What will happen to Julian Assange?
The founder of WikiLeaks, a non-profit that publishes information provided by international whistle-blowers, remains a de facto prisoner in the Ecuadoran embassy and a wanted man by the Swedish government related to sexual encounters taking place in 2010.
Assange challenged the Swedish-issued European Arrest Warrant while in London, but the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom dismissed all of his appeals on May 30, 2012.
Soon thereafter, Assange sought asylum with the government of Ecuador in their embassy in London. On August 16, 2012, the Ecuadoran government formally granted asylum to Assange.
However, the British government has not promised safe passage to Assange to Ecuador (there were even reports that the British threatened to storm the embassy).
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa has indicated that Assange can remain indefinitely within the embassy, to avoid a British arrest should Assange exit the embassy to head to the airport, for example.
Even while Assange stays put in London, Wikileaks remains a busy organization. In February of 2012, the organization produced more than five million emails from the intelligence company Stratfor. And in July, Wikileaks produced more than two million emails from Syrian political figures.
Earlier this year, Assange also produced a web show called “The World Tomorrow.” Some of his guests have included Rafael Correa, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Hassan Nasrallah (the current leader of Hizbollah).
What will happen to Julian Assange? Based on his track record, it is likely he will emerge from this imbroglio in a stronger position than when he left it.
The court cases, his asylum, and stand-off at the embassy keep Assange and WikiLeaks in the news, animate his supporters, and characterize him as a David fighting several Goliaths.
He is almost certainly in contact with supporters all over the world (political and financial), and he now has time to plan his next move without worrying if he will be sent in hand-cuffs to a Swedish prison.
Assange has in many ways become more powerful than the governments seeking his criminal indictment. To date, he has defied the United States government by publishing more than 200,000 classified diplomatic cables; defied an arrest warrant issued by the Swedish government; and defied a court order issued by the highest court in the United Kingdom that he subject himself to extradition to Sweden.
And then, somehow, he was able to convince the President of Ecuador to allow him asylum.
Assange is a survivor, and he has clearly learned the art of knowing which governments and laws he can flaunt while avoiding serious backlash, or even assassination.
My guess is that he will end up, eventually, in Ecuador.