The British are attempting to strongarm the Ecuadorian embassy in London into handing over Julian Assange, who sought refuge there earlier this year to avoid extradition to Sweden. The BBC reports that Assange fears he will be turned over to the Americans if he’s extradited to Sweden on allegations that he sexually assaulted two women.
Ecuador was prepared to announce his asylum status tomorrow. The Ecuadorians are not pleased, saying “We are not a British colony”.
You can watch a livestream here but it’s not very robust. New Livestream here. Judging by the previous lifestream, expect the authorities to jam the signal.
So, speculation anyone? Katiebird, Marsha and I have been tossing this one around and here’s what we’ve got:
1.) The Ecuadorians are pretending to be outraged. Otherwise, why not just give Assange asylum and then announce it, and not the other way around?
2.) The diplomatic cables were a big nothing burger. Assange must be sitting on something big to make everyone so desperate to get their hands on him. AND, one wonders why the Ecuadorians would offer Assange this much asylum. He had to have given them information they found valuable.
3.) How many embassies in the world offer known rapists sanctuary? That’s right, none of them. So, either he’s not a convicted rapist or there’s something else going on here that is preventing Assange from facing charges of sexual offenses in Sweden. Sweden. We’re not exactly talking Afghanistan here. He’s not going to be stoned to death. If convicted (of what, we don’t know yet), his stay in a Swedish jail wouldn’t be so bad. It certainly wouldn’t be worse than staying trapped in an Ecuadoran embassy indefinitely. So, it’s not Sweden he’s afraid of.
4.) Why do the US and Britain think it’s ok to throw people in jail, deny them their rights and use the state secrets acts to prevent them from going to trial? Is it for the PR value? Do they get more bang for their buck by making average citizens terrified to step outside the envelope?
5.) Marsha wonders if he hasn’t been smuggled out already. Update: It seems like the British police units think he’s still inside the embassy.
Any other ideas?