It is with great concern that we heard that Julian Assange has lost access to the internet and the right to receive visitors at the Ecuadorian London Embassy. Only extraordinary pressure from the US and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuador’s authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian.
Only recently the government of Ecuador granted Julian citizenship and a diplomatic passport, in a bid to allow him safe passage from London. The UK government, under heavy pressure from the US government, refused to exploit this opportunity to end Julian’s detention – even after the Swedish authorities announced that no charges were, or would be, laid against him. Now, it seems that the Ecuadorian government that has been ‘leaned’ on mercilessly not only to stop attempting to provide Julian with a diplomatic route to safety but to drive him out of their London Embassy as well. In addition to US pressure, the Spanish government is also using its leverage over Ecuador to silence Julian’s criticisms of Madrid’s imprisonment of Catalan politicians and, in particular, of the arrest of Catalonia’s former premier in Germany.
Clearly, Ecuador’s government has been subjected to bullying over its decision to grant Julian asylum, support and, ultimately, diplomatic status. Naturally, Quito cannot admit that it is buckling under that pressure and it argues, in public, that Julian’s tweets over Catalonia are responsible for the decision to isolate him. Of course this is utterly unbelievable. Julian is now a citizen of Ecuador and as such enjoys the full protection of his freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of Ecuador. Additionally, the only reason Julian is holed up in Ecuador’s London Embassy – and why Ecuador gave him asylum in the first place – is precisely because he empowered whistleblowers’ freedom of expression and defended our right to know the truth about practices of the US and other Western powers that the latter found ‘inconvenient’ once exposed to the light of day.
A world in which whistleblowers are hounded, small countries are forced to violate their cherished principles, and politicians are jailed for pursuing peacefully their political agenda is a deeply troubled world – a world at odds with the one the liberal establishment in Europe and the United States proclaimed as its artifact since the end of the Cold War.
With these thoughts in mind we call upon all citizens of good conscience to send a message to the Ecuadorian authorities asking that Julian’s access to the outside world be restored and another, more pertinent one, to the British authorities to end Julian’s detention.