Assange is an international symbol of the struggle for political transparency, 37 MEPs say

A letter has been sent by a cross-group of parlamentarians to the European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans to urge him uphold Assange’s human rights under international and EU laws

Signs of life arrived from the European institutions, regarding Assange’s case. A letter signed by thirty-seven Members of the European Parliament has been sent the Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, in order to express serious concern for the Wikileaks publisher after the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has validated the extradition request presented by the US.

“We deplore this decision”, the MEPs wrote, defining Julian Assange as “an international symbol of the struggle for political transparency” and pointing out that his detention is “only an attack to the right of information, which is a fundamental pillar of democracy.”

It is actually a key moment for the members of the House to highlight this, since just last April a new directive on whistleblowers was approved by the EU. As explained at the time by the spokesperson from the European Commission Christian Wigand, the new law is a broad agreement setting minimum standards in order to “ensure whistleblowers are better protected and protect them from retaliation.”

European Parliament

Actually, the 37 signatories mentioned the fact that the US extradition of Julian Assange would contravene both the European and the International Law. They not only reminded the Vice President that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations have requested to respect the Wikileaks founder’s right to mantain asylum status, but also pointed out that Ecuador, by allowing British autorities to arrest him, has exposed Assange to a real risk of human rights violations.

Embracing the qualified point of view of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, MEPS showed grave preoccupation that the extradition would put Assange at risk of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, they stated that “extradition is particularly problematic when the State of destination applies death penalty”. This is one of the cases where the right of non-refoulement is absolute. In other words, when in the extraditing Country capital punishment applies, the right not to be returned to conditions in which human rights are not being maintained to an acceptably minimal level must be always ensured, regardless of considerations of national security, political expediency and similars.

The parlimentarians who signed the letter also highlighted that Assange’s case falls unquestionably within those ones that are protected by the new European law on whistleblowers and recalled the fact that Wikileaks publisher in the past has been awarded by the European Parliament with the award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right of Information.

They closed the letters asking the Vice President to take action, and in particular to ensure that Assange gets the protection foreseen by the European Directive on whistleblowers itself, since the disclosure of State secrets operated by him was indeed carried out for the public interest.

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Assange “Rape” case

Updated 16/7/’19

Assange and Sweden

https://www.government.se/government-of-sweden/ministry-of-justice/international-judicial-co-operation/extradition-for-criminal-offences/

https://blueprintforfreespeech.net/document/sweden-whistleblower-protection-overview/

Nikos Vakolidis writes:

I think the Swedish will reopen the rape case so they could have and then extradite Assange. It will be less traumatic for the British government to extradite him to Sweden for rape accusations than give him to the USA. And it will be easier for Sweden and with less political cost to extradite him to the USA than it would be for Britain or Australia. I think their laws are perfect for that. It will be very diplomatic to say ” he didn’t rape them but we have to extradite him for conspiracy in computer intrusion”. It seems in the end that the EU hypocritically decided for the law of protection of the whistle-blowers now. They wanted to seem that they care for Assange, they avoid the political cost of not interfering to protect JA by announcing that law but they give 2 years to member states for changing their laws so Sweden can extradite JA before changing its legislations. Brilliant We must request that the legislation of every country should change immediately, I think.

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

SOURCE: Caitlin Johnstone

Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”

“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.

“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Over and over again that phrase showed up to be unquestioningly re-bleated by the human livestock known as the British press in all their reporting on the Assange case: No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. Something tells me they really want people to know that, with regard to Julian Assange, no one is above the law.

But what is “the law” in this particular case? What they are constantly referring to as “the law” with regard to Assange is in fact nothing more than a combination of ridiculous bureaucratic technicalities which can be (and have been) interpreted very differently, but are now instead being interpreted in a way which just so happens to lead to a truth-telling journalist being locked in a cage, awaiting extradition to the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

Now, the US is a Free Democracy™. When you are a Free Democracy™, you can’t just go around imprisoning journalists willy nilly simply for telling the truth about your government. That’s something other countries do, bad countries, the kind of country the US routinely invades in order to help spread Freedom and Democracy™. The US would never do that. But it would diddle a bunch of narratives in such a way that just so happens to achieve exactly the same result.

