The whistleblower Julian Assange was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on 19 June 2012 by President Rafael Correa who has himself enjoyed an unprecedented ten years in office. But in late March 2017, the new President Lenín Moreno denied Julian two life lines to health and sanity: access to the internet and the right to receive visitors. It is believed that he yielded to immense pressure from the United States and Spain in doing so.
Julian, a native of Australia, was responsible for publishing confidential documents that exposed war crimes by the US and their allies on Wikileaks. According to John Pilger, a top secret document was drafted in the US Defence Department. on 8 March 2008. It described in detail how important it was to destroy the “feeling of trust” in WikiLeaks by threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution” and an unrelenting assault on reputation. .
There followed, in Pilger's words, "a tsunami of lies and smear" against the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, the most serious being a date rape charge in Sweden in 2010. This put his life and freedom in danger. Although the charges are now dropped, he is on notice from the UK Foreign Office that if he leaves the embassy, he faces arrest for violation of bail. His real fear is of extradition to the United States and its aftermath.
19 JUNE 2018: PROTESTS WORLDWIDE
Protests were held in solidarity with Julian Assange in cities around the world yesterday..They took place in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Wellington New Zealand, Dublin, London, India (Tamil Nadu), Sri Lanka (Colombo), Washington DC, Los.Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, San Francisco, Chicago, and Austin.
19 JUNE 2018: DUBLIN PROTEST
The Dublin protest outside the British Embassy, began at 6 pm and was addressed by Mick Wallace TD, Clare Daly TD and Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate. All three had visited Julian in the Embassy in London when he was free to receive visitors. The equally redoubtable Paul O'Toole and Robbie Sinnott provided the song and music.
The theme was captured in the chant: "All we are saying is FREE JULIAN ASSANGE" that rang out loud and clear over and over in the evening summer sun. It was Mairead who had contrasted our sunny outing in Dublin with the pitiless conditions of confinement obtaining in the embassy where Julian is now a de facto prisoner with no access to fresh air for the past six years.
The Nobel Laureate ended her talk by requesting the Irish government to offer to mediate between Britain and Ecuador to ensure Julian's freedom.
Meanwhile, at an earlier rally in Sydney on 16 June, John Pilger called on the Australian government and Prime Minister Turnbull to bring Julian home.
"I know Julian Assange well", he said. " I regard him as a close friend, a person of extraordinary resilience and courage".
And in an ominous note he added: "The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy".