Assange Asylum

Written by Kevin Dunne

The controversy surrounding the enigmatic and ghostly organization known as Wikileaks has increased in the past weeks. When over 400,000 classified documents, ranging from military orders to private conversations, were published in 2010, a frenzy broke out. Several countries were embarrassed and cast in a harsh light by these documents, especially the United States. The website’s founder is the famed Australian hacker, Julian Assange, and since June 19th he has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom.

Assange didn’t seek asylum because of his actions against the United States and other countries. According to the BBC, “In 2010, two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers accused Mr Assange of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture. Mr. Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated.” Assange fears that if he is sent to trial in Sweden, Interpol, or the Swedish justice sytem will hand him over to the United States, where he will face far more severe punishments, including possible execution.  The BBC reports that when the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court dismissed his bid he was given, “a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.” During this time Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy.

In his time at the embassy, Assange has blamed the United States for victimizing him in what he described as a “witch hunt.” On Wednesday, Assange addressed the United Nations via a web cam. In his speech, Assange assaulted United States and its actions. Vice-President Joe Biden was briefly criticized, but the main target of Assange’s speech was President Obama. Assange called the President “audacious,” blamed the United States for taking undeserved credit during the Arab Spring, as well as bashing the President’s administration.

The Ecuadorian embassy has sought to move Assange to Ecuador, but British officials have refused, saying that they will arrest Assange as soon as he steps foot outside of the embassy. As far as anybody can tell, the standoff will continue indefinitely, but Assange’s organization will continue with its mission.