppressive pre-trial conditions, enabling any Swedish-US transactions concerning Assange to be conducted beyond public scrutiny. Ironically, even the US State Department condemned Sweden's "restrictive conditions for prisoners held in pretrial custody", including severe restrictions on their communications with the outside world.

Assange's fear of ending up in the clutches of the US is plainly rational and well-grounded. One need only look at the treatment over the last decade of foreign nationals accused of harming American national security to know that's true; such individuals are still routinely imprisoned for lengthy periods without any charges or due process. Or consider the treatment of Bradley Manning, accused of leaking to WikiLeaks: a formal UN investigation found that his pre-trial conditions of severe solitary confinement were "cruel, inhuman and degrading", and he now faces capital charges of aiding al-Qaida. The Obama administration's unprecedented obsession with persecuting whistleblowers and preventing transparency – what even generally supportive, liberal magazines call "Obama's war on whistleblowers" – makes those concerns all the more valid.

No responsible person should have formed a judgment one way or the other as to whether Assange is guilty of anything in Sweden. He has not even been charged, let alone tried or convicted, of sexual assault, and he is entitled to a presumption of innocence. The accusations made against him are serious ones, and deserve to be taken seriously and accorded a fair and legal resolution.

But the WikiLeaks founder, like everyone else, is fully entitled to invoke all of his legal rights, and it's profoundly reckless and irresponsible to suggest, as some have, that he has done anything wrong by doing so. Seeking asylum on the grounds of claimed human rights violations is a longstanding and well-recognized right in international law. It is unseemly, at best, to insist that he forego his rights in order to herd him as quickly as possible to Sweden.

Assange is not a fugitive and has not fled. Everyone knows where he is. If Ecuador rejects his asylum request, he will be right back in the hands of British authorities, who will presumably extradite him to Sweden without delay. At every step of the process, he has adhered to, rather than violated, the rule of law. His asylum request of yesterday is no exception.

Julian Assange has sparked intense personal animosity, especially in media circles – a revealing irony, given that he has helped to bring about more transparency and generated more newsworthy scoops than all media outlets combined over the last several years. That animosity often leads media commentators to toss aside their professed beliefs and principles out of an eagerness to see him shamed or punished.

But ego clashes and media personality conflicts are pitifully trivial when weighed against what is at stake in this case: both for Assange personally and for the greater cause of transparency. If he's guilty of any crimes in Sweden, he should be held to account. But until then, he has every right to invoke the legal protections available to everyone else. Even more so, as a foreign national accused of harming US national security, he has every reason to want to avoid ending up in the travesty known as the American judicial system.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+95 # dfvboulder 2012-06-20 12:04
Yay, American exceptionalism!

Time to wake up, Americans. We ARE a fascist state.
 
 
+63 # NanFan 2012-06-20 14:07
The thing is "transparency" died on the guillotine in America a long time ago. People pay taxes and they have a right to know what their representation is, what's going on. So here comes WikiLeaks who puts out the truth to the people who pay taxes, and he's called a terrorist under some antiquated Espionage Act of 1917? The gestalt of this act is almost identical to The Patriot Act. Heap on the NDAA and the NYPD's search and detain law -- no matter what the reason -- and YES, America is a fascist state.

By using this law, America has revealed the truth of it, they've shown that it's been this way for a long, long time. Look at the history. Americans are told they have rights as long as they follow the laws. Meanwhile, internationally , the American government is propping up corrupt dictators and then crushing them when they no longer serve their purpose.

There is no TRUE justice in the judicial system of the US as long as these laws are in place and utilized to stifle the truth, to deny the people transparency.

I think Assange chose Ecuador purposely because the country has never been paid by Texaco/Chevron after Ecuador won a billions-dollar suit in the courts against the oil companies for polluting their nation. They have an axe to grind against the US. Assange knows this is leverage. I hope Mr. Assange gets his asylum. If not...American gulag awaits.

Fascist state, America? You bet.

N.
 
 
-57 # JackB 2012-06-20 16:43
What "transparency"? Who in their right mind wants total transparency in international relations. Everything said & done here in the US should be made available to all other nations? Everything? If the answer is "No, not everything" then there is not total transparency & if there isn't then someone has to decide what can be made public & what can't.

Right now the looney left appears to have settled on Assange & a disgruntled Army PFC as being the best gatekeepers of what information is made public.

I agree that Assange has every right to pursue whatever legal options are available to him. However I also feel this country should pursue all legal options against him. He & PFC Manning Have hurt this country & I think they should be held accountable.

If there really is someone dumb enough to advocate total transparency in international relations I would love to hear or read the argument that other countries would not take advantage of us.
 
 
+44 # Phlippinout 2012-06-20 18:11
The only people who hurt this country are the ones that support our aggression and murdering when and where we please. The video " Collateral murder" was disgusting enough to open my eyes to the filthy way the US military has abused its power.
 
 
+46 # PGreen 2012-06-20 18:44
Did you also feel that way about the pentagon papers? The irony here is that the "secrets" that Wikileaks exposed were primarily only secrets to the American people. That is why governments hide things-- not to keep secrets from other countries, whose intelligence can usually easily ferret them out-- but to keep unpleasant truths out of the domestic public eye, the media, and the international narrative. You are arguing not in favor of protecting America, but of enforcing the right of its elite to lie and conceal the truth from the public, and from world opinion.
 
 
+6 # NanFan 2012-06-21 12:06
Quoting PGreen:
The irony here is that the "secrets" that Wikileaks exposed were primarily only secrets to the American people. That is why governments hide things-- not to keep secrets from other countries, whose intelligence can usually easily ferret them out-- but to keep unpleasant truths out of the domestic public eye, the media, and the international narrative.


My point exactly!

N.
 
 
+17 # paulrevere 2012-06-20 19:31
Too much Rush...you realize that internal intelligence and state department inventories do a full throated scoff at any damage done by what has turned out to be mostly gossip and opinion in all those Manning released cables. Wikileaks biggest coup is in the release of the wholesale slaughter of the journalists and those attempting to rescue them in Baghdad...remem ber those horendous helicopter shots and the cold blooded behavior of its crew and support personel?

damned sobering stuff...or it should be to our moralizing chattering class...and it ain't!!
 
 
+20 # reiverpacific 2012-06-20 19:45
Quoting JackB:
What "transparency"? Who in their right mind wants total transparency in international relations. Everything said & done here in the US should be made available to all other nations? Everything? If the answer is "No, not everything" then there is not total transparency & if there isn't then someone has to decide what can be made public & what can't.
Right now the looney left appears to have settled on Assange & a disgruntled Army PFC as being the best gatekeepers of what information is made public.
I agree that Assange has every right to pursue whatever legal options are available to him. However I also feel this country should pursue all legal options against him. He & PFC Manning Have hurt this country & I think they should be held accountable.
If there really is someone dumb enough to advocate total transparency in international relations I would love to hear or read the argument that other countries would not take advantage of us.

You and your kind on the looney right are the dumkopfs! You've already been taken advantage of mate: it's call Corporate Rule.
Please wake up and smell the shit sprayed all over the country by the true rulers!
The world is seeing that more and more which is what Wikileaks was about in a large fault!
 
 
-10 # JackB 2012-06-21 14:55
The secrets were known everywhere but here in the US where they were really secrets??. Absurd. Of course they were secrets here. It would be moronic to have secrets from other countries & make them known to the people here. Anyone think it might be possible someone here would tell someone over there & then it's not secret anymore.

Anyone who believes in complete transparency can call Barry & have him make Holder release the info to Congress.

Just about everyone agrees the government hides more info than necessary. However does anyone seriously believe the two best people to put in charge of deciding what gets shown are Assange & Manning? At present they seem the people of choice.

The yardstick I use to decide what info should be released is simple - is releasing that particular info good or bad for this country?

I do not think there will ever be a perfect solution to this issue but I think it is essential that qualified (American) people make the decisions on what goes public.
 
 
0 # PGreen 2012-06-22 08:37
1) Simply secrets kept from the PUBLIC. You seem to think of the country as a single entity, which it is not. It is vast a conglomeration of special interest groups, governmental and private, with varying degrees of political and economic power. Many things are secret simply by tacit agreements between these powerful groups and the media (which is itself such a group) not to reveal information that might lessen the wealth, status or influence of such groups and their executives. Virtually all of what Wikileaks revealed falls into this category of "secret from the public," both domestically and abroad. Moreover, by publishing these "secrets", he entered them into public discourse-- the national and international narratives-- where they belong.
2) The function of the fourth estates is supposed to be to provide a counterweight to government and private power. Given that the media has corporate status, this seldom is the case. It takes journalists like Assange, who exposed more corruption and unethical behavior of governmental power than the combined establishment media, to return the profession to its proper role. Who do you favor? Dick Cheney? Donald Rumsfeld? Barrack Obama?
3) You may want to re-measure your yardstick. Some piece of information might be bad for a company, an executive, a government official or branch of government-- but good for the public as a whole. What is your opinion of the release of the pentagon papers and of Daniel Ellsburg?
 
 
+8 # alanvance 2012-06-21 13:53
I looked in Greenwald's dispatch in vain for the linked words "total transparency." They were not there. I found them in your response three times. There is a level of transparency that is short of total and which is vital if a democracy is not to wither. Opacity leads to ignorance, and we cannot afford any more of that.
 
 
+68 # DaveM 2012-06-20 12:11
Diplomatic sanctuary has a long and honorable history, and is appropriate in many circumstances to insure someone's personal safety while "matters are sorted out".

I am reminded of the case of at least one family who lived in the U.S. embassy in Moscow for some years out of fear that they would be persecuted for their religious beliefs. It is a shame that the United States cannot be trusted to act similarly in Julian Assange's case.
 
 
+86 # Guy 2012-06-20 12:20
I do hope that Ecuador does the right thing and give him asylum .Otherwise he will most definitely end up in the American gulag.
 
 
+46 # noitall 2012-06-20 13:54
Its a sad reflection on the lack of resolve of the American People that we do, in fact, still HAVE an "American gulag", one that has survived the leadership of BOTH political parties.
Orchestrated FEAR is an ugly thing that is fatal to ANY DEMOCRACY. "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary saftey, deserve neither liberty nor safety"-Benjami n Franklin.
 
 
-58 # Kiwikid 2012-06-20 14:48
The right thing, Guy? The right thing is to send him to Sweden to answer the rape charges he faces. Chris Tappin, an aging small business owner and UK citizen, would not agree that the British capacity to resist US extradition pressure is strong, as he awaits his fate before a US court for suppossed crimes committed running his freight forwarding company in the UK. Julian Assange may be the anti-establishm ents's darling. He wants transparency from everyone else, yet seems somewhat reluctant for the same standards to apply to him. Two women have accussed him of rape - it staggers me that fellow progressives are willing to overlook the seriousness of this in service of what is seen by many as a greater good. This is a character issue - let him defend the rape charges against him in court. How dare he seek to hide fom this by raising a straw man argument concerning the strength of US hegemony.
 
 
+38 # Stephanie Remington 2012-06-20 16:33
They haven't charged him with anything. He's wanted for questioning. But in Sweden you have to go to jail (no bail) even if you haven't been charged.
 
 
+3 # alanvance 2012-06-21 14:03
You'd think that that fact about Swedish treatment of persons suspected or charged with criminal offenses would be mentioned in one or two of that vast library of Scandinavian mysteries cranked out over the last decade.
 
 
+40 # Doubter 2012-06-20 16:43
I can smell a setup against Assange even with a lame brain due to a brain stroke. Manning and Assange will go down as heroes in future history books, should there be any allowed. Manning will be known as a hero AND a martyr. I hope Assange manages to avoid the second classification, but I fear some CIA assassin or a drone strike might eventually dispose of him.
 
 
-35 # Kiwikid 2012-06-20 17:25
'I can smell a setup against Assange' - The same things were said on this site by many leaping to the defence of Dominique Strauss-Kahn when he was pinged for allegedly raping a New York Hotel maid. While he slipped past that charge there can be no doubt that a practised womaniser with such contempt for women that he describes them as "luggage" had a case to answer. Let Assange face his accusers and see if he can vindicate himself. Time to stop hiding behind his celebrity and man up.
 
 
+15 # Valleyboy 2012-06-21 04:01
Remind me, did Strauss-Kahn ever get charged for that? The answer is no, which invalidates your point.

While I admire your faith in the Swedish judicial system I find it hugely naive. Anyone who follows how America operates and projects power can see this is a clear set-up.

The charges brought against Assange aren't even clear. At first it was rape, then the women came forward and said: "Oh, we actually consented to sex then decided halfway through we didn't want to"!

Another all too obvious connection is Carl Bildt, Swedens foreign minister. He is a neoliberal who shares all US goals.

Assange doesn't need to man up - he's already manned-up more than anyone like yourself could ever dream of doing.

Perhaps you need to take your own advice and wise up.
 
 
+12 # Stephanie Remington 2012-06-21 05:02
I wasn't among whatever group apparently made that claim about Dominique Strauss-Kahn and I see the two men and their situations as completely opposite. DSK holds a position of power, and – because of political maneuvering among the powerful – he got away with a crime. Julian Assange holds no position of power, but he exposed wrongdoing and crimes among people in power. So – because of political maneuvering among the powerful – he has been charged with a crime that has nothing to do with the real reason they’d actually like to get at him.

I don’t know whether he’s guilty or not regarding the sexual charge, although I have my suspicions. But it seems perfectly clear that if it weren’t for our government’s fanatic persecution of this journalist (and other whistle-blowers , at least one of whom has been brutally treated), the Swedish prosecutor would have agreed Assange’s request to be questioned in the UK instead of insisting that he must be imprisoned in Sweden in order to be questioned – assuming he wouldn’t drop the case entirely. And, in fact, if it weren’t for Assange’s quite justifiable fear of being extradited to the US, being indefinitely imprisoned here, probably abused or tortured, and possibly killed, he wouldn’t have had no reason to avoid going to Sweden to be questioned.
 
 
+26 # Phlippinout 2012-06-20 18:16
They are heros and i honor both of them. It takes bravery to speak out when things are wrong and I think after viewing the way the US military mowed down those innocent people and laughed about it will aid in their sleepless nights and mental illness. You cannot murder innocent folks and expect to walk away scott free, there is a little price to pay. I know I sleep good at night because my mind is not owned by the company store.
 
 
+20 # reiverpacific 2012-06-20 19:52
Quoting Kiwikid:
The right thing, Guy? The right thing is to send him to Sweden to answer the rape charges he faces. Chris Tappin, an aging small business owner and UK citizen, would not agree that the British capacity to resist US extradition pressure is strong, as he awaits his fate before a US court for suppossed crimes committed running his freight forwarding company in the UK. Julian Assange may be the anti-establishments's darling. He wants transparency from everyone else, yet seems somewhat reluctant for the same standards to apply to him. Two women have accussed him of rape - it staggers me that fellow progressives are willing to overlook the seriousness of this in service of what is seen by many as a greater good. This is a character issue - let him defend the rape charges against him in court. How dare he seek to hide fom this by raising a straw man argument concerning the strength of US hegemony.

