“All hands on deck.” — Randy Credico
On July 20, 2018, RT Editor in Chief, Margarita Simonovna, told the twittersphere that her sources had indicated that Julian Assange would be handed over to UK authorities in the following weeks or even the next few days. She added, “Like never before I wish that my sources were wrong.” However, it appears that her sources were correct. Yesterday, journalist Glenn Greenwald reported the same information adding that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s arrival in London was for the “concealed, actual purpose…to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange.” According to Greenwald, a source close to Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry and the President’s office confirmed that Moreno is “finalizing, if he has not already,” an agreement to hand Julian Assange over to the very same people who have been terrorizing him for years.
Although none of us really want to face the reality of what Assange might be facing, Greenwald dove in feet first. Here’s where the situation stands:
- Ecuador could withdraw Assange’s asylum as early as this upcoming week
- It’s unclear if the UK will or has given any guarantees that Assange will not be extradited
- The only known charge against Assange is a bail violation. However, it should be noted that he did not breach bail conditions when he first entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London although UK officials would have you believe as much. It would have been impossible for him to do so because the UK didn’t issue a bail warrant for him until twelve days after he entered the embassy and applied for asylum. Simply put, he sought asylum out of a reasonable fear that he would be extradited to the US, not to avoid a warrant that was issued after he entered the embassy.
- The bail charge carries a prison term of three months however he could (he should) get time served
- British prosecutors could argue that his failure to turn himself in over the bail violation (because he sought asylum prior to the warrant) was both intentional and malicious running the risk that Assange could be charged with “contempt of court.” This charge carries a two year prison sentence. Again, he should (but probably won’t) get time served if that happened.
Assange can fight the extradition and that will probably take years during which he will likely be kept imprisoned. As Greenwald noted, Assange’s “best-case scenario” is him facing at least another year in prison “despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime.”
And although other media outlets are allowed to publish classified information and leaks without the United States threatening to kill or imprison them for the remainder of their life, Assange is obviously not that lucky.
“Situation is critical.” — Anonymous Scandinavia
In case you missed it, the situation has been critical for awhile now and four months ago @AnonScan knew it. On April 1, 2018, they sent out a tweet stating, “For the past 16 hours we have been in Condition Red here. Recent events does not help.” Attached to the tweet is a screenshot of what is probably a key to an insurance file. Then, on April 5, 2018, they tweeted, “To Whom It May Concern We sincerely hope that below upper video can remain in dormancy, alternately be deleted upon succesful negotiations…” and included a screenshot of a video entitled, “Concerning Mr. Julian Assange,” that they had privately uploaded to Youtube.
However, as much as @AnonScan may have wanted the video to remain in dormancy, it doesn’t bode well knowing that they released it to the public yesterday because they had “deemed it necessary to make this message available.” The situation has obviously become that grave.
With reference to:https://t.co/DJEFNKNbc2
and concerning #SafePassage for Mr. @JulianAssange with #NoExpulsion we have deemed it necessary to make this message available.
Transcript follows hereunder.#Assange https://t.co/6kfTCt2aXQ
— Anonymous Scandinavia 🌐#ReconnectAssange #ActNow⏳ (@AnonScan) July 21, 2018
A transcript of the video (below) was also posted that explains their use of the hashtag #NoExpulsion, threats that Assange has been under, and steps taken to counter those threats.
And so it appears that we have spent months asking Ecuador’s president to #ReconnectAssange to the outside world and his family when, in fact, he never had any intention on doing so. This also means that Assange and those close to him have spent months under intense stress and pressure – more so than we originally thought.
Not only that, it is incredibly alarming that the UK is willing to use lethal force on a journalist and publisher who has never been charged with a crime (see OpKudo). I mean, what is this?? North f*cking Korea? It comes as no surprise that a bodyguard team has been hired to protect Assange from the psychopaths that are running the UK. I secretly hope they go Scarface on anyone who tries to put their hands on him. I’m kidding. Sort of.
“[WikiLeaks] ‘pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice … they may have believed that, but they are wrong.’” — Mike Pompeo
Let’s put this entire thing in perspective, shall we? The bottom line is that “the US government claims that Julian Assange as a foreign publisher has no rights–but that US law STILL applies to him.” This attitude from the United States is so absurd, everyone knows it, and Americans would be floored if, say, Russia or Iran tried to do this to a US journalist. And yet, that’s exactly what Assange is facing.
And no, Trump isn’t going to put a stop to this because he could have over a year ago and he didn’t. He’s literally allowing the process to happen as I’m typing this. And in a 2010 video that recently surfaced, Trump stated that those involved with WikiLeaks deserved the death penalty. Don’t forget that he hates leaks and leakers and has openly supported Jeff Sessions going after Assange.
