News Releases

Biden’s “Disastrous” Legislative Record

Joe Biden is widely expected to formally announce his presidential run on Thursday.

ANDREW COCKBURN, amcockburn at gmail.com, @andrewmcockburn
Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine, Cockburn wrote the extensive cover story “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy” earlier this year. It highlighted two issues that have become more widely noted since:

Cockburn quotes a “leading female Democratic activist” as saying: “We never had a talk when he wasn’t stroking my back.”

Cockburn also reported: “Further to the issue of Biden’s assurances that he is the man to beat Trump is the awkward fact that, as the former staffer told me, ‘he lacks the discipline to build the nuts and bolts of a modern presidential campaign.'”

In terms of policy, Cockburn argues that many of today’s problems — from personal debt to ISIS to the so-called border crisis — have their roots in policies Biden championed. Here are a few excerpts:

“Biden was long a willing foot soldier in the campaign to emasculate laws allowing debtors relief from loans they cannot repay. As far back as 1978, he helped negotiate a deal rolling back bankruptcy protections for graduates with federal student loans, and in 1984 worked to do the same for borrowers with loans for vocational schools. …

“By the 1980s, Biden had begun to see political gold in the harsh antidrug legislation … Biden later took pride in reminding audiences that ‘through the leadership of Senator Thurmond, and myself, and others,’ Congress had passed a law mandating a five-year sentence, with no parole, for anyone caught with a piece of crack cocaine ‘no bigger than [a] quarter.’ …

“Biden not only allowed fellow committee members to mount a sustained barrage of vicious attacks on [Anita] Hill: he wrapped up the hearings without calling at least two potential witnesses who could have convincingly corroborated Hill’s testimony and, by extension, indicated that the nominee had perjured himself on a sustained basis throughout the hearings. …

“Biden was among the 90 senators on one of the fatal (to the rest of us) legislative gifts presented to Wall Street back in the Clinton era: the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. The act repealed the hallowed Depression-era Glass-Steagall legislation that severed investment banking from commercial banking, thereby permitting the combined operations to gamble with depositors’ money, and ultimately ushering in the 2008 crash. …

“An ardent proponent of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, an ill-conceived initiative that has served as an enduring provocation of Russian hostility toward the West, Biden voted enthusiastically to authorize Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, was a major proponent of Clinton’s war in Kosovo, and pushed for military intervention in Sudan. Presumably in deference to this record, Obama entrusted his vice president with a number of foreign policy tasks over the years, beginning with ‘quarterbacking,’ as Biden put it, U.S. relations with Iraq. ‘Joe will do Iraq,’ the president told his foreign policy team a few weeks after being sworn in. ‘He knows it, he knows the players.’ It proved to be an unfortunate choice, at least for Iraqis. …

“[Biden’s book] Promise Me, Dad…has nothing but warm words for Juan Orlando Hernández, the current [Honduran] president, who financed his 2013 election campaign with $90 million stolen from the Honduran health service and more recently defied his country’s constitution by running for a second term.” As Cockburn points out: “The net result has been a tide of refugees fleeing north, most famously exemplified by the ‘caravan’ used by Donald Trump to galvanize support prior to November’s congressional elections and his subsequent fraudulent ‘border crisis.'”

“Russiagate” Used to Demonize WikiLeaks

CHARLES GLASS, [currently in France] charlesglass at gmx.com, @CharlesMGlass
Glass was ABC News Chief Middle East correspondent from 1983 to 1993. His latest book is They Fought Alone: The True Story of the Starr Brothers, British Agents in Nazi-Occupied France.

He recently wrote the piece “Julian Assange Languishes in Prison as His Journalistic Collaborators Brandish Their Prizes,” which states: “At my last meeting this year with Assange, the energy I recall at our first encounter in January 2011 was undiminished. He made coffee, glancing up at surveillance cameras in the tiny kitchen and every other room in the embassy that recorded his every movement. We talked for about an hour, when an embassy official ordered me to leave. In between, we discussed his health, his strategy to stay out of prison, his family, and the Democratic National Committee’s accusation that he colluded with President Donald Trump and Russia to hack its emails and publish them. The DNC was alleging that Assange revealed its ‘trade secrets,’ a reference to the methods the DNC used to deprive Bernie Sanders of the presidential nomination. The DNC is using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, meant to control organized crime, to pursue a journalist-publisher. If successful, it will set a precedent that should worry media everywhere.

“Trump’s personal lawyers insist that no crime was committed and therefore, no criminal conspiracy took place. That won’t stop the DOJ under Trump’s attorney general from pursuing criminal charges against Assange, not only for working with Manning to gain access to government secrets, but also to examine how Assange obtained confidential Defense and State Department documents, as well as the CIA’s hacking program that WikiLeaks published in 2017 under the name Vault 7. London’s Guardian newspaper, which had once cooperated with Assange, had accused him of meeting Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort in the embassy. Assange said, ‘I have never met or spoken to Paul Manafort.’ The embassy’s logbook, signed by all visitors, had no record of Manafort.”

Biden’s Deceitful Record on Iraq Invasion

CNN and other media are reporting that Joe Biden will enter the 2020 presidential race this week.

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. He just wrote a piece for The Progressive on Biden’s positions on the Iraq invasion. In his floor speech defending his vote for authorizing the 2003 Iraq invasion, Biden said that “few resolutions that come before the Congress are as grave and consequential as the one before us today.”

Zunes writes: “As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002, Biden stated that Saddam Hussein had a sizable arsenal of chemical weapons as well as biological weapons, including anthrax, and that ‘he may have a strain’ of smallpox, despite UN inspectors reporting that Iraq no longer appeared to have any weaponized chemical or biological agents. And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency had reported as far back as 1997 that there was no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had any ongoing nuclear program, Biden insisted that Saddam was ‘seeking nuclear weapons.’

“At the start of hearings before his committee on July 31, 2002, Biden stated, ‘One thing is clear: These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam, or Saddam must be dislodged from power. If we wait for the danger from Saddam to become clear, it could be too late.’

“In an Orwellian twist of language designed to justify the war resolution, Biden claimed in Senate session in October 2002, ‘I do not believe this is a rush to war. I believe it is a march to peace and security.’ …

“During the summer of 2002, as the Bush administration was pushing for war, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under Biden, had the opportunity to hear from any number of academics, former foreign service officials, United Nations personnel, and others specializing in Iraq. Public statements and leaks from the administration in the preceding months had been filled with false claims regarding Iraq’s military capabilities and links to terrorist groups while insisting a U.S. invasion and occupation of that country would go smoothly, with minimal casualties or other negative consequences.

“When the hearings commenced on July 31, eighteen witnesses were called, none of whom challenged the administration’s claims that Iraq was in possession of chemical and biological weapons and a nuclear weapons program. All three witnesses who addressed the question of Al-Qaeda claimed that Iraq directly supported the Islamist terrorist group.

“Despite overwhelming opposition among academics and foreign service officers familiar with the region, among the twelve witnesses who addressed whether the United States should invade, six were supportive, four were ambivalent, and only two opposed it. Among the witnesses was former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whom Biden insisted was credible despite multiple perjury indictments for lying before Congress and his history of grossly exaggerating the military capabilities of Nicaragua, Cuba, the Soviet Union, and other designated enemies of the United States.

“Throughout the hearings, Biden insisted that Iraq was a threat to U.S. national security and that ‘regime change’ was a legitimate U.S. policy. And he expressed skepticism that renewed inspections would work.

“Scott Ritter, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, noted just prior to the hearings, ‘For Senator Biden’s Iraq hearings to be anything more than a political sham used to invoke a modern-day Gulf of Tonkin resolution-equivalent for Iraq, his committee will need to ask hard questions — and demand hard facts — concerning the real nature of the weapons threat posed by Iraq.’

