Imminent threat to Julian Assange underscores need for global defence movement

By Mike Head - WSW - 23 July 2018

Bite Back


Credible reports indicate that Ecuador’s government is about to renege on the political asylum it granted to WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and hand him over to British police, possibly within days.

The reports also indicate that Assange would be subjected to lengthy imprisonment by the British authorities, perhaps for two years or more, pending extradition to the US, where he could face the death penalty on espionage and conspiracy charges.

These developments underscore the necessity to deepen the fight for a powerful international working-class movement for his freedom and for the defence of all basic democratic rights.

Urgent protests are being organised in many countries to respond when Assange is evicted from Ecuador’s London embassy. Click here for details. The WSWS endorses such demonstrations and urges its readers to participate. Such action, however, will be the beginning of a protracted campaign to defend Assange and oppose the increasing attack and censorship on critical voices and independent media on the Internet.

This week’s visit to London by Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno, ostensibly to deliver a speech at the 2018 Global Disability Summit, is likely to rubberstamp a conspiracy involving the Ecuadorian, British, US and Australian governments to incarcerate Assange, an Australian citizen.

The WikiLeaks editor has already spent more than six years effectively trapped in Ecuador’s embassy, and been cut off all communications with the outside world for since March 28.

Assange has not been charged with a single crime. He is being incarcerated because the ruling elites fear the impact of his media organisation’s ongoing, and invaluable, efforts to expose the mass surveillance, anti-democratic machinations and war crimes being conducted by governments and corporations, particularly the US and its allies.

The conspiracy to silence Assange and WikiLeaks has intensified in blatant defiance of rulings by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights calling for his protection. This repudiation of the international law of asylum underscores the anxiety in ruling circles about the work of WikiLeaks and other progressive web sites, particularly under conditions of an international upsurge in working-class struggles and deep popular hostility to the US-led drive to trade war and war.

In an Intercept article on July 21, journalist Glenn Greenwald reported: “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.”

Based on a discussion with one of Assange’s lawyers, Jennifer Robinson, Greenwald explained the pseudo-legal concoction being prepared by the British and US authorities to lock Assange away for many years.

The only publicly announced criminal proceeding Assange faces is a 2012 arrest warrant for “failure to surrender.” This minor bail violation charge arose when Assange obtained asylum from Ecuador after exhausting all his legal appeals against being extradited to Sweden to face a trumped-up “investigation” into sexual assault allegations and almost certain removal to the US.

The bail charge carries a maximum prison term of three months, and his lawyers would argue that his time already spent in a British jail should be counted against any such sentence. In 2010, on the basis of the European arrest warrant to answer “questions” in Sweden, Assange was imprisoned for 10 days, then placed under house arrest for 550 days.

Beyond the minor charge for breaching bail, however, British prosecutors are expected to claim that Assange’s alleged “failure to surrender” amounted to “contempt of court,” which carries a prison term of up to two years. This more lengthy detention would not only extend the silencing of Assange. It would permit the US authorities ample time to bring extradition proceedings, which could take up to three years alone.

Even before removal to the US, Assange would thus end up having spent more than a decade in prison or effective detention despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime.

Ecuador’s moves to terminate Assange’s political asylum are the result of intensive pressure on the Moreno government by the Trump administration, which has escalated the Obama White House’s machinations to get its hands on Assange. US Vice President Mike Pence visited Ecuador earlier this month to ramp up Washington’s demands on Moreno, who has shifted the country’s government sharply to the right to try to win favour from the US and the financial markets.

Leading figures in the Trump administration, including Attorney-General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have publicly declared their intent to see Assange arrested and imprisoned. Sessions last year said putting Assange on trial was a US “priority” and Pompeo, who was then the CIA director, branded WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.

Pompeo explicitly rejected any defence of Assange under the First Amendment in the US Constitution guaranteeing free speech. WikiLeaks, he said, “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice … but they are wrong.”

The US threats against Assange escalated after March 2017, when WikiLeaks began publishing a massive leak of CIA documents. The “Vault 7” files reveal that the CIA is hacking into the phones, PCs, servers, smart televisions and vehicle computer systems of millions of people in the US and internationally.

The Trump administration’s determination to put Assange on trial exposes the fraud of the propaganda campaign, spearheaded by the US Democratic Party, to slander Assange as a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Assange supposedly helped elect Trump by publishing revealing emails about Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

The Democratic National Committee has already shredded the First Amendment by suing Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing the emails. The emails showed that the committee, on Clinton’s behalf, sought to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the 2016 presidential nomination and that Clinton gave secret speeches to Wall Street financiers assuring them that she would protect their interests, regardless of any false promises she made on the campaign trail.

