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Julian Assange Arrested In London – Extradition To US Possible

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Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday after the Ecuadorian embassy in London stopped providing asylum to him.  Not only was he taken before a magistrate’s court on Thursday and found guilty (Yes, British “justice” comes pretty swift), but there are talks of whether or not he will be extradited to the US related to federal conspiracy charges.

First, we know that last week, Wikileaks tweeted out the possibility that Assange would be “expelled within “hours to days” using the offshore scandal as a pretext–and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.”

Wikileaks also posted several tweets regarding Assange’s arrest, including video.

Ecuador’s president said it withdrew his asylum after repeated violations of international conventions. But Wikileaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.

Wikileaks did point out the obvious that what is being done to Assange by what it referred to as “Powerful actors,” including the Central Intelligence Agency in the US.

He was taken to Westminster Magistrates Court and found guilty.

The BBC reports:

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court.

He now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets.

The UK will decide whether to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Department for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download four classified databases.

He faces up to five years in US prison if convicted on the charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Dressed in a black suit and black polo shirt, he waved to the public gallery and gave a thumbs up. He pleaded “not guilty” to the 2012 charge of failing to surrender to the court.

The court heard that during his arrest at the embassy he had to be restrained and shouted: “This is unlawful, I am not leaving.”

Finding him guilty, District Judge Michael Snow said Assange’s behaviour was “the behaviour of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest”.

He sent him to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing, where he faces up to 12 months in prison.

The Associated Press reported on the charges Assange may face if extradited to the US>

Assange is accused of engaging in a conspiracy with Manning, the former U.S. Army analyst, in breaking a password stored on a U.S. Defense Department computer connected to a U.S. government computer network for classified documents and communications, the Justice Department said. Manning later transmitted a trove of classified government files to Assange, whose website posted the materials to a worldwide audience. Cracking the password allowed Manning to use a different username “rather than her own,” officials said.

“During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange,” the Justice Department said. “The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information.  During an exchange, Manning told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.’ To which Assange replied, ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience.’”

Assange faces a maximum of five years in prison if he’s convicted of the charge.

Assange’s US attorney, Barry J. Pollack, issues a statement regarding his arrest.

“It is bitterly disappointing that a country would allow someone to whom it have extended citizenship and asylum to be arrested in its embassy.  First and foremost, we hope that the UK will now give Mr. Assange access to proper health care, which he has been denied for seven years.  Once his health care needs have been addressed, the UK courts will need to resolve what appears to be an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information.’

Many who have been critical of the US government’s unconstitutional and even criminal actions spoke out on Twitter against Assange’s arrests and what they believe is an attack on journalism.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted, “The weakness of the US charge against Assange is shocking. The allegation he tried (and failed?) to help crack a password during their world-famous reporting has been public for nearly a decade: it is the count Obama’s DOJ refused to charge, saying it endangered journalism.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald followed up Snowden’s tweet by pointing out, “The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish.  Journalists do this with sources constantly:  it’s the criminalization of journalism.”

I couldn’t agree more.

He also provided a link to the indictment, which I’ve provided below.

Assange Indictment by Tim Brown on Scribd

Others also spoke out on the arrest and extradition request.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou pointed out that it would be “utterly impossible” for Assange to receive a fair trial.  “They don’t call EDVA the “Espionage Court” for nothing,” he tweeted.

Indeed, it is interesting how this is all transpiring under the Trump administration, considering that President Trump appeared to be a big fan of Wikileaks prior to being elected.

Some have suggested that extradition of Assange to the US would be to protect him.  One person theorized, “Maybe the reason he’s being brought to the United States at this time just might be for his own protection, he might be holding useful information that would bust up the corruption and expose top-level criminals involved. Why else would so many people be so worried about it.”

Another speculated that the “weakness of the charge” was by design, implying that the US might just be friendly to Assange.  I wouldn’t count on it considering that this administration has been missing in action when it comes to prosecuting Hillary Clinton, but they want to get Assange?  Give me a break!

Furthermore, Mike Pompeo has continually made accusations against Assange, which Assange has continually had to correct him.

It might also be of note that Wikileaks has never had to retract one thing it has published.  It’s all truthful and all verified.  Can you say the same about the lies of the UK and US government?  I certainly can’t.

Article posted with permission from Sons Of Liberty Media

The Washington Standard

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