As we discussed yesterday, the Trump administration’s extradition request is accompanied by criminal charges which are based on the same information which the Obama administration declined to charge Assange for, a point which has been discussed in more detail in a new article by The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee. The Obama administration looked at the evidence and concluded that there was no way to charge Assange with anything without endangering press freedoms, then the Trump administration looked at literally the exact same evidence and said screw press freedoms, we’re going after him. They wanted to punish Assange and show the world what happens to a journalist who exposes US war crimes, so they changed the narrative to make it happen.

But they couldn’t extradite Assange from the UK if the British government didn’t legally have Assange in custody.

To get around this problem, the UK, which is functionally just a province within the US-centralized empire, used a bail technicality to justify his arrest. After the Swedish government decided to drop its sexual assault investigation without issuing any charges, Assange’s legal team attempted last year to get a British arrest warrant dropped for a bail violation which went into effect when the WikiLeaks founder took political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. The judge in that case, Emma Arbuthnot, just happens to be married to former Tory junior Defence Minister and government whip James Arbuthnot, who served as director of Security Intelligence Consultancy SC Strategy Ltd with a former head of MI6. Lady Arbuthnot denied Assange’s request with extreme vitriol, despite his argument that British law does have provisions which allow for the time he’d already served under functional house arrest to count toward far more time than would be served for violating bail. The British government kept police stationed outside the embassy at taxpayers’ expense with orders to arrest Assange on sight.

But they couldn’t arrest Assange as long as he had legal political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy.

To get around that problem, Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno found himself being courted by the US government, meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and reportedly discussing Assange after US Democratic senators petitioned Pence to push for Moreno to revoke political asylum. The New York Times reported last year that in 2017 Paul Manafort met with Moreno and offered to broker a deal where Ecuador could receive debt relief aid in exchange for handing Assange over, and just last month Ecuador ended up receiving a 4.2 billion dollar loan from the Washington-based IMF. And then, lo and behold, we just so happen to see Ecuador justifying the revocation of political asylum under the absurd claim that Assange had violated conditions that were only recently invented, using narratives that were based on wild distortions and outright lies.

In this way a kind of narrative funnel was created, funneling Assange from the embassy to British police on the imaginary narrative that Assange had violated asylum conditions and that he needs to serve time for a bail violation, which in turn allows for Assange to be funneled from the UK into the US on the imaginary narrative that he broke some kind of law by trying to help Chelsea Manning cover her tracks and avoid detection, which is all made possible by the fact that the government of Australia (another province in the US-centralized empire) has refused to provide any protection for its citizen. And the end result just so happens to look the same as what you see when a journalist tries to expose malfeasance in an overtly totalitarian government.

This is called Nice Guy Fascism. With a little narrative manipulation you get to act just like a brutal totalitarian regime and then say it’s not because you’re a brutal totalitarian regime, it’s because you’re deeply deeply concerned about the adherence to a specific interpretation of the bureaucratic technicalities of bail protocol. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law.

They keep saying “No one is above the law,” but what they really mean is “No one is safe from the law.” Our rulers are using Assange to show that they can get anyone who tells the truth about them, even if there are laws and policies in place which ostensibly prohibit that.

Manipulators love the rule of law, because they are able to twist it toward their infernal ends. It’s always possible to squint at laws in such a way that it allows them to be interpreted to the benefit of the powerful, which is why lawyers are often horrible human beings. All the most horrific things that have been done throughout the history of civilization have been carried out not by criminals but by law-abiding citizens, because they were perfectly legal under the ruling governments of that time. Genocide, slavery, torture, the use of the atomic bomb: all perfectly legal and state-sanctioned in their time.

They want you looking at “the rule of law”. They want you fixated on it. But really “the rule of law” is nothing other than a series of mental narratives which are treated as reality by existing power structures. Assange is a prisoner by narrative, because he punched holes in the authorized narratives of the powerful. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

Leaked Assange Court Transcript Sheds Light on US-Backed Ecuadorian Expulsion Plans

SOURCE

The Gateway Pundit has exclusively obtained a court transcript of an appeal made by WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in an Ecuadorian court, in which he accused their government of preparing to revoke his political asylum at the behest of the United States and United Kingdom.

Assange has not been heard from in public since March 28, 2018 after an executive gag order by the government of Ecuador. The following, unpublished, “leaked” transcript of Assange asking an Ecuadorian court for an urgent injunction (“protection order”) against his gagging and isolation is from October 29, 2018.

Journalists and media were banned from recording the proceedings, but a court record was later obtained through legal process and provided to The Gateway Pundit. It has never before been revealed.

“I have been in this embassy without sunlight for six years and essentially isolated from most people for seven months,” Assange told the court, “including electronic communication, the telephone etc, from my young children.”

“It has … interfered with my ability to work, to make a living, and with my deeply held principles that I have fought for all my life, which is to uphold the right of freedom of expression, the right for people to know, the right of the freedom of the press and the right for everyone to participate in their society and the broader society.”

Assange also told the Ecuadorian court that his gag order meant that he could not respond to false statements about himself.

“Due to my isolation, I have not been able to participate in the debates occurring around me and that has resulted in a climate of libel and fake news that might be expected for someone who has been in the business of exposing very large and very powerful corrupt organisations or organisations that abuse human rights.”

Assange asserted that members of the Ecuadorian Government had been involved in spreading information denigrating his character, something that he said saddened him given how proud he was of becoming an Ecuadorian citizen in 2017.

The publisher, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, went on to detail the importance of his work. He specifically highlighted his publication of US diplomatic cables which revealed hard truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There was no allegation that I had done anything other than what a journalist does, just that I have been a rather good one and effective one.”

The publisher stated that he did not apply for asylum at the embassy to live there. He applied so that he may go and live safely in Ecuador, but that the UK’s efforts to arrest him have made that impossible.

He went on to highlight the level of interference and security risks he faces at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed asylum for the past seven years. Assange spoke of signal jammers placed in the embassy to prevent him making phone calls, as well as repeated attempts by unknown persons to break through his windows at night. He said that someone had even attempted to breach the window in the early hours before this very testimony.

“I am an assassination risk. It is not a joke. It is a serious business,” Assange said.

The WikiLeaks publisher explained that he had claimed asylum on Ecuadorian soil on the basis that the country “was a democracy, that it respected the rule of law, that it was not a totalitarian, arbitrary or dictatorial State.”

Assange also listed key areas of the Ecuadorian constitution to protest the government’s gag order against him:

“Article 16.2, which says “all persons have the right to universal access to information and communication technologies.”

Article 66.2, which says “the following rights of persons are guaranteed: the right to voice one’s opinion and to express one’s thinking freely in all its forms and manifestations”.

Article 20, which says “the State shall guarantee the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.”

Article 41, which says “persons who have been granted asylum or sanctuary shall benefit from special protection, guaranteeing the full exercise of their rights” and that “the State shall respect and guarantee the principle of non-return,” meaning that refugees and asylum-claimants cannot be expelled.

Article 79, which says “in no case shall the extradition of an Ecuadorian be granted.”(Assange became an Ecuadorian citizen in 2017).”

Assange went on to discuss how political changes in Ecuador had caused his asylum to come under threat.

“Due to various weaknesses in the Ecuadorian Government, namely the split – which I do not want to have any part of – within the Government’s Party, it has become weak and it has therefore started to lean on the United States and the UK for various kinds of support and this has caused an undue amount of influence by the United States,” said Assange.

This agitated the Attorney General of Ecuador, who was present at the hearing along with the presiding judge. “I have decided not to remain quiet, given the malicious and perverse insinuations about what Ecuador is doing, it has been influenced by foreign States,” he said. He added that “Ecuador is a sovereign country.”

Last December the New York Times revealed the country’s president tried to sell Assange to the US for debt relief. Ecuador received $4.2 billion in a US backed IMF bailout on February 4. The US seeks Assange’s extradition over WikiLeaks’ 2010 publications on war and diplomacy. His alleged source, Chelsea Manning, was re-jailed last month to coerce her into a secret interrogation against him.

Assange’s testimony continued, and he asserted that the Ecuadorian Government is “positioning itself in order to violate the asylum.” He accused them of “deliberately leaking out to the press selective scandalous material” and gagging him so he cannot rebut the allegations.

“It’s all about setting the ground in order to violate the asylum, to hand me over to the United States. It’s come off the back of our March 2017 publication, the largest-ever in the history of the CIA, that resulted in many threats against WikiLeaks and, as of June this year, my alleged source Joshua Schulte, a CIA intelligence officer, was seized, put into prison, and they are trying to sentence him to 135 years,” Assange told the court.

