Assange Asnagged :(
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London this morning after finally pissing off the Ecuadorian government -- his hosts for almost seven years in their embassy there -- one too many times. After Ecuador withdrew his asylum status, Assange was arrested by London's Metropolitan Police, who had been invited into the embassy to see the gentleman out, please, according to a statement from the coppers. The initial arrest was on a 2012 charge of skipping bail while evading arrest on Swedish rape charges (since dropped), but police confirmed Assange was also arrested a second time in connection with a warrant from the USA, and that he would face extradition.
Here's some video of the arrest from, appropriately enough, Russian propaganda outfit RT:
EXCLUSIVE: Assange arrested & escorted out of Ecuadorian Embassywww.youtube.com
He sure is playing up the whole "Help! Help! I'm bein' repressed!" thing with the tripping and foot dragging, isn't he? The Daily Beast notes Assange shouted, "The U.K. must resist!" and appeared to be holding -- title plainly visible in case anyone might miss it -- a copy of History of The National Security State, by Gore Vidal. Undoubtedly it was just what he happened to be reading when the Goon Squad grabbed him.
Shortly after the news broke, the US Department of Justice announced Assange had been indicted on computer hacking charges, finally unsealing a March 2018 indictment we learned about in November, when an assistant US attorney oopsed its existence into public view by cutting and pasting a reference to it into another document. The charges are related to Assange's involvement in the 2010 leaks of Defense Department documents on the Iraq war, not the 2016 election that Assange helped Donald Trump win.
Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno said Assange's asylum had been rescinded because he was a total jerk (fine, "discourteous and aggressive behavior") and also because he'd broken the rules he'd agreed to.
Mr. Assange violated, repeatedly, clear-cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas, despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules [...] He particularly violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states. The most recent incident occurred in January 2019 when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents."
Moreno said Assange had been visited by "key members" of Wikileaks before and after the leaks, and that the publication of those hacked documents and others "have confirmed the world's suspicion that Mr. Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states."
It probably didn't help Assange's homesteading case when, as the Daily Beastreports, Wikileaks publicized a leak of "hundreds of thousands of hacked emails mysteriously stolen from the inboxes of Ecuador's president and first lady." Wikileaks denied any involvement in the actual hacking of Moreno's data, but the hackers set up a website where they also dumped data that had nothing to do with what they alleged was "corruption" by Moreno, including personal photos of Moreno and his family. Hey, did he ever order pizza? The leak had largely gone unnoticed outside Ecuador until Wikileaks tweeted a link to the site in March.
The US indictment is so far fairly narrow, focusing only on Assange's involvement helping Chelsea Manning hack a Defense Department password that allowed her to download huge amounts of data she otherwise wouldn't have had access to:
On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers [...]
The portion of the password Manning gave to Assange to crack was stored as "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.
Oddly enough, the DOJ isn't yet charging Assange for any of Wikileaks' help to Russia in the 2016 hacking of the US elections. We have no idea why!
Wow - MSNBC put together video of every single time Trump mentioned @wikileaks during final month of the 2016 campa… https://t.co/zrh1pa3viP— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1531513007.0
Also, here's a nice irony: As you probably remember, after Assange holed up in the embassy to escape extradition on a "rape by surprise" charge, the Obama administration decided not to prosecute him because of the effect it could have on "free speech." Then Assange worked his hardest to get Trump elected, and now Trump is gonna prosecute his ass.
Funny how life works like that. He got an administration more hostile to the press, JUST AS the world was really learning how much Not A Journalist Assange & WikiLeaks really are. When Obama was president, there was still legitimate debate.
One thing you can rest easy about: Assange has already given away his cat.
Of course this will all probably blow up in Trump's face when he says it's time to arrest, say, Jim Acosta as an enemy of the state.
UPDATE: Here, go ahead and read the indictment for your own bad selves!
Assange Indictment by on Scribd
[Reuters / WaPo / Daily Beast / US v Assange (indictment)]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.