By Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2012

I would like to add my voice to those of many people of conscience, around the world, in urging President Correa of Ecuador to grant political asylum to Julian Assange. The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks is currently inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The British courts shamefully refused Mr. Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in response to accusations of sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him). Mr. Assange has said he is willing to answer questions relating to accusations against him, but to do so in the UK. He has good reason not to want to be extradited to Sweden, as he could find himself imprisoned in solitary confinement, and then very likely extradited to an American prison.

The American media has reported that the U.S. Justice Department and the Pentagon conducted a criminal investigation into “whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act.” Mr. Assange’s only crime is he cared enough about people to respect their right to the truth, and he had the courage and bravery to print the truth, and in the process he embarrassed powerful governments.

The WikiLeaks release of thousands of State Department cables, and of the video footage from an Apache helicopter of a 2007 incident in which the U.S. military appears to have deliberately killed civilians, including two Reuters employees, revealed crimes against humanity. For this “truth telling,” he has incurred the wrath of the U.S. government, and has been targeted in a most vindictive way (as has Private Bradley Manning). (I support WikiLeaks right to publish leaked information, as it is in the interest of the public and their right to know. WikiLeaks were not the leakers or whistleblowers but an on-line news media).

Many believe there are those in high places who not only wish to punish Assange for outing them, but want to make an example of him so others will remain silent. They will not rest until Assange is behind bars in the USA and there are even some American politicians who have put Assange’s life in grave danger by calling for him to be assassinated.

It is ironic that Assange’s basic human rights have been breached since he is a journalist working for people’s rights to a free press and the freedom of speech.

The Australian, Swedish and UK governments have a responsibility to see that this man of courage be treated fairly and with justice. He ought to be allowed to tell his story in the UK when he can prove whether the incompetent and contradictory accusations against him are true or false.

It must also be remembered if Assange ends up in an American prison for a long time, in grave danger to his life, and maybe even face the death penalty, we all have to ask, “Who next?” and “Where goes freedom, human rights, and justice?”

We, as world citizens, need to support Julian Assange, who tried to protect the innocent by outing the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is they who should, one day, be made accountable for their crimes.

Mairead Maguire (www.peacepeople.com) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

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Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

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Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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