“But Biden had no intention of doing so, refusing to even allow Ritter — who knew more about Iraq’s WMD capabilities than anyone and would have testified that Iraq had achieved at least qualitative disarmament — to testify. (Ironically, on ‘Meet the Press’ in 2007, Biden defended his false claims about Iraqi WMDs by insisting that ‘everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them.’)” See video of some of Biden’s statements on YouTube and Twitter.

Mueller and Barr’s Real History of Cover-ups

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She appeared on an Institute for Public Accuracy news in 2017: “9/11 Whistleblower Rowley on Mueller’s History of ‘Cover-up.’” Also see her piece “Comey and Mueller: Russiagate’s Mythical Heroes.”

She said today: “The real issue that I and most other ‘Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity’ (see their latest memo) care about is whether any real evidence exists proving Russia meaningfully interfered in the election (regardless of whether that interference was with Trump’s collusion or not). Trump himself should care about that since it insinuates he would not have won except for Russian interference and thus weakens his presidency. As always, Mueller relies without critical questioning or thought upon intelligence agencies’ specious ‘assessments’ similar to how he relied upon Colin Powell’s presentation of false ‘intelligence’ to the U.N. to help the Bush administration gin up their illegal and disastrous war on Iraq. There could be gaping holes in Mueller’s indictment of the 12 Russian GRU agents for hacking the DNC — and indeed independent forensic researchers have challenged some of the hacking evidence he used. Prosecutors like Mueller know they ‘can indict a ham sandwich’ (and indeed Mueller’s been wrong before on several big cases, including misidentifying the Anthrax killer). In this case Mueller could have been even more lax as he was virtually assured that it would be unlikely he would ever need to prove his allegations in court.

“What’s worse is that the U.S. and its economic and military rivals (and even some allied countries) have spent decades in cyber[space], spying and hacking of each others’ communications to gain competitive advantages. This has been going on forever. That’s why the NSA hires so many hackers for heaven’s sake! But doesn’t anyone remember the stuff of John LeCarre novels?! What more people should recognize is that what’s been a constant backdrop on the international scene and occasionally amounted, at most, to some trading of each others’ spies (when caught) has all of a sudden been used to put us on a dangerous war footing between nuclear superpowers and to end freedom of the press (via prosecution of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange).”

ARUN GUPTA, arun.indypendent at gmail.com
Gupta was featured on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release in December: “Barr as AG? Bush and Trump Dovetail” in which — contrary to conventional wisdom — he showed the parallels between the Trump and George H.W. Bush administrations. He noted that Barr was in the CIA when Bush headed it and that Barr was Bush’s Attorney General when Bush pardoned Elliott Abrams and other officials for illegal activities. In January of this year, Elliott Abrams was the latest Bush administration official to join the Trump administration. See Gupta’s piece “Let’s Talk About George H.W. Bush’s Role in the Iran-Contra Scandal.”Now that it seems to suit their political agenda, some vocal advocates of “Russiagate” are finally highlighting Barr’s role in the Iran-Contra cover-up while they had been depicting him as a straight arrow. Also see IPA news release from December with Dennis Bernstein: “As Bush AG, Trump Nominee Barr Approved Cover-up Pardons.” Also see by Sam Husseini “Triumph of Conventional Wisdom: AP Expunges Iran/Contra Pardons from Barr’s Record” for the media watch group FAIR.

Trump Vetoes Yemen War Powers Bill

Rep. Ro Khanna tweeted late Tuesday: “With Trump’s veto of @BernieSanders’ and my War Powers Resolution, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress, he is risking the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians to famine, deadly airstrikes, and the war crimes of the Saudi regime. We must override his veto.”

SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI, 1shireen at gmail.com, @shireen818
Originally from Yemen, Al-Adeimi is an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University. Her most recent piece is “As War on Yemen Hits the 4-Year Mark, Here’s a Brief History of U.S. Involvement.”

