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Thread: Julian Assange: US justice department says he faces five years in jail

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    Julian Assange: US justice department says he faces five years in jail

    Guardian reporter Simon Murphy has been at Westminster magistrates court, where Julian Assange was found guilty of skipping bail after spending nearly seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

    Justice Michael Snow described Assange as a narcissist and said his claim that he had not had a fair hearing was laughable.

    Justice Snow told the court: “His assertion that he has had not had a fair hearing is laughable. And his behaviour is that of a narcissist who cannot get past his own self-interest.”

    Assange, who pleaded not guilty, has been remanded in custody due to face sentencing at Southwark Crown Court at a date yet to be set. He is due to appear in May in relation to the United States’ extradition charge.

    Dan Sabbagh has been at a briefing of journalists by the prime minister’s spokeswoman –

    Downing Street said that the prime minister and the government was aware in advance that the Ecuadorians intended to revoke Julian Assange’s asylum status, allowing him to be arrested earlier today.

    A No10 spokeswoman said: “There has been a dialogue with Ecuadorian government from the onset. The decision to revoke asylum was one for them entirely. They have set that out.” When pressed whether the UK had lobbied Ecuador, she repeated that the decision was “taken entirely by them”.

    Downing Street did not respond directly when asked if Assange’s arrest raised any questions for freedom of speech. The spokesman said the Wikileaks founder would now be subject to “an ongoing legal process, and we need to let that run its course”.


    Speaking at a press conference in the Ecuadorian capital Quito just after 7am local time, the country’s interior minister María Paula Romo said a person with links to WikiLeaks has been detained in the country.

    She alleged the person had worked alongside Ricardo Patiño, the former foreign minister, in attempts to “destabilise” the government. Patiño granted Assange asylum in 2012 and was a close confidante of ex-president Rafael Correa.

    She also said that Assange had smeared faeces on the walls of the embassy in London.

    In the same press conference, the country’s foreign minister José Valencia said Assange’s Ecuadorean citizenship had been suspended due to the “innumerable problems, breaches of international accords” and his “interference in external matters”.

    Julian Assange has been found guilty of breaching bail in 2012 after being arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy in London on Thursday. Judge Michael Snow said he will be sentenced next month at Southwark Crown Court. He said Assange had shown the “behaviour of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest”.
    The United States has requested the extradition of Assange and charged him with involvement in computer hacking with Chelsea Manning. The Metropolitan police said the arrest was made on behalf of the US authorities.
    The US justice department said Assange faces up to five years in jail if convicted. It said extradition request is being handled by its office of international affairs.
    Theresa May welcomed Assange’s arrest saying it showed “no one is above the law.” She told MPs Assange was arrested for breach of bail after nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy and in relation to an extradition request from the United States’ authorities.
    Police were videoed forcibly removing Assange from the embassy at around at around 10.50am. Police had been invited into the building by the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange had take refuge for almost seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation.
    The president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, said he secured guarantees from the UK that Assange would not face the death penalty or torture. Justifying the move of handing him over to the British police, Moreno said: “In a sovereign decision, Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life- protocols.”
    Elisabeth Massi Fritz, a lawyer for one of the two women who accused Assange, welcomed the arrest. The Swedish prosecution authority is expected to issue a statement later.
    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow hoped that Assange’s rights would not be violated. A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry accused the UK of strangling freedom.
    The arrest was welcomed by the UK government. The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, thanked Ecuador, saying: “Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years.” The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is due to update parliament later on Thursday.
    Assange’s supporters have condemned the arrest. Rafael Correa, who was Ecuadorian president when Assange was granted asylum, accused his successor of treachery.

    The judge said the assertion that Assange had not had a fair hearing earlier was “laughable”, PA reports.

    Judge Michael Snow said Assange will face another hearing by video link on 2 May.

    A crown court will decide what sentence Assange will face for skipping bail.

    He faces up to 12 months in jail, according to PA.

    The book Assange was pictured holding during his removal from the embassy this morning – and later read in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court – was Gore Vidal: History of The National Security State.

    It’s a strange little book – not written by Vidal as much of the media have reported – but a series of interviews with Vidal conducted over two years by Paul Jay, editor of non-profit news organisation The Real News Network, who self-published the book on Amazon.

    It sees Vidal, then in his eighties and keeping a beady eye on the US from his Italian villa, in a ponderous mood as he considers his imminent return stateside. (Hewould die in the Hollywood Hills in 2012 at the age of 86). Considering his future, he tells Jay: “I’m a battleship ... I’m meant for war. But I don’t know if I can do it any more.”

    Vidal was a vocal critic of American society and politics, particularly the monopoly of wealth poured into its military and its history of foreign policy. Jay describes Vidal as “a genuine class traitor. [He] could have lived an easier and more celebrated life if he just kept his mouth shut.”

    In conversation with Jay, Vidal pulls apart US foreign policy, vote-rigging and corruption in the media.

    “I think everybody should take a sober look at the world about us, remember that practically everything that you’re told about other countries is untrue, what we’re told about ourselves and our great strength and how much loved we are – forget it. Our strength is there, but it’s the kind of strength that blows off your hand while you hold up the grenade; it’s a suicidal strength as well as a murderous one.”

    Assange pleads not guilty

    Assange is sitting in the dock at Westminster magistrates court reading the Gore Vidal book on the security state (see earlier) that he was seen clutching when he was arrested.

    Mark White (@skymarkwhite)

    Julian Assange sitting in the dock, waiting for proceedings to get underway in court, reading Gore Vidal book.. first time I've seen any accused reading any form of book in the dock, other than their legal documents
    April 11, 2019

    The indictment against Assange has now been unsealed by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria, just across the Potomac river from Washington DC.

    It alleges Assange was involved in a computer hacking conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former army intelligence analyst, to crack a defence department password. Cracking that password allowed Manning to log on to a secret government computer network under another username and so cover her tracks when she leaked a vast trove of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

    Assange is accused of “actively encouraging” Manning to provide more information. According to the indictment, when Manning told him that she had sent WikiLeaks all she had, Assange replied: “Curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”

    This has been in the works for a few months at least. The eastern Virginia prosecutors, who are likely to be taking the lead because theirs is the nearest federal court to the Pentagon, let slip that Assange had had been criminally charged under seal in November, when they wrote his name on the wrong court docket.

    Lawyer Susan Hennessey says the US charges present the UK authorities with an interesting dilemma.

    Updated at 9.44am EDT
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    1h ago 09:30

    WikiLeaks says that its editor, Kristinn Hrafnsson, and Assange’s UK lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, will be making a statement outside Westminster magistrates court after Assange’s hearing.

  2. Thanks ssimonn, sundayme thanked for this post
  3. #2
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    does the Ecuadorian stay not count as jail time

  4. Likes poolguy. liked this post
  5. #3
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    It won't deduct the count for the U.S. charges partnering with Manning.

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