Friday, August 17, 2012

'WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Granted Asylum in Ecuador

1:42 AM

On Thursday, Julian Assange was granted "diplomatic asylum" from Ecuador. Assange faces charges on sexual assault allegations in Sweden, and is currently held up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. If British police were to take custody of Assange, they would extradite him to Sweden, as they do not recognize "Diplomatic Asylum" as it is not "Political Asylum" which would entitle Assange to special privileges, instead his Diplomatic Asylum basically just protects him from extradition and arrest regarding the allegations in Sweden, and perhaps regarding WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange is the founder of whistle-blower website, one of my personal favorites, "WikiLeaks". WikiLeaks was responsible for releasing thousands of US Embassy cables (fancy word for email), Classified documents on everything from the Iraq War to diplomatic relations. WikiLeaks released thousands of other documents on other countries, almost every major country had some sort of diplomatic document released. He currently is not facing charges in England or Sweden regarding WikiLeaks, though it is implied that the United States would attempt to extradite him and arrest him, possibly giving him a life sentence.

As I mentioned before, currently he is held up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. It is basically an apartment with 5 or 6 rooms located in a bigger building which also houses Colombia's Embassy (I just read this, I've never been there). One of the supporters who met with Assange at the embassy said "It's not the Hilton", however he does have a bed, access to a phone and the Internet. Now, since he is in a foreign embassy, which is considered sovereign land, he is protected from British police as long as he stays within the boundaries of the embassy. However, due to a little known 1987 law that would allow the U.K to come into an embassy and arrest whomever they're after, this was probably in response to the 1980 Iranian Embassy hostage situation where British special forces, with permission from Iran, entered the embassy and freed the hostages. Obviously a much different scenario than the one Mr. Assange is in. British authorities insist that they will not take this option. I do not see the British government doing this, as it would be considered a hostile act, and the whole world would look down on it as a power play.

So in order to get to Ecuador so he can enjoy his "Diplomatic Asylum", he would have to exit the boundaries of the embassy to get to an airport or helipad, which would put him on British soil and give British authorities the right to arrest him, and they have stressed that they will not allow him safe passage out of the country. Basically if he steps a foot outside the embassy, British authorities will arrest and extradite him. Many have speculated about ways to sneak Assange out, such as in an over sized Diplomatic pouch or in the trunk of a Diplomatic Car (Diplomatic pouches and cars cannot be searched, as they are also sovereign property of the country bearing the pouch/car). I personally like the diplomatic pouch and car idea, it could work. Even if the   British authorities knew he was in it, they could not search it unless he was exposed and they had solid proof.

British authorities could also revoke the diplomatic status of Ecuador, allowing police to simply walk in and arrest Assange. This would likely sever ties between the two countries, I do not see this as a likely scenario either.

Both sides are basically at a stalemate of negotiations, ultimately that will lead nowhere. Unfortunately for Mr.Assange, I do not see this ending well, as I only see 2 scenarios and I think the second one will happen. The first scenario, is that the British government just lets him go, they have a sudden change of heart and let him exit the country safely. Seeing as though they have said that will not happen, and that if Sweden and the US found out, they would likely condemn the British government for allowing such an event. The second scenario is that this whole thing goes on for months and months, and eventually Assange gives himself up to authorities and tries to negotiate some plea bargain that would allow him to serve time in Australia, his native country. Unless he plead "not guilty" to the charges Sweden would bring up, in that case he could beat it, I doubt it because of the political pressure that the judge presiding over the case would be facing.

I think the whole "sexual allegation" thing is just a cover-up to get him charged regarding WikiLeaks, they did have a server in Sweden until 2010, you can find that info on their Wikipedia page. I personally think the women are either making this up or fabricating huge parts of it, hell part of me thinks that they are being paid or intimidated by the Swedish government. If America were to get a hold of him, he would not get a fair trial, pretty much anybody in power hates this man. He could face life in prison or even death for charges ranging from espionage to stealing classified documents and computer hacking.

Julian Assange is a great man. If anybody should be supporting him it is the people of the United States. Remember that amendment to the Constitution, ya know, the 1st one that states "Freedom of Speech and PRESS". Yet the United States government is spear-heading a diplomatic war against the man. Plus, Assange never hacked anything. WikiLeaks is simply a "broker" if you will of information. They receive it from a news source, or whistle-blower hacker, and then they publish it. I don't see any laws broken there. But I refuse to believe Sweden is purely after him for sexual allegations, they're making a world-wide spectacle of the whole ordeal, involving other countries. This is simply a power play against a small nation and a renegade, revolutionary, inspirational man by 3 nations who have way too much to hide when it comes to their diplomatic relations and evil doings.

I will be watching for updates on the story to see what happens. Though, like I said, I don't see anything significant happening for months, with Assange giving himself up with conditions in place. Unfortunately, I do not see a bright ending for Assange, and this saddens me deeply. I love WikiLeaks, I love the message they stand for. But this will only fuel the fire, Assange isn't the only whistle-blower with connections, more will step up and expose the corruption of the worlds most powerful countries.

Sean Rankin
Chief Blogger
The New Skeptic

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