She tweeted Tuesday night: “Just yesterday, MbS [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud] met with U.S. Central Command in Riyadh … Also yesterday, @SenSanders called on Trump to sign #SJRes7 during the #BernieTownHall on Fox. And this evening, Trump vetoed the bill. #Yemen”She writes in her recent piece: “This brutal and ongoing onslaught has taken the lives of more than 60,000 Yemenis and left half the population — 14 million people — on the verge of famine. What began as a civil war in Yemen escalated into what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Yemen became an international killing field, with Saudi Arabia leading a vicious bombing campaign, which the Obama and then Trump administrations helped unleash. As the political tide in the United States finally turns against the war, we must not let its early proponents — and those who remained silent — whitewash their misdeeds. We must be willing to look honestly at what the United States has done to the Yemeni people, so that we can finally end this war, and prevent similar atrocities in the future. …”

ISAAC EVANS-FRANTZ, isaacef at yahoo.com, @actioncorpsnyc
Isaac Evans-Frantz is with Action Corps NYC, which is organizing a number of protests, including targeting media outlets that have largely ignored the devastation in Yemen. See on Facebook: “Tell Morning Joe to Report on Yemen.” Background: recent piece from the media watch group FAIR: “Bill to End Yemen Siege Passes — No Thanks to MSNBC.”

Examining the Center for American Progress

The New York Times has had a pair of stories in recent days on the Center for American Progress: “Bernie Sanders Accuses Liberal Think Tank of Smearing Progressive Candidates” and “The Rematch: Bernie Sanders vs. a Clinton Loyalist,” which states: “The Center for American Progress and its sister political arm, with a $60 million combined annual budget and 320 staff members, have played an outsize role in the Democratic Party for nearly two decades. Founded in 2003 by top advisers to Bill and Hillary Clinton, the organization has sought to rebrand itself as a brain trust for the anti-Trump resistance.

“Its donor rolls overlap substantially with those of the Clintons’ campaigns and foundation. The think tank has taken in millions from interests often criticized by liberals, including Wall Street financiers, big banks, Silicon Valley titans, foreign governments, defense contractors and the health care industry. Individual donors can ask to remain anonymous. …

“From 2016 through last year, the center accepted nearly $2.5 million from the United Arab Emirates to fund its National Security and International Policy initiative, according to previously unreported internal budget documents. …

“Internal criticism of the Emirati donations leaked into the news media, prompting an in-house investigation that led to the firing of two staff members. One of them, Ken Gude, a longtime executive, is working with a lawyer on a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

“In November 2015, after Ms. Tanden invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to a question-and-answer session at the center, a dozen staff members stood during an all-staff meeting and read a statement of protest. ‘Our goal is to promote humanity and shut down oppression and genocide and terrorism. Bringing in another head of state with a record of oppression would further push our mission away,’ it read in part.

“In an email Ms. Tanden sent on the day of the Netanyahu visit … released by WikiLeaks, she told the think tank’s founder, John D. Podesta, that the ‘far left hates me’ for hosting Mr. Netanyahu, but the invitation ‘may have sealed the deal with a new board member.’ Ms. Tanden was wooing Mr. [Jonathan] Lavine, a pro-Israel philanthropist.”

ZAID JILANI, [in D.C.] areo64 at gmail.com, @ZaidJilani
Jilani writes about political polarization for UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center and co-hosts “Extremely Offline,” a podcast “about better conversations between political tribes.” Jilani is blogging on the 2020 election at 2020watch.org.

He used to work at CAP and just wrote the piece “Constructive criticism of the Center for American Progress has helped make it more transparent and responsive over time” which states: “While I worked at the institution from 2009-2012, most of its donors were kept secret. However, following investigations by journalist Ken Silverstein, the think tank decided to disclose most of its donors.

“Similarly, I wrote several articles based off of presumably hacked and leaked emails from the inbox of the Ambassador from the United Arab Emirates that showed that the UAE was both financing CAP and using its senior staff to lobby the Trump administration and influence Washington policy. After a series of articles noting these ties, CAP eventually decided to end its financial relationship with the UAE, as was reported earlier this year.”

