The news that President Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence — with her release slated for May of this year instead of 2045 — is a huge relief to many. A major exception to that is Julian Assange, who managed to trip on his own dick in a big way.
Image: Image: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case https://t.co/MZU30SlfGK— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 12, 2017
Last week, the Wikileaks Twitter account made a promise no one really asked for or expected: If Chelsea Manning were to be released, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange would extradite himself to the US, thus ending his years-long stay in London’s Ecuadorian embassy where he’s been holed up dodging a Swedish rape investigation. It’s entirely possible Assange felt secure in making this hollow promise. Few people suspected Manning would go free. And it’s completely unlikely this single tweet did anything to change President Obama’s decision-making whatsoever.
The Wikileaks Task Force (which was initially unable to remember the number five yesterday) counted Manning’s clemency as a “big win” for their organisation and Assange himself. But the fact remains: With Manning’s sentence thusly reduced, will Assange extradite himself?
Assange lawyer @themtchair on Assange-Manning extradition 'deal': "Everything that he has said he's standing by."— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 18, 2017
Despite a series of combative tweets yesterday, Wikileaks finally confirmed that its organisations’ founder will apparently go through with his agreement — though for some reason the word “deal” is in quotes and his lawyer’s words are vague. It’s totally possible Assange will still find some way to weasel out of this. As one of the individuals who arguably had the biggest impact on destabilising the US elections, however, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting punishment for Assange than sending him to the same country he helped to ruin.