Month: August 2012

Assange: Secrecy and Sovereignty

Assange / Correa: Can this be a win-win for both of them?

Ecuador is tonight alleging that the UK authorities have threatened to arrest Julian Assange inside its embassy in London.  Mr Assange, Wikileaks founder and darling of the far left (and some moderates too) has essentially skipped bail following the rejection of his appeal against extradition to Sweden to stand trial for sexual assault.  It is of course part of a bizarre super-story that has been running for two years now, starting with the publication of diplomatic cables between and about governments, the imprisonment and alleged torture of US Marine Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking the cables in the first place.  There is no small irony in the threat from British authorities to cast aside one pillar of diplomacy – the sanctity and sovereignty of the embassy – in order to prosecute the casting aside of another – the leaking of diplomatic cables.

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Sport as State Legitimator in Cuba

Cuban hero Teofilo Stevenson boxing at the 1976 Olympics

State Legitimacy is a big topic.  Yesterday, the good people at the University acceded to my request for external reader status, giving me access to the University subscriptions to online journals.  I didn’t have a ready made list of journals to download (remote access is unfortunately not available to “external readers”) so I sat down and began searching on some of the keywords.  “State Legitimacy” was first; then “Nation State”.  Lots of results, lots of articles, including one particularly interesting piece on Cuba’s efforts to bolster State Legitimacy based on sports.  As the abstract explains,

A crucial element of the legitimating discourse of the Cuban state, domestically and internationally, has been the relative success of its sports teams in international competition. As symbols of the strength of the state and one of the few remaining “successes” of the Revolution, Cuban sports performances remain vital symbolic capital for current and future administrations.

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