THE CANBERRA TIMES (Australia)
CANBERRA – Though still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has declared his intention to run for the Senate in his native Australia, and to launch a WikiLeaks party early next year, reports the Canberra Times.
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In an exclusive interview with the Canberra Times’ National Affairs and Defense correspondent, Phillip Dorling, Assange said he would be a Senate candidate next year, and that ""a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public"" would run for election on the WikiLeaks party ticket.
Assange, who is wanted in Sweden on charges of rape, sought asylum earlier this year at Ecuador's embassy to Britain, saying he risked extradition to the United States for Wikileaks' revelations of military secrets. He remains cooped up in the London embassy in a now six-month-long diplomatic standofff, and it is unclear how he could pursue his supposed political ambitions now.
“If Mr Assange were elected but unable to return to Australia, a nominee would occupy a Senate seat.”
Dorling writes that senior Australian officials are “openly dismissive” of WikiLeaks, saying Assange should surrender to authorities. Although Foreign Minister Bob Carr has publicly said Assange was entitled to consular assistance, privately, two senior government ministers “have bluntly dismissed Assange as ‘an alleged rapist trying to avoid justice.’”
“Most political commentators will no doubt dismiss Assange's Senate campaign as another quixotic stunt by a figure on the margins of Australian politics,” writes Dorling in an opinion piece.
“But it may just be the case that he will have a significant impact on the future make-up of the Senate. Whatever one thinks of WikiLeaks and its controversial chief editor, Julian Assange continues to surprise.”
Assange's election ad should be him tapping his nose with the slogan: "Vote for me or I'll tell everyone about you know what"
— Wil Anderson (@Wil_Anderson) December 13, 2012