Ecuador or Guantanamo By Pepe
In a cliffhanger move John Le
Carre would be proud of, WikiLeaks superstar
Julian Assange stepped into the Ecuadorian embassy
in Knightsbridge, central London, on Tuesday,
requested political asylum invoking the UN
Declaration of Human Rights, and unleashed yet
another international storm.
Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino confirmed that the
Rafael Correa government in Quito is considering
the application; meanwhile Assange will remain
"under the protection of the Ecuadorean
Assange, in a brief
statement, stressed he was grateful "to the
Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of
Ecuador for considering my application."
Crucially, Ecuador had already
offered a residence
permit to Assange in November 2010.
surface, this is, still, all about ... sex. Last
week, the UK's Supreme Court finally rejected
Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden. He
is wanted in Stockolm for questioning about the
alleged rape of one woman and an alleged sexual
assault on another woman in August 2010.
Julian's groupies from hell The
Swedish case against Assange stinks to
Scandinavian high heavens - featuring a certified
man-eating prosecutor (Marianne Ny) and two
groupies, the vengeful, ultra-manipulative Anna
Ardin and the shy Sofia Wilen, both of which had
consensual sex with Assange.
It boils down
to Ardin exacting revenge on Assange - who traded
her sexual favors for the younger Wilen. It was
Ardin who convinced Wilen to officially make the
complaint of a sexual assault - duly directing
Wilen to a police station.
interrogation was not even finished when a
policewoman called the female prosecutor and got
an order to arrest Assange in absentia. That the
prosecutor issued the arrest warrant even without
having read a complaint - by Wilen or by Ardin -
proves this is not a sophisticated Stieg Larsson
Scandinavian noir; it's cheap smut.
happened on a Friday evening. On Saturday morning,
a sleazy Swedish Murdoch-style right-wing tabloid,
Expressen, splashed a photo of Assange in the
front page with the headline "Double Rapist".
According to leaked police documents,
Wilen was devastated; she didn't want to charge
Assange with rape. Her American boyfriend
testified that essentially she was uber-paranoid
about sex without a condom.
As for Ardin,
she told another policewoman on a phone interview
that sex with Assange was consensual - but would
be out of the picture if she'd known he was not
wearing a condom. By the way, she only remembered
to become outraged about the missing condoms after
a while; the fun 'n' games were not a one-night
Eager to prevent WikiLeaks from
making Sweden its HQ, the rabid Swedish rightwing
pounced, in force. It helped that their mentor was
no one else than Karl Rove - who had been advising
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, aka
Sweden's Reagan, for two years.
having warned Assange to destroy each and every
WikiLeaks file detailing a wealth of US military,
diplomatic and intelligence "secrets", or else,
the Pentagon couldn't care less if it was down to
cheap smut or any sort of manipulated honey trap.
The Pentagon is out to get Assange,
whatever it takes. By all practical purposes he
has already been secretly indicted. He's the next
Bradley Manning - on Imax 3D. A grand jury is
already good to go.
And this after a
Pentagon spokesman had already laid down the law,
on the record;
If doing the right thing is not good
enough for them [WikiLeaks], then we will figure
out what other alternatives we have to compel
them to do the right thing.
one-way ticket to Quito, please Assange has
until Thursday next week to lodge an appeal
against the UK court's decision at the European
Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The British
justices themselves said that if that didn't work,
Assange would be deported to Sweden by midnight on
July 7. Before the move to Ecuadorian territory,
his legal team must have weighted his bleak
Assange has been in custody and
on bail (over US$370,000, pledged by supporters)
in England since autumn 2010. Essentially he's
been under house arrest in a country house in
Suffolk, owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of
the Frontline Club in London; must report to
police every day; and must wear an electronic tag.
Assange, in a statement, stressed he was
applying for political asylum because his native
country, Australia - via Prime Minister Julia
Gillard - had declined, on the record, to protect
him; Sweden was "a place where the highest
officials have attacked me openly"; and the US was
a place where he is "being investigated for
political crimes" punishable by the death penalty.
What happens next is the stuff of John Le
Carre. Is Assange now immune from extradition?
Since he has in fact skipped bail, will London try
to arrest him? How will the Serious Organized
Crime Agency (SOCA) in England - which deals with
European Arrest Warrant requests - deal with this
mess? How will Assange leave the embassy and get
on a plane to Quito when he's still on bail and
liable to comply with an extradition warrant?
Right on cue, a concerted smear campaign
against Ecuador by US corporate media is already
on. The country is being derided for having "less
than one in three people with access to the Web".
Correa is crudely being depicted as a new bogeyman
worse than Hugo Chavez, able to "polish his
reputation as a defiant provocateur in the
relationship between developing Latin American
nations and the United States."
to Foreign Minister Patino, Assange has personally
written to Correa asking for political asylum. The
extent of the intellectual complicity between
Assange and Correa can be gauged by Assange's
recent, no-holds-barred interview with the
president on Russia's RT network. 
was during this interview that Assange actually
received an offer of political asylum (but not
directly from the president).
remains that Assange is not a fugitive. He has
every right to seek political asylum based on a
violation of human rights - in this case the very
real possibility of a dodgy extradition. Sweden
never offered any guarantee that Assange would not
be extradited to the US.
If Assange were
Chen Guangcheng - denouncing China's excesses -
the whole hypocritical Atlanticist West would be
rallying behind him. And all this is happening
while Dubya, Dick and Rummy (George W Bush, Dick
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld), the Three Lethal
Stooges, destroy a whole country and are allowed
to roam free.
For Julian Assange interview with President Rafael
Correa, see here.