O-o-o-o-h! Yer hate and self-righteousn ess glands are phuttin' big time.
He's just trying to escape extradition to one of the most mean-spirited injustice systems in the world for trying to expose what it is all about, like the late, courageous Phillip Agee who exposed in great detail the machinations of the CIA and it's black budget around the world and died in relative peace and freedom in Cuba.
Keep y'r head buried if you like but cut the judgementalism for that which you know not!
 
 
-18 # Kiwikid 2012-06-21 03:17
Maybe. You're willing to assume the worst of the various State's justices machines, and the best of Assange. I'm not understanding why that is. He does seem to have a case to answer. Until he fronts up he'll never be free. He'll always be on the run.
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2012-06-21 10:53
Quoting Kiwikid:
Maybe. You're willing to assume the worst of the various State's justices machines, and the best of Assange. I'm not understanding why that is. He does seem to have a case to answer. Until he fronts up he'll never be free. He'll always be on the run.

EeQuoting Kiwikid:
Maybe. You're willing to assume the worst of the various State's justices machines, and the best of Assange. I'm not understanding why that is. He does seem to have a case to answer. Until he fronts up he'll never be free. He'll always be on the run.

Ever heard the saying, so often proven true, especially by the likes of Assange, "All governments lie"!
So you are assuming the best of what has been proven unbelievable!
get real.
 
 
-12 # Kiwikid 2012-06-21 12:09
Naah. I'm clear a state will serve its own best interests - and its entitled to. So is Assange - ands he's clearly attempting to do this. Rather than lionising the man for his supposed heroism in broadcasting the secrets of the 'free' world (at this point I agree with JackB above) I'm more inclined to see most of what he does as self serving - his willingness to use his fame to get his end away points to this. No different from most other male celebrities). You can call me judgemental, self righteous, hate filled all you like. It seems to me that these rape complaints point to character issues which would call into question his primary motivation of setting the world free by exposing the truth. The US is entitled to see him as an enemy of the state, and Private Manning as a traitor. Bring on the red thumbs.
 
 
+5 # MJnevetS 2012-06-21 14:45
Quoting Kiwikid:
It seems to me that these rape complaints point to character issues
Sheesh, Kiwi, THERE ARE NO RAPE COMPLAINTS! Pause and re-read the prior sentence. Are we clear? I am a former prosecutor. I have very little sympathy for accused criminals, BUT he is not even an accused criminal. As a writer pointed out above, the two women recanted their original statements. Charges were never preferred, yet the prosecutor wants to have him forcibly returned to Sweden to 'answer questions' regarding allegations WHICH DO NOT RISE TO THE LEVEL OF A CRIME!
(One woman claimed during consensual sex the condom broke, yet he continued to have sex, though she didn't stop, she was upset about the broken condom. Yet, the next day, she threw a party for him at her home. The other claimed consensual sex with Assange, who wore a condom. The following morning, sex again, no protection. She claimed she was upset about his refusal, but sex consensual.) You indicate that "The US is entitled to see him as an enemy of the state", yet this ignores the legal protection that the whistle-blower statute is supposed to afford. As long as the documents were not obtained illegally, no news organization in American history has been charged based upon the publication of such documents. Why aren't you clamoring for the hanging of the New York Times (Corporations are people, of course). They published the very same materials released by Wikileaks which is a NEWS organization.
 
 
+7 # sgmp 2012-06-21 08:22
Quoting Kiwikid:
The right thing, Guy? The right thing is to send him to Sweden to answer the rape charges he faces. Chris Tappin, an aging small business owner and UK citizen, would not agree that the British capacity to resist US extradition pressure is strong, as he awaits his fate before a US court for suppossed crimes committed running his freight forwarding company in the UK. Julian Assange may be the anti-establishments's darling. He wants transparency from everyone else, yet seems somewhat reluctant for the same standards to apply to him. Two women have accussed him of rape - it staggers me that fellow progressives are willing to overlook the seriousness of this in service of what is seen by many as a greater good. This is a character issue - let him defend the rape charges against him in court. How dare he seek to hide fom this by raising a straw man argument concerning the strength of US hegemony.

But no charges have been filed...."he has not even been charged let alone convicted." Read more carefully
 
 
+7 # alanvance 2012-06-21 14:01
Assange does not face "rape charges." No charges of rape have been made. For the moment there are allegations, substantially withdrawn by the women who made them, and the professional curiosity of a prosecutor who does not seem to know how to find a judge. Contrary to what you assert, Assange wants transparency; the muddle of gossip and fractional fact retailed by Assange-haters is what keeps them from understanding that there are no charges and that there is a real danger that another human being could be chewed up by the American rendition and torture machine.
 
 
0 # Kiwikid 2012-06-21 21:53
I checked with both BBC news and the UK Guardian sites and there is no suggestion that the women have withdrawn their complaints - in fact the opposite would appear to be true. One prosecuter did withdraw the complaints and they were reinstated a couple of days later by another prosecuter (female) who has specialised in rape and molestation prosecutions. In her mind the complaintants were, and remain credible. Further, Sweden is no more likely a soft touch for extradition to the US than Britain. I can find no evidence that extradition proceedings have been initiated by the US. Jemima Kahn, one of his supporters who has posted bail for Assange, was caught off guard by his absconding, and believes he needs to face his accusers in Sweden. So do I.
 
