WikiLeaks Suggests Link Between Libya Attack, Julian Assange Asylum Case
LONDON - WikiLeaks has suggested on its Twitter feed that founder Julian Assange's continued need to hide in Ecuador's embassy in London may help explain the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which killed the ambassador and three others this week.
While the reasons for the attack - from an anti-Muslim film to 9/11-related motivations - continue to be debated, the WikiLeaks comment led to a backlash from some Twitter users, according to the Guardian.
"By the U.S. accepting the U.K. siege on the Ecuadorean embassy in London it gave tacit approval for attacks on embassies around the world," the WikiLeaks Twitter feed said.
Assange this summer fled to the London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual misconduct charges. Assange asked Ecuador for asylum, arguing that he U.S. could seek further extradition to its soil, where he would face the death penalty. While his asylum request was granted, he has remained in the embassy as the U.K., with support from other countries, said it would arrest him if he leaves the building.
Critics quickly assailed the organization for the Twitter post. "@wikileaks you are losing supporters fast with comments like that," the Guardianquoted one tweet as saying.
The criticism led WikiLeaks to delete and update the tweet. "We have deleted and rephrased a previous tweet with the word 'tacit' in it, since the word is rare and was being misinterpreted," the organization said.
WikiLeaks re-sent the tweet in amended form. "By the U.S. accepting the U.K. threat to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London it helped to normalize attacks on embassies," it said.
Another amended WikiLeaks tweet later deleted any reference to the U.S. to say: "By the U.K. threatening to breach the Ecuadorian embassy in London it helped to normalize attacks on embassies, in general. It must retract."
The search for those behind the provocative, anti-Muslim film that triggered mobs in Egypt and Libya led Wednesday to a California Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.