See piece by Silverstein from 2013 for The Nation: “The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress and Other Think Tanks.”

International Court Caving to Trump Pressure

The New York Times reports: “Hague Court Abandons Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry.”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com, @marjoriecohn
Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She said today: “After conducting a preliminary examination, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) found ‘a reasonable basis to believe’ that ‘war crimes of torture and ill-treatment’ had been committed ‘by U.S. military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.’ In 2017, Bensouda recommended to the ICC’s Pretrial Chamber that it open a formal investigation, which could involve subpoenas and arrests.

“In March 2019, the U.S. announced it would revoke or deny visas to members of the ICC involved in the investigation of war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. or allied personnel in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened economic sanctions if such investigations proceed. On April 4, the U.S. made good on its threat and revoked Bensouda’s visa.

“On April 12, the Pretrial Chamber, apparently succumbing to U.S. threats, refused to authorize an investigation based not on a lack of jurisdiction or reasonable grounds, but on the ‘extremely limited’ prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution, in large part due to a demonstrated and anticipated lack of cooperation from authorities in Afghanistan and other relevant States.

“This refusal does not bode well for the prospects of international justice against war criminals not just in Afghanistan, but in Israel as well, as Bensouda continues herpreliminary examination into war crimes committed in Gaza.”

See Cohn’s pieces: “John Bolton Escalates Blackmail to Shield U.S. War Criminals” and “Lawyers Worldwide Urge International Court: Investigate Israeli Crimes.”

Also see Institute for Public Accuracy news release from last week: “Trump ICC and Iran Moves: Latest Attacks on International Law” with Prof. Francis Boyle, who filed the original complaint against Bush administration officials to the ICC and his interviews with The Real News: “Sec. of State Pompeo Protecting Bush Jr. from War Crimes Prosecution.”

Contrary to Reports, the U.S. Gov. Can Add Charges After Assange Extradition

In “Julian Assange Arrested in London as U.S. Unseals Hacking Conspiracy Indictment,” Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times state: “If Mr. [Julian] Assange is convicted on the conspiracy to hack offense alone, he could face up to five years in prison. The government could later seek to charge him with additional offenses, but because of extradition practices, any such superseding indictment would most likely need to come soon, before Britain formally decides whether to transfer custody of him.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press).

He said today: “The New York Times report is wrong and understates the dangers to Assange. What it states is normally the case in extradition treaties, but it’s not the case in the relevant U.S.-British extradition treaty.

“Once the U.S. government has Assange over here, they can concoct whatever charges they want to against him for anything and then ask the British to waive what’s called the Rule of Specialty. That could add up to much more than the current five years Assange is facing. The British government will almost certainly consent, unless Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister.

“I’d expect that Assange’s lawyers will try to use the European Court of Human Rights to stop the extradition and in any event, they would need to ensure that the British government receives assurance from the U.S. government that the death penalty will not be sought.”

Also see from the Freedom of the Press Foundation: “The Trump administration’s indictment of Julian Assange threatens core press freedom rights.”

Also see: Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the Pentagon Papers, was just interviewed by The Real News. (As Assange was forced out of the Ecuadorian embassy, he was holding a book — Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State — based on a collection of interviews Vidal did with The Real News.)

Rep. Barbara Lee’s Startling Vote to Boost Military Spending

To the surprise of many, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) provided the winning margin in the House Budget Committee last week when she voted for a bill that would raise military spending by $17 billion next year. Some prominent constituents of the famously antiwar congresswoman are now vocally questioning her pivotal action.

GUS NEWPORT, gusnewport at gmail.com
Newport is former mayor of Berkeley, Calif. and former vice president from the U.S. to the World Peace Council. He said today: “It is with great sadness that I have to speak out in opposition to Congresswoman Barbara Lee for voting in favor of raising an already inflated military budget. She will always be remembered as the lone vote in September 2001 against a green light for endless war; however in no way is her present position justified.”