 
+86 # universlman 2012-06-20 12:26
The US obviously seeks revenge for the embarrassment caused by Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. Making them fall-guys is a warning that state secrets in the form of routine communications are not and will likely never be considered fit for public viewing. I guess we can't handle the truth.

Good for Assange to turn to an obscure country like Ecuador for protection. It points out that our judicial system is not likely to give him fair treatment. Sadly, this is just further proof that our good old American courts, our banking regulations, our tax system and our system of electing politicians are no longer really fair.
 
 
+78 # paulrevere 2012-06-20 12:36
As a veteran of the United States military, I am PROFOUNDLY disillusioned by the government to which I served...PROFOU NDLY disillusioned.

In the name of WETHEPEOPLE, the rule of law is ignored, individual, small group and far too often corporate egos rule.

Observed from afar, one can only deduce that this is all an illusion of freedom and democracy.

I stand literally dizzy with sadness and disbelief.
 
 
-76 # chirostv 2012-06-20 12:55
Assange would be well advised to avoid any place where judges hang out and he might be subject to answering for his crimes. I don't think that would go well for this obviously sick and disturbed man.
 
 
+22 # paulrevere 2012-06-20 14:16
mirror mirror on the wall...
 
 
+11 # noitall 2012-06-20 23:20
That goes for most of your political leaders in this country...just in case you hadn't noticed.
 
 
+7 # noitall 2012-06-20 23:22
Wouldn't you want the person put in irons that opened the books on the crimes and capers that you were perpetrating?
 
 
+4 # MJnevetS 2012-06-21 14:49
Another Constitutional scholar. Guilty, until proven otherwise. In the meantime, punish him for crimes he has not been charged with. (Most embarrassing is that our president, WHO IS A CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR, acts the same way)
 
 
+23 # carurosu 2012-06-20 13:02
Good old U.S.A.. I miss you a lot !!!!!
 
 
+49 # tigerlille 2012-06-20 13:05
Interesting. If Assange were a Chinese national, seeking asylum from the People's Republic of China in the British or U.S. Embassy, the mainstream press would be his biggest fans. As it is, I just read an article describing his action as a "caper," and questioning how on earth he will get to Ecuador if the Ecuadorian government does grant him asylum. The path seemed pretty clear when they were reporting on Chen Guangcheng's recent request for asylum with the U.S. in the P.R.C.
 
 
+63 # reiverpacific 2012-06-20 13:09
Assange would indeed be well-advised to seek the protection of Rafael Correa, the most stable and center-lefty-de mocratic president Ecuador (one of my favorite countries to the south) has had since they began to cut ties with "El Hermano Grande at Norte" following in the wake of Chavez, Lula, Morales and now others who are forming a solid bloc of Latin-American resistance to decades and longer, of US corporate domination, usurpation and strangulation of their governments and support of corrupt military-indust rial dynasties that did their bidding, keeping their citizens under surveillance and fear like they are trying to establish at home -not without some success unfortunately.
There were four presidents in-and-out of power in Ecuador when I was traveling there to work and living in the late 1980's and I saw directly, some of the CIA/Corporate links working closely together, myself being eventually threatened for not playing the game by their rules.
Assange is no doubt more than aware of the vengeful and almost medievally spiteful nature of the US so-called "Justice" system (Ask Leonard Peltier and yes, Bradley Manning and so many others), which increasingly reflects Franco's Spain and others, so long buttressed my the Imperial death machine at home.
I wish him good luck and speedy exit from the UK to Ecuador, which will no doubt get Correa further up towards the top of the Fragmented State's shit-list.
 
 
+21 # paulrevere 2012-06-20 14:19
DISTINCTLY...a "medievally spiteful nature"
 
 
+28 # tomo 2012-06-20 13:24
A good article in all aspects. Ironic, is it not, that we who revolted against England in assertion of our human rights now need to hear from England that such rights are important! They are important. The only way an American can morally vote for Obama is if they think such rights are NOT important. And the reason American "reporters" are dismissive of Assange is that his example puts them to shame--makes it obvious how long it has been since most of those in the mainstream media have REPORTED anything worth attending to.
 
 
+21 # Art947 2012-06-20 17:41
The only problem is that the Mormon moron is an even worse choice!
 
 
+47 # rcossebo 2012-06-20 13:28
I am saddened by the vigilante way that we American's are going after this man and turning our backs on the atrocities that are happening in our own backyard, namely the wealthy 1% keep getting tax cuts while the middle-class and poor are footing the bill. Don't they remember the children's story about the goose who laid the golden egg? We, the middle-class and poor are the goose, you kill us off and you will have NOTHING! Who do they think makes it run while they sit on their golden thrones and send out their venomous, greedy demands of the masses?
 
