Something stinks - Ecuador has the right to grant Julian Assange Asylum - Ecuador's humanity verse the UK's inhumanity

Below are three key speeches in the evolving Assange extradition case, Ecuador's Foreign Minister granting Assange asylum, UK's Foreign Minister rejection of this claim and Julian Assange's speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy.

The first speech below is translation of the statement from the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister arguing the case for their right to grant Julian Assange asylum. At the end of this statement follows the UK Foreign Minister's statement suprisingly arguing their case against ensuring Julian Assange's safe passage and exposing an intention to apprehend and extradite Julian Assange (and in what goes against the UK's history and respect at all costs in adhering to the right to all forms of asylum despite their most recent statement). The last speech is by Julian Assange from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy on the 19th August 2012.

Declaration by the Government of the Republic of Ecuador on Julian Assange’s asylum application as presented by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca, 16/8/2012:

On June 19, 2012, the Australian national Mr Julian Assange appeared at the premises of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to request that the Ecuadorean State provide him with diplomatic protection, thus invoking the existing Diplomatic Asylum rules. The applicant had made his asylum request based on his fear of eventual political persecution by a third country, the same country whom could use his extradition to the Kingdom of Sweden to enable an expedited subsequent extradition.

The Government of Ecuador, faithful to the asylum procedures and with the utmost attention to this case, has reviewed and evaluated all aspects of this case, particularly the arguments presented by Mr. Assange to support the fear he feels regarding this situation as a threat to his life, personal safety and freedoms.

It is important to note that Mr Assange has taken the decision to seek asylum and protection of Ecuador over alleged allegations of “espionage and treason,” which “instigate fear of the possibility of being handed over to the United States of America by British, Swedish or Australian authorities,“ said Mr Assange, since the USA is chasing him for releasing compromising information sensitive to the U.S. Government. The applicant mentions that he “is a victim of persecution in various countries, which is deduced not only from their ideas and actions, but of his work of publishing information which compromises the powerful, uncovers the truth and therefore exposes corruption and abuses of human rights of citizens around the world.”

Therefore, according to the applicant, the indictment for crimes of a political nature is the basis for his asylum request, because in his judgement he is facing a situation involving an imminent danger which he cannot escape. In order to assess his fear of possible political persecution, and that this persecution could end up becoming a situation which curtails and violates his rights, integrity, and could become a risk to his personal safety and freedom, the Government of Ecuador has considered the following:

1. Julian Assange is an award-winning communications professional internationally known for his struggles for freedom of expression, press freedom and human rights in general;

2. Mr Assange shared privileged documents and information generated by various sources that affected employees, countries and organizations with a global audience;

3. That there is strong evidence of retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information disclosed by Mr. Assange, retaliation that may endanger his safety, integrity, and even his life;

4. That, despite Ecuador’s diplomatic efforts, countries which have been asked togive adequate safeguards for the protection and safety for the life of Mr Assange have refused to facilitate them;

5. That Ecuadorian authorities are certain of the possibility that Mr Assange could be extradited to a third country outside the European Union without proper guarantees for their safety and personal integrity;

6. That legal evidence clearly shows that, given an extradition to the United States of America, it would be unlikely for Mr. Assange to receive a fair trial, and likely that he would be judged by special or military courts, where there is a high probability of suffering cruel and degrading treatment, and be sentenced to life imprisonment or capital punishment, which would violate his human rights;

7. That while Mr Assange must answer for the investigation in Sweden, Ecuador is aware that the Swedish prosecutor has had a contradictory attitude that prevented Mr. Assange the full exercise of the legitimate right of defense;

8. Ecuador is convinced that the procedural rights of Mr. Assange have been infringed upon during the investigation;

9. Ecuador has observed that Mr Assange lacks the protection and assistance that should be received from the State of which he is a citizen;

10. That, following several public statements and diplomatic communications by officials from Britain, Sweden and the USA, it is inferred that these governments would not respect international conventions and treaties, and would give priority to domestic law, in violation of explicit rules of universal application and,

11. That, if Mr Assange is remanded to custody in Sweden (as is customary in this country), a chain of events would begin that would prevent further protective measures from being taken to avoid possible extradition to a third country.

Thus, the Government of Ecuador believes that these arguments lend support to the fears of Julian Assange, and it believes that he may become a victim of political persecution, as a result of his dedicated defense of freedom of expression and freedom of press as well as his repudiation of the abuses of power in certain countries, and that these facts suggest that Mr. Assange could at any moment find himself in a situation likely to endanger life, safety or personal integrity. This fear has driven him to exercise the right to seek and receive asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in the UK.

