February 7, 2016
On Friday the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention agreed that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained.
For me, this whole situation is fascinating and rather than try to offer a profound insight, I am simply going to ask a couple of questions, out loud.
Why has Mr Assange not become an Ecuadorean citizen? A little Googling tells me that rules that came into effect on 1st January 2015 make it possible to apply for naturalisation after three years of residency.
Why has Mr Assange not been given a diplomatic passport to make his exit that much safer? Having provided him with sanctuary all this time, a diplomatic passport does not seem like much of an extra step to take.
Why has Mr Assange not simply fled the (now) unguarded embassy and hopped onto the private jet of a wealthy friend? He is, after all, subject to a European arrest warrant. One presumes that it will be very difficult to enforce the warrant outside of the European Union.
There is a reason for asking this. As a child I was amazed by Carlos the Jackal. Please don’t misunderstand me, I was not too impressed with him – everything I have read suggests that he was simply a gun for hire with a minimum amount of morals.
Instead, I was amazed at how the most wanted man in the world could hide for years at a time. If all the security services of the world were looking for him, surely he can’t be that hard to find…?
This was the case until I read a book called To The Ends Of The Earth by David Yallop. He had similar interests and tracked the Jackal down. The reality was that Carlos had been living well in Damascus and far from being “on the run”, everyone knew where he lived. In fact, several security services knew his residential address and telephone number!
They were simply unable to do anything about it.
In many ways, Edward Snowden is probably in a similar situation. It is hard to imagine that in our modern world that the CIA and NSA do not know his actual home address.
All of this leads me to what I presume requires a psychological answer than only Mr Assange can provide.
Having founded WikiLeaks and published the things they have published, he clearly has no problem with breaking the law and the potential for getting into legal trouble. Having taken refuge in the embassy for so long, he also clearly has no qualms about using the assistance of others to hide himself from justice. Considering his past, he also is very international and the idea of travelling around the world is unlikely to be a constraint.
Therefore, why is Julian Assange still in the Ecuadorean embassy in London? What has prevented him from running to a much larger Ecuadorean embassy (with a garden?) in a non-EU country, or just going straight to Ecuador itself?financialguy