Through a series of tweets (all appear below), WikiLeaks reports that the Ecuadorian government has brokered a deal with the UK to arrest Julian Assange.
The first message, posted on Thursday night, announced that “a high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told
@WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext–and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.”
The #INAPapers scandal refers to WikiLeaks’ reporting on papers alleging that “Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno enriched himself from an offshore account in Panama — allegations.” Moreno has denied these charges.
Assange was offered asylum by the Ecuadorian government in 2012 as he faced extradition to Sweden for charges of sexual assault. “Many believe [Assange’s arrest] was a classic “honey trap” scenario orchestrated by the CIA or another western intelligence agency, so that he could eventually be transferred to US detention.”
Note: “Honey Trap” Scenario Definition (via Fordham University Scholarship Online): Supporters of WikiLeaks proprietor Julian Assange protested his arrest in Sweden on sexual charges as a classic “honey trap”—a sting operation in which an attractive person is used to entrap or coerce a target. In this case, the claim is that two Swedish women used sex as a way of trapping Assange. “Honey trap” is a phrase more familiar in Britain than the United States, and its connection with sting seems more than coincidental.
Although those charges have been dropped, Assange fears extradition to the US.
According to The Guardian, in an interview this week with the Ecuadorian radio broadcasters association, Moreno said that Assange has “repeatedly violated” the terms of his asylum.
He added that “Assange cannot lie or, much less, hack into private accounts or private phones and he cannot intervene in the politics of countries, or worse friendly countries.”
The Guardian reports:
Moreno fulminated that “photos of my bedroom, what I eat and how my wife and daughters and friends dance” had been circulated on social media but stopped short of directly accusing WikiLeaks of circulating hacked photos of his family and wiretapping his phone calls and private conversations.
The Ecuadorian government, however, has said it believes the whistleblowing organization shared the photos, which date back several years to when Moreno and his family lived in Geneva.
Moreno’s outburst was yet another sign of the Ecuadorian president’s waning tolerance for Assange’s prolonged occupancy of the country’s London embassy since mid-2012.
“We should ensure Mr Assange’s life is not at risk but he’s violated the agreement we have with him so many times,” Moreno said of the WiklLeaks founder.
In another tweet, WikiLeaks said, “In short, the [Ecuadorian] government seeks a false pretext to end the asylum and protection of Julian Assange,” in revenge for the INX scandal.
If Assange actually is expelled, he will be arrested by UK authorities.
WikiLeaks also tweeted that “US whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who the US government re-jailed a month ago to coerce her into a secret interrogation, as part of government efforts to prosecute
@WikiLeaks, moved out of solitary after filing appeals case.
According to a December report in the New York Times, Moreno has “previously discussed offering up Assange in exchange for debt relief from the U.S.”
The Washington Examiner reports that a second “high level” source within the Ecuadorian government has confirmed the story.
There have been occasions in the past when rumors of Assange’s imminent expulsion from the embassy have circulated. However, given Moreno’s financial incentive, and the fact that two “high level” sources have been cited, this one seems a bit more credible.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 4, 2019
Assange's lawyers predicted "tripwire" expulsion plan last December https://t.co/CScgxyo5Lp
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 5, 2019
Assange expulsion off the back of #INAPapers offshore corruption scandal: Ecuador's former Consul to London (2010-2018) analysis
"In short, the government seeks a false pretext to end the asylum and protection of Julian Assange."https://t.co/UQft7LAXHu
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 2, 2019
US whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who the US government re-jailed a month ago to coerce her into a secret interrogation, as part of government efforts to prosecute @WikiLeaks, moved out of solitary after filing appeals case. https://t.co/6BEkODQs2n
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 4, 2019
Ruptly livestreams the scene outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.