First Called ‘US Enemy of State’, Now Julian Assange Makes UN Appearance
First this morning, my time in Australia, he has been called an ‘enemy of the state’ by the US (see second story below) and now he’s at the UN!
There is so much more – much, much more – to the whole Julian Assange saga than many of us realise… as we will soon know.
sage’s post on Sergio di Modigliani’s blogpost which explained a lot of the real background to the Assange story is here: http://goldenageofgaia.com/2012/08/julian-assange-international-intrigue-and-whats-going-on-with-ecuador/
Julian Assange Makes UN Appearance
By AAP, Sydney Morning Herald – September 27, 2012
Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was beamed live by satellite from within the Ecuadorean embassy in London to Wednesday’s United Nations forum, when he called on the United States government to end its pursuit of his whistleblower website.
“It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks, to cease its persecution of our people, and to cease its persecution of our alleged sources,” Mr Assange told the Strengthening Human Rights meeting.
“It is time for President [Barack] Obama to do the right thing … not in fine words, but in fine deeds.”
Mr Assange sought asylum in Ecuador after failing to appeal against orders by British courts that he be extradited to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations.
Mr Assange denies the claims and fears his extradition will lead to his transportation to the US where he will be prosecuted for publishing a cache of confidential US diplomatic cables and documents on his website.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Wednesday said the position of Mr Assange had not been discussed during any of his meetings with international delegates while in New York. Nor does he have any intention of meeting Ecuadorian officials on the issue.
Ecuador request to Britain
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister will ask British authorities to give Mr Assange safe passage out of Britain in a bid to end the stand-off between the countries.
Ricardo Patino told a human rights forum at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Wednesday that he planned to meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague in the city on Thursday.
It will be the first talks between the two countries since the Latin American nation granted the Australian WikiLeaks founder diplomatic asylum in August.
“What we are going to ask is that they will grant him safe passage so his asylum can be effective,” Mr Patino said through a translator.
“We see this as a way not only to resolve the deadlock between our two countries, but also to protect the human rights of Mr Assange.
“The other question that’s in the air is: what if they don’t grant him safe conduct? Do we want to keep him 10 years in our embassy? Mr Assange would have to live there for 10 years without having the right to his life, his personal life, intimacy, the right to mobility.”
Mr Patino said Ecuador will “not back down” from its commitment to Mr Assange’s human rights
US Calls Assange ‘Enemy of State’
By Philip Dorling, Sydney Morining Herald – September 27, 2012
THE US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States – the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency.
Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with “communicating with the enemy”, a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.
The documents, some originally classified “Secret/NoForn” – not releasable to non-US nationals – record a probe by the air force’s Office of Special Investigations into a cyber systems analyst based in Britain who allegedly expressed support for WikiLeaks and attended pro-Assange demonstrations in London.
The counter-intelligence investigation focused on whether the analyst, who had a top-secret security clearance and access to the US military’s Secret Internet Protocol Router network, had disclosed classified or sensitive information to WikiLeaks supporters, described as an “anti-US and/or anti-military group”.
The suspected offence was “communicating with the enemy, 104-D”, an article in the US Uniform Code of Military Justice that prohibits military personnel from “communicating, corresponding or holding intercourse with the enemy”.
The analyst’s access to classified information was suspended. However, the investigators closed the case without laying charges. The analyst denied leaking information.
Mr Assange remains holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London. He was granted diplomatic asylum on the grounds that if extradited to Sweden to be questioned about sexual assault allegations, he would be at risk of extradition to the US to face espionage or conspiracy charges arising from the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic reports.
US Vice-President Joe Biden labelled Mr Assange a “high-tech terrorist” in December 2010 and US congressional leaders have called for him to be charged with espionage.
Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee – both once involved in presidential campaigns – have both urged that Mr Assange be “hunted down”.
Mr Assange’s US attorney, Michael Ratner, said the designation of WikiLeaks as an “enemy” had serious implications for the WikiLeaks publisher if he were to be extradited to the US, including possible military detention.
US Army private Bradley Manning faces a court martial charged with aiding the enemy – identified as al-Qaeda – by transmitting information that, published by WikiLeaks, became available to the enemy.
Mr Ratner said that under US law it would most likely have been considered criminal for the US Air Force analyst to communicate classified material to journalists and publishers, but those journalists and publishers would not have been considered the enemy or prosecuted.
“However, in the FOI documents there is no allegation of any actual communication for publication that would aid an enemy of the United States such as al-Qaeda, nor are there allegations that WikiLeaks published such information,” he said.
“Almost the entire set of documents is concerned with the analyst’s communications with people close to and supporters of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, with the worry that she would disclose classified documents to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
“It appears that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the ‘enemy’. An enemy is dealt with under the laws of war, which could include killing, capturing, detaining without trial, etc.”
The Australian government has repeatedly denied knowledge of any US intention to charge Mr Assange or seek his extradition.
However, Australian diplomatic cables released to Fairfax Media under freedom-of-information laws over the past 18 months have confirmed the continuation of an “unprecedented” US Justice Department espionage investigation targeting Mr Assange and WikiLeaks.
The Australian diplomatic reports canvassed the possibility that the US may eventually seek Mr Assange’s extradition on conspiracy or information-theft-related offences to avoid extradition problems arising from the nature of espionage as a political offence and the free-speech protections in the US constitution.
Mr Assange is scheduled this morning to speak by video link to a meeting on his asylum case on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The meeting will be attended by Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.
In a separate FOI decision yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the release of Australian diplomatic cables about WikiLeaks and Mr Assange had been the subject of extensive consultation with the US.