Notes to the people Arrest of Julian Assange Revealing true nature of democracy in USA and UK
Posted on April 18th, 2019

By Sumanasiri Liyanage Courtesy Ceylon Today

Edward Snowden once advised us to shed critical light on a once secret history.” Nonetheless, as he himself experiences, it is a dangerous business. Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, was last week expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy and abducted by London Metropolitan police at the gate of the embassy and is now in danger of extradition to the USA.

The first question that is to be asked is who is Julian Assange (JA) why he was forced to ask for refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he was hiding for almost seven years. JA, the founder of WikiLeaks, exposed Western war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revealed some of the lies that George Bush and Tony Blair used to justify mass murder in the two countries. 

In 2010 WikiLeaks released about 470,000 classified military documents concerning the American and British invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. It later released a further tranche of more than 250,000 classified USA diplomatic cables that included inter alia the USA intervention in Sri Lanka.

Question No. 2

Why did the Ecuadorian Embassy that gave refuge to JA for almost seven years decide to expel JA at this juncture from the embassy premises? When Rafael Correa was the President of Ecuador, he adopted an anti-imperialist policy in association with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

 He did not accede to the pressure of the powerful imperialist regime. Correa’s successor, Lenin Moreno was different as he capitulated on every issue to US imperialism. 

Thus, Moreno decided to hand over JA to British authority. Moreover, there is an interesting coincidence. The International Monetary Fund has agreed to grant an Extended Fund Facility worth of 4.2 billion dollars to Moreno’s Government. This happened in March 2019. The sell sellout has happened on 11 April 2019. 

If this apparent coincidence demonstrates real global manipulation then we have to conclude that there was a global conspiracy against JA and his work to which I will turn shortly. In this game, IMF is not an innocent partner that is only interested in helping poor countries to overcome their short-term financial issues. 

So one can easily understand as I argued in my last week column why Bolivia had decided to disengage with the IMF.

JA’s wrongdoing

What are the charges against JA? As Diane Abbot a leading personnel of Jeramy Corbyn’s shadow Cabinet put it nicely in her statement at the British Parliament in following words:

On this side of the house, we want to make the point that the reason we are debating Julian Assange this afternoon even though the only charge he may face in this country is in relation to his bail hearings – is entirely to do with the whistleblowing activities of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

 It is this whistleblowing activity into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US administration. 

It is for this reason that they have once more issued an extradition warrant against Julian Assange. Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect USA national security, he is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by the USA administrations and their military forces.”

The wrongdoing of JA is not just revealing wrongdoing of the USA and Western powers; it is exposing them and making them available to any interested citizen of the world. 

The States do not wish citizen’s to know what the States are doing behind the back of their citizens and in the name of democracy. What WikiLeaks and JA did is shedding critical lights” on secret engagements of the State and military bureaucracy of the powerful nations. WikiLeaks have made so-called secret knowledge available to anyone with a computer and internet connection. 

How did the US and powerful authorities respond? Tariq Ali has answered this question in the following words: The response of USA institutions has been hysterical and comical. The Library of Congress, blocked Internet access to WikiLeaks. 

The USA National Archives even blocked searches of its own database for the phrase WikiLeaks.” So absurd did the taboo become that, like a dog snapping mindlessly at everything, eventually it found its mark — its own tail”.

What will happen to JA?

The USA has issued once again an extradition warrant against JA. The only punishable act he had done inside the UK was the minor offence of avoidance of being arrested when Swedish Government ordered extradition charge against him. 

However, if in the case of sending him to the US, the US may expand the charge sheet even including treason that carries death penalty or indefinite detention as an enemy combatant” in the US. What does it really mean? The leading first amendment scholars and advocacy groups have warnedthat the charge sheet accusing JA of engaging in criminal theft of so-called USA State secrets implies a direct assault on fundamental press freedoms.

 Although it could have a devastating effect on the basic acts of journalism, it appeared that some yellow journalists believe JA had gone beyond objective journalism in which the journalist should be trained.

It is clear that all these charges signify the power of the state system over an against citizens and their rights. This was succinctly put by Noam Chomsky. He said: The Assange arrest is scandalous in several respects. One of them is just the effort of Governments—and it’s not just the U.S. Government. 

The British are cooperating. Ecuador, of course, is now cooperating. Sweden, before, had cooperated: The efforts to silence a journalist who was producing materials that people in power didn’t want the rascal multitude to know about. 

That’s basically what happened. WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power. People in power don’t like that; therefore we have to silence it. This is the kind of thing, the kind of scandal, that takes place, unfortunately, over and over”.

According to Prof. Chomsky, the JA case reveals a second scandal, namely, the extraterritorial reach of the United States”. The US possesses power and control over other States that have made rights of the people extremely vulnerable.

One thing is clear. The democracy-loving people all over the world should express their solidarity to JA and campaigned against any attempts by the UK Government to extradite him to the US in which he is not a citizen.

The issue of sexual harassment

The JA case has been made complicated by the charges against him over sexual harassment by two Swedish women in 2010. The two cases should be separated in order de-complicate both cases. It does not mean at all to trivialise the sexual harassment charges. An investigation into a rape allegation in Sweden can be brought to Court at any time before the limitation period expires in August 2020. 

Although JA had stated that he was not guilty of these charges, the cases can be investigated if the two women wish to pursue them. However, Sweden should not use these cases against JA’s whistleblowing duty. 

Fortunately, Anna Ardin, one of the women who made allegations against JA was against any effort to link two completely separate cases tweeted on Thursday saying, I would be very surprised and sad if Julian is handed over to the USA”.

Julian Assange deserves our support and solidarity particularly at a time when the US is eyeing on Sri Lanka with the intention of making it a semi-colony of the Western powers. The Julian Assange case is another litmus test to be conducted to diagnose the real nature of USA and UK democracy.


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