Russia Slams Assange Arrest As 'Revenge of the U.S'

Russia Slams Assange Arrest As 'Revenge of the U.S'

"Well I think the President always, as you in the media do, always welcomes information".

"I know nothing about WikiLeaks", the president told reporters at the White House.

The WikiLeaks founder's arrest Thursday was sudden: immediately after being told of his arrest, British police stormed the Kensington district embassy building and grabbed him, having been warned by Ecuadorian authorities of threats Assange had reportedly made to Jaime Merchan, the Ecuadorian ambassador to the United Kingdom: that he would hit a "panic button" that would bring "devastating consequences" to the embassy if he felt threatened or feared arrest.

Let's put aside Assange for a moment-because when laws are written or precedents set based only on whether Bad People are bad, we all lose. It is the monumental amount of leaks such as this that lifted the veil on USA -led military operation in a variety of theaters, none of which have produced a favorable outcome [for] the people of those countries. And we can hope that turns out to be good news.

The website first leaked the contents of internal emails stolen from Democratic National Committee servers just ahead of the party's convention in July.

Under Assange's leadership, WikiLeaks disseminated a huge trove of classified material related to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as hundreds of thousands of State Department cables.

First Amendment lawyer Barry Pollack tells Sullivan that the indictment against Assange was narrow and didn't criminalize the mere receiving and publishing of classified information. Assange instead faces up to five years in jail on a federal charge of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer", the Justice Department said. In line with standard operating procedure in Swedish courtrooms, he was not formally charged.

Looking nothing like the sleek, stylish, leather-jacket wearing provocateur we've become used to, (as he appeared in 2017 in his famous balcony speech), Assange's scraggly beard and pasty and bedraggled appearance served as a dead giveaway to the effect of years of living in isolation has had on him.

The other key fact being widely misreported is that the indictment accuses Assange of trying to help Manning obtain access to document databases to which she had no valid access: i.e., hacking rather than journalism.

The indictment does not explicitly charge Assange for publication, a move that would have wide-ranging press freedom implications, but it does construe his interactions with Manning as part of a criminal conspiracy.

Assange was finally questioned for two days in November 2016, after a change in tactics from Swedish authorities who had previously argued that he had to travel to Sweden to be interviewed.

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