Masters of hate locked and loaded
By Pepe Escobar Jan 13, 2011
NEW YORK - There is an eerie, direct connection between hate rhetoric
reaching a fever pitch in the United States, the shooting of Arizona
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, calls to take out WikiLeaks founder
Julian Assange and the ninth anniversary of the infamous US detention
facility at Guantanamo in Cuba. This disturbing connection should send
shivers down the spine of anyone even remotely concerned with human rights.
Yet it doesn't. At least not in the US.
Assange will be back in court in London on February 7 for a full two-day
hearing on his possible extradition to Sweden, connected to the ultra-murky
case of alleged broken condoms and "sex by surprise", co-starred in by two
Assange groupies in sultry Stockholm last August.
Yet Assange's lawyers wasted no time in getting to the heart of the
matter: if he is extradited to Sweden, the US government will pull out all
the stops to extradite him to the US. Assange could then face the death
penalty, or its "war on terror” twin - forever languishing in legal limbo
in Guantanamo. For the US, the fact that human-rights treaties prohibit
extradition under these conditions is a minor detail.
Gullible, well-intentioned souls may remember that US President Barack
Obama promised to close Guantanamo. That won't happen. The US Congress will
destroy any possibility of transferring "enemy combatants" to the US
mainland so they can have a proper trial. The White House is about to
condemn at least 40 of these prisoners to Guantanamo forever - no formal
charge, no trial, just a black void. And Bagram, in Afghanistan, will
follow the same path. Forget about the US constitution and international
Human rights had to be a crucial part of the seven-point Assange defense
strategy - as a possible extradition violates Article 3 of the European
Convention on Human Rights. Thus Assange's legal team, in their 35-page
skeleton summary of their strategy, had to stress the concrete possibility
of Assange being subjected to illegal rendition and the "real risk that he
could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well known that prominent
figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr Assange should be
And to press the point on global public opinion, WikiLeaks itself put
out a press release drawing the inevitable parallel between the "take out
Assange" rhetoric (former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin would say
"reload", and then shoot) and the overall US right-wing hate-master
narrative that culminated, for now, in the shooting of Giffords. Palin is
mentioned as she has urged the Obama administration to "hunt down the
WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban".