British Authorities Arrest Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange for Extradition to the U.S.


WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was arrested in London on Thursday, after the Ecuadorian embassy dropped its opposition to British authority and allowed police to arrest the Australian Internet publisher.

Assange has been holed up under asylum in Ecuador’s British embassy in London since 2012. He was granted citizenship by Ecuador in 2017.

Ecuador withdrew its award of asylum allowing the British government to arrest Assange.

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According to Fox News:

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 clearly resisted being dragged out of the embassy:

For at least a week, reports out of Ecuador have been hinting that Assange was soon to be expelled from the embassy.

Today, Ecuador’s president released a statement:

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno described the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum as a “sovereign decision” because of his alleged repeated violations.

“Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video statement posted on Twitter.

Assange’s lawyer denounced th arrest:

Barry J. Pollack, another attorney for Assange, called his client’s arrest at the embassy “disappointing.”

“It is bitterly disappointing that a country would allow someone to whom it has 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,” the statement said.

“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.”

U.S. authorities have not made too much of the arrest as of yet, saying only that they are aware of the situation.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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