Update 8/16/12: Assange’s asylum, Bradley’s case and inequality, and West Coast rallies
Ecuador grants asylum to Julian Assange. In a statement this morning granting asylum to the WikiLeaks publisher, Ecuadorian FM Ricardo Patino said that Ecuador asked Sweden to agree to question Assange on the condition that it wouldn’t extradite him to the United States. Sweden refused.
In his remarks, Patino said, “[Assange] is victim of political persecution. … If Assange is extradited to U.S., he will not receive a fair trial.” As many have written, such as Glenn Greenwald, one needs only to look at how Bradley Manning has been treated in the U.S. – from solitary confinement, to the unprecedentedly egregious “aiding the enemy” interpretation, to a secretive trial free of public documents – to understand that Assange’s fear is rational and legitimate. As of this posting, Assange remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. (Read more…)
‘The Most Disturbing Thing About the Case Against Bradley Manning.’ Jake Blumgart, for the Seattle Stranger, writes that the collective deprivations of Bradley Manning’s rights point to a larger, insidious threat to our civil liberties: that governments will go after the powerless seeking to expose atrocities with an aggressive fervor and at the same time award more and more immunity to the powerful committing far more serious crimes. As we’ve written about, the Army is punishing the messenger while convicted murderers and war criminals get leniency or total impunity.
As Blumgart writes,
“Whether Manning is guilty or not, whether he should be prosecuted or lauded, whether he is a whistle-blower or an indiscriminate dumper of information, it is clear that Manning’s case is an example of a larger trend in American society: The powerless and economically vulnerable are held to punishingly harsh standards, while the rich and powerful get away with a slap on the wrist (if that). Steal $100 of food from the grocery store? You go to jail. Steal $10,000 from your employees through shady employment practices? Worst thing that happens is you might have to pay them back (but probably not).”
In a useful and careful rehashing of Bradley’s case, Blumgart tallies the various injustices against Bradley in what can only be described as a show trial thus far. (Read more…)
Reminder: actions today throughout the West Coast. At 5 PM PT, supporters in Oakland will rally at Oscar Grant Plaza for PFC Bradley Manning. Led by veterans and anti-war activists, the action is part of a set of rallies along the coast, including demonstrations in Los Angeles and Portland as well.