Credit: YouTube

US Authorities Revealed to Be Behind Julian Assange Arrest

“They must resist!”

British police said they arrested Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Thursday as the result of an extradition warrant filed by U.S. authorities.

The arrest came after Ecuador withdrew the asylum it had granted Assange, allowing him to live in the embassy for the past seven years. A bearded Assange was seen on video being removed from the building by plainclothes officers and loaded him into a gray police truck that was waiting to take him away.

“They must resist! You can resist!” he shouted.

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An anonymous source told NBC News that the United States seeks to extradite the WikiLeaks founder in connection with sealed federal charges filed in the Eastern District of Virginia. Assange’s lawyer confirmed there was a U.S. extradition request.

According to The New York Times, Assange, 47, could be sent to the United States to be tried for releasing thousands of secret documents that embarrassed the U.S. government.

Justice Department prosecutors accidentally revealed in November that they had charged Assange in relation to the publication of classified documents.

Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, criticized what he called an “an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information.”

Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi referred questions about Assange’s arrest to British authorities.

Without mentioning U.S. demands, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Assange had been arrested on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2012 for failing to surrender to the court.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault allegations, which he has insisted are false and part of a plot to extradite him to the United States. Sweden has rescinded the arrest warrant, but the case remains open.

The United States, Britain and other countries have pressured Ecuador to stop sheltering Assange, and Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno has sought a way to get out of the arrangement. Moreno said in a video posted to Twitter that his country had decided to stop sheltering Assange after “his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.” In particular, Moreno accused Assange of continuing to work with WikiLeaks in violation of “the rule of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states.”

U.S. authorities suspect Assange of aiding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by releasing material stolen from the computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. A Justice Department’s indictment of 12 Russians in July for hacking the computers alleges that at least one of the accused was in contact with WikiLeaks.

Assange has acknowledged seeking to politically harm Clinton, but denied getting the emails from Russia.

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Attorney General William Barr announced last month that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian efforts. On Wednesday, he accused intelligence officials of spying on the campaign, and said he would look into their actions.

In 2010, WikiLeaks released classified U.S. documents and videos about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that showed the killing of civilians and journalists and the abuse of detainees by U.S. and coalition forces. U.S. officials said the identities of people working with the troops were revealed, putting their lives at risk.

Wikileaks also made public confidential American diplomatic cables that contained unflattering views of allies and U.S. actions.

Army private Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, was was convicted of leaking the files and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence after Manning had served less than seven years.

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Cover image: British police arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11, 2019. (YouTube)

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