Sweden, UK dragging feet while US drums up case against me - Assange
In a live interview from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with Australian Broadcasting Corp radio he stressed that Washington is hatching a plot to bring him to the US.
“The situation for me here in the UK has been extremely precarious and the refusal by the Swedish prosecutor to come to the UK for the past 18 months – despite that being absolutely normal procedure – and the refusal of her to explain it in any manner whatsoever to the British courts, has kept me trapped in the United Kingdom, while the United States has prepared its case against me,” the Australian said to ABC.
He added that the Australian government had made an "effective declaration of abandonment" as at no point did it intervene in UK court procedures.
He leveled criticism at Australian PM Julia Gillard for her “slimy rhetoric” with the US ambassador to Australia and categorically denied receiving any help from his country’s diplomatic mission as had been suggested.
The WikiLeaks founder arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Tuesday in a new twist in his on-going battle against extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes.
Assange, 40, maintains that the accusations set against him are politically motivated and said he hoped his dramatic actions “will simply draw attention to the underlying issues."
He has voiced concerns that his extradition to Sweden would be the first step towards a possible transfer to US jurisdiction.
Once in the US, he could face a similar fate to fellow whistleblower Bradley Manning, currently on trial with a potential court martial in the cards.
He said the American authorities had been carefully skirting around the issue of his possible extradition to the US.
“Their careful statements reflect that the [US] Department of Justice is not able to formally confirm or deny the existence of the grand jury – it's a policy with all grand juries.”
Assange stressed legal action was being taken against him by the US, insisting “the evidence is everywhere.”
He alluded to the detention of two people in an American airport last month, who he said were interrogated by the FBI.
“They ask questions about me and my organization, asked [them] to become informers,” Assange told ABC.
The UK Supreme Court denied Assange’s application to reopen the extradition case against him last Thursday. The whistleblower could potentially delay his removal to Sweden by making an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Assange provoked the fury of the US government by releasing thousands of classified diplomatic cables through Wikileaks. Aggressive rhetoric among American politicians has branded him a terrorist and calls for him to be treated as such.
‘Deliver him to Guantanamo to torture and imprisonment’
Bob Ellis, author and political commentator told RT that the purpose of Sweden’s extradition order had “nothing to do” with the allegations against Assange. He added that had the Swedish authorities been convinced by the allegations of sexual abuse “they would have charged him.”
“They are in collusion with the Americans to deliver him to Guantanamo to torture and imprisonment and probably death,” said Ellis.
Referring to the delay in the decision around whether to grant Assange asylum in Ecuador, Ellis suggested that it was to allow the whistleblower time to negotiate peace with the Australian government to bring him home.
The Ecuadorian government was due to make a decision on Assange’s asylum on Thursday, meanwhile the whistleblower is confined to the country’s embassy in London. If he leaves he faces arrest by UK police for violating his bail conditions.
Sweden’s patchy record
Australian journalist Mary Kostakidis told RT it would be significantly easier for the US to get its hands on Assange once he is in Sweden.
She highlighted the fact that Sweden does not have a good track record when it comes to pandering to US demands.
“Sweden has covertly handed over people to the US before, those people were tortured and in the end it was a case of mistaken identity,” she told RT.
The UN ruled that the country had violated the global ban on torture in 2006 after it aided the CIA in handing over two asylum-seekers to Egypt. Both refugees were brutally tortured and were eventually found to be innocent of charges of terrorism.