“We know that Senators have written to [US Vice President] Mike Pence, telling him to tell President Moreno to hand me over.”

He noted that on June 28, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and that the White House publicly stated that “the Vice-President raised the issue of Mr Assange with President Moreno. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on the potential next steps going forward.”

“This is what we are talking about. So let’s not play games here. The Ecuadorian State, for various political reasons, seeks to violate the law and conduct a public campaign in order to make it acceptable to hand over a persecuted journalist to the United States as a result of pressure, well-documented pressure, from the United States Government,” Assange said.

On Friday WikiLeaks revealed that two government sources said Mr. Assange’s expulsion would be in a matter of “hours or days” leading to a public backlash against the government and the intervention of two UN Special Rapporteurs.

In response, Ecuador’s ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a menacing statement released at 3am this morning (GMT), stated that the revocation of asylum is a “sovereign act” but that his expulsion is not “imminent” — but declined to define what was meant by “imminent.”

In March 2018, Ecuador’s President took effective control of most courts, removing judges at will, even from the nation’s Constitutional court. Assange’s judge did not grant the injunction.

Assange has been living in the embassy since 2012 when when he was granted asylum. On Thursday evening, WikiLeaks tweeted that a “high-level” source within the Ecuadorian state has informed the publisher that he will be expelled “within hours to days” using the INA papers offshore scandal as an excuse.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is currently being investigated by the National Assembly of Ecuador for corruption, based on the INA Papers leak.

“The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019, allegedly uncovering the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a congressional investigation into President Moreno for corruption. Moreno can’t be summoned for a criminal probe while he remains president. He is currently being investigated and risks impeachment,” WikiLeaks reports.

Last Monday, this journalist visited Assange in the embassy and was locked in a room as an argument ensued between the publisher and Ecuador’s Ambassador Jaime Alberto Marchán.

Assange claimed that he was being treated as a prisoner, that they would not let him meet a journalist in a room that did not contain surveillance equipment, and that the Ecuadorian ambassador was acting as an agent of the US government.

Members of the US government believe Ecuador is in fact giving them what they want regarding Assange. A former senior State Department official told Buzzfeed in January, “as far as we’re concerned, he’s in jail.”

Further background

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Transcript JA Ecuador Court Intervention by Anonymous Cf4jDCM on Scribd

U.N. Against Extraditing Wikileaks Founder To U.S.: He Could Be Tortured There

SOURCE

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer is alarmed by reports that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, may be expelled imminently from the Embassy of Ecuador in London, saying he intended to personally investigate the case.

“In my assessment, if Mr. Assange were to be expelled from the Embassy of Ecuador, he is likely to be arrested by British authorities and extradited to the United States,” said the UN expert. “Such a response could expose him to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“I therefore urge the Government of Ecuador to abstain from expelling Mr. Assange from its Embassy in London, or from otherwise ceasing or suspending his political asylum until such time as the full protection of his human rights can be guaranteed.

“Should Mr. Assange come under British jurisdiction for any reason, I urge the British Government to refrain from expelling, returning or extraditing Mr. Assange to the United States or any other jurisdiction, until his right to asylum under refugee law or subsidiary protection under international human rights law has been determined in a transparent and impartial proceeding granting all due process and fair trial guarantees, including the right to appeal,” said Melzer.

“According to information I have received, Mr. Assange is at risk of extreme vulnerability, and his health is in serious decline. I therefore appeal to the Ecuadorian authorities to continue to provide him, to the fullest extent possible in the circumstances, with adequate living conditions and access to appropriate medical care.

“I am currently preparing a formal request to the Governments of Ecuador and the United Kingdom to carry out an on-site visit to Mr. Assange, and to meet with the relevant authorities of both States in order to assess the situation and risks faced by Mr. Assange in light of the universal and absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“Extradition without due process safeguards, including an individual risk assessment and adequate protection measures violates international law, particularly if the destination State practices the death penalty and has not disclosed the criminal charges held against the person concerned. Under such circumstances, the international legal prohibition of ‘refoulement’ is absolute, regardless of considerations of national security, political expediency or any other similar considerations,” the Special Rapporteur said.

Click here to read full statement at UN’s Human Rights