Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has been effectively imprisoned in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for four years. He is accused of rape in Sweden, and the U.K. has spent millions surrounding the embassy in the hope of swooping him up and extraditing him. I won’t comment on the merits of the charges, other than to say that it all appears murky (as high-profile rape cases often do) — and to remark that for Sweden to make such a fuss about this case when that nation has voluntarily made itself, as a matter of idealistic public policy, the rape capital of the Western world, seems a bit much.
I in no way mean to downplay the seriousness of the crime of rape, but obviously there is much more to l’affaire Assange than a sex-offense. Mr. Assange would probably have faced the charges, of which he claims to be innocent, were he not worried that Sweden would in turn send him off to the United States to face a much more dangerous inquiry.
He had lived quietly in the embassy for years, until he began leaking documents that have embarrassed and incriminated the Clintons, Barack Obama, and the Democrat party machine. A few days ago, he had his Internet access cut off. Wikileaks was prepared for this, and had a “dead-man-switch” release schedule in place, so the document dumps have continued.
Now, however, Mr. Assange seems to have gone missing. Rumors abound, including that he has been removed from the embassy, taken to the U.S. in a small plane, and is now in CIA custody. Some have suggested that he is being used as a hostage to apply pressure to a Wikileaks organization that was well-prepared for his death, but which might be coerced into silence to save his life. Someone even suggested that Wikileaks had put a coded message in a series of tweets saying “HELP HIM”.
These are all just rumors, and I have no idea what the truth is. None of them seem too far-fetched to be beyond plausibility, however. Mr. Assange has some very powerful and utterly ruthless enemies.