Will Julian Assange Be Welcomed In The UK Or The USA? Let The Wrangling Begin

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JULIAN ASSANGE

Guess what. After six years, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has finally overstayed his welcome at the Ecuadorian Embassy to where he will be handed over to the British authorities, forthwith. The question is what will happen to him at that point in world history?

On July 21, 2018 Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept penned the following report, “Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?”

Excerpts:

ECUADOR’S PRESIDENT Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been confined to a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the President’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.

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LENIN MORENO

Moreno’s itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange’s denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain’s central government against protesters marching for Catalonia independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador’s decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange’s tweets about Catalonia.

(Presidential decree signed on July 17 by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, outlining his trip to London and Madrid)

“A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the President’s office, unauthorized to speak publicly, has confirmed to the Intercept that Moreno is close to finalizing, if he has not already finalized, an agreement to hand over Assange to the UK within the next several weeks. The withdrawal of asylum and physical ejection of Assange could come as early as this week. On Friday (7/20/18), RT reported that Ecuador was preparing to enter into such an agreement.”

“The consequences of such an agreement depend in part on the concessions Ecuador extracts in exchange for withdrawing Assange’s asylum. But as former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told the Intercept in an interview in May, Moreno’s government has returned Ecuador to a highly “subservient” and “submissive” posture toward western governments.”

Image result for IMAGE OF MAP OF ECUADOR“It is thus highly unlikely that Moreno – who has shown himself willing to submit to threats and coercion from the UK, Spain and the U.S. – will obtain a guarantee that the U.K. not extradite Assange to the U.S., where top Trump officials have vowed to prosecute Assange and destroy WikiLeaks.’

“The central oddity of Assange’s case – that he has been effectively imprisoned for eight years despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime – is virtually certain to be prolonged once Ecuador hands him over to the U.K. Even under the best-case scenario, it appears highly likely that Assange will continue to be imprisoned by British authorities.”

“The only known criminal proceeding Assange currently faces is a pending 2012 arrest warrant for “failure to surrender” – basically a minor bail violation charge that arose when he obtained asylum from Ecuador rather than complying with bail conditions by returning to court for a hearing on his attempt to resist extradition to Sweden.”

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JEN ROBINSON/ JULIAN ASSANGE

“Assange’s lawyer, Jen Robinson, told the Intercept that he would argue that all of that prison time already served should count toward (and thus completely fulfill) any prison term imposed on the “failure to surrender” charge, though British prosecutors would almost certainly contest that claim. Assange would also argue that he had a reasonable, valid basis for seeking asylum rather than submitting to UK authorities: namely, well-grounded fear that he would be extradited to the U.S. for prosecution for the act of publishing documents.”

“Beyond that minor charge, British prosecutors could argue that Assange’s evading of legal process in the UK was so protracted, intentional and malicious that it rose beyond mere “failure to surrender” to “contempt of court,” which carries a prison term of up to 2 years. Just on those charges alone, then, Assange faces a high risk of detention for another year or even longer in a British prison.”

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“THE FAR MORE IMPORTANT question that will determine Assange’s future is what the U.S. Government intends to do. The Obama administration was eager to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, but ultimately concluded that there was no way to do so without either also prosecuting newspapers such as the New York Times and the Guardian which published the same documents, or create precedents that would enable the criminal prosecution of media outlets in the future.”

“Indeed, it is technically a crime under U.S. law for anyone – including a media outlet – to publish certain types of classified information. Under U.S. law, for instance, it was a felony for the Washington Post’s David Ignatius to report on the contents of telephone calls, intercepted by the NSA, between then National Security Adviser nominee Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, even though such reporting was clearly in the public interest since it proved Flynn lied when he denied such contacts.”

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“That the Washington Post and Ignatius – and not merely their sources – violated U.S. criminal law by revealing the contents of intercepted communications with a Russian official is made clear by the text of 18 § 798 of the U.S. Code, which provides (emphasis added):”

Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates … or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes … any classified information … obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

“But the U.S. Justice Department has never wanted to indict and prosecute anyone for the crime of publishing such material, contenting themselves instead to prosecuting the government sources who leak it. Their reluctance has been due to 2 reasons: first, media outlets would argue that any attempts to criminalize the mere publication of classified or stolen documents is barred by the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment, a proposition the DOJ has never wanted to test; second, no DOJ has wanted as part of its legacy the creation of a precedent that allows the U.S. Government to criminally prosecute journalists and media outlets for reporting classified documents.”

