Third Party & Independents Archives

Will Assange be Kicked Out of Ecuador's Embassy?

Perhaps the Guardian - or their sources - are getting a little impatient with Mueller’s investigation. It seems they’ve decided to push things along a little and disclose that these anonymous sources have told the Guardian that Manafort and Assange met multiple times at the Ecuadorian embassy from around 2013 until early in 2016. This is important information if it is true. But that’s a fairly big if. So, let’s look at the specific phrases in the Guardian article that refer to the sources of this information:

  • the Guardian has been told
  • Sources have said
  • A well-placed source has told the Guardian
  • two sources said
  • A separate internal document written by Ecuador's Senain intelligence agency and seen by the Guardian
  • According to the sources
  • one source said
  • Sources in Ecuador
  • it is understood
  • According to sources
  • flight records seen by the Guardian show.
  • One person familiar with WikiLeaks said
  • According to the dossier written by the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele
  • one source in Quito suggests
  • Another senior foreign ministry source

Ah, there we go. Second to last bullet point. Mr. Christopher Steele. And the Guardian is so kind as to quote some of Steele's infamous dossier, where Steele stated that Manafort was at the center of a:

... well-developed conspiracy of cooperation.

And that Putin:

... hated and feared Hillary Clinton. Note the use of "feared".

Ok, so from the way that the Guardian has framed the language around its sources there are a few possibilities regarding who is leaking to the Guardian in order perhaps to prod Mueller or at least to try and cause damage to the Trump administration and perhaps somehow provide motivation and evidence for any Democrat House attempts at impeachment next year.

In the first place, Christopher Steele himself and by extension perhaps sources within Britain's MI6 or some other spy agency in the UK.

Then there's the Mueller probe itself that could be leaking as a sort of prelude to their release of the final report.

And next on the list is the Ecuadorian government, which may be either getting pressured by the British government and perhaps by elements within Washington's intel community and at State to give Assante the boot.

Or maybe they're so tired of him - having reportedly spent around $5 million on his security and having withstood a lawsuit launched by Assange where the Ecuadorian government prevailed over the issue of Assange actually paying for his internet use and cleaning up after his cat - that they just want the guy the hell out of their embassy.

So what happens if Ecuador releases Assange?

He would be detained by British police and presumably extradited to America and that's where it gets interesting. One supposes the president has no wish to see Assange as the centerpiece of yet another media circus, this one about the hacked emails from the DNC and who did the hacking and how Wikileaks got a hold of them and what possible connections they have to his administration.

Yet at the same time, as counter-intuitive as it seems, it might be the best way to finally clear the air. Of course, Mueller would have Assange in a dark room with a bright light in his face for 28 hours straight without a bathroom break, all while being asked every conceivable question from an elaborate flow chart of detailed questions meant to produce contradictions from witnesses as much as get at the truth.

Imagine the leaks from that process. You'd be reading about how "uncomfortable and strained" Assange appeared according to sources familiar with the proceedings, or, a source close to the investigation (like Andrew Weissmann maybe?).

So what will come first? The Mueller report or Assange's extradition?

Because something has to give. Either the UK eases up (and one feels right now that they have a harder line towards Assange having invested so much effort in getting him extradited, than even officials in D.C. who want him might have) and allows Assange a measure of liberty or they and American officials find a way to extradite Assange.

Or Ecuador gives him the boot.

For how long can he live in an embassy? That would have seemed an absurd question a few years ago, but it no longer is. Maybe we're coming closer to both the end of the Mueller probe and the Assange siege.

Of course, maybe Manafort and Assange had nothing to do with each other and Assange's issues with America have to do with his other very damaging leaks. But that doesn't make as cool an ending to the Russia Collusion Epic.

Posted by AllardK at November 29, 2018 3:24 PM
Comment #435077

Not sure.

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, pronounced Assange a costly “inherited problem” and made it clear that he viewed Assange as an obstacle to better relations with the US.

Assange is sure to be arrested when he sets foot outside of the embassy.

Assange “violated” the computers in the embassy, and was apparently reading confidential diplomatic traffic.
Ecuador was spending up to $91,000 per month for their own surveillance of Assange.

Assange is Australian, but Ecuador gave Assange citizenship, but it won’t be easy getting there, because the embassy is under constant surveillance.

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