Contributed by Joe Montero
Reports have been carried away by the assumption that The new seems to have been on an assumption, that during his trip to the United Kingdom, President Lenin Moreno would make the announcement.While this may not be true, it remains that the position of the whistleblower is still precarious, and he needs his supporters to rally behind him.
An Ecuadoran Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement has this to say:
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador informs that neither the Head of State of Ecuador nor any of the members of its delegation will address the issue of Mr Assange’s asylum during his [Moreno’s] visit to the United Kingdom and Spain.”
Moreno’s visit will be “exclusively” devoted to the purpose of the visit, which is the Global Disabilities Summit in London.
Of course, this does not guarantee that anything else won’t be talked about in the sidelines.
As far as reports that Ecuador has already made a secret deal to hand over Assange to British authorities, this is what the Ministry says:
“The State of Ecuador will only address and encourage understandings regarding Mr Assange, within the framework of international law, with his attorneys and the British government. As for now, given the complexity of the issue, there is no short or long-term solution in sight.”
Although Maduro and his government are politically more closely aligned with the British government, there are other dynamics playing here. Moreno must consider domestic politics and the fact that Julian Assange is now a citizen of Ecuador. There has been a change in the government of Spain, and it is not clear how it is going to react to the matter.
Spain has been central to the recent developments. The former government was furious over his comments on the way it dealt with the Catalan independence bid and democratic rights, and it put immense pressure on Ecuador to act against him. This was backed by the governments of thr United States and the United Kingdom, which have been working for his extradition to the United States.
Assange does arguably have some protection under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations [viii], under Article 22, although this is disputed. In short it is a complex legal issue that has not been sorted out.
Nevertheless, there is no guarantee. Although the media reports have for now exaggerated what is going on, the situation could change dramatically within a short time. Should the worst come to pass, Julian Assange will need a great deal of international support, and it is important that this begins to manifest now.
To do this, the concerted campaign of propaganda to denigrate him must be countered. He has been falsely accused of being an agent of the Russians, without the presentation of one iota of evidence. The accusation hangs on the nail that that the release of the Hillary Clinton emails damaged her election campaign.
What the accusers forget is that these emails provided evidence of unethical behaviour, lying and worse. Julian Assange did not destroy her election prospects. She did.
The real reason that the United States seeks him, is that WikiLeaks exposed just massive scale of the tax evasion and money laundering activities of big corporations, and Washington’s illegal interventions in other countries.
Negative propaganda against him has been so intense, that even some people concerned about these activities have been convinced that he must have been doing something wrong. To be drawn into this swamp, is to in effect accept the covering up of far more important issues.
By rule of thumb, it is the same media outlets that are predicting his imminent expulsion from the Ecuadoran embassy that have been in the forefront of this propaganda effort.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have given ordinary people around the world and here in Australia will a valuable service; revealed how much we have been hoodwinked, and handed over the knowledge to do something about it. Ding this required courage to persevere against bullying. If we don’t we don’t have our measure of courage to stand up for them, we will end up participating in the attempt to silence an important voice, and we will be allowing a clamp down on our collective right to question the actions of the rich and powerful.