On Thursday morning WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested in London and removed from the Ecuadorian embassy by U.K. cops.
According to a tweet from WikiLeaks, the embassy “invited British police” inside and the journalist was immediately arrested. “URGENT Julian Assange did not ‘walk out of the embassy’. The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested,” posted the group.
The Associated Press reported that the 47-year-old was “arrested on US extradition request as well as for breaching UK bail conditions,” according to his lawyer. The U.S. government confirmed that they have charged the WikiLeaks co-founder for “helping Chelsea Manning break into classified computers.”
It appears the warrant from the U.S. was issued in December 2017 for Assange allegedly conspiring with Manning in 2010, according to Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s attorney.
Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said Thursday that they “are aware of the reports that Julian Assange was taken into custody by United Kingdom authorities.”
The indictment against Assange “alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications,” a memo released from the Justice Department details. “Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.”
The Australian native spent seven years in the embassy before his asylum was withdrawn just before his arrest “for repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol of coexistence,” according to the Ecuadorian government.
President Lenín Moreno released a video reiterating the same in a video posted to Twitter. “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,” said Moreno, according to Fox News.
According to a CNN source, Assange will be booked at London-based police station and “might need a medical assessment owing to his appearance.” It’s unclear if he’ll make it to court later on Thursday, the source added.
NSA leaker Edward Snowden posted to Twitter that the arrest “is a dark moment for press freedom.”
Model and activist Pamela Anderson, who has spoken openly about a “romantic” relationship with Assange, reacted to the news of his arrest on Twitter. “I am in shock.. I couldn’t hear clearly what he said? He looks very bad. How could you Equador [sic] ? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK. ? Of course – you are America’s bitch and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit bulls***,” she wrote. “And the USA ? This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards. You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE.”