 
+36 # wrodwell 2012-06-20 13:29
Some choices we'll have in the November election: Obama or Romney. The former talks like a good guy but acts like a bad guy with his paranoid security concerns and as a one man executioner via drones. If the latter choice wins, it will officially mark the end of America as we knew it, and the country will officially become a principality ruled by and for the rich. Welcome to the new Plutocracy. When oh when, will the American people realize that only a cathartic revolution will sweep away the rot. That's now our only intelligent choice otherwise, we'll become a nation of Wal Martians with even more ill-educated "consumers", a truly American term that has replaced the use of "citizen". Who needs to use the term "citizen" anymore anyway? It's as outmoded as America itself.
 
 
+1 # alanvance 2012-06-21 14:13
With the ending of the Age of Personal Heroism and the commencement of the Age of Death by Drone, I foresee an occasion upon which an American president, hanging a Medal of Honor around the neck of a uniformed computer nebbish, either chokes on the falsehoods in the citation or dies of a laughter-induce d stroke on national TV.
 
 
+43 # hobbesian 2012-06-20 13:32
We are insane; he should be very very afraid of the US. We hunt and destroy. We have NO IDEA how to behave in what for other countries is a civilized world. I am deeply shamed to be American. We throw infraction-guil ty people in jail to be killed by our wild inmates and DO NOTHING about it. SHAME ON THE US.
 
 
+21 # beeyl 2012-06-20 13:46
As always, Glenn, it's a terrific post that won't be copied anywhere else in the US media, which demonstrates one of the major points you make.

One note to RSN editors: the rule is that periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, i.e., before the close quotation mark.

***RSN MODERATOR***
Thanks for pointing that out. This isn't an RSN original, so we didn't proofread it.
 
 
+2 # Richard1908 2012-06-20 18:52
Quoting beeyl:
As always, Glenn, it's a terrific post that won't be copied anywhere else in the US media, which demonstrates one of the major points you make.

One note to RSN editors: the rule is that periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, i.e., before the close quotation mark.

***RSN MODERATOR***
Thanks for pointing that out. This isn't an RSN original, so we didn't proofread it.


beryl: Glad to see that you're really focussed on the issue at hand.
 
 
+39 # noitall 2012-06-20 13:50
Isn't it ironic that "the land of the free, the home of the brave" would be willing to imprison for life someone for revealing the covert acts that threaten our Democracy. Imprisoning Assange, in fact, gives an approving nod to those who are covertly subverting the truths that made this country identify itself as "the land of the free, home of the brave". That what this country wishes to do to Assange is a cowardly act, one that reveals America's ugly under-belly to the rest of the world.
 
 
+5 # geraldom 2012-06-20 14:15
I knew that an article was going to come out on this, & I also know that my posting will probably bring me a lot of heat.

I fully supported Bradley Manning & Julian Assange & Wikileaks in what they did, & I would be more than willing to tell that to Obama & Panetta & Eric Holder right to their faces. But, Julian Assange got me extremely angry for someone who is supposed to be a whole lot more intelligent than I am.

What Bradley Manning did by trusting the wrong person, or any person for that matter, in telling what he did, was downright stupid, but Manning had some emotional problems & some degree of guilt & doubt in what did, so I can understand why he made the grave mistake of telling someone who ultimately betrayed him & turned him in, but Assange should've known better than to hang around Britain when the heat came down from the U.S. & Sweden all of a sudden started threatening him about his sexual exploits with these ladies, who, to me, were part of a setup to eventually get Assange to the U.S. for prosecution.

Assange had ample opportunity to leave Britain for parts unknown or to countries that would've given him asylum. I believe that Iceland would have given Assange asylum & Venezuela as well. I would like to ask Assange why he couldn't see what many people like myself saw coming down the road, before he got himself trapped in Britain. Was it his pride & perhaps a little bit of arrogance that got him caught in the trap?
 
 
+24 # Group_Capt_Lionel_Mandrake 2012-06-20 15:43
Pride? Arrogance? A little bit of both. It would take a little bit of both to enable a person to carry out the heroic acts that Assange has done. Pride and arrogance are not crimes after all, and your posting is not really very important. I'm ashamed to be an American and ashamed of the United States.
 
 
+6 # geraldom 2012-06-20 16:48
I don't know who you are, & I've no idea what you mean by your remark that my posting is of no importance. I could very well say the very same about your posting. Pride & arrogance aren't crimes, & I never meant to classify them as such, but you're wrong when you say that it takes pride & arrogance to enable a person to carry out heroic acts such as the ones that Assange carried out. Bradley Manning is not arrogant nor does he seem to be the kind of person that has an overabundance of pride, but the two very important characteristics that both he and assange have which allowed them both to carry out their heroic acts which got both of them into trouble are courage and a strong conviction that what they were doing was righteous and justified.

Like everything else in the world, certain human characteristics should come into balance. Too much pride and too much arrogance can easily get one into trouble as it did with Julian Assange. It blinded Assange to reality. He thought that the British court system, unlike what has happened here in the U.S., was still nonpolitical and he found out to his shock that it wasn't. With Manning, it was just the opposite. Not enough pride got Manning into trouble.

I would have much preferred to see Assange leave Britain and head to a safer place before they closed the door on him. Assange may have made a fatal mistake by entering the Ecuadorian Embassy before asking them for asylum.
 
