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Wikileaks' Julian Assange announces absolutely nothing

Free information advocate claims he will leave Equador's London embassy 'soon'
Mon Aug 18 2014, 14:24
Wikileaks' Julian Assange held a press conference to say he plans to leave the London Equadorian embassy soon

JULIAN ASSANGE has bewildered the world's media with a press conference that revealed no information, saying only that he plans to leave the London Equadorian embassy "soon".

The Wikileaks founder who is wanted for investigation of alleged sexual assault in Sweden has been hiding out in Equador's London embassy for two years to avoid extradition to Sweden, and possibly the US, where he is wanted in connection with telling it like it is. Sorry, harming US national security.

However, in an event filled with more denials than clarifications, Assange reiterated that although he is considered a fugitive, he has yet to be charged with anything in any country. The rather chaotic press conference saw Assange, who is known for his love of a good chat, being seemingly silenced from off-screen several times, abruptly stopping in mid-sentence as his legal team moved to prevent him from putting his foot in his mouth.

This past weekend the tabloid press in the UK was filled with stories regarding Mr Assange's health, speculating that he would leave the embassy because of a worsening heart condition caused by his confinement. However, while he confirmed that he has picked up some health problems during his stay, he said that his reasons for leaving are "not those reported by the Murdoch press".

In a post press conference comment, Wikileaks spokeperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said, "The plan is for him to leave as soon as the UK government decides to honour its obligations in relation to international agreements and calls off the siege outside - it's as simple as that."

There is no evidence that there are plans to stand down the guard of police outside the embassy, ready to arrest him if and when he ever emerges, which has been present since he first took asylum, which would seem to negate any actual news from the press conference.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino, who remained at Mr Assange's side throughout, confirmed that his government continues to offer its support and that it was attempting to set up a meeting with Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond to discuss terms for Mr Assange to leave "without persecution".

It is not thought likely that Assange's legal team will be trying to get him clemency on health grounds, as Sweden can counter that it, too, has doctors.

By the end of the press conference, it was very clear that Mr Assange definitely has a beard.

Apart from that, however, it seems that so far his next move is unclear and that either this was an act of public negotiation, or that due to the recent drop in temperatures, the embassy windows had been closed and Mr Assange needed a fresh supply of publicity oxygen. µ


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