MICHAEL EISENSCHER, meisenscher at gmail.com, @meisenscher

National coordinator emeritus of U.S. Labor Against the War, Eisenscher said today: “Politicians are pragmatic about trading votes to move their legislative priorities. But there’s a difference between trading votes and trading away principles. The war machine and military-industrial complex consume more than half our discretionary budget, starving social programs and other national priorities in the name of ‘national security.’ Real national security is not determined by how large and lethal our military is but rather by whether our people earn living wages, have affordable housing, can see a doctor when needed without incurring huge medical bills and can go to college without becoming life-long indentured servants to their student loans. And we gain more influence in the world by being respected than by being feared.”

See recent piece — “Rep. Barbara Lee’s Startling Vote to Boost Military Spending” — by Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org and founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Assange Arrest: “Nuclear Option” Against the First Amendment?

Consortium News notes in “Moreno Withdraws Asylum as Assange is Arrested” that Jen Robinson, a lawyer for Assange tweeted: “Just confirmed: Assange has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a U.S. extradition request.”

Edward Snowden tweeted: “Important background for journalists covering the arrest of Julian Assange by Ecuador: the United Nations formally ruled his detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights. They have repeatedly issued statements calling for him to walk free — including very recently.”

Last month, Chelsea Manning was jailed by the U.S. government for refusing to comply with a subpoena to testify in front of a grand jury believed to be investigating WikiLeaks’s publishing activities. Manning had revealed information that WikiLeaks made public, including the “Collateral Murder” video, which showed U.S. soldiers killing civilians, including media personnel, in Iraq: collateralmurder.wikileaks.org.

Floyd Abrams, author of The Soul of the First Amendment, has litigated a host of critical First Amendment cases. He provided the Institute for Public Accuracy with a statement responding to Attorney General William Barr’s remarks during his confirmation hearings: “It’s one thing to say that there could be circumstances in which a journalist’s need to protect her sources could lead to a potential finding of contempt of court if she refused to obey a court order requiring such disclosure. But the notion that a journalist could properly be jailed for publishing material that the government thinks could ‘hurt the country’ is something else entirely and would be deeply threatening to First Amendment norms in general and journalistic freedom in particular.”

ExposeFacts, a project of IPA, released a statement by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in 2017 warning: “Obama having opened the legal campaign against the press by going after the roots of investigative reporting on national security — the sources — Trump is going to go after the gatherers/gardeners themselves (and their bosses, publishers). To switch the metaphor, an indictment of Assange is a ‘first use’ of ‘the nuclear option’ against the First Amendment protection of a free press. (By the way, the charges they’re reportedly considering against him — conspiracy, theft, and violation of the Espionage Act — are exactly the charges I faced in 1971.)

“If journalists and publishers fail to call this out, denounce and resist it — on the spurious grounds that Julian is ‘not a real journalist’ like themselves — they’re offering themselves up to Trump … for indictments and prosecutions, which will eventually silence all but the heroes and heroines among them.”

JOE EMERSBERGER, jemersberger at aol.com@rosendo_joe
Emersberger wrote the piece “Assange Case Shows Support for Free Speech Depends on Who’s Talking” for the media watch group FAIR: “The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in February 2016 that the governments of the UK and Sweden had forced WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange into a condition of arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been since 2012. The group’s press release stated: ‘The expert panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Mr. Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation.’

“Assange has never been charged with a crime in Sweden. At the secret urging of the UK government, Sweden refused for several years to question Assange in London regarding sexual assault allegations. That kept the case in ‘preliminary investigation’ limbo, while Sweden also refused to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to the United States, where he is likely to face prosecution for his work as a publisher.”

Emersberger notes that a year ago “Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno made the conditions of Assange’s arbitrary detention much worse. … Moreno won the presidency in 2017 by running as a staunch Correa [the pervious president who gave Assange asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy in London] loyalist. Immediately after taking office, Moreno shifted dramatically to the right, disavowed the longstanding ties to Correa that he used to get elected, and, crucially, ensured that public media no longer provided a counterweight to Ecuador’s right-wing private media that always attacked Correa.”

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