Now that Julian Assange has taken refuge in London’s Ecuadoran embassy and is seeking asylum in the Andean nation, we have three questions. The first, predictably, is only being asked on the political right: Is this supposed champion of transparency and freedom of information going to have anything to say about restrictions on press freedoms in Ecuador? Fox News with great glee quotes Human Rights Watch: “Ecuador’s laws restrict freedom of expression, and government officials, including [President Rafael] Correa, use these laws against his critics. Those involved in protests marred by violence may be prosecuted on inflated and inappropriate ‘terrorism’ charges.” Fox also notes that Ecuador has an “insult law” in place known as descato, “which historically has criminalized free speech and expression. Under Descato, which is part of the Ecuadorian Criminal Code, any person who ‘offends’ the president could be sentenced up to two years in prison and up to three months for ‘offending’ any government official.”
The other two questions practically nobody is asking at all—except World War 4 Report. Assange’s supporters take it for granted that extradition to Sweden is merely a prelude to extradition to the United States—a patently illogical assumption. For starters, Assange still hasn’t been charged with anything in the US. A little premature to be worrying about extradition, we’d say. Additionally, the UK is Washington’s closest ally, while Sweden is officially neutral. Can anyone explain to us why Sweden is any more likely to extradite him to the US than Britain? If anything, the reverse is true, as we have argued before. Smells to us like all these deluded “leftists” are rallying around someone who is cynically claiming political persecution to avoid facing rape charges.
Finally, despite the supposed media defamation campaign against Assange, not even the likes of Fox News have noted the evidence of WikiLeaks’ collaboration with the Belarus dictatorship, and claims that cables containing intelligence on dissidents were turned over to the security services of strongman Alexander Lukashenko during the harsh wave of repression in 2010. Index on Censorship has been virtually alone among rights watchdogs in pressing WikiLeaks and Assange on this matter, and he has still failed to come clean. When will he do so?
OK, then. Three questions. We want answers. Waiting…