A Possible Assault On The Ecuadorian Embassy In London Should Not Be Discarded

August 25th, 2012

Published on ZNet, Interview with Noam Chomsky, by Jose Maria Leon, August 23, 2012.

… Here we replicate a part of the interview published on the mentioned website (http://www.gkillcity.com/). The complete document it is found on this address.

The United Stated government has issued today a statement in which it declares that this matter is a problem between the Brits, the Ecuadorians and the Swedes. Do you find this argument honest? Is the United States really not interested in the faith of Julian Assange? 

  • The statement plainly cannot be taken seriously. The shadow looming over this whole affair is the expectation that Sweden would quickly send Assange to the US, where the chances of his receiving a fair trial are virtually zero. That much is evident from the brutal and illegal treatment of Bradley Manning, and the general government and media hysteria about Assange. These matters aside, for those who believe that citizens have a right to know what their government is planning and doing – that is, who have a lingering affection for democracy – Assange should not be facing trial, but rather should be granted a medal of honor.

In an interview with Amy Goodman, from Democracy Now! You affirmed that the main reason for governmental secrets is to protect governments from their own people. Is it for the first time in history the world is seen Diplomacy’s true colours.

  • Anyone who studies declassified documents soon becomes aware that government secrecy is largely an effort to protect policy makers from scrutiny by citizens, not to protect the country from enemies. No doubt secrecy is sometimes justified, but it is rare, and in the case of the Wikileaks exposures, I have not seen a single example.
  • This is, however, by no means the first time that “diplomacy’s true colours” have been exposed by released documents. The Pentagon Papers is a famous case. But the truth of the matter is that it is constant. The record exposed even in officially declassified documents is often quite shocking, but it is rarely known to the general public, or even most of scholarship.

On the specific matter of the asylum given by Ecuador to Assange, there has been argued that the Ecuadorian Government has shown a ambiguity towards freedom of press: on one hand they maintain a constant rhetorical confrontation (which has been taken to the courts, as in the case against Diario El Universo and the journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, authors of the book Big Brother) and the Julian Assange asylum. Do you also see a contradiction in this? Or do you have a different reading?

  • Personally, I think that only in extreme circumstances should state power be used to curtail freedom of press, no matter how disgraceful and corrupt media behavior may be. And there are no doubt many very severe abuses – for example, when Britain’s libel laws, an international scandal, were used by a major media corporation to destroy a small dissident newspaper that published a critique of one of their stories – as happened a few years ago, arousing virtually no criticism. The Ecuadoran case has to be examined on its own merits, but whatever the conclusion, it has no bearing on giving Assange asylum, just as the shameful suppression of press freedom in the British case I mentioned would have no bearing on Britain’s granting a right of asylum to someone who rightly feared persecution. Nor would anyone ever claim otherwise, in the case of a powerful western state.

And since we are speaking of ambiguity, is there a double standard on the application of the law by the British, since the Pinochet case where the extradition requested Baltazar Garzón was denied?

  • The reigning standard is subordination to power interests. There is rarely a departure.

What is, in your opinion, the immediate future of the Assange case? Is the British police going to raid the Ecuadorian Embassy, will Asange be able to leave the UK and, afterwards, will he remain in danger even if he gets to Ecuador? …

… (full interview text).

(Born in the U.S., Noam Chomsky –linguist and philosopher – is one of the leading figures of the XX century, thanks to his works on linguistic theory and cognitive science. He is also recognized for his politic activism, characterized by a strong critique of contemporary capitalism and the foreign policy of the U.S.).

Links:

Gkill City.com and it’s full interview with Noam Chomsky;

about Julian Assange and wikileaks:

about Bradley Manning:

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