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Flood of email support for Assange asylum bid

AFP/The Local · 27 Jun 2012, 09:53

Published: 27 Jun 2012 09:53 GMT+02:00

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"More than 10,000 emails have been received at the moment," Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a public statement from Quito.

"Thousands of people asking the Ecuadorian government to accord asylum to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, sent a steady stream of messages saying why they support him," the statement added.

Quito received a demand for asylum from the Australian national, who took refuge in London's Ecuadorian embassy on June 19, escaping extradition to Sweden, where he has been charged with two cases of sexual assault.

Assange worries that from Sweden, he will be extradited to the United States to face possible espionage charges, after releasing more than 250,000 American diplomatic cables on the Wikileaks whistleblowing site.

A letter in favour of the request for asylum was also addressed to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa by the organization Just Foreign Policy, a US group advocating for civil liberties.

Among the signatures on the petition were those of film directors Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, actor Danny Glover and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

Maintaining that Assange's only crime was journalism, the authors of the letter denounced what they believe to be an attack on freedom of the press and the public's right to know the truth about American foreign policy.

Correa responded to the call for asylum Tuesday, saying that Quito must first "analyze the judicial process in Sweden" and that "these things take time. It's not that simple."

Story continues below…

That same day, Correa met with his ambassador to Britain, Anna Alban, and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino to discuss Assange's request.

Correa, a leftist leader critical of Washington, has already expressed sympathy for the Wikileaks founder and said that his country will not accept instances of "political persecution."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:08 June 27, 2012 by Glempa
Julian Assange has hoodwinked everyone in to believing that his extradition to Sweden is part of a conspiracy to extradite him to USA - bullshit! The last countryy you want to be in to avoid extradition to the USA is the UK

The UK has a very, very controversial extradition treaty with USA which allows easy extradition with little proof or justification. This treaty was signed by Tony Blair in his 'brown-nosing days' with George Bush, and its legality has even been challenged by right-wing conservatives in UK because the USA is using it for all crimes and not just terrorism as it was intended.

Assange is simply trying to avoid a sex conviction and is using his Wikileak fame as smokescreen.
12:21 June 27, 2012 by Daho
I wonder what kind of tin foil hats the Assange supporters prefer, how many layers of foil is needed to stop the mind control beams from CIA?

Moreover, I really hope Assange will escape UK to Ecuador in a diplomat bag, as some have proposed. In that tiny space, he might have time to reflect over his persona.
12:38 June 27, 2012 by RobinHood

You discuss extradition, but ignore rendition (the illegal kidnapping of citizens and their delivery up to a foreign power). As far as is known, no one has ever been rendered by Britain into the hands of the US, or anyone else. Neither the British police, nor its security forces would contemplate committing such a blatant crime. Sweden however has a track record of doing precisely that - Mohammed Alzery and Mohammed Alzery were both kidnapped from the streets of Stockholm by SÄPO, delivered up to the CIA at Arlanda airport, tortured and then falsely imprisoned for years.

Unlike Britain, the Swedish government does not seem to mind a spot of kidnapping and rendering when it suits them. They have done it before, who is to say they will not do it again? You expect Mr Assange to stake his life that they will not. That is a big ask!
13:10 June 27, 2012 by rob582
Don't fall for his BS, the US dont execute spies, traitors or those convicted of any kind of espionage. That's not to say that Julian wont be best friends with some guy called Bubba within the penal system. Play with the bull..you get the horns. He deserves it.
14:30 June 27, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Interesting dilemma for Ecuador.

If (as many seem to believe) the US IS set on extraditing Assange from Sweden (if/when he arrives there) then presumably, Ecuador would p1ss off the US big time by offering asylum.

What then, about Ecuador's foreign trade? In 2011 one-third of this was to the USA - thats $10 billion worth and supporting 400,000 jobs in the country,
14:56 June 27, 2012 by philster61
Rob582. Why does he deserve it? He is only wanted for questioning in a case that is seriously flawed. Sweden could have sent attorneys to UK ages ago.Why haven't they? The US does indeed have the death penalty for espionage. Although it is unlikely the average American could tell the difference between treason and espionage.
15:36 June 27, 2012 by RobinHood

You assume a freshly rendered Assange will turn up in the US. Why would you think that?

Victims of rendering don't go to the US, and often don't turn up anywhere at all for months or years after they have been kidnapped. When they do turn up, it is in places like Egypt and Uzbekistan, in very poor physical and mental condition. Then they are prosecuted by a kangaroo military court for trumped up visa offences, and thrown in some pit of a jail for years.

Most of the victims of US rendering would find a US trial and US imprisonment (even with Bubba) a rather soft option compared with what they went through and/or are going through now.
15:52 June 27, 2012 by rob582
Sorry, I have no sympathy for this person based solely on the fact that diplomatic cables should not be aired in public.
16:10 June 27, 2012 by Nomark

How many extraditions have taken place in full public view ?

Taking a step back and looking objectively at the facts (including those uncomfortable for your case) before drawing conclusions might be a useful strategy.
16:49 June 27, 2012 by RobinHood
"How many extraditions have taken place in full public view?"

All of them! Do you know of one that has not?

Have you become confused between extradition and rendition again? They are not the same thing.
18:06 June 27, 2012 by Daho
Why didn't the CIA come and grab him during the weeks he stayed in Sweden? Or in any other country he has ever been to?

And what about the women? In the tin foil hat club surrounding Assange it's standard believing that they are either CIA Agents or bought by the CIA. Somehow, they must have a role in the conspiracy.

