A famous activist, appreciated award-winning journalist author of great journalistic scoops, was dragged out of an embassy and arrested.
No, it didn’t happen in a dictatorial state, it happen in London.
An interesting point, IMHO, is that the Julian Assange’s charges are centered on hacking, not on the publishing of classified information.
So, let’s try to assess the situation.
Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London
Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
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.
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”.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47891737
Ecuador turns WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over to UK police after six years of asylum
Ecuador president Lenin Moreno announced on Twitter that the country would no longer assist Assange:https://bgr.com/2019/04/11/wikileaks-julian-assange-arrested-in-london-all-you-need-to-know/
“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 stated. “Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr. Assange in 2012.”
WikiLeaks founder charged with hacking, now faces U.S. extradition
In a fast-moving development since Julian Assange’s arrest inside the Ecuadorian embassy earlier today for breaching U.K. bail conditions, the WikiLeaks founder has been rearrested on behalf of the U.S. — confirming that he will face extradition proceedingshttps://techcrunch.com/2019/04/11/arrested-wikileaks-founder-is-now-facing-u-s-extradition/
In an updated statement the Met Police said:
Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station. This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.
In a video posted to Twitter, the president of Ecuador Lenín Moreno said that while the country respects the right of asylum, “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” mean that “the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/11/18305863/julian-assange-arrested-ecuadorian-embassy-asylum
In particular, Moreno calls out Assange’s intervention “in the internal affairs of other states.” In January 2019 WikiLeaks released a collection of confidential Vatican documents, and Moreno says Assange’s activity around this time suggests he is still involved in WikiLeaks.
Along with this alleged interference in the affairs of other states, Moreno also says Assange blocked security cameras, has mistreated guards, and even accessed the security files of the embassy without permission. Moreno said the British government has confirmed in writing that Assange will not be extradited to a country that uses torture or the death penalty. The UK’s Home Secretary will consider whether an individual is at risk of the death penalty when choosing whether to order an extradition.
Julian Assange Accused of Leaking President of Ecuador’s Private Family Photos
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has accused Julian Assange of violating the terms of his asylum and leaking private photos of Moreno’s family and friends online in the latest dust-up between the WikiLeaks founder and his increasingly frustrated hosts.https://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2019/04/julian-assange-accused-of-leaking-president-of-ecuadors-private-family-photos/
Speaking to the Ecuadorean Radio Broadcasters’ Association yesterday, Moreno suggested that Assange had been intercepting the president’s private messages and had even leaked “photos of my bedroom, what I eat, and how my wife and daughters and friends dance,” according to the Associated Press. Moreno reportedly provided no evidence of the hacking.
In a speech to the Ecuadorian Broadcasting Association on Tuesday, Moreno accused WikiLeaks of intercepting phone calls and private conversations as well as “photos of my bedroom, what I eat, and how my wife and daughters and friends dance.”https://apnews.com/76516948dee842328929083a5d843658
Moreno provided no evidence, but the speech reflected ongoing tension between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his hosts at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
WikiLeaks in a statement called Moreno’s charges “completely bogus,” saying it reported on the accusations of corruption against the president only after Ecuador’s legislature investigated the issue.
“If President Moreno wants to illegally terminate a refugee publisher’s asylum to cover up an offshore corruption scandal, history will not be kind,” WikiLeaks said in a statement.
Assange’s defense team suggested on Twitter that Moreno was trying to use the scandal to pressure the WikiLeaks founder.
Wikileaks’ Bitcoin donations spike following Julian Assange’s arrest
Wikileaks has received a boost in donations on its official Bitcoin address shortly after Ecuador withdrew the asylum of its leader Julian Assange, resulting in his immediate arrest.https://thenextweb.com/hardfork/2019/04/11/julian-assange-bitcoin-wikileaks
Wikileaks tweeted a link to its donation page moments after news of Assange‘s arrest broke. This is likely what caused the sudden spike in transaction volume on its Bitcoin address.
Assange Charged in US With Computer Hacking Conspiracy
The indictment alleges Assange conspired in March 2010 with Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst, to crack a password stored on Department of Defense computers.https://www.securityweek.com/assange-charged-us-computer-hacking-conspiracy
Though it was unclear if the password was ever broken, the Justice Department said the effort was part of Assange’s role in “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”
Manning’s passing of hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks exposed US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets regarding scores of countries around the world.
It also made WikiLeaks, which Assange founded several years earlier, a powerful force in the global anti-secrecy movement as media around the world for months after republished the secrets that WikiLeaks divulged.
Since then the US has regarded him as a national security threat, though before President Donald Trump came to office in 2017, the US government appears to have been unwilling to charge him, given that his activities were similar to what journalists do in their daily work.
US charges Assange with conspiracy to commit computer hacking
The US Justice Department just officially charged Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, shortly after he was removed from the Ecuador embassy in London and arrested by local police. The charge is “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer. The Justice department also said it was in relation to “Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/11/us-charges-julian-assange-with-conspirac
It’s the same allegation that was made in the Chelsea Manning trial in 2013, in which the former US Army private was found guilty of theft and espionage in relation to the release of classified government documents. But now that Assange has had his asylum revoked by the Ecuadorian government and has been arrested, he can finally be extradited to the US to face these charges.
Julian Assange: US justice department says he faces five years in jail
Guardian reporter Simon Murphy has been at Westminster magistrates court, where Julian Assange was found guilty of skipping bail after spending nearly seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.https://www.theguardian.com/media/live/2019/apr/11/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-arrested-at-the-ecuadorean-embassy-live-updates
Justice Michael Snow described Assange as a narcissist. Snow told the court: “His assertion that he has had not had a fair hearing is laughable. And his behaviour is that of a narcissist who cannot get past his own self-interest.”
Assange, who pleaded not guilty, has been remanded in custody due to face sentencing at Southwark crown court at a date yet to be set. He is due to appear in May in relation to the United States’ extradition charge.
Read the United States’ indictment against Julian Assange
Julian Assange Justice Depa… by on Scribd
The United States has unsealed an indictment against Julian Assange, accusing the WikiLeaks founder of conspiring to steal secret government files. Assange was arrested earlier today by authorities in the United Kingdom.https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/11/18306045/julian-assange-wikileaks-united-states-hacking-arrest-indictment-conspiracy-secret-files
In the indictment, the government alleges that Assange worked with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified documents. Prosecutors say that Manning accessed classified government files, provided them to Assange, and later worked with Assange in an attempt to crack the password of a classified government network.
The indictment outlines communications between Manning and Assange from the spring of 2010. WikiLeaks later released a major cache of State Department cables, and Manning was charged in the incident. She was sentenced to prison, but the sentence was commuted by President Obama. Last month, she was again jailed for refusing to testify about WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange arrested, charged with conspiracy to hack US computers
In 2010, “Assange agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers,” the indictment charges. Manning allegedly provided Assange with the the hash of a password and asked Assange to crack it.https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/04/british-police-arrest-julian-assange-on-behalf-of-the-us-government/
The indictment says that the hashed password was only available to those with administrative privileges, which Manning didn’t have. However, she “used special software, namely a Linux operating system, to access the computer file and obtain the portion of the password provided to Assange.”
The government says that the password would have allowed Manning to log in to computers as an administrative user, making it easier for her to cover her tracks as she downloaded additional sensitive documents.
However, it seems that Assange never succeeded in cracking the password. “On or about March 10, 2010, Assange requested more information from Manning related to the password,” the indictment states. “Assange indicated that he had been trying to crack the password by stating that he had ‘no luck so far.'”
While Assange wasn’t successful in cracking the password, the US government is charging him with conspiracy to hack military computers based on his attempt to do so.
Julian Assange’s Charges Are Centered on Hacking, Not Publishing Classified Information
The charges relate to how Assange allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning, Wikileaks’ source for the infamous Iraq War Logs and other disclosures, to crack a password protecting a classified computer system.https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mb8qyn/julian-assange-charged-with-hacking-conspiracy-not-publishing
“On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on the 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 indictment reads.