Assange Is A True Democrat: Chomsky / Blair must be arrested: Pilger / War Chemicals in Oswaldtwistle? Bollocks: Charity Sweet


wikileaks

17 Aug 2012

Assange Is A True Democrat: Chomsky

By Tamara Fenjan

Last week NM spoke with US intellectual giant Noam Chomsky about Julian Assange, who is now the centre of a diplomatic nightmare in London. Tamara Fenjan reports

Julian Assange has been granted asylum by the Ecuadorian government, creating a diplomatic row between the Latin American nation and the United Kingdom, which remains intent to extradite him to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault. While voices have been raised in Sweden and the UK, the US has so far declined to “interject” itself into the situation.

However, there is one American who has been loud and clear in his support of Assange — MIT linguistics professor and left-wing intellectual Noam Chomsky.

Last week Chomsky told New Matilda he believes Assange is right to fear extradition to Sweden, where if the USA asks for him to be extradited he would “be on the next flight”.

“If Swedish interrogators want to interrogate him they can do it in London,” Chomsky told NM. “Everyone in their right mind knows that this is a stepping stone to the US.” He draws a parallel with Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of having leaked thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, and says that what to happened Manning is a clear indication of how Assange will be treated if he is extradited to the United States.

Manning has been held in a military prison for more than two years without trial — most of that time in solitary confinement.

“There is no doubt that the purpose of all this is to get [Manning] to say something about Assange, who will also be treated the same way if he ever comes to the US… Therefore, a decent country at this time — if there is one — would grant him political asylum,” Chomsky said.

Chomsky says of the Swedish legal system “that one can not rely on it, which is not so surprising.” Sweden cooperated with the Nazis during World War II and is now working with the Americans, he points out. “Sweden cooperates with whoever is in power… suppose that Syria asks Sweden to extradite somebody to Syria whom they accuse works with the rebels — would Sweden do it? No!”

“By right [Assange] ought to get a medal of honour. He’s performing his responsibilities as a citizen of a democratic society and people ought to know what their representatives are doing ”

The question now is whether UK police will storm the Ecuadorian embassy, located in London’s Knightsbridge. Wikileaks reports via Twitter that this morning “there are still over 35 police surrounding the Ecuadorian embassy”, and has issued a statement condemning “in the strongest possible terms the UK’s resort to intimidation”.

“A threat of this nature is a hostile and extreme act, which is not proportionate to the circumstances, and an unprecedented assault on the rights of asylum seekers worldwide,” the organisation said.

Assange’s fears seem to be corroborated by private confirmation given to Craig Murray, a respected former UK ambassador and human rights activist:

“I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] that the UK government has indeed decided — after immense pressure from the Obama administration — to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.

“This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries — arguably millennia — of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.”

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam spoke this week in support of Assange. Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the Federal Government would not “make representations one way or the other” regarding Assange’s asylum claim.

