Julian Assange

WikiLeaks and the Drone Strike Transparency Bill

by Robert Naiman

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently took an important step by passing an intelligence authorization which would require for the first time - if it became law - that the Administration publicly report on civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes.

Sarah Knuckey, Director of the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at New York University School of Law and a Special Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, calls this provision "an important step toward improving transparency," and notes that "Various U.N. officials, foreign governments, a broad range of civil society, and many others, including former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh ... have called for the publication of such basic information."

This provision could be offered as an amendment in the Senate to the National Defense Authorization Act. It could be offered in the House as an amendment on the intelligence authorization, or as a freestanding bill. But it's not likely to become law unless there's some public agitation for it (you can participate in the public agitation here.)

PRESS RELEASE: Letter From Prominent Americans, Delivered to Ecuadorean Embassy London, Urges Asylum for Assange

JFP's Policy Director Robert Naiman just hand delivered our petition from over 4,000 JFP members and a letter signed by prominent Americans including Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Daniel Ellsberg and Glenn Greenwald, urging Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to grant Julian Assange's request for asylum.

PRESS RELEASE: Letter From Prominent Americans, Delivered to Ecuadorean Embassy London, Urges Asylum for Assange
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/pressreleases/assange-letter

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2012

Media Contacts:
(London) Robert Naiman, 217-979-2957, naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
(US) Megan Iorio, 908-400-9480, iorio@justforeignpolicy.org

Letter From Prominent Americans, Delivered to Ecuadorean Embassy London, Urges Asylum for Assange

Letter signed by Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Wolf, Daniel Ellsberg, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Bill Maher, Patch Adams, MD, Mark Weisbrot and other prominent Americans; petition signed by 4000 Americans

Moore, Glover, Stone, Maher, Greenwald, Wolf, Ellsberg Urge Correa to Grant Asylum to Assange

The following letter has been circulated mostly in the United States by Just Foreign Policy. It was hand-delivered to the Embassy of Ecuador in London by Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director Robert Naiman on Monday, June 25. Read the press release.

We also hand-delivered the online petition circulated by Just Foreign Policy, which has been signed by more than 7000 people. That petition - which you can still sign - is here: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/assange-asylum


June 25, 2012

Dear President Correa,

We are writing to urge you to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.

As you know, British courts recently struck down Mr. Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is not wanted on criminal charges, but merely for questioning. Mr. Assange has repeatedly made clear he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but in the United Kingdom. But the Swedish government insists that he be brought to Sweden for questioning. This by itself, as Swedish legal expert and former Chief District Prosecutor for Stockholm Sven-Erik Alhem testified, is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.”

We believe Mr. Assange has good reason to fear extradition to Sweden, as there is a strong likelihood that once in Sweden, he would be imprisoned, and then likely extradited to the United States.

Daniel Ellsberg: "I Am WikiLeaks!"

Since E.D. Hirsch failed in his noble jihad to enforce Cultural Literacy, I can't assume readers are familiar with the scene in Annie Hall in which Woody Allen stops a movie line bloviator from pontificating about Marshall McLuhan by producing the actual Marshall McLuhan from behind a movie poster to tell the pontificator off. So here is a clip:

Allen concludes the scene by saying to the camera, "Boy, if life were only like this."

But the funny thing is, sometimes life is just like that, and in the past week we have been presented with a spectacular, world-historical example.

A standard bloviator talking point in the last few weeks against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been: the WikiLeaks release of classified U.S. diplomatic cables is nothing like the Pentagon Papers case which exposed the US government's fundamental lying to the public about the Vietnam War, and Julian Assange and alleged leaker Bradley Manning are nothing like Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. This Manichean division between "good" and "bad" leakers has been recited with great earnestness: "Four legs good, two legs baaaad!"

A striking example was noted by Sam Husseini on December 5 , citing an appearance by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on CBS' "Face the Nation":