Swedish authorities finally dropped their “investigation” into Assange in May 2017, thus cancelling the European arrest warrant against him. However, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and the British courts still refused to cancel their own arrest warrant against him, nominally for absconding on bail.

The danger Assange faces was highlighted on July 20 by comments by UK Foreign Affairs Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was in Britain for ministerial talks. Hunt boasted that Assange faces “serious charges” and will receive a “warm welcome” from the British police once he leaves the embassy.

Bishop, in effect, washed her government’s hands of Assange’s plight, saying it was a matter for “British law enforcement authorities.” Her contemptuous remark signalled a defiance of a globally-broadcast rally conducted by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia, with the support of well-known investigative journalist John Pilger, in Sydney’s Town Hall Square on June 17. That rally demanded that the Australian government secure Assange’s right to return to Australia, if he so wishes, with guarantees that he not be extradited to the US.

As all these experiences demonstrate, Assange’s fate cannot be left up to capitalist governments and courts. We urge workers and young people everywhere to demand his immediate freedom, as a critical part of the fight to defend fundamental democratic rights. The vast social power of the international working class must be mobilised for his defence, independent of all the pro-imperialist parties, trade unions and media organisations that have lined up with the ruling class against him.

The author also recommends:

The Turnbull government must act to repatriate Australian citizen Julian Assange to Australia
[19 June 2018]

The Campaign to Free Julian Assange

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Assange will not be removed from the embassy.
He will instead be "removed from the embassy".

By Jim Stone - JimStone.is - 23. July 2018

PREDICTION:
I have frequently stated I do not make predictions, or do not like to make predictions.
This time I will happily make a prediction, and say it is going to happen just like I said.

Background

Assange has not been at the embassy since his "internet was cut" in 2016.

The Ecuadorian citizenship granting and revoking was just a ruse. If they really did give Julian Assange an Ecuadorian passport, he'd have slipped out during the night like anyone with any common sense would. That balcony is not too high to jump off of, he'd have easily circumvented the cops. But that's beside the point when his internet "got cut" within a few hours of Pamela Anderson bringing him a poison lunch. Who cares if she supposedly "returned", she's a deep state actor who would go to an empty embassy and fake it.

BOTTOM LINE:
No balcony appearance equals no Assange. He still has never stepped out on the balcony, which is something he'd do occasionally before. What made the big difference? Certainly having no internet would improve the chance he would, and not eliminate it. Ok, so that's the history. Here is what is going to happen now:
Ecuador is tired of the ruse. So they "want him out". Only, there's no Assange to be out. LOW AND BEHOLD, we have Assange "being released" right when there is video software being released where you can turn anyone into anyone via AI and produce fakes that can't be debunked. ONLY, they CAN be debunked, and I'll tell you how.

Here's the prediction part - the conditions under which Assange will be "expelled from the embassy":

  1. There will be no crowds and no witnesses from the general public.
  2. Having crowds and witnesses will require the production of hundreds of live videos from many many people from many many angles, all with their own distinct nature. Software can't do that yet. Perhaps it never will. so since software can't do that:
  3. Assange will be released "in the dead of night" and it will be announced "after he has been removed from the embassy". AT THAT POINT:
  4. We will get a video or photo of Assange in interrogation, and it will look real. They have enough video samples to know what he looks like. The actual video sessions will be of a real person, but the software will convert the appearance over to that of Assange. It will not be an animation script, it will be a real video where the appearance of Assange will simply be inserted via AI into a real, already existing interrogation video. It will look real.
  5. All videos and photos of Assange will be released by "media that is not fake" and all of it will take place in closed controlled sessions to explain why no one from the outside ever posted their own cell phone video of Assange to Youtube or anywhere else. If there are any "cell phone videos", they will be staged, few in number, and not very clear.
  6. Knowing how corrupt these people are, I would not put it past them to launch the career of a video blogger no one ever heard of who will be some sort of video hero, "to prove it is all real".
  7. At no point ever will Assange be paraded before a large gathering of the general public, who would be able to witness for themselves that he is real. If there are any videos from the "general public" released, it will be done with small tight groups that are within the realm of what could be accomplished cheaply and be kept a secret CLASSIC: There will likely be a video where reporters from the fake, controlled media eager to be paid well to front a lie are shouting questions at him, but the general public, aside from a few plants to fake it, won't be there.
  8. The court hearing will be a closed, controlled session with ONLY CONTROLLED MSM ALLOWED, not the general public. Once again, these people will happily front a fake for the deep state and fat pay. What they have done to Trump, ONLY TRUMP, as a single sole example (let alone the rest of their crap) proves it.
  9. Here's a thought: If Assange is "expelled from the embassy" in front of the general public with a crowd present, he'll have his head in a bag. They could also fake a mask, but at that point it becomes complex. They probably won't, too much could go wrong. But a bag would definitely do the job. One major problem with a mask would be that the actor would actually still have to be just like Assange, and be able to fake his facial expressions and act like Assange. Assange was not generic, that job would not be an easy one, too many people will be able to point out that "the face physically looks similar, but Assange's personal the expressions are not there, his expressions are those of someone else". So I doubt they will do a mask, but they might do a bag, IF they bother with doing anything at all, why bother with it when he can just be "taken without announcement THE WAY THEY DID IN A BLACK ARMORED VAN THAT PULLED UP TO THE EMBASSY, COMPLETELY BLOCKING THE DOOR FOR TWO HOURS, THE EXACT NIGHT AFTER PAMELA BROUGHT HIM A POISONED LUNCH.
  10. They already got him out of there once, why fake him getting out of there? Just "show him in interrogation" and be done with it.