Article 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador clearly defines the right of asylum. Under this provision, the rights of asylum and refugee status are fully recognized in Ecuador in accordance with international law and instruments of human rights. According to this constitutional provision:

“Persons who find themselves in a situation of asylum and refuge shall enjoy special protection to ensure the full exercise of their rights. The State shall respect and ensure the principle of non-refoulement, and shall provide emergency legal and humanitarian assistance.”

Similarly, the right to asylum is enshrined in Article 4.7 of the Foreign Service Act of 2006 (Ley Orgánica del Servicio Exterior), which establishes the ability of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration of Ecuador to hear cases of diplomatic asylum, in accordance with laws, treaties, and international norms and laws.

It should be stressed that our country has stood out in recent years to accommodate a large number of people who have applied for territorial asylum or refugee status, having unconditionally respected the principle of non-refoulement and non-discrimination, while it has taken steps to provide refugee status in an expeditious manner, taking into account the circumstances of applicants, mostly Colombians fleeing armed conflicts in their own country. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has praised Ecuador’s refugee policy, and highlighted the important fact that the country has not confined these people to camps, but has integrated them into Ecuadorian society, with full enjoyment of their human and natural rights.

Ecuador places the right of asylum in the category of universal human rights and beliefs, therefore, that the effective implementation of this right requires international cooperation that our countries can provide, without which it would be fruitless, and the institution would be totally ineffective. For these reasons, and recalling the obligation of all States to assist in the protection and promotion of human rights as provided by the United Nations Charter, we invite the British Government to lend its assistance in achieving this purpose.

To that effect, the state of Ecuador can confirm, following analysis of the legal institutions related to asylum, that the foundation of these rights has set out fundamental principles of general international law, the same as for its universal scope and importance, because of its consistance with the general interest of the entire international community, and full recognition by all states. These principles, which are set forth in various international instruments are as follows:

a) Asylum in all its forms is a fundamental human right creating obligations erga omnes, ie “for all” states.

b) Diplomatic asylum, refuge (or territorial asylum), and the right not to be extradited, expelled, delivered or transferred, are comparable human rights, since they are based on the same principles of human protection: non-refoulement and non-discrimination without any adverse distinction based on race, color, sex, language, religion or belief, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status or any other similar criteria.

c) All these forms of protection are governed by the principles pro person (i.e. more favorable to the individual), equality, universality, indivisibility, interrelatedness and interdependence.

d) The protection occurs when the State granting asylum, required refuge, or powers of protection, consider that there is a risk or fear that the protected person may be a victim of political persecution, or is charged with political offenses.

e) The State granting asylum qualifies the causes of asylum and extradition case, weigh the evidence.

f) No matter which of its forms or modality, asylum always has the same cause and lawful object, i.e. political persecution, which makes it permissible, and to safeguard the life, personal safety and freedom of the protected person, which is its legitimately intended purpose.

g) The right of asylum is a fundamental human right, therefore, belongs to jus cogens, i.e. the system of mandatory rules of law recognized by the international community as a whole, for which no derogation is permitted, making null all treaties and provisions of international law which oppose it.

h) In cases not covered by existing law, the human person remains under the protection of the principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience, or are under the protection and rules of the principles of jus gentium derived from established customs, the principles of humanity and from dictates of public conscience.

i) The lack of international agreement or domestic legislation of States cannot legitimately be invoked to limit, impair or deny the right to asylum.

j) The rules and principles governing the rights to asylum or refuge, no extradition, no handing over, no expulsion and no transfer are convergent, to the extent necessary to enhance the protection and provide it with maximum efficiency. In this sense, they are complementary to the international human rights law, the right of asylum and refugee law, and humanitarian law.

k) The rights of protection of the human being are based on ethical principles and universally accepted values and therefore have a humanistic, social, solidaric, peaceful and humanitarian character.

l) All States have a duty to promote the progressive development of international human rights through effective national and international action.

Ecuador has judged that the laws applicable to the asylum case of Mr. Julian Assange comprise the entire set of principles, standards, mechanisms and procedures provided for international human rights instruments (whether regional or universal), which include among their provisions the right to seek, receive and enjoy asylum for political reasons, the conventions governing the right of asylum and refugee law, and which recognize the right not to be delivered, returned, or expelled when credible fear of political persecution exists; conventions governing extradition law recognize the right not to be extradited when this measure covers political persecution, and conventions governing humanitarian law, recognize the right not to be transferred when there is a risk of political persecution. All these forms of asylum and international protection are justified by the need to protect this person from possible political persecution, or a possible accusation of political crimes and/or crimes related to the latter, which in the opinion of Ecuador, not only endanger Mr Assange, but also pose a serious injustice committed against him.