 
+17 # geraldom 2012-06-20 17:29
One other comment. I'm not certain as to why you are ashamed to be an American nor do I know why you are ashamed of the U.S., but I'm also ashamed of being an American & I'm also ashamed of the U.S. because of what we have become, the biggest terrorist nation in the world.

We're not a democracy. We never really were. We vote people into office in the hopes that they will carry out the promises that they made, to represent our hopes & our interests, but, once in office, there is no guarantee that they will follow thru on these promises. Barack Obama is one good example of this. Instead of completely repealing all of the heinous Bills passed under the GWB admin with Obama's support, Obama has not only fully embraced these Bills, like Patriot Act which is totally unconstitutiona l, he has put them on steroids.

The U.S. has become, for all intents & purposes, a Fascist state, a dictatorship controlled by the very rich & the very powerful.

I don't want to get too wordy here so I will simply tell you that if I didn't have to take care of my 98 year old elderly father, I would gladly leave this country in a heartbeat. Jon Stewart made a joke about Mitt Romney the other evening. He repeated what Mitt Romney said that undocumented immigrants would self-deport themselves without any pressure by the U.S. govt, and, in the same breath, Jon Stewart also stated that if Mitt Romney won that many Americans would follow right behind them.
 
 
+24 # cordleycoit 2012-06-20 16:00
Assange will be lucky to avoid the SEAL murder squads executing the Presidents unlucky choices of victim around the world . The US Navy has become the global Murder Incorporated or Zetas. Popping in to execute the good and the bad on the Obama's whim. He is our brother and in trouble, for being brave and telling the truth.
 
 
+16 # genierae 2012-06-20 16:02
Let's say that Julian Assange is given asylum. If Ecuador's present left-leaning leader should be replaced by a duly elected right-winger, does that mean that Julian Assange would be in danger again?

I remember an interviewer in Britain asking Mr. Assange if he thought he would be extradited to the US. He replied that it would be up to the American people. I hope that we will measure up to the task if that situation should arise.
 
 
+8 # jwb110 2012-06-20 16:28
I wonder who gets the Nobel Prize for this debacle?
 
 
+14 # ronnewmexico 2012-06-20 17:03
The US's true history as regards south and central america is a list of heinous despicable actions. Quite often taking elected officials from office and replacing them with henchmen doing our or corporate interests bidding. Paperwork released subsequent to the freedom of information act proves that so and has for quite a while.
Quite unfortunately we take what we were taught and who taught it at their word....freedom and democracy and rule of law, and now expect it.
Truth is....it never really was and now with the torture of those in Guantanamo and american citizens such as Bradley Manning and Jose Padilla, it bas become overtly obvious what it is.....
Now by the recent defense authorization bill we american citizens can be declared terrorists by military determination and be held without recourse or due process essentially forever. Our presidents recent object to this before agreeing to it....not that it was wrong.... but that it may be congress taking away his authority. A authority initially exercised by FDR against Japanese american citizens in World War 2. This is our creates elected progressive a person who did such things.
Sad but true this is america and its history....Juli an Assange.... you have not even that shallow protection of citizenship.... run for all you are worth my dear friend, found they will seek and find not justice... but revenge....such is their inclination.
 
 
+4 # bluepilgrim 2012-06-20 17:41
Ray McGovern and Kathy Kelley talks about it on

Flashpoints, for June 19, 2012 - 5:00pm
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/81641
 
 
+21 # frankscott 2012-06-20 17:47
Authority vindictiveness directed at those who alert the public to what goes on behind the plastic curtain of consumer capitalism’s steady destruction of earth - and even outer space where commercial efforts are underway to spread garbage and profit - is evident in growing police state suppression. The trial of Bradley Manning and the renewed threats to Julianne Assange are the tip of an iceberg that has formerly covert democracies moving closer to overt fascistic suppression of freedoms once thought the birth rights of their citizens. These two heroic figures are treated as treacherous criminals by the increasingly oppressive rulers of the west. Individuals are too often glorified or demonized by our culture in order to deny social responsibility and privatize the marketing of profits and losses, but Manning and Assange are true representatives of mass society and their individual personalities are far less important than the social work they do and have done for humanity. They need to be defended by any who truly want another world far better than the present one.
 
 
+7 # tigerlille 2012-06-20 20:55
Harold, you can't read Julian Assanges' mind, and you evidently don't
know him, so why don't you hold off on the judgement calls of pride and arrogance? You would have preferred that Assange had fled Great Britain, but obviously he did not. Why don't you give some thought as to why he might have made that choice before deciding that you might be more intelligent than he. One obvious explanation leaps to mind: I suspect that if he had fled, rather than following the
rule of law, he would have been persued and executed. Following the rule of law keeps the process more transparent than trying to go underground. The tremendous disadvantage of seeking asylum from Ecuador is that, as others have already pointed out, it is a country vulnerable to covert action, even drone attack. There are a number of U .S. retirees living in Ecuador, but I suspect that their presence wouldn't make any difference one or another unless they are connected or part of the 1%.

And BTW Harold, how do you know that Assange didn't make contact
with the Ecuadorian embassy beforehand? It would not have been disclosed if he had. This is a diplomatic waiting game now. We all just have to wait and see what transpires.

In the meantime, you might want to do some reading about what Suu Kyi says about the importance of the rule of law.
 
