The saga continues

Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London

Julian Assange has dramatically sought political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, days after the supreme court rejected the last of his appeals against extradition to Sweden to face sex crime accusations and after what he called a “declaration of abandonment” by his own government in Australia.

In a move that appears to have surprised even some of his closest supporters, the WikiLeaks founder walked into the country’s embassy in Knightsbridge and asked for asylum, citing the UN declaration of human rights.

“I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum,” Assange said in a statement.

“This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application.”

The audacious bid came less than a week after the supreme court finally rejected his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with accusations of the rape of one woman and sexual assault on another in August 2010, which he denies.

Assange and his supporters have argued that his removal to Sweden could be followed by a possible onward extradition to the US on potential espionage charges, saying he is at risk of the death penalty.

If Assange is granted asylum (unlikely IMNSHO) he may end up regretting it. He’ll have to hide out in Ecuador instead of jet-setting around the world. How many of his groupies will be willing to visit him there? How will he make money to sustain his fancy lifestyle?

He won’t be a political prisoner, he’ll be a fugitive. He’s already having money problems and by fleeing he’ll give the authorities in England, Sweden and possibly the United States the excuse to cut off any financial assistance he is still getting.

Ecuador doesn’t really want him. Thumbing their nose at the US is one thing, making us angry is another. Assange isn’t worth a diplomatic incident.

Stay tuned for further developments.

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17 Responses to The saga continues

  1. Oswald says:

    For someone who claims to be innocent he sure seems reluctant to go to court and prove it.

  2. Oswald says:


    The US diplomatic cables published in December 2010 by WikiLeaks paint an often unflattering portrait of the country in which the site’s founder, Julian Assange, is attempting to claim political asylum.

    The diplomats’ missives to the US secretary of state report on worsening situations around press freedom, judicial integrity, and corruption within the police.

    According to a statement made by the Ecuadorian foreign ministry and tweets from its minister, Assange directed his plea for asylum personally to the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, whom Assange met during an interview for Russia Today.

    A 2009 cable noted with concern a series of moves made by President Correa against commercial media in the country since he came into office.

    “In 2008, the government took management and editorial control of two national TV stations owned by the Isaias family,” it said. “Over the past year the government has launched three ‘public’ media outlets that in theory report on citizens’ business, but in practice mainly report favourably on government actions.

  3. DM says:

    If Assange is granted asylum (unlikely IMNSHO) he may end up regretting it. He’ll have to hide out in Ecuador instead of jet-setting around the world. How many of his groupies will be willing to visit him there? How will he make money to sustain his fancy lifestyle?

    True, but it beats having to serve jail time.

    • Oswald says:

      4 years in a Swedish prison vs. life in a 3rd world socialist paradise?

      • Lulu says:

        He seems to have a problem with taking no for an answer which I believe is what got him in hot water to begin with.

      • DM says:

        I doubt Assange is concerned about Sweden. He’s concerned that the U.S. will indict him and Sweden will extradite him to the U.S. If that’s the case he’s looking at approximately lots of years in a federal prison. I’d live in a cave, if those were my choices.

        • Pips says:

          “… and Sweden will extradite him to the U.S.”

          Why would they? 😯

          This ‘meme’ is not only pure speculation it’s also utterly ridiculous. But widespread, I’ll give you that … which still doesn’t lend it credibility.

          • myiq2xu says:

            If the US really wanted him they would have snagged him up when he was in Sweden the first time. His whereabouts were not a secret.

        • Pips says:

          Or as Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr tells The Guardian in their almost “live-blogging” piece:

          … this is the Swedes pursuing extradition to question Julian Assange about a sexual assault allegation. It’s not about WikiLeaks, it’s not about the release of classified information. And if the United States were interested in an agenda that involves extradition of Julian Assange, they could do it quite possibly more easily from the United Kingdom than from Sweden.

        • DM says:

          If the US wanted to try Assange for espionage I can’t imagine England protecting him. — myiq

          That’s why Assange is seeking to leave the U.K.

  4. Pips says:

    I always considered a whistle blower to be someone who was shocked and enraged by some secret s/he found out about her/his company, to a degree where s/he found it her/his duty to make it public. Even if thereby risk loosing her/his job. I have nothing but admiration for those people but at the same time also feel sadness as it seems they often later have lost not only their job, but reputation, family and friends too.

    I never considered computer savvy hackers ‘worthy’ of the description Whistel Blower.

    That said I acknowledge that many people found WikiLeaks and its revelations both admirable and important. So by letting his ego get in the way of his organization in my opinion Assange let down both WikiLeaks and its followers. The person became more, so much more, important than his creation.

    I don’t care about Assange or what happens to him, but feel deeply sorry for the two Swedish women involved. Their lives must have been pure hell, vilified worldwide as they were, having to go into hiding (in stark contrast to the life of Assange, pampered and worshipped as he has been. By the English elite no less, snort), and I bet they regret ever going to the police. Furthermore unfortunately their example now serve as a warning to other women: Don’t report sexual harassment or you’ll live to regret it. If the little prick had just let the Swedish police interrogate him back then, both they and he could long since have moved on with their lives.

    The one thing I’ve learned from all of this is that if the blogosphere is any indication then the political far left have nothing but contempt for women. Women in general and women who have been sexually harassed in particular. The saddest part being that women seem pretty much as vocal as men in this vile condemning, vilifying and ridiculing of victims of sexual assault.

  5. Pips says:

    Wonder if the Ecuadorian embassy – that apparently doesn’t really have much space! – realizes what they might have coming. Or whether Assange has seriously thought this through before going there. As Owen Bowcott, the Guardian’s legal affairs correspondent mentions (link above), there’s a case from 1956 when “the US granted the Catholic Cardinal József Mindszenty refuge in their Budapest embassy; he stayed for 15 years.” Lol.
    And having lined up the various scenarios that could unfold going forward he concludes:
    “It’s a cunning profession diplomacy – dangerously double-edged.” 😎

    Joshua Rozenberg, the Guardian’s Law blogger:

    The police will not enter a foreign embassy to make an arrest. But short of giving Assange Ecuadorian diplomatic status or hiding him in a rather large diplomatic bag, there seems no way in which he can get to Heathrow, let alone Ecuador, without being arrested for breach of his bail conditions.

    And a reader ‘andbaconstrips’ ( 🙂 ) adds:
    “I’ve been to Ecuador. It’s an impoverished corrupt mess; not somewhere I’d care to be stuck for the rest of my days.”

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