So why don't the Swedish authorities just come and question him in the UK? Yes, dancing to the pipe of Assange is the only solution. He is not an ordinary man; he is the new Messiah and must be treated that way. Not being under Swedish jurisdiction won't affect an interrogation. No, no of course not. Brilliant. And if the prosecutor decides to go to trial, well, then the trial must be in UK. A few laws will have to be changed, but otherwise it's perfect.
18:32 June 27, 2012 by Smartone
@ Daho: You are absolutely right.Wicked observation! cheers mate :)
19:36 June 27, 2012 by Garry Jones
Overlooking everything else in this case one can not allow extradition treaties to be made a mockery of. If one could simply slip into an embassy and cry foul play it would cause chaos.

The Ecuadorians surely do not want to upset the USA:

The United States assists Ecuador's economic development. More than 100 U.S. companies are doing business in Ecuador. I'd say he be much more likely to be extradited to USA from Ecuador than from UK or Sweden,

The UK could break of diplomatic relations immediately with Ecuador and then they'd have to leave and we could go in and pick him up.

If Ecuador did grant him asylum then surely many countries would close Ecuadorian Embassys.

However, bottom line.

Just how would he get from the embassy to Ecuador anyway?

Remember Hungary /Nagy/ 1956:

When the revolution was crushed by the Soviet invasion of Hungary, Nagy, was given sanctuary in the Yugoslav Embassy. In spite of a written safe conduct of free passage by János Kádár, on 22 November, Nagy was arrested by the Soviet forces as he was leaving the Yugoslav Embassy
23:00 June 27, 2012 by Carbarrister
Among the signatures on the petition were those of film directors Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, actor Danny Glover and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

What is this? A "steady stream" of emails from Hugo Chevez and Fidel Castro fan club? Very fashionable.

If the USA wanted Assange he would have been gone long ago.

Assange needs the publicity to keep his "love life" going.
23:17 June 27, 2012 by philster61

Sweden is not Iraq. They can't just invade and take him at will. They have to do it in a covert way. Why do you think they have rendition? Do you honestly believe Sweden will deny US Assange should he be extradited?
01:19 June 28, 2012 by Carbarrister
The covert way would have been to take him before Assange was "officially" in the hands of the Brits. However, they no longer need to question him to identify his source. They have Manning.

Do I believe that Sweden would honor its extradition treaty with the USA if asked? Of course I do because Assange would not be facing the death penalty. I do not believe that the USA has an interest in going to the trouble of prosecuting him.
06:13 June 28, 2012 by Harry®
Seems very mysterious why Sweden are spending millions to "question" Assange on a no-charge. The USA's 1917 Espionage act does carry the death penalty. Possibly the USA will use a Jail term on a trumped up charge on which he is not guilty. He is guilty of being a journalist who has come across a story which has shown our politicians behaving with their pants down.

Assange is very much alone as a warning to other journalists who wish to expose the or any truth.

Motto being treat us like mushrooms and feed us bullsh*t or you will be jailed perhaps hung
06:49 June 28, 2012 by steven12251971
Let us not get caught up with Assange the character and miss out on the message that he is trying to convey. It matters not if he is guilty of rape in the technical sense or if he goes to bed with the Russians or other authoritarian regimes because Western media are subservient to their political masters. This is just a sideshow, a diversion. It doesn't change the FACT that abuses have happened at Guantanamo Bay, and that Americans are killing civilians with Apaches and drone strikes. We are all victims of blind patriotism. We condemn our sons and daughters to die in foreign land based on a pack of lies and by doing so, enrich the coffers of the military industrial complex. Assange has brought all of that to the surface so that the blind could see. His sexual misadventures is none of our business.
07:36 June 28, 2012 by klubbnika
#3 @RobinHood

SAPO didn't "kidnap" them, they were taken into custody. You simply use this word because you assume Security Police to always "kidnap" people and never legitimely arrest them.
13:51 June 28, 2012 by DonQuixot
The legal system in the US and most places is based on how much money you have to buy judges and juries. Money rules supreme. Just see the percentage of poor, middle class and rich in US jails. Of course many brainwashed Americans think the poor are also bad, so they deserve it, and the rich are specially good, that is why God rewards them with richess. That is how crazy the US is.
14:12 June 28, 2012 by bcterry
"Of course many brainwashed Americans think the poor are also bad, so they deserve it, and the rich are specially good, that is why God rewards them with richess. That is how crazy the US is. "

Many "brainwashed" non- Americans believe that all the poor people in U.S. jails are there because they're not bad and don't deserve to be there, "that's how crazy they are".
22:16 June 28, 2012 by Garry Jones
> We condemn our sons and daughters to die in foreign land based ........

> Assange has brought all of that to the surface

Seems to me that misakes happen in war. Americans have made mistakes. Sure. Assange told the world because he managed to get access to the info Americans were sending home. This information was used to improve things so less mistakes would be made.

After Assange leaked it all....

1) In future mistakes will not be written down or explained to those that need to know. - Things will not get better at the same rate. Certain mistakes will be repeated, more civilians will be killed in error.

2) The enemy will use the facts about the mistakes out of context and recruit more terrorists and suicide bombers.

More people will die on both sides. Way to go Assange!

(The above has nothing to do with this case, he is wanted here and the fact its costing money is because he didn't just come over. This has to be followed through because otherwise it makes a mockery of the EAW)..
02:32 June 30, 2012 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
This ongoing absurd fiasco has done nothing positive for Sweden's image around the world. Pursuing half baked allegations that amount to no more than a witch-hunt at the behest of politicians severely embarrassed by WikiLeaks disclosures as being nowhere neutral as they portray.

Never have I known of a case where the complainants put on a party for the perpetrator the next day and, in the second instance, goes shopping the next morning to prepare a sumptious breakfast for him.

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