UK Police Launch Covert Operation Against Julian Assange
Ashley Allen / 4 years ago
The UK Metropolitan Police Service has removed its 24/7 guard from outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the building that has been home to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange since he was granted asylum there in 2012, in favour of what it describes as a “covert plan”.
“Whilst the MPS remains committed to executing the arrest warrant and presenting Julian Assange before the court, it is only right that the policing operation to achieve this is continually reviewed against the diplomatic and legal efforts to resolve the situation,” the Metropolitan Police statement reads. “As a result of this continual review the MPS has today Monday, 12 October withdrawn the physical presence of officers from outside the Embassy.”
“The MPS will not discuss what form its continuing operation will take or the resourcing implications surrounding it,” it adds. “Whilst no tactics guarantee success in the event of Julian Assange leaving the embassy, the MPS will deploy a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him.”
It is worth noting that Assange is in exile not due to his activities in releasing state secrets, but rather to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning regarding an alleged sexual assault. While sexual assault is an abhorrent crime and should be taken seriously, such a large-scale police operation to take a man wanted for questioning (he was never charged) into custody seems excessive, and seems to confirm Assange’s suspicion that his extradition would result in him being sent to the US to face charges of espionage.
The permanent police garrison that has been positioned outside the Ecuadorian Embassy for past three years has cost the UK taxpayer £12 million, during which period the Conservative government has cut police funding by 20%, resulting in 35,000 officers being made redundant.
Image courtesy of ABC.