Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested By British Authorities

He helped expose secret trade agreements like ACTA, CETA, TPP, and others. Now, Julian Assange is in custody awaiting possible extradition to the US.

It appears that the stalemate between the US, Britain, and Sweden against Julian Assange may finally be over. CNN is reporting that authorities have entered the Ecuadorian embassy and arrested him today. From CNN:

British police entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday, forcibly removing the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on a US extradition warrant and bringing his seven-year stint there to a dramatic close.

This has been a long-standing standoff between the founder and various countries. For a little bit of background, Assange founded the website Wikileaks. That website has a mission to protect whistleblowers by providing an anonymous medium to publish documents about governments and organizations.

Over the years, the website helped expose a whole bunch of different documents. This includes the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which was subsequently shot down after being publicly exposed. Another is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which received a whole bunch of pushback in Europe after being exposed. An additional agreement exposed is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement which caused global outrage once exposed to the public.

Those exposures caused anger from US lawmakers and corporate interests, but the website wasn’t done yet. From there, they helped exposed the Iraq war diaries. That was made famous by the “Collateral Murder” video which caused outrage from a number of American observers. Then, there is the diplomatic cables which exposed the US interfering in the affairs of other countries.

Since then, the US has been pressuring various Wikileaks employees as well as the founder himself in an effort to try and put an end to all these expose’s. In one instance, there was what Wikileaks referred to as the “Financial Blockade” which blocked peoples efforts to offer financial support to the site. The US finally thought they had their chance when Assange went to Britain. It was at that point that the allegations of sexual assault hit the media by multiple women. One woman has since retracted her allegations, but Sweden would not let go the request for “questioning”.

It was at that point that Assange was holed up in an Ecuadorian seeking asylum. His fear is that if he is extradited to Sweden, the US would use their extradition treaty with Sweden to have him extradited to the US where, Assange fears, he would be executed.

From there, there was a whole bunch of back and forth over what happens next. Assange offered to leave the embassy in exchange for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the US. Sweden refused the offer. Then, there was pressure to have Sweden formally press a charge, but Sweden never did. Instead, Sweden stuck to their guns of requesting his presence for “questioning”. It was stalemate ever since with the US putting pressure o Ecuador to remove him from the embassy.

The US and allies basically tried to paint Assange as a rapist while Assange’s followers painted him as a martyr for exposing the truth. After Donald Trump was elected, the political focus in the US became more about Russian interference in the election. The narrative then changed that Assange is a strong ally of Russia and is responsible for hacking the Democrat’s and exposing the “Podesta” e-mails – a dump that has since launched the now long debunked “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. Of course, Wikileaks denies hacking the Democrats, but the narrative of the cozy relationship between Russia and Assange persisted.

Now, we are here today with the arrest of Assange. The UK now says that he is going to be charged with skipping bail. The US has now unsealed documents charging him with crimes under the Espionage act and is now seeking to extradite him to the US. Obviously, this basically confirms some of Assange supporters fears, so now the question is, how many of those fears will become reality. A lawyer for Assange said that this is about the US silencing a journalist for exposing the truth.

For it’s part, there was effort within Wikileaks for Assange to step aside so he could deal with the alleged sexual assault allegations, but Assange did refuse. Either way, Wikileaks is easily going to live on even with Assange behind bars, or worse, executed as he had feared all along.

In any event, it appears that this long standoff may have finally come to an end. We’ll continue to monitor for developments as they come in.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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