We’re concluding our live coverage of Julian Assange’s arrest, but stay with Guardian for the latest on the Wikileaks founder.
This debate has spanned the decade: Is Julian Assange a villainous hack working in concert with countries that regularly squash a free press? Or is he a symbol of freedom of speech and the public’s right to know?
The debate is back on now that Assange has been arrested in the UK and charged in the US — not under the Espionage Act for publishing classified material, as many press freedom advocates had feared, but under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
On Thursday morning, shortly after Assange was taken into custody, prosecutors alleged that Assange “engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the US Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password” on classified DOD computer systems. Notably, according to this timeline, Manning had already started to download information off the servers. Assange allegedly coaxed Manning to keep going.
One of Assange’s lawyers, Barry Pollack, says the charges just “boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identify of that source. Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges.”
Others beg to differ. They say Assange is a tool of Russian intelligence, among other things.
And he’s arrested. Even his legal defense budget of just 30k is frozen by a swiss bank.
Ecuador spent over $6 million in expenses to house WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Foreign Minister José Valencia told Ecuador’s National Assembly on Thursday.
Ecuador spent more than $5,800,000 in security expenses from June 2012 to September 2018 and roughly $400,000 in medical, food, laundry and legal expenses for Assange, Valencia said.
Valencia said the embassy reduced the security expenses in 2018 from $1,000,000 a year to $600,000 a year.
So he’s accused of “rape” charges after two women complained that Assange had had sex with them without using a condom. And his accuser Anna Ardin was recently revealed to have ties with a Cuban anti-Castro group that receives money from the US Central Intelligence Agency.
Hilarious. That’s a far cry from “We love Wikileaks” as he said in 2016.
Wikileaks won him the presidential election against Hillary by exposing her crimes and lying to the public.
- “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks” translates into arrest Assange and hold him accountable…
- “Lock her up” translates into go after those that expose deep state crimes…
- “Drain the swamp” translates into fill the swamp with even more vile creatures.
Meanwhile, the “new witch” Theresa May is celebrating Assange’s arrest in parliament.
And this just days after she introduced more legislation to censor speech on the internet. Dark days are coming.