KEEP FIGHTING, he says.
He has no choice.
For the last three years, since June 18, 2012, Julian Assange has been detained involuntarily in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London; he entered of his own free will, but that was before the British government stationed police at the building entrances, extra surveillance cameras in the immediate vicinity, and someone installed an audio bugging device in the ambassador’s office. It’s a little awkward for him to leave right now.
According to tracking site GovWaste, all of that has so far added up to £11,409,873 or $18,108,536, yes, eighteen million dollars to keep a man in a converted ladies’ toilet in Knightsbridge for three years. This is as good a time as any to remind all that Assange has yet to be charged with a crime in the UK, the US, or Sweden, the ostensible puppet master in this global farce. Despite this, his legal defence fund (separate from WikiLeaks’ own fundraising, and run by Canadian company Fundrazr) has had a good workout for the last, oh, five years, and will gather no moss for the forseeable future, for reasons we will explain below.
A quick recap: Assange is wanted for questioning regarding potential charges in Sweden relating to sex he had with two different women. Assange agrees that he had sex with the women, but denies the allegations: unlawful coersion, sexual molestation, and minor (lesser-degree) rape. Charges have not yet been laid, and cannot be deferred indefinitely, as the statute of limitations approaches. Nonetheless, Sweden consistently refused to question him in situ, instead demanding that the UK extradite him to Sweden. Earlier this year, they changed their tune and agreed to question him in the UK, as they have done routinely in other cases.
We wonder: Did the prosecutor actually rub her hands together and mutter “Syke!“?
The UK government, who would presumably be happy to be quit of the entire issue, has indicated that, should he leave the embassy he will be arrested for bail-jumping on his extradition hearing back in 2012. Then he would be handed over to Sweden.
Then comes the tricky part.
The potential charges in Sweden are not really what Assange and his supporters are worried about. What they are worried about is the formerly-secret US Grand Jury, which has been investigating the possibility of laying US charges against Assange and WikiLeaks since at least 2011. The Americans are said to have a signed warrant ready and waiting but again, shhh, that’s a secret.
Sweden is, for complicated geopolitical reasons, more likely to hand Assange over to the Americans, should they receive an extradition request, and Chelsea Manning, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, and every inmate in GITMO can tell him how forgiving the Americans can be when someone inconveniences them.
Meanwhile, work at the embassy continues as normal. WikiLeaks could even be said to be on a roll lately, with a new proprietary secure submission system putting them back in the business that made them famous, and recent releases relating to TPP and TISA trade agreements, documents indicating that in the midst of the humanitarian migrant crisis the EU government planned military attacks against migrant ships, and the bombshell Saudi Cables, as well as fundraising for a $100,000 bounty on the full text of the TPP. That fundraising essentially pushed the US government into defensively leaking significant chunks of the document it’s own damn self.
Currently, the fundraiser is only $25,000 away from its goal.
Life goes on.
* Note this article originally featured an image from LonFoWL on Twitter asserting it was from the protests this year; the image was actually from an anti-austerity protest of 2014. We have replaced it with an accurate image from this year’s protest. Thanks @GreekEmmy for the tip