Assange open thread
1. The British threat to storm the embassy: I've been having trouble with the facts on this. Was a threat issued, or misreported? Did it come from the government, the Met police, who? In any event, even the most strident anti-Assange-ite must surely agree that a threat was both stupid and reprehensible, including from the perspective of British embassy staff in authoritarian states like Venezuela and Belarus. Can anyone justify it? And hasn't the policing of the Assange zombie cultists outside the embassy been extremely heavy-handed?
2. The right to asylum: For those of us who argue for a more robust and expansive right of asylum, and indeed opening of borders generally, is it hypocritical to be scornful of Assange's claim to asylum? Or, rather (as I think), doesn't he de-value and weaken refugee rights by claiming fear of persecution in Sweden, surely with one of the strongest human rights protection regimes (and indeed one of the highest level of asylum claims granted) in the global North?
3. Rafael Correa's Ecuador: What do we think of Correa? He has been accused of heavy-handed policies towards press freedom; he seems to both have a greater commitment to democracy than Hugo Chavez and a strong democratic mandate; his economically nationalist petro-socialism-lite is more moderate than Chavez's. Is the anti-American tirade of his foreign secretary a forgiveable blip, or indicative of Chavez-esque populism?
4. The embassy stay: Has Assange been living off the generosity of the Ecuadorian tax-payer while in there? Or have wealthier members of the Assange zombie cult subsidised him? Should we feel sorry for the Ecuadorians for having been chosen by him?
Background reading collected by the Soupy one: Owen Jones, David Allen Green .
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