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Finally, Assange Will Face the Legal Cases Against Him

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Unread 04.12.19, 09:37 PM
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Finally, Assange Will Face the Legal Cases Against Him

On 04.12.19 01:43 PM posted by Cully Stimson

WikileaksFounder Julian Assange is finally going to face the music. According to many across the politicalspectrum, he is no hero. To a handful ofothers, he is.

Forthe last seven years, Assange has avoided accountability for his conduct byholing up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, at a cost of over $3 million. But that ended this week. At a newsconference on Thursday, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said, “We’ve ended theasylum of this spoiled brat.” The serialpublisher of classified and other material was, according to news reports, ahorrible guest. Assange reportedly had horrible hygiene, and facedallegations that he physically harassed his caretakers, smeared his own fecalmatter on the walls, and reportedly compromised theembassy communications system, which allowed him to access and intercept theofficial and personal communications of staff.

Nowthat his asylum is officially over, he must confront his legal challenges, asthe United Kingdom, Sweden, and the United States each have filed chargesagainst him for various alleged crimes.

Recallthat in 2012, Assange took refuge at the EcuadorianEmbassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case,and he has been there ever since. A U.K.court had granted him bail in 2012 while he fought his extradition to Sweden. But instead of fighting his extradition toSweden, he skipped bail, ingratiated himself with the country of Ecuador,received asylum and retired to their London Embassy.

Immediatelyafter his asylum was revoked, a bearded and disheveled Assange was dragged out of the Embassy byBritish police and arrested on the U.K. warrant for skipping bail. He was also arrested pursuant to the U.S./U.K.Extradition Treaty, in connection with a (U.S.) federal charge of conspiracy tocommit computer intrusion. Assange wastaken to a courtroom in London, where he was found guilty of the bail skippingoffense. He will be sentenced on May 2,where he faces up to a year in jail. He remains in a British jail pendingsentencing.

That’swhere things get interesting, as there is an open question as to what happensto Assange after he is sentenced on the U.K. bail skipping charge. Will he go to Sweden to face the sexualassault charges, or the United States for the computer conspiracy charge, orwhat?

Assange’slegal team have vowed to fight extradition to any country, and some predict it couldtake years, and that his legal woes are just beginning. And since he is a political cause celebre who has a fan club, he may havethe financial means to sustain his efforts to avoid extradition, at least for awhile.

Thereason Assange may be fighting extradition is because the charges againstAssange in the United States and Sweden are quite serious.

As forthe allegations against Assange in the United States, the Department of Justiceissued a press release this week whichincluded the indictment against Assange,and their intent to extradite him to answer for the charge. If convicted, Assange faces a “maximumpenalty of five years in prison.”

Accordingto the Justice Department press release, “the charge relates to Assange’salleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in thehistory of the United States.” Assangeengaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, “a former intelligence analyst inthe U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S.Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet ProtocolNetwork (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents andcommunications.”

According to the indictment, Manning (who was convicted at a court-martial for his conduct), “between…January 2010 and May 2010…downloaded four nearly complete databases from departments and agencies of the United States. These databases contained approximately 90,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activity reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, and 250,000 U.S. Department of State cables.”*

Assange’salleged assistance in helping Manning crack the passwords to the governmentcomputers “allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that didnot belong to her. Such a deceptivemeasure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine thesource of the illegal disclosures,” according to the press release.

The Washington Post, a recipient and publisher of some of Wikileaks material, editorialized that Assange is “not a free-press hero.”* According to the Post, “contrary to the norms of journalism…Assange sometimes obtained such records unethically – including…by trying to help now-former…soldier Manning hack into a classified U.S. computer system.”* Rebutting the notion that Wikileaks is a journalist, the Post goes on, saying: “Unlike real journalists, Wikileaks dumped material into the public domain without any effort independently to verify its factuality or give named individuals an opportunity to comment.”*

Over in Sweden, the director of Public Prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, issued a statement saying that the counsel for the alleged rape victim has requested the investigation to be resumed. “We will now examine the case in order to determine how to proceed. The investigation has not yet been resumed, and we do not know whether it will be.” The statute of limitations for rape in Sweden would expire in August 2020, so they have time to re-bring the charges if they decided to do so.

Accordingto the Guardian, Assange is alleged to have raped one women and had unprotectedsex with her, and had unprotected sex with another woman against herwishes. The lurid details are contained inthe Guardian story. Assange denies the allegations.

One thing is for sure: Assange will be in the news again for some time.* Some blame him for contributing to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential loss because Wikileaks published emails hacked from John Podesta and the Democratic National Commitee.*Others blame him for his reckless publications of the Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and State Department information, that harmed our national security, put lives in danger, and sullied diplomatic relations.*Others defend him, claiming he is a journalist and brave defender of the free press.* Only time will tell how history judges him.***

A quote from The Washington Post about Assange has been corrected.

The post Finally, Assange Will Face the Legal Cases Against Him appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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