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The Sydney Peace Foundation thanks the government of Ecuador for giving asylum to Julian Assange.
Professor Stuart Rees, chair of the Foundation says: “Ecuador understands the nature of justice, but it seems that in failing to give assurances about Assange’s safety, the governments of the UK, Sweden and the US only draw on their assumptions about force to solve problems; and will the Australian government find the courage to thank Ecuador, or will they side with the big battalions ?”
In terms of justice for Julian Assange and for any other advocates of free speech and freedom of the press, the following issues need to be aired by the media.
1. Assange has provided a massive public service by, among other things, revealing truths about murders by US military. His challenge to governments’ secrecy explains their desire for revenge.
2. So called British justice put Assange under house arrest for almost two years when he had been charged with no offence. No other defendant suspected of alleged similar offences has been treated in this way. Cowardly governments have made the alleged sex offences in Sweden into a major issue, not Assange.
3. For centuries, powerful governments have behaved as though they can do what they like, even if they call this “the rule of law”. In this watershed case, a small government Ecuador has challenged the bully boy tactics — witness the UK threats — that have lasted for so long but now should end.
4. All citizens who believe in freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the values associated with diplomatic immunity, can insist that the Ecuadorian decision to give asylum to Assange should override any other consideration and no amount of quibbling by so called legal experts to support the governments of the UK, Sweden and the US should be heeded.