The South American media has reverberated lately with reports that the CIA has been using drug money in efforts to destabilize the government of Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa. If these stories are accurate, then the plan's exposure and apparent failure may illustrate the impotence of traditional U.S. interventionism in the new South America, which increasingly rejects traditional political and economic servitude to its northern and European neighbors.
One week ago, on August 19, Julian Assange gave a speech, and he did so from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London as the British government refuses to recognize a fundamental Human Right: the right to asylum. A large number of reports and opinion pieces about his first public appearance in two months has since been published, a significant amount of which don’t represent at all the truth and the complexity of his present situation. Very few journalists expose the political persecution WikiLeaks is target of or the accumulating evidence relating to Julian Assange's potential extradition to the U.S., yet it is not hard to come by vitriolic satires of his alleged personal habits or, even worse, his confinement and status as a political refugee. But in his address to supporters and the press last week, Julian Assange made a simple and very important plea, calling for an end to the oppression of activists and whistleblowers, and the U.S. secret Grand Jury investigation of WikiLeaks.
Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, has been confronted with questions concerning whether the U.S. has any future intention to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for WikiLeaks publishing, following Ecuador granting him political asylum due to fears of such prosecution having been considered valid.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
Due to competing interests, the emerging world power's foreign policy is being pulled between pragmatism and idealism.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
In the wake of Paraguay's suspicious impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, which observers have likened to a kind of "quasi-coup," some may wonder whether underhanded corporate forces may have played a role in the political crisis. Such suspicions were heightened recently when the new de facto regime led by Federico Franco, Lugo's former conservative Vice President, inked a deal with Texas-based PetroVictory/Crescent Global Oil to open up the remote Chaco region to petroleum exploration. Supporters of Lugo's highly dubious ouster claim that Crescent could help to ease Paraguay's dependence on foreign oil. Richard González, Crescent's CEO, announced that the company would invest $10 million in the Chaco and start exploratory drilling within the next few months.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
On a certain level, I wonder whether Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish judge who is now defending WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, agreed to take the assignment for personal reasons.
In recent years, Garzón has come to international attention for pursuing a number of high profile international cases. In 1998 for example, the judge sought to apprehend brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Washington's ally during the Cold War. Not stopping there, the pugnacious judge issued an order for British authorities to detain Henry Kissinger no less.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
For isolated and impoverished countries, it can sometimes prove difficult to pursue an independent foreign policy which challenges Washington's traditional sphere of influence. Take, for example, tiny Paraguay which has recently been convulsed in political instability. Four years ago, Fernando Lugo was elected president after pledging to take on political and economic elites on behalf of Paraguay's poor. A former Bishop, Lugo promised to tackle pressing social problems like land reform. On the international front too, Lugo was controversial: though he continued to maintain friendly ties to the U.S., he also made overtures toward the populist regime of Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.
Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19 in order to seek political asylum. His application is based on concern of U.S. extradition and prosecution.
Since the announcement of his decision to seek asylum, there has been discussion of possible U.S. rebuttal if Ecuador were to accept Mr Assange into asylum.
WikiLeaks releases have shaken global politics and provoked countless news headlines. Founder Julian Assange has rarely been out of the media spotlight. And yet WikiLeaks' greatest revelations have scarcely been noticed by mainstream media journalists. Here at last, we expose the full story behind the stories that the corporate media are too scared to touch!
"Catbird seat", noun: "an advantageous situation or condition"; "sitting pretty". This North American idiom readily applies to the current position of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who was hoisted into the international spotlight when he recently became host to Julian Assange. As a result Correa has raised the global profile of his small nation of 14 million, and the tens of thousands of letters received by his embassy in the past ten days indicate that granting Assange asylum would instantly make him a global hero. With little economic dependence on the U.S., and with Assange at his disposal, Correa potentially holds significant leverage over Washington.
We are all forced by logic to respect this dichotomy:
Either the US threatens Julian Assange's freedom, or it does not.
However, the Washington Post editorial board, reflecting the US diplomatic position, prefer to have it both ways in the same article.
Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19 to apply for political asylum. Since then, there has been mass coverage by the media, which often contains false and misleading information about his reason for applying, the threat he faces in the U.S., and the reaction from his supporters.
Julian Assange fue arrestado al emitirse una Alerta Roja de Interpol y una Orden Europea de Extradición tan solo cuatro días después de iniciar la más grande filtración d e información secreta de los Estados Unidos de América por los diarios con mayor distribución del mundo, en Diciembre de 2010.
La orden se emitió para interrogarlo solamente. Un año y medio después de su arresto aún no existe ningún cargo en su contra y no está siendo procesado en Suecia. El caso aún se encuentra en la fase de investigaciones por lo que no está sujeto a proceso judicial alguno, en ningún país del mundo.
Julian Assange's mother Christine recently tweeted the following facts about extraditions involving the US, the UK, Sweden, and Australia.
In 2008, University of Chicago Chair and former Stockholm University professor Don Kulick observed: "From being admired and envied by many as beacons of sexual enlightenment in the 1960s and '70s, the Scandinavian countries today have some of the most repressive sex laws in the Western world. Sweden is the most draconian. ... The message conveyed by [recent laws] is clear: your sexuality is the property of the state, and the state will claim its right to regulate and punish that sexuality, wherever you may be. So whatever, indeed, happened to sex in Scandinavia?"
Although it does not directly answer Kulick's question, Oscar Swartz's new book, A Brief History of Swedish Sex: How the Nation That Gave Us Free Love Redefined Rape and Declared War on Julian Assange, traces the change that Kulick describes. Structured as a timeline, the volume vividly illustrates how a political coup by a group of radical feminists at the highest levels of government caused the free-love era of "Swedish sin" to give way to a wave of anti-sex and anti-male hysteria that vilified heterosexual sex and villainized men. It was into this morass that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange waded when he had consensual sexual relations with Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén -- and then became the target of a Sweden-initiated international manhunt.
Since its 2004 debut, use of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) has exploded; in those eight years, its flaws have already destroyed or destabilized many lives. Although high-ranking EU officials now admit that the current EAW system is a "threat to human rights," EAW reform may not happen soon enough to prevent it from snaring more victims ... including Julian Assange.
"Edmond Arapi was tried and convicted in his absence of killing Marcello Miguel Espana Castillo in Genoa, Italy in October 2004. He was given a sentence of 19 years, later reduced to 16 years on appeal. Edmond had no idea that he was wanted for a crime or that the trial even took place. In fact, Edmond hadn't left the UK at all between the years of 2000 to 2006. On 26 October 2004, the day that Marcello Miguel Espana Castillo was murdered in Genoa, Edmond was at work at Café Davide in Trentham, and attending classes to gain a chef's qualification. Edmond was arrested in June 2009 at Gatwick Airport on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) from Italy, while he was on his way back from a family holiday in Albania. It was the first he knew of the charges against him in Italy ... A British court ordered his extradition on 9 April 2010."
A BBC radio reporter in Stockholm this morning reporting on the Assange case said that Assange left the country not knowing there was an arrest warrant issued for him but managed to avoid bringing up the 5 weeks he waited in Sweden beyond his planned visit to be questioned, only leaving when the Swedes said he could.
The UKSC has the luxury of answering one simple question, whilst the world around swirls with complex issues. Leaving aside the possibility that the case against Assange seems to be politically motivated, that the Americans may want to extradite him, and that the women in question have never claimed that they didn't willingly have sex with Assange, there is still the exploitation of this situation by some powers that be.
It is the first bilateral visit to Sweden by a US Secretary of State in a long time, Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt writes, as he wishes a warm welcome to US Secretary Hillary Clinton who will arrive in the country just 4 days after Britain's Supreme Court announces its decision on whether Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden.
The announcement of Clinton's visit to Sweden, which will center around the subjects of "Internet freedom, green energy, Afghanistan and the Middle East", as well as other broad topics such as democracy and counter-terrorism, took place just 3 days after the Supreme Court published a date for Julian Assange's verdict to be issued. (The Supreme Court published the date of its judgment on May 23, Secretary Clinton's visit was announced on May 26.)
On July 29, 2010, the then Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, ordered the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Ronald L. Burgess, to stand up an Information Review Task Force, to lead a comprehensive review of the documents allegedly given to WikiLeaks in concert with interagency participants.
On 30 May 2012 the UK Supreme Court will announce the ruling in the case regarding the extradition to Sweden of Julian Assange, after Assange has spent 540 days under house arrest without charge. Following a European Arrest Warrant issued in December 2010 on allegations of sexual misconduct, Assange submitted himself for arrest. Though Assange has not been charged, Swedish prosecutors have sought extradition from the UK for questioning.
Initially excoriated by mainstream media sources, Julian Assange's TV show, "The World Tomorrow," is now being hailed as the leading edge of a new era of "high quality alternative" broadcasting. The show's influence may become even more important, as two U.S. senators seek to overturn a longstanding ban on using the media for pro-government propaganda.