BILL VAN AUKEN—The frame-up of Bini is bound up with the Moreno government’s retaliation against the exposure of the president’s and his family’s involvement in a massive corruption scandal involving the funneling of millions of dollars in bribe money from a Chinese construction contractor into an offshore shell company named after the president’s three daughters.The publication of the so-called INA papers exposing this corruption was widely reported and prompted the initiation of a congressional investigation in Ecuador before WikiLeaks called attention to the scandal on its Twitter account last month. The Moreno government seized on the tweet to accuse WikiLeaks and Julian Assange personally—despite the intense surveillance and conditions approaching that of solitary confinement in the London embassy—of having hacked the phones and social media accounts of Moreno and his family to secure the evidence of corruption.
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Citing Assange’s Work Exposing US ‘Atrocities,’ UK Labour Leaders Speak Out Against Extradition Effort
JESSICA CORBETT—”The extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party’s leader.Along with his concise comment, Corbyn posted a video in which Labour MP and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott says:And we should recall what WikiLeaks actually disclosed: Who can forget the Pentagon video footage of a missile attack in 2007 in Iraq, which killed 18 civilians and two Reuters journalists? It is the monumental amount of leaks such as this that lifted the veil on U.S.-led military operation in a variety of theaters, none of which have produced a favorable outcome [for] the people of those countries. Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect U.S. national security. He is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by U.S. administrations and their military forces.Abbott also shared the video and said on Twitter, “In this country we have protections for whistleblowers, those who take personal risk to disclose wrongdoing in the public interest.”
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Seven years after he first entered Ecuador’s embassy in London seeking asylum, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police and faces extradition to the United States. A bedraggled and sickly looking Assange on Thursday was dragged out of the building in the UK capital by officers and bundled into a police van after the South American country abruptly revoked his asylum earlier in the morning. The Australian national, 47, was initially arrested for breaching bail terms, and was later found guilty before a London court. Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands has more from London and Shihab Rattansi reports from Washington, DC. Renata Avila, a human rights and technology lawyer who had collaborated in the legal case with Julian Assange over the past decade, talks to Al Jazeera about the case.
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KEVIN ZEESE—I think this is the beginning of another phase of the defense of Julian Assange. Unfortunately, we knew this day was likely to come, but extradition [to the US] is not guaranteed. People can organize and mobilize, and they started to do that very quickly. This is not the only protest happening today, on this first day of this extradition challenge.We recognize that Julian Assange is a truth teller. His case is the case that determines the future of journalism in the 21st century. It’s equivalent to the John Peter Zenger case. It’s a case that occurred before the United States [existed], in the colonial era, when a publisher published the truth about a corrupt British governor. He told the truth and was arrested. In those days, telling the truth was not a defense. In those days, there was no First Amendment. As a result of that case, truth is a defense, and there is a First Amendment.As a result of Julian’s case, we’re gonna see a democratized media; a media that empowers the people, takes away power from the stranglehold of corporations – the half dozen corporations that control 90 percent of the news. Wikileaks has opened that up. They’ve allowed people who see crime to report crime.”