Ecuador Grants Asylum To Julian Assange

Ecuador has agreed to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange is an Australian citizen. He has been in Ecuador’s London embassy for the past two months since seeking asylum shortly after English courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face sex charges.

Ecuador has issued a statement of reasons for their decision. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has also made a statement on the asylum decision.

This is Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, explaining the decision to grant asylum:

Statement from Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Integration. (Google Translation)

Declaration by the Government of the Republic of Ecuador on the asylum application Assange

On June 19, 2012, the Australian national citizen Julian Assange, appeared at the premises of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, to request diplomatic protection of the Ecuadorian State to benefit from the existing rules on Diplomatic Asylum. The applicant has based its request on the fear that the eventual results might suffer political persecution in a third country, it could use his extradition to the Kingdom of Sweden to get to turn the subsequent extradition to that country.

The Government of Ecuador, faithful to the asylum procedure and attach the utmost seriousness in this case, has reviewed and evaluated all aspects involved in it, particularly the arguments presented by Mr. Assange to support the fear they feel about a situation that this person perceives as a threat to life, personal safety and freedom.

It is important to note that Mr. Assange has taken the decision to seek asylum and protection of Ecuador over allegations that it says, have been made ??by alleged “espionage and treason”, which exposes the citizen who inspires fear the possibility of being handed over to the United States of America by the British, Swedish or Australian, for he is a country, said Mr. Assange, chasing him because of the declassification of information embarrassing to the U.S. Government. Is also the applicant, that “a victim of persecution in various countries, which derives not only from their ideas and actions, but of their work to publish information which compromises the powerful, to publish the truth and, Therefore, exposing corruption and severe human rights abuses of citizens around the world.” [Read more…]

Curiosity Lands On Mars

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory erupted in triumph this afternoon as the rover Curiosity touched down on Mars.

The Washington Post reports the landing took place within a 9-by-3-mile ellipse selected for touchdown. “It landed at exactly 1.31 a.m., as planned months ago. The rover is most likely in a dune field now, but will set out for nearby Mount Sharp in the weeks ahead.”

The rover was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011. It has travelled 354 million miles since its launch.

Curiosity began transmitting data immediately after touchdown.

Gabrielle Giffords: “I Will Return”

Presidents Obama and Bush Deliver 9/11 Anniversary Readings

Channel 10 News Remembers The Night of September 11

Obama Calls On Congress To Pass Jobs Bill

President Barack Obama has delivered a speech on the economy and jobs to a joint session of the US Congress.

“Pass this jobs bill,” Obama implored the Congress, as he outlined a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new government spending.

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The following is a transcript of President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress about jobs and the economy, as provided by the White House.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that’s made things worse.

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share — where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in a while. If you did the right thing, you could make it. Anybody could make it in America. [Read more…]

Sarah Palin Comments On Giffords Shooting; Alleges “Blood Libel”

Sarah Palin released a video statement today, offering her views on the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Arizona, four days ago.

This is the transcript of Sarah Palin’s video message.

Like millions of Americans I learned of the tragic events in Arizona on Saturday and my heart broke for the innocent victims. No words can fill the hole left by the death of an innocent, but we do mourn for victim’s families as we express our sympathy. I agreed with the sentiments shared yesterday at the beautiful Catholic Mass held in honor of the victims. The mass will hopefully, begin the healing process for the families touched by this tragedy, and, for our country.

Our exceptional country, so vibrant with ideas and passionate exchange of ideas, it’s a light to the rest of the world. Congresswoman Giffords and her constituents were exercising their right to exchange their ideas that day. To celebrate our republic’s core values and peacefully assemble to petition our government. It’s inexcusable, and incomprehensible, why a single, evil man took the lives of peaceful citizens that day.

There’s a bittersweet irony that the strength of the American spirit shines brightest in times of tragedy. We saw that in Arizona. We saw the tenacity of those clinging to life, the compassion of those who kept the victims alive and the heroism of those who overpowered a deranged gunman.

Like many, I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on what happened, praying for guidance. After the shocking tragedy I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now, with sadness to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event. President Reagan said we must reject the idea that every time a law is broken society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them. Not collectively, with all the citizens of the state. Not with those who listen to talk radio. Not those with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle. Not with law abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies. Not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

The last election was all about taking responsibility for our country’s future. Now President Obama and I may not agree on everything but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process. Two years ago his party was victorious Last November, the other party won. In both elections the will of the American people was heard and the peaceful transition of power proved yet again the enduring strength of our republic. Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and we get back to work. And often both sides find some common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That, is reprehensible.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those clam days when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world, all discourse would be civil and all disagreements, cordial. But our founding fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels there would be no need for government. Our founders’ genius was to design a system that helped the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So we must condemn violence if our republic is to endure. As I said, while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, I said we know violence isn’t the answer, when we take up our arms, we’re talking about our vote’. Yes, our debates are full of passion but we settle our political differences respectfully, at the ballot box, as we did just two months ago and as our republic enables us to do again in the next election. And the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis but of our enduring strength, it is part of why America is exceptional. No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent. And we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differring opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

Just days before she was shot, Congresswoman Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House, and it was a beautiful moment and more than simply symbolic as some claim to have our Constitution read by our Congress. I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just symbolic. But just less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech that he found offensive. It is in the hour when our values our challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 911 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security, and so it is today. Let us honor those precious lives cut short in Tucson by praying for them and their families and by cherishing their memories. Let us pray for the full recovery of the wounded and let us pray for our country. In times like these we need God’s guidance and the peace he provides. We need strength to not let the random acts of a criminal turn us against ourselves or weaken our solid foundation. Or, provide a pretext to stifle debate. America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week, we are better than the mindless finger pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy. We will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time, to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner and to unite in the knowledge that, though our ideas may be different, we must all strive for a better future for our country. Yes, may God bless America.

“An Attack On All Who Serve”

“An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve,” says the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John Boehner.

Boehner was commenting on the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and many others outside a Safeway store in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday.

Speaker John Boehner

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Palin: Diagnosing the Problem, Prescribing the Solution

This graphic, produced during the 2010 congressional elections, was removed from the SarahPAC website today, following the Arizona shootings.

Gabrielle Giffords’s 8th Congressional District in Arizona was one of the “targeted” seats.

A PAC is a Political Action Committee, essentially an organisational and fundraising vehicle for groups supporting particular candidates for election.

SarahPAC target seats

Statement on WikiLeaks by Thomas Blanton, National Security Archive Director

This is the text of a statement by Thomas Blanton, Director, National Security Archive, George Washington University.

Blanton appeared before the House Judiciary Committee’s Hearing on the Espionage Act and the Legal and Constitutional Implications of Wikileaks. [Read more…]