Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Assange and a coop

We walked back from the V&A and came to Harrods, since I wanted to see the police guard round the Ecuadorian Embassy at the back - the one costing £11 million over the last 3 years, or £9,000 a day according to LBC last year.

We could hear a megaphone, but rounding the corner we saw a woman bawling animal rights slogans outside Harrods' café. We turned left into Basil Street and there at the far end was a lone policeman by the Embassy door, who spotted our attention, slank away into Hans Crescent and disappeared.

£3,000 a multi-personnel shift. Maybe there was some scheme going there, or had been. I wonder how this would have been explained to the National Audit Office. Cheaper surely to spy on him from an upper storey of Al-Fayed's shop, which is what Assange is now claiming.

Allegedly, what is effectively a house arrest is getting to him. According to Buzzfeed News, which has "independently corroborated several details from within [leaked Ecuadorian] documents" - a phrase that could mean anything - he's going crazy there and the Ecuadorians have kited various ideas to get him out, including smuggling him out in drag, like Mr Toad's washerwoman.  The Telegraph obligingly re-rumoured this fluff, which originated with Brazilian journalist Fernando Villavicencio.

Villavicencio is described by the Latin Times as an "opposition activist", so again there may be another agenda at work. For the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, is an anti-globalist and according to the Sydney Morning Herald warned the UK as he offered asylum to Assange, "You don't know who you are dealing with".

There's a reason for that ignorance, and Assange's outfit Wikileaks has tried to amend it, shedding light on transnational agreements being forged in secrecy, such as TISA and TPP. Previously also, Wikileaks leaked details of masses of US State Department cables relating to what many now see as the illegal war in Iraq, and footage and other information about the 2007 "collateral murder" airstrike in Baghdad.

Forty-odd years ago the USA was tearing itself asunder over the Vietnam My Lai massacre (Lt Calley ended up with three years' house arrest, like Assange - and then a Presidential pardon, something Chelsea Manning has so far been denied). Today we are encouraged to take a much more hawkish view. Clausewitz said "War is simply the continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means"; Wikileaks is educating us on both, to the fury of the USA.

The pretext for the ongoing Ecuadorian Embassy siege? The BBC summarises, in part:


11 August 2010

Julian Assange arrives in Sweden on a speaking trip partly arranged by "Miss A", a member of the Christian Association of Social Democrats. He has not met "Miss A" before but reports suggest they have arranged in advance that he can stay in her apartment while she is out of town for a few days.

14 August 2010

"Miss A" and Mr Assange attend a seminar by the Social Democrats' Brotherhood Movement on "War and the role of media", at which the Wikileaks founder is the key speaker. The two reportedly have sex that night.

17 August 2010

Mr Assange reportedly has sex with a woman he met at the seminar on 14 August, identified as "Miss W".

[And then the sweethearts learned about each other...]

Some time between 17 and 20 August, "Miss W" and "Miss A" - the woman who arranged his speaking trip - are in contact and apparently share with a journalist the concerns they have about aspects of their respective sexual encounters with Mr Assange.

Cue the European Arrest Warrant - withdrawn 21 August 2010 ("I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," says one of Stockholm's chief prosecutors, Eva Finne) - but the case is reopened by Swedish DPP Marianne Ny on 1 September, who applies for extradition.

At first it is said that the law requires Assange to be questioned on Swedish soil; two years later it is said to be "a matter of prestige."

Some will see the Swedes as beaters, flushing out Assange for a vengeful American State, and the British Government as guarding the cage in readiness for the release of the bird.

What happens when "my country, right or wrong" turns out to be "wrong", and no longer your country?


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