Julian Assanges poor hygiene sparks complaints at embassy

Staff at the Ecuador Embassy in London grew tired of the whiffing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who reportedly does not attend to his own personal hygiene.

Its that lack of cleanliness, among other things, that fueled Ecuadors recent attempts to end his five-year stand-off at the Knightsbridge embassy, the International Business Times reported.

It seems he doesnt wash properly, a well-placed source told the news outlet, noting the issue has prompted repeated complaints from staff at the UK embassy.

Assange reportedly complained of noise from a loading bay near his hideout, which resulted in a female restroom being converted into a bedroom for him. The move left Assange sharing a single bathroom with embassy staff.

WikiLeaks addresses ‘oddities’ regarding Julian Assange’s Twitter

And its not the first time people around him have complained of Assanges questionable hygiene practices.

Julian ate everything with his hands and he always wiped his fingers on his pants. I have never seen pants as greasy as his in my whole life, one of his closest aides, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, told the Times.

Jrmie Zimmermann, a friend and former colleague, wrote in 2012 that unless the people around him force him to shower, he might not change his clothes for days.

The WikiLeaks founder was made an Ecuadorian citizen last month, the nations foreign minister revealed Thursday, in a bid to resolve the diplomatic impasse created by Assanges presence.

Prosecutors destroyed emails in Julian Assange case

Earlier this week, the UKs Foreign Office revealed it dismissed requests from Ecuador for the Australia native to be made an accredited diplomat. Ecuador officials hoped it would allow for Assange to leave the embassy and Britain without arrest.

He fled to embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on rape and sexual assault allegations and was granted asylum there. The case in Sweden was dropped after prosecutors questioned him at the embassy. Assange could still be arrested for skipping bail and faces jail time should he leave the embassy.

U.S. officials told the Times Wednesday that arresting Assange remains a priority, though did not confirm whether the government would request his extradition should he be arrested in the UK.

Assange previously claimed United States authorities have already prepared an indictment and made plans to extradite him for espionage after WikiLeaks dumped hundreds of classified military documents.

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Julian Assanges poor hygiene sparks complaints at embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now an Ecuadorian citizen …

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is stateless no more. On Thursday, Ecuador revealed that it had extended citizenship to Assange, a controversial figure who moved into Londons Ecuadorian embassy to evade extradition to Sweden back in 2012. Assange alluded to the citizenship status with a Twitter post depicting him in an Ecuadorian football jersey.

Sweden has since abandoned its intention to bring Assange back to the country to face allegations related to sexual assault. Still, Assange remained in the Ecuadorian embassy for fear of being extradited to the United States for his role in releasing classified U.S. intelligence and military documentation, including a video that depicted U.S. troops gunning down a number of non-combatants in Baghdad, including two Reuters journalists and children.

At the time of his work with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, many viewed Assange as a champion of government transparency, though his legacy now is considerably more mixed. Since that time, Assange has taken to openly peddling widely debunked conspiracy theories and lashing out at journalists who revealed that WikiLeaks concealed documents that showed massive payments between Syria and Russia.

Assanges newfound citizenship has again escalated tensions with Britain, though its likely that hell leverage the status to make a move out of the Ecuadorian embassy once and for all.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now an Ecuadorian citizen …

Ecuador Gives Assange Citizenship, Worsening Standoff With …

Mr. Assange has managed to wear out his welcome over the years, alienating many of his previous supporters, including Edward J. Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor who leaked documents about surveillance programs.

He also offended potential supporters in the Democratic Party by allowing WikiLeaks to become the conduit for emails hacked by Russia from the Democratic National Committee and leaked to harm the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers working for the Kremlin carried out the intrusions, but Mr. Assange insists he did not know the source of the emails, under the working rules of WikiLeaks. He has denied working for Russia or any other government.

The United States attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has said that arresting Mr. Assange is a priority. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks, and some of them are quite serious, he said last year.

On Thursday, Steve Goldstein, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, said that the decision to grant Julian Assange citizenship is a decision between Julian Assange and Ecuador. He said the United States would not discuss whether it wanted to arrest Mr. Assange.

When Swedish prosecutors dropped their effort to have Mr. Assange extradited last year, they said it was not for reasons of guilt or innocence but because they saw no hope of compelling him to leave the embassy.

The British police say, however, say he is still subject to arrest on charges of jumping bail. And there is a strong possibility that the United States has issued a secret arrest and extradition warrant for Mr. Assange in connection with his assistance to Chelsea Manning, the Army private who was convicted of revealing state secrets.

Ecuadors announcement came after several days of speculation that the Ecuadorean government was ramping up efforts to find a solution for Mr. Assange. The countrys foreign minister, Mara Fernanda Espinosa, said on Tuesday that it was looking for a third-party mediator who could broker a deal to allow Mr. Assange to leave the embassy.

Were considering, exploring the possibility of a mediation, Ms. Espinosa said, according to Reuters. No solution can be reached without international cooperation and without cooperation from the United Kingdom, which in addition has shown interest in finding a solution.

On Wednesday, Mr. Assange posted the photograph of himself in the soccer jersey, and Reuters reported that his name had been recorded in a civil registry of Ecuadorean citizens.

On Thursday, Ms. Espinosa said that Mr. Assange had applied for citizenship on Sept. 16 and been granted it on Dec. 12. What naturalization does is provide the asylum seeker another layer of protection, she said. She said that Ecuador formally requested that Mr. Assange be given diplomatic status on Dec. 20 and that Britain rejected the request the following day.

Ms. Espinosa expressed irritation at recent news reports, saying she felt obliged to make statements about a matter that needed to be managed with prudence and caution. She said the decision to grant citizenship to Mr. Assange had been made after careful consideration of Ecuadors obligations under its Constitution and under international law.

Ms. Espinosa also noted that the current government had inherited the problem from its predecessor. Rafael Correa, the president who decided to grant Mr. Assange asylum, was widely seen as wanting to burnish his credentials as a leftist leader who would not be cowed by the United States. But he found Mr. Assange to be a headache as well: In October 2016, Ecuador temporarily suspended Mr. Assanges internet access after WikiLeaks published documents from Mrs. Clintons presidential campaign.

Mr. Correa left office in May after a decade as president. He was succeeded by Lenn Moreno, who although an ally of Mr. Correas has demonstrated little enthusiasm for Mr. Assanges cause. He has called Mr. Assange a hacker, and warned him not to meddle in politics.

Here are key points in his case since WikiLeaks burst onto the digital scene in 2010.

On Thursday, Ms. Espinosa said Ecuador was exploring a variety of possible resolutions to the dispute. She mentioned dialogue with the United Kingdom and mediation by other states or international organizations that could facilitate a just, lasting and dignified resolution for all the involved parties.

She said that Ecuador had the best relations of friendship and cooperation with Britain.

In a separate statement, the ministry said Mr. Assange had committed to not intervening in affairs outside the scope of his asylum status, which seemed an oblique reference to his penchant for creating a stir.

Greg Barns, a lawyer who advises Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks, said in a telephone interview from New Zealand that the situation was intolerable for his client and for Ecuador.

The embassy is in the affluent Knightsbridge section of London, but he said Mr. Assange had been effectively imprisoned with no access to natural light and fresh air for a period of five and a half years.

In 2015, the London police ceased round-the-clock surveillance of the embassy, citing the cost, but warned that Mr. Assange would still be arrested if he left. In 2016, United Nations experts concluded that Mr. Assange had been arbitrarily detained in violation of international law. But Britain and Sweden argue that by choosing to jump bail and seek asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy, Mr. Assange has effectively imprisoned himself.

Mr. Barns suggested that the Australian government would be an obvious third-party mediator, given that Mr. Assange is a citizen of Australia, which has excellent relations with Britain.

Ricardo Patio, who was foreign minister of Ecuador under Mr. Correa and has described Mr. Assange as the victim of persecution, said he hoped that Britain would relent and allow a mediator like a country or even a distinguished individual to try to facilitate Mr. Assanges departure from the embassy.

Another former foreign minister, Jos Ayala-Lasso, who also has served as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said that diplomatic immunity would have been an elegant solution to the problem because it would have exempted Mr. Assange from facing punishment in Britain for bail jumping.

But since Britain has rejected that option, Mr. Ayala-Lasso said, it is difficult to see how mediation would work. This is a conflict that is judicial-political in nature, he said, and Britain will not cede its position.

Joaqun Hernndez, an Ecuadorean scholar of international relations, said the problem was one of Ecuadors own making.

Ecuador never should have accepted Assange as a refugee because of his questionable reputation, but it was done anyway in search of international attention, he said in an interview.

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Ecuador Gives Assange Citizenship, Worsening Standoff With …

Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian …

Last Updated Jan 11, 2018 2:24 PM EST

QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in asylum at the nation’s embassy in London for more than five years.

The nation’s foreign minister announced Thursday that officials had decided to permit Assange’s naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.

Ecuador gave Assange political asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid a Swedish extradition request on a case of alleged rape. While Sweden temporarily dropped that investigation, British officials say they’d still arrest him on charges of bail jumping. Assange also fears a possible U.S. extradition request stemming from the leaking of classified U.S. documents.

Britain’s Foreign Office said Thursday it had rejected Ecuador’s request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, who was born in Australia.

“The granting of Ecuadorean nationality does not in any way change Julian Assange’s legal status in the U.K.,” a government spokesman said. “The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve the situation is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice. Nobody should pretend that granting him Ecuadorean citizenship is a route to solving this longstanding issue.”

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Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian …

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s poor hygiene sparks …

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (Reuters)

The whiff of controversy has long surrounded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but, according to a new report, he just reeks.

Assange’s lack of cleanliness was reportedly one of the reasons behind Ecuador’s recent attempts to extricate him from his five-year standoff in its embassy in London, the International Business Times reported.

It seems he doesnt wash properly, a highly placed source told the news outlet. The issue prompted repeated complaints from staff at the UK embassy, according to the report.

The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at the embassy in Knightsbridge since 2012 and was recently granted Ecuadorean citizenship.

The IBT report emerged after Britain rejected Ecuador’s application to assign the 46-year-old diplomatic status.

Others have complained of Assanges questionable hygiene practices in the past.

Julian ate everything with his hands and he always wiped his fingers on his pants. I have never seen pants as greasy as his in my whole life, one of his closest aides, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, told IBT.

Jrmie Zimmermann, a friend and former colleague, wrote in 2012 that unless the people around him force him to shower, he might not change his clothes for days.

U.S. officials told IBT that arresting Assange remains a priority, but would not confirm whether the government would request his extradition should he be arrested in the U.K.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s poor hygiene sparks …

Julian Assange is made an Ecuadorian citizen in effort to …

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was made an Ecuadorian citizen last month, the nations foreign ministry has revealed, in an attempt to resolve the political impasse over his continued presence in the UK.

The 46-year-old has been naturalised after living for five and a half years in the cramped, Latin American countrys embassy in Knightsbridge, central London.

Earlier this week the UKs Foreign Office revealed that Ecuador had asked for Assange, who was born in Australia, to be accredited as a diplomat. The request was dismissed.

The Ecuadorian initiative was intended to confer legal immunity on Assange, allowing him to slip out of the embassy and Britain without being arrested for breaching his former bail conditions.

Assange failed to surrender to the UK authorities in 2012 after the supreme court rejected his appeal against extradition to Sweden to face accusations of sexual crimes, including rape. He was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Swedish prosecutors last year unexpectedly dropped their investigation into allegations against him, which he denied. WikiLeaks, however, fears that the US will seek his extradition if he leaves the embassy, believing there is a sealed US indictment seeking his arrest.

At a press conference on Thursday in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, the foreign minister, Mara Fernanda Espinosa, explained that Assange had sought citizenship and that it had been granted on 12 December last year.

The Ecuadorian government is empowered to grant nationality to the protected person and thus facilitate … his inclusion in the host state, Espinosa told reporters.

Assanges life could be under threat from other states, she warned, adding that she was seeking a dignified and just solution to his situation with Britain.

On Wednesday evening, the UK Foreign Office put out a statement explaining that: The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.

At the same time Assange appeared on his Twitter account for the first time wearing an Ecuadorian national football shirt.

A statement by Assanges legal team said: The UN ruling, issued almost two years ago, is crystal clear in its language. [He] is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released. The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administrations public threats to take down Mr Assange.

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Julian Assange is made an Ecuadorian citizen in effort to …

Ecuador grants WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange citizenship …

Ecuador has granted citizenship to fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the South American nation announced Thursday, in a bid to end his more than five-year stay at its embassy in London and resolve a protracted dispute with Britain.

But a standoff continued with the British government, which rejected an Ecuadoran request that it grant diplomatic status to Assange, insisting instead that the Australian national must leave the embassy to face justice.

Ecuadors foreign minister, Mara Fernanda Espinosa, subsequently said that Assange would not leave the embassy in the absence of security guarantees. She said in a news conference Thursday in Quito, the Ecuadoran capital, that Assange was granted citizenship Dec.12, after having applied for it in September.

Espinosa also said that Ecuador was concerned about potential threats to Assanges life from unspecified other nations and was looking for a dignified way to resolve an unsustainable situation at its London embassy, where Assange has been living in a small office, and end the stalemate with Britain.

[Assange says CIA is waging war on free speech ]

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spoke at Ecuadors embassy in London on May 19, 2017, after Swedish prosecutors said they were dropping the probe into a rape allegation against him. (Reuters)

The British government said in a statement Thursday that the granting of Ecuadoran nationality does not in any way change Julian Assanges legal status in Britain.

Julian Assange is in breach of bail conditions set in 2012 and chose to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy of his own volition, the statement added. The government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve the situation is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice. Nobody should pretend that granting him Ecuadorean citizenship is a route to solving this longstanding issue.

Assange, who angered the U.S. government when his anti-secrecy organization published troves of classified documents obtained in 2010 from a U.S. Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in August 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was sought for alleged sexual offenses. Sweden later dropped the case, but Assange remained ensconced in the embassy because he still faced arrest in Britain for jumping bail.

He also has expressed fear of extradition to the United States, where the Justice Department is weighing whether to charge him for his role in publishing the secret documents leaked by Army soldier Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning.

News of the move to grant Assange citizenship emerged Wednesday when the Ecuadoran newspaper El Universo reported that, according to the countrys civil register, he had been assigned an identity number. The daily reported that Assange also may have been issued a passport.

[Timeline: Julian Assange and WikiLeaks]

The Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry at first responded that it would not address rumors or distorted or out-of-context information, Germanys DPA news agency reported.

Assange surrendered to British police in December 2010, a month after Sweden requested his extradition, and was held for 10 days before he was released on bail. But when his effort to block extradition was rejected, he jumped bail and became a fugitive, seeking asylum at the Ecuadoran Embassy.

His asylum request was granted by Ecuadors then-president, Rafael Correa, a fiery leftist and fierce critic of Washington who once expelled the U.S. ambassador and the U.S. Agency for International Development from his country.

However, Correa was succeeded last year by his former vice president, Lenn Moreno, who has sought to put Ecuador on a more moderate path. The new president also engaged in a public spat with Assange over the WikiLeaks founders vocal support for Catalan separatists in Spain.

[Justice Department debates new charges against WikiLeaks]

The Washington Post reported in April 2017 that federal prosecutors were weighing whether to bring criminal charges against members of WikiLeaks, revisiting the 2010 publication of U.S. diplomatic cables and military documents, and investigating the organizations more recent revelation of sensitive CIA cyber-tools.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department decided not to charge WikiLeaks for revealing some of the governments most sensitive secrets on grounds that doing so would be like prosecuting a news organization for publishing classified information. But President Trumps Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated that it may take a different view.

When Assange sought refuge in the red-brick Ecuadoran Embassy in the Knightsbridge area of London, next to Harrods department store in one of the citys poshest areas, he said his underlying concern was that returning to Sweden would lead to extradition to the United States.

Last year, Swedish prosecutors said they were dropping an investigation into sexual assault allegations because they were unable to serve him notice.

