Julian Assange, Australian founder of Wikileaks and seriously threatened by the US for exposing US war crimes and US global subversion, has sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under threat of transfer to Sweden and thence rendition to torture and possible death in the US. Julian Assange had failed in his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face interrogation over sex-related complaints that have not resulted in any charges so far.
The Ecuadorian Embassy is permitting Julian Assange to stay at the Embassy under their protection while his request is considered. Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has slammed the Government failure to stand up for Julian Assange.
Similarly, the conservative Australian Coalition Opposition spokesperson for foreign affairs Senator Julie Bishop, has questioned the Australian Labor Government’s inconsistency in intervening in such cases. Thus the Australian Foreign Minister has personally flown to Libya in an attempt to secure the release of Australian mother and International Criminal Court lawyer Melinda Taylor. However the Australian Government merely offers the formality of consular assistance to Assange.
The Australian Labor Government is a slavish lackey of the US and offers a dishonest choice of words over the Assange affair, stating that they have not been “advised” by the US Government about any US legal action against Assange. However the ABC (the Australian equivalent of the UK BBC) recently broadcast a program about the ongoing US torture of US whistleblower Bradley Manning. This ABC Four Corners TV program identifies that “This Washington courthouse is where, it's believed, a Grand Jury has been sitting in secret, preparing a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, which will allow his extradition to America, and a trial for espionage. Australia's Government refuses to confirm this” and reveals an “email, from [US Government-linked company] Stratfor's Vice-President Fred Burton, [which] says: "Not for publication - We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Please protect.” (ABC TV Four Corners, “Wikileaks – the forgotten man”, 18 June 2012).
Julian Assange’s mother Christine Assange has commented thus on his seeking political asylum: "This is the last desperate effort because he is a political prisoner, but I hope the Ecuador government gives him asylum. As we speak I have got no doubt the Americans are intimidating Ecuador right now to try and back off. I'm hoping that they'll hold firm knowing that the world's people want this to happen" (ABC News, “Desperate” Assange seeks asylum in Ecuador”, 20 June 2012).
Assange’s bid for diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy was evidently based on an expectation of Ecuadorian sympathy. Thus when Julian Assange, while under house arrest in the UK, interviewed Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on his show, "The World Tomorrow" on “Russia Today”, Correa made clear his sympathy for Assange and Wikileaks and his opposition to US bullying (in 2011 Ecuador expelled the US Ambassador Heather Hodges after particular cables were released by Wikileaks). President Correa ended the interview by saying: "Cheer up. Welcome to the club of the persecuted" to which Julian Assange replied, "Thank you. Take care. Don't get assassinated" (see “Assange interview with Ecuador leader shows rapport”, LA Times, 20 June 2012). The warning was serious when one considers the appalling US record of killing national leaders it does not like, notably in Latin America.
A succinct history of Ecuador is as follows (updated from Chapter 5, “Latin America and the Caribbean – from European invasion, genocide and slavery to US hegemony” in Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since1950”, now available for free perusal on the web): pre-colonial sophisticated Inca empire; 1532, invasion by Spanish conquistador Pizarro; 1594, conquests by Spanish conquistador Benalcazar; 16th – 18th century, brutal enslavement and decimation of Indians; 1822, Spain defeated and Ecuador became part of Bolivar’s Greater Colombia; 1830, Ecuador seceded and became an independent entity; 1895, liberal revolution; 1944, further revolution; 1941, 1981 and 1995 border wars with Peru; 1950s and 1960s, increasing US-backed repression and malignant US involvement (hegemony, militarization, “running” leaders, secretly bombing churches to excite anti-communist sentiment); 1970s, oil industry commenced with subsequent massive environmental and social damage; April 29, 1979, under a new constitution. Jaime Roldós Aguilera was elected president but was killed (many believe assassinated) in a plane crash in 1981; 1981, 1995 Ecuador-Peru wars; 1999, Ecuador-Peru peace; 2000, military coup and revolution involving Colonel Gutiérrez, US-backed conservative Vice President Gustavo Noboa installed by military and Colonel Gutiérrez jailed; democracy subsequently restored; 2003, Gutiérrez elected (6th president in 10 years); 2005, removal of President Lucio Gutiérrez from office by Congress, replaced by Vice President Alfredo Palacio; 2006, Rafael Correa elected president.
William Blum provides a succinct summary of US involvement after the 2000 revolution and military coup in his book “Rogue State. A guide to the World’s only superpower”. US occupation or hegemony kills poor people. Thus 1950-2005 excess mortality from deprivation (avoidable mortality, avoidable death, excess death, deaths that did not have to happen) totaled 1.3 billion for the World, 1.2 billion for the non-European world, 82 million in countries occupied at some point by the US in the post-1945 era, and 1.4 million for US-dominated Ecuador. An even more succinct summary of post-1950 Ecuador circumstances considers US involvement, excess mortality and under-5 infant mortality: foreign occupation: Spain (within the pre-1950 era); none (post-1950); post-1950 foreign military presence: US (hegemony and military training); post-1950 excess mortality/2005 population = 1.404m/13.379m = 10.5%; post-1950 under-5 infant mortality/2005 population = 1.426m/13.379m = 10.7% (see Chapter 5, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since1950”).
Many believe that the US assassinated Ecuador President Jaime Roldós Aguilera in 1981 for being “uncooperative” (see “Ecuador”, Wikipedia). John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption": “Well, when I graduated from business school at Boston University, I was recruited by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and perhaps most secretive spy organization… And then I joined the Peace Corps. I was encouraged to do that by the National Security Agency. I spent three years in Ecuador living with indigenous people in the Amazon and the Andes, people who today and at that time were beginning to fight the oil companies… And then, while I was still in the Peace Corps, I was brought in and recruited into a US private corporation called Charles T. Main, a consulting firm out of Boston of about 2,000 employees, very low-profile firm that did a tremendous amount of work of what I came to understand was the work of economic hit men, as I described it earlier, and that’s the role I began to fulfill and eventually kind of rose to the top of that organization as its chief economist…
So if we’re caught doing something, if we’re caught bribing or corrupting local officials in some country, it’s blamed on private industry, not on the US government… Jaime Roldos was an amazing man. After many years of military dictators in Ecuador, US puppet dictators, there was a democratic election, and one man, Jaime Roldos, ran on a platform that said Ecuadorian resources ought to be used to help the Ecuadorian people, and specifically oil, which at that time was just coming in. This was in the late ’70s. And I was sent to Ecuador, and I was also sent at the same time to Panama to work with Omar Torrijos, to bring these men around, to corrupt them, basically, to change their minds… On and on, we can list all these presidents that we’ve either overthrown or assassinated because they didn’t play our game. But Jaime would not come around, Jaime Roldos. He stayed incorruptible, as did Omar Torrijos… And sure enough — it was interesting that Jaime Roldos’s plane crashed in May, and Torrijos said — got his family together and said, "I’m probably next, but I’m ready to go. We’ve now got the Canal turned over." He had signed a treaty with Jimmy Carter to get the Canal in Panamanian hands. He said, "I’ve accomplished my job, and I’m ready to go now." And he had a dream about being in a plane that hit a mountain. And within two months after it happened to Roldos, it happened to Torrijos also” (see John Perkins on "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption":, Democracy Now, 5 June 2007 ).
A powerful insight into how the US subverts, perverts and terrorizes countries in Latin America and around the world was given by Phillip Agee in his book “Inside the Company. CIA Diary”. Agee was posted to Ecuador where his job in the US Embassy was to “run” leading trade union and political figures who were “on the books” as CIA “assets”. It was immediately obvious to any informed and perceptive Australian readers who the corresponding US Australian “assets” were – and of course once you surmised such involvement the subsequent reported behavior of these individuals could be seen quite clearly as “fitting the mould”. Indeed recent Wikileaks releases revealed that several Labor politicians were US “assets” who regularly reported internal Labor Government discussions to the US Embassy in Canberra.
However a colleague of Phillip Agee in Ecuador had a much more exciting time running right wing terrorists involved in bombing Catholic Churches so that these atrocities would be blamed on socialists. In the 21st century the US Government was almost certainly involved in the 9-11 atrocity and the explosive demolition of 3 World Trade Centre buildings (Google “Experts; US did 9-11” ) , these atrocities being blamed on Muslim “men in caves”, with uncritical Mainstream media permitting the subsequent War on Terror that has egregiously constrained civil liberties and caused the deaths of about 9 million people so far from violence or war-imposed deprivation, the breakdown being 2.7 million (Iraq), 5.6 million (Afghanistan), 1.1 million (Somalia), and 0.1 million (Libya) (see “Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide”).
Al Qaeda was initially funded by the US and it is clear that Muslim-origin non-state terrorists have been huge assets for genocidal US imperialism. Phillip Agee resigned from the CIA out of repugnance for US torture and killing of dissidents in Latin America, the fate that is likely to be that of Julian Assange unless the Ecuadorians can resist US pressure and rescue him. The World is watching.
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Other articles in Editorial
Alan Hart and What It Takes to Struggle On 17 May 2013
On Political Precondition 16 May 2013
The Counterfeit Left 12 May 2013
In Praise of Richard Falk 06 May 2013
The Truth Tellers Lament in a Time of Darkness 02 May 2013
Freedom and High Anxiety in the USA 22 April 2013
Divestment at UCSB 16 April 2013
Israeli Massacre of Deir Yassin 15 April 2013
In Defense of Amira Hass 13 April 2013
|Timothy V. Gatto|