On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the bulk of Chelsea Manning’s sentence, which will set the U.S. Army analyst free from a military prison in May. After plenty of public reaction — much of it partisan in nature and played out on social media — many eyes turned towards Julian Assange. And for good reason. The WikiLeaks founder famously offered himself up for extradition to the U.S. last week in exchange for clemency to Manning.
One has to wonder about Assange’s motives here. The dude has been hiding away in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for over five years. He’s received visits from Pamela Anderson and Michael Moore, plus he has a pet cat, a sun lamp, and a mostly serviceable internet connection. Still, he’s not exactly living.
Perhaps Assange caught the ultimate case of cabin fever because he’s “standing by” his extradition offer, according to a tweet that followed Manning’s good news.
His stakes are high, however. Assange faces a European arrest warrant from Swedish prosecutors, and he could potentially be extradited to the United States for a lengthy sentence (in relation to the thousands of cables that WikiLeaks published via Manning). Perhaps Assange simply wishes to bypass Sweden and come straight to America?
On Tuesday, the WikiLeaks account tweeted several times, including this assertion that Assange would win a “fair trial” in the U.S.
Despite outward appearances, it’s hard not to imagine that this is what’s really going on in the Ecuadorian embassy…