The Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been the home of Julian Assange, most well-known as the founder of Wikileaks, for about two years; ever since Assange went there to claim asylum from a warrant issued in Sweden. Julian has publicly claimed that the sexual assault charges there are bogus and were created so that he could be arrested, extradited, and then taken to the United States to face charges for his release of tens of thousands of secret documents. That embassy where Julian Assange has been living has also had a twenty-four hour police guard, courtesy of the London Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard), from the time that Assange entered.
Why the guard in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy since Julian Assange’s arrival? It’s not for his protection, nor is it for the protection of the embassy. Instead, it is to hold a standing extradition warrant and arrest Assange should he leave the embassy’s grounds.
According to Sputnik News, the Metropolitan Police have spent about $14 million U.S. dollars (about £9 million British Pounds) since Julian Assange entered the embassy. That money is in the form of roughly $16,800 dollars spent daily to have three officers near the embassy at all times, one to watch the street, one to question people leaving (in case one is Assange “in disguise”), and one to assist patrol and questioning.
The Daily Mail says that Julian is suffering from his confinement, likely due to the lack of sunlight exposure (Vitamin D) and related ailments. They also report that the Metropolitan Police Office says that the direct costs are mostly in officers’ pay, including both standard duty and overtime.
Critics say that the police have better things to be doing than standing in front of an embassy waiting for a criminal who isn’t even wanted in their own country. The reports of those costs have fueled those accusations.
Russia Today calls it the “birdwatching bill” to British taxpayers. Worse yet, Julian Assange has not been formally charged with any crimes. The warrants are for inquiry, not criminal charges. Further, Assange did not claim asylum based on the accusations from Sweden, but instead on accusations of the U.S. government against Wikileaks and espionage accusations against Assange at that time. This fuels the conspiracy over whether the charges in Sweden are meant merely to “bring him in” so he can be forwarded on to the United States.
It should also be noted, states Sputnik News, that the Swedish police, for whom all of those British taxpayer dollars are being spent, have not traveled to London to seek audience with Assange to question him as a suspect (the purported reason for the warrants) as it would be “counterproductive.”