Julian Assange-Scotland Yard Lowers Red Flag On Wikileak’s Boss’s Embassy Watch…New Covert Tactics Now Employed-Julian Assange, the London holed-up Wikileaks founder has his arrest flying red-flag lowered to halve-mast on Monday when Scotland Yard gave up its 24-hour vigil on him claiming the budget accrued no longer corroborate the motive for his hunt.
For 40 months, the Wikileaks boss has made Ecuador Embassy his permanent abode following instruction by the United States that he should be arrested for leaking high level secret informtions sourcing from America.
The Police on Monday said that although it was still desperate to have him arrested but the 24-hour monitor is ‘no longer proportionate’ to the huge amount expended over his possible arrest for extradition. He is to also answer charges inSweden where a possible case of rape is being preferred against him.He fears his Sweden extradition could pave way for United States request for his being transferred to America.
For over three years, Metropolitan police officers have maintained a 24-hour watch of the embassy in Knightsbridge, central London, registering its presence to forestall a possible escape from the Embassy. The 24-hour watch have gulped nothing less than £11.1m, inclusive of overtime spent by Police security in checking that he does not escape from UK unnoticed and un-arrested. Scotland Yard on Monday released the figure in June.
According to a release rom the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the search for him stays and the operation to arrest him would be intensified, but security spending to watch over the Embassy where he is currently holed up is “no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence”.
“The MPS will not discuss what form its continuing operation will take or the resourcing implications surrounding it,” it said adding: “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.”
Wikileaks spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, in a brief reaction said he did not know why the police had abandoned its 24-hour presence at the Ecuadorian: saying: “My interpretation is that it has not been lifted. They are calling off the uniformed presence but escalating the covert operation and will arrest him if he steps out of the embassy.”
The current Police stance is that a reduced police presence in the Embassy “does not fundamentally change the situation”.
The Wikileak spokeman Hrafnsson speculated that the move might be a way of moving the costs of the uniformed presence, which infuriated the public, to the covert operation.
He added that the move comes ahead of an expected ruling by the UN working group on arbitrary detention, which he expected to find in favour of Assange.
However, Scotland Yard maintained in a statement that there was no “imminent prospect of a diplomatic or legal resolution to this issue”.
“Like all public services, MPS resources are finite,” the statement said. “With so many different criminal, and other, threats to the city it protects, the current deployment of officers is no longer believed proportionate.”
The WikiLeaks founder has holed-up in the Embassy after he rejected the British police’s request to hand himself in. He vowed to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy where he had been making up his rejected appeal for asylum on grounds of political persecution.
On Thursday, June 28, 2012, police issued an order for Assange to appear at a police station to begin the extradition process.
The letter from the Metropolitan Police sent to the Ecuadorian Embassy said it “requires him to attend a police station at a date and time of our choosing, claiming then it was a standard practice in extradition cases and that it was the first step in his removal process.”
Assange refused to surrender telling BBC: “Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law, so almost certainly not.”
The whistle-blower has been liable for arrest by the UK police should he leave the embassy on the basis that he violated his bail conditions.
He arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy on Tuesday June 26, 2012 appealing for Asylum from the country’s government with the hope he would sidestep his removal to Sweden where he was being sought to answer allegations of sexual abuse.
He has voiced fears that Stockholm may turn him over to US jurisdiction where he could be tried on charges of espionage.
The publishing of thousands of diplomatic wires on the Wikileaks site prompted a wave of aggressive rhetoric from US politicians branding the whistleblower as a terrorist.
The Ecuadorian government during the time said that it was in no hurry to reach a conclusion over Assange’s appeal as President Rafael Correa stressed his government was considering the legal and political consequences of granting asylum and that it had not set a deadline for the decision.