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Julian Assange arrested "on behalf of the US authorities," from Peter Myers

(1) The Long Captivity of Julian Assange, by Israel Shamir(2) John Pilger: arrest of Assange is a Warning to all Journalists(3) Assange arrested "on behalf of the United States authorities"(1) The Long Captivity of Julian Assange, by Israel Shamir SHAMIR  JUNE 21, 2018These long summer days are good for forest walks or swimming; in the evenings, I read classics with my 10 year old son who otherwise spends too much time at video games. This time, it happens to be the Odyssey, the poem I translated some 25 years ago, and yesterday I came to read Book IV on Menelaus bewailing his comrades who fell at Troy or on the perilous way home.And for me it was the time to beweep my dear comrades-in-arms who have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. So many of you, who went fighting the beast, are dead, or exiled, or imprisoned, like my Spanish publisher Don Pedro Varela and the American researcher Barrett Brown. Or fired from a university like Julio Pino, professor of Kent State.And then Menelaus said: Much as I weep for all my men, for none of all these comrades do I grieve as much as for this one. The one is Ulysses who has been detained for years on the island of Ogygia by Calypso the Nymph.It brought to my mind the fate of Julian Assange, this modern Odysseus, who has been held in his luxurious Knightsbridge prison for years. Actually, for full six years, as today, as I write it, is the anniversary of his incarceration in the Ecuador Embassy.So many epithets used by Homer for the King of Ithaca fit Julian to a tee! He is wise and noble, resourceful and cunning, wily and crafty, brilliant and steadfast, but also evil-starred man of woe.His name still scares the enemy, and cheers a friend. Though an Antipode by birth, Julian became famous in the North of Europe, where this tall slim handsome youthful silver-haired man came to raise the banner of his revolt. Eight years ago, I compared him to Neo of the Matrix, the man destined to break the matrix of lies and set us free.The Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde-Land, as no doubt the story of Julian Assange’s escapades in Sweden will be known once it inevitably makes its way into the hands of one of the goofier Hollywood directors – say Robert Zemeckis or Mel Brooks, or perhaps Stephen Herek of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It would do better in the hands of Andy Wachowski, where he might do for Julian Assange what he once did for Keanu Reeves.Who could ask for a more beautiful set-up? It’s a story fit for a tabloid, yet it might be transformed into something an intellectual could read without embarrassment. This latest adventure is the stuff of pulp fiction, and chock full of Langley spies, computer hackers, crazy feminists, flatfooted cops and sleazy rags in the female kingdom of Sweden!Julian Assange is a character that might have been ripped from the celluloid frames of the Matrix: flaxen and lanky, he moves through cyberspace like a superman. When, on those rare occasions that he does emerge into the real world, it is to perform Kung Fu exercises. He hardly ever eats or drinks. His corporeal body can normally be found sitting in front of a MacPro or two, while his digital alter ego commutes and computes, battling the odds and the system in fantastic virtual combat. Like Neo, he is a natural-born hacker who hacked just for the heck of it until he discovered the Matrix. He had hundreds of remarkable hacking achievements to his name when in 1992 he pleaded guilty to twenty-two of them. I like to think that someday, after he has passed on in the fullness of time, he will become a kind of guardian angel for hackers, or perhaps the Greek God of Cyberspace with His Golden Board, forever surfing the web.Recently this comparison had been repeated by brave Jonathan Cook, the man from Nazareth, but it is suitable for Jonathan himself, and for many of us, including the American Pravda writer, Ron Unz, for we all fight for liberation of mind and discourse.In the beginning of his political activity, Julian was lionised by media and society. His Wikileaks was considered the most fashionable thing in the known universe. He floated from a party to reception, admired by the Scandinavians from Reykjavik to Stockholm.But the enemy prepared its snares. A CIA-friendly feminist got to his bed by a dirty trick: she offered him her small flat saying she was leaving the city for a few days, and when he accepted and moved in, she suddenly returned and offered to share the only bed. He didn’t know she had carried out a CIA mission in Cuba, otherwise he would have been more cautious. Or not: a full-blooded man, he was easy to tempt. The next day she Tweeted friends about her success, about sharing the limelight with this celebrity. And a few days later she complained to police that he possessed her without protection; this is an offence of second-degree rape in feminised Sweden. Her accusation has been seconded by another girl, who was unhappy that Julian didn’t call her the next day after their loving tryst. A man-hating Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny took over the job of hunting Julian, and Swedish newspapers displayed headlines "Rapist At Large." Immediately Julian lost all his admiring entourage. The Empire knew the vulnerability of his crowd.However, in a few days his case was closed down, and Julian was free to leave Sweden. He went to England, and there he prepared the great publication of Cablegate, that is the vast collection of the State Department and the US Embassies’ cables from around the world. Stolen by Manning, these cables opened to us the full picture of the Empire dealings with the nations. I wrote:One quarter of a million secret and confidential US Embassy cables sit like so many digital wasps waiting to be released into cyberspace. They will strike at the tender underbelly of the empire, the flattering self-delusions that maintain the imperial armies. It just might be enough to turn the tide in the battle to recover our evaporating freedoms.These dirty