Internal memos from staff at the embassy, seen by BuzzFeed and the journalist Fernando Villavicencio, paint a picture of a sometimes stressful and difficult relationship between Assange and his hosts.

A more public dispute emerged in 2016 when Ecuador cut off Assanges Internet connection due to concerns that WikiLeaks was interfering in the U.S. presidential election after the organization published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.

[Chelsea Manning denies betraying U.S.]

A medical evaluation of Assange, written anonymously and tweeted by WikiLeaks in 2016, said his bedroom was just big enough for a single bed and a small cupboard for clothes. It complained that there is no room for a chair or desk and that the room receives no sunlight. It added that Assange has shared use of a second room, containing a desk, chairs and a treadmill.

At her news conference Thursday in Quito, Espinosa lamented that Ecuadors latest attempts to resolve the stalemate in a way acceptable to Britain were leaked prematurely. Apart from trying to arrange diplomatic status for Assange, she said, Another option has been granting the asylee a special status, recognized under the Geneva Convention of diplomatic relations, with the aim of increasing his chances of protection.

WikiLeaks first burst onto the world scene a decade ago with headline-grabbing revelations about alleged abuses at the U.S. militarys Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The nonprofit, whose mission was to publish leaked documents revealing official malfeasance and overreach, and its flamboyant but reserved boss quickly became darlings of progressives and freedom-of-information campaigners.

But since then, Assange and his organization have fallen from favor, alienating many on the left by providing a conduit for purloined Democratic Party emails that helped undermine Hillary Clintons 2016 presidential bid. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the stolen material came from Russian hackers working for the Kremlin, although Assange has denied knowing their provenance.

The sexual assault allegations also tarnished Assanges reputation. Unable to interview the only suspect in the case, Swedish prosecutors shelved their investigation, although they could reopen it if they were able finally to gain access to him.

[Assanges squabbles with Ecuadors new president could jeopardize his London refuge]

For Correa, providing refuge to Assange offered the then-president a chance to raise his international profile while cementing his leftist credentials during a stormy period at home. However, Moreno, with whom Correa has now had a spectacular falling-out, has proved a less enthusiastic ally of Assange.

The current Ecuadoran president has publicly told Assange to refrain from getting involved in Catalonias independence struggle and politics more generally. In response, Assange angrily tweeted back that Moreno was trying to gag my reporting of human rights abuses.

Ecuadoran analysts said Moreno has been looking for a face-saving strategy to get Assange out of the London embassy, where his continued presence brings the president little domestic political benefit while placing him at diplomatic loggerheads with the United States and other Western democracies.

Ramiro Crespo, a Quito-based investment analyst, said the Moreno administration has become increasingly uncomfortable hosting Assange in the embassy, adding that Ecuador no longer needs to deflect attention from its repression of journalists, an authoritarian Correa policy that Moreno has reversed.

Assanges presence in the embassy has very high diplomatic and reputational costs for Ecuador, Crespo said. Correa used Assange as a propaganda weapon to say that he was a defender of human rights, something that no one in Ecuador believes anymore.

Moreno is more pragmatic and wants to have good relations with the U.S. and Europe, Crespo added, and Assange really has no utility for him.

Adam reported from London. Tegel reported from Lima, Peru.

Read more:

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Ecuador grants WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange citizenship …

Julian Assange’s asylum in Ecuadoran embassy in doubt …

BUENOS AIRES The legal saga of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be taking a major new turn after Ecuador abruptly announced this week that Mr. Assanges asylum in the countrys London embassy now entering its sixth year is unsustainable given the Australians continued meddling in political affairs.

In an unexpected move that could impact the Russian election-meddling probe in the U.S., Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno has broken with the policies of predecessor and mentor Rafael Correa and signaled that Mr. Assanges days of refuge in the London embassy are numbered.

Facing legal woes originally linked to sexual assault charges in Sweden that he claims are politically motivated, Mr. Assange may have slowly but surely overstayed his welcome, Mr. Morenos foreign minister said this week, suggesting that international mediation may help get the Australian asylee out of the mission in the posh Knightsbridge neighborhood.

