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Assange ‘celebrates’ 3 years in London Ecuadorian embassy

Assange fears that once he is in Sweden he will be transferred to the U.S. to face charges for Wikileaks revelations. Wikileaks shares documents, often classified, that it obtains from whistle blowers, including a large number of U.S. diplomatic cables that contained information embarrassing to the U.S. and many of its allies. The appended video of a helicopter attack in Iraq that killed two Reuters’ journalist is one of its many releases. Most recently the site has released numerous Saudi cables that the kingdom warns are fake and should not be distributed. While Wikileaks did not directly reveal its source, it makes reference to a recent report that the Saudis had suffered a breach of its computer networks by a group called Yemeni Cyber Army. Wikileaks published more than 60,000 cables and plans to release half a million more in the coming weeks. Wikileaks has also released material from whistle blowers on extrajudicial killings in Kenya, dumping of toxic wastes in the Ivory Coast, and Guantanamo Bay detention camp procedures.

In 2011, a European warrant for Assange’s arrest was ordered even though the investigation of the assault accusations is still at the preliminary stage. Assange denies the accusations and says the goal of the whole process is to have him extradited to the U.S. when he arrives in Sweden. In March, Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, agreed to question Assange at the embassy. But the appointment for Wednesday was cancelled since the prosecutors did not have permission yet to enter the premises from Ecuador. Assange blamed the cancellation on the prosecutors and called it a “public relations exercise”.

A UK government waste website claims that the round the clock surveillance of the Ecuadorian embassy over the three years has cost 11.4 million pounds or almost 16 million euros. These funds are sufficient to fund 9.5 million meals for those in need and a year’s schooling for 20,000 children. However, even supporters of Assange question the figures since the salaries of the police would have been paid in any event.

Assange’s room in the embassy has an office and living area. He has a treadmill for exercise since he cannot go outside. There is no outdoor area at the embassy. He has a microwave and sun lamp. He also has a shower. Most of his time is spent on the computer. Ecuador asked that the UK allow Assange to go outside for exercise without risking his asylum, but the UK government refused. At present there are no charges against Assange in the United States. Ecuador has said that Assange can remain at the embassy as long as he wishes.

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