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Ex-CIA and Intelligence Officers Appeal to Ecuador in Support of Assange

CIA whistleblower and Courage Advisory Board member John Kiriakou hand-delivers letter to the Ecuadorian embassy in Washington DC

In the week since WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange’s internet access was cut, along with his ability to receive visitors in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, there have been a number of initiatives to end his isolation and #ReconnectJulian. There’s been an open letter from artists, intellectuals and campaigners, another huge open letter signed by 338 intellectuals from the Spanish-speaking world and a petition that has gathered tens of thousands of signatures.

Now there has been a third open letter. CIA whistleblower and Courage Advisory Board member John Kirakou hand-delivered a letter today in support of Julian Assange to the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the United States.

Kiriakou was joined in his appeal by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA case officer, Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (retired) and twelve more former US government officials. Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters and Alex Cox, film director, writer, and producer also signed.

In the letter, the group applaud the Ecuadoran government’s decision to “grant asylum, to welcome as a citizen, and to grant diplomatic status to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange,” stating that the country has “been a role model for the international community for its views on transparency and press freedom.”

The group also raised the prospects of the confirmation of Gina Haspel as the new Direcor of the CIA as one of many examples why the world and especially America needs WikiLeaks and why Assange should be reconnected to the outside world:

It is because of Wikileaks that we know about the surveillance industry, about warrantless wiretapping and a great deal more about NSA spying on American citizens. And with President Trump’s appointment of the notorious Gina Haspel as the new CIA director, we know that there is a danger that the CIA will keep its torture history secret by keeping it classified.

The full letter and list of signatories follows below.

 

HE Ambassador Francisco Jose Borja Cevallos

Embassy of Ecuador

2535 15thStreet NW

Washington, DC 20009

Your Excellency:

We, the undersigned applaud and commend the decision of the Government of Ecuador to grant asylum, to welcome as a citizen, and to grant diplomatic status to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. In the case of Mr. Assange, Ecuador has been a role model for the international community for its views on transparency and press freedom. Every country should emulate Ecuador.

I am reminded of August 1990 when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait. US President George H. W. Bush was unsure of what the US response should be. He received a call from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “Now is not the time to go wobbly, George,” she told him. Well, now is not the time to go wobbly in our support of Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

It is only because of Wikileaks that we know about war crimes and atrocities committed against Iraqi citizens by US troops. It is because of Wikileaks that we know about the surveillance industry, about warrantless wiretapping and a great deal more about NSA spying on American citizens. And with President Trump’s appointment of the notorious Gina Haspel as the new CIA director, we know that there is a danger that the CIA will keep its torture history secret by keeping it classified.

It is Wikileaks that has kept, and will continue to keep, all Americans informed of what their government does in their name. It is Julian Assange who has led that fight. We ask the Government of Ecuador to keep up the fight for transparency and press freedom, to continue to be a world leader in honesty and accountability. We call on the Government of Ecuador to reconnect Julian Assange to the world.

Respectfully,

John Kiriakou, former CIA counterterrorism officer and former senior investigator, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (retired)

Ann Wright, Colonel, US Army Reserve and Foreign Service Officer (retired)

Robert Wing, Foreign Service Officer (retired)

Philip Giraldi, former CIA case officer

Todd E. Pierce, Major, Judge Advocate, US Army (retired)

  1. J. Laniewski, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (retired)

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI special agent and former Minneapolis Division

Legal Counsel

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the

Near East, National Intelligence Council (retired)

Peter Van Buren, Foreign Service Officer (retired)

  1. Kirk Wiebe, former senior intelligence analyst and whistleblower, NSA

Larry Johnson, former CIA officer and former Foreign Service officer

Bogdan Dzakovic, former team member, Federal Air Marshals and Aviation Security Red Team

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer

Roger Waters, co-founder, Pink Floyd

Alex Cox, film director, writer, and producer