Paranoid world powers are ready to scavenge their share of revenge from the global whistle blower
- Anti-secrecy activist Julian Assange was arrested after the Ecuador pulled the plug on his asylum in its London Embassy
- President Moreno reasoned that Ecuador had ‘reached its limit’ with Assange who was interfering in internal affairs of other states
- The world-renowned journalist has outed more controversial government practices in the 21st Century than all world media combined
- The US wants to extradite Assange for the charge of colluding with Chelsea Manning in a security breach
Julian Assange was forcefully arrested from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London | Credits: LadBible
World Powers have conspired ‘time up’ for Julian Assange.
The Wikileaks co-founder, famous for sending some of the most powerful countries into hysteria through his fearless scoops, has been forcefully arrested from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Assange had been staying in the embassy since 2012, when he sought asylum to avoid forced extradition to Sweden. He had been charged with alleged rape and sexual assault charges – which have since been dropped by Swedish prosecutors in 2017. His host of six years decided to end his asylum.
Ecuador President Lenin Moreno revoked Assange’s asylum alleging interference in internal matters of states | Credits: MSN.com
But then Ecuador said ‘no more’
A day before the arrest, Wikileaks claimed to have uncovered a spying operation against Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. It accused Ecuador of ‘illegally’ ending Assange’s political asylum ‘in violation of international law.’
Assange’s relationship with Ecuador went sour with the Embassy accusing him of blocking security cameras, accessing security files and confronting guards.
The Ecuadorian authorities were counter-blamed for disputing his scope of rights – cutting off his internet access. They reasoned that engaging in political activities is barred for asylum seekers.
President Lenin Moreno accused Assange & WikiLeaks of using the Embassy for spying and leaking personal information. However, his statement was not followed up with any evidence.
US Attorney for Assange, Barry Pollack statement on Assange arrest on behalf of the US in relation to 2010 publications: pic.twitter.com/a3hC6aLg7A
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
What led to Assange’s arrest?
President Moreno said Ecuador had ‘reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange’ referring to recent Wikileaks scoop in January 2019, on leaked Vatican documents.
Moreno said the leak confirmed Assange was still linked to WikiLeaks, accusing him of interfering in internal affairs of other states.
Ecuador invited Scotland Yard into the embassy on 11th April to arrest Assange. While being forcefully evicted, Assange was heard shouting:
‘This is unlawful, I am not leaving.’
Ecuador reached a deal with the UK after reportedly being fed up of Assange’s ‘repeated violations of asylum conventions.’
The charge behind the arrest was apparent breach of a warrant issued by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June 2012. This was confirmed by Assange’s attorney later on.
— Jen Robinson (@suigenerisjen) April 11, 2019
Political play on nuances of legality
The UK government has ensured Moreno in writing that Assange ‘won’t be extradited to a country where he could face torture or death penalty’.
The United States (the first major scalp of Assange’s fearless journalism) has already issued an extradition request.
Assange reportedly plead not guilty to the 2012 charge in Court but District Judge branded Assange a ‘narcissist unable to get beyond his own selfish interest’.
He now faces a 12-month prison sentence in the UK.
Australia wary of defending its Citizen
The controversial Assange is an Australian national. Australia has stated it will give ‘usual consular support’, but not interfere any further.
In a timid and apathetic response, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said no special treatment would be given as the matter is between the US and the UK.
On first pass, the Assange indictment seems pretty flimsy. Assange supposedly agreed to help crack a password AFTER Manning gave WL all the docs they published. DOJ isn’t even alleging anything came of it. The “manners & means of conspiracy” section is all regular journo conduct: pic.twitter.com/frmsfdedaE
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) April 11, 2019
The US waits in line for its share of Assange
Sooner or later, Assange looks set for extradition to the U.S. in relation to the WikiLeaks’ expose in 2010. The footage outed by Wikileaks had unearthed footage of US soldiers shooting at civilians from a helicopter in Iraq, among other secret documents.
The US Justice Department had called it ‘one of the largest compromises of classified information in US history’.
The case made by the US is a carefully drawn one – the government looks to get away without any claims of subduing press freedom.
Assange faces US federal conspiracy charges for colluding with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning who hacked more than 700,000 confidential documents.
Manning was arrested in 2010 with US officials claiming the leak put lives at risk. She was ousted from the US Military in 2013, but her jail sentence was later commuted.
A mobile hoarding supporting Assange and Manning in the UK | Credits: BBC
Manning was jailed recently for refusing to testify into Wikileaks’ role in the case.
Assange now faces prospects of a five-year jail term in US on the charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
However, the actual punishment might be worse, and not in conjunction with the guarantee given by UK to Ecuador.
Prosecuting a publisher for publishing truthful information
PM Theresa May exclaimed in the House of Commons that the arrest was proof that ‘in the UK, no one is above the law’.
Reports opine that the narrowness of the charge is an attempt to ‘avoid falling foul’ of the guarantee of freedom of the press, as per the US Constitution
Pro-Assange politician, UK Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the government to oppose Assange’s extradition as he had revealed ‘evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan’.
US Presidential nominee Tulsi Gabbard also slammed the government for Assange’s arrest with a sarcastic twitter jibe.
Assange Arrest: The message is clear. To journalists and all Americans, if you try to take away our power, you will pay a high price. pic.twitter.com/tEgVt6t6Tm
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 12, 2019
Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders too urged UK to resist the extradition – which sets ‘a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistle blowers, and other journalistic sources.’
Another famous whistle blower, Edward Snowden, under asylum in Russia called it ‘a dark moment for press freedom.’
Important background for journalists covering the arrest of Julian #Assange by Ecuador: the United Nations formally ruled his detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights. They have repeatedly issued statements calling for him to walk free–including very recently. pic.twitter.com/fr12rYdWUF
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 11, 2019
The United Nations has stated that Assange’s arrest is arbitrary and in violation of human rights.
Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said the extradition would set a ‘dangerous precedent’ for journalists working hard to bring out that truth even if it means being at ends with powerful states.
Assange indictment might set a new dangerous model for governments to curb the legitimacy of independent journalism. His actions have caused multiple tremors across the world, but his extradition might be the greatest aftershock of all.
- A day before the arrest, Wikileaks uncovered a spying operation inside Ecuadorian embassy.
- Ecuador bowed to international pressure after recent Wikileaks scoop involving leaked Vatican documents in Jan 2019
- Australian government is reluctant to defend its citizen’s rights in a matter between the UK and the US.
- Assange faces a 12-month sentence in the UK, but if extradited to US, he faces a 5-year sentence and maybe more.