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'Not even in Cold War’s darkest days': International law scrapped in anti-Assange crusade

Published time: August 16, 2012 19:46
Edited time: August 19, 2012 17:00

A sign showing a portrait of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is held by a supporter outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on August 16, 2012 (AFP Photo / Will Oliver)

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Ecuador’s move to grant Julian Assange political asylum has shown the true face of the current world order, highlighting more clearly than ever the line between the American Empire and the rest of the world, former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT.

RT: One of the main reasons Ecuador cited for granting asylum was not the Swedish case against Assange, but the danger of him being persecuted and possibly even executed in the US. What reaction from Washington do you expect?

Ray McGovern: Well, this is a classic case of what has changed over the last 20 years. And that is simply that the shape of the world is now empire vs. the rest of you. What I say here now is that Caesar has spoken. Caesar is the law. Caesar is the United States and the satraps overseas – the UK in the first instance, and now Sweden in the other, do the bidding of the empire. The country that has refused to do the bidding of the empire, Ecuador, is playing a very interesting role here. Their foreign minister said this morning that "we are not a British colony, and the days of colonialism are over.

So what we see here is a playing out of the fact that there is a complete disrespect for international law. The embassy premises of all countries have heretofore been considered sacrosanct. The British Foreign Office is now saying ‘well, we may forcibly enter.’ This was unheard of even during the worst days of the Cold War. If someone sought refuge in the US Embassy in Moscow or the Soviet Embassy in the United States, despite the friction, despite the enmity between those two countries, international law was always honored. This is unprecedented.

RT: According to Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patina, the UK’s acts of aggression, blackmailing, and threats are in direct violation of the 1976 Council of Diplomatic Relations. Do you think that as London and Washington are in cahoots, Ecuador is considered to be meaningless, as it has a small military, and is not a significant economic power?

RM: Well, that has been the attitude. Smaller countries do not really amount to much in Washington or London’s view these days. What will be interesting is to see how much will come out in terms of the real game being played here. Nobody seems to remember that the prime accuser of Julian Assange – Anna Ardin in Sweden – used to work for extreme anti-Castro publications funded by the CIA. So there are links there, and it doesn’t require a conspiratorial attitude to see that the only way they can get at Julian Assange is by trumped-up charges of sexual indiscretions in a country that is hypersensitive to that, and they haven’t even persuaded a judge in Sweden to make those charges.

They have had ample opportunity to go to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and question Julian Assange. They said, ‘we’re not going to do that.' Now, why is that? The reason is, there is no case against Julian Assange. In my opinion, it’s all very transparent. They want to extradite him to Sweden, and then to the United States to suffer the same indignities, the same torture of Bradley Manning – the person who allegedly gave those documents to Julian Assange – has faced. This is a violation of the First Amendment in our country and other amendments in our Bill of Rights, and I dare say that our founding fathers are rolling in their graves to see a [publisher] treated this way in violation of the right to make things known that are otherwise hidden.

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