robert tiboo snowden assange
© N.Y. Jennifer
Robert Tibbo, left, and Edward Snowden in Moscow on July 26, 2016.
Robert Tibbo, a lawyer for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, told RT that he believes Ecuador's decision to strip away Julian Assange's asylum is based on a very weak legal case and may amount to a breach of the constitution.

"Number one, there is a very high threshold to strip someone of an asylum. For what's available in [the] public domain, I don't see any evidence that would justify President [Lenin] Moreno or his administration stripping [Julian Assange] of that asylum status," Tibbo told RT.

The lawyer said that by giving Assange only a "30-minute notice" before revoking his asylum and citizenship, Ecuador appears to have violated his rights under its own laws.

"There are at least five or six articles in the constitution that protect due process rights. It appears that Assange was never afforded any of these due process protections that are enshrined in this constitution."

The UK gave Washington until June 12 to present the case for Assange's extradition to the US, where he might face up to five years behind bars under the current indictment of conspiracy to hack a Pentagon computer. It is feared, however, that as soon as Assange is handed over to the US, the charges will pile on and might see him being locked up for life.

While the first extradition hearing is several months from now, Tibbo believes that the whole process is likely to drag on for years to come.

"His extradition proceedings in the UK will be expected to take many years to be resolved through first instance extradition hearings to any appeals Mr Assange would take," the lawyer told RT, adding that "there is a big question" whether he will ever set foot on US soil.

However, if the US justice system succeeds in getting a hold of the publisher, his life could be in grave danger, Tibbo believes.

"Looking at Mr Assange's health, it appears he is ill and is frail, any ill treatment of Mr Assange by the US authorities, if he landed on US soil, could amount to torture."

The lawyer noted that it is likewise "a big question" whether a US court would heed the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which has stated that Assange has been arbitrarily held in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. While his exile there was nominally self-imposed, the only option was to step out into the hands of British police, facing near-inevitable extradition.

So far, Washington has a long track record of defying international bodies if they are reluctant to bend to its will.

Being the lawyer of Edward Snowden, one of the world's most famous whistleblowers, who has resided in Moscow for almost six years now, Tibbo said that Assange's case is "extremely different" from his.

"Mr Snowden is actually a whistleblower, he falls into a classic definition of whistleblower, whereas Mr Assange is a journalist and has worked with whistleblowers in the past."

Comment: John Pilger speaks out about the danger to society in general:

One should not mistake what is happening to Assange for anything but the persecution of a man, who embarrassed the US by exposing to the public Washington's brutality in the Middle East, award-winning British journalist John Pilger told RT's Going Underground program.
assange supporters protest embassy
© Reuters/ Fabrizio Bensch
Supporters of Julian Assange protest against his arrest, near the British embassy in Berlin, Germany April 12, 2019.
"The United States has aroused the ire because what we are in the midst of is the world's greatest superpower struggling to maintain its dominance. Its information dominance, its technological dominance, its cultural dominance. And WikiLeaks has presented an extreme hurdle to this," he argued.
"If we lose the Assanges - and there aren't many of them, a handful maybe and certainly no one like him - if we lose the WikiLeaks, then we lose a whole stratum of freedom. We stop questioning."
WikiLeaks publications based on the Manning leak, especially the so-called "collateral murder" video, dealt a massive blow to US attempts to cover up the "homicidal nature of its colonial wars," Pilger said.

"Anybody watching that video really has to read very little else of the WikiLeaks revelations about the nature of the American wars, because there it is. There is some kind of consensual belief - I'm trying to figure for a polite term for 'brainwashing,' frankly - that we don't do these kinds of things, we perpetually benign," he explained.
On 'our' side, these things simply do not happen... They are only done by totalitarian states, the rogue states. In fact clearly the biggest rogue state of all is the United States.
"We've handed a whole world of abandonment of basic democracy, which is based on dissent, on challenging, on holding power to account, on revelation, on the embarrassment of power. Not trivial embarrassment, the embarrassment of odd celebrity, but real embarrassment. And WikiLeaks provided that public service of journalism," he said.

Comment: Twitter was displeased at the latest pronouncements of US political overlords and raked them over the coals:

The Democrat-majority House Foreign Affairs Committee went after an RT America reporter and described WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as a "criminal who weaponized stolen information." Twitter was not amused.

Assange was arrested in London on Thursday, on a US warrant related to WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents in 2010 - and, at least so far, not in relation to the 2016 publication of Democratic National Committee documents or private emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chair. That has not stopped some US politicians from reviving the recently debunked specter of Russiagate, including House Foreign Affairs chair Eliot Engel (D-New York).

After being criticized for this by RT America correspondent Dan Cohen, the committee majority tweeted from their official account that the First Amendment of the US Constitution "protects free expression, even for Russian propaganda outlets like the one you work for. It doesn't protect criminals who weaponize stolen information."

The ratio on the tweet was something to behold, with replies outnumbering likes and retweets 3:1. The overwhelming number of responses were negative, ranging from calling out the tweet's incorrect claim about Assange and WikiLeaks, to the defense of RT and suggestions that maybe the HFAC staff need to re-read the Constitution.

"Whoever wrote this for HFAC should think about reading a book on constitutional law for the first time," wrote another.

"I get better and more useful news from RT than from any US corporate media outlet," another added, asking why a House committee was "tweeting out smears at journalists anyway" instead of "doing something useful."

Someone argued that WikiLeaks' 2016 revelations were good for American democracy, revealing corruption at the DNC.

The criticism kept coming, with someone even bringing up a famous 'Princess Bride' meme to question the committee's use of "weaponize."