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Geopolitics

Still Holed Up In London Embassy, Assange Launches Australian Political Career

THE CANBERRA TIMES (Australia)

Worldcrunch

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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Photo - Mataparda/espenmoe

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

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Geopolitics

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

Turkey's objections to Swedish membership of NATO may mean that Finland joins first. But as he approaches his highly contested reelection bid at home, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to use the issue to his advantage.

How Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Plays Right Into Erdogan's Election Campaign

January 11, 2023, Ankara (Turkey): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Conference of the Board of Grievances on January 11.

Turkish Presidency / APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — This story has all the key elements of our age: the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the excessive ambitions of an autocrat, the opportunism of a right-wing demagogue, Islamophobia... And at the end, a country, Sweden, whose NATO membership, which should have been only a formality, has been blocked.

Last spring, under the shock of the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia, Sweden and Finland, two neutral countries in northern Europe, decided to apply for membership in NATO. For Sweden, this is a major turning point: the kingdom’s neutrality had lasted more than 150 years.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised objections. It demanded that Sweden stop sheltering Kurdish opponents in its country. This has nothing to do with NATO or Ukraine, but everything to do with Erdogan's electoral agenda, as he campaigns for the Turkish presidential elections next May.

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