The likely scenario of why Trump said “I love WikiLeaks” was to help his own campaign by amplifying WikiLeaks’ publications that revealed Hillary Clinton’s criminal behavior. You didn’t really think politicians were honest on the campaign trail, did you?
And there’s probably no real point in talking about the First Amendment as it pertains to Assange or how the US prosecuting a journalist threatens a free press and both foreign and American journalists alike because it seems like most people, including journalists, just don’t give a shit. So I’ll leave it at that.
“He can leave the embassy whenever he wishes…”
— Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot
As I’ve stated before, yes, he can leave the embassy because there’s no secret force field or armed guards holding him there. However, anyone who is spreading this nonsense, including Magistrate Arbuthnot who’s as dirty and corrupt as they come, is either purposely putting out this disinfo in order to persuade people that Assange is kinda the bad guy here who just won’t leave or naive enough to believe those who tell them this.
Two days ago, UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt publicly (and smugly) stated Assange will be arrested the moment he steps out of the embassy which undoubtedly will lead to his extradition to the United States.
“He is free to walk out the doors of the Ecuadorean embassy any times he wishes…At any time he wants to he is free to walk out onto the street of Knightsbridge and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.”
So no, he can’t just walk out of the embassy unless he wants to sign his own death warrant. More importantly, he has a right to asylum which I don’t think most people are understanding at this point.
“The arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end…” — UNWGAD
With all of this said you would think that multiple rulings in Assange’s favor would take care of this situation. However, Sweden, the UK, and the US have never been bashful about bending or flat-out violating international laws and human rights when it comes to Assange and it seems President Moreno, unlike his predecessor Rafael Correa, is just as shameless when it comes to heeling on the US’ command and ignoring the rule of law. The following is a list of laws, rulings or constitutional articles that the UK, Ecuador or both have violated or may violate (if Assange is extradited).
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
On December 4, 2015, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted the opinion that Assange was being arbitrarily detained and that he should not only be granted his freedom but compensation, as well. On February 5, 2016, they maintained that “the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.”
“The Opinions…are legally-binding to the extent that they are based on binding international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”
“The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by States in the procedure, the adversarial nature of is [sic] findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council. The Opinions of the WGAD are also considered as authoritative by prominent international and regional judicial institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights.”
Julian Assange noted that Sweden and the UK had an opportunity to appeal the decision but chose not to. He went on to say that, “They cannot now seek to object to the findings of a process which they themselves were involved in for 16 months. A jurisdiction which they submitted to, recognized, and, in part, founded together with their early involvement in the United Nations.”
UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency)
The UNHCR Cessation clauses call for Assange’s asylum to last indefinitely or until the circumstances surrounding his grant of asylum change. What this means is that Ecuador must respect his asylum until the threat of extradition to the US, torture and/or death has been removed which it obviously hasn’t been.
European Convention on Human Rights
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits the UK from extraditing Assange to the U.S. if it is likely he will face torture, the death penalty, and/or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Yet, even though US politicians have called for his assassination that doesn’t seem to be stopping the UK.
The Nelson Mandela Rules
The UK continues to deliberately thumb its nose at the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) which calls for “safe passage to a hospital, unimpeded access to care, and at least one hour outdoors in the open air per day.” Dr. Sean Love stated that Assange’s detention “amounts to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” and Assange’s attorneys have argued that “the UK shows a deliberate disregard for his medical needs by forcing [Assange] to choose between his human right to asylum and his human right to medical treatment.”
Ecuador’s Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens which makes it stunning that this might happen because Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship in 2017. However, it appears that President Moreno is willing to violate Article 79 of his own country’s Constitution in order to give the United States what, or rather, who they want.
What’s more, revoking Assange’s internet was a clear violation of Article 16.2 of the Ecuadorian Constitution which states “Article 16: All persons, individually or collectively, have the right to 2. Universal access to information and communication technologies.” But hey, how important really is a constitution when you can sell out your country’s sovereignty for a trade agreement, right?
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
There are two international bodies that have been established to monitor human rights in the Americas: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Accordingly, the job of the Court is as follows,
“The Court interprets the articles of the American Convention and other international human rights instruments on cases of individual violations of human rights, as well as inter-State violations of human rights.”
What’s important to note here is that the Inter-American Court can only perform its function with States that have allowed it to rule on such cases. In a case where a country has not accepted the Court’s jurisdiction, it must instead be brought in front of the Commission. Additionally, if a State hasn’t ratified the American Convention, the Commission must use the “American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.”