We have an enormous interest in achieving a definitive solution for the Assange case, said Maria Fernanda Espinosa on Wednesday in Quito Ecuadors capital. To make that happen, we are in permanent dialogue with the government of the United Kingdom, and we are exploring various options to find a way out of this situation.

While Mr. Assange has found sanctuary in embassy, WikiLeaks, the organization he founded, has found itself at the center of the probe into whether the Kremlin tried to swing the U.S. election in favor of Donald Trump. The group made public thousands of sensitive internal emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in the summer of 2016. Mr. Assange has denied he worked with Russian intelligence on the release of the hacked correspondence.

Negotiations led by a third country or a respected statesman, Ms. Espinosa said, could help solve the stalemate in London, insisting that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.

Mr. Assange originally sought refuge in the embassy building in 2012 to evade a European arrest warrant issued for the Swedish prosecution. Though that investigation has since been dropped, he continues to face a separate British warrant for skipping bail.

The 46-year-old activist and his supporters contend that all attempts to take him into custody are ultimately aimed at extraditing Mr. Assange to the United States to face charges over the massive 2010 leaks of classified U.S. diplomatic cables a claim bolstered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent comments that getting access to Mr. Assange is considered a priority for U.S. investigators.

Ecuador, meanwhile, had long maintained it agreed to protect Mr. Assange from what is considers politically motivated prosecution. But while its foreign minister voiced concern for Mr. Assanges physical and psychological integrity, analysts noted that her overture marks a clear departure from the longstanding fierce defense of the hacker especially coming from Ms. Espinosa, a political holdover from the leftist Correa administration.

She was one of the promoters of this anti-American [and] anti-OAS rhetoric, said Santiago Basabe of the Latin American Social Sciences Institute in Quito. In this context, Assange served as the calling card of what Correa wanted to do on the international scene.

Correa and Assange

In fact, the former president an unquestioning ally and personal friend of the Venezuelas late anti-U.S. populist leader Hugo Chavez closely linked his own political fate to that of Mr. Assange, whom he had granted asylum within weeks of his showing up at the London embassy.

If you agreed with Correas government and Correa, you had to agree with [his handling of] the Assange case. And if you opposed Correa, you were against Assange, Mr. Basabe said. So the countrys internal polarization fundamentally served Assange, while Correa used it in an intelligent way, in political and electoral terms, by portraying Assange as persecuted, as a victim of the [American] empire.

The link was so tight that some 6,000 miles from Ecuadoran territory, Mr. Assange quite openly backed Mr. Moreno then Mr. Correas handpicked successor in last years presidential election. Opposition challenger Guillermo Lasso, by contrast, promised voters he would expel the WikiLeaks leader within 30 days of taking office.

I cordially invite Mr. Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days, Mr. Assange predictably retorted on Twitter after the candidates narrow defeat, earning a first rebuke from Mr. Moreno, who made it clear he preferred for the outspoken non-citizen to stay out of domestic politics.

Nevertheless, the WikiLeaks founders running commentary continued to irk the new Ecuadoran president, especially as Mr. Moreno increasingly distanced himself from Mr. Correa, whose leftist economic vision he sought to replace with closer ties to the countrys European and American trading partners.

Mr. Assange has not exactly been a model guest, finding it hard to stay quiet.

In the wake of Catalonias polarizing bid to secede from Spain late last year, Mr. Assange mused on social media that the breakaway regions fit men represented a force which if rallied vastly eclipses the available capacities of Spains police [and] army. Mr. Moreno assured Madrid that he had made the hacker promise in writing to keep his future thoughts to himself.

We have reminded him that his condition of asylum does not allow him to intervene in Ecuadoran or international politics, the president told the Spanish newspaper ABC. We have asked him not to talk about the topic of Catalonia. If he does, we will know to respond.

Seeking to improve on the sometimes testy relations Mr. Correa had with the U.S., Mr. Moreno likely also wants to avoid similar Assange ripples in relations with Washington Quitos top trading partner by far. And ending the politically costly asylum offered to Mr. Assange could serve as an opening salvo for a more balanced foreign policy in the region, Mr. Basabe said, in particular in moving away from the tilt toward the struggling leftist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Even more urgently, though, Mr. Moreno wants Mr. Assange to stop hovering in the background on the domestic front where he is pushing a Feb. 4 referendum that will likely reinstate term limits and if successful would further constrain what is left of the political clout of his estranged predecessor.

