Why Julian Assange should get out of Britain asap
Intelligence analyst CrispinBlack says Assange must movefast to avoid a long stay ina US ‘supermax’ facility
You know you are in trouble when the only national leader to have reacted with any sense of proportion to the WikiLeaks revelations so far has been President Ahmadinejad of Iran who dismissed them as "mischief-making".
Julian Assange has made a host of enemies in the last few months, not least in Moscow, where the "virtual Mafia state" label looks destined to stick for a while as a result of the WikiLeaks cables.
The prospect of being hunted down by the violent apparatchiks of a humourless Kremlin no doubt keeps him awake at night but the clearest and most present danger to Assange's life and liberty is the United States of America.
Its imperial reach, moral arrogance and vengeful mood make it a formidable opponent.
The window for the CIA to defenestrate Julian Assange has probably closed. But he needs to think and act quickly if he is to avoid ending up forever in the Federal Supermax Detention Facility at Florence, Colorado, where America incarcerates its most dangerous criminals. Current alumni include 'shoe bomber' Richard Reid.
Assange can run and he can hide but neither is going to be easy.
His first priority should be to leave British jurisdiction as soon as he can. It is abundantly clear from a number of leaked US diplomatic cables that the UK is not sovereign in any meaningful way in relation to the United States.
Gordon Brown's perfectly reasonable offer of a deal to allow the Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon to serve any sentence imposed on him in the UK was turned down like a bedspread by the US Ambassador to the Court of St James.
Unless David Cameron changes the law quickly, then as soon as the Americans start extradition proceedings against Assange in a British court his goose will be cooked.
So what can he do? None of the options look enticing.
He could travel to somewhere remote and mountainous and fall in with a group of (preferably anti-American) fanatics and wait upon events: the Ratko Mladic option. But the winters are hard in Bosnia and the company unlikely to prove congenial.
He could fake his own death and assume a new identity. A previous generation would have called this doing a John Stonehouse after the Labour MP (and communist spy) who disappeared off a Miami beach in 1974 only to reappear miraculously in Australia a few years later.
In modern usage this is now more properly called doing a John Darwin after the insurance fraudster who 'drowned' in a canoeing accident off Hartlepool in 2007 and established a new life in Panama.
This would have the added attraction of triggering the WikiLeaks 'insurance file' with its supposedly explosive information. But the downside would be considerable - living in obscure anonymity far from home for the rest of his life.
Although he is an Australian he could take a traditionally British way out - join the French Foreign Legion. He is still just under the maximum age of 40. The nearest recruiting offices are in Paris or Lille just a Eurostar ride away.
Probably the easiest course of action would be to leave the UK secretly or in disguise and travel to a country or territory where the long arm of the authorities doesn't quite reach.
Ecuador looked promising but its president has now withdrawn an offer of refuge made by a junior minister. Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus, where Asil Nadir lived comfortably for 17 years, is an option. It has a gentle climate, spectacular scenery and good restaurants.
If all else fails, he could give himself up to the Swedish authorities who have issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged sex crimes unrelated to WikiLeaks and take his chances with the Swedish courts.
The Swedes do have an extradition treaty with the United States but it is not as one-sided as ours. Given their respect for free speech, a long tradition of neutrality, and Assange's Scarlet Pimpernel status, it is highly unlikely that he would ever be handed over to the US authorities. ·
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