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“But the Trump administration has made clear that they have no such concerns. Quite the contrary: last April, Trump’s then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now his Secretary of State, delivered a deranged, rambling, highly threatening broadside against WikiLeaks. Without citing any evidence, Pompeo decreed that WikiLeaks is “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” and thus declared: “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.”

“The long-time right-wing Congressman also explicitly rejected any First Amendment concerns about prosecuting Assange, arguing that while WikiLeaks “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice . . . they may have believed that, but they are wrong.”

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“Pompeo then issued this bold threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

“Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has similarly vowed not only to continue and expand the Obama DOJ’s crackdown on sources, but also to consider the prosecution of media outlets that publish classified information. It would be incredibly shrewd for Sessions to lay the foundation for doing so by prosecuting Assange first, safe in the knowledge that journalists themselves – consumed with hatred for Assange due to personal reasons, professional jealousies, and anger over the role they believed he played in 2016 in helping Hillary Clinton lose – would unite behind the Trump DOJ and in support of its efforts to imprison Assange.”

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“During the Obama years, it was a mainstream view among media outlets that prosecuting Assange would be a serious danger to press freedoms. Even the Washington Post Editorial Page, which vehemently condemned WikiLeaks, warned in 2010 that any such prosecution would “criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk” all media outlets. When Pompeo and Sessions last year issued their threats to prosecute Assange, former Obama DOJ spokesperson Matthew Miller insisted that no such prosecution could ever succeed:”

“But even that theory – that a publisher of classified documents can be prosecuted for assisting a source – would be a severe threat to press freedom, since journalists frequently work in some form of collaboration with sources who remove or disclose classified information. And nobody has ever presented evidence that WikiLeaks conspired with whomever hacked the DNC and Podesta email inboxes to effectuate that hacking.” (That could be changing.)

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“But there seems little question that, as Sessions surely knows, large numbers of U.S. journalists – along with many, perhaps most, Democrats – would actually support the Trump DOJ in prosecuting Assange for publishing documents. After all, the DNC sued WikiLeaks in April for publishing documents – a serious, obvious threat to press freedom – and few objected.”

“And it was Democratic Senators such as Dianne Feinstein who, during the Obama years, were urging the prosecution of WikiLeaks, with the support of numerous GOP Senators. There is no doubt that, after 2016, support among both journalists and Democrats for imprisoning Assange for publishing documents would be higher than ever.”

“IF THE U.S. DID INDICT Assange for alleged crimes relating to the publication of documents, or if they have already obtained a sealed indictment, and then uses that indictment to request that the U.K. extradite him to the U.S. to stand trial, that alone would ensure that Assange remains in prison in the U.K. for years to come.”

Link to entire report: Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange

10 comments

  1. Dear Mz. Gronda,

    I wonder if the visit that Mike Pence made to Ecuador in June of this year has anything to do with the eviction of Assange from the embassy? Because tRump has more or less attempted to portray the US press as an enemy of the state, and many of the ones he seems to hate the most were heavily involved in the release of the information provided by WikiLeaks, could there be a much deeper reason than what we assume? If Sessions is able to prosecute the news agencies that were involved in the publishing of those documents, would that not in effect destroy the Free Press in this nation? If one were to look at the timing of this action, happening shortly before our elections, it should raise concerns from all citizens. Could this be yet another link to the proposed imposition of a tRump run dictatorship? I can’t help but to think the “Treason Summit”, the absolute hate for the press shown by tRump and his proposals that seem to want to control the content of the reporting in the press, and the Military Parade to impress his BFF Putin during his proposed visit to this nation are not some how linked to each other in a way that will lead to major changes in our nation, and not good changes to say the least!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Crustyolemothman,

      President Trump would just love to follow up on everything you have mentioned. The good news, is that he is living in the USA, not Russia. He will be sat on bigly. Now is not the time for him to stretch his totalitarian impulses but to show a bit more restraint.

