After almost seven years, the Government of Ecuador became so fed up of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that they withdrew his asylum protection. So it was that this morning - with Ruptly, that’s Russian state media, folks, getting the exclusive - the Metropolitan Police arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy to be invited in and inform The Great Man that he was nicked. And so the fun begins.
Although the BBC has reported that “The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court”, they have also told “Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped”. So what happens after he gets done for failing to appear at court in 2012?
A clue can be found in this snippet from the Beeb report: “Mr Assange, 47, had refused to leave the embassy, claiming if he did he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks”. WikiLeaks has been regarded as one of those contributing to the 2016 election success of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. But if Assange thinks he’ll get any favours from the White House, he’ll be disappointed.
Trump won’t lift a finger unless there is some contractual obligation he can’t worm his way out of, or Assange has some serious dirt on him. He doesn’t do kindness of his heart favours. Also, as Carl Gardner has pointed out, “We could get into complex legal territory again here if Assange is tried for a bail offence, and if his lawyers ask for a substantial adjournment to prepare complex legal arguments - especially if Sweden also issues a fresh European Arrest Warrant”. Then there is potential extradition to the USA.
It only needs the Democratic Party to demonstrate to the authorities that WikiLeaks committed a potential felony-level act in its information gathering activities for an extradition warrant to be issued. The prospects of Assange being tied up with trials and their consequences for many years to come is all too real.
But what of all that public support, especially considering the useful work WikiLeaks performed before Assange made his dash for the Ecuadorian embassy? Ah well. Jules is not an exactly sympathetic character. The Guardian’s Martin Rowson put it this way: “imagine what Wikileaks could've achieved in dismantling the Secret State if it hadn't been in the hands of a burning boats & bridges Messianic knob”. Quite.
And Shaun Lawson has put straight those who would still support Assange: “This is one of those occasions when many will, I'm sure, profoundly disagree. But Julian Assange is a creep, a hypocrite, a longtime fugitive from justice, and no friend whatsoever to freedom of speech. He helped get Trump into power and has abused his Ecuadorian hospitality”.
Also, no-one should expect the likes of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to stand bail for him. Or any of those who posted sureties last time, only to see their trust abused. Yes, Assange was clearly in a dreadful state when he was hauled off by the Met. But it was his choice to take refuge there. His influential pals will be keeping schtum while the law takes its course.
Julian Assange is last year’s cause célèbre. The media circus has moved on.
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