Julian Assange Hires Pinochet’s Nemesis
In June Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to prevent his extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations. His big fear is that the US will attempt to extradite him from Sweden and either detain him indefinitely under the NDAA as an enemy combatant or assassinate him for “harming” US interests by providing an outlet for whistleblowers who seek to expose government wrongdoing.
Assange is requesting political asylum in Ecuador, a request their government is still processing. Last week he hired Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge who indicted former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet – as well as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger – for crimes against humanity (see Judge Garzon and the Bush 6)
Spain’s Right Wing Government Removes Garzon from the Bench
In February 2012 Garzon’s right wing adversaries on the Spanish Supreme Court provoked international outrage by convicting him of illegally wiretapping conversations between right wing fraud suspects and lawyers Garzon suspected of laundering money for them. The conviction occurred despite efforts by Spanish prosecutors to withdraw the charges, which they believed were politically motivated and baseless. Following the conviction, which Garzon has appealed to the Constitutional Court of Spain, Garzon was suspended from the Spanish judiciary for eleven years.
Wikileaks Cables Suggest US Pressured Spain
Wikileaks cables released in December 2010 suggest the Obama administration may have pressured the Spanish government to remove Garzon from the judiciary (see Judge Garzon and the Bush 6). The cables reveal Obama officials were unhappy about Garzon’s efforts to indict six former Bush administration officials for crimes against humanity, as well as his investigation into the use of Spanish bases for CIA “rendition” flights (in which the CIA kidnaps foreign nationals and transports them to prisons in countries that openly practice torture).
Garzon made the following statement to the Cadena SER (Spanish) radio network (reported in the Guardian)
“It is only right that Assange should be protected by the same rights as those of any other citizen. Assange has not rebelled against any jurisdiction, given that he respects the action of the law, but he – and we – are seriously worried about what will happen to him because his situation is becoming political as a result of the great work done by his organisation when it comes to denouncing corruption.
That cannot be the reason for a judicial process that appears, and which I believe we can show, is arbitrary and totally baseless.
It does not seem right that a single person should be under such pressure from governments [Sweden and Britain]. I believe that Assange … is in a situation that is an attack on his human rights.”