It is undeniable that states, having agreed to numerous and substantive international instruments (many of them legally-binding), have the obligation to provide protection or asylum to persons persecuted for political reasons and have expressed their desire to establish a legal institution to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms based on a general practice accepted as law, which confers on such obligations a mandatory nature, erga omnes, linked to the respect, protection and progressive development of human rights and fundamental freedoms that are part of jus cogens. Some of these instruments are mentioned below:

a) United Nations Charter of 1945, Purposes and Principles of the United Nations: the obligation of all members to cooperate in the promotion and protection of human rights;

b) Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948: right to seek and enjoy asylum in any country, for political reasons (Article 14);

c) Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, 1948: right to seek and enjoy asylum for political reasons (Article 27);

d) Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War: the protected person should in no case be transferred to a country where they fear persecution for his political views ( Article 45);

e) Convention on the Status of Refugees 1951 and Protocol of New York, 1967: prohibits returning or expelling refugees to countries where their lives and freedom would be threatened

f) Convention on Diplomatic Asylum, 1954: The State has the right to grant asylum and classify the nature of the offense or the motives of persecution

g) Convention on Territorial Asylum of 1954: the State is entitled to admit to its territory such persons as it considers necessary, when they are persecuted for their beliefs, political opinions or affiliation, or acts that may be considered political offenses, the State granting asylum may not return or expel a refugee who is persecuted for political reasons or offenses; also, extradition is not appropriate when dealing with people who, according to the requested State, be prosecuted for political crimes , or common crimes committed for political purposes, or when extradition is requested obeying political motives;

h) European Convention on Extradition of 1957, prohibits extradition if the requested Party considers that the offense is a political charge;

i) 2312 Declaration on Territorial Asylum of 1967 provides for the granting of asylum to persons who have that right under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including persons struggling against colonialism. It prohibits the refusal of admission, expulsion and return to any State where he may be subject to persecution;

j) Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969, provides that the rules and principles of general international law imperatives do not support a contrary agreement, the treaty is void upon conflicts with one of these rules, and if there arises a new peremptory norm of this nature, any existing treaty which conflicts with that provision is void and is terminated. As regards the application of these Articles, the Convention allows States to claim compliance with the International Court of Justice, without requiring the agreement of the respondent State, accepting the court’s jurisdiction. Human rights are norms of jus cogens.

k) American Convention on Human Rights, 1969: right to seek and enjoy asylum for political reasons;

l) European Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism of 1977, the requested State is entitled to refuse extradition when there is a danger that the person is prosecuted or punished for their political opinions;

m) Inter-American Convention on Extradition of 1981, the extradition is not applicable when the person has been tried or convicted, or is to be tried in a court of special or ad hoc in the requesting State, when, under the classification of the requested State, whether political crimes or related crimes or crimes with a political aim pursued, and when, the circumstances of the case, can be inferred that persecution for reasons of race, religion or nationality; that the situation of the person sought may be prejudiced for any of these reasons. Article 6 provides, in reference to the right of asylum, that “nothing in this Convention shall be construed as limiting the right of asylum, when appropriate.”

n) African Charter on Human and Peoples of 1981, pursued individual’s right to seek and obtain asylum in other countries;

o) Cartagena Declaration of 1984, recognizes the right to seek refuge, not to be rejected at the border and not to be returned.

p) Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union 2000: establishes the right of diplomatic and consular protection. Every citizen of the Union shall, in the territory of a third country not represented by the Member State of nationality, have the protection of diplomatic and consular authorities of any Member State, under the same conditions as nationals of that State.

The Government of Ecuador believes it is important to note that the rules and principles recognized in the international instruments mentioned above and in other multilateral agreements take precedence over domestic law of States, because these treaties are based on universal rules guided by intangible principles, whereof deriving greater respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights against unilateral attitudes of such States. This would compromise international law, which should instead be strengthened in order to consolidate the respect of fundamental rights in terms of integration and ecumenical character.

Furthermore, since Assange applied for asylum in Ecuador, we have maintained high-level diplomatic talks with the United Kingdom, Sweden and the United States.

In the course of these conversations, our country has sought to obtain strict guarantees from the UK government that Assange would face, without hindrance, an open legal process in Sweden. These safeguards include that after facing his legal responsibilities in Sweden, that he would not be extradited to a third country; that is, ensuring that the Specialty Rule is not waived. Unfortunately, despite repeated exchanges of messages, the UK at no time showed signs of wanting to reach a political compromise, and merely repeated the content of legal texts.

Assange’s lawyers invited Swedish authorities to take Assange statements in the premises of the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Ecuador officially conveyed to Swedish authorities its willingness to host this interview without interference or impediment to the legal processes followed in Sweden. This measure is absolutely legally possible. Sweden did not accept.

On the other hand, Ecuador raised the possibility that the Swedish government establish guarantees to not subsequently extradite Assange to the United States. Again, the Swedish government rejected any compromise in this regard.

Finally, Ecuador wrote to the U.S. government to officially reveal its position on Assange’s case. Inquiries related to the following:

1. If there is an ongoing legal process or intent to carry out such processes against Julian Assange and/or the founders of the WikiLeaks organization;

2. Should the above be true, then under what kind of legislation, and how and under what conditions would such persons be subject to under maximum penalties;

3. Whether there is an intention to request the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States.

The U.S. response has been that it cannot provide information about the Assange case, claiming that it is a bilateral matter between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.

With this background, the Government of Ecuador, true to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or on the premises of its diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Mr Assange, based on the application submitted to the President of the Republic, transmitted in writing in London, dated June 19, 2012, and supplemented by letter written in London dated June 25, 2012, for which the Government of Ecuador, after a fair and objective assessment of the situation described by Mr Assange, according to his own words and arguments, endorsed the fears of the appellant, and accepts that there are indications which lead to the conclusion that he may face political persecution, or that such persecution could occur if timely and necessary measures are not taken to avoid it.

The Government of Ecuador is certain that the British Government knows how to assess the justice and righteousness of the Ecuadorian position, and consistent with these arguments, it is confident that the UK will offer safe passage guarantees necessary and relevant to the asylum, so that their governments can honor with action the fidelity owed to law and international institutions that both nations have helped shape along their common history.

It also hopes to maintain unchanged the excellent ties of friendship and mutual respect which bind Ecuador and the United Kingdom and their people, as they are also engaged in promoting and defending the same principles and values, and because they share similar concerns about democracy, peace, and well being, which are only possible if the fundamental rights of everyone are respected.


Presented by William Hague

Foreign Secretary statement on Ecuadorian Government’s decision to offer political asylum to Julian Assange

16 August 2012

Full text of the Foreign Secretary's statement:

“We are disappointed by the statement by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister today that Ecuador has offered political asylum to Julian Assange.

“Under our law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We must carry out that obligation and of course we fully intend to do so. The Ecuadorian Government's decision this afternoon does not change that in any way. Nor does it change the current circumstances in any way. We remain committed to a diplomatic solution that allows us to carry out our obligations as a nation under the Extradition Act.

“It is important to understand that this is not about Mr Assange’s activities at Wikileaks or the attitude of the United States of America. He is wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of serious sexual offences.

“His case has been heard in our Courts. Following the court decision of 30 May this year, he exhausted all legal options available to him in the UK to prevent his extradition to Sweden. He then entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on 19 June. And since then we have worked patiently with the Ecuadorian authorities, both in London and Quito, in private discussions to seek a mutually acceptable resolution to this situation. We have held seven formal discussions as well as many other conversations.

“Given our need to fulfil our obligations under international law to deliver a suspect for questioning on serious offences, we have ensured that the Ecuadorian authorities have a complete understanding of the full legal context in this country.

“It is a matter of regret that instead of continuing these discussions they have instead decided to make today’s announcement. It does not change the fundamentals of the case. We will not allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the UK, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so. The UK does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum. It is far from a universally accepted concept: the United Kingdom is not a party to any legal instruments which require us to recognise the grant of diplomatic asylum by a foreign embassy in this country. Moreover, it is well established that, even for those countries which do recognise diplomatic asylum, it should not be used for the purposes of escaping the regular processes of the courts. And in this case that is clearly what is happening.

“Ecuador has expressed its concerns about the human rights of Mr Assange and sought guarantees from us in that area regarding his extradition to Sweden and indeed about any onward extradition and we have painstakingly explained the extensive human rights safeguards built into our law.

“No-one, least of all the Government of Ecuador, should be in any doubt that we are determined to carry out our legal obligation to see Mr Assange extradited to Sweden. He faces serious charges in a country with the highest standards of law and where his rights are guaranteed. We believe that should be assurance enough for Ecuador and any supporters of Mr Assange.

“We will remain fully committed to seeking a legal and binding bilateral solution to this with the Government of Ecuador but it is important that everyone understands that as a nation under law, believing in the rule of law, we must ensure that our laws are respected and followed.”