 
+3 # geraldom 2012-06-21 12:04
tigerlille, let's deal with the real world, not the imaginary nor the ideal world. Once Sweden magically appeared suddenly demanding Assanges personal presence for questioning on questionable charges of sexual misconduct while, at the same time the U.S. started raising its ugly head threatening to prosecute Assange, a non-U.S. citizen on nebulous charges of espionage for receiving & publishing highly secret U.S. data revealing war crimes & crimes against humanity, we all knew the jig was up. We all knew what was happening. The U.S. was attempting to get their hands on Assange thru the Swedish govt.

You talk about the importance of the rule of law. The rule of law, as far as the U.S. is concerned, went out the window a long time ago. The whole of the U.S. court system at the fed level has become rotten to the core. We now have, more often than not, Kangaroo court trials rather than fair trials. What happened to Bradley Manning, a U.S. citizen, who is a White Anglo Saxon Protestant, is a prime example of what's happened to our court system. Imagine what they will do to Assange if they get their hands on him?

Are you implying that Assange didn't leave Britain when he could've because he was trying to prove a point, that he is willing to become a modern day Jesus Christ, to be crucified, metaphorically speaking, in the name of the rule of law which no longer exists in the world when it comes to U.S. demands? Is that what you are saying?
 
 
+7 # amye 2012-06-20 21:20
I'm very sad, scared and embarrassed that our US judicial system is so frightful that an international person is trying to evade the US on international legal grounds. This says everything we need to know about our judicial system! We are not suppose to be some undeveloped country that tortures! If we don't protect him as an innocent human being until proven guilty, then what will happen to us as US citizens? We don't have access to the international community as he does! As such, where will we go when the judicial abyss grows so big as to take us down to the darkness for some insignificant infraction? Where or who can we turn to when they take us away as innocents until proven guilty for almost no reason? It seems all too reminiscent of Germany during WWII!!
 
 
+6 # RMDC 2012-06-21 05:03
This is the time for all Latin American nations to band behind Equador and demand safe passage to Equador. The US is harboring a known and confessed terrorist Jose Pasada Carriles who is wanted in Venezula and Cuba for blowing up an airliner. The US gives him sanctuary.

All Latin American nations must stand behind Equador or we will see powerful and covert actions against Equador. Suddenly Equadoran corporations will lose their banks accounts and insurance, most of which has ultimate control in London. Equador will be sanctioned by the UN security council. It will be demonized in world media -- much of which is controlled by US corporations.

There is no doubt that Assange would have been "rendered" from Sweden to the US where he would have been subject to the same tortures as Bradly Manning.

Now the world has a symbolic event on which to stand up against US/UK imperialism.
 
 
+11 # Valleyboy 2012-06-21 08:39
Correa may just be up to it - he's a very smart man.

I've just read about him in Vulture's Picnic - among other things he's a trained economist. When he came to power the international finance community didn't like it, so they decided to put the squeeze on Ecuador's foreign owned debts, make the economy scream and hope for a coup. Correa "leaked" news that he was gonna default on the debts whereby the value plummeted. He then brought all the debt for feck all, beating the vulture's at their own game!

So long as he can get support from Chavez, Castro & Morales I think they'll pull it off.
 
 
-20 # Dougded 2012-06-21 05:53
Yes, he has the right to asylum, in a federal prison. For endangering the men and women of the United States military.
 
 
+17 # Valleyboy 2012-06-21 08:32
It ain't assange that endangers the men and women of the united states military - it's the 1% that send them to invade resource rich foreign lands.

Assange's actions have opened the worlds eyes as to the reasons the US wages war, hence a lot less people will be fooled the next time. This will save 10's of thousands of us servicepeople and millions of brown/black skinned people.
 
 
+8 # Doubter 2012-06-21 14:04
He didn't put them (uselessly) in harm's way; their government did.
 
 
0 # Pikewich 2012-06-25 17:32
Another example of how we are no longer a country governed by the rule of law.

Our rule of law is a sliding scale of justice depending on what you can afford and who you know and what league you are in.

Starting with the corrupted supreme (not) court making the sale of our elections official and final through Citizen's VS. United, the willful torture and detaining of uncharged individuals, the treatment Bradley Manning before court and now, Monsanto poisoning us all and suing Vermont to make sure we have no idea which fooods contain their poisons, Fukushima reactors being cooled by thousands of tons of radioactive water which is being dumped into the Pacific Ocean causing radioactive levels in kelp off Ventura Beach to be already 7 times above normal ...

The list is just too long.

The US is officially a fascist state filled with ignorant dupes wired to FOX network.

With climate change rapidly making much of our planet uninhabitable, the coming years are going to be very different. What a shock it will be to so many when it collapses.
 
 
0 # fuster 2012-08-02 21:11
----" Assange is not a fugitive and has not fled."----

Greenwald is, of course and per usual, not really truthful.

Assange is most definitely a fugitive and has, after being in custody of the British authorities and exhaustively attempting to use the British judicial system in hope of being released from custody........ fled from that custody and slunk away to the sovereign territory of the Ecuadoran Embassy.

GG just ain't an honest man
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN