ALERT: Get ready go all out on Assange asylum decision
Ecuadorian paper El Telegrafo is reporting a rumour that a decision has been made in relation to Mr. Assange's asylum application. WikiLeaks supporters must get ready to act.
The two cases:
1) Ecuador grants political asylum or refugee status to Mr. Assange
Immediately everyone will need to give a show of force to defend the diplomatic, political and legal correctness of Ecuador's decision and to prevent retaliation against the nation of Ecuador. Already the Washington Post Editorial Board and others have called for trade sanctions against Ecuador if it gives Mr. Assange asylum.
Any positive decision for Assange would likely be made on the basis that Assange has been subjected to political persecution as a result of publishing WikiLeaks. A decision to grant Assange political asylum would be of tremendous benefit for WikiLeaks, its staff, its supporters and its sources, because it would ammount to a formal finding that the organization is the subejct of political persecution by the United States.
The legal and political battle will then move to five areas:
1. Safe passage for Assange out of the U.K.
2. Forcing the U.S. Department of Justice to drop its "unprecedented" investigation into WikiLeaks, its staff and its volunteers
3. Drawing attention to Bradley Manning's "torture case", which overlaps with the US Republican National Convention
4. Placing presure on Sweden to open formal investigations into the abuse of its legal processes
5. Offensive criminal proceedings
6. Making these issues U.S. election issues by asking for GOP/DEM positions. If not made an electoral issue before the Democratic National Convention on September 3, it will be hard to gain any media traction in the United States prior to the U.S. election in November. After the election the DoD-State Department-DoJ-FBI bureaucracy will again dominate and the investigation/prosecution will continue.
2) Ecuador rejects asylum application
While it is unlikely that Ecuador would simply reject the claim, it may well make a complex compromise decision. The end product of a compromise decision would be a long negotiation, including with Mr. Assange's team. If such a decision is reached we would expect to have at least a week's prior notice. It is hard to formulate a precise plan until the contours of the compromise are known, but at least some of the approaches are likely to be those described in scenario#1.