Discuss this article

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BrentonEccles
Posted Friday, 17 August 12 at 12:28PM
Sarah Palin was right about something: “how’s that hope-y change-y thing workin’ out for ya?”
O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, 17 August 12 at 7:01PM
I can understand the Brits’ reluctance to enter the embassy. If they do set such a precedent, no embassy anywhere will be a safe refuge for local dissidents and political ‘criminals’ as Assange is alleged to be.This would work against people who, on the face of it, the UK government would be sympathetic to, as listed in the URL below.http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/dancers-defectors-and-dissi…
ErikH
Posted Friday, 17 August 12 at 8:54PM
The UK seems to be heading towards a stance where obligations to international agreements only apply when it’s convenient, not unlike the US, given its stance on the International Criminal Court, not to mention its views on the UN. (That probably means Australia will be next, kowtowing to the US, our great master, going on recent experience.) So Assange can kiss his asylum goodbye.If the Brits really thought the extradition case was just about Assange’s alleged sexual assault, why would they be threatening to invade the embassy, willing to break treaties and cause a massive diplomatic storm? Surely that’s an over-reaction, given he was supposed to be sent to Sweden merely for questioning? So what’s the real reason? It’s hard not to think that Britain must be complicit in the fact that he is actually going to be extradited to the US.If China was seriously threatening to invade a western embassy, can you imagine the outcry? Ahh, but that’s different, isn’t it?
DrGideonPolya
Posted Saturday, 18 August 12 at 4:31PM
Great article and interview. Julian Assange is an Australian hero – he is not an Ecuadorean. Yet while the Ecuadoreans have gone to great expense, trouble and risk to preserve Julian Assange’s human rights, the cowardly Australian Government has washed its hands of him. Well, all that decent Australians can do is to wash their hands of this disgraceful Labor Government.The bottom line for any government to to protect the well-being of its citizens but in this instance a cowardly Labor Government disregards the acutely dangerous circumstances of an Australians citizen and does so in the interests of a nuclear terrorist, genocidally racist rogue state that has time and again subverted and perverted Australia and time and again tortured and otherwise violated the human rights of Australians.Decent , patriotic Australians will simply vote 1 Green and put Labor last until it reverts to decent values and begs forgiveness for its gross violation of traditional pro-peace, pro-equity, pro-Indigenous, pro-human rights, pro-environment Labor values. Of course the Coalition are just as bad but unlike Labor they have not actually betrayed Labor voters.The Australian Labor Party (ALP) was once nationalist and socialist but as a Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist-subverted, pro-war, anti-equity, racist, human rights-violating, American Lackey Party has now become more like a national socialist party.Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.
jcleeland
Posted Saturday, 18 August 12 at 7:09PM
Gee I hope it doesn’t turn out that he DID rape two women then skip the country hoping to use his fame to escape justice. Then there’s a bunch of so-called ‘progressives’ who may feel somewhat embarrassed.Other than that, I’m sticking resolutely to the fence over this whole issue.
Omarkhayyam
Posted Saturday, 18 August 12 at 7:13PM
As others have noted, the sycophants who inhabit parliament will gladly lick where it counts, but I disagree slightly with Dr Polya in that it isn’t the labour party as such, rather its the political nothings that infest both/most parties. I don’t believe that the opposition would have behaved any differently.
A revolution here is overdue.
And what passes for the mainstream media in this country is also pathetic.
Good riddance to the lot of them.
jackal01
Posted Sunday, 19 August 12 at 4:37PM
We are great at having a Cronulla riot over a lie only because a certain endagered nationality could keep their beaches and women to themselves, an entire Lynch Mob showed up, but talk about Assange and most of us have our heads stuck up our fat arses. I wonder what would happen if he changed his name to Smith or Howard or had those names to start with. Take the out cry over Shapell Corby the young woman in Indo. who was set up by our Government.There was a good link posted here that exposed some of the pigville mentality by our government to protect the Privatisation of the Airports that was happening at the time, remember children thrown overboard.Our Politicians are nothing but Dumbo’s and arse lickers, but after Mark Latham got axed in the back and his family threatened what can we expect. The country is full of people who should never have come here. America beckons trash, so please leave and leave quietly.This is supposed to be a secular nation, if you can’t be that and can’t be Australians 1st and foremost then Pee Off.Bloody Grubs.
aussiegreg
Posted Sunday, 19 August 12 at 6:35PM
Now, @ErikH, if this was all a UK-US conspiracy to get Assange to Guantanamo, why not cut out the middleman, avoid all the bad blood with the other signatories to the Vienna Convention, and just extradite him direct?Every lawyer pinned down on the subject, including Assange’s own media star Geoffrey Robertson, has admitted it is no easier to extradite someone from Sweden to the US than it is from the UK.BTW, the Vienna Convention expressly excludes protection for criminals.