For the sake of Julian Assange, our concern is Ecuador. @AnonScan was nice enough to post an interactive map showing which countries had or had not signed and ratified the American Convention and you can find it here. If you click on Ecuador you’ll see that they signed the American Convention in 1969, and ratified it in 1977. What this means is that Ecuador has recognized the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ jurisdiction and that their decisions are legally binding.
And it would serve everyone well to read the American Convention because President Moreno is violating that, too.
The point in all of this is that the Inter-American Court issued an Advisory Opinion almost three weeks ago on the right to seek and receive asylum in a foreign country. Ecuador, while Rafael Correa was still president, requested the opinion and it couldn’t have been issued at a more opportune time. Based on the ruling, PopularResistance.org wrote,
“…it is the duty of nations to allow for the passage of successful asylum seekers from embassies to the mainland territory of the state that has granted an individual asylum. For Julian Assange, this would mean that according to the Court’s decision, Britain has a legal obligation to allow Julian Assange to exit the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in peace and allow for his safe transit to an airport from which he would be able to fly to Ecuador, the country that has granted Assange asylum and where he now holds formal citizenship.”
To say that this opinion was a big win for Assange is an understatement.
“…a short or long term solution is not in sight.”
— Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
If history is any indication, I doubt that the UK will honor the Court’s opinion. So what can be done if they decide to flagrantly ignore the opinion of a Court who had sixty-one Amicus Curiae briefs presented to them including the Amicus Brief of Assange’s legal team which was endorsed by twenty international law academics and nine non-governmental organizations? Ecuador is the country that requested the Court’s decision and according to justice4assange.com, and as I mentioned earlier, they are bound by the Court’s interpretation.
“This limits what Ecuador can and cannot do, and enables Mr. Assange to take legal action against the government if its actions are not congruent with the Court’s opinion.”
As for whether or not that applies to the UK, I’m not exactly sure but the problem also lies with Ecuador who appears to be coordinating with both the UK and the US to have Assange arrested and extradited. Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ released a statement about their trip to the UK stating that there is no solution in sight despite President Moreno recently saying that there would be “in the medium term,”
“The Ecuadorian State will only talk and promote understandings about Mr. Assange’s asylum, within the framework of international laws, with the interested party’s lawyers and with the British government. At the moment, due to the complexity of the topic, a short or long term solution is not in sight.”
“…due to the complexity of the topic…” Folks, this is literally how dirty and corrupt this situation has become. This topic isn’t complex and multiple legal bodies and Ecuador’s very own Constitution make it very clear that Assange’s asylum should continue and that he should be reconnected to the internet and phone immediately. More importantly, the Inter-American Court’s opinion which Ecuador is bound by and the UK has to honor, spells out the fact that Assange should be given safe passage to Ecuador.
The fact that this hasn’t happened yet tells us all we need to know.
“Shout it out and be heard.” — Erick Nova
First, I can’t overemphasize enough the seriousness of the situation. For example, furniture has been seen being removed from the embassy and whether or not that has anything to do with Assange, multiple, reliable sources have stated that Assange’s expulsion is imminent. This includes @AnonScan who knew this was coming three and a half months ago.
With that said, donate to the Julian Assange Defence Fund (JADF) or The WikiLeaks Official Legal and Public Defence Fund (here). If anything, Assange has a long legal battle ahead of him. Continue to contact your representatives or even former representatives. Do you know a high-profile attorney in your city? See if they’ll speak about human rights and how they pertain to Assange. Call the local news stations and ask if they’re interested in running a story.
Find a vigil or rally near you and attend. Another idea is to go online and see if your local universities and colleges have any student organizations that would be willing to support or even help set up a rally. After reaching out to numerous people, the only organization that’s been willing to set up a meeting with me is a local student organization. It’s something.
And yes, you can join an online chat or group but let me put it to you this way: Which of these is more apt to stop the UK from storming the embassy? 1500 people tweeting #FreeAssange or 1500 people standing in front of the embassy while it’s being live-streamed? If you don’t live anywhere near London, keep tweeting and join a chat. However, if you live even remotely near London, turn off the computer, get off your ass, and get over to the embassy. Trust me, if I could get to London I would and then Ciaron O’Reilly would have to put up with me because staking out the embassy to make sure Assange is safe is pretty much right up my alley.
Whatever it is you choose to do to support Assange, shout it out and be heard. And be prepared because in the words of Randy Credico, “We need all hands on deck,” right now.
Update: There is a vigil being held in front of the Ecuadorian embassy in London tomorrow, July 23, at 10am. For more see here.