“Can you hear me?

“I am here today because I cannot be there with you today. But thank you for coming. Thank you for your resolve and your generosity of spirit.

“On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and the police descended on this building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it and you brought the world’s eyes with you.

“Inside this embassy, after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through its internal fire escape. But I knew there would be witnesses. And that is because of you.

“If the UK did not throw away the Vienna conventions the other night, it is because the world was watching. And the world was watching because you were watching.

“So, the next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend those rights that we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the Embassy of Ecuador.

“Remind them how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world and a courageous Latin America nation took a stand for justice.

And so, to those brave people. I thank President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and in granting me political asylum.

“And I also thank the government, and in particular Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal rights in their consideration of my asylum. And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending this constitution.

“And I also have a debt of gratitude to the staff of this embassy, whose families live in London and who have shown me the hospitality and kindness despite the threats we all received.

“This Friday, there will be an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington DC to address this very situation.

“And so, I am grateful to those people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, and to all other Latin American countries who have come out to defend the right to asylum.

“And to the people of the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength, even when their governments have not. And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come.

“To the staff, supporters and sources of Wikileaks, whose courage and commitment and loyalty has seen no equal.

“To my family and to my children who have been denied their father. Forgive me, we will be reunited soon.

“As Wikileaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies. We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.

“Will it return to and reaffirm the values, the revolutionary values it was founded on, or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?

“I say it must turn back. I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch-hunts against Wikileaks. The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation.

“The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters. The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.

“There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organisation; be it Wikileaks, or be it the New York Times.

“The US administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.

“Thomas Drake, William Binney and John Kirakou and the other heroic whistleblowers must – they must – be pardoned or compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants of the public record.

“And to the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who was found by the United Nations to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico, Virginia and who has yet – after two years in prison – to see a trial: he must be released.

“Bradley Manning must be released.

“And if Bradley Manning did as he is accused, he is a hero and an example to us all and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.

“Bradley Manning must be released.

“On Wednesday, Bradley Manning spent his 815th day of detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days.

“On Thursday, my friend Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre, was sentenced to three years in prison for a tweet. On Friday, a Russian band were sentenced to two years in jail for a political performance.

“There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.

“Thank you.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will appeal to the International Court of Justice if Britain blocks his exit to Ecuador, renowned Spanish rights lawyer Baltasar Garzon says.
Garzon, who is helping Assange's defence, told Spanish newspaper El Pais that Britain had a legal obligation to allow his client to leave the country once Ecuador granted him diplomatic asylum.
'What the United Kingdom must do is apply the diplomatic obligations of the Refugee Convention and let him leave, giving him safe conduct,' the former judge said.
'Otherwise, we will go to the International Court of Justice.'



It's astounding what lengths the USA and UK will go when they clearly envy Julian Assange's noble qualities.
Qualities of character they the governments have laid to waste.
I believe a lot of this tragic horrendous bullying of Julian Assange is about just that.
What so many people don't have and want they hunt down in others and try to bring tghem down.
In the final analysis they can't.
in Hope for Julian Assange and his families.
a mother who admires rather than envies Julian's remarkable qualities. Thursday 16th August - In a communication this morning to the government of Ecuador, the UK threatened to forcefully enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest Julian Assange.

The UK claims the power to do so under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.

This claim is without basis.

By midnight, two hours prior to the time of this announcement, the embassy had been surrounded by police, in a menacing show of force.

Any transgression against the sanctity of the embassy is a unilateral and shameful act, and a violation of the Vienna Convention, which protects embassies worldwide.

This threat is designed to preempt Ecuador’s imminent decision on whether it will grant Julian Assange political asylum, and to bully Ecuador into a decision that is agreeable to the United Kingdom and its allies.

WikiLeaks condemns 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.

We draw attention to the fact that the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously declared in Resolution 2312 (1967) that

“the grant of asylum. . . is a peaceful and humanitarian act and that, as such, it cannot be regarded as unfriendly by any other State.”

Pursuant to this resolution, a decision to grant asylum cannot be construed by another State as an unfriendly act. Neither can there be diplomatic consequences for granting asylum.

We remind the public that these extraordinary actions are being taken to detain a man who has not been charged with any crime in any country.

WikiLeaks joins the Government of Ecuador in urging the UK to resolve this situation according to peaceful norms of conduct.

We further urge the UK government to show restraint, and to consider the dire ramifications of any violation of the elementary norms of international law.

We ask that the UK respect Ecuador’s sovereign right to deliver a decision of its own making on Julian Assange’s asylum bid.

