One day after Julian Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship, the Wikileaks founder tweeted a cryptic picture of a famous 1918 chess match in which Cuban chess master José Raúl Capablanca defeats U.S. champion Frank Marshall using a pawn.
The move which Assange tweets can be seen below at approximately 7:14, in which the narrator says "And the white king is finally feeling safe."
Checkmate via pawn. https://t.co/CLblc4nCmY— thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) January 13, 2018
Theories naturally began to swirl in various corners of the internet, with some suggesting Assange's tweet is a message to his followers that he, "the White King" is safe. Others took the "white king" to mean President Trump - who is well protected while a pawn is used to win the match.
Black's queen has been marginalized to an ineffective slot behind white's still-standing and strongly-defended king-knight pawn. Capablanca is able to finally develop the resources patiently waiting on the queen side. Although not as flashy as Marshall's full assault in the opening, Capablanca's pawn attack comes at a better time and is much more devastating. A slow-motion invasion of black's deserted queen side. -photo-mark.com
Others pointed out that Capablanca's name translates to "White Hat" - a phrase commonly referring to an ethical computer hacker or government operative.
Capa = Cap (hat)— B (@B75434425) January 13, 2018
Blanca = White
Capablanca Vs. Marshall 1918
White has next move.— B (@B75434425) January 13, 2018
Given the timing of Assange's Ecuadorian citizenship, at minimum the tweet suggests that some type of wheels are in motion, and Assange's stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London - going on six years, is close to an end.
On Wednesday we reported that Julian Assange had been granted an Ecuadorian passport based on information found on a government website - one day after Ecuadorian officials made a veiled threat to evict him from the Embassy. That day, Assange tweeted a picture of himself wearing an Ecuador football shirt - fueling speculation:
This was followed by Ecuador's largest newspaper, El Universo, reported the news, citing "reliable sources". And now, it is confirmed. More from Reuters:
- ECUADOR FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS JULIAN ASSANGE SOUGHT ECUADOR NATURALIZATION
- ECUADOR FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS FEARS THREATS TO JULIAN ASSANGE'S LIFE FROM THIRD PARTY STATES
- ECUADOR GRANTED NATURALIZATION TO JULIAN ASSANGE ON DEC. 12
- ECUADOR SEEKING "DIGNIFIED AND JUST" SOLUTION WITH BRITISH GOVT IN JULIAN ASSANGE CASE
The speculation was put to rest on Thursday, as the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that Ecuador had indeed granted naturalization to Julian Assange on December 12. The reaction of the MFA comes one day after Quito reportedly granted an ID card to Assange.
The nation's foreign minister announced Thursday that officials had decided to permit Assange's naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.
Ecuador gave Assange political asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims.
Sweden dropped the case, though Assange has remained in the embassy because he is still subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail.
The Ecuadorian passport could obtain his first step to obtaining diplomatic immunity, as Ecuador wants to resolve Assange’s indefinite embassy stay. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for five years.
Ecuador usually issues such ID cards for people claiming residency status, which are called cedulas. The Vienna convention on diplomatic relations states that someone who holds a diplomatic passport is immune from prosecution. It is still no guarantee, however.
However, as VoA reports, the UK Foreign Office rejected a request from Quito to grant the whistleblower diplomatic status. The passport was reportedly granted to him on December 12.
Ecuador’s foreign minister says the country is seeking a “dignified and just” solution with the UK government over Assange’s case. For now however, Assange isn't going anywhere:
- ASSANGE WILL NOT LEAVE ECUADOR EMBASSY IN LONDON WHILE THERE ARE NO SECURITY GUARANTEES - ECUADOR FOREIGN MINISTER
Or will he???