Do not forget: All the top people at Wikileaks died within a month of when Assange first "got his internet cut". There is no such organization anymore anyway. No one who was around when Assange supposedly got cut off from the world is now around to confirm if it is him or not, and the general public simply does not know him well enough. The deep state hated Wikileaks, all the originals are dead, and it would be foolhardy to believe Assange was not taken out with them.

Especially after the Pamela/black van/"suddenly no internet" episode.

READ ALSO:
Martyrs to the Cause: Carter Page and Julian Assange

Interesting Tweet From Anonymous Scandinavia

and monitor:

Furniture is being removed from embassy of in amid asylum withdrawal reports.
https://twitter.com/AnonScan/status/1021022904333623297/video/1

#ConditionRed


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Nota Bene:

Inter-American Court of Human Rights hands down seminal case on right to asylum
which sets principles to govern resolution of Assange case

 

The key findings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights include:

  • Non-refoulment is a principle of “paramount importance”. An integral component of the right to seek and receive asylum is the obligation of States not to return a person in any way to a territory in which he or she is at risk of persecution, which is a binding rule of customary international law binding on all states: [177]-[178].
  • The principle of non-refoulement is not only fundamental for the right to asylum, but also as a guarantee of various non-derogable human rights, since it is a measure aimed at preserving the life, liberty or integrity of the protected person: [180].
  • It is the duty of the State not to deport, return, expel, extradite or otherwise remove a person subject to its jurisdiction to another State, or to a third State that is not safe, when there is a well-founded presumption that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In this context, the principle of non-refoulement is absolute and also takes on the character of a peremptory norm of customary international law, i.e. jus cogens. This principle is not limited to the risk of torture [181]-[182].
  • Article 22(8) of the American Convention prohibits the expulsion or return of any "foreigner" to "another country, whether or not of origin” where "his or her right to life or liberty" is "at risk of being violated on account of race, nationality, religion, social status or political opinions”. This applies to all foreigners, including asylum seekers and refugees: [185]-[186]. This is of extra-territorial application, with broad scope of application without geographical limitations in circumstances where the State has authority or effective control over the person, including in embassies: [187]-[188]. The Court noted that this principle that the principle of non-refoulment applies to individuals inside embassies has been affirmed by the European Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee: [189].
  • The principle of non-refoulment is enforceable by any foreign person inside the embassy of a state and includes acts performed by immigration or border officials and diplomatic officials: [192].
  • This applies to situations of “indirect return”, i.e. where a person is expelled or returned to another country (for e.g. the United Kingdom) but may subsequently be expelled or returned or extradited to a third state (for e.g. the United States): [193].
  • States have specific obligations, under the principle of non-refoulment, to conduct individualised risk assessment and appropriate protective measures, including measures against arbitrary detention, where a person has applied for protection inside a diplomatic mission: [194]. If a risk of return to a third country exists, the person should not be expelled or returned: [195]-[196].
  • A person “cannot be left in limbo indefinitely” and diplomatic measures must be taken to request to the territorial state (i.e. the United Kingdom) to permit safe passage or another measures, in accordance with international law, to ensure those applying for asylum have their Convention rights respected: [198].
  • The Court emphasised that the duty of cooperation among states in the promotion and protection of human rights is a rule erga omnes in nature in that it is binding on all states: [199].