6 July 2012
Since April 2010, WikiLeaks have released The Collateral Murder video, The Afghan War Diaries, The Iraq War Logs, The Guantanamo Files and Cablegate. The information in these leaks have showed us the reality of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (murder/torture/destruction) and also the true nature of our governments and the dirty deals they make.
On 30 May 2012, Julian Assange lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden despite not having been charged with any offence. Within two days US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Sweden in a highly unusual move that was not announced until the date of the extradition ruling was known a week before. What was she discussing? US politicians have been calling for the assassination/execution of Julian Assange.
On Tuesday 19 June, Julian Assange walked into the Ecuadorian Embassy to seek political asylum. Assange believes that if he were to comply with his extradition to Sweden he would be handed over to the United States. He is seeking the protection of the Ecuadorian people.
Since Wednesday 20 June, a vigil has been held daily outside the Ecuadorian Embassy. The people gathered there stand in solidarity with Assange, a persecuted war resister. They also stand in support of the Ecuadorian people in whose hands the fate of Assange lies.
If you are in London, why not drop by the vigil and stand for Assange. The numbers usually build up in the afternoon and peak around 1700hrs.
Embassy address: Flat 3B, 3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X 0LS.
Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge
Contact number for vigil: Mobile 07 866 559 312.
Press statement by Julian Assange Defence Fund
This statement, dated 29 June, was read out to the press by an associate of Assange and outlines his reasons for seeking Asylum. It includes the following:
I have spoken to Julian today and he is in good spirits. He is grateful for the support shown to him by the people of Ecuador and so many others from around the world…
The issues faced by Mr. Assange are serious. His life and liberty and the life and liberty of his organization and those associated with it are at stake.
The United States Government has instigated a grand jury investigation against Julian Assange and other “founders or managers” of Wikileaks… US officials have said in open court that the FBI file about the investigation has now reached 42,135 pages. The US department of justice admitted yesterday that its investigation into WikiLeaks proceeds. It is only a matter of time before US authorities begin extradition proceedings against Julian and other leading members of Wikileaks on various charges including conspiracy to commit espionage. There are credible reports that a sealed indictment has already been made against Mr. Assange… The Independent newspaper’s diplomatic correspondent reported that informal talks between the US and Sweden have been conducted…
[I]t is clear that there is a legal process in place which will result in taking Julian to the US, which if allowed to succeed would violate his basic rights.
It is accepted by the UK Supreme Court that Julian Assange has not been charged with any criminal offence in Sweden. It is also accepted that he was by told by Swedish authorities that he was free to leave Sweden. And it is also accepted that he has continuously offered to be interviewed by the Swedish authorities here in the UK, should they wish to do so. Although it is normal procedure, Swedish authorities have refused, without reason, to make the 3 hour trip to London and to interview Julian causing him to be trapped in the UK under virtual house arrest for 561 days and an additional 10 days in solitary confinement – all without charge. Instead they have issued an INTERPOL Red notice and extradition requests.
Julian and his legal team have previously sought assurances from both the UK government and the Swedish government that they will guarantee safe passage after the completion of legal interviews with Mr Assange and both have previously refused, although we are hopeful they will look at the matter again. The Swedish executive publicly announced on June 14 that it would detain Mr. Assange in prison without charge. Once in Sweden under such grave restrictions it would be impossible for Mr. Assange to exercise his asylum rights.
Mr. Assange did not feel safe from US extradition in the UK. We are all too aware of the abuses of the US-UK extradition treaty. Although Mr. Assange has been trapped in the UK, under dangerous circumstances, he at least has had the freedom to apply for political asylum. It is in this context that Julian has made the difficult decision to seek refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy to ask for asylum.
Julian will remain in the Embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government while evidence for his application is being assembled and processed…
Read the full statement here.