International News

Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder, Could Be Headed to Ecuador

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is looking more and more like a man without a country -- after releasing thousands of embarrassing diplomatic cables over the weekend, his homeland, Australia, is investigating whether he broke any laws. His would-be adopted country, Sweden, just denied his residency application and charged him with sexual assault.

So where will the No. 1 enemy of U.S. secrecy land? How about Ecuador? Turns out the left-leaning, Hugo Chavez-tilting government in Quito would just love to have the leaker-in-chief.

This morning, Ecuador's deputy foreign minister, Kintto Lucas, told the BBC that Assange was welcome in the Andean nation "without any conditions."

"We are open to giving him residency in Ecuador, without any problem and without any conditions," he told the TV network. "We are going to try and invite him to Ecuador to freely present, not only via the internet, but also through different public forums, the information and documentation that he has."

Ecuador hasn't exactly been tight with the U.S. under president Rafael Correa, who considers himself an ally of Venezuela. But if Correa actually offers Assange a safe-haven, it would be a major kick in the balls to the Obama administration.

After Assange released his newest ream of classified info this weekend -- including memos showing U.S. diplomats spying on friendly nations and plotting with Arab leaders to take down Iran's nuclear program -- Hilary Clinton called for harsh legal action.

One Republican congressman, Peter King from New York, went so far as to demand Wikileaks be considered a "foreign terrorist organization."

No word yet on whether Assange would consider a South American sojourn.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink