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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested after Ecuador withdraws asylum


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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police Thursday moments after Ecuadorannounced it withdrew his asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”

Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told Teleamazonas this week that living in the embassy indefinitely is bad for Assange’s "state of mind, his health,” but that Assange has a right to a fair trial and right to a defense.

London's Metropolitan Police vowed earlier this month to arrest Assange if he were freed. Assange, who has lived in the embassy for more than six years, faces possible extradition to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.

Assange, 47, has been in the embassy since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but Wikileaks is facing a federal grand jury investigation over its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War.:snip:

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The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges:

On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network, a United States government network used for classified documents and communications…The portion of the password Manning gave to Assange to crack was stored as a ‘hash value’ in a computer file that was accessible only by users with administrative-level privileges. Manning did not have administrative-level privileges, and used special software, namely a Linux operating system, to access the computer file and obtain the portion of the password provided to Assange.

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Quick Thoughts on Assange Arrest - Andrew C McCarthy

Here are a few things we know, and a few to think about, with respect to the arrest of Julian Assange by British police in London.

Assange wore out his welcome with Ecuador, which hosted him for seven years.

The Brits have a comparatively minor charge against him: essentially bail jumping in 2012, when he failed to appear as directed to a court in Westminster. That was during the time when he was trying to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. Those charges have been dropped, although Swedish authorities could revive them. The fact that the underlying charges are no longer in effect is not a defense to jumping bail. Still, it makes the offense appear more minor.

Consequently, the driving force of today’s arrest seems to be an American effort to have Assange extradited. The Washington Post is now reporting that, in 2017, the Justice Department charged Assange in a sealed indictment with conspiring to publish classified U.S. documents — specifically, conspiring in 2010 with then-Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, among others.

The Metropolitan police in London have acknowledged that Assange’s arrest is based, in part, on U.S. extradition request. Even our British ally will not extradite people to the United States unless charges have been filed.



Last year, in a court in the U.S. district court in Alexandria, the Justice Department accidentally filed an application to seal a criminal complaint. It was not Assange’s case, but the prosecutor obviously cut and pasted from a similar motion that had been filed in a case involving Assange, and had failed to take out Assange’s name.:snip:

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