little cables throw a bright light upon the murky policies of the American Imperium, on their methods of collecting information, of delivering orders, of subverting politicians and robbing nations. Yet before we lapse into a comfortable and reflexive anti-Americanism, let us never forget that this, arguably the greatest revelation of criminal wrongdoing in history, was only made possible because brave and honest Americans were willing to risk life and limb to leak the truth.Tensions run high when you dare oppose the awesome power of the Matrix. It is impossible not to admire Julian Assange. He is forever kind, quiet, gentle, and even meek; like the Tao, he leads without leading, directs without commanding. He never raises his voice; he hardly needs to speak and the way becomes clear. Our Neo is guided by the ideal of social transparency. Bright light is the best weapon against conspiracies.The Empire responded by having Sweden re-open the case and issue an arrest warrant. England picked it up, and Julian had lost his freedom. For a long while he stayed in East Anglia, in the house of a friend, and then he moved to London, with an electronic bracelet on his arm and under constant police supervision. When he was perilously close to deportation to Sweden, and to a long stretch of solitary confinement in a jail cell to be followed by extradition to the US and to its Guantanamo tropical paradise, he jumped the boat and asked for asylum in the Ecuador Embassy in London, after he received the then President of Ecuador Rafael Correa’s promise. That was in June 2012, and since that time, Assange has been immured within the walls of the Embassy.Meanwhile, Sweden closed his case completely, but English authorities still will not allow him to leave. The UN deemed him a victim of arbitrary imprisonment, but even that didn’t help the unlucky man. Ecuador gave him its citizenship and diplomatic passport, but England refused to honour it. Recently the US began to court the new president of Ecuador, Mr Lenin Moreno, and he cut off all the means of communication between Julian and the world. He is no longer permitted to receive guests, he can’t make calls, he is barred from the internet. If he were deported to a far-away island of the sea he would not be more isolated than he is now.Looking back, Julian did a lot of great things since the Cablegate.* He saved Edward Snowden, by navigating him from Hong Kong to Moscow. He had sent the wonderful Sarah Harrison to operate this miraculous escape. I supported him in this and in other enterprises, and I wrote that Russia is the only safe place for a fugitive and a whistle blower of such a calibre. Snowden thought to find a safe refuge in Cuba or Venezuela, but none of these Latin American countries is strong enough to withstand American pressure. Indeed, Cuba refused to let him in, and Venezuela could not accept Snowden for other reasons. Even mighty China refused to give Snowden asylum, and intended to ship him to the US. Iran was not keen on accepting him. Russia, with all its faults, is still the only state fully independent of the Empire on earth.It is said that Assange was in cahoots with the Russians, that they guided him and provided with the stuff they hacked and even that "Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence". As a matter of fact, Russians were extremely hesitant to have anything to do with Assange. They could not believe he was for real. Are you so naïve, they told me, that you do not understand he is a CIA trap? Such people do not exist.It is a problem of the Russian mind: as a rule, they do not understand and do not trust Western dissidents of Assange’s ilk. They want their western sympathisers to be bought and paid for. Free agents are suspicious in their eyes. God knows there are many people in the West whose opinions roughly coincide with those of the Russians; but the Russians would prefer to buy a journalist off the peg. That’s why RT has had more than its fair share of defectors, that is of broadcasters who denounced RT and went to the Western mass media.A few times I have defended Julian on Russian TV shows. Usually my opponents would say: he is a tool of Western intelligence services. Wait, he will soon publish something really nasty about Russia. With years, this mistrust didn’t diminish. So for good or for bad, mighty Russia does not and did not stand by Julian, who was and remained his own master.On the other hand, Julian has no special feelings for Russia. Geopolitically, he is very much a man of the West. Even in his ostensible defence of Russia, he is always doing it from the Western point of view. He was against expulsion of Russian diplomats during the Skripal Affair, because it would "help the Kremlin further a narrative that it is under conspiratorial siege led by the US," in other words, it was damaging the West and entrenching Russian suspicions of a hostile Western agenda.* Assange published the DNC documents, Podesta emails, Hillary Clinton email thus helping the US voter to make up his mind for whom to vote in these last fateful elections. In my view, President Trump is heavily indebted to Assange.* His Wikileaks published expose of hackers’ tools used by CIA and NSA, their surveillance programs, their interference in foreign elections, i.e. in recent French elections;*He allowed us to have a look at the secret correspondence of the Saudis and Syrians, of the Russians and French, of Turks, of the IMF and what not;*He disclosed the conspiracy of Labour MPs against Jeremy Corbyn.*His own opinions expressed in his Tweets were very valuable. In the midst of the Skripal campaign, Assange reminded that us "while it is reasonable for Theresa May to view the Russian state as the leading suspect, so far the evidence is circumstantial & the OCPW has not yet made any independent confirmation, permitting the Kremlin push the view domestically that Russia is persecuted."He and his organisation provided opinions and expertise on North Korea at the time of Kim-Trump summit, publishing Clinton’s confidential disclosure that the US does not want unification of Korean peninsula, and hundreds of confidential and secret documents on NK nuclear tests.I would love to see him free, as I admire him. He is not a spent force, and he still will be able to contribute a lot for mankind’s wellbeing. And good people, our comrades-in-arms, understand that and struggle for his freedom.Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, life-long supporter of Palestinian struggle, displayed a banner in support of Julian Assange at a concert in Berlin. Many journalists of the Disobedient Media are organizing an online vigil under the banner of #ReconnectJulian. Yes, reconnect, by all means, but let him go! This is more important and more urgent. Six years of imprisonment is too much for this guiltless man.Let Hermes, the Messenger of Zeus, in whatever guise, be that a Trump’s associate or Corbyn’s assistant, come to Theresa May and tell her, as he said to Calypso: "You keep a most unlucky man, but it is not his fate to die here, release him at once!"Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.netThis article was first published at The Unz Review.(2) John Pilger: arrest of Assange is a Warning to all Journalists action of the British police in literally dragging Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy and the smashing of international law by the Ecuadorean regime in permitting this barbarity are crimes against the most basic natural justice. This is a warning to all journalists.3:25 AM - 11 Apr 2019(3) Assange arrested "on behalf of the United States authorities" Assange Arrested and Facing US Charge Related to Chelsea Manning LeaksBY Amy Goodman & Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy NowPUBLISHED April 11, 2019WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London. Earlier today, British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living since 2012. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Assange was arrested on behalf of the United States authorities. The U.S. has charged Assange with helping Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning hack a government computer. The indictment was unsealed shortly after his arrest. We speak to Renata Ávila, a member of Assange’s legal team, as well as British human rights attorney Geoffrey Robertson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and former Justice Department attorney Jesselyn Radack.The stories you care about, right at your fingertips Get Truthout’s daily edition delivered to your inbox.Your Email Transcript NERMEEN SHAIKH: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London. Just hours ago, British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living since 2012. Video shows Assange saying the U.K. must resist, as he was being arrested.JULIAN ASSANGE: The U.K. has not surrendered. … They must resist! U.K. will resist! Resistance [inaudible] fight the Trump administration!NERMEEN SHAIKH: London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Assange was, quote, "arrested on behalf of the United States authorities." WikiLeaks reported via Twitter that British police entered the embassy at the invitation of the Ecuadorean ambassador, and says that Ecuador terminated his political asylum in violation of international law. Ecuador quickly denied the claim of an imminent expulsion, accusing WikiLeaks of, quote, "an attempt to stain the dignity of the country."Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in 2012, fearing possible extradition by British authorities to the U.S., where he could face prosecution under the Espionage Act. One of Assange’s attorneys, Jennifer Robinson, tweeted this morning, quote, "Just confirmed: #Assange has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request," she wrote. Press freedom advocates condemned Assange’s arrestAMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange’s U.S. attorney, Barry Pollack, said, quote, "It is bitterly disappointing that a country would allow someone to whom it has extended citizenship and asylum to be arrested in its embassy. First and foremost, we hope that the UK will now give Mr. Assange access to proper health care, which he has been denied for seven years. Once his health care needs have been addressed, the UK courts will need to resolve what appears to be an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information," Barry Pollack wrote. That’s Julian Assange’s U.S. attorney.Christophe Deloire, the head of Reporters Without Borders, tweeted, "Targeting Assange because of Wikileaks’ provision of information to journalists that was in the public interest would be a punitive measure and would set a dangerous precedent for journalists or their sources that the US may wish to pursue in future," unquote.NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted, "Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of — like it or not — award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books. Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom." That is the tweet of Edward Snowden. [...]AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald is joining us on the phone. Renata Ávila is joining us from Belgrade right now. She is one of Julian Assange’s lawyers. Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the founding editors of The Intercept. Glenn, your response to the arrest of Julian Assange, his being dragged out of the Ecuadorean Embassy by British police today?GLENN GREENWALD: I think the most important fact is that the arrest warrant, according to Assange’s longtime lawyer Jennifer Robinson, is based on allegations that Assange conspired or collaborated with Chelsea Manning with regard to the 2010 leaks of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and diplomatic cables — a theory that the Obama Justice Department tried for a long time to pursue, but found no evidence for, in order to be able to justify prosecuting Assange and not face the accusation that they were endangering press freedoms by prosecuting Assange for something The New York Times and The Guardian and every other media outlet in the world routinely does, which is publish classified information.Even if it were true that Assange collaborated with Manning — and, again, the Justice Department of President Obama