Contributed by Ben Wilson
According to a statement issued by the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday, Julian Assange may have his internet connection restored in part.
According to WikiLeaks, this came about after a meeting in Ecuador between the country’s president Lenin Moreno and two senior United Nations officials, the Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye.
There is little doubt that the enormous international movement in support of Assange has been a major factor, which is making the matter quite awkward for the Moreno government.
The move against Assange was influenced by a combination of Moreno’s policy to get closer to Washington, and pressure applied by Spain over Julian Assange’s comments over the Catalan independence movement.
Restoration of internet access, even if it is with restrictions is a significant victory for Assange and WikiLeaks. He will also be allowed to have visitors. Personally, this restores connection with colleagues, parents and children.
The down side is that what might be considered political comments are not allowed. How this is going to pan out is not known yet.
Washington is showing no indication of giving up its eight-year effort to get Assange on what are widely regarded as fabricated charges of espionage.
Assange gained refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, after the British government moved to have him extradited to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. Assange and his advisors strongly believed that this was a mechanism to have him rendered over to the United States.
The Australian government, setting its working relationship with Washington as its first priority, refused and continues to refuse to act for Assange, who is an Australian citizen. Not good enough. It is a serious dereliction of duty. Every citizen would expect that our government would intervene to make sure that there is no violation of basic human rights and there is proper legal process. When this gives way to political expediency, something is terribly wrong.
It is no secret that Julian Assange is being sought for the exposure of inconvenient truths, like the scale of political corruption and the massive corporate global tax avoidance system. This should never be forgotten.
Australian citizenship is pretty bloody useless when it comes to a crunch. It is not really worth having when various Australian governments betray and sacrifice their citizens for politically opportunistic reasons of the day.
The ‘Balibo Five’ journalists greg and the others were tortured tio death by Indonesia in the invasion of East Timor, Timor Leste. Our government carefully ignored their murderers. Yet Indonesian Radio announced “Indonesian army has taught the five Australian Communist journalists a severe lesson” This was broadcast on ABC on the 5AM and 6AM news, then silence, then denial it was ever broadcast. That indicated that Australia issued a ‘D Notice’ on that subject.
The dirty dealings between Australian governments and the USA over the imprisonment and torture of David Hicks for five years
by the Yanks at Guantanamo Bay is another case.
The Julian Assange case mentioned here also has a long history and is far from over as this goes to print.
We all need to question, “Just what is our Australian citizenship worth when a real crunch comes? History shows from past experience that it is worth BUGGER ALL if it is that our government is bullied by the USA or other governments, or that it is politically expedient not to do anything. We all now see that you can’t count on ‘your government’ for anything. With this lot of untrustworthy opportunists existing in Canberra now, it is worse than it has ever been. To be treated like the refugees on Manus, or far worse, is just as likely for any of us should it be politically expedient for the government to ignore our plight or to covertly act against us.