EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Assange Court Transcript Sheds Light on US-Backed Ecuadorian Expulsion Plans
The Gateway Pundit has exclusively obtained a court transcript of an appeal made by WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in an Ecuadorian court, in which he accused their government of preparing to revoke his political asylum at the behest of the United States and United Kingdom.
Assange has not been heard from in public since March 28, 2018 after an executive gag order by the government of Ecuador. The following, unpublished, “leaked” transcript of Assange asking an Ecuadorian court for an urgent injunction (“protection order”) against his gagging and isolation is from October 29, 2018.
Journalists and media were banned from recording the proceedings, but a court record was later obtained through legal process and provided to The Gateway Pundit. It has never before been revealed.
“I have been in this embassy without sunlight for six years and essentially isolated from most people for seven months,” Assange told the court, “including electronic communication, the telephone etc, from my young children.”
“It has … interfered with my ability to work, to make a living, and with my deeply held principles that I have fought for all my life, which is to uphold the right of freedom of expression, the right for people to know, the right of the freedom of the press and the right for everyone to participate in their society and the broader society.”
Assange also told the Ecuadorian court that his gag order meant that he could not respond to false statements about himself.
“Due to my isolation, I have not been able to participate in the debates occurring around me and that has resulted in a climate of libel and fake news that might be expected for someone who has been in the business of exposing very large and very powerful corrupt organisations or organisations that abuse human rights.”
Assange asserted that members of the Ecuadorian Government had been involved in spreading information denigrating his character, something that he said saddened him given how proud he was of becoming an Ecuadorian citizen in 2017.
The publisher, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, went on to detail the importance of his work. He specifically highlighted his publication of US diplomatic cables which revealed hard truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There was no allegation that I had done anything other than what a journalist does, just that I have been a rather good one and effective one.”
The publisher stated that he did not apply for asylum at the embassy to live there. He applied so that he may go and live safely in Ecuador, but that the UK’s efforts to arrest him have made that impossible.
He went on to highlight the level of interference and security risks he faces at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed asylum for the past seven years. Assange spoke of signal jammers placed in the embassy to prevent him making phone calls, as well as repeated attempts by unknown persons to break through his windows at night. He said that someone had even attempted to breach the window in the early hours before this very testimony.
“I am an assassination risk. It is not a joke. It is a serious business,” Assange said.
The WikiLeaks publisher explained that he had claimed asylum on Ecuadorian soil on the basis that the country “was a democracy, that it respected the rule of law, that it was not a totalitarian, arbitrary or dictatorial State.”
Assange also listed key areas of the Ecuadorian constitution to protest the government’s gag order against him:
“Article 16.2, which says “all persons have the right to universal access to information and communication technologies.”
Article 66.2, which says “the following rights of persons are guaranteed: the right to voice one’s opinion and to express one’s thinking freely in all its forms and manifestations”.
Article 20, which says “the State shall guarantee the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.”
Article 41, which says “persons who have been granted asylum or sanctuary shall benefit from special protection, guaranteeing the full exercise of their rights” and that “the State shall respect and guarantee the principle of non-return,” meaning that refugees and asylum-claimants cannot be expelled.
Article 79, which says “in no case shall the extradition of an Ecuadorian be granted.”(Assange became an Ecuadorian citizen in 2017).”
Assange went on to discuss how political changes in Ecuador had caused his asylum to come under threat.
“Due to various weaknesses in the Ecuadorian Government, namely the split – which I do not want to have any part of – within the Government’s Party, it has become weak and it has therefore started to lean on the United States and the UK for various kinds of support and this has caused an undue amount of influence by the United States,” said Assange.
This agitated the Attorney General of Ecuador, who was present at the hearing along with the presiding judge. “I have decided not to remain quiet, given the malicious and perverse insinuations about what Ecuador is doing, it has been influenced by foreign States,” he said. He added that “Ecuador is a sovereign country.”
Last December the New York Times revealed the country’s president tried to sell Assange to the US for debt relief. Ecuador received $4.2 billion in a US backed IMF bailout on February 4. The US seeks Assange’s extradition over WikiLeaks’ 2010 publications on war and diplomacy. His alleged source, Chelsea Manning, was re-jailed last month to coerce her into a secret interrogation against him.
Assange’s testimony continued, and he asserted that the Ecuadorian Government is “positioning itself in order to violate the asylum.” He accused them of “deliberately leaking out to the press selective scandalous material” and gagging him so he cannot rebut the allegations.
“It’s all about setting the ground in order to violate the asylum, to hand me over to the United States. It’s come off the back of our March 2017 publication, the largest-ever in the history of the CIA, that resulted in many threats against WikiLeaks and, as of June this year, my alleged source Joshua Schulte, a CIA intelligence officer, was seized, put into prison, and they are trying to sentence him to 135 years,” Assange told the court.
“We know that Senators have written to [US Vice President] Mike Pence, telling him to tell President Moreno to hand me over.”
He noted that on June 28, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and that the White House publicly stated that “the Vice-President raised the issue of Mr Assange with President Moreno. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on the potential next steps going forward.”
“This is what we are talking about. So let’s not play games here. The Ecuadorian State, for various political reasons, seeks to violate the law and conduct a public campaign in order to make it acceptable to hand over a persecuted journalist to the United States as a result of pressure, well-documented pressure, from the United States Government,” Assange said.
On Friday WikiLeaks revealed that two government sources said Mr. Assange’s expulsion would be in a matter of “hours or days” leading to a public backlash against the government and the intervention of two UN Special Rapporteurs.
In response, Ecuador’s ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a menacing statement released at 3am this morning (GMT), stated that the revocation of asylum is a “sovereign act” but that his expulsion is not “imminent” — but declined to define what was meant by “imminent.”
In March 2018, Ecuador’s President took effective control of most courts, removing judges at will, even from the nation’s Constitutional court. Assange’s judge did not grant the injunction.
Assange has been living in the embassy since 2012 when when he was granted asylum. On Thursday evening, WikiLeaks tweeted that a “high-level” source within the Ecuadorian state has informed the publisher that he will be expelled “within hours to days” using the INA papers offshore scandal as an excuse.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is currently being investigated by the National Assembly of Ecuador for corruption, based on the INA Papers leak.
“The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019, allegedly uncovering the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a congressional investigation into President Moreno for corruption. Moreno can’t be summoned for a criminal probe while he remains president. He is currently being investigated and risks impeachment,” WikiLeaks reports.
Last Monday, this journalist visited Assange in the embassy and was locked in a room as an argument ensued between the publisher and Ecuador’s Ambassador Jaime Alberto Marchán.
Assange claimed that he was being treated as a prisoner, that they would not let him meet a journalist in a room that did not contain surveillance equipment, and that the Ecuadorian ambassador was acting as an agent of the US government.
Members of the US government believe Ecuador is in fact giving them what they want regarding Assange. A former senior State Department official told Buzzfeed in January, “as far as we’re concerned, he’s in jail.”