It appears nothing can muzzle Julian Assange. Even holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy, the WikiLeaks founder still manages to get himself into hot water – this time with the President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno.
Mr. Assange has been an outspoken supporter for Catalonian separatists, who recently voted for succession from Spain. And Moreno doesn’t like it one bit. The squabble between the two men has broken out on Twitter, which increasingly has become the primary forum for giving one’s opponents a public kick in the pants:
“If President Moreno wants to gag my reporting of human rights abuses in Spain he should say so explicitly–together with the legal basis.”
Just a few weeks ago, a video conference by Assange held the people of Barcelona in rapt attention as he issued an imprimatur for Catalonian independence. Moreno, however, wants the freedom of information guru to sit down, shut up and stay out of the Spanish controversy. Most recognize that Julian Assange marches to the beat of his own drummer and the Ecuadorian president is finding himself in a bit of a bind.
Previously Moreno has said he would not kick Assange to the street. But according to The Washington Post, the head of a non-profit based in the capital city Quito says the president may be looking for a way to do just that:
“The situation of Assange in the embassy is unsustainable,” [César] Ricaurte said. “He has converted himself into this great conspirator against the major democracies. I think the government is looking for a way out.”
Uh oh. That would leave Mr. Assange in a predicament as he’s still on the hot seat with both Swedish and U.S. officials. Moreno does have options other than kicking Assange to the curb. Like his predecessor, he could simply pull the plug on Assange’s internet connection. That would surely shut him down – at least for a while.
But Julian Assange has proven that his voice cannot be held captive or silenced for long. Even the elite leftist American media has a soft spot for Mr. Assange because in many ways his activities represent a type of freedom of the press that they fear should not be prosecuted. Previous calls to punish Assange for violating the Espionage Act by Attorney General Jeff Sessions have not be met with sympathy from the Fourth Estate, nor should they.
By all accounts, Julian Assange is a bucking bronco of a man on a mission to put a stop to state secrets. Letting the Wikileaks light shine on information that governments would rather withhold from its citizens has made him the enemy of more than one state. Thus, he’s been living under cover of diplomatic immunity in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012.
Having infuriated the U.S. Deep State and others, there’s reason to believe Mr. Assange’s life would be in danger should he leave the confines of the embassy. That means Moreno should think long and hard about just how irritated he is with the WikiLeaks founder. For even if he’s ready to do a Pontius Pilate, Moreno could end up with blood on his hands.