Noting that Ecuador has called for emergency summits of OAS and UNASUR in response to this development, WikiLeaks asks those bodies to support Ecuador’s rights in this matter, and to oppose any attempts to coerce a decision.

We note with interest that this development coincides with the UK Secretary of State William Hague’s assumption of executive responsibilities during the vacation of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Hague’s department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has overseen the negotiations to date with Ecuador in the matter of Mr Assange’s asylum bid.

If Mr Hague has, as would be expected, approved this decision, WikiLeaks calls for his immediate resignation.

Australian Documentary on Julian Assange’s situation:

Friends of WikiLeaks Support Network:

Justice for Assange:

A SWEDISH minister has called besieged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a "coward", a "pitiful wretch" and a "scumbag".

Swedish media reports the Minister of Social Affairs Goran Hagglund has fired off a furious Twitter message:

"Sick. A coward who does not dare to have his case tried by the court. If the accusations against him are true, he is a scumbag."

There are no charges against Assange. Sweden insists he is wanted only for questioning in relation to sexual assault allegations.

ASHLEY HALL: Sweden has entered the diplomatic stand-off between Britain and Ecuador over the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Swedes have strongly rejected Ecuador's reason for granting Mr Assange political asylum - that he wouldn't get a fair trial over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

They've summoned Ecuador's envoy to explain the decision.

The Swedes say they’ve not received any request from the US to extradite Mr Assange there, and even if they did, they'd be legally prevented from doing so.

But Mr Assange's supporters remain unconvinced, with rallies in the UK and the US celebrating Ecuador's decision.

Barney Porter reports.

BARNEY PORTER: If you listen to supporters of Julian Assange the argument is simple.

JULIAN ASSANGE SUPPORTER: He is fighting against USA practically. And he is represented a person who loves truth; truth, life, freedom and everything that we really miss in Latin America as well.

BARNEY PORTER: But not everyone is so supportive.

ANDERS JOERLE: We are quite upset by their remarks made on the Swedish legal system, accusing it of being politicised. I mean this is ridiculous.

BARNEY PORTER: Sweden's foreign ministry spokesman, Anders Joerle.

ANDERS JORLE: This decision is preventing the Swedish legal system from acting and making the investigation upon the accusations made of sexual offences in Sweden. And this is unacceptable in all reasonable ways.

BARNEY PORTER: Mr Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June the 19th, after a British court ruled he could be extradited to Sweden for questioning about allegations of rape and sexual assault involving two women.

Amid the media focus on Mr Assange's bid for asylum, the lawyer representing the two women says he's puzzled by Ecuador's decision.

Claes Borgstrom says Mr Assange has managed to change the public debate from accusations of rape and sexual assault to WikiLeaks and the United States.

CLAES BORGSTROM: Well, I'm not any longer astonished when different things happen in this case, but I'm very disappointed though.

And I think it's absurd that he would get political asylum in Ecuador when the question is that he shall be extradited to Sweden to answer to the suspicions that he has committed rape and sexual molestation. That has nothing to do with asylum in Ecuador.

BARNEY PORTER: One of Mr Assange's Swedish lawyers, Thomas Olsson, says now that asylum has been granted, Swedish prosecutors must come to London to interview him.

In an interview with The World Today's Europe correspondent, Mary Gearin, Mr Olsson also acknowledges Swedish authorities are angry with Ecuador's involvement and how it reflects on Sweden's legal system.

THOMAS OLSSON: They think that this is outrageous that another state is accusing Sweden of not being a state that respects the rule of law.

MARY GEARIN: And what's your own personal assessment of Sweden's role in this?

THOMAS OLSSON: I don't have to evaluate that. Me personally, I think that Sweden has the rule of law, but I also see that there are substantial risks that if Mr Assange will be prosecuted in the United States, he will also be extradited. And if he is staying in Sweden he will be extradited from Sweden.

BARNEY PORTER: That same scenario, subsequent extradition to the US, was used by Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, to justify his decision to grant Mr Assange asylum.

But there's a problem.

Anders Joerle again.

ANDERS JOERLE: There has been a lot of talk about him being at risk of having the capital punishment in the United States, and Sweden neither Britain will extradite a person who is at risk of having the capital punishment. This is both by Swedish law and also by the European Convention of Human Rights.

BARNEY PORTER: The Swedish media has been particularly forthright.

One tabloid newspaper has described Mr Assange as “a hero who's turned pathetic”, while an editorial in another has praised foreign minister Carl Bildt's assurance that Mr Assange would be treated according to the rule of law.

And they've been backed by the British foreign secretary, William Hague.

