Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s nearly seven year stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London has finally come to a disastrous end. After Wikileaks warned last week that Ecuador was preparing in revoke Assange’s asylum based on the claim that he violated its terms, Assange was ousted on Thursday morning, and is now in the custody of British police.
Press reports suggested that Assange was arrested at around 10 am London Time (5 am New York) in what appeared to be a “planned operation.” Though his first battle will be with the British legal system over charges of skipping bail when he sought asylum in 2012, analysts expect that he will eventually face extradition to the US, after a sealed indictment against him were accidentally revealed last year. Wikileaks accused Ecuador of illegally terminating Assange’s asylum, adding that the Ecuadorian ambassador invited police inside the embassy to take Assange into custody.
URGENT: Ecuador has illigally terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law. He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.https://t.co/6Ukjh2rMKD
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
Former and much loved Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa accused Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno of suspending the asylum of cyber-activist Julian Assange in order to obtain a $4.2 Bln loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Correa said that there is evidence of the agreement and that Moreno, who Correa selected as his successor, promised to “hand over” Assange in a 2017 meeting with Paul Manafort, former US campaign chief to Donald Trump. Former President Correa, who broke with Moreno, also commented on visits to Ecuador by US Vice President Mike Pence.
At these times, Moreno would have promised to “help isolate Venezuela, leave the Chevron oil corporation, a company that destroyed half of the Amazon rainforest, unpunished, and to deliver Assange.” In March 2019, the IMF announced approval of a $4.2 billion loan to Ecuador. The first installment, of $652 million, has already been paid. Correa suspects that the Ecuadorian president made the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum after WikiLeaks published documents about Moreno’s alleged relationship with a failing company, INA Papers.
In a tweet, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that Assange’s “discourteous and aggressive” behavior, as well as “hostile” acts committed by Wikileaks, pushed Ecuador to revoke his asylum. Moreno cited Wikileaks’ publication of sensitive Vatican documents earlier this year as the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Members of the organization purportedly visited Assange in the embassy after the leak, apparently substantiating suspicions that Assange was still in charge of the organization.
Furthermore, Moreno declared his asylum “unsustainable and no longer viable” because Assange had repeatedly violated “clear cut provisions of the conventions of on diplomatic asylum.”
In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/pZsDsYNI0B
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
Following reports the previous week that the termination of Assange’s asylum was imminent, a UN envoy on torture warned Ecuador that revoking Assange’s protection would be a violation, since he could face “torture” and mistreatment should he be extradited to the US. Assange’s relationship with his host had become increasingly strained over the past year. Last year, Ecuador briefly revoked some of Assange’s “privileges”, including access to the Internet, over his ‘poor hygiene habits’, the #INAPapers about offshore money laundering, implicating the Ecuadorian president in a corruption scandal.
Edward Snowden reminded journalists of the UN’s finding in a tweet following Assange’s arrest.
Important background for journalists covering the arrest of Julian #Assange by Ecuador: the United Nations formally ruled his detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights. They have repeatedly issued statements calling for him to walk free–including very recently. pic.twitter.com/fr12rYdWUF
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 11, 2019
The expulsion comes just a day after Wikileaks held a press conference accusing Ecuador of carrying out an “extensive spying operation” on Assange and handing intel over to the British and American authorities.
RT published video of a bearded, disheveled-looking Assange shouting at police as he was dragged out of the embassy and loaded into a van.
— Barnaby Nerberka (@barnabynerberka) April 11, 2019
Assange was in handcuffs when he was brought out and as he was being dragged from the embassy, he managed to grab the book, Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State. As he was shoved into the van, Assange held the book facing forward so that it could be seen by the camera. Gore Vidal was an American author who has studied the actual history of the United States—not the propagandistic chest pumping horse manure taught in schools—but the very real, violent and corrupt history of the United States government.
Vidal was born inside the US system, educated in expensive private schools in Washington DC and grew up, quite literally, surrounded by the elite. His father was a high ranking official in the Franklin Roosevelt administration and his grandfather was US senator Thomas Pryor Gore (D-Oklahoma). He was incredibly smart and would eventually become a best-selling author. In his 30s, after writing a series of mainstream novels, Vidal decided to try his hand at historical fiction. This decision would set him on a path to waking up to the atrocities carried out by the United States dating back to Abraham Lincoln.
Vidal was one of the first public figures to question the motives and wisdom of Lincoln—and he was lambasted for it. Despite bipartisan attacks on all fronts for his critical skepticism of the United States, Vidal’s six-volume “American Chronicle” series of historical novels about the United States became best sellers. As the years went on, Vidal became outspoken about the rise of the military industrial complex and predicted the very situation we find ourselves in today.
Sadly, not many people heeded Vidal’s words and we are witnessing a full scale attack on true independent journalism as we know it, and we are seemingly powerless to stop it. This is likely the reason Julian Assange grabbed that book and made sure we saw it as he yelled out through dozens of cops that we “must resist.” Though Vidal had become somewhat cynical in his final years, his wisdom can help to free us from our self-imposed slavery of worshiping corruption and statism.
Julian Assange is a hero. His actions helped to expose horrifying crimes carried out by the US government, including mowing down innocent journalists with a .50 cal. His persecution by the UK and the US is retaliation and punishment for exposing these crimes and their actions, as Assange said, must be resisted. If this established behemoth of media, government and tech giants are allowed to persist and snub out the independent press—as they are currently doing—we may soon realize George Orwell’s prediction of a boot stomping on a human face—forever.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid thanked Ecuador for its cooperation, suggesting that pressure from the British government was also a factor in Ecuador’s decision to revoke asylum. While Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Ecuador and said Assange was “no hero” and that “no one is above the law.” Foreign office minister Alan Duncan issued a statement, calling the arrest “absolutely right” and adding that the UK courts will “decide what happens next.”
There’s a huge myth being misreported about today’s indictment of Assange. The claim that Assange tried to help Manning circumvent a password to cover her tracks isn’t new. The Obama DOJ knew about it since 2011, but chose not to prosecute him. Story on this soon.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
Like Vidal, Assange wanted people to know true history as this is the path to peace. “If wars can be started by lies,” Assange so eloquently noted, “they can be stopped with the truth.” We must resist.
“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” — Gandhi #FreeJulian pic.twitter.com/KuxjsUwcq8
— Matt Agorist (@MattAgorist) April 11, 2019