Earlier this week, a U.S. Attorney’s Office partnered with Special Counsel Robert Mueller accidentally revealed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has already been criminally charged. This wasn’t shocking news, but the big question was whether this was “accidentally” done on purpose in order to set things in motion with regard to his potential extradition. Sure enough, Ecuador – which has been shielding Assange for several years – just cleared the decks.
Ecuador has suddenly removed its Ambassador to the United Kingdom, along with essentially every other diplomat who had any kind of relationship with Julian Assange, according to CNN. There’s really only one way to interpret this move: Ecuador is indeed preparing to turn Assange over to the UK, as it has spent the past few months threatening, and it’s smoothing out the process by removing potential Assange allies from the building. So now what?
If Ecuador turns Assange over to the UK, there is every reason to expect that the UK will honor any extradition request from the United States. This would effectively allow Ecuador to turn Assange over to the U.S. for trial, while being able to save face by saying it was technically the UK that made the extradition request.
You have to wonder if Robert Mueller and his allies purposely made that “slip” about Julian Assange this week, as a way of signaling to Ecuador that it was time to give Julian Assange up. If so, it certainly appears to be working, as Ecuador just cleared the decks for Mueller by removing all of its own personnel who might be tempted to protect Assange on his way out the door.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report