He's says Sweden has the highest standard of human rights and commitment to legal processes.

WILLIAM HAGUE: It's important to understand that this is not about Mr Assange's activities at WikiLeaks or the attitude of the United States of America. He is wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of serious sexual offences.

BARNEY PORTER: The United States meanwhile has reiterated it has no intention of persecuting Mr Assange, and denies charges that it's pressuring Britain to seize him.

US state department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland.

VICTORIA NULAND: This is an issue between the Ecuadoreans, the Brits, the Swedes. I don't have anything particular to add.

REPORTER: You don't have any interest at all in this case other than as of a completely neutral, independent observer role?

VICTORIA NULAND: Well, certainly with regard to this particular issue, it is an issue among the countries involved, and we're not planning to interject ourselves.

BARNEY PORTER: Such assurances are unlikely to assuage the Assange supporters.

Ecuador granted political asylum to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange on Thursday, a day after it said Britain had threatened to raid the Ecuadorean embassy in London to arrest the former hacker.

Britain has said it is determined to extradite him to Sweden, where he is accused of rape and sexual assault. Assange fears he will ultimately be sent to the United States which is furious that his WikiLeaks website has leaked hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic and military cables.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his country feared for the safety of the Australian, who had lodged an asylum request with President Rafael Correa, a self-declared enemy of "corrupt" media and U.S. "imperialism".

NARCISSISTS saturate our media. Our voyeurism fuels their narcissism. Witness the new Australian television series Being Lara Bingle. Happily, the target audience of 16-year-old girls watch it and laugh at the self-centred, look-at-me antics of Bingle. But if Bingle's narcissism attracts 16-year-olds smart enough to mock the model, then Julian Assange, a class-A narcissist, has collected quite an entourage of adoring, useful idiots around him.

Assange's target audience is older, usually tertiary educated, invariably left-wing. Many are well-heeled, sophisticated types. And, unlike Bingle's audience, the Assange fan club has been completely duped by a man whose attention-seeking antics are filled with hypocrisy of the highest order. Best described by Nick Cohen in The Guardian as "socialist socialites", the Jemima Khans, the John Pilgers, the Geoffrey Robertsons, the Michael Moores, the Naomi Wolfs and co also like a bit of media attention.

U.S. federal prosecutors are looking for evidence that would help them bring conspiracy charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the New York Times.

Prosecutors are looking for anything that would suggest Assange encouraged or helped Manning leak classified information by giving him instructions on how to download files or requesting that Manning obtain certain kinds of documents to send to WikiLeaks.

As Threat Level reported earlier this week, a conspiracy charge for helping steal classified documents would help prosecutors avoid First Amendment issues that would arise if they tried to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act.

The Times doesn’t cite any sources but says to make a conspiracy case, prosecutors have been sifting through online chat logs of Manning’s discussions with former hacker Adrian Lamo. In those, he confessed to leaking classified material to WikiLeaks and of having a unique relationship with Assange that went beyond what other sources might have with the enigmatic leader of the secret-spilling site.

Their investigation has also included border searches of laptops and cellphones of people connected tangentially to Manning or WikiLeaks.

Manning is charged under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal anti-hacking statute that prohibits unauthorized computer access or access that exceeds authorization.

If prosecutors were to charge Assange for publishing classified documents under the Espionage Act, it would be a political landmine since it would open traditional media outlets, such as The New York Times, to similar prosecutions for publishing classified information, a quagmire the Justice Department likely wants to avoid.

But charging Assange with conspiracy under the CFAA instead would help them avoid the constitutional issues. While journalists have generally been protected from prosecution for publishing classified documents, encouraging a source to obtain documents in a manner known to be illegal is not protected.

According to the Times, prosecutors have been scouring one of Manning’s chats with Lamo in which he described being in direct communication with Assange using an encrypted service and having a special relationship with him. Manning told Lamo in the chats that Assange at one point offered him a position at WikiLeaks. Manning said he wasn’t “interested right now” in a position with WikiLeaks because he had “too much excess baggage” that he was trying to work through.

Prosecutors are also looking at claims Manning made that Assange provided him with a special FTP address to upload classified documents so that his submissions would go to the top of the queue for review by WikiLeaks.

