It seems there was some kind of translation or comprehension problem with statements made by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino at an event in Ambato, Ecuador. England’s Guardian newspaper had reported that Ecuador had granted Julian Assange asylum, but when approached later about that report, Patino said that was not what he said. Patino told Reuters, “Anonymous sources are useless. Only the president and myself will make the decision…there’s nothing yet.” Funny, by the time the report reached America, there were no anonymous persons being quoted, just Patino.
President Rafael Correa held a press conference in Guayaquil and was very emphatic that no decision has been taken yet. “The story is false…When we make the decision we’ll explain it very clearly, the reasons, the legal framework, the analysis that we made to grant or not asylum to Mr. Julian Assange.
So, we’re back to waiting. Assange’s support is reportedly falling off because of his move into the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Correa has pursued a campaign of stifling and attacking the press in his country. WikiLeaks is supposed to be all about freedom of information and seeking the help of a man who works so hard to suppress information is hypocritical. Assange has asked for Ecuadorian sanctuary because Correa is a devout “new communist” who hates America so much he’s still in a time warp thinking Bush/Cheney is in charge.
I’m impressed by the silence from Washington about Assange. There was an announcement about a year ago that there were no laws that could be used to prosecute Assange, anymore than there had been to prosecute the newspapers that published the Pentagon Papers or those who published the WikiLeaks documents in 2010. The longer the Obama administration maintains its silence on Assange, the more damage is done to him, the more he looks like a fool. And staying out of this whole extradition situation also sends a very subtle message that when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at international events about the rights of women to equality and protection from abuse, we are willing to back those statements up.
More countries should have laws like Sweden’s – coercing a woman into unprotected sex in the age of rampant sexually transmitted diseases should be classified as sexual assault, and initiating intercourse with a sleeping or unconscious woman should be prosecuted as rape. Assange tried to duck the extradition by claiming that his actions were not “rape” in other countries including England. That should be a wake up call for England to change its laws, not for someone to get away with breaking Sweden’s laws because other countries are not as enlightened.