“The proper war,” promised Assange, “is just commencing.” It’s a grim depiction of what comes next for the WikiLeaks founder now that Sweden has dropped all charges pertaining to the rape allegations that saw Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012.
But what lays ahead for Assange rests with the UK. Without any haste after Sweden’s announcement, London’s police have promised if Assange steps out of the embassy he will be arrested.
The European arrest no longer holds,” said Ecuador’s foreign minister Guillaume Long on Twitter. “The UK must now grant safe passage to Mr Julian Assange.” But it falls on deaf ears. The arrest warrant, issued by the Westminster Magistrates Court, pertains to Assange’s failing to surrender himself to the courts in June 2012, when he took refuge in the embassy from the Swedish prosecutors’ rape allegation charges, now dropped. The London Metropolitan Police dispelled any immediate hopes for Assange’s freedom, saying they were “obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.”
The nonsensical clutch at straws – to hold an arrest warrant open for something that has finally been put to rest – supports what Assange told us all along: that the threat of extradition to the US is very real.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month named Assange’s arrest an “American priority.” While CIA director Mike Pompeo demonized WikiLeaks, calling it a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”
At the time, Julian Assange responded to Pompeo in an open letter published in the Washington Post:
“The logic that WikiLeaks, or these organizations, are somehow “intelligence agencies” would be as absurd as the suggestion that the CIA is a media outlet,” Assange explains. “Both journalists and intelligence agencies cultivate and protect sources, collect information and write reports, but the similarities end there.”
Assange also said he was a target because he “touched Pompeo’s rice bowl,” referring to the Vault 7 release.
Assange walked out on his balcony at the Ecuadorian embassy on Friday afternoon and declared Sweden’s ruling an “important victory.” However, he lashed out at the nation for forcing his children to grow up without a father. “That is not something I can forgive, or forget,” Assange said.
The Australian government has now been called upon to assist with the granting of Assange’s safe passage to Ecuador. A legal advisor has told Sky News that it is time the Australian journalist’s government steps in.
“You’ve got an Australian citizen who has correctly, according to law, sought asylum from Ecuador, who is entitled to safe passage to Ecuador.
“The Australian government should be talking to Washington and should be talking to London.
“It’s intolerable, it’s unfair and certainly it makes it exceedingly difficult for this request for asylum to be activated.”
In the meantime, US and British officials declined to say if Assange’s extradition to the United States was requested by Washington.
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