The Times points out that Threat Level has published excerpts from the logs of Manning’s chats with Lamo, but wrongly states that the parts in which Manning discusses his contact with Assange and the FTP server were not among those excerpts. In the excerpt below, published last June, Manning discusses the FTP server:

(02:48:52 PM) Lamo: How long between the leak and the publication?
(02:49:18 PM) Manning: some time in february
(02:49:25 PM) Manning: it was uploaded
(02:50:04 PM) Lamo: uploaded where? how would i transmit something if i had similarly damning data
(02:51:49 PM) Manning: uhm… preferably openssl the file with aes-256… then use sftp at prearranged drop ip addresses
(02:52:08 PM) Manning: keeping the key separate… and uploading via a different means
(02:52:31 PM) Lamo: so i myself would be SOL w/o a way to prearrange
(02:54:33 PM) Manning: not necessarily… the HTTPS submission should suffice legally… though i’d use tor on top of it…
(02:54:43 PM) Manning: but you’re data is going to be watched
(02:54:44 PM) Manning: *your
(02:54:49 PM) Manning: by someone, more than likely
(02:54:53 PM) Lamo: submission where?
(02:55:07 PM) Manning: submission system
(02:55:23 PM) Lamo: in the massive queue?
(02:55:54 PM) Manning: lol, yeah, it IS pretty massive…
(02:55:56 PM) Manning: buried
(02:56:04 PM) Manning: i see what you mean
(02:56:35 PM) Manning: long term sources do get preference… i can see where the “unfairness” factor comes in
(02:56:53 PM) Lamo: how does that preference work?
(02:57:47 PM) Manning: veracity… the material is easy to verify…
(02:58:27 PM) Manning: because they know a little bit more about the source than a purely anonymous one
(02:59:04 PM) Manning: and confirmation publicly from earlier material, would make them more likely to publish… i guess…
(02:59:16 PM) Manning: im not saying they do… but i can see how that might develop
(03:00:18 PM) Manning: if two of the largest public relations “coups” have come from a single source… for instance
(03:02:03 PM) Manning: you yeah… purely *submitting* material is more likely to get overlooked without contacting them by other means and saying hey, check your submissions for x…

Manning also discussed his role as a source for WikiLeaks and indicated that he had developed a relationship with Assange:

(2:04:29 PM) Manning: im a source, not quite a volunteer
(2:05:38 PM) Manning: i mean, im a high profile source… and i’ve developed a relationship with assange… but i dont know much more than what he tells me, which is very little
(2:05:58 PM) Manning: it took me four months to confirm that the person i was communicating was in fact assange

Members of the Metropolitan Police stand outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted asylum. Australian diplomats believe Washington is targeting Assange for possible prosecution, according to documents obtained by a newspaper.

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian diplomats believe Washington is targeting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for possible prosecution, according to documents obtained by a newspaper.

The Australian embassy in Washington is taking seriously the possibility that Assange will eventually be extradited to the United States on charges including espionage and conspiracy relating to a huge leak of classified information on the WikiLeaks website, according to The Age newspaper.

A raft of diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information laws and obtained by the newspaper, show Australia has been keeping tabs on Washington's interest in Assange and has no objection to the potential extradition, the newspaper said.

Despite Foreign Minister Bob Carr's insistence that the US is not pushing for Assange to be pursued over the leaks, the documents show he and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have been briefed on the issue, The Age reported.

The newspaper also said the cables showed that the Australian government requested early advice from the US on any decision to indict or seek Assange's extradition.

Assange, an Australian national, has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since June in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over sex assault claims.

He fears Stockholm will then turn him over to the US to face charges over his whistleblowing website.

On Thursday, after Ecuador granted Assange political asylum, Australia said there was little it could do for him, as Britain suggested it was considering a raid on the embassy in order to make an arrest.

Assange has repeatedly criticised Canberra's handling of his case, but Australian Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said while she was taking "an absolute interest" in his plight, there were limits to what she could do.

His mother Christine said Thursday that she was furious that British police may be sent in to seize her son, claiming they would be acting on behalf of Washington.

It is easier for the US to extradite people from the UK than it is from Sweden. Julian Assange is using the reputation of Wikileaks to avoid facing the sexual charges of two women. Whilst I am in favor, on the whole, of the work in publishing what would otherwise not be published from governments and/or corporations by Wikileaks I don't see this work as being reducible to just Assange or indeed Wikileaks. I would also go further to say that his increasing public profile doesn't actually help the cause and his avoidance of charges high-jacks and hinders the movement for more open democracy more than it actually would represent and achieve any sense of protected or additional freedom. Wikileaks itself seems to have been shaped to protect its own ownership of materials it obtains, maximizing its profits made from its endeavors and raising awareness of Assanges existence aiding in his desire for attention and perhaps to become the launching platform for his political ambitions. There needs to be further separation between Assange and more open democracy alongside asking ourselves how much Wikileaks is Assange; the more these two coincide within one another the more I would question the role of Wikileaks.