      He should be grateful for his parade. The visit from President Putin may or may not happen. There will be record breaking protests to contend with to welcome a visit from the Russian leader.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  2. In a way, Assange represents the universal hero, sacrificing himself to uphold our 1st Amendment – free speech/ expression. The world would be even more oppressive without whistle blowers like him. Yes he is unconventional and creative in his approach, but isn’t that the hallmark of good reporting? Edward Snowden is also another unsung hero in my book, I would consider them Russian agents b/c I’m sure they truly love humanity and Snowden said he had no choice but to expose the illegality and corruption… but he really loves his country! I believe these two men sacrificed a great deal for awareness and our freedoms. Safe passage to Julian, perhaps Russia will host him. 😉

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    • Dear Xena and 1EarthUnited,

      What happened is that Russia somehow presented him with all the stolen emails from the Democratic Party Convention, the emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Mr. Podesta which he shared with the US media.

      It is one thing to share with the public at large that one’s government is spying on its citizens at a level that they are completely unaware of ; or that it is resorting to practices of torture against its own laws and/ or international laws.

      It is another thing to use stolen material from one country to mess in the politics of another because you personally don’t like one of the candidates. At this point, he was acting as an agent on behalf of Russia.

      Thus I have no empathy for him whatsoever. He is no hero in my book. We’ll see what happens.

      I don’t want him used to attack the US media’s right to publish, free speech, etc.

      I do have more empathy for Mr. Snowden. He was the one who let the public know that the NSA was going too far in trespassing on the public’s right to privacy without their knowledge, with the excuse of protecting this country’s national security interests. If this is all he did without sharing other classified material with foreign government officials, then I am grateful..

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

      • Gronda,
        Thanks for the info. He’s no hero in my book either. He’s a thief. I remember when the emails were made public that there were people on Twitter commenting and some posted screenshots. I scrolled right past them. They were stolen. I wouldn’t read them anymore than I would purchase merchandise that purportedly <em?fell off a truck.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, I just found out the real reason behind Assange’s expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy!

        However, everyone is looking at the very tip of the iceberg, not noticing what’s underneath. And underneath is AN INVISIBLE color revolution, which has been successfully executed in Ecuador between 2017 and 2018!

        The reasons for the present Assange development is incomparably deeper and more far-reaching than anyone out there realizes or presents!

        RAFAEL CORREA, LENIN MORENO & ECUADOR’S INVISIBLE COLOR REVOLUTION:

        https://www.patreon.com/posts/urgent-analysis-20242234

        Like

        • iEarthUnited
          Keep in mind that Ecuador is not planning to send Assange to the U.S. They are suppose to be sending him to the U.K. That patreon article does not address how the U.K. plays into things.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter that if Ecuador does evict Assange from the embassy “it’s essential the UK not become party to any US effort to prosecute him for merely publishing classified information the same way journalists regularly do.”

          Greenwald, meanwhile, notes that a call to extradite Assange to the United States could suddenly see journalists cheering on what is essentially attack on a free press. He explains:

          If, as seems quite likely, the Trump administration finally announces that it intends to prosecute Assange for publishing classified U.S. government documents, we will be faced with the bizarre spectacle of U.S. journalists — who have spent the last two years melodramatically expressing grave concern over press freedom due to insulting tweets from Donald Trump about Wolf Blitzer and Chuck Todd or his mean treatment of Jim Acosta—possibly cheering for a precedent that would be the gravest press freedom threat in decades.

          That precedent would be one that could easily be used to put them in a prison cell alongside Assange for the new “crime” of publishing any documents that the U.S. government has decreed should not be published. When it comes to press freedom threats, such an indictment would not be in the same universe as name-calling tweets by Trump directed at various TV personalities.

          https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/ecuador-is-reportedly-getting-ready-to-turn-assange-over-to-u-k-authorities.html

          Like

  3. Dear 1EarthUnited,

    The US press is not as easily used …I take that back. But they are smart enough to figure out when their interests could be compromised and will not go easily into that good night…

    Most of us in the USA are zealous about protecting “Freedom of the Press.”

    i’m not fretting over this development at this point.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

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