He says he will actually walk out a free man “soon,” but not for the reason Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers claim, ill-health. His lawyer told RT he isn’t going anywhere. After two years snugly corralled in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, even the whisper of rumours is enough to get the entire contingent of London media out to Knightsbridge.
According to bookmakers William Hill, the odds say he’ll stay put till at least September 1.
Julian Assange is quoted at odds of 11/4 by William Hill to leave the Ecuador embassy, where he has been living since June, before September 1, 2012 – but Hills have shortened the odds from 1/3 to 1/ 4 that he will still to be there by that date.
‘Mr Assange appears to be welcome to remain in the embassy at the moment but no doubt behind the scenes considerable diplomatic pressure is being exerted in an effort to secure his departure sooner rather than later’ said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.
Assange still in Ecuador Embassy on Sept 1, 2012 – 1/ 4 yes; 11/4 no
For some months Assange (and his mother Christine) have taken pains to mention that the lack of sunlight has given him a vitamin D deficiency and consequent health problems including a chronic cough and cardiac issues. The Daily Mail (a Murdoch paper for Establishment wives) reported, “Assange is, according to a WikiLeaks source, suffering from the potentially life-threatening heart condition arrhythmia and has a chronic lung complaint and dangerously high blood pressure.”
Vitamin D, it must be said, is a common and inexpensive supplement that can be purchased for about $5 for a hundred doses, and Assange has by his own admission had a special full-spectrum lamp at the embassy since before anyone knew he was there, a full two years.
Here is the half-hour video of a somewhat undercaffeinated-looking Assange making the teasing announcement a few hours ago:
and here is the livestream from RT outside the front door to the embassy. Someone sent pizza, as is traditional in these weird, internet-IRL encounters. There are reportedly five entrances and exits from the building and it is not known which he will choose, although it would make sense to leave with media witnesses handy at the front.
I saw on camera that a large police truck has driven up and remains nearby; it’s unclear whether it’s a supply truck or a custody wagon.
This has all been sparked by July 18 changes in the Extradition act:
- a new Bar to Extradition if the prosecution in the requesting country have not reached a decision to charge;
- the introduction of a proportionality test;
- and the ability for either a requested person or the Judicial Authority to request a temporary transfer of a requested person.
Swedish prosecutors, perhaps hoping for cooperation, have stressed all along that Assange is only wanted for questioning, and have not laid any charges in their sexual misconduct investigation. In the intervening month since the passage of changes Assange and his lawyers have not been idle, poking and testing and looking for ways to use this to secure his freedom.
Assange elaborated to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Philip Dorling that, “the mood is shifting, there is now an understanding that what I have been saying about the injustice of arrest and extradition without charge was right all along.”
As documented by Jason Gulledge’s Govwaste.co.uk, the police presence outside the embassy has now cost British taxpayers £7.11 million over the exactly two years and one day Assange has been in the embassy.
We’re all standing by at The Cryptosphere (along with, apparently, every journalist in London if the RT panning shots are any guide) to see whether he walks out wearing those Assange boots.