This means that Correa, at least in the short and medium terms, would be left out of the electoral arena, Mr. Basabe said. And combined with the internal tensions, it makes for an uncomfortable, unfavorable scene for Mr. Assange.

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Julian Assange’s asylum in Ecuadoran embassy in doubt …

Julian Assange’s stay in London embassy untenable, says …

Ecuadors foreign minister has said Julian Assanges five-and-a-half-year stay in her countrys London embassy is untenable and should be ended through international mediation.

The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in Knightsbridge since the summer of 2012, when he faced the prospect of extradition to Sweden over claims that he sexually assaulted two women. He denies the accusations.

Swedish prosecutors last year unexpectedly dropped their investigation into the allegations, which included a claim of rape. But Assange still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside the embassy and WikiLeaks has voiced fears that the US will seek his extradition and that there is a sealed indictment ordering his arrest.

WikiLeaks publications have included hundreds of thousands of US army war logs and state department diplomatic cables and more recently emails from the Democratic National Committee during the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election. The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said last May that Assanges arrest was now a priority.

Ecuadors foreign minister, Mara Fernanda Espinosa, said her country was now seeking a third country or a personality to mediate a final settlement with the UK to resolve the impasse and said it was considering and exploring the possibility of mediation.

No solution will be achieved without international cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out, she told foreign correspondents in Quito, according to Agence France-Presse.

Assange, who has received numerous visitors to his modest quarters in the embassy, ranging from Nigel Farage to Lady Gaga, has described the period since his initial arrest as a terrible injustice. Not being able to see his children grow up was not something I can forgive, he said.

For several years, Metropolitan police officers maintained a constant watch of the embassy, which is situated behind Harrods in central London, at a cost of at least 11.1m, according to figures released by Scotland Yard in June 2015. Four months later, police lifted the round-the-clock guard on the basis it was no longer proportionate.

A United Nations panel concluded in 2016 that Assange was under arbitrary detention.

On Tuesday evening, a lawyer for Assange appeared to welcome Ecuadors proposal. He said his client had a right to asylum and argued that the risk of him being persecuted in the US had escalated further in recent months under the Trump administrations war on WikiLeaks and that the investigation in Sweden had twice been discontinued.

If the UK wishes to show that it is a nation that respects its human rights obligations and commitments to the United Nations, it is time for Mr Assange to be allowed to enjoy his right to liberty, and fundamental right to protection against persecution in the United States, she said.

A spokesperson for the UK government said: The government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.

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Julian Assange’s stay in London embassy untenable, says …

Julian Assange latest: Wikileaks chief mystery over claims …

Another said: Look for something big on January 4th, 10th, and 20th.

A lot of us now believe Julian isn’t at the embassy any more. We believe he’s working with Trump.

Another asked: Is Julian on a plane headed to the US?? Im ready for him to let the truth be known!!

Quoting the lyrics to Paper Planes by MIA another user added: I got more records than the KGB. Meaning he’s got many more records in his possession.

It comes after the US Navy bizarrely tweeted Julian Assange from its official profile on Christmas Day to complete the series of oddities.

The navys account later tried to clear up any confusion, writing: This morning, an inadvertent keystroke by an authorised user of the US Navy Office of Information’s Digitial Media Engagement Team caused the trending term Julian Assange to be tweeted from the Navy’s official Twitter account (@USNavy).

The controversial figures account, @JulianAssange, mysteriously disappeared between 12-1am on Christmas morning.

Mr Assanges last tweet was on December 22, leaving no hint as to why the account may have been removed.

People trying to access Assanges Twitter account were directed to an ‘error message’ page before it reappeared later in the day.

It was then on New Years Day that Mr Assange appeared to return to Twitter, sparking fears he had died and the code was a dead mans switch.

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Julian Assange latest: Wikileaks chief mystery over claims …