The sun came up on a different world —Julian Assange

Julian Assange of Wikileaks spoke from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London today (video, text):

The next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend the rights we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark outside the Embassy of Ecuador, and how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.

The British government made a stunning mistake in throwing away the worldwide goodwill just gained through the London Olympic Games, by actually beginning to storm a sovereign embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that was observed throughout the Cold War. How could they be so foolish? This man, this reporter and publisher, they think is somehow more dangerous to them than the armed might of the Soviet Union was? This is as if JFK arrested MLK after John Glenn’s first orbital flight (a step which JFK fortunately did not take).

There is something you can do, even when the world is turned upside down:

This Friday there will be an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington D.C. to address this situation.

And so I am grateful to the people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and to all other Latin American countries who have come to the defence of the right to asylum.

Governments throughout Latin America support freedom of speech and asylum, while the U.S. and U.K. and Swedish governments attack both.

Assange continued:

To the people of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength while their governments have not. And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come.

His main point:

As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of our societies.

As Assange said a year and a half ago:

We support a cause that is no more radical a proposition than that the citizenry has a right to scrutinise the state.

As LAKE has pointed out before, here and here, LAKE is dedicated to the same proposition. (The rest of the present post is, as usual, my opinion.)

In the rest of his statement today (text on Assange called on president Obama and the U.S. government to “pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.” He called for Bradley Manning to be released. I agree with both of those things.

Julian Assange has taken asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador because he has been unfairly maligned in London’s court just as Benjamin Franklin was 237 years ago. Then as now, the real issue was that the accused published correspondence that the powers that be did not want to see the light of day.

It is time for the sun to rise.


“Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
—Benjamin Franklin, An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania, 1759