British police say they will no longer stand guard outside London’s Ecuadorian embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in 2012.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said it had “withdrawn the physical presence of officers from outside the embassy” but would strengthen a “covert plan” to prevent his departure.
“The operation to arrest Julian Assange does however continue and should he leave the embassy the MPS will make every effort to arrest him,” it said.
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Swedish prosecutors want to question Mr Assange about a rape claim, which carries a 10-year statute of limitations that expires in 2020.
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The 44-year-old Australian also fears that if he leaves he could eventually face extradition to the United States and a trial over the leak of hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
Business Insider’s headline, later changed, referred to Assange’s embassy lodgings as a “>bolt-hole.
HOW IS ASSANGE LIVING INSIDE THE EMBASSY?
Assange is living and working pretty much as normal inside a small office that also serves as his bedroom. Supporters say he could continue to reside in the embassy, close to the world famous Harrods store in upscale Knightsbridge, for months. Gavin MacFadyen, a supporter and director of the Center for Investigative Journalism at London’s City University, has visited Assange inside the building and says that while “it’s not quite the Hilton,” embassy staffers are “jolly” and getting along well with the activist. The embassy has about five or six rooms and previously was used as a single apartment. Assange has a bed, access to a phone and a connection to the Internet. He can also receive guests, though the space is cramped. The crowded embassy is in sharp contrast to Assange’s last permanent address — Ellingham Hall, a supporter’s elegant country house on vast grounds in eastern England.
Hey, he’s in Knightsbridge, rent-free, and can send out for take-out from Harrods. With that, who needs an “elegant country house on vast grounds”?
If Ecuador either liked us or feared us enough, we could probably jump in and help the Brits with this Assange extradition situation, but they seem to be neither. That’s not to say that the UK may not still pry Assange out, particularly if helping him doesn’t seem to provide any real benefit to Ecuador, but it looks like the US will be sitting this one out on the sidelines.
Jazz is an optimist: I fully expect the current administration to wait until the foil goes on the windows and then send the American ambassador to call on Julian.
The 40 year-old Australian made the dramatic move after he lost a long-running legal bid to halt his extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex crime allegations.
In a letter sent to Ecuador’s government, Mr Assange said the Australian government had “effectively abandoned” him and was “ignoring the obligation to protect its citizen, who is persecuted politically”.
His move to claim asylum is the latest twist in a marathon legal battle played out in the glare of worldwide publicity.
On Tuesday night, he walked into the embassy, in London’s Knightsbridge district, and asked for asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.
Officials from the South American nation are considering his request. It comes after Ecuador offered Mr Assange residency in the country in November 2010.
Chevron’s suit alleges that the named defendants, and certain non-party co-conspirators, have used the Ecuador lawsuit to threaten Chevron, mislead U.S. government officials, and harass and intimidate Chevron employees, all in order to extort a financial settlement from the company.
Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.
Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.
Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.
Let that sink in for a moment: The President of the United States is voluntarily handing out to Russia the serial numbers of every Trident missile from one of our allies.
Until now, we just thought his desperation went far enough to hamper our missile-defense system in eastern Europe. According to Wikileaks, the Poles and the Czechs aren’t the only allies to feel the sting of an American betrayal
Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room”.
Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”
Facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them – which, by the way, it’s a point I’ve been making for nearly half a decade.
This is what ordinary Cubans get in a hospital, where you even need to bring your own sutures thread if you need surgery. Only foreigners and Cuba’s elite paying in US$ get to be treated at the best facilities, which aren’t all that great:
The memo points out that even the Cuban ruling elite leave Cuba when they need medical care. Fidel Castro, for example, brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis in 2006. The vice-minister of health, Abelardo Ramirez, went to France for gastric cancer surgery. The neurosurgeon whoheads CIMEQ [Centro de Investigaciones Médico-Quirúrgicas] hospital – widely regarded as one of the best in Cuba – came to England for eye surgery, returning periodically for checkups.
I must point out that Fidel Castro not only bright in a Spanish oncologist/gastroenterologist, the doctor had to bring his entire medical team and all the operating room equipment.