paul walter
Posted Monday, 20 August 12 at 8:30AM
Just as well aussiegreg has turned up, what would oiks like Burnside, Robertson and Chomsky know, against a stellar luminary like aussie(?)greg?
I fall to my knees in awe-struck dazzled gratitude, shown the error of my ways, at this visitation of a higher force.
aussiegreg
Posted Monday, 20 August 12 at 12:44PM
Oi, @paul walter, that question mark is a bit harsh!Of my four grandparents, three had grandparents who were living in Australia in the 1830s — they don’t come much more dinki-di than me. (Although the username was actually one I acquired in a budget hotel in Kathmandu, courtesy of the Newari staff who needed to distinguish me from another guest, a pom, who was also called Greg.)Us Aussies are not ones to tug the forelock to authority — just because Chomsky et al say something is true we don’t just blindly accept it.
DrGideonPolya
Posted Monday, 20 August 12 at 1:12PM
On 20 August 2012 The Age published an article about Julian Assange’s speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London (see “Assange condemns WikiLeaks witch-hunt”: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/assange-condemns-wikilea…) .I submitted the following comment on the article but The Age, which regularly censors out reader comments for evidently containing matters it does not want other readers to see, know about or think about, censored these comments as well (see “Censorship by The Age”: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by-th… ).CENSORED COMMENTS: “A prime responsibility of all citizens is to tell the truth in the national interest and in the interests of Humanity – this Julian Assange has done to an extraordinary degree and for which he can be objectively seen as an Australian and World hero.A prime responsibility of any Australian Government and Opposition is to do everything they can to protect Australian citizens, and in particular from violent, serial human rights abusers. – yet they have manifestly failed to protect tens of thousands of Australians being bombed by Israel in Lebanon in 2006, scores of Australians whose passports were forged by Israelis for terrorist purposes, 5 Australians violently kidnapped by Israelis in International Waters, Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks who were renditioned and tortured by the US and its allies, and now Julian Assange who is threatened with rendition, torture, imprisonment and possible death.The Lib-Labs sit back and allow these atrocities to be perpetrated without demur because they shamefully put the interests of Australians well behind those of several serial war criminal, nuclear terrorist rogue states. If it can happen to Julian Assange it can happen to any Australian. Full marks to Mrs Christine Assange for her articulate defence of the human rights of her son and of ALL Australians.” END CENSORED COMMENTS”.Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.
Jungarrayi
Posted Tuesday, 21 August 12 at 4:16PM
Jungarrayi
Following Julian Assange’s balcony speech, Karina Carvalho “interviewed” Julian’s mother by telephone on ABC Breakfast TV. In the “interview” Mrs.Assange, quite rightly in my opinion, questioned Karina whether she was interviewing her or using the occassion to spruke propaganda. Karina questioned the choice of the Ecuadorian embassy. “Ecuador a country that flouted freedom of the press and jailed its journalists” or something along those lines. She accused Julian of hypocrisy. She also found fault in Julian’s ommission of Sweden in his speech. “Was Julian going to fight for freedom of the press if he made it to Ecuador?” All red herrings and furphies I reckon.
I live on a Prescribed community under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (better known as the Intervention), and I despair at the way large numbers of Australians that live in cities consider themselves experts at what “Remote Aborigines should or shouldn’t do to Close the Gap”.
I was fortunate in spending my childhood in Latin America. Now a further cause for despair: Many of my fellow Australians, that until recently had never heard of Ecuador, and that are suddenly experts on Ecuador’s Human Rights record and it’s relation with the Press.
The President of Ecuador had a message for the UK: they should realize the colonial era was over.
Too often in history sex-scandals (whether real or implied) have been used to push political agendas. The dismantling of ATSIC (the most effective form of Australian Aboriginal representation since Federation) following the demonizing of Geoff Clark comes to mind.
¡Viva Ecuador!
allen.jasson
Posted Tuesday, 21 August 12 at 4:23PM
The insidious “The Independent” UK newspaper headlines the story about Assange’s balcony speech from the Equadorian Embassy concluding “no mention of the sexual assault charges he is hiding from” setting the standard for “independent toe-rag journalism” at it’s best in the UK and the world at large.How thoroughly disgusting a place the world has become; a swarming infestation of brain-dead consumers whose television sets keep them in “the child” – endlessly wandering starry-eyed through glitzy shopping malls pondering all the things they can want.God bless America. God bless capitalism. God bless the flusher of the human toilet. Save the hand-washing till the cistern re-fills and the remnants of Australia’s Political, Military, Media, Secret “Services” and Entrepreneurs are still clinging to the bowl. Perhaps to the second flush there can be a faint chorus of Waltzing Matilda.
zeroxcliche
Posted Tuesday, 21 August 12 at 9:39PM
@ aussiegreg This is a good question – it is not easy to answer a complicated one on the spot but it runs something like this. Its not that the British legal system would not be compliant but just that it would take a very long time, its taken two years just to come to the decision to let him be extradited to Sweden and even this decision was politically motivated. If extradited from UK to US it would take several years or more and every detail about the core issues at play would be discussed world opinion and considered legal opinion would be in the audience which is why when fearing the US Assange made a good move being in Britain, he just over estimated their democratic values.As for the Swedish legal system a recent story which is amazingly under reported involved a Swedish citizen of Finnish Algerian dissent blowing up a bus full of elderly Israelis in Bulgaria. In 2001 he was in Pakistan and picked up by the US and renditioned to Gitmo. Wikileaks cables revealed he was held there for two years for no crime but to be questioned for information regarding cultural practices around the Haji pilgrimage and recruitment – two years in Gitmo for ‘dipping his toes’ in the fundalmentalist culture – you could extrapolate from that the US as in other examples have effectively manufactured the terrorists themselves all done with Swedish complicity. Like many countries on the periphery of power Sweden like Australia pretty much does whatever the major power wants. In Australia we have seen Bob Carr lie in a bald faced manner about sealed indictments and him and the US Ambassador embarrassingly declare the US has no interest when it has been on the public record in the US for two years.The fact that lies spread so far and for so long is an indictment on the Aust media in particular the ABC who has failed the public on this issue like the urgency of climate change. Here is a test – it has been over two months now – how long will it take the western media to begin reporting on the enormous US military build up in the Persian gulf and the eastern med. People can nolonger rely on the ABC to be informed and have reduced their journalism assets and replaced them with more talking heads.
guywire
Posted Wednesday, 22 August 12 at 8:39AM
“I’m sticking resolutely to the fence over this whole issue.”
JCLeeland, I dont know what you’ve said but I suppose you’ve said something. But dont be surprised if later the fence sticks to you for want of a convenient place for it to go. No offence intended!Like David Hicks he hasnt been found guilty of anything except in a Kangaroo Court and we all know that whatever he is found guilty of will be a trumped up charge or no charge at all. Human rights are being abused and conventions flauted on a daily basis. We better be aware that if we ignore this, one day we might say nothing when our grandmothers are imprisoned and tortured for what she might have said to the cat.The world is turning and the ageing, wounded and weakened Grisley Bear is proving more dangerous than we ever could have imagined only a few decades ago. Disillusioned by hatred just for being a well meaning Sherrif and no friends anywhere except the ‘leaders’ of ‘Democracies’ like Australia. Taxing their own so heavily for another go at the title. Why isnt containment working anymore? Simple Arithmetic and a cohort of warmongers that not even decent warriors would support.Guy Fawkes will be turning in his grave and Julian is fearing that the truth he told will eventually fall victim to the undemocratic activity that our leaders fearfully endorse, for want of the power of command. We still look toward the dimming light, that we thought saved us in the past, but there is so little light and so much to illuminate.
denise
Posted Wednesday, 22 August 12 at 1:02PM
Seems to me that Julian Assange has been a political prisoner for far longer than any sentence he would have had to serve in Sweden, even if the feminist view of ‘rape’ (sex without a condom) is taken into account, as both complainants suggest this is the case, the only case he has to answer for.
So, if that is the case, justice has already been seen to be served by the majority of the public and so he should be set free immediately, before his human rights are violated even further.
Why won’t the Swedish courts allow a live interview with him over this matter? Why is he allowed to be hounded by European Courts, for what we in Australia do not even consider to be a criminal offence?
Why, because he’s Julian Assange and capable of infiltrating the world’s perpetuators of public deceit, by revealing their hidden lies and atrocities.
It is right to compare him to David Hicks, who also served out far more time than any crime he was alleged to have committed and then finally set free!
I find it incomprehensible that our Government sees it unfit to intervene in this case of an Australian citizen involved in a minor criminal offence, who because of his high political profile is being directly threatened of his future freedom, perhaps even his life, through the indirect and insidious means of the US nation that has already stripped all human rights away from Bradley Manning for disseminating the truth.

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  • Tamara FenjanTamara Fenjanis a journalist who writes about human rights issues and international relations. Her work has been published in numerous languages and countries. Tamara has also worked in the humanitarian field in several conflict zones.Read Tamara Fenjan’s full bio

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