Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers (top-secret government documents that showed a pattern of governmental deceit about the Vietnam War), today signed a petition calling on Ecuador to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Ellsberg stated: “Political asylum was made for cases like this. Freedom for Julian in Ecuador would serve the cause of freedom of speech and of the press worldwide. It would be good for us all; and it would be cause to honor, respect and thank Ecuador.”
COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net
Rowley, a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She said today: “An unbelievably cruel irony exists in witnessing powerful western political figures threaten Julian Assange, someone with a unique track record of supporting whistleblowers without any viable outlet for disclosing their superiors’ illegal orders and activities. WikiLeaks’ efforts combating undue secrecy, exposing illegal cover-ups and championing transparency in government has already benefited the world. And I’m convinced, more than ever, that if that type of anti-secrecy publication had existed and enabled the proper information sharing in early 2001, it could have not only prevented the 9/11 attacks but it could have exposed the fabricating of intelligence and deceptive propaganda which enabled the Bush Administration to unjustifiably launch war on Iraq.”
RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern, who was a U.S. army officer and CIA analyst for 30 years, now works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He just wrote the piece “Julian Assange’s Artful Dodge,” which states: “Not only is Julian Assange within his rights to seek asylum, he is also in his right mind. Consider this: he was about to be sent to faux-neutral Sweden, which has a recent history of bowing to U.S. demands in dealing with those that Washington says are some kind of threat to U.S. security. Glenn Greenwald on Tuesday provided an example:
“‘In December 2001, Sweden handed over two asylum seekers to the CIA, which then rendered them to be tortured in Egypt. A ruling from the U.N. Human Rights Committee found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for its role in that rendition (the two individuals later received a substantial settlement from the Swedish government).’
“For those of you thinking, Oh, but that was under the Bush administration and that kind of thing is over, think again. In 2010 and 2011, the hysteria surrounding WikiLeaks’ disclosures of U.S. misconduct and crimes around the world brought cries from prominent American political figures seeking Assange’s designation as a terrorist, his prosecution as a spy and even his assassination.
“Rep. Peter King, R-New York, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called for WikiLeaks to be declared a terrorist organization and Assange to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917, a position shared by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
“‘The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.’
“Others have gone even further, demanding that Assange be put to death, either by judicial or extrajudicial means. …
“Four weeks before Assange sought asylum, he interviewed Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for Episode 6 of The World Tomorrow (Assange’s program Tuesdays on RT [formerly Russia Today]). Assange asked Correa why he has advocated that WikiLeaks release all its cables. Correa responded:
“‘First, you don’t owe anything, have nothing to fear. We have nothing to hide. Your WikiLeaks have made us stronger’ with the damaging revelations showing the attitude of the U.S. embassy toward the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian government.’
“Correa continued: ‘On the other hand, WikiLeaks wrote a lot about the goals that the national media pursue, about the power groups who seek help and report to foreign embassies. … Let them publish everything they have about the Ecuadorian government. You will see how many things about those who oppose the civil revolution in Ecuador will come to light. Things to do with opportunism, betrayal, and being self serving.’
“Correa made the point that when WikiLeaks cables became available to the national media in Ecuador, they chose not to publish them — partly because the documents aired so much ‘dirty linen’ about the media themselves. He added that when he took office in January 2007, five out of seven privately owned TV channels in Ecuador were run by bankers. The bankers were using the guise of journalism to interfere in politics and to destabilize governments, for fear of losing power.”
See the Assange-Correa interview.