looked everywhere and found no evidence of that — it would still be a grave threat to press freedoms, because journalists all the time work with their sources in order to obtain classified information so that they can report on it. It’s the criminalization of journalism by the Trump Justice Department and the gravest threat to press freedom, by far, under the Trump presidency, infinitely worse than having Donald Trump tweet mean things about various reporters at CNN or NBC. And every journalist in the world should be raising their voice as loudly as possible to protest and denounce this.AMY GOODMAN: And can you explain, Glenn, exactly what you understand, why it is that the Ecuadorean Embassy has revoked the asylum, allowing the British authorities to come inside, what’s going on with President Moreno and his charges that Julian Assange was involved in releasing photos, which Assange has vehemently denied?GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I interviewed former President Rafael Correa late last year. And he, of course, did something quite extraordinary, which was for six years stood up for Ecuadorean sovereignty and for international law and refused to be bullied by the U.S. and the U.K., which tried everything it could to coerce him or threaten him to withdraw the asylum protection for Assange. He was a very unusual leader of a small country, who famously said, for example, "If the U.S. wants to have military bases in Ecuador, they have to allow us to have military bases in Miami." He was against imperialism and allowing Ecuador to be a vassal state of the U.S. and the U.K.And his successor, President Moreno, is exactly the opposite. So, the Trump administration, the CIA, the U.K. and Spain — which is really angry about WikiLeaks’s denunciations of their abuses of protesters during the Catalonian debate — have spent the last year and a half doing everything they can, threatening Ecuador, offering rewards to Ecuador, doing everything they could to coerce Ecuador, under President Moreno, to do something that President Correa refused to do, which is violate international law, withdraw Julian Assange’s asylum. And, of course, he needed to concoct an excuse to do it, so he doesn’t look like what he is, which is a very weak and submissive leader, to his population, so they made up a bunch of excuses. But the reality is, they did it because the U.S. and the U.K. demanded that they do it.NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, let’s go to Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno when he announced Assange’s arrest Thursday. And he said Britain has guaranteed he will not be extradited, Assange will not be extradited, to a country that has the death penalty.PRESIDENT LENÍN MORENO: [translated] Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially, the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable. … In line with our strong commitment to human rights and international law, I requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr. Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty. The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules.NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, that’s Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno speaking just a few hours ago today. So, Renata Ávila, could you respond to what Moreno said and whether you think it’s likely that Assange will not be extradited, as he said?RENATA ÁVILA: Well, this is the same — he’s repeating the same things that we have been fighting against. What is the difference between a death penalty and life in solitary confinement in a supermax prison in the U.S.? What we are discussing here is not the seriousness of the penalty of a journalist being prosecuted because of the act of publishing, but whether a journalist should be prosecuted or not because of the act of publishing. So, that’s what the — that is really terrible. And it is so sad to see a Latin American leader abdicating to a superpower and throwing even constitutional principles out of the trash can in this case.And it will be — I mean, I cannot alert enough journalists, not only in the U.S., but any journalists reporting about the U.S., of the seriousness of this case. If we do not rally, if we do not take this battle as a central battle for our freedom of expression, we will be in serious trouble. So, the hearing is taking place this afternoon, the first hearing for Julian, and we really hope to get as much solidarity as possible and attention and coherence with your principles and basically empathy, because he is the first journalist facing this, but he might not be the last. You might be the next one, anyone hearing this show. So, it is a — the free press is key for democracy, and this is what is at risk at the moment.NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Glenn Greenwald, I want to ask you. The American Civil Liberties Union has just issued a statement, Ben Wizner saying that the prosecution of Assange is especially troubling because "prosecuting a foreign publisher for violating U.S. secrecy laws would set an especially dangerous precedent for U.S. journalists, who routinely violate foreign secrecy laws to deliver information vital to the public’s interest." Glenn Greenwald, can you respond to that, I mean, what U.S. journalists do and regarding this foreign secrecy laws?GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I think that is one of the remarkable aspects of this, is that Julian Assange is not an American citizen. I think he visited the U.S. once for about three days. WikiLeaks is a foreign-based media organization. So, the idea that the U.S. government can just extend its reach to any news outlet anywhere in the world and criminalize publication of documents or working with sources is extremely chilling. That would mean, for example, that China or North Korea or Iran could do the same thing if a U.S. news outlet published its secrets, which sometimes they do. It would mean that Iran would have the ability, or China, to issue an international arrest warrant and demand that the reporters who work for the U.S. news outlets be extradited to those countries. [...]