The Intercept reports that Ecuador will soon withdraw asylum from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been claiming refuge in the country’s London embassy since 2012, citing fears that he will be extradited to the U.S. should he leave. Assange has held Ecuadorian citizenship since December 2017.
Via The Intercept:
A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the President’s office, unauthorized to speak publicly, has confirmed to the Intercept that Moreno is close to finalizing, if he has not already finalized, an agreement to hand over Assange to the UK within the next several weeks. The withdrawal of asylum and physical ejection of Assange could come as early as this week. On Friday, RT reported that Ecuador was preparing to enter into such an agreement.
The consequences of such an agreement depend in part on the concessions Ecuador extracts in exchange for withdrawing Assange’s asylum. But as former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told the Intercept in an interview in May, Moreno’s government has returned Ecuador to a highly “subservient” and “submissive” posture toward western governments.
It is thus highly unlikely that Moreno – who has shown himself willing to submit to threats and coercion from the UK, Spain and the U.S. – will obtain a guarantee that the U.K. not extradite Assange to the U.S., where top Trump officials have vowed to prosecute Assange and destroy WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks and Assange attracted mainstream vilification during the 2016 election campaign for its role in distributing leaked Democratic National Committee, showing that, among other things, the DNC colluded with the Clinton campaign against Bernie Sanders. WikiLeaks also revealed the close ties between tech giant Google and the Clinton campaign.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has since indicted 12 Russian nationals as the alleged culprits of the DNC hack, although Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein emphasized that there was “no allegation” that Americans communicating with the hackers “